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Environmental Groups Take Legal Action to Enforce Endangered Species Act

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press release

January 9, 2008

Environmental Groups Take Legal Action to

Enforce Endangered Species Act

Bush Administration Fails to Meet Listing Deadline for Polar Bear

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenpeace initiated legal action against the Bush administration today by submitting a formal notice of intent to sue the administration for missing the deadline to decide whether or not polar bears will be listed under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming. Today’s notice of intent to sue must be sent prior to filing a lawsuit in federal court.

“Endangered Species Act listing decisions must be based only on science, and the scientists have finished their work on the polar bear listing. There is no reason for political appointees to interfere,” said Kassie Siegel, climate program director at the Center for Biological Diversity and lead author of the 2005 petition. “Time and again, delays like this one have been used by bureaucrats in Washington to illegally overrule and rewrite the conclusions of agency scientists. This delay is illegal and unjustified.”

The Endangered Species Act requires a listing process of no longer than two years, but in this case almost three years have passed since the scientific petition was submitted in February 2005, calling on the government to list the polar bear. The groups first sued the Bush administration in December 2005, when it missed its first deadline. Responding to the suit in February 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that protection of polar bears “may be warranted,” and commenced a full status review of the species. On January 9, 2007, the Service published its proposal to list the species as “threatened” and had one year to make a final listing decision. The legal deadline for listing was today.



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