Enviro groups sue to get species-act protection for polar bears

This week’s news about drowning polar bears got you all riled up? You’re not the only one. Yesterday, three green groups sued in federal court to force the Bush administration to consider listing the bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Natural Resources Defense Council charge that U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions are major contributors to the global-warming induced melting of sea ice, a critical part of the polar bear’s habitat. An ESA listing could force the feds to take action to reduce this pollution. In February, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the bear for listing. The agency was supposed to respond within 90 days, but didn’t, it says, because of a budget shortfall. Warns Melanie Duchin of Greenpeace, “Polar bears could disappear in our lifetime if we don’t take action.”