U.S. green groups sue feds over polar bear, walrus protection

Two green groups have sued the feds for failing to protect polar bears and walruses (walri?) from the nasty combo of oil drilling and global warming. Pacific Environment and the Center for Biological Diversity say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t consider the effects of warming when it issued rules on industrial “incidental takings” of the animals in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea area. Does “taking” mean bringing a cub home to the missus? No, it means killing or harassment — even driving by a den could count if the bear emerges to check you out. Between 1994 and 2000, oil and gas operations reported a total of 66 polar-bear harassment cases; in 2004 alone, they reported 36. Such activities, the plaintiffs say, can disrupt life cycles. And with thinning sea ice causing its own disruption, the stakes are raised. “The government is well aware that global warming … is transforming the entire Arctic ecosystem,” says CBD’s Kassie Siegel, “yet these regulations fail to take this into account.”