Today the protection of polar bears under the U.S. Endangered Species Act suffered yet another delay at the hands of the Bush Administration. The Administration--which formally proposed adding the polar bears to the List of Threatened and Endangered Species in December of 2007--announced that it would delay making a final decision on its proposal (and thus delay giving polar bears the protections they need) for at least a month
This isn't the first time the Bush Administration has dragged its feet protecting polar bears. When the Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, and Greenpeace first petitioned to protect the polar bear, the Bush Administration had to be sued to get it to respond. Forcing us to bring a lawsuit to enforce a crystal clear statutory deadline (the Endangered Species Act requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a preliminary decision about listing a species within a year of a petition being filed and a final decision within two years) unnecessarily delayed protections for the polar bear for at least a year. Now it looks like we may have to sue them again. We'll be sending our notice of intent to sue letter on Wednesday, when the Service's deadline to act runs out.