Over a year ago, Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the Department of the Interior would determine whether the polar bear should be added listed as a threatened and endangered species. At that time, Secretary Kempthorne pledged to make a determination within a year -- a deadline that passed in January 2008. Three environmental advocacy groups filed suit against the Department in Federal Court for the Northern District of California. United States District Judge Claudia Wilken issued a decision on 28 April ordering the Bush Administration to decide by 15 May whether the polar bear deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Opponents of the decision and of listing the polar bear have indicated that advocacy groups are more concerned with advancing a political agenda and pushing for federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said: “The Administration clearly missed the deadline for action to protect the polar bear - a deadline they agreed to. These magnificent creatures are in peril, and this Administration has no right to walk away from protecting them.”
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