Judge Upholds Threatened Status of Polar Bears

A judge on Thursday ruled the federal government was correct in listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008 because of global warming. The state of Alaska was suing to remove protections for the bear. At the same time, the Center for Biological Diversity was suing to increase the bear’s status–to endangered. Kassie Siegel with the CBD calls the ruling “mixed.” She wishes the judge had ruled in favor of the endangered listing, but was glad he wasn’t swayed by the state’s argument.

Siegel says since the polar bear was listed as threatened in 2008, the animal’s plight has gotten much worse. She says the center may appeal the ruling.

The state argued the threatened listing was speculative, because it relied on forecasts of habitat loss due to climate change.

Dan Sullivan was Attorney General when the state first filed the lawsuit. Now he is Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, but he offered a quick response to the ruling today.

The Department of Law says it’s reviewing the 116-page decision and considering whether to appeal.

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