Habitat for threatened polar bears found to be legal in federal court

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A federal appeals court says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service followed the law when it designated more than 187,000 square miles as critical habitat for threatened polar bears.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday reversed a 2013 lower court decision that the designation of the coastal area larger than California was too extensive and not specific.

A three-judge panel of appeals court said the Fish and Wildlife Service followed the law and the lower court’s call for more specificity in designating habitat was not required by the Endangered Species Act.

Attorney Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity hailed the decision, saying polar bears will get the full protection of the habitat they need.