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Published:December 12th, 2008 11:10 EST

Bush Denies Polar Bear Vital Protections

By SOP newswire2

In the latest in a series of parting shots at our imperiled wildlife, officials in the Bush/Cheney Administration today announced that they will deny America`s vanishing polar bears desperately needed protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) .

Polar bears are already drowning and starving to death as the sea ice they need to survive disappears. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey say that polar bears could disappear from Alaska within the next 50 years.

The decision by the outgoing Bush/Cheney Administration effectively limits new protections for polar bears from harmful oil and gas drilling in their Alaska home. It also expressly prohibits using the Endangered Species Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet and driving polar bears to extinction in America.

Defenders of Wildlife is committed to protecting these Arctic ice kings and the habitat they need to survive, but we`re going to need your help to do it.

Defenders of Wildlife has already filed suit in federal court contesting the legality of a previous, interim final ? version of the Bush/Cheney polar bear rule, and will also challenge this new final rule to ensure that the polar bear, which was listed as threatened ? under the ESA on May 14, 2008, receives the full protections that other species receive under the ESA.

We`re fighting attempts to industrialize vital habitat for threatened polar bears with harmful oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Chukchi Sea. And we`re working to prevent trophy hunting of Canadian polar bears by wealthy U.S. trophy hunters.

If you`d like to help support these and other wildlife-saving efforts, please adopt a polar bear today for someone you love or yourself, and you`ll provide essential support for Defenders of Wildlife`s efforts to protect these beloved bears.

With your help, Defenders of Wildlife helped get the polar bear listed under the Endangered Species Act. Together, we can ensure that those protections actually mean something for America`s struggling polar bears.

Rodger Schlickeisen
Defenders of Wildlife