Bush Administration’s Antienvironmental Policies Hurt Polar Bears

To hell with the bears.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

There's not an animal in sight the Bush administration doesn't want to send off to extinction on the way out the door. Now it's the polar bear. Yes, let's just slaughter them all, why don't we?

With just more than a month left in office, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Thursday made

permanent a rule that says the listing of polar bears will not be used to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a leading cause of global warming, and the primary reason for the loss of Arctic sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears. 

These "special rules" announced by the Interior Department continue the Bush tradition of selling out science in the name of corporate environmental destruction. They are proposed to "reduce the influence of federal scientists" on endangered species decisions. Yes, let's ignore the scientists, because, after all, what do they know, compared with evangelicals anxiously awaiting the second coming of Christ, right? Kempthorne did so while making permanent a "special rule" to block steps that could protect threatened polar bears.

In case you were wondering, we're now down to 1.74 million square miles of sea ice. This is the second-lowest level on record. It is also 860,000 square miles below the annual average between 1979 and 2000. The ice is what's keeping not just polar bears but much of the Arctic ecosystem alive.

I guess the Obama administration should be thankful it will have so much to do when it takes office, undoing the ridiculous last-minute moves of the Bush administration.