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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

May 14, 2008
Contact: Kristina Johnson (415) 977-5619

Bush Administration Lists Polar Bear in Name Only
Interior Department Plan Will Allow Destructive Energy Development;
Attacks Integrity of Endangered Species Act

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope

“After months of delay, the Interior Department has finally recognized that polar bears are on the brink of extinction. But the administration’s decision is riddled with loopholes, caveats, and backhanded language that could actually undermine protections for the polar bear and other species."

“We can’t protect polar bears unless we combat global warming and keep oil drills out of their habitat. Yet, the administration is so keen to appease Big Oil they tout the continuation of drilling—in spite of the listing—in the headline of their press release."

“Allowing destructive energy development in polar bear habitat is akin to diagnosing someone with lung cancer and then handing them a lit cigarette.  There is no environmentally-sound way to drill in polar bear habitat. Drilling would inundate polar bear habitat with pipelines, well pads, boat traffic, ice-breaking vessels, and seismic blasting, not to mention the ever-present threat of oil spills."

“The Bush administration’s sham plan also proposes changes that could gut the Endangered Species Act and prevent it from ever being used to actually protect the polar bear or address global warming—which is precisely what is pushing the bear toward extinction."

“We don’t need to sacrifice polar bears and other wildlife just so Big Oil can add to their tens of billions in record profits. America already has the technology and the will to embrace a clean energy economy that will end our dangerous dependence on oil, fight global warming, and leave wild, pristine places like the Arctic intact."

“We can turn to clean energy today, and leave our grandchildren a world where polar bears don’t just live in zoos. If we hope to save polar bears, Congress must act now to combat global warming, keep drills out of polar bear habitat, and stop the Bush administration from further undermining the Endangered Species Act and our other fundamental environmental laws.”   



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