For Immediate Release
Cat Lazaroff, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-3270
Polar Bears to Benefit From Proposal to Safeguard Critical Habitat
Proposed rule would help polar bears survive impacts of global warming, protect the Arctic Refuge
The following is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president for Defenders of Wildlife:
"The polar bear is on the front lines of the battle against the
mounting impacts of climate change, with its habitat melting away and
its food becoming scarce.
"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the nation's most important
onshore polar bear nursery, and Interior's decision to include the
coastal plain in their proposed critical habitat designation validates
the region's biological importance to polar bears and other wildlife.
Today's announcement reinforces the argument that Congress should not
permit oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge.
"It is a testament to this administration's renewed emphasis on
sound science and transparency that the proposed critical habitat
designation does not limit the type of activities that may require
consultation under the Endangered Species Act. This stands in direct
contrast to the underhanded efforts by the previous administration to
preclude consultation on those activities that would produce greenhouse
gas pollution, further exacerbating the factors causing polar bear sea
ice habitat to melt.
"Global warming is the number one threat to polar bears today. We're
glad that the Interior Department recognized this, and chose not to
prevent the consideration of the climate impacts of activities in the
bears' proposed critical habitat."
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Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.