Polar Bears Won't Get 'Endangered' Label

Environmentalists angry that they're merely 'threatened'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2010 4:11 PM CST
Polar bear Flocke eats a birthday cake made in with ice, herring, and fruit in France on Dec. 9.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
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(Newser) – Not everybody's heaping praise on the Obama administration this week: Environmentalists are fuming that the Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to ramp up protection of polar bears by changing their status from "threatened" to "endangered." In response to a court deadline, the agency said yesterday that the bears are indeed at risk, just not the imminent risk the "endangered" label requires, reports the Washington Post.

"I guess if a wrecking ball is barreling down on your house, you are just 'threatened,'" Andrew Wetzler of the Natural Resources Defense Council told AFP. The heightened status could have created a regulatory mess by requiring the Obama administration to curb greenhouse gas emissions, notes the New York Times. Click here to read about fears that climate change could create a new polar-grizzly beast.

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