Environmentalists have moved one step closer to getting polar bears listed as endangered under U.S. law. A federal judge for the District of Columbia yesterday rejected a legal argument used by the Bush Administration in 2008 to argue that the polar bears are threatened but not endangered.
The Administration had argued that because the bear was not threatened with imminent extinction, it could only be listed as "threatened." (This status allowed the Administration to create a special rule exempting greenhouse gas emissions—which are, through global warming, melting the artic sea ice used by the polar bears for hunting—from regulation under the Endangered Species Act.)
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan found that argument doesn't hold water.