Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Polar Bears
The Bush Administration is in violation of the law again.
A federal judge on Monday gave the Interior Department until May 15 to come to a decision on whether to give polar bears protection under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling, coming after nearly four months of departmental delays, rejected the government’s contention that the case was too complicated to decide before June 30.

“Defendants have been in violation of the law requiring them to publish” their decision on the bear’s status “for nearly 120 days,” Judge Claudia Wilken of Federal District Court in Oakland, Calif., wrote. In addition to setting a May 15 deadline, Judge Wilken ordered that the decision take effect immediately, setting aside the usual 30-day grace period.

In January 2007, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposal to list the polar bear as threatened because warming global temperatures were melting the sea ice the animals use as a platform to hunt seals, breed and make dens.

The retreating ice covers an area of Arctic seas that is also the latest frontier for offshore oil and gas development — an activity that could be curtailed if the federal government gives polar bears protection under the Endangered Species Act.

They still want to drill in ANWR. There is at best a years supply of oil in ANWR, Not that I believe the high end estimate done by the Bush administration. Also, the oil is ten years away from production.

Update: Here is a good analysis of the Bush plan to drill in ANWR.

At peak production, ANWR could have potentially added 780,000 barrels a day to U.S. crude oil output by 2020, according to the EIA.

The extra supplies would have cut dependence on foreign oil, but only slightly. With ANWR crude, imports would have met 60 percent of U.S. oil demand in 2020, down from 62 percent without the refuge's supplies.[...]

"I would say under the best of circumstances it would take approximately 10 years" for any ANWR oil to make it into the market, said Philip Budzik, an EIA analyst.

"Even if oil was flowing, it would be too small amount to reduce the price" of crude or gasoline, said Daniel Weiss, energy expert at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington.

"President Bush's claim ignores the primary causes behind record high oil prices: a cheap dollar, high demand from China and India, and speculators driving the price up. Drilling and sullying the Arctic would not address any of these causes of high oil prices," said Weiss.

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