Groups battle for bears

Conservation organizations concerned about the viability of polar bears announced their intentions last week to sue the federal government over a lack of protections for the species.

Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Natural Resources Defense Council gave notice to government officials after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to meet a mandated deadline (Jan. 9) by which the agency was to publish its recommendations about protecting the animals because of global warming.

The groups lambasted the Bush administration for pushing back a decision while “racing to sell some of the polar bear’s most important habitat in the Chukchi Sea for oil and gas development.”

Research by the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado has concluded that the bears’ Arctic habitat has dwindled nearly 40 percent from the average recorded between 1979 and 2000.