Judge sets deadlines in polar bear listing case

Maideline Sanchez

From the Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A federal court judge is giving the Interior Department until Dec. 23 to explain why polar bears are listed as a “threatened” species instead of the more-protective “endangered.”
The written order issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C., follows an October hearing on multiple lawsuits filed over the listing.
Sullivan writes that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erroneously concludes that a species must be in imminent danger of extinction to be declared endangered. The judge says that runs counter to the plain meaning of the Endangered Species Act.
Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in 2008 declared polar bears were threatened because of the rapid disappearance of the Arctic sea ice.
The state of Alaska argues that polar bears should not even be listed as threatened.