by Edward Helmore
Monday March 10 2008
Campaigners believe delays over endangered species listing stem from the government’s desire to sell oil and gas leases.
The US government agency responsible for compiling the country’s list of endangered species will face a new legal challenge today over its failure to protect the polar bear.
Environmental groups are set to sue the Bush administration in a federal court in California, claiming the Fish and Wildlife Service is now in breach of its own mandate.
The FWS was due to have decided by January 9 whether to classify the polar bear as threatened due to climate change. This date itself was a full year after consultations began on the issue. But the service has said it is still reviewing technical data along with more than 670,000 comments on the issue.
The FWS inspector general has announced a preliminary investigation into the delay to determine whether a full-fledged investigation is warranted.
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