Bush-Era Climate Pollution Exclusion Struck Down From Polar Bear Endangerment Rule

A federal judge has ruled that the Bush administration erred in protecting global warming polluters from its 2008 polar bear endangerment finding. After years of litigation, the Department of the Interior found that polar bears are threatened with extinction by climate change, but added a “4(d) rule” that precluded the Endangered Species Act from applying to the pollution that causes climate change. “U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the Department of the Interior violated the environmental review provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued a special rule that excluded from regulation activities occurring outside the range of the polar bear,” the environmental groups involved in the lawsuit write. “However, the court also held that Interior had broad discretion when crafting species-specific rules and therefore did not substantively violate the Endangered Species Act in adopting the exemption for the polar bear.”

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