Ready to Fight the Stealth Attack on Wildlife? Part One: Polar Bears

via Tollers/Flickr

Polar bears may be Arctic icons, but even their animal rock-star status can’t always sway Congress to protect wildlife.

Global warming is melting habitat the big white bears depend on to survive, but recent and upcoming votes by the nation’s lawmakers could make the situation even worse.

This year, some members of Congress have taken a sledgehammer to America’s bedrock environmental safeguards, shattering protections that have been in place under Republican and Democratic administrations for decades.

Congressional Attacks

For polar bears, Congress has focused its attack in two ways:

1. Pushing for drilling in vital polar bear habitat:

In February, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced legislation to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, putting polar bears and their onshore denning habitat at risk. More recently, House members tried to push aside the federal Clean Air Act permitting process to allow Shell Oil to rush forward with ”exploratory drilling” off of Alaska’s coast.  As NWF has reported, an oil spill in this area would be devastating to polar bears and other Arctic species.

2. Blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from controlling carbon pollution:

Congress has considered and voted on a slew of anti-EPA amendments aimed at hamstringing the agency’s court-ordered responsibility to control carbon pollution. According to scientists, we must take swift action to reduce carbon pollution if we hope to save polar bears from extinction.

Even though polar bears are one of the fiercest creatures on the planet, they are helpless against these attacks.

Speak up for Polar Bears

Take ActionHelp protect polar bears and urge Congress to support programs that mitigate the consequences of climate change on wildlife.  It’s not too late for lawmakers to try and make things right, but like Arctic sea ice, time is a resource we’re also running out of.

Wildlife in the Crossfire – About this Series

This four-part blog series highlights wildlife caught in the crossfire of the federal budget battle raging in Congress and gives you the tools to fight back. Congress is in recess and members are back in their home districts. Now is the time to stand up for wildlife.

Fact: America’s investment in wildlife is not to blame for the budget problems we face today. Over the past 30 years, America’s investment in parks, wildlife, clean water and clean air has fallen from 1.7%  to 0.6% of federal spending.