Hunting Season is Open on Polar Bears' ESA Listing

| Thu Jul. 31, 2008 4:12 PM EDT

Even before the polar bear received "threatened" status under the Endangered Species Act in May, a host of organizations were already laying the groundwork for a legal challenge. As early as last January, Jim Sims, the president and CEO of the Western Business Roundtable, which reps for oil and mining interests, sent an email to colleagues detailing a strategy to "quite possibly reverse" the ruling, if the worst came to pass. Part of it would involve litigation filed by a "truly extraordinary plaintiff": Roy Innis, the chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a decades-old civil rights group that has taken a sharp turn to the right under his leadership, joining forces with conservative activists particularly on issues related to the environment.

It looks like the plan is finally in motion. On Wednesday, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative legal advocacy group that is representing CORE, the California Cattleman's Association, and the California Forestry Association, has sent what's known as a "60-Day Notice" (which is required before formally filing suit in this case) to Dale Hall, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. "You are advised immediately to withdraw the Final Rule as unlawful and unwarranted," the letter states. "Failure to do so will result in legal action to invalidate the final rule."

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