The POLAR BEAR SPECIAL RULE
The Bush administration promulgated a polar bear-specific rule that exempts from regulation all greenhouse gas emissions generated outside the polar bear’s range. Thus, greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and many other sources outside Alaska — even though they’re the primary cause of the polar bear’s threatened status— are excluded from regulation under the Endangered Species Act. Because this polar bear “special rule” (also called a “4(d)” rule) is distinct from the national greenhouse gas regulation, it must be separately rescinded. The recently passed omnibus appropriations bill gives the secretary of the Interior the authority to strike both the Endangered Species Act regulations and the polar bear special rule.