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Polar Bears Were One of the Final Targets|Of Bush’s Midnight End Runs, Group Says

WASHINGTON (CN) - In another last-minute end run, the Bush administration's Department of the Interior on Dec. 16 violated environmental laws by issuing a final rule that will allow people to "harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, capture or collect" polar bears, the Defenders of Wildlife claim in Federal Court.

The Interior Department and the Fish & Wildlife shredded the law by changing the Endangered Species act by their Dec. 16, 2008 final rule, according to the complaint. The rule change "broadly allow(ed) for 'take' of the threatened polar bear" without the required environmental impact statement, the Defenders of Wildlife say.

And they say the government did this despite the Fish & Wildlife Service's listing the polar bear as "threatened" in a previous final rule under the Endangered Species Act, on May 15, 2008.

They want the Dec. 16 final rule vacated. They are represented by Brian Segee.

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