"Environmental Group Sues for Federal Protection of Ice Seals"

"Environmentalists sued the Obama administration on Wednesday seeking federal safeguards for seals that rely on vanishing Arctic sea ice and accusing the government of dragging its feet in listing the marine mammals under the Endangered Species Act."

"The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, saying the National Marine Fisheries Service has illegally delayed listings for the ringed seal and the bearded seal.

Both dwell in coastal waters off northern Alaska.

In December 2010, the agency proposed listing both seal species as threatened, a move that would make them the first creatures besides polar bears granted Endangered Species Act protections due to climate change in the Arctic.

But the National Marine Fisheries Service, which oversees marine mammals, missed the statutory deadline to formally list the seals, so the court should compel the agency to grant the seals threatened status, the lawsuit argues."

Yereth Rosen reports for Reuters September 13, 2012.

Source: Reuters, 09/13/2012