Last week, the Fish and Wildlife Service designated the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Over at NRO, Jonathan Adler provides some interesting background on the polar bear debate: 

The polar-bear listing was initiated by a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an environmentalist group that aggressively seeks greater regulation for species conservation in federal courts. When the federal government failed to act, CBD and other groups filed suit, prompting a court order mandating a decision on whether to list the bear. CBD hopes to use the listing to limit energy development in Alaska and force restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions from federally permitted facilities. The group tried a similar gambit before with the listing of some coral species, but this time they may have hit upon a winner.

More here.