A federal appeals court ruled Monday that the Obama administration had the right to use climate change to justify federal protections for the bearded seal.

The ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court ruling from 2014 and upheld the 2012 decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to designate the bearded seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The ruling is an important victory for the Obama administration and could help build a precedent of using climate change forecasts for decisions like species protections.

The case hinged on an argument from the oil industry and the state of Alaska that the NMFS relied on climate projections that were not reliable for the time period for which the agency used them.
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