For Sierra Club director Pope, however, the greatest concern is a misconception that the bears are already protected by the national park.
Many bears spend part of the year in the park and part of the year in the nearby national forests, he explained.
The forests are subject to oil and gas drilling, roadbuilding, and logging, "all activities that have been documented to have very, very adverse effects on their survival," Pope said.
As long as Yellowstone's bears were on the endangered species list, Pope said, permits for these activities had to take the bears into account.
"[Now] there will no longer be the requirement that permits be issued with the grizzly bears' welfare in mind."
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