USGS Director James Reilly released a study on polar bears he had stalled for months on Friday

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In response to the Post report, Reilly sent an email to his staff the next day, saying his decision to delay was justified because he wanted to be “satisfied” with its underlying science before making it public.

The study, which had been obtained by The Post last month, notes that shrinking sea ice in the Arctic threatens the survival of polar bears while enhancing the opportunity for fossil fuel exploration there. “The long-term persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is threatened by sea-ice loss due to climate change, which is concurrently providing an opportunity in the Arctic for increased anthropogenic activities including natural resource extraction,” it said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had been seeking the report’s release for at least three months, according to several individuals briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The agency is legally required to cite the U.S. Geological Survey study before it can determine whether drilling can proceed on ConocoPhillips’ $3 billion Willow Project on Alaska’s North Slope without causing too much harm to the region’s polar bears, which are protected by federal law.

The analysis also finds that 34 percent of the western U.S. Arctic’s maternal dens are on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has implications for the Trump administration’s plans to auction oil and gas leases on the refuge. That is the same area the Interior Department approved for leasing in August, which has been off limits to drilling for four decades.

In an email to agency employees Thursday, Reilly confirmed that he had held up the study’s release but said it was wrong to suggest he did it “solely to benefit the oil and gas industry.”

“It is, however, an influential paper, and it will

Stalled Talks Over Covid-19 Stimulus in the U.S. Show Signs of Life

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Released just as Britain is imposing new restrictions in response to a surge of cases, the app, called “NHS Covid-19,” uses technology created by Apple and Google to anonymously log when a person comes into close contact with another user of the app. If a person tests positive for the coronavirus, the app sends an alert to those they have come into contact with to get tested and quarantine.

The app, now available in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, also has a way for people to “check in” at restaurants, bars and other locations they visit by scanning a bar code, another measure to help track down individuals who have been exposed to the virus.

The release of the app follows various delays and challenges. The government had initially vowed to build an app without help from Apple or Google, saying it would offer more flexibility to track the spread of the virus. But after confronting technical challenges, the government reversed course. The switch delayed the release of the app, which at one point had been slated to be introduced in May. The app was released in England and Wales; similar technology had already been released in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Some older phones are not able to handle the new app, which requires version iOS 13.5 or later for an iPhone and version 6 or later for Android.

The effectiveness of the app will in part depend on how many people use it. Without wide adoption, its usefulness is more limited. The technology could also test the government’s overall track-and-trace system, which has been riddled with problems.

“Everybody who downloads the app will be helping to protect themselves, helping to protect their loved ones, helping to protect their community because the more people who download it, the