Polar Bear as a Stalking Horse…Or Red Herring

By May 1, 2008Global Warming

A federal judge has ordered the EPA to determine whether to list the polar bear as an endangered species by May 15th, delighting those who would limit human activity — including energy development — in vast reaches of America’s arctic. It’s another example of environmentalist and anti-energy activist attempting achieve their goals not through the political or public policy process — where the extreme agenda would fail — but through the courts.

Law professor and radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt has been an effective and impassioned advocate for environmental policies that recognize man’s place in the world. His most recent post on the topic:

I have written about the effort to back door Kyoto via the polar bear listing push here and here. The impact of a decision to list the bear would be vast, and the costs to the economy only dimly perceived even by the industries which would be immediately impacted. The short summary is that any activity that leads to the emission of greenhouse gases and requires a federal permit would immediately be subject to a new level of permitting and federal review (and demands for “mitigation”) under Section 7 of the ESA.

If the petition to list is rejected, the environmental groups that generated more than 600,000 comments in favor of the listing will sue. If the bear is listed, the environmental groups will start suing to push the most expansive interpretation of the law.

Ordinarily the chaos that follows a listing is limited to the region a species inhabits. The polar bear controversy will dwarf all previous ESA smash-ups, whether the snail darter, the delta smelt, the California gnatcatcher or the spotted owl.

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