Hugh Hewitt, the lawyer/professor/talk show host, is skeptical of the Bush Administration’s attempt to make its Endangered Species Act listing of the polar bear anything less than a full-blown expansion of the regulatory state. From his latest column:
When Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the listing, he also made a bold statement that the new status of the polar bear would not lead to such consequences.
To which the environmental activists replied immediately: “Says who?” The law is the law, they correctly noted, and it cannot be cabined by “guidance” issued by the executive branch. Here’s one example of the reality of the listing’s aftermath from the pages of USA Today:
Kassie Siegel, a lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the group does not accept Kempthorne’s view.
The act requires federal agencies to take steps to reduce or eliminate those impacts on threatened species, she said. “There is no exemption for greenhouse gas emissions.”
If the government fails to address global warming, “we can and will go to court to enforce the law,” she said.
The industries most likely to be pummeled by the polar bear are energy production, aggregates extraction, transportation, and commercial building because each can be shown quite easily to result in increased emissions of greenhouse gases and each routinely requires federal permits to go about some aspect of their business. (The coal industry may be target number one, followed by oil drilling in the lower 48.)
Jim Sims of the Western Business Roundtable shares Hewitt’s skepticism.
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