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May 14, 2008

The Department of Interior Lists Polar Bears As A ‘Threatened Species’. Seals And The US Economy Hit Hardest

Chalk one up for the global warming crowd.

Several American activist groups, including Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity, have also been lobbying hard to have polar bears listed as threatened. Experts now believe there are up to 25,000 polar bears remaining on the planet, and that number is in decline.

Listing the polar bear as a threatened species means all U.S. federal agencies will have to ensure that anything they authorize that might affect polar bears will not jeopardize their survival or the sea ice where they live. That could include oil and gas exploration, commercial shipping or even releases of toxic contaminants or climate-affecting pollution.

Hugh Hewitt took at look at what this might mean and the answer is, nothing good.

The short version: If the polar bear is listed, every activity that emits a greenhouse gas of any sort in the lower 48 AND which receives a federal permit or requires federal agency action of any sort --even if that permit or action is unrelated to the emission of the gases-- those activities will be subject to new review by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the approval may not be forthcoming, will certainly at least be delayed, and will almost certainly come with massive new costs attached.

Thus coastal building programs that require federal flood insurance or Army Corps of Engineers permits, highway construction that gets FHA funding, or joint NASA-private industry initiatives that result in launchings, all these and hundreds of thousands of additional federal permits and actions get gathered in under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

So ANWR? Forget about it.

Also at that link, the fact that the ‘science’ this decision is based on is less than, uh, settled.

Gee, I wonder why the Republican ‘brand’ is in such trouble.


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posted by DrewM. at 03:01 PM

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