Pardon my language, but we're totally screwed.
The AP reported today that the polar bear has been officially listed as "threatened" by declining Arctic ice.
I've been following the story on Hugh Hewitt's blog over the past couple months, and his post today had the updated news that I linked above. Hugh is a law professor and an attorney who specializes in Endangered Species Act litigation on the side of the victims of ESA lawsuits (property owners who can't build a house on their land, because some endangered bug crawls across a corner of it), so he knows the ramifications of listing a species as threatened. Here's his summary:
The Endangered Species Act operates in a very unaccountable fashion, and if the polar bear is listed as a "threatened" species, every federal action --the grant of a permit, the award of a grant-- that leads even indirectly to the emission of greenhouse gases will come under at least the theoretical review of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA. MSM continues to report the controversy as though its impact will be limited to the arctic region, when in fact it is as likely to delay or destroy economic activity in any part of the lower 48 as it is in Alaska. (emphasis added)
This means that if an oil company wants to build a new refinery, which would bring down the price of gasoline, they may be stopped by the Fish & Wildlife Service, because the greenhouse gases would melt the Arctic ice and endanger the polar bears. New electric power plants could be stopped. New housing developments could be prevented. There could even come a time when increases to dairy and beef-cattle herds could be stopped. All to save the polar bear from getting wet when the ice melts. (Did you know they're good swimmers? No? Didn't the enviros tell you?)
But the kicker is that this decision only affects the US. If Canada wants to build a new refinery, and that refinery would threaten the polar bear's ice, no big deal. It's only American companies that will be shackled and bound. It's only American jobs that will be lost.
The environmental extremists are out to destroy our economy by shoving the Kyoto Protocol through the back door, and the door they've chosen is the polar bear.
Hugh Hewitt lists two of his columns that provide more back ground on the topic:
In the first, he quotes the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs calling for the listing of the polar bear:
"Even more critically, because it is illegal to harm threatened species or jeopardize their survival, the polar bear listing could mean that all U.S. industries emitting large quantities of greenhouse gases — and requiring a federal permit to do so — will come under the purview of the Endangered Species Act. From polluting power plants in the Midwest to auto manufacturers, a vast array of industries may have to clean up their acts to give the polar bear a chance to survive.”
That's what they want. The economy is barely hanging on by its fingernails, so this is an especially bad time for this ruling, but the zealots don't care. Now the lawsuits will start slugging unsuspecting industries and their employees upside the head. Watch out!
Michelle Malkin is also covering the story.