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May 15, 2008
Protecting Not Polar Bears But Warmist Power
In a move climate realists have dreaded for months, the polar bear was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act yesterday. Despite increasing numbers in recent decades, Ursus maritimus now distinguishes itself as the first creature ever officially endangered due to global warming. Bureaucratic actions this preposterous invariably mask ulterior motives, and this little doozy is certainly no exception.
Under what is perhaps the nation's strictest environmental law, the bear's critical habitat must now be protected and a strategy formulated to assist its population's recovery.
But unlike species whose dwindling numbers actually can be attributed primarily to the actions of man, such as their grizzly bear cousins (trains and cars), the gray whale or the sea otter (both from over-hunting), the polar bears' plight is purely model-based theory. And while you can fence off tracks and roads in national parks, and even regulate harpooning and trapping, how do you protect an animal from a warming planet?
Detractors of the action argued that it would force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to regulate the cause of the danger -- which greenies have convinced the masses to be CO2 emissions from tailpipes and smokestacks. As this would clearly be outside the Service's jurisdiction, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne reassured us that he'd personally make sure it didn't happen. Adding:
What nonsense -- the slippery secretary is well aware that -- thanks to last year's absurd Supreme Court declaration of CO2 as an air pollutant -- it won't need to.
Kempthorne knows full well that the greenie groups that demanded the ESA listing are mostly the same that are pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency to declare CO2 a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. And that they have the lawsuits of 17 states and Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer behind their ridiculous demands.
Should they prevail, the EPA would, indeed, be in control of airborne carbon. And beyond inevitably materializing the green dream of cap-and-trade by regulatory decree, it would - in confluence with yesterday's dreadful decision -- empower unelected bureaucrats to levy huge ESA violation penalties against "polluters."
And that's just for starters.
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that, while she was glad that the Bush administration was finally acknowledging "the threat posed by global warming," the polar bear listing [my emphasis] "does not go nearly far enough." One thing the media, policy makers, and presidential candidates of all flavors never seem to savvy is that attempts to placate the enviro-mental cases never do go nearly far enough. It's never more than "a good start."
Now consider this -- taken but a miniscule regulatory step further, a family motoring about in an SUV in Texas could be cited not only for polluting under the Clean Air Act, but as their "pollution" has been regulated as a global warming contributor, they could be further fined under the Endangered Species Act for harming the protected polar bear.
Did I mention that penalties for such ESA transgressions can be a maximum fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for one year, or both -- per violation?
Such - not solar or wind -- represents the true power sought by warmists.