Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Oceana Was Always At War With Eurasia" of the Day

Last year, the Bush Administration extended "threatened" species protection to polar bears but refused to consider human actions outside the arctic when assessing the risk to the bears. Progressives presumed Obama would reverse the ruling. And, indeed, the Administration temporarily blocked the policy pending further study.

Last Friday, Obama's Interior Department decided "Bush was right":
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that he will retain a special rule issued in December for protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, but will closely monitor the implementation of the rule to determine if additional measures are necessary to conserve and recover the polar bear and its habitat. . .

"In our judgment, keeping the rule is the best course of action for the polar bear," said Thomas L. Strickland, assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks. "We will continue to reach out and listen to the public and a wide range of stakeholders as we monitor the rule, and will not hesitate to take additional steps if necessary to protect this iconic species."

The rule also states that incidental take of polar bears resulting from activities outside the bear’s range, such as emission of greenhouse gases, will not be prohibited under the ESA.
Good thing the Obama Administration finally read the regulation, which "requires a causal connection between a particular polar bear and a particular polluter's emissions." See 50 C.F.R. § 17.3 (2008) (definition of "harm"). As Secretary Salazar recognized, the Endangered Species Act "is not the appropriate tool for us to deal with what is a global issue."

The left wails that this "dooms the polar bear as a wild species." Nonsense: the population is "at a modern high" and not declining.

The polar bears will be just fine. That won't prevent progressives--including the President--from promoting Al Gore's fictional scare stories in place of facts and law.

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