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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Domestic Story Of The Day Is Polar Bears

Internationally, it's probably the Ashkelon attack. Ms. Rice was taken off to the scene to survey the damage. Israel suspects that the Grad rockets, which are capable of reaching further into Israel, are coming from Iran. In any case, Israel is going to have to go back into Gaza.

But domestically, it's polar bears. They will be named an endangered species, but apparently Interior is changing a few things:
In making the announcement, Kempthorne said, “I am also announcing that this listing decision will be accompanied by administrative guidance and a rule that defines the scope of impact my decision will have, in order to protect the polar bear while limiting the unintended harm to the society and economy of the United States.”
“Listing the polar bear as threatened can reduce avoidable losses of polar bears. But it should not open the door to use of the ESA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants, and other sources,” said Kempthorne. “That would be a wholly inappropriate use of the ESA law. The ESA is not the right tool to set U.S. climate policy.”
To make sure the ESA is not misused to regulate global climate change, Kempthorne promised the following actions:

* The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 4(d) rule that states that if an activity is permissible under the stricter standards of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is also permissible under the ESA with respect to the polar bear. This rule, effective immediately, will ensure the protection of the bear while allowing us to continue to develop our natural resources in the arctic region in an environmentally sound way.
* Director Hall will issue guidance to staff that the best scientific data available today cannot make a causal connection between harm to listed species or their habitats and greenhouse gas emissions from a specific facility, or resource development project or government action.
* The Department will issue a Solicitor’s Opinion further clarifying these points.
* The Department will propose common sense modifications to the existing ESA regulatory language to prevent abuse of this listing to erect a back-door climate policy outside our normal system of political accountability.
And let the lawsuits begin! Hall's three page letter ruling out greenhouse gas emissions as an issue requiring consultation is here. The Sierra Club is correct in pointing out that allowing this to stand would greatly weaken ESA, so I think it's back to court:
“The Bush administration’s sham plan also proposes changes that could gut the Endangered Species Act and prevent it from ever being used to actually protect the polar bear or address global warming—which is precisely what is pushing the bear toward extinction.

“We don’t need to sacrifice polar bears and other wildlife just so Big Oil can add to their tens of billions in record profits. America already has the technology and the will to embrace a clean energy economy that will end our dangerous dependence on oil, fight global warming, and leave wild, pristine places like the Arctic intact.
This will be the issue that eventually breaks the back of the extreme wingers in the environmental movement by forcing Congress to impose some common sense limitations to the ability to sue forever. Because the wingers now have the law on their side; they will win in court on the basis of the SC's ruling about CO2. All of that work would be wasted if this interpretation sticks, so it's all of the non-rich population of the US against the wingers now. There are more non-rich US citizens than wingers.

If you love polar bears, don't worry. They'll do fine either way. It's wacky environmentalism that is now the endangered species!

God, I'm tired. Hopefully I'll get back to more blogging tomorrow. I'm sorry for not answering the comments and things. Everyone has their limitations.

Update: The 2007 CO2 case was Mass vs EPA, and the decision is here in pdf.
Further Update: The Anchoress turns her face to the wall and the wife chart, Dust My Broom provides an example of the "clean energy technology" the Sierra Club is advocating, Dr M points out tangentially that the Republicans do not get it, which they don't, and SC&A discovers that some people think environmental problems are the fault of the world-destroying Jews, enabled by the world-destroying Americans.

So normal people will prevail because of their common sense ?

You've never worked at a helpdesk, have you ?
Not at a helpdesk, but I have done plenty of technical support.

But still, in matters like these the average citizen has more sense than the bureaucrats.

The correct comparison is being at a helpdesk that caters to ivory tower types with an immunity from economic reality, isn't it? Like a lot of college professors?
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