October 20, 2010

If Only Freedom Could Be Listed Under the Endangered Species Act

By If Only Freedom Could Be Listed Under the Endangered Species Act

Author:  Anne Hayes

Today, PLF attorney Reed Hopper appeared before Judge Emmet Sullivan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia to argue against the listing of the Polar Bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Details of PLF's challenge can be found on PLF's website and in previous posts on this blog.

In summary, PLF contends that the ESA does not allow the listing of 60-Day a species that is not in decline (in fact, Polar Bear numbers are up), and does not allow listing based upon the assumption that it may be in decline at some unspecified future date due to speculative theories of how the species' habitat is being impacted–in this case, by global warming.  Part of the problem is that the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is responsible for implementing the ESA, has conceded that the ESA has no provision for addressing these alleged impacts.  In other words, the ESA will provide no benefit to the Polar Bear.  However, because the listing is based upon global warming, the listing will open the door to allowing environmental groups, under the ESA's "citizen suit" provision, to throw a wrench into any activity that it doesn't like by contending that it contributes to global warming, and therefore that it is harming the polar bear.

Following the oral argument, tomorrow, Thursday, October 21, at noon, Reed Hopper will be appearing at The Heritage Foundation, along with several other panelists from Heritage and from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to discuss this case, how this case may lead to a vast expansion of the reach of the ESA, and to discuss the potential economic and legal implications of letting this listing stand.  We hope you will take the opportunity to attend this panel discussion and bring your questions, whether you are in the DC area or by attending online through Heritage's website.

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