October 25, 2008

More hyperbole on the proposed ESA reg amendments

By More hyperbole on the proposed ESA reg amendments

Jeff Schweitzer of The Huffington Post has this criticism of the Service's proposed ESA regulatory amendments.  He contends:

The Fish and Wildlife Service has gathered a quickly-assembled team in Washington to relax the most important rules that create the foundation of species protection. One goal of this parting act is to exclude from consideration the emission of greenhouse gases when evaluating if a species could be harmed by a new project. But the assault is much broader. This team will also seek to exclude advice from its own government biologists who evaluate the impact of federal projects such as dams on endangered species.

Mr. Schweitzer's commentary is frankly mystifying.  He lambastes the Service for ignoring the harm to species caused by greenhouse gases, yet he doesn't acknowledge the very obvious point that any given emitter has a de minimis effect on any given creature, and thus, as a legal matter, the Service has no power to regulate the emission anyway.  He also rather bizarrely contends that this malevolent cadre of agency scientists is fast working to exclude data and advice.  Preposterous.  What do the regulatory amendments have to do with excluding data?  Absolutely nothing at all.

Unfortunately, Mr. Schweitzer's observations reveal a serious shortcoming common to most environmentalist critique:  he takes environmental protection to be the summum bonum that authorizes any and all means for its vindication.  That is a proposition that the American people have never acceded to, and that Congress has never enacted.

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