Author: Damien M. Schiff
Environmental Protection has an article quoting several enviro groups basically applauding Judge Sullivan's decision last week upholding the Endangered Species Act listing of the polar bear. One comment in particular attracted my attention. The article quotes Andrew Wetzler of NRDC stating, "Polar bears retaining their protections is key — this was a big loss for the climate deniers who find the bears’ plight inconvenient." I can't speak for the other parties in the lawsuit, but I know that for PLF and its clients, the polar bear case is not about whether global warming is happening. Rather, it's about whether an agency should receive carte blanche and blind deference from the judiciary to call anything it wishes an endangered or threatened species. Indeed, what makes the arguments against the polar bear's listing so compelling is that they assume the truth of the Service's climate change models. The main error in the Service's listing analysis is the failure to articulate any standard for when the polar bear should be deemed to be endangered with extinction. The most that the Service could say — again, based on its own climate data — was that the polar bear is experiencing a gradual population decline, but that the bear's numbers would remain substantial into the forseeable future. Thus, it follows that the Service's threatened finding is based on an extrapolation into what, by the Service's own analysis, is unforseeable. Such illogicality remains illogicality regardless of global warming.