the Endangered Species Act, global warming, and the Obama Administration


Yesterday Politico offered an analysis on how the President-Elect Obama may use the Endangered Species Act to impose global warming regulations:

Some environmentalists say President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is eyeing the Endangered Species Act, a 1973 law largely overseen by the Interior Department, as a backdoor vehicle to help jump-start the regulation of global warming emissions.

Green groups have prodded the Bush administration to recognize the connection between the decline of the polar bear’s Arctic habitat and climate change, which prompted the bear’s designation as a threatened species.

Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service listed the polar bear earlier this year as “threatened,” but the administration simultaneously noted that the bear’s decline due to carbon emissions would not result in requiring emissions to be reduced to help protect the bear.

If Obama officially recognizes the connection and pushes for action, it would draw a definitive link between industrial emissions and the threat to a declining species, likely necessitating new emission regulations and pressuring Congress to move ahead with cap-and-trade legislation….

“We live in a changing world, and that’s going to necessitate that we adapt our laws accordingly,” said Carroll Muffett, political director at Greenpeace. “We need someone willing to use the Endangered Species Act to the full extent of the law.”