Author: Damien M. Schiff
Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final critical habitat designation for the polar bear. The designation covers over 180,000 square miles. Yet the Service estimates that the economic impact of the designation, over a 29-year period, will amount to less than $700,000 total, or just $54,000 a year. It seems pretty obvious then that development and other economically productive activities are having no effect on the polar bear, at least as far as the Service views things. Maybe more likely, the Service has simply ignored most of the designation's economic impacts—nothing new for the Service. In fact, this designation simply underscores the importance of the Supreme Court to grant review in Home Builders Association of Northern California v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, in which PLF challenges the truncated economic analysis the Service uses for most of its designations.