Free Markets, Free People

Another Saturday Bush-era Backpeddle

Another “horrible Bush-era rule“, uh, er, kept:

The Obama administration on Friday let stand a Bush-era regulation that limits protection of the polar bear from global warming, saying that a law protecting endangered species shouldn’t be used to take on the much broader issue of climate change.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that he will not rescind the Bush rule, although Congress gave him authority to do so. The bear was declared threatened under the Endangered Species Act a little over a year ago, because global warming is harming its habitat.

So why is this interesting (and important)?

The US Environmental Protection Agency designated polar bears an endangered species last year, because their habitats were disappearing as ice-caps melted.

Environmentalists seized on the ruling, arguing that endangered species were entitled to heightened protection under US law and that the government was therefore obliged to crack down on the carbon emissions causing global warming.

The Endangered Species Act bars federal agencies from “taking actions that are likely to jeopardise the species or adversely modify its critical habitat”, and lays down civil and criminal penalties for people that kill or injure designated animals.


But the Bush administration passed a rule exempting “activities outside the bear’s range, such as emission of greenhouse gases” from prohibition.

Which, apparently, the Obama administration has found to be the proper rule:

It is this rule that the Obama administration has decided to let stand.

Because, you see:

“The Endangered Species Act is not the proper mechanism for controlling our nation’s carbon emissions,” Mr Salazar said.

“Instead, we need a comprehensive energy and climate strategy that curbs climate change and its impacts.”

While I’m not so sure about Sec. Salazar’s last point, I agree whole-heartedly with his first.

The usual suspects, of course, are livid – but then they spend most of their life livid.


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3 Responses to Another Saturday Bush-era Backpeddle

  • It seems to me this is simply a case of the Administration being a bit smarter and having better lawyers than the folks who “spend most of their life livid.” If the Government’s strategy for forcing carbon emission reductions rests on polar bears being “endangered” and their numbers continue to increase and the ice continues to expand, it could be a bit of a problem (not that that would stop them from doing what they want anyway). Far better to base the strategy on more general events in an unspecified future time frame (like “there will be hurricanes” or “the oceans will rise”) that don’t run the risk of being shown to be demonstrably false any time in the immediate future (or at least not during the Obama Administration’s time in office).

  • We sure did get change……there’s a HUGE change between what candidate Obama said he’d do and what president Obama actually did.

    And the useful idiots gets spit on yet again.