Ruling: Polar bears can’t be used to regulate CO2

Some good news on the ridiculous polar bears are endangered because of climate change front. It seems the linkage to CO2 has been..ahem, denied.

I like this part:

Sullivan said that Fish and Wildlife Service failed to conduct a proper environmental review when creating the protections for the polar bear. The agency must now go back and conduct an environmental assessment of the outcome of the rule, and consider other options.

Oh, that’s gotta hurt.

Alaska Representative Don Young said:

The lawsuits to list the polar bear as endangered were never about protecting polar bears. Instead they were nothing more than a back door approach to regulate CO2 and stop responsible development from moving forward. This is a good decision, not only for Alaska but for this nation as we look to become more energy independent.

Looks like “polarbeargate” is now a complete collapse of the mission.

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47 thoughts on “Ruling: Polar bears can’t be used to regulate CO2

  1. Seems to be an epidemic of due diligence failures on the part of the current administration’s EPA personnel. First the CO2 finding, now the polar bear finding… I wonder what other homework they have fudged?

  2. When they started the polar bear whining, anyone could go and check. There were first hand records of polar bear numbers in the Canadian Artic. Wikipedia displayed accurate fair numbers on polar bear populations. Then came the drowning bear report, and the firsthand information began to disappear; the wikipedia info was altered to support the IPCC position. Disgusting.

  3. Even if you consider the polar bear to be endangered (which takes a pretty long set of ifs and maybes), then the issue of how to protect them should still go by the doctrine of the least possible disruption to other activities. To suggest that the only thing you can do to save the bears was to regulate CO2 emissions was completely outside the remit of the FWS.

    If the ‘environmentalists’ are really concerned about bears, this finding will be a good thing as the focus is now back onto things which might actually affect their welfare!

  4. Rob Potter says:
    October 18, 2011 at 11:37 am

    If the ‘environmentalists’ are really concerned about bears, this finding will be a good thing as the focus is now back onto things which might actually affect their welfare!

    The simpliest thing that the ‘environmentalists’ could do, would be to ‘feed the bears. ‘What to feed them,’ is left as an excise to the diligent reader.

  5. interesting – The ‘opinion’ in the AP article has a somewhat different slant.

    http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/terms/Article_2011-10-17-Polar%20Bears-Climate/id-fe3c60baceb14de7932bd0ba5413663e

    Oct. 17, 2011 7:44 PM ET
    US judge orders more review on polar bears

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out a key section of an Interior Department rule that said the threat to polar bears posed by global warming could not be used to limit industrial development.

    Environmental groups had sued, saying the polar bear needed more protection under the Endangered Species Act. The state of Alaska and hunting groups argued that the listing was unnecessary.

    Along with the listing, then-Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne created a “special rule” stating that the Endangered Species Act would not be used to set climate policy or limit greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean.

    It was that aspect of the rule that Sullivan set aside on Monday.”

  6. Ya know, this is another reminder that our court system is maybe the last bastion of law (principle), logic, and evidence in American culture. Yes, our courts are being eroded through appointments of ideologues. But at this time they are rather healthy. By contrast, mainstream climate science is outrightly hostile to law, logic, and evidence when they conflict with computer models of climate.

    Kudos to Judge Sullivan and Rep. Young.

  7. Forget to check ” Notify me of follow-up comments via email.
    Wanted to follow . . . so ignore this!

  8. Fake Nick Stokes says:
    October 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Once again, you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. No where did the judge use the word ‘ridiculous’, you just made that up.

    Please be so good and identify where Anthony even only loosely implied or insinuated that the judge had used the word ‘ridiculous’. Your allegation is about as tenuous and unwarranted as is your pointer to the “*peer reviewed* paper that discusses [that] stress induces atrophy of apical dendrites of hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons.”

    It looks to me as if the stress you worry about is self-induced and to be found in yourself. Take some of that medicine you prescribe for others to whom you project from yourself. How can anyone so ready to find fault with others be so awfully far out to lunch?

  9. So the Seattle Pi link describes the ruling a lot like Dave in Delaware’s posting did: The Int Dept cannot NOT regulate greenhouse gas emissions because the polar bear is listed as endangered. Is the original ruling available for review? There seems to be two distinct interpretations going around.

  10. Its odd that for an endangered animal that they still sell licensees to hunt polar bear , you would have thought that would be the first thing they would have got rid off. And you know what is funner still , the biggest danger to polar cubs is … adult male polar bears so . So if your really worried about polar bear cubs you know what to do .

  11. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a more corrupt executive branch than this one. From the justice dept. “fast and furious” to the czars,the EPA rulings and now this polar bear thing-how shameful!

  12. Theo Goodwin says:
    October 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    Ya know, this is another reminder that our court system is maybe the last bastion of law (principle), logic, and evidence in American culture. Yes, our courts are being eroded through appointments of ideologues. But at this time they are rather healthy. By contrast, mainstream climate science is outrightly hostile to law, logic, and evidence when they conflict with computer models of climate.

    Kudos to Judge Sullivan and Rep. Young.

    Theo,

    we more often seem to get the rule of judges than the rule of law in this country. For too many, the Constitution doesn’t mean what it clearly says but means whatever is convenient to the prevailing political mood of the times.

    If you live by the court, you’ll die by the court.

  13. Nomen Nescio:
    October 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    IN RE POLAR BEAR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT LISTING AND § 4 (D) RULE LITIGATION
    Dist. Court, Dist. of Columbia, 2010 – Google Scholar
    … v. Salazar, et al., Case No. 09-245). These five actions were consolidated before this Court, along
    with six related actions, pursuant to an order of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation. … Plaintiff
    CBD contends that FWS’s decision to list the polar bear as “threatened …
    Related articles

    IN RE POLAR BEAR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT LISTING
    627 F. Supp. 2d 16 – Dist. Court, Dist. of Columbia, 2009 – Google Scholar
    … MEMORANDUM OPINION. EMMET G. SULLIVAN, District Judge. … Director of the United States
    Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively “FWS”),
    challenging the FWS’s legal determination that the listing of the Polar Bear as threatened …
    Cited by 1 – Related articles – All 2 versions

    IN RE POLAR BEAR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT LISTING
    748 F. Supp. 2d 19 – Dist. Court, Dist. of Columbia, 2010 – Google Scholar
    … v. Salazar, et al., Case No. 09-245). These five actions were consolidated before this Court, along
    with six related actions, pursuant to an order of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation. … Plaintiff
    CBD contends that FWS’s decision to list the polar bear as “threatened …
    Related articles

    IN RE POLAR BEAR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT LISTING AND § 4 (D) RULE LITIGATION
    Dist. Court, Dist. of Columbia, 2011 – Google Scholar
    … consolidated before this Court, along with six related actions, pursuant to an order of the Judicial
    Panel on Multi-District Litigation. … Having carefully considered each of these arguments, the Court
    is simply not persuaded that the Service’s decision to list the polar bear as a …
    Related articles

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=u.s.+district+judge+emmet+sullivan&as_sdt=40003&as_ylo=2010&as_vis=0

  14. Polar bears cannot be used to regulate CO2, but they certainly can regulate temperature.
    A nice coat of Poly Bear Fur will keep you snug and warm in winter here in Canada.

  15. So this poster child isn’t working out as planned. It was always nonsense, and the Canadian government agency that assesses species at risk listing (COSEWIC) never gave in to the intense political pressure to upgrade the status of the polar bear to ‘Threatened’ simply because the facts could never support that. Historic high polar bear populations.

    (There seems to be some confusion in the mind of the public – encouraged by the eco-fear mongers – that anything listed under the Endangered Species Act is actually endangered or facing extinction. That is absolutely false of course. Only those actually listed as Endangered are, and the vast majority of listed species (or real and invented subspecies and ‘distinct populations’) are not.)

    As many regular readers know, my pet corruption scandal is not AGW but the even worse model-based psuedoscience called ‘Conservation Biology.’ The polar bear has been the poster child for what garbage that is, and how it works with the AGW crisis industry. The Conservation Biology industry has been booming with no end of nicely funded ‘impacts of climate change on x’ research, and it almost always finds impacts of indications of impacts to keep that gravy train going.

    So this is great news. The only mystery is why it took so long. But then, given what the EPA has become and how effective the AGW polar bear propaganda campaign has been, I guess that is not really a mystery at all.

  16. I think that Manatees would make better poster children for Climate Change than Polar Bears. Being quite sensitive to small decreases in water temperature, they were hit pretty hard by the negative Global Warming in Florida a couple of Winters ago.

  17. DrDavid says:
    October 18, 2011 at 11:46 am
    “The simpliest thing that the ‘environmentalists’ could do, would be to ‘feed the bears. ‘What to feed them,’ is left as an excise to the diligent reader.”

    Excellent idea. We can even get a toofer. Advocates of reducing human population could be donated as polar bear food. Probably need to add a little sugar though, I am sure those folks would be quite bitter about it.

  18. Ruling-polar-bears-cant-be-used-to-regulate-co2

    Honestly, I find fiber a far better regulator for my CO2 output than those excessively furry polar bears. The fur balls are getting a bit much.

  19. The only action necessary to “save the polar bears” was taken long ago: regulate hunting and stop shooting so many.
    Thereafter, population rapidly quintupled and stabilized. Duh.

  20. Larry Fields says:
    October 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I think that Manatees would make better poster children for Climate Change than Polar Bears. Being quite sensitive to small decreases in water temperature, they were hit pretty hard by the negative Global Warming in Florida a couple of Winters ago.
    ========================================
    I think manatees are more sensitive to motorboats then temperatures.

  21. I’m reminded of that commercial “if you don’t want to pay banking fees, don’t pay banking fees”.
    If you want to save polar bears, stop killing them with a gun.

  22. Walter H. Schneider says:
    October 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Fake Nick Stokes says:
    October 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I think you’ll find that post (and name) is more than a bit tongue-in-cheek. I assumed from the post that it was a satirical expose of the actual ‘Nick Stokes’ highlighting inappropriate and irrelevant comment said commenter may typically make.

    If I am wrong however …..

  23. Walter H. Schneider says:
    October 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    “How can anyone so ready to find fault with others be so awfully far out to lunch?”

    Walter, you’ve been had. Nice one, Fake Nick Stokes.

  24. @Brian H

    You are quite right. The areas with declining populations are coincidentally the same ones with a high human population (think ‘rifles’). They expanded so much that their roaming area increased and Poly Bears (love that name) are now found in less frequented spots. Be happy if you never run into one. They can out-run, out-swim and out-climb a man and are completely omnivorous. Fortunately for us they don’t shoot back.

    The back door attempts to regulate CO2 are the only way forward so expect (and oppose) them.

  25. Crispin in Waterloo says:
    October 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Yep; I hear, tho’, that the Churchill Falls area is “plagued” with them, raiding the garbage dumps. Some of the obvious ways to prevent that are not taken, though, because Polar Bear Tourism is a big money-maker thereabouts. Naturally, a lot of it is faked, stagey appeals to Greenie prejudices and sensibilities, picking times and seasons and locales that make it look like the bears are running out of sea ice (or is it Bay ice?).

    As far as skills and capabilities go, I also hear they’re very adept at people-peeling: the process of rapidly removing unpalatable outerwear.

  26. I think some of you are mis-intrepeting the ruling.
    The way I read this is that the DOI CAN consider the Polar Bear in future decisions to issue permits to industry as opposed to the Bush administration’s 2008 ruling that they cannot.
    The decision was based on the Bush administration not using proper evaluation to issue their rule.
    Therefore it is much more likely now that the DOI can interfere with and deny permits based on future perceived damage to the Polar Bear’s habitat.
    Looks like a win for the Greenies to me.

  27. From the good ol’ AP:

    “…stating that the Endangered Species Act would not be used to set climate policy or limit greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean.

    Remember friends, whenever you have a “greenhouse gas emission” you are really melting ice in the Arctic Ocean! Really! The AP wouldn’t lie! BWAHAHAHA,

  28. i so want to steal that icon and make it the wuwt poster bear.
    i wonder if i could bleach and hack a teddy ruxpin and make it say stuff like
    ‘it’s worse than we thought – pachauri’s writing a sequel!’
    or even something funny. :)

  29. Matthew W says:
    October 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    “I think manatees are more sensitive to motorboats then temperatures.”

    Normally, motorboats going too fast in certain waters of the St Johns River are probably the manatee’s biggest threat. However, the past two winters and especially the 2009-2010 winter was so cold for so long that river water temperatures dropped well below seasonal normals. According to the Blue Springs Park personnel, there was an exceptional loss of manatees and their calves that winter. . The head count of manatees “visiting” Blue Springs that winter was about 3 times normal. There is no food in the spring area. They have to go out into the river to feed but they like the warmth of the spring waters.

  30. This is from the Los Angeles Times:

    A federal judge ruled Monday that the government did not breach its obligations under the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to protect the polar bear.

    U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan also concluded that federal officials were within their authority in a rule allowing “incidental” harm to polar bears that might occur as a result of oil and gas activities in the Arctic — provided that those activities already are authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

    The judge did find, however, that the government erred in not undertaking an environmental review before it issued its special rule on polar bears in 2008 — a shortcoming so serious that he sent the issue back for a new review.

    The suit was filed by advocates for the polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

    Warmer temperatures are shrinking the bears’ primary habitat on the sea ice, making them a focal point in the debate over greenhouse gas emissions. Conservationists argue there is no way to ensure the bears’ survival unless their biggest threat — global warming — is attacked, perhaps thousands of miles from where the bears live.

    A variety of oil industry and business groups, along with the governor of Alaska, had joined the government in opposing the suit filed by four leading conservation organizations. They argue that it is impossible to draw a scientific link between, say, a new coal power plant n Arkansas and the shrinking of the ice footprint in Alaska.

    The court in its ruling Monday from Washington, D.C., didn’t address the merits of either argument but did say that the government had met its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The judge said the act gives federal regulators broad discretion to decide what kinds of harm to let occur to species listed as merely threatened, rather than endangered.

    “The question at the heart of this litigation — whether ESA is an effective or appropriate tool to address the threat of climate change — is not a question that this court can decide based upon its own independent assessment, particularly in the abstract,” the judge wrote.

    “The answer to that question will ultimately be grounded in science and policy determinations that are beyond the purview of this court,” he said. “The question this court must decide is whether the agency has articulated a rational basis for the protections set forth in its special rule for the polar bear…The court finds that the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service has done so.”

    Conservationists had hoped for a ruling that might have opened the door to citizens’ lawsuits against greenhouse gas emitters around the country who didn’t have a permit to harm polar bears.

    That would have been legally easier to accomplish if they had not already lost, in June, their legal bid to have polar bears declared endangered — which carries stricter prohibitions against harm — instead of merely threatened. The law gives the government more leeway in what kind of harm it allows to threatened species, the judge noted.

    The plaintiffs — including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace and Defenders of Wildlife — argued that the Interior Department has a blanket regulation applying “incidental take” protections to both endangered and threatened species. Furthermore, they said, the department shouldn’t have violated its own policy by adopting the special exemptions for polar bears.

    “The polar bear was the first species added to the endangered species list solely because of threats to the species from global warming. Today’s ruling does not limit the applicability of the ESA to greenhouse gas emissions affecting species listed as endangered under the act, or to other threatened species for which Interior has not issued a specific exemption,” the plaintiffs noted in a statement.

    “Just this summer, Arctic sea ice reached its second lowest level on record, making polar bear protections more important than ever,” added Jason Rylander, senior attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “Only by acknowledging and accounting for the dramatic effects of climate change can this administration give this Arctic icon a realistic chance of survival.”

    The special rule under challenge also provides an exception from the prohibitions against harm to bears for activities already authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act — essentially, oil and gas exploration and production across the North Slope. Such production has long coexisted with polar bears.
    Very few bears have been killed as a direct result of oil and gas production, and Sullivan said it was reasonable to conclude that existing protections are sufficient. Some are even more stringent than the Endangered Species Act.

    “We are pleased that the judge decided that the Endangered Species Act is not the proper way to regulate climate change,” said Eric Wohlschlegel of the American Petroleum Institute. He declined to say more until lawyers had scrutinized the decision.

    A spokesman for the government of Alaska did not respond to requests for comment.

    The judge’s ruling changes the immediate status quo very little; the special rule was struck down, but an interim rule that is back in effect is not much different.

    The big impact, conservationists say, is that the government will now have to consider the environmental effects of allowing exemptions not only for greenhouse gases, but possibly for pesticides, mercury, PCBs and other pollutants that make their way into the Arctic food chain.

    “The real-world impact is the full scope of protections for the polar bear is back in the Obama administration’s court,” Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity said in an interview. “They have to do the review, they have to reissue the rule, and they’re getting a second chance to do things right by the polar bear.”

    Sullivan also issued a separate ruling upholding the federal government’s ban on the importing of heads and hides of polar bears shot by sport hunters in Canada, the only Arctic nation in which they can legally be hunted for non-subsistence purposes.
    — Kim Murphy in Seattle

    This means that the Polar Bears CAN be used to regulate CO2. The original clause stating they couldn’t has now been struck out because an environmental assessment is this regard was not carried out. So, depending on the results of the environmental review, the Polar Bear can indeed be used as a back door method of mandating carbon taxes. As the greenie says, it’s now up to the Obama administration to decide if they’re gonna. My question would be: who is going to conduct the review?

  31. You seriously think the polar bears only live in Alaska?!

    Miraculous how a bit of drilling there is going to destroy the whole global population.

    No bears on Baffin island? Greenland? Around Hudson Bay?

    Just because some wacko on the internet can set off fires worldwide doesn’t mean that a bit of real world drilling can do likewise. It ain’t viral, you see.

  32. Quite right too. (Mmm, feels good to be able to say that about a legal ruling for once, even one from a different legislature.) As others have already pointed out, stop shooting the brutes and watch ‘em thrive. Simple, really.

  33. So, essentially, WWF’s polar bear ponze scheme (or how to fuel your own organization with other people’s money) doesn’t fly with rational folks. :p

  34. Its a trace gas, a trace gas, polar bears exhale it for goodness sake, but a trace gas.
    How much time, effort amd budget are the numpties in Governements all over the world wasting on the nonsense. It verges on criminal fraud, wholesale, for a trace gas.
    Cannot say it often enough.

  35. Obama’s EPA will not allow this outrage by the court to go unanswered….

    watch for a general EPA ruling… by fiat…without scientific backing…. so that court’s ruling is not allowed to stand…

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