Under the Endangered Species Act the polar bear is now listed as a threatened species.
After 18 years of a law practice devoted to counseling landowners, home builders and commercial interests affected by the long arm and severe penalties of the Endangered Species Act, I am used to incredulous looks and outraged oaths from clients coming to grips with the Act's incredible burdens on impacted private citizens.How about that. It looks like the socialists and luddites have won the day.
"Are you telling me I can't build my Burger King because a Delhi Sands flower-loving fly that has never been seen and is above ground only a few days a year might be near-by?"
"I can't build a connector road because the noise from construction might damage the hearing of the Stephens' kangaroo rat thus impairing its reproduction?"
"All construction in San Diego involving impacts to road ruts which might contain Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp is enjoined? All construction?"
Yes, yes, and yes. The list of situations in which the ESA has stopped otherwise legal and fully permitted projects from proceeding is extraordinarily long and getting longer. With Wednesday's decision to list the polar bear as "threatened" the burden on the American economy brought about by the ESA grew exponentially.
I have written here and here on the polar bear controversy. Those columns delineated how the advocates of the polar bear listing planned on using the bear to impose vast new controls on the emissions of greenhouse gases across the United States. When Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the listing, he also made a bold statement that the new status of the polar bear would not lead to such consequences.I'm assuming that Bush is no dummy. So what can be done?
To which the environmental activists replied immediately: "Says who?" The law is the law, they correctly noted, and it cannot be cabined by "guidance" issued by the executive branch.
Because the polar bear has been listed as threatened due to alleged deterioration of its ice habitat, and because the alleged loss of the ice habitat has occurred because of global warming caused at least in part by the emission of greenhouse gases, environmental activists will argue that all emissions of greenhouse gases that flow as a consequence of the grant of a federal permit of any sort are now subject to review under the ESA and, crucially, that those permits cannot be issued unless and until the United States Fish & Wildlife Service reviews and approves of the requested permit under Section 7 of the ESA, a process which takes at a minimum months and which can cost millions of dollars even if it is successful.Well it is obvious what is to be done. Start filing those 60 day letters. As the article points out:
Because of the generous "citizen standing" provisions of the ESA, expect dozens of "60-day" letters to begin to arrive in the offices of Secretary Kempthorne very soon, announcing that unless the Department and the Service act to invoke Section 7 vis-a-vis this or that federal permit, a lawsuit will be filed to force compliance. Expect most of those suits to be filed in the Ninth Circuit, where the appeals court has been very expansive in applying the ESA.
Swarming the courts has long been a tactic of the left, but private sector firms and sectors threatened by the threatened polar bears need to do more than sit back and wait for bills to come do and projects to be canceled.Start a cottage industry with standard forms and get those letters out to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Don't like City Hall in your town? File a letter. Hate the Saudis? File a letter. Down on Cezar Chavez? File a letter. Don't like Chinese imports? File a letter. Don't like Al Gore's mansion? File a letter. In fact file letters even for industries you like. Bury this decision under a blizzard of paper.
Once this gets going if some one will direct me to the requirements for letter filing and standard forms or groups that will help I'll post them. The way to put an end to bad law is to get it strictly enforced. The stricter the better.
Cross Posted at Classical Values