Polar Bears in PA



November 16, 2006




By Matt Cronin ffmac1@uaf.edu



Research Associate Professor of Animal Science



The University of Alaska Fairbanks



Typical Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings stop development on a local or regional scale. The spotted owl stopped logging in the Pacific Northwest. Salmon decimated irrigation in the Klamath River drainage. Sea lions have reduced fishing in the North Pacific. Grizzly bears and wolves have negatively impacted ranchers in southern Montana and Wyoming. The Preble's Meadow jumping mouse has halted most development on the Front Range in Colorado and Wyoming. Will polar bears soon be limiting activities of people in Pennsylvania?



The federal government is now considering listing polar bears under the ESA. A decision may be made in a few weeks. Citizens of Pennsylvania and all other states should consider the following points.



The potential ESA listing of polar bears has a critical difference from all others.




1. The proposed cause of the problem for polar bears is global warming melting the arctic ice pack.


2. Global warming is widely believed in the scientific community to be due to human emissions, etc.


3. The proposed cause of polar bear endangerment is therefore ALL U.S. and other nations' emissions, etc., that contribute to global warming. It's not just Alaska's North Slope oilfield activity or other local development.


4. The ESA trumps all other considerations. A listed species is mandated to be protected and given priority. Even private property rights often don't matter to the federal government.


5. If polar bears are ESA-listed, the federal government could, theoretically, regulate the entire U.S. economy with regard to emissions, etc. This ESA listing would become, in effect, a National Global Warming Law -- despite the U.S. not ratifying the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty. Every Environmental Impact Statement throughout the U.S. could now need to consider a project's emissions' impacts on global warming and polar bears.


6. In principle, people in Pennsylvania could be regulated to limit emissions to reduce global warming to protect polar bears.

7. This potential ESA listing is arguably the most serious in history, and warrants rigorous review and consideration.


8. An important consideration is that ESA decisions must consider the economic impacts of listing a species. This needs to be done thoroughly and by economists and others besides government biologists and lawyers.