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  • Polar Bears Have Something to Be Thankful For


    What is the Obama Administration thankful for, or at least hopeful for, this Thanksgiving? That controversial Thanksgiving Eve announcements won’t receive any media attention.

    While most Americans were in transit Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Interior was finalizing its polar bear habitat protection, which sets aside 187,000 square miles of sea ice off the coast of Alaska as critical habitat. The announcement does not prohibit economic activity in these areas, but it could make it much more difficult for oil and gas development, since the designation requires federal officials to determine whether these activities “adversely affect the polar bear’s habitat and interfere with its recovery.”

    The Wall Street Journal reports:

    The Interior Department issued the final rules as Shell has been lobbying the Obama administration to by the end of the year approve its plans to drill in Alaska waters, especially the Chukchi Sea. The Chukchi and the Beaufort seas are home to the nation’s two big polar-bear populations, the Interior Department said, and thus provide critical habitat for species that the U.S. government has listed as threatened.
    A critical habitat designation doesn’t automatically prohibit development. But the status does force the U.S. Interior Department to consult its U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and get a determination about whether any activity it is authorizing will destroy or adversely modify a critical habitat.

    “Industrializing the Chukchi sea adversely modifies that area as critical area for the polar bear,” said Brendan Cummings, who specializes in the issue at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group. “I don’t see how Interior can move forward with allowing oil development to occur in the Chukchi Sea and be consistent with what this designation should entail.”

    Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said that the company was reviewing the designation. “It’s our commitment to protecting the environment and the way of life on the North Slope,” she said. “As new consultations take place, we will continue to work with stakeholders and regulators to determine if additional mitigation measures are needed.”

    Shell has already spent at least $3 billion on leases, equipment, training and oil-spill response planning in connection with plans to drill in the Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas. It had hoped to begin drilling this summer, but President Barack Obama halted those plans in May when he shut down drilling across a wide swath of U.S. coastal waters in response to the BP PLC oil spill.

    It was the Bush administration that added polar bears to the list of “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), because alleged CO2 induced global warming will lead to losses in Arctic sea ice, denying polar bears their habitat.

    Linking ESA and global warming has significant ramifications for the lives of the American people. Although the benefits to the polar bear provided by this decision are questionable, the designation will make it more difficult to expand energy supply, produce jobs, and collect royalty revenues off the coast of Alaska. Given the controversy that would have erupted over this decision, is anyone really surprised that the decision came on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving?

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Polar Bears Have Something to Be Thankful For

    1. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    2. Evan, Anchorage says:

      If we believe in Global Warming, then we must admit that all species will not make the transition to the warmer planet–just like it always has been. Personally I believe that the polar bear will adapt to spending more time on land during the summer, just like the brown bear.

    3. Ward Wilkes says:

      First let me say I appreciate all the work the staff does at Heritage. To answer your question, I'm not suprised at anything this adminstration does, or doesnt do.

      With our national debt completly out of control, inflation looming over us like a plague, we can count on this administration to make the wrong call.

    4. Larry Huffman, Piqua says:

      It is sad, but just another in a line of efforts by anti-development people to force this nation into poverty and third-world status. That seems the end game for these zealots.

    5. Jim Olson, Winston S says:

      In their environment, polar bears are at the top of the food chain. From what I have read, their population has consistently increased. This is another environmentalist political based restriction on domestic energy development using those cuddly looking (and actually extremely vicious hunters) polar bears as a cover.

    6. Pingback: Morning Bell: Just Another WikiLeak On An Already Sinking Ship | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    7. Bannon, Southeast Texas says:

      The socialist enviro nuts won’t be happy until we the people are living in huts (like Obama’s brother!) “Wacko enviromentalist are the biggest threat to our survival as a nation(see California).

    8. Mike Mancuso says:

      The Obama administration is targeting progress in states of their "enemies"…Governor of Louisiana, former governor of Alaska. Texas was restricted a while back. In the end Obama will make Watergate and Iran-Contra look like childs play.

    9. Bear Hunter, Alaska says:

      I'm getting really upset by how the Obama Administration's anti-development tactics keep locking down our state. A lot of us up here want to get away from the pork spending, but the Feds don't let us develop our resources. It's things like this that explain why Alaska is viciously passionate about State Sovereignty, although we keep electing politicians to bring home the bacon.

    10. Don Burand, Anchorag says:

      I fly regularly to the North Slope as a commercial pilot. It is infuriating to me that politicians in heated walnut wain-scoated offices can dictate how we can use our land. The Arctic is the Arctic. The last time the Arctic Ocean sea ice melted was five thousand years ago, and the polar bears are still here! How did mankind cause that melting? Tree-hugging greenies need to get a life and realize that nature is nature, the developers of energy resources in the arctic are doing a responsible job, and that the alternative to that development will eventually reverse the economic engine of the country.

    11. Ginny Cook, Broken A says:

      I think that the use of the oil resources in our nation, to preserve our freedom and be less dependent on other nations, is vitally important to help our nation prosper. Honestly, polar bears are fine, but not nearly as important as PEOPLE who need money, jobs, and oil products! The bears don't need over 100,000 acres!

    12. Bill Schnitzer, Kihe says:

      Let's keep a balance, my friends. Remember, CONSERVATON IS CONSERVATIVE.

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