Posted by Tim Dowling
Over at the Georgetown Law Faculty Blog, environmental law scholar extraordinaire Lisa Heinzerling has this post discussing the Department of the Interior's listing of the polar bear as a threatened species. She explains that while the Endangered Species Act is "sometimes called the 'pit bull' of our environmental laws" due to the robust protections it requires for endangered and threatened species, the Interior Department's decision yesterday to list the polar bear attempts to defang the Act through "interpretive somersaults" by purporting to limit the impact of the listing on greenhouse gas emitters. By ignoring its own rules, the Interior Department basically ensures that "the listing will not require anybody but trophy hunters to change their behavior to protect the bear." Professor Heinzerling concludes that through these accompanying limitations on the reach of the Act as applied to polar bears, DOI "turns the pit bull into a poodle."
Her analysis is well worth reading. Check out the full post.