Kempthorne makes tough call on polar bear listing

By now you’ve likely heard that the Bush Administration has listed polar bears in Kempthorne’s first listing since taking his position :

Kempthorne makes tough call on polar bear listingIdaho Statesman

Call me a cynic, but it seems to me likely the Bush Administration decides to list the bear now rather than kick it to the next administration so it can capitalize framing the listing against any implications it might have on greenhouse gas regulation.  Kempthorne is adamant about preventing that from happening.

Our friends at Demarcated Landscapes have been on the story for a few days :

Ay! There’s the rub! Polar bear listing comes with a twist







  1. Jon Way Avatar

    The article states: “He wants less emphasis on listing and more on recovery of species already on the list. It is a fight he started when he was in the U.S. Senate more than a decade ago”

    But wasn’t he the one to effectively end the reintroduction of grizzlies to central Idaho? That doesn’t seem like recovery to me.

  2. john weis Avatar
    john weis

    He said:”But he pledged that the listing would not “set backdoor climate policy.””Listing the polar bear as threatened can reduce avoidable losses of polar bears,” Kempthorne said. “But it should not open the door to use the ESA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants, and other sources. That would be a wholly inappropriate use of the ESA.”

    Talk about backdoor. This is an endangered species and we are directly responsible for that status but, hey, you can’t call us to task. You can’t expect us to change our ways to bring the animal back. And now we get to blame the Chinese as well. The bullshit out of the Bush administration is nothing if not consistent.

    Tell me how is the EPA getting involved in this issue any different than the banning DDT? Animals move to endangered status due to a chemical we created and released, and the ban on it allowed the animals to recover? How is this any different for controlling CO2 emissions?

  3. Brian Ertz Avatar

    this is the interesting aspect of the listing. they might very well have rejected the listing (illegally) as they are with so many other species to give their industry puppet-masters the extra time. instead, they’ve decided it’s better to frame the listing.

    this is a very good sign, they’re squealing about the block-letter writing on the wall. you can bet your hind-end that the ESA was intended to respond to such threats – the fact that they’ve been ignoring them, stoking them, and enjoying the exclusive economic bounty of their industrial fascism holds no real bearing on the proper interpretation of the ESA – even as flagrantly as they attempt to make it seem otherwise.

    this issue has the potential to revive the ESA as a critical tool to address the predominant environmental issue currently enjoying unprecedented public salience. That chafes the hind-end of those that have built their careers on gutting the act.

    If the ESA was not meant to remedy these threats – you wouldn’t hear a word from Kempthorne about it –

  4. SAP Avatar

    Jon Way wrote:

    “But wasn’t he the one to effectively end the reintroduction of grizzlies to central Idaho? That doesn’t seem like recovery to me.”

    I imagine you’re putting that out there rhetorically, but it is a good example of what the Kempthornes of the world have in mind for recovery.

    Basically, if they can get away with it, they’ll call the present status of almost any species “recovered.” That’s a real time-saver, huh? It’s like the guy who shoots a bunch of bullets into the side of a barn, then draws bullseyes around them afterward so he can claim to be hitting his targets . . .

  5. Linda Hunter Avatar

    I made the mistake of reading the comments after the article. . .

  6. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Kempthorne has been taking “signing statement” lessons from his mentor George.

    Virtually every report I’ve seen on this announcement isn’t fooled by the transparent comptempt of the 4d ruling for the intent and letter of the ESA; even the multiple use bad guys know a listing will lead to restrictions on climate change “vectors,” which is why they’re going to court to overturn the listing. Won’t work, but it should make for great legal theatre.

    God help us if McCain is elected.

  7. JB Avatar

    Brian, I might call you a skeptic, but I was thinking the same thing. They’ve fought every other listing action tooth and nail. Interesting that they decided not to fight the most controversial species.

    RH said: “God help us if McCain is elected.”

    Unfortunately, I think we’re on our own. Don’t know about you, but from where I sit, Canada is looking better everyday.

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Brian Ertz