Friday, July 11, 2008

Oil Execs and Polar Bears

Real-life events can sometimes coincide in such a way as to dramatize the fundamentals of an issue better than any theoretical discussion can. In this case, one cause and effect relating to the current energy crisis is demonstrated by two concrete government actions occurring within about a week of each other.

The first event was another in a long line of congressional kangaroo court lambastings of American oil company executives for the purpose of determining “how their companies can in good conscience make so much money, while American drivers pay so much at the pump.” (, May 21, 2008)

The executives responded timidly, but factually.

“ ‘We cannot change the world market,’ said Robert Malone, chairman and president of BP America Inc. ‘Today's high prices are linked to the failure both here and abroad to increase supplies’…In addition, [John] Hofmeister [president of Shell] said access to resources in the United States has been limited for the past 30 years. ‘I agree, it's not a free market,’ he said.

“The executives pushed the idea that large parts of the U.S. that are currently closed to drilling - like sections of Alaska, the Rocky Mountains and the continental shelf - should be opened.
‘The place to start the free market is in our own country,’ said one executive.”

The second event came in the form of a ruling by the Bush administration declaring the polar bear an endangered species. While there are many “endangered species” listed under the Endangered Species Act, what makes this ruling unique is that the polar bear is not actually endangered. If you want to find a major cause of “American drivers pay[ing] so much at the pump” and for which the oil execs are being subjected “to yet another barrage of rhetorical questions, interruptions, accusations, and sermons” (Capitalism Magazine, May 28, 2008) , look no farther than this news item.

This polar bear designation has likely gone over the heads of most Americans, who are busily trying to, among other things, keep up with soaring energy costs. But we should all really be paying close attention to this, because the disastrous long-term consequences for our standard of living…indeed, our way of life…that this ruling can have cannot be overstated. That is because this decision is unique.

What the Interior Department has declared is that, for the first time, a species has been given protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), not because it is actually endangered, but because it can become endangered…by man-made global warming. Now, environmentalism is one of the main culprits in the energy price spiral. The polar bear ruling represents an exponential increase in the scope of the ESA, placing a powerful new weapon in the hands of what can more accurately be called the anti-industrial revolutionaries. .

The threat to American energy production that this precedent-setting ruling represents is significant. Already, the prospects for a proposed major natural gas pipeline across Alaska have diminished in it’s wake.

But the threat goes well beyond any particular energy project. For the environmentalist movement, armed with nothing more than hypothetical computer models and a dogmatic zealotry, this dangerous precedent means there is no limit to the number of species that can be deemed to be “threatened” in some distant future. Therefore, there is no limit to the restrictions that may be imposed on our freedom and our very lives, or on the growth of the power of government. Writes George Will:

“Now that polar bears are wards of the government, and now that it is a legal doctrine that humans are responsible for global warming, the Endangered Species Act has acquired unlimited application. Anything that can be said to increase global warming can -- must -- be said to threaten bears already designated as threatened.

"Want to build a power plant in Arizona? A building in Florida? Do you want to drive an SUV? Or leave your cell phone charger plugged in overnight? Some judge might construe federal policy as proscribing these activities. Kempthorne says such uses of the act, unintended by those who wrote it in 1973, would be ‘wholly inappropriate.’ But in 1973, climate Cassandras were saying that ‘the world's climatologists are agreed’ that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973)…

“No one can anticipate or control the implications that judges might discover in the polar bear designation. Give litigious environmentalists a compliant judge and the Endangered Species Act might become what New Dealers wanted the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to be -- authority to regulate almost everything.”
(Emphasis added.FDR’s National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. We may not be so lucky, this time.)

While not the only cause, if you want to see a real-life demonstration of one of the primary causes of the energy price explosion, don’t bother to blame the oil producers and their executives who are unjustly being made scapegoats. Look no further than the Bush Interior Department’s polar bear ruling, the Endangered Species Act itself, and the anti-science, anti-industrial religion of environmentalism.

Post Reference 32

1 comment:

Sue said...

Nothing like making me sleep better at night.

How about naming humans as an endangered species. Or at least Americans. Our lives are being endangered every day by all of these controls.

Love the fancy block quotes. :)