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Loons and Bears Versus Eskimos and Oil

November 19, 2007

"A petition seeking Endangered Species Act protection for a rare loon that breeds in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve has been accepted for review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service" noted a May 29, 2007 Associated Press article. "Conservationists hope an eventual listing of the yellow-billed loon will curb petroleum development in the 23-million acre reserve that covers much of Alaska's North Slope."

So, at a time when a $100 barrel of oil makes economies around the world quiver, the "conservationists" are more interested in a yellow-billed loon than in your ability to drive to work, pick up the kids at school, or just go anywhere in your car. Thank you, environmentalists everywhere, thank you for being so obscenely oblivious to reality.

However, yellow-billed loons are not sufficiently illustrative of alleged dangers to species in the frozen North. Polar bears, however, are. Polar bears are the poster children of global warming and we all "know" that all the ice is melting in the Arctic, the bears are drowning or just running out of food because "human activity" is affecting an environment in which they have lived and thrived for millennia.

If you believe such nonsense, let me first remind you that the scientific name for polar bears is "Ursus maritimus", bespeaking their distinctive ability to swim anywhere they want. Typically, among the lies Al Gore tells in his fib-o-mentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", is the claim that polar bears "have been drowning in significant numbers", but the truth is this claim is based on a single report that four polar bears drowned as the result of a storm.

Based on a total lie called "global warming," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to rush through a ruling that polar bears are an "endangered species" and that a vast swath of Alaska has to be protected against the possibility that one of them might die for any reason.

Alaska's Governor, Sarah Palin, is not a happy camper these days. In a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne she said, "The listing of a currently healthy species based entirely on highly speculative and uncertain climate and ice modeling, and equally uncertain and speculative modeling of possible impacts on a species would be unprecedented."

Need it be said that the locals, otherwise known as Inupiats or Eskimos, regard this as a very real threat to their interests? Representing them is the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) and, on October 22, 2007, they wrote a letter protesting that the "listing of the polar bear under the ESA should not be used as a land management tool or to drive climate change policy."

Noting a U.S. Geological Survey report focuses "intensely on statistical analysis and modeling approaches to make key determinations regarding polar bear mortality," the ASRC identifies the core of all climate change claims, the flawed and deliberately manipulated computer models that have little relationship to real polar bears in their natural habitat.

The environmentalists seeking to put the polar bears on the Endangered Species list conveniently overlook a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) noting there are some 22,000 polar bears in 20 distinct populations worldwide. H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, noted in a 2006 commentary published by The Washington Times that, "Only two bear populations-accounting for about 16.4 percent of the total-are decreasing, and they are in areas where air temperatures have actually fallen, such as the Baffin Bay region.

"By contrast, another two populations-about 13.6 percent of the total number-are growing and they are living in areas where air temperatures have risen, near the Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea", i.e., just off the coast of Alaska!

The World Wildlife Fund study found the ten populations-comprising about 45.4 percent of the total-are stable, and the status of the remaining six is unknown. As Burnett points out, "These bears have survived for thousands of years, during both colder and warmer periods, and their populations are by and large in good shape. Polar bears may face many threats, but global warming is not primary among them. Global warming alarmists are like the wizard of Oz, asking the public fear the spectacle, but not to pull back the curtain and unmask them for the charlatans they are."

Meanwhile, ASRC informed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that "local and state activities, and oil and gas activity in the Arctic has not been linked to a decrease in the polar bear population."

This is, however, all about oil exploration and extraction. It is not about the loons or the bears. It is just one more example of the way environmentalists seek to cripple the nation's economy and security by finding bogus reasons to restrict access to known reserves of these energy sources.

And let's add one more black mark to the Bush Administration's failures. The proposal to list polar bears was announced by Secretary Kempthorne on December 27, 2006, just about a year ago. The final determination is scheduled for January 9, 2008. That leaves precious little time to let the Secretary know just how wrong he is and to stop yet another disastrous ESA listing.

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Copyright ©2007 Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba is an American public relations counselor and freelance writer who is a frequent critic of environmentalism, Islam and research on global warming. In the late 1970s Caruba founded the PR firm The Caruba Organization, and in 1990, the National Anxiety Center, which identifies itself as "a clearinghouse for information about 'scare campaigns' designed to influence public policy and opinion" on such subjects as global warming, ozone depletion and DDT.