Believing themselves to be smarter than the average bear, bureaucrats in the Obama administration continue their quest to create a, well, bear market — at least for oil. The White House decided to designate more than 200,000 square miles of Alaskan land and coastline as “critical habitat” for polar bears — the same bear population that has reached greater numbers than previously recorded in history. In fact, despite what Al Gore and his fellow global warmists would have us believe, the population has actually risen by 40 percent since 1974.
This new non-endangered species habitat is enormous enough to qualify as the third largest state in the union, placing it between Texas and California in terms of square miles. Former UnitedHealth general counsel and now Assistant Interior Secretary Tom Strickland claimed at a news conference that the greatest threat to the bear is Arctic ice melt and that “we will continue to work to protect the polar bear and its fragile environment.”
However, the new designation as a critical habitat is the first step in requiring even more government consideration of the supposed negative effect on the escalating polar bear numbers before allowing oil and gas development. The state of Alaska responded by filing a complaint in an effort to stop the listing under the Endangered Species Act.
In the meantime, some 30 percent of the world’s gas supplies and 4 percent of the estimated global oil supply will be placed off limits because of this deceitful claim that the polar bear population is endangered. Next up, the loggerhead turtle, which, if listed as endangered, would bring regulations on everything along the eastern seaboard, including what lights you can put on the ocean-facing side of your house.