May 14, 2008

May 14, 2008 | News Releases on Energy and Environment

Heritage Foundation Condemns Bush Administration's Polar Bear Decision

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2008-Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner today issued the following statement on the Interior Department's decision to place polar bears on the endangered species list:

"Once Americans learn that a species is in danger, we pull out all the stops to protect it. Consider our national symbol, the bald eagle. It was once on the verge of extinction, but conservation has helped these magnificent birds make a strong comeback."

"Polar bears, however, are a different story. There are an estimated 20,000-25,000 wild polar bears today, up from an estimated 8,000-10,000 in the late 1960s. By any measure this species is thriving. It certainly doesn't need further protection from the United States government."

"Today's decision seems aimed at endangering another endeavor: New oil and natural gas production in Alaska and in its surrounding waters. By placing the polar bear on the endangered species list, the Bush Administration has made it extremely difficult - perhaps impossible - to open up even a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), an area estimated to contain 10 billion barrels of oil, no matter what administrative window dressings were put in place. That's enough to replace what we'll import from Saudi Arabia over the next 15 years."

"Unfortunately, new energy exploration isn't the only activity that's at risk now that the polar bear is listed as endangered. Environmentalists want to use fears about global warming (supposedly caused by humans, although the globe hasn't warmed in almost 10 years) to limit our country's energy use, and that can apply in any of the 50 states - from Alaska to Florida. They will now attempt to do so under the guise of protecting the polar bear."

"The listing of the polar bear as threatened is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to limit our country's energy exploration and use. The Bush administration should immediately reconsider and overturn today's decision."

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