Polar Opposition

     Who’s against polar bears?
     You wouldn’t think anyone would be. They’re cute. They’re furry. They drink Coke. And there aren’t many of them left.
     Who, with maybe the exception of some pro-seal groups, could argue against protecting them?
     So you may have been as astonished as I was to see a ruling the other day from the D.C. Circuit of Appeals on the validity of a Fish and Wildlife Service ruling that polar bears are a “threatened” species and deserve some protection.
     Really?
      In re: Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing drew a host of litigants. Some of them, e.g. The Center for Biological Diversity, thought the ruling didn’t protect the bears enough. But most of the parties, including the State of Alaska, seemed to think the bears were just fine being left alone to drift off on their melting blocks of ice.
     That’s right. There are people out there spending years in court and paying lawyers to make sure polar bears up around the Arctic Circle aren’t protected from the global warming that’s probably going to get them anyway.
     I don’t understand this. There are lots of ugly, annoying species going extinct all the time that none of us care about, but polar bears are the homecoming queens of the animal kingdom. They’re too popular to die.
     You can skip reading the D.C. Circuit ruling. The only fascinating thing in it is the precedent that an agency’s 45-page response to a state’s objection is, in fact, a good enough explanation. Who knew an agency could be that concise?
     The ruling does not, however, explain the opposition’s motivation.
     So all we can do is speculate.
     You can form your own theory about Alaska – remember the last national politician from that state.
     There’s something called the Mountain States Legal Foundation. As far as I can tell from its website, its main purpose is to oppose anything that might help the environment. Clearly, this group is funded by aliens seeking to rid the planet of the human race.
     The MSLF site provides the full list of organizations opposing polar bear protection. It’s an interesting group.
     First off, prepare to be disturbed and check out this link .
     Yep. That appears to be a couple of smiling hunters standing over a polar bear body.
     Yes, they organize polar bear hunts .
     OMG!
     If you haven’t looked, the photo is on the Henik Lake Adventures site.
     Yes, you too can enjoy the life of a super villain with Henik Lake Adventures.
     Some of the other plaintiffs seem a tad less obvious.
     California Cattlemen’s Association? Will cows finally triumph over their rival polar bears?
     African Safari Club of Florida, Inc.? They want less competition from Arctic safaris?
     Interestingly, the Cattleman’s Association shares legal counsel in this case with the Congress of Racial Equality. Cattlemen, of course, are well-known for being in the forefront on civil rights issues.
     CORE’s involvement at least makes perfect sense.
     Bears should be treated equally no matter what the color of their fur.

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