- No longer treating threatened species as if they were endangered.
- Promoting much-needed transparency.
- Stopping critical habitat designations that don’t help to conserve species.
The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.
This rule-change does not allow economic impacts to affect whether a species is listed as endangered or threatened. Indeed, the rule explicitly “acknowledge[s] that the statute and its legislative history are clear that listing determinations must be made solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available” according to five statutory factors. Thus, the rule gives the agency no authority to decline to list a species based on the economic impacts of such decision. If the agency attempted to do so, it would violate the statute and the rule.
By Joseph Bast
Reading Dick Lindzen’s comments (summarized above) just makes me feel even more tired and cynical than usual . . . which is saying quite a bit.
Dr. Lindzen is a brilliant and courageous scientist. Like so many others he laments that global warming skeptics aren’t better organized or, if practicing scientists, didn’t rally against the invasion of their respective scientific disciplines by environmental activists and socialists. He knows why they didn’t—the other side was unified in seeking an end (ending reliance on fossil fuels) to which climate science was just a means. Skeptics agree on a question of means—that science ought not be weaponized in a political debate, that “climate science” isn’t really science at all—but disagree on the end (libertarians think it’s about preserving energy freedom).
Experience demonstrates that agreement on ends is a stronger organizing tool than agreement on means.
Their side tapped hundreds of millions of dollars in grants from liberal foundations and raised from “crisis of the month” direct mail campaigns, plus the nation’s universities, already captured by the left, for an almost bottomless pool of free manpower, venues, and more funding. Our side could barely afford to hire any staff or even pay for travel expenses to bring our wide-flung alliance together a few times to share ideas.
This is Dick McKenzie, writing in Regulation magazine:
The gremlin in climate scientists’ gloomy narrative is the prospect of a “tipping point”: an abrupt worsening in environmental change, looming in the next dozen years or (at most) the next few decades—if the tipping point has not already been reached. Once climate change has “tipped,” global warming (and an array of other changes in the global climate) will be self-perpetuating, self-accelerating, and irreversible, no matter how drastic the adopted future emissions-abatement policies are….
Beyond the tipping point, many scientists say, there is one inevitable outcome: environmental Armageddon, at which point the climate will become so degraded that all of life will be hellish, if species can survive that long. Effectively, Earth will gradually become a second Venus, which at one time, long ago, was likely as habitable as Earth, but is not today because of its (natural, not man-made) greenhouse-gas self-perpetuating cycles. Venus’s surface temperature is now close to 900 degrees.
Regulation is published by the Cato Institute.
No. That’s not a misprint. It’s the same think tank that has been telling us for years that climate change is no cause for alarm.
In his new PERC policy paper, R. David Simpson reports on his experience reviewing the cost-benefit analysis of an Obama-era regulation defining “WOTUS.” (In Washington lingo, that is “waters of the United States.”) Simpson, an economist formerly with the Environmental Protection Agency, expresses regret that he did not press harder to improve the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis of the rule, issued in 2015. The rule was designed to extend the federal government’s jurisdiction over U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act, bringing relatively isolated streams and wetlands under government regulation.