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The ESA and Global Warming: The Coming of Sagebrush Rebellion 2.0?

Friday, March 28, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My column yesterday dealt with the attempt to use the polar bear and the Endangered Species Act to backdoor Kyoto. I asked Tennessee’s Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen about this in yesterday’s interview:

HH: Now there’s a big controversy right now, and your state has a lot of experience with the Endangered Species Act and the snail darter. A lot of the environmental activists want to list the polar bear, because the Arctic ice is melting, and they want to regulate the American economy via that listing. Now do you think that’s a good way to go about confronting climate change, back dooring it that way?

PB: No, I think, I mean, I consider myself an environmentalist, but I think that sometimes, the environmental movement short-changes itself by trying to use the law in ways that it wasn’t intended like that. I think that you end up worse. I think these are things that need to be tackled much more head on than that, than kind of back door use of laws that were passed for different purposes.

There are the makings of another Sagebrush Rebellion in the relentless effort to push old environmental protection laws into extreme uses, and in places like Colorado where the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse has greatly complicated many infrastructure as well as housing projects, the GOP should focus on its legacy of robust resource preservation via acquisition (the Teddy Roosevelt model) while condemning creeping condemnation of private property via regulatory excess. Ryan Sager worries today that the GOP has lost the West. One of the keys to coming back in places like the Rocky Mountain state is a reemphasis on property rights imperiled by the left’s regulatory zeal.

The debate over global warming has got to be based on science and recognize/evaluate all the data, but the GOP will not go wrong if it insists on candor from the enthusiasts of new regulations and compensation for individuals who get burdened with extraordinarily high costs of new regulatory initiatives.

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