Palin on Polar Bears:

Back in January, Governor Palin had an op-ed in the NYT arguing against the proposed listing of polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. It began:

About the closest most Americans will ever get to a polar bear are those cute, cuddly animated images that smiled at us while dancing around, pitching soft drinks on TV and movie screens this holiday season.

This is unfortunate, because polar bears are magnificent animals, not cartoon characters. They are worthy of our utmost efforts to protect them and their Arctic habitat. But adding polar bears to the nation’s list of endangered species, as some are now proposing, should not be part of those efforts.

The balance of the article makes the standard arguments against listing the polar bear, including that many bear populations are stable or increasing and that an ESA listing won't do much of anything to protect the bear's habitat or forestall the threat of global warming. While the listing won't do much to help the bear, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it could well hamper oil and gas development in Alaska, which I am certain is one reason Palin wrote the piece, as well as a reason Alaska has filed suit to reverse the FWS' decision. This is the position I would expect just about any Alaska Governor to take. But while this view may make for sound policy -- again, the listing won't do much to help the bear -- it's not good law. I think there was ample legal basis for the FWS listing decision, and I expect Alaska and the other listing opponents to lose their case in court.