A national civil rights leader is promising to sue the Bush administration if it lists the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Roy Innis, Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), warned that such a listing would drive up energy prices and hurt America’s working poor more than any other element of society.
Speaking at a climate change conference in New York City last month, Innis said an ESA listing of the bear would give environmental groups a powerful weapon with which to stop energy development from oil and natural gas to construction of needed coal-fired and other power plants to even renewable fuels facilities.
Innis said that this will “result in higher energy prices across the board which will disproportionately be borne by minorities. It will cause countless families in our country in winters ahead to choose between food on the table and fuel in the furnace. Energy is the master resource of modern society…with abundant, reliable, affordable energy, much is possible. Without it, hope, opportunity and progress are hobbled.
“Laws and policies that restrict access to America’s abundant energy drive up the price of energy and consumer goods,” Innis said. “They cause widespread layoffs, leaving unemployed workers and families struggling to survive, as the cost of everything they eat, drive, wear and do spirals out of control.”
Innis said environmental groups aim to use the listing as a means to slow economic growth and force climate change mandates on the American people through the ESA. He said listing the polar bear could spawn lawsuits and impose restrictions on carbon emissions, with a severely negative impact on the economy.
“Oil, gas, coal and other resources on America’s citizen-owned public lands could meet U.S. energy needs for centuries,” Innis said. “Developing these resources with full regard for ecological values would generate jobs, economic growth and tax revenues, stabilize energy prices and reduce our need to buy oil from unfriendly countries.”
Listing the polar bear as threatened or endangered “would trigger the intrusion of bureaucrat involvement in all aspects of our activities and will unleash a string of lawsuits against virtually every energy development project in the country,” Innis said.
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