Polar Bear Party Poopers

Instapundit talks about some good economic news on the Tennessee front:
In the face of rising demand for coal, Knoxville-based National Coal Corp. plans to expand production by re-opening some idle mines in Tennessee and Alabama and by digging one new underground mine in Tennessee.
Unfortunately he does not consider the sure-to-be-follow-up-story that we all know is coming. It will read something like this.....

"National Coal Corp's plans to expand coal production have been put on hold after the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club filed suit in Federal Court to block the mining. They argue that mining for coal has a direct contribution to Global Warming, and thus has a direct negative effect on the Polar Bear which was recently placed on the endangered species list by the U.S. Interior Department."

Welcome to our future folks!

UPDATE: For some good background on this issue, go read Hugh Hewitt's punditry:
- PBIP: The Approach and Outbreak of Polar Bear-Induced Paralysis
- The Polar Bear Tractor Beam
- Polar Bear Pushback


subrookie said...

We'll have to see how this all pans out but being pretty familiar with NEPA policy the court will have to decide if the act of mining for coal will have a direct environmental effect on Polar Bear habitat many thousands of miles away.

Sure the burning of coal may, in the long run, but the mining for it in TN will have no effect on polar bear habitat. Just like cutting timber for firewood would not have an effect because the emissions released by the action would not effect the polar bears.

What will likely happen is we'll get a court ruling some time in the future that will limit the reach of environmental litigation when it comes to projects like this. Just my thoughts.

subrookie said...

After being in Federal Court today in a similar case...well sorry to be vague but it was a NEPA case. I feel the same way as I did when I wrote this, in order to make the case that digging for coal somewhere in who knows where, you have to show that it has a direct effect on Polar Bears.

That's hard to do. They may succeed with a "cumulative effects" analysis but I doubt it. The courts will rule on this sometime in the future I'm sure and limit the scope of the analysis.

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