Environmental groups, claiming manmade global warming threatens the polar bears' survival, have called for an endangered species listing with extraordinarily far-reaching consequences. Such a listing would most likely place the Arctic region off limits for mineral exploration, and would very likely lead to strict federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. As of this writing, the Bush administration has not rendered a verdict on whether polar bears will be declared an endangered species, but a federal judge has given the administration a deadline of May 15 (this Friday) to make a final determination.
As Carl Sagan observed, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This should be especially true when the stakes are significant and are likely to impose considerable costs or limitations on economic development.
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