Senator Inhofe Eaten By a Frustrated Polar Bear – Interior Department Deadline for Endangered Listing Looms

Senator Inhofe's unlikely polar bear expert frustrates polar bears and thinking humansAww, c’mon, that isn’t very nice.

But really, to hear Inhofe talk about it, along with his media shills, you’d think that with so darn many “big angry bears” running around there’s an “over population” problem, to quote Inhofe’s own words while he yuks it up Glenn Beck. Ignorance is sooo fascinating.

The repeated delays in making a determination on whether to list the polar bear as endangered continues – hopefully not for very much longer. The Department of Interior missed it’s first deadline for determining the status of the polar bear after Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne proposed listing the bear as “threatened” which set in motion the process that mandates a final decision based on the recommendation of the US Fish & Game service within one year. (the deadline passed over four months ago).

Since that time James Inhofe – like a bad cold that does little good, refuses to go away, and makes you feel awful –presented an “expert” at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on January 30th to show how wrong international scientists (see my previous post about my chat with biologist Nick Lunn) and Department of Interior scientists are about polar bears and their habitat – not to mention the IPCC, Al Gore, etc. ad nauseum.

Inhofe’s expert is one Dr. J. Scott Armstrong Ph.D., a professor of marketing at The Wharton School University in Pennsylvania. You read that right, my friend, Inhofe found, as his polar bear expert, a professor of marketing. He’s apparently really good at forecasting (better than scientists working in their own field of expertise) and here’s what he has to say about polar bears.

A follow-up hearing for the committee was then held on April 2nd to look into the Bush administration’s foot-dragging on the issue. As if to underscore the committee’s concerns about their motives, nobody from the administration bothered to show up for the hearing.

Finally, having had enough, a federal judge on April 29th gave the Department of Interior until this Thursday to make a decision about the polar bear.

U.S District Judge Claudia Wilken said in her ruling in a suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups:

Defendants have been in violation of the law requiring them to publish the listing determination for nearly 120 days. Other than the general complexity of finalizing the rule, Defendants offer no specific facts that would justify the delay, much less further delay

We’re sorry that the issue is so complex – though it didn’t seem to take Dr. Armstrong that long to come to the conclusion that the general weight of the evidence from scientists studying polar bears in the field are all wrong – but it continues to strike me as odd how the same tactics are repeatedly employed by the likes of Mr. Inhofe. Namely confusing issues through a general ignorance of science, deceptive “marketing” (his expert is a Dr. of marketing after all), foot-dragging, and blatant political posturing.

A tortured truth is rarely to be believed.

In the meantime, we wait with expectant anticipation for the Department of Interior’s decision this Thursday. Kempthorne wouldn’t dare ignore a direct court order – would he?

Sources and Further Reading
DeSmogBlog – Alaska Goes Denier Shopping
Polar Bears International

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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