Stop WC If You’ve Heard This One: Parnell Loses. Again.
Captain Zero lost. Again.
His lame, silly lawsuit to keep the polar bear off of the threatened species list was shot down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Parnell’s record in endangered species litigation is now something like 0-5. The frightening thing is that the Captain is a licensed lawyer, although presently listed as inactive by the Alaska Bar Association. You’d think he’d have a clue about these things. Apparently, you’d be wrong.
The court was as polite as they could be under the circumstances:
Where, as here, the foundational premises on which the agency relies are adequately explained and uncontested, scientific experts (by a wide majority) support the agency’s conclusion, and Appellants do not point to any scientific evidence that the agency failed to consider, we are bound to uphold the agency’s determination. Therefore we affirm the District Court’s decision to uphold the Listing Rule.
It’s always difficult to reverse on appeal an administrative agency decision involving agency expertise. Basically, the appellate court will defer to agency expertise unless there’s something seriously awry. As far as WC can tell, the claim of Captain Zero was that because the threat to polar bears wasn’t immediate, nothing should be done. That in the face of an indisputable threat – the melting polar ice is destroying polar bear habitat – because polar bears weren’t all dead yet the Endangered Species Act could not be invoked. You don’t have to be a lawyer to see the problem with the argument. It fails the red face test.
WC supposes the Governor will attempt a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, but, really, when will the State wake up and smell the coffee? Or, more prosaically, stop spending the State’s money on expensive lawyers in cases that it cannot win? Does the Captain owe favors to these lawyers that he is paying off by paying them to take these dogs? Is this some kind of self-indulgent political street theater?
Unless there is some non-legal excuse for this kind of behavior, even something corrupt, then Captain Zero’s behavior meets the definition of insanity: doing the same thing, over and over, with the expectation that the outcome will change.
An intelligent approach would be to face the reality of polar bear’s threatened status and participate in the rule-making process. To make an effort to develop a recovery plan that accommodates the State’s resource extraction plans. But the Governor’s edict that all state biologists toe the strict party line disqualifies the state from a seat at the table where that plan is being developed. So much for intelligence.
So, Captain Zero, what’s your Plan B?