Polar Bears and the Economy of the United States

Polar Bears and the Economy of the United States

Tzvi Levinson and Gil Dror, Adv. January 2008

Being asked which environmental law has got the greatest impact on the US economy most people would probably answer that it is the 'Clean Air Act', the 'Clean Water Act' or legislation on hazardous substances – and would be wrong. The law with the greatest impact on the economy of the United States is the 'Endangered Species Act' (ESA). The act obliges authorities to act in a way that does not endanger the existence of those animals protected under the act. Based on this act huge projects in the United States were cancelled in the past, e.g. the construction of dams, activities of the navy, exploitation of gas fields etc. 

The article reviews a public discussion on a new proposal that polar bear will be added to the list of protected animals because global warming endangers its existence. If the polar bear will be included in the list the authorities will have to take action against the emissions of greenhouse gases.