Sutherland Newsletter – May 1, 2008

1.Putting Polar Bears on List Would Only Drive Up Gas Prices


The Department of Interior has 15 days to determine whether to add polar bears to the list of “endangered” species, which will put an end to promising new oil and natural gas production inAlaska.   This comes at a time when gas costs $3.44 a gallon (today’s average gas price inUtah according to and a congressional commission is proposing to increase the federal gas tax by 40 cents per gallon.



The worst part about this proposal is that global warming is the official reason given for doing this.  Even though the number of polar bears has increased substantially from an estimated 9,000 in the 1960s to 22,500 today, the Department of Interior speculates that global warming may someday reduce the amount of summer ice in the Arctic, thereby threatening the bears’ existence.

“While the Endangered Species Act has proven to be a successful mechanism for violating private property rights and hampering economic activities for farmers, ranchers, and loggers in the rural West and elsewhere, it has done little to actually protect species,” wrote Ed Feulner, president of The Heritage Foundation.  “In its decades-long existence, only a small percentage of the listed species has actually recovered or even shown any increase in their numbers.  It seems that the only impact of adding polar bears to the list will be to hinder energy development in Alaska.”


2.Sutherland Endorses Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The Sutherland Institute released its position on immigration in a statement and an essay, Onus or Opportunity? Conservatism and Illegal Immigration in Utah on May 5, 2008.  These publications present an authentic conservative position that embraces comprehensive immigration reform.

“We have noticed that there is an implicit assumption that all ‘conservative’ remedies to the issue of illegal immigration are framed by a strict law-and-order approach,” testified President Paul T. Mero, as Sutherland’s first public statement on the issue made during the 2008 legislative session in support of Immigration Task Force (SB 97).  “As much as we have heard about the importance of the rule of law, and it is vital, there are several other conservative principles of good government that must be given priority.”

In addition to more closely examining all aspects of this issue, Sutherland recommends that Utah public policy assimilate otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants already living here with the following policy recommendations:

1. Request a federal waiver permitting Utahns to explicitly address illegal immigration in a manner that preserves families, builds communities, and creates productive citizens
2. Create an in-state work permit.
3. Focus public education on our most needy students.
4. Establish a broad network of authentic charity care clinics.
5. Coordinate private outreach to strengthen faith and family relationships.
6. Coordinate public/private efforts to teach the full scope of citizenship.
7. Lobby our state’s congressional delegation to support more humane legal immigration policies.

“It is time for authentic conservatives to step forward and accept responsibility to address this issue in principled terms, as opportunity not onus,” Mero concluded.