03/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Legislating The Butterfly Effect To Save Polar Bears

Projects that emit greenhouse gases anywhere in the U.S. could be blocked under a Democratic proposal because of potential harm to endangered species, Republican lawmakers said.

The provision authorizes President Barack Obama to reverse a Bush administration rule that said energy projects outside the habitat of polar bears couldn't be blocked solely because emissions might add to global warming and destruction of the arctic species.

The House plans to vote as soon as today on a $410 billion spending measure containing the provision. Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, the top-ranked Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee, said the change could allow the U.S. to block projects anywhere in the country if emissions could conceivably harm a species thousands of miles away.