I'm about to suggest something that you may find difficult to believe, but it needs to be addressed in any discussion of species extinction.
There are many people who look favorably on the idea of making large numbers of species extinct, regardless of the economic consequences of that extinction. If they can make some money off of the matter, well and fine, but they take pleasure in species extinction even if there is no economic benefit, and even if there is probably some long term economic harm.
I know that seems crazy, but it is the only explanation for some behavior.
Now, why do they feel this way? I think it has to do with the way that politics interacts with personal psychology. It lets them feel "tough-minded" and assures them that they are not weak.
Consider those people you know who are anti-environmentalist, who probably label themselves as "conservative." Do they ever refer to "bleeding heart liberals?" Do they use phrases like "soft on crime?" (Previously, there was "soft on communism" but that sounds a tad archaic now). Are they themselves "tough on crime?" Do they ever speak approvingly of "tough love" as a way to deal with problem kids? (In my observation, "tough love" is always about the "tough," never about the "love").
In certain political circles, any real show of compassion or sympathy is a sign of weakness. They derided Clinton because he "feels your pain." Clinton was weak. They know that the proper way to show sympathy for the victims of crime is to use the death penalty more freely. The way to show compassion for the inhabitants of poor nations is to cheer when they cut down rain forests.
Under such a mind set, power is the only thing that matters, and anything that interferes with your own exercise of power is anathema. They want to drill for oil in the ANWR not in spite of the fact that it is pristine, but precisely because it is pristine--and as such is an afront to their complete dominion over the entire world.