This week NRDC is running a series of ads in Washington D.C. asking the Obama administration to stop the proposed Pebble Mine. The ads feature Alaskans from Bristol Bay — including former State Senate President Rick Halford — explaining, in... Read More >
Real Voices: Stakeholders, in their own words, urge EPA to stop Pebble Mine
This week NRDC is running a series of ads in Washington D.C. asking the Obama administration to stop the proposed Pebble Mine. The ads feature Alaskans from Bristol Bay — including former State Senate President Rick Halford — explaining, in their own words, why it is essential that EPA protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine. Pebble Mine is a giant gold and copper mine proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay – home to the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery, which has recently been valued at $1.5 billion annually. Here are some highlights from these poignent vignettes:
- "As the former president of the Alaska State Senate, I served as a Republican leader in Alaska for 26 years. I believe in mining. I believe that mines are an important part of Alaska’s economy….but I don’t support Pebble Mine.” Rick Halford, former president of Alaska’s State Senate (above left).
- “The populations of salmon I once fished along the Pacific Coast are mostly gone now, the victims of shortsighted development and habitat loss. In Bristol Bay we have a chance to get it right. Our jobs and sustainable fishing economy cannot be gambled away for the short-term profits of foreign mining investors.” Patricia Treydte, Bristol Bay fisherman (above right).
- "I am the Executive Director of Nunamta Aulukestai…a coalition of 10 tribal governments and 10 native village corporations. The legendary salmon runs of Bristol Bay have supported our people for thousands of years. Salmon are our source of life. Salmon represent our past and our future.” Kimberly Williams, Executive Director of Nunamta Aulukestai (above left).
- “Allowing giant mining corporations to take what amounts to the world's biggest pickaxe to the [Bristol Bay] region will destroy our way of life and place the future of our people and communities in doubt.” Bobby Andrew, Yup’ik elder (above center).
- “The Obama administration called Bristol Bay a ‘national treasure’ that is too special to drill…I call on EPA to protect this rewewable resource that has been feeding my ancestors for thousands of years against foreign interests that only want short-term profits.” Verner Wilson III, commercial fishermen and Curyung Tribal Member (above right).
EPA released a revised scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed last month that found that mining at the headwaters of Bristol Bay would destroy salmon spawning and rearing habitat, including up to 90 miles of streams; devastate 4,800 acres of wetlands; and significantly impact fish populations in streams surrounding the mine site. The agency is currently accepting public comments on its Bristol Bay assessment.
The ads show EPA that it has overwhelming support from the region to protect Bristol Bay. According to recent polls:
- 85% of commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay oppose Pebble Mine, including 80% who strongly oppose it.
- 81% of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation's native shareholders oppose Pebble Mine.
- 80% of Bristol Bay residents oppose Pebble Mine.
- 68% of Alaskans oppose Pebble Mine, including 55% who strongly oppose it.
We also want to show policymakers inside the Beltway the faces of people whose lives, culture, and livelihoods will be forever changed if foreign mining companies are allowed to develop Pebble Mine and consequently produce 10 billion tons of waste.
The public has until May 31 to submit comments to EPA. Please speak out now in support of the people of Bristol Bay.
Sequester. Budget deficit. National debt. With words like these swirling around Washington, DC -- and the political pressure they have generated to find ways to cut federal spending (we’ll leave aside whether that’s wise fiscal policy for now) -- I... Read More >
A New Mission for Wildlife Services? Feral Swine Is a Better Target Than...
Sequester. Budget deficit. National debt. With words like these swirling around Washington, DC -- and the political pressure they have generated to find ways to cut federal spending (we’ll leave aside whether that’s wise fiscal policy for now) -- I was a bit taken aback when I learned that President Obama had recommended that the federal government increase the budget of a once-obscure, but now controversial, federal program called “Wildlife Services.”
The Orwellian-named program (formerly known as Animal Damage Control) spends nearly 100 million taxpayer dollars a year to kill millions of wild animals across the United States. Most disturbingly, the agency spends much of this money on a relentless mission to kill native carnivores, ranging from coyotes and bears to mountain lions and wolves.
But all is not as it appears. As it turns out, the increase in funding that the USDA is pushing for, and the Obama Administration has signed off on, is actually meant for feral swine (wild pig) control, which is an entirely different beast (literally and figuratively). The need to invest in feral swine control was highlighted last week in a Senate appropriations hearing, and today Wildlife Services is hosting a scoping meeting for a national feral swine “damage management program.”
Feral swine are an invasive and highly destructive species. They have steadily spread -- sometimes with human help -- across much of the Southeastern and Western United States and, increasingly, into the Midwest, as highlighted recently by the New York Times. Feral swine have few natural predators, are omnivorous (and often predatory) eaters, and their rooting and wallowing behavior can cause severe damage to native ecosystems, particularly forests and wetlands. In fact, feral swine are often cited as a threat to native endangered wildlife.
So refocusing the agency’s attention on feral hogs -- instead of wolves, mountain lions and bears -- isn’t a bad idea. But there are a few things to be careful of:
- First, Wildlife Services’ own assessment of the benefits of its control programs is often flawed. As NRDC laid out in our report Fuzzy Math, Wildlife Services’ cost-benefit analyses of its programs often fails to follow either federal or basic academic standards.
- Second, Wildlife Services’ budget is notoriously murky. In fact, the agency often can’t even tell Congress exactly how it spends its money. In a 2011 letter to members of Congress, for example, the agency noted that because “we do not use a management accounting cost system” it could neither tell them how much money it spends on various management techniques nor break out the cost-categories (e.g., local governments, private business) to whom it was providing these services.
So, before anybody decides to give Wildlife Services more money to play with, we need to make sure it will actually be spent for its intended purpose – that is, dealing with feral swine – and that it will be used in a cost-effective manner that benefits the public and America’s natural landscape.
Right now, all of that is a big “if.”
Yesterday a group of leading wolf researchers and prominent conservation biologists sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel, urging her to reconsider plans to remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves across the remainder of the... Read More >
Leading wolf researchers oppose plan to remove Endangered Species Act...
Yesterday a group of leading wolf researchers and prominent conservation biologists sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel, urging her to reconsider plans to remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves across the remainder of the lower 48 states, except for the small and struggling population of Mexican wolves "where found" in the Southwest.
Wolves used to be found across most of the lower 48 states, but now with two populations removed from the endangered species list – one in the Midwest and one in the Rocky Mountains – the US Fish and Wildlife Service is ready to declare victory on wolf recovery in America, despite the fact that plenty of suitable habitat still exists for wolves in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rockies and the Northeast - and, today, most of that habitat remains unoccupied by wolves.
A draft of the Service’s proposal was leaked a couple of weeks ago to the LA Times. Since then many groups, including NRDC, have urged the Obama administration to reverse course and not issue the proposed rule. Today, a core group of experts in wolf biology, genetics and conservation laid out a series of specific concerns they have with the draft proposed rule and joined the call to oppose the plan.
First, the scientists point out that the plan ignores current research that has identified a significant amount of suitable habitat where wolf populations could be restored.
The scientists then call on the Service to proceed with plans to recognize the Mexican wolf as a subspecies. However, they call on the Service to designate an area for the recovery of the species rather than merely listing them “where found.”
Third, the scientists point out that there is "not sufficient information to support recognition of a new species of wolf, C. lycaon". In fact, many of the scientists on the letter previously made this same argument to the Service and yet the draft proposed rule completely ignores their arguments.
Finally, the scientists disagree with the Service’s finding that wolves in the Pacific Northwest do not qualify as a "distinct population segment". Among other things, the letter points out that many wolves in the Pacific Northwest are genetically distinct from those in the Northern Rockies.
Taken together, the scientists’ letter shines a light on glaring flaws in the Service’s draft proposed rule that need to be addressed before any protections from wolves can be removed nationally. An AP story from late yesterday said that the Service is not issuing the rule right now due to “a recent unexpected delay.”
We hope they are considering not issuing the plan at all.
Photo credit: National Park Service
Proponents of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the House are pushing forward a measure that would exempt the Canadian pipeline company TransCanada from legal requirements placed on domestic pipeline operators. H.R. 3, or the Northern Route Approval Act,... Read More >
House bill would give TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline special...
Proponents of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the House are pushing forward a measure that would exempt the Canadian pipeline company TransCanada from legal requirements placed on domestic pipeline operators. H.R. 3, or the Northern Route Approval Act, proposed by Representative Terry, is far more extreme than any previous pro-Keystone XL measure considered in the Congress to date. Terry’s bill would thwart a decades old bipartisan process for considering international pipeline applications - a process which the American public is heavily invested after submitting over a million comments detailing the tar sands project's significant environmental impacts. Moreover, in a series of unprecedented provisions, Terry’s bill would exempt the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), permitting requirements for federal rights of way, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. H.R. 3 isn’t a bill to approve Keystone XL. It’s a bill for giving a foreign company special treatment by exempting it from the nation’s most cherished laws protecting public health, welfare and the environment.
Of course, the House vote on Terry’s bill is little more than political theater – it has very little chance of becoming law. That said, this political theater sets a dangerous precedent. Even if it doesn’t become law, it creates a precedent for exempting a dangerous and controversial project, sponsored by a foreign company, from U.S. laws that domestic companies are required to abide by.
The Keystone XL pipeline should be considered by the same process that has evaluated every transborder pipeline proposal. This process is moving forward as it should – after all, TransCanada only applied for a permit for its northern pipeline a year ago. It is critical that the pipeline application process run it proper course with a thorough environmental review that will ensure safeguards for the health and safety of the American public from tar sands oil spills, refinery pollution, and climate change driven by tar sands expansion.
Moreover, it is in the public’s interest that TransCanada’s proposal be considered through a national interest determination process. Such a process would consider whether it’s in the public’s interest to bear the risks of tar sands spills, refinery pollutions and greater climate emissions in order for Canadian tar sands producers to refine their product at the Gulf and export it internationally. Because according to the State Department, most of the refined product from Keystone XL – including gasoline and diesel - will be exported internationally.
The need to take concrete steps to address climate change has never been greater – and the approval of Keystone XL would take the nation in the wrong direction by replacing conventional crude with even more carbon intensive tar sands as well as by driving rapid expansion of the tar sands production. Our lawmakers need to take serious steps to achieve energy independence and get our country back to work. Investments and jobs in clean energy is something our country can get behind.
Read more about the risks of Keystone XL:
- Just the facts: Climate Impacts from the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
- Reuters investigation deflates State Department's argument that rail can fuel tar sands growth
- Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: Not the Jobs Plan the Oil Industry Pretends
- Top 5 Things You Should Know About Transporting Tar Sands Crude
Happy Endangered Species Day! To cap off our week-long series on farmers and fishermen who support endangered species protections for salmon and other fish in the Bay Delta, we present this video of Jacky Douglas, captain of the Wacky Jacky, a... Read More >
San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf - yet another reason to support...
Happy Endangered Species Day! To cap off our week-long series on farmers and fishermen who support endangered species protections for salmon and other fish in the Bay Delta, we present this video of Jacky Douglas, captain of the Wacky Jacky, a sport fishing boat in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s wharf. As Jacky points out, “Salmon really made Fisherman’s wharf.” She has been sport fishing salmon in the Bay Area for decades. “They gave me a livelihood and supported my family.” She has also seen the effects of the salmon declines. But, as Jacky says, “I’m not worried about myself...I care what the salmon’s going to do for future generations. They gotta live.” And she also knows that protecting the fish is key to their survival and the survival of the fishing industry. “Let the water flow at the right times and boy oh boy we’ll have a grand old time again. Let’s fight – together – for the salmon!”
Listen to Wacky Jacky’s story here:
Please go to http://www.wildlifevoices.org/ to hear other inspiring Voices for America’s wildlife.
Canada’s Prime Minister Harper is set to speak before the Council on Foreign Relations to push a pro-tar sands agenda defending against growing opposition to the influx of tar sands to the United States. The Prime Minister's newest appeal comes as the... Read More >
As Canadian PM visits NYC New Campaign Launched Bringing Facts to Tar Sands...
Canada’s Prime Minister Harper is set to speak before the Council on Foreign Relations to push a pro-tar sands agenda defending against growing opposition to the influx of tar sands to the United States. The Prime Minister's newest appeal comes as the timeline for the controversial decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has slipped to later this year. As the Prime Minister gets ready to speak today, a new campaign supported by NRDC was launched by a group of national and international scientists, economists, academics and experts. The Tar Sands Reality Check campaign counters the misinformation campaign directed at the U.S. and international public about tar sands. The truth is the rapid expansion of tar sands planned by the Canadian government and big oil will have wide-ranging effects on climate, land, and water. This tar sands expansion plan is the primary barrier for Canada meeting its international climate targets. Meanwhile, the U.S. is demonstrating it has a strong potential to meet its international climate target – a goal that President Obama has committed to meeting. Consequently, Canada and the U.S. are on very different paths to combat the international problem of a changing climate. The failure of countries like Canada to meet near-term international climate targets should be a concern to the United States who views climate security as an issue of international significance.
Canada's Public Relations Campaign Doesn’t Explain How Canada Won't Meet Its Climate Target
The Canadian government's most recent public relations campaign delivers a new message promoting the fact it has adopted the same international climate target as the United States. But adopting the same target is not the same as meeting the target. The main thing that stands in the way to Canada meeting its climate targets is the fast pace of growth of Canada’s tar sands emissions. Government projections indicated the growth in emissions from tar sands are so large it would cancel out all of the reduction that other parts of the economy are expected to make. The tar sands are already Canada’s fastest growing source of pollution
Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 greenhouse gas polluters. And one of its most significant climate problems is its tar sands industry. While the U.S. and Canada have mirror climate targets, they are taking on very different trajectories. Both countries have adopted international targets to reduced greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 (a 17 percent reduction below 2005 emission levels). Credible sources (including the Canadian government) acknowledges that Canada is nowhere close to hitting its 2020 target. Indeed, reputable sources such as the National Round Table on the Environment (not defunct), Canada’s Auditor General and the Environment Canada’s own projections have concluded Canada will not hit its target unless significant, new measures are taken. In the U.S., several respected American think tanks (Resources for the Future and the World Resources Institute) have reported that the U.S. is likely to hit its target if the Obama administration moves ahead on policy choices using existing legislation as President Obama has indicated he would do.
Climate Scientists Are Saying It’s Time to Scale Back Pace and Scale of Tar Sands
Last week the world hit a new milestone. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 crossed 400 parts per million significantly above what is needed to maintain a stable climate. In the wake of the Prime Minister’s visit to the U.S., three of Canada’s respected scientists sent a letter to the Council on Foreign Relations urging a more balanced debate on tar sands development. In the letter, they said:
The pace and scale of expansion of oil sands and a safe climate for all of us cannot co-exist. Unless the exploitation of the oil sands is brought under control, in a responsible manner, Canada and the world will have no hope of keeping global warming below the promised 2 degrees Celsius.
Another letter to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources just a week ago from a dozen climate scientists said the Canadian government was on the wrong track in its advocacy for its tar sands industry
In short, we are not convinced that your advocacy in support of new pipelines and expanded fossil fuel production takes climate change into account in a meaningful way… If we truly wish to have a “serious debate” about climate change and energy in this country, as you have rightly called for, we must start by acknowledging that our choices about fossil fuel infrastructure carry significant consequences for today’s and future generations.
Climate impacts of tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline
Prime Minister Harper’s appeal to the U.S. won’t change the fact that the science has shown again and again that producing tar sands oil is much more greenhouse gas intensive than conventional oil. Consequently, the climate impacts from the Keystone XL pipeline will be more significant than a conventional oil pipeline – a conclusion made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency casting doubt on the analysis conducted by the U.S. State Department. Citizens across the U.S. oppose a new pipeline because is locks in infrastructure enabling the transportation of carbon-intensive fuel into the United States taking a major step back in the U.S. fight against climate change.
- The total annual carbon pollution from producing and consuming the tar sands transported by Keystone XL would be 181 million metric tons.
- The total carbon pollution from producing and consuming the tar sands transported by Keystone XL would be equivalent to the emissions from more than 37 million cars.
Canada’s primary problem is its pursuit of an extreme pace and scale of tar sands development and the corresponding lack of a credible climate plan. The new Tar Sands Reality Check campaign will bring a more balanced view of the true impacts of tar sands development, Canada’s failed climate record, and the weak regulatory regime in place to prevent against even more devastating impact in the longer-term. It's time to bring reality to the tar sands debate.
With Endangered Species Day coming up this Friday, we are continuing to share stories of people who support protections for imperiled animals from the new Voices for America’s Wildlife website. Many of the stories focus on farmers and fishermen in California’s Bay... Read More >
Healthy Rivers Help Farmers
With Endangered Species Day coming up this Friday, we are continuing to share stories of people who support protections for imperiled animals from the new Voices for America’s Wildlife website. Many of the stories focus on farmers and fishermen in California’s Bay Delta.
Today’s video introduces Brett Baker -- a sixth generation pear farmer and fisheries biologist -- whose family has been farming in California’s San Joaquin Valley since 1851. He discusses the deeply interdependent relationship between farmers and the environment, stating that “[y]ou want to be the best steward of the land as possible, because it is your life.” And the Valley’s salmon are part of this. Brett talks about the ways in which salmon, as part of the ecosystem, make his farm more productive.
Listen to his story here:
Please go to http://www.wildlifevoices.org/ to hear other inspiring Voices for America’s Wildlife.
Way back in 1996, I was honored to receive the Heinz Award and now I’m joining other winners of that prize and the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize as signatories to a letter calling on the Obama administration to reject the... Read More >
Why I Signed A Letter Against the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
Way back in 1996, I was honored to receive the Heinz Award and now I’m joining other winners of that prize and the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize as signatories to a letter calling on the Obama administration to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The 20 of us are concerned that much of the work we have been honored for with these prizes will be undone by the potential damage wrought by the massive quantities of dangerous and carbon-intensive tar sands oil that would be transported by the project—and more so by the increased tar sands extraction that the pipeline unlocks by connecting to a robust international oil transportation system that will send tar sands to new markets around the globe.
The letter stresses that we have solutions and options to fight climate change, but projects like Keystone XL offer a blueprint for exactly the sort of investment we should not be making at this time.
NRDC has been engaged in the fight against Keystone XL from Day 1. A decision on the project will come this year, so it is essential for the administration to hear our voice of concern on the issue. You can find more information on Keystone XL on our Web site. I urge you to speak out. I am pleased to do so in the company of such an accomplished group---here is the letter:
May 8, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary,
As recipients of Heinz Awards for our work in environment, energy, and public policy, and the Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots environmental activism, we write to you with an urgent appeal to affirm America's commitment to climate solutions by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
We are deeply honored and humbled to have been recognized for our achievements. But we are acutely aware that despite your best efforts and ours, the climate crisis is now upon us. After a year of unprecedented weather extremes and disruption, this is no longer only about impacts in the future. It's about social, economic, environmental, and moral consequences, now.
We do not lack for viable solutions. Public and private leaders in America are demonstrating that energy efficiency, clean energy, transportation choices, and a range of other strategies are practical and economic. We are using them to build healthier communities and stronger local economies. We can say this with confidence: sustainable, broadly-shared economic opportunity is possible as we make the necessary transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and efficient energy systems.
But we cannot make the transition overnight. It will take many decades of patient commitment and investment to complete it. And while "winning" a safe climate future is a long game, we can lose it very quickly — within President Obama's second term. Continued investment in capital-intensive, long-lived fossil fuel infrastructure like Keystone XL will "lock in" emission trajectories that make catastrophic climate disruption inevitable. This is the hard bottom line of the International Energy Agency's 2012 World Energy Outlook, which starkly warned that without an immediate shift in energy infrastructure investment, humanity would "lose forever" the chance to avert climate catastrophe.
Critics of the effort to stop the pipeline suggest that this is not "the right way" to deal with climate. It is certainly not sufficient, and it would arguably be unnecessary if we had a responsible national and global climate policies. You fought for such policy as a Senator, and we desperately need one. But stopping the pipeline is necessary to ensure that the problem remains solvable — that we don't become irrevocably committed to emission trajectories that guarantee failure before we mobilize for success.
There is a strain of fatalism among some opinion leaders regarding Keystone (characteristic of prevailing attitudes toward climate generally): "Canada will develop the tar sands no matter what we do." "We'll get the oil from somewhere, so it might as well be North America." "They'll just find another route." These objections are neither analytically defensible nor morally responsible. We can't do everything to address climate disruption, but as the world's biggest economy and the largest historic emitter, we can and should do a great deal. As a nation with unparalleled capacities for innovation and entrepreneurship, we can do even more. Facilitating accelerated investment in fossil fuel infrastructure is flatly inconsistent with this responsibility, and with the diplomatic effort to build our standing as an international leader and facilitator of global cooperation to tackle the climate challenge.
Keystone XL is a big, literal, conspicuous example of exactly what we must not do if we are genuinely committed to climate solutions. It is a fundamental element — a "keystone" if you will — of the industry's plan to expand production of this carbon-intensive fuel from 2 million barrels per day to 6 million bpd by 2030. And as significant as its direct consequences are, Keystone XL is much more than a pipeline. It is a test of whether we will indeed, as the President said in his inaugural address, "respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."
The human consequences of unchecked climate disruption are almost unimaginably grave. We cannot continue to ignore — or, worse, aggravate — these consequences by considering decisions like Keystone outside of this moral context. Approving the permit would amount to affirming moral evasion, at exactly the moment that you and the President have argued so passionately for moral engagement.
We believe in the power and promise of climate solutions. We know they work; we know they are economically viable; and we know we can implement them. We believe it's time to look our kids and grandkids — the prospective victims of still-preventable climate disasters — in the eye and say, "We will do what must be done to protect you. We will make this better."
But they won't believe us until we stop making it worse. That's why we urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
With hope and determination to build a healthy future, and the deepest respect for your leadership,
2012 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Center for Health, Environment & Justice
1990 North American Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
John Luther Adams
2011 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Independent News Group, LLC
2001 North American Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D
Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science
University of Washington, Department of Biology
2009 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Energy Program Co-Director
Natural Resources Defense Council
1996 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Terrence J. Collins, PhD, Hon FRSNZ
Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry
Director, Institute for Green Science
Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Chemistry
2010 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Anne H. Ehrlich
Senior Research Scientist
Stanford University, Department of Biology
1995 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Paul R. Ehrlich
Bing Professor of Population Studies
Stanford University, Department of Biology
1995 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
2008 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Jerry F. Franklin
University of Washington, College of Forest Resources
2005 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
2009 North American Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
2012 Wallenberg Medal Winner
Columbia University, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
2001 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Richard J Jackson, MD, MPH, Hon. AIA
Former Director, CDC National Center for Environmental Health
Professor & Chair, Environmental Health Science
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
2012 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Executive Director & Founder
Community In-power and Development Association, Inc.
NPA Regional Health Equity Council: Chairman R-6
National Partnership for Action (NPA) to End Health Disparities Member
National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Member 2009-2011
2011 North American Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
2011 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
2010 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Peggy M. Shepard
WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Inc.
2004 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
Akira Yamaguchi Professor on Environmental Health and Human Habitation
Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard University, School of Public Health
2012 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
George M. Woodwell
Woods Hole Research Center
1997 Heinz Award in the Environment Category
With Endangered Species Day coming up this Friday, a new website called Voices for America’s Wildlife is being launched that highlights stories of people from all walks of life who support protections for America’s endangered species. Many of the stories... Read More >
Voices for America's Wildlife - Farmers in the Bay Delta Support Endangered...
With Endangered Species Day coming up this Friday, a new website called Voices for America’s Wildlife is being launched that highlights stories of people from all walks of life who support protections for America’s endangered species. Many of the stories focus on people whose entire livelihoods are impacted directly by endangered species protections. In California’s Bay Delta, for example, farmers and fishermen depend on the same water supply as endangered salmon and other species – and yet many of them understand and appreciate the importance of protecting not just the water they need for their livelihoods, but for all the species that depend on it. Each day this week we will feature a story from various “voices” of the Bay Delta – both farmers and fishermen who support protections for America’s endangered species because they know that protecting the Bay-Delta and its endangered species protects their jobs, and sustains their way of life.
Today’s video introduces Cathy Hemley – her family owns a sixth generation fruit farm in the Bay Delta. She tells a story of why the Bay Delta is so unique and why she, as a farmer, recognizes the importance of protecting all of it. While some media reports have tried to pit farmers against fishermen on this issue, Cathy sees things differently. In fact, she says, “In the Delta, the farmers and the fishermen are one and the same.” They are stewards, she explains – which is the “kingpin of the whole water process – its stewardship, its conservation.”
Listen to her story here:
Please go to http://www.wildlifevoices.org/ to hear other inspiring Voices for America’s wildlife.
Endangered fin whales may once again face Iceland’s harpoons. According to media reports, Iceland will resume fin whale hunting next month after a two year hiatus – and is set to kill up to 184 endangered fin whales. Fin whales... Read More >
Iceland to Hunt Fin Whales Again--Call on the Obama Administration to...
Endangered fin whales may once again face Iceland’s harpoons. According to media reports, Iceland will resume fin whale hunting next month after a two year hiatus – and is set to kill up to 184 endangered fin whales. Fin whales are the world’s second largest animal and are listed as an endangered species.
NRDC joins other animal welfare and conservation groups calling on the Obama Administration to impose targeted economic sanctions against Iceland.
Iceland has flouted international laws since 2003 by killing 496 minke whales and 280 endangered fin whales and exporting over 2,800 metric tons of whale products to Japan in violation of the moratorium on commercial whaling. In 2009, Iceland dramatically increased its self-allocated fin whale quota to 150 animals a year – more than three times the catch limit that the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee (the world’s foremost experts on whales) considers sustainable for the species’ survival.
NRDC and eighteen other NGOs responded to Iceland’s renegade whaling in December 2010 by filing a petition under the Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman’s Protective Act urging the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior to certify and enact sanctions against Iceland.
Former Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke responded to our petition in July 2011 by certifying Iceland for its continued slaughter of whales. In a letter to President Obama, he said that that “Iceland, by permitting its nationals to engage in commercial whaling and exporting endangered fin whale meat, is diminishing the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program.”
President Obama enacted diplomatic sanctions against Iceland in September 2011, finding that “Iceland's actions threaten the conservation status of an endangered species and undermine multilateral efforts to ensure greater worldwide protection for whales.”
But despite U.S. certification and diplomatic sanctions, Iceland is about to start fin whaling again.
Led by renowned actor and marine mammal activist Pierce Brosnan, NRDC urged President Obama back in 2011 to impose tough sanctions against Iceland.
Unfortunately, the President responded with diplomatic sanctions. With Iceland’s resumption of fin whaling on the imminent horizon, it’s clear that diplomacy has failed. Now is the time for the President to respond with hard-hitting economic sanctions targeting Iceland’s whaling companies – and companies with corporate ties to those whaling companies.
We have identified several Icelandic companies as potential targets for trade sanctions, including major seafood industry players that are directly tied to Iceland’s whaling industry.
We urge the Obama administration to impose targeted trade sanctions against those companies. Because it’s clear that Iceland is not going to stop slaughtering whales unless they’re compelled to do so.
Photo credit: NOAA