News Roundup

News Roundup

Your weekly news roundup on everything environment

Rolling ad confronts DC politicians with the face of Wolf Killing

Photos of dead and maimed wolves posted online in recent weeks, have started a firestorm of controversy over renewed hunting and trapping of the once federally protected animals.

Environmental Action  – a national Environmental Group founded in 1970 that helped push for passage of the Endangered Species Act decades ago – has been leading an online campaign to build support for protecting wolves. And this week they took their campaign, including grisly photos of bloodied and trapped wolves, to the Streets of Washington DC to provoke a response from politicians and regulators.

"Letting wolves be hunted and killed again was a political decision made by shallow political interests," explained Director Drew Hudson. "We need to confront shallow politics with the real, gut-wrenching photos of what this policy means — that an iconic American species important to our ecosystems and our vision of the west  is being brutally hunted to extinction again. Anyone who can look at these photos and do nothing is a coward, or worse a politician."

The advertisement was funded by over 100 small donors who chipped in online after signing a petition to the President and Congress asking them to re-list the wolf as an endangered species. 

You can sign on to  the message to Congress and the President here, or chip in to keep the billboard rolling here.


Niger Delta Oil Spill 60 Times Bigger Than Shell Claimed

A Shell oil spill on the Niger delta was at least 60 times greater than the company had originally claimed at the time of the spill in 2008. 

The analysis comes from an independent assessment conducted by Amnesty International and the Center for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), which reports that the total amount of oil spilled was actually between 103,000 barrels and 311,000 barrels.

The assessment also notes that the spill actually began six weeks earlier than Shell had originally stated—confirmed by the community and Nigerian regulators.

“Even if we use the start date given by Shell, the volume of oil spilt is far greater than Shell recorded,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

The report coincides with a global week of action in which people across the world are calling on Shell to clean up its act in the Niger Delta.

The week will end with a peaceful demonstration by affected communities outside Shell’s offices in Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. 


Mexico Unanimously Passes New Climate & Energy Law

Mexico is poised to become the second nation to put long-term climate targets into national law, following the signature of President Felipe Calderon, which is expected to occur next week.

The bill, which was passed in a 78-0 decision, is evidence that all political parties have found common ground on the issue.

The new law enshrines a number of mandates including:

  • 30% reduction in emission growth measured against a “business as usual” pathway by 2020, and 50% by 2050
  • 35% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2040
  • Obligation for government agencies to use renewables
  • Establishment of a national mechanism for reporting on emissions in various sectors

While the new emission reduction targets are not actually emission reductions but rather, a reduced rate of increase—the move is still a huge step forward in reducing our global carbon footprint. 

Meanwhile, back in the U.S. Congress and many candidates for national political office can't even agree that global warming is real. If you're ready for a government that can follow Mexico's lead and not only admit that Global Warming is real – but that we need to act NOW to stop it, tell Politicians and candidates to accept the facts and get to work on stopping global warming.


Government Files First Criminal Charges in BP Oil Spill

Just days after the two-year anniversary of the biggest accidental oil spill in history, federal prosecutors have issued the first criminal charges in connection with the BP oil spill against a former BP engineer, Kurt Mix.

Mix, who at the time was “a drilling and completions project engineer for BP,” deleted hundred of text messages even after he was notified that he was legally obligated to preserve them. 

In one of the 200 messages deleted that were later forensically recovered, Mix wrote “Too much flowrate – over 15,000,” despite BP’s public estimate of 5,000 barrels of oil leaked per day.

If convicted of the charges, Mix faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine for each of the two counts of obstruction of justice. 


Monsanto Buys Off Leading Bee Research Firm

What do you do when your company is being blamed for massive bee die-offs—a potentially calamitous situation considering 30% of all food consumed is pollinated by honeybees? Well you buy off the research firm, of course!

It has recently come to light that Monsanto, the biotech company responsible for creating 49% of genetically engineered seeds in the US, quietly purchased Beelogics last fall following the banning of Monsanto’s MON810 corn seeds in Poland. 

Public health doesn’t seem to be the motivation here. Rather, Monsanto’s actions are a clear sign that they are willing to do anything they can to prevent more public scrutiny over their corn seeds—including fixing the research. 

Beelogics, which website claims is “dedicated to restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination,” is recognized by the USDA, the USDA-ARS, the media and ‘leading entomologists’ worldwide. 

But considering the recent buyout of Beelogics by their new corporate overlord, from here on out, we should take anything this bee research firm says with a grain of salt.