Weekly News Roundup- January 17, 2014
What’s happening at National Wildlife Federation this week?
- Coal Disaster: Coal train derails and spills into stream in British Columbia.
- Clean Water or Bust! Tribes demand responsible mining and clean Water.
- Follow the Trek! Day 2 of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline trek.
Jan 17- The U.S. Congress released its 2014 spending bill last night. The bill restores funding to two essential Great Lakes programs. It provides $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; the program received $285 million in 2013. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is set to receive $1.44 billion for fiscal year 2014; the program received $1.37 billion in 2013.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supports efforts to clean up toxic pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, and reduce runoff from cities and farms. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides low-interest loans to communities across the nation to upgrade sewage infrastructure. The loan program distributes funding to all 50 states based on a fixed formula. The 2014 spending bill would provide about $530 million to the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Responding to the release of the 2014 omnibus, Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said;
“This budget represents a significant victory for the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and quality of life. This investment will help support programs that are delivering results in communities across the region.”
Read more than 100 Great Lakes restoration success stories on the Coalition’s Website at:http://healthylakes.org/successes/restoration-success-stories/
Jan 17- NWF is teaming up with Open Road Films, RedroverCo., Ltd. and ToonBox Entertainment for the release of The Nut Job, opening in theaters nationwide on January 17. As the education partner for the new animated film, NWF is providing resources to help kids, parents, teachers and animal enthusiasts of all ages celebrate some of our most clever, acrobatic backyard inhabitants on January 21 for National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
In animated 3D, The Nut Job is an action-packed comedy that follows Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, who must plan a heist to get into his town’s biggest nut shop so that his park pals can gather enough food to survive winter. With his sidekick, Buddy, he assembles a ragtag crew to help him get inside and takes them on a fun-filled adventure.
“National Wildlife Federation is the perfect education partner for this film,” says Will Arnett. “I am glad to be part of a project that shows how wonderful these sometimes unappreciated animals can be.”
“Having just made a film in which I play a squirrel, I’m very partial to them, and am delighted to hear that the National Wildlife Federation is celebrating National Squirrel Appreciation Day, encouraging us to celebrate backyard wildlife every day,” says Katherine Heigl.
Jan 16- The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is holding ahearing this morning to review President Obama’s climate action plan.
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:
“While we’re still waiting for the final word on 2013, NOAA reported it to be on pace to be one of the top five hottest years on record. But you don’t need numbers to tell you America is suffering from climate change. Just look at the thousands of Alaskan salmon and trout killed in an unprecedented heat wave last summer. Go to Minnesota and New Hampshire, where moose populations are plummeting as winters warm.
“It’s telling how much climate change has altered our weather patterns that every outbreak of what used to be normal winter weather is now considered remarkable. When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, a cold day in winter wasn’t called breaking news – it was called Thursday.
“We need action and we need it now, and Environmental Protection Agency limits on industrial carbon pollution are an important step in the right direction.”
Jan 15- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Tony Turrini, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior counsel based in Anchorage, Alaska, said today:
“The Environmental Protection Agency has taken on a rigorous ecological assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed, its wild sockeye salmon runs and the people and wildlife whose livelihoods depend on them, and the Pebble Mine proposal. Based on this assessment’s view of the massive threats to Bristol Bay’s fish habitats and fishing economy, the Environmental Protection Agency should act promptly to halt the Pebble Mine project and prevent its significant and unacceptable effects on fisheries, wildlife, and recreation. It’s clear any short-term gains from large-scale hardrock mining would be significantly outweighed by the permanent damage to over 50 miles of streams and thousands of wetland acres even when running as planned – and a worst-case failure scenario could be catastrophic.”
Jan 13- National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is currently accepting applications for youth leaders and organizations wishing to hold a sapling tree planting event this Spring as part of NWF’s Trees for Wildlife program. The program aims to educate and prepare a generation of conservation stewards, expand the number of trees worldwide and protect and improve natural resources. As an educational program, it also provides activities to help young people learn about the importance of trees and how to plant and take care of trees for the future.
“Trees are such an important part of our ecosystem, they provide such a wide array of benefits,” said Eliza Russell, director of education programs at National Wildlife Federation. “Trees are homes providing food, water, shelter and places for wildlife to raise their young. These tree planting events which plant native sapling trees are not only improving communities but they help to ensure wildlife can survive and thrive for years to come.”
And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:
New York Daily News: Katherine Heigl, daughter walk red carpet for ‘The Nut Job’ premiere
The former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star’s daughter Naleigh got up close and personal with critters from National Wildlife Federation.
Malibu Times: Inbreeding Found in Local Mountain Lions
The project would likely involve collaboration between a number of public and private agencies, such as the national Department of Transportation, Caltrans and the National Wildlife Federation, she said.
Chicago Sun Times: Restore funding to protect health of the Great Lakes
Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes are jewels of incalculable value, but decades of neglect have allowed environmental traumas to fester. Starting with the 2010 fiscal year, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided funding to clean up toxic pollution, restore natural habitats, reduce pollution runoff into the lakes and combat invasive species.
Minnesota Outdoor News: Army Corps releases its report on Asian carp
Marc Smith, of the National Wildlife Federation, said popular support has built for the idea that, “The Great Lakes are too important to not do all we can to protect them from Asian carp and other invasive species.”
“The scale at which the master plan is laid out, there’s no bang for your buck to go around backfilling canals in areas that are doomed in 50 years. It doesn’t fix the harm the canal and spoil bank did in the first place. I don’t think that’s what the state should be spending its money on.” David Muth, state director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Louisiana Coastal Campaign
Baltimore Sun: Little steps can make a big difference in our environment
I plan to share this with my neighbors and encourage more of them to think before they plant and to take the next step of making their yards a certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. These certified backyards provide the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to thrive: food, water, cover and places to raise young.
“I don’t see a scenario where EPA would get out in front of [the rider],” said Jan Goldman-Carter, senior manager of wetlands and water resources at the National Wildlife Federation.
“The Environmental Protection Agency should act promptly to halt the Pebble Mine proposal,” the National Wildlife Federation’s Anchorage attorney, Tony Turrini said in a statement. “It’s clear any short-term gains from large-scale hardrock mining would be significantly outweighed by the permanent damage to over 50 miles of streams and thousands of wetland acres even when running as planned – and a worst-case failure scenario could be catastrophic.”
Green Bay Press Gazette: Restore $300 million in funding for Great Lakes
Outside of the Great Lakes states, protection and restoration of this natural resource is very important. The Great Lakes account for 84 percent of North America’s surface fresh water and 21 percent of the world’s. If we don’t take steps to protect it now, the problems will only get worse and the price tag will only increase.