Weekly News Roundup – October 7, 2011

Want to know what National Wildlife Federation was up to this week? Here is a recap of the week’s NWF news:

Mass Opposition to Keystone XL in DC Today

October 7 – It was a festive atmosphere outside the Ronald Reagan building in downtown Washington today, as protesters, many from National Wildlife Federation, flooded the plaza with chants, songs, and demands that President Obama reject the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

Opposed by top scientists and riddled with charges of lobbyist abuses, the proposed pipeline has become the most controversial environmental policy item for the Obama Administration.

Nearly 1,000 people joined a noontime event that coincided with a final U.S. State Department hearing on the pipeline inside the Reagan Building. President Obama will soon decide whether to approve the $7 billion pipeline, which would increase carbon emissions equal to adding six million cars to America’s roads.

National Wildlife Federation and Minnesota Conservation Federation Launch Lawsuit to Protect the Great Lakes from Invasive Species

October 6 – The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Minnesota Conservation Federation (MCF) filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court in Washington, D.C., to prevent the EPA from ignoring state measures to protect water quality.  The lawsuit was prompted by concerns about the harm invasive species cause the Great Lakes.

Under the Clean Water Act, any vessel that may discharge ballast water in rivers, lakes, or coastal waters must be covered under an EPA permit.  This is because ballast water may contain non-native species.  Non-native species like the zebra mussel that have invaded the Great Lakes have caused great economic, environmental, and ecological harm.

Groups Praise Momentum on Gulf Restoration as House Introduces Bill and Task Force Calls for Bold Action

October 5 – A coalition of groups supporting Gulf restoration thanked Members from both sides of the aisle who introduced a bill today that will ensure that 80 percent of penalties paid by BP and others responsible for last year’s Gulf oil disaster are used to help restore the region, not for unrelated federal spending. The RESTORE Gulf Coast States Act of 2011 (pdf) was introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) as lead sponsor, along with more than 20 other bipartisan leaders as joint co-sponsors.

Future Friendly Farming: Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment

October 5 – American farmers provide food, fuel and fiber for a growing nation. In the face of challenges including tight budgets, increasing threats to natural systems, climate change and extreme weather, farmers can implement strategies that assure yields and farm income while helping to address these challenges. A new report from the National Wildlife Federation, Future Friendly Farming: Seven Agricultural Practices to Sustain People and the Environment, offers techniques that farmers and ranchers can use to increase profits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect soil, water and wildlife habitat.

These practices offer readily-available and highly cost-effective opportunities for farmers and land managers to reduce costs and maintain or increase yields while addressing water quality, wildlife habitat concerns and reduce emissions that fuel climate change,” said Ryan Stockwell, Ph.D., report co-author and agricultural manager for the National Wildlife Federation.

Lansing Community College Leads a Revival with Help from Greenforce Initiative

October 4 – About two blocks west of the Allen Neighborhood Center on Lansing, MI’s, Eastside, the flat, tree-lined expanse of East Kalamazoo St. is showing signs of renewal.

It’s a welcome change. In 2009, the median inflation-adjusted household income in Lansing was more than 36% below the national average. The city, Michigan’s fifth largest, is home to nearly double the U.S. average in individuals and families living below the poverty line, with many hit especially hard by the struggles of the auto industry. Population in the area has declined by more than 5% since 2000, leaving many houses abandoned or in a state of disrepair. This is, in most measurable ways, a town in serious need of a boost.

Enter Lansing Community College (LCC) and a bevy of students wielding hammers and a sense of purpose. They are on the front lines of the Restoration Works! project, a partnership between the school, the Ingham County Land Bank and the Allen Neighborhood Center to provide a living laboratory for students learning about energy auditing and sustainable construction and help maintain property values in the neighborhood with the help of a Greenforce Initiative Innovation Mini Grant.

Emerging Nutrient Crisis Causing Massive New Breakdowns in the Great Lakes

October 4 – The National Wildlife Federation today released a report documenting new and massive ecosystem breakdowns in the Great Lakes caused by interactions between excessive fertilizer run-off from farms and invasive zebra and quagga mussels. The report comes on the same day that NWF is testifying before the U.S. Senate Environment for Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife on the report findings.

The report, “Feast and Famine in the Great Lakes: How Nutrients and Invasive Species Interact to Overwhelm the Coasts and Starve Offshore Waters (pdf),” details the links between enormous algal blooms in Lake Erie that threaten the health of people and wildlife and a 95 percent decline in fish biomass in Lake Huron.

And here are highlights from NWF in the News:

For more, visit www.nwf.org/News