Weekly News Roundup – June 21, 2012

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

Sustainable Food Focus Added to Eco-Schools USA Program

June 21 – Talk about ‘pink slime’ and whether pizza is a vegetable underscores an unmistakable trend: Americans are thinking long and hard about whether the food their kids get at school is healthy and well-sourced.

To that end, the Obama administration announced changes to government-subsidized school meals in January, adding more fruits and green vegetables to breakfasts and lunches among other changes. It was significant, but just one in a long list of necessary reforms–not the least of which is an increased emphasis on teaching kids about where their food comes from, where it is going and how it impacts the world around them.

Michigan, Ohio Should Strengthen Laws on Fracking, Says New NWF Report

June 21 – A new legal analysis by the National Wildlife Federation finds that laws in Michigan and Ohio need to be improved to protect the region’s streams, rivers, lakes, and wildlife from the risks of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Energy companies use this controversial technique to extract natural gas from fine-grained shale, injecting a mix of water, chemicals, and sand into a well at high pressures to crack open the rock. The natural gas then flows out into the well and is captured aboveground.

Fracking has raised significant environmental concerns, including the potential for impacts on water quality and water-dependent natural resources.

Farm Bill Victory: Senate Closes Loophole to Protect Wetlands, Soil and Wildlife Habitat

June 20 – The Senate is expected to soon pass its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, which now includes a provision sponsored by Senator Chambliss (R-GA) to close a loophole that would have eliminated vital conservation safeguards on farmlands.

Amendment #2438, which re-attaches basic soil and water conservation measures to premium subsidies for federal crop insurance, was accepted by a vote of 52-47. The amendment was supported by more than a hundred sportsmen, conservationist and farm groups from across the country.

Julie Sibbing, Director of Agriculture and Forestry Programs at the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

Attaching basic conservation measures to federal subsidies for crop insurance is good for taxpayers, good for wildlife and good for the long term health of America’s farmlands. We are gratified that the U.S. Senate has voted to continue the longstanding conservation compact between farmers and taxpayers.

Historic Senate Vote Supports Clean Air and Water

June 20 – Senator James Inhofe demanded a vote today to overrule historic safeguards championed by the Environmental Protection Agency that would greatly reduce mercury and other air toxic pollution. Inhofe’s bill, SJ Res 37, was defeated by a vote of 46-53.

SJ Res 37 was brought to the Senate floor using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA is a rarely used measure because it can permanently block action of major national importance. NWF has said the Inhofe CRA resolution is a wrecking ball that would permanently prevent national standards for mercury and air toxics. The new mercury limits were decades in the making, and heavily supported by public health professionals, sportsmen, and conservation groups. It is expected to save thousands of lives while improving wildlife habitat and creating jobs.

Congress Continues to Undermine Clean Water, Healthy Wetlands; House Interior Appropriations Bill Latest to Take Aim

June 20 – The Izaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited issued the following statement today opposing a Clean Water Act rider in the House Interior Appropriations Bill:

“Over the past two weeks, both chambers in Congress have taken aim at the Clean Water Act with a flurry of amendments that undermine hunting, angling, and outdoor recreation traditions along with the economic activity driven by these sports. From appropriations and other bills in the House to amendments proposed to the Senate Farm Bill, protections for streams, wetland habitat, and drinking water for 117 million Americans are under attack.”

Bad Border Bill Puts Iconic Wildlife, Lands and Waters in Danger

June 19 – The U.S. House of Representatives today is expected to pass a package of public lands bills (H.R. 2578) which includes a provision put forth by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) that sacrifices clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and waterways.

The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act would create a non-compliance “operational zone” where conservation and environmental laws are allowed to be ignored on public lands within 100 miles of a U.S. land border. This gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection the ability to circumvent 16 laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Wilderness Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

Jim Lyon, Vice President for Conservation Policy for the National Wildlife Federation said today:

This legislation is an outright attack on America’s public lands. By allowing border officials to sidestep environmental checks and balances, this provision could turn some of our most wild and scenic public lands into construction sites, crisscrossed with roads and fences.

And here are highlights from NWF in the News:

For more, visit www.nwf.org/News