Weekly News Roundup- September 27, 2013

What’s happening at National Wildlife Federation this week?

A bighorn ram in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest Entrant Cal Bebee.


Conservation Organizations Demand BP Accountability for Gulf Oil Disaster


September 27-  On Monday, Sept. 30, phase II of the Deepwater Horizon civil trial will begin to determine how much BP will be required to pay in fines for the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. Today, leading national and local conservation organizations Environmental Defense Fund,National Wildlife FederationNational Audubon Society and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation released the following statement:

“Nearly three and a half years since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 men and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, the Gulf still waits for restoration. BP’s misleading advertising campaigns omit truths and facts: Gulf Coast communities, wildlife and ecosystems are still harmed and need to be restored. Tar mats continue to surface, miles of Louisiana shoreline remain oiled and the full effects of the oil spill may not be known for years to come.

“It is time for BP to accept full responsibility for the Gulf oil disaster. The natural resources of the Gulf, which sustain and bolster regional and national economies, need restoration now. We cannot wait any longer for our ruined wetlands and barrier islands to be restored. 

Take Action! Help dolphins in the Gulf by editing and sending a message to the Department of Justice, urging them to hold BP fully accountable for the oil spill.


National Public Lands Day–a chance to celebrate our outdoor heritage

yosemite cliff and purple sky

September 27- This Saturday is National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Tens of thousands of volunteers are expected to take part in activities at sites across the country.

Ann Morgan, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s regional office in Boulder, Colo., said Friday:

“This Saturday is the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and it’s a ripe opportunity to visit the great outdoors and volunteer for the numerous projects planned nationwide.”

“It’s also a great time to remember that there’s nothing partisan about clean air and water, intact fish and wildlife habitat and having places to fish, hunt, hike and reconnect to nature. These lands, which are cherished by Americans of all backgrounds, are too often at the center of disputes over who should benefit from their use. Arecent report by the National Wildlife Federation looks at the economic, environmental and social values of our public lands. It also explores attempts by some lawmakers to sell the lands, roll back environmental protections or make drilling, logging and mining the dominant use.” 

Read NWF’s Public Lands Report: Valuing Our Western Public Lands: Safeguarding Our Economy and Way of Life


House Debt Ceiling Plan Polluted with Special Interest Favors

Capitol building

September 25- Later today the House is expected to release a debt ceiling package that includes a litany of attacks on conservation.

“Polluting special interests know the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline can’t pass a fair national interest review and can’t pass as a stand-alone bill, so they’re trying to take America’s economy hostage to deliver Canadian oil to the international market,” said Adam Kolton, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center. “Drill past Keystone and this debt ceiling plan is a polluter wish list of favors too unpopular and politically toxic to pass on their own. Gutting conservation protections would do nothing to cut the deficit while hurting America’s wildlife, clean air and water, and public health.”

Poll after poll shows voters don’t support attacks on conservation protections. A June Georgetown Climate Center poll showed 87 percent of Americans, including 78 percent of Republicans, support Environmental Protection Agency action to limit industrial carbon pollution.

Take Action! Help protect polar bears by editing and sending a message to the Environmental Protection Agency, voicing your support for limits to carbon pollution.


TCEQ Misses Golden Water Conservation Opportunity on Lake Ralph Hall Permit

Crystal River, Florida estuary

September 25- Statement of Myron Hess, Manager of Texas Water Programs/Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation:

“Today, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) voted to issue a permit for the proposed Lake Ralph Hall. Unfortunately, in issuing the permit, TCEQ missed a golden opportunity to advance water conservation in Texas. Many types of new water supply strategies are needed to meet the water needs of a growing Texas population, but, as the State Water Plan recognizes, none are more critical than using available supplies more efficiently.”


Toxic Algae: Coming Soon to a Lake Near You?

ToxicAlgae Report

September 24- Summer should be a time for fishing, boating and swimming with family on our nation’s lakes.  Yet instead of fresh clear waters, many are encountering mats of thick blue-green harmful algal blooms (HABs) – aka toxic algae.

A new, first-of-its-kind national online map by the communications firm Resource Media shows that 21 states across the US have issued health advisories and warnings related to harmful algal blooms at 147 different locations on lakes, rivers and ponds this summer.

In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center, Resource Media is also releasing a report, “Toxic Algae: Coming Soon to a Lake Near You?” The report provides a look at how extreme weather and an increase in nonpoint source pollution from agriculture and failing septic systems are spurring its spread. Health impacts and economic costs are also reviewed.

Click here to download the report.


NWF to Honor Michael Mann with Conservation Achievement Award

Michael Mann_219x219

September 23- The National Wildlife Federation will honor Dr. Michael Mann with its 2013 National Conservation Achievement Award for Science at a September 25 event in Harrisburg hosted by PennFuture, NWF’s state affiliate.

“No one has put more on the line in the name of climate science than Dr. Michael Mann. He’s repeatedly gone all-in against polluters and their allies, staking his reputation on the integrity of climate science – and he’s won every time,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Dr. Mann’s tireless work to advance our understanding of climate science, help the public understand global warming and speak out for what must be done to confront it is an invaluable contribution to this and future generations of Americans.”

Dr. Mann serves as director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. He is most well known for publication, with two co-authors, of the 1998 paper “Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries.” This research presented the “hockey stick graph” showing the rapid rise in the Earth’s temperature of the past 100 years, associated with carbon emissions.

Watch NWF’s Conservation Achievement Awards video on the history of the awards and past honorees.


And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:

Washington Post:  Report: Polluted farm runoff linked to toxic green algae slime in US waters

They call it the green slime, a toxic ooze of algae that covered lakes and other water bodies across the United States this summer, closing beaches in Wisconsin and Kentucky, and killing scores of dolphins, manatees, birds and fish in Florida, a report says.

USA Today: Montana, Washington  tribes join ranchers to fight coal mine

“We need to protect our way of life,” Medicine Bull said in an interview after he blessed the Lummi totem pole on the first stop of its spiritual journey. “I addressed the grandfathers, those who have gone before us, and I told them the reason we were here, and I asked them to hear our prayer and stand beside us.”

Huffington Post: Honor a Great American Legacy by Celebrating National Public Lands Day

A 2012 National Wildlife Federation poll of self-identified hunters and anglers showed that a majority believe protecting public lands should be given priority, even if it means limiting energy production on those lands.

Port Clinton News Herald: Lake Erie Ahead of the Curve with Algae

Lake Erie is ahead of other lakes across the nation in dealing with toxic algae blooms that foul water and hurt tourism, a new report said.

Miami Herald: House OKs more logging in National Forests

The National Wildlife Federation Action Fund warned that the bill would “prioritize cutting down trees above everything else – including the black bears and other wildlife that depend on forests for their food, shelter and clean water to drink.

The Hill: GOP’s Upton wants to speed up cross-border oil pipeline projects

The National Wildlife Federation said it would create a “meaningless review process designed to rubber stamp fossil fuel energy projects.”

Minnesota Public Radio: How Birds Adapt to Changing Climate

The red knot, a shore bird on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, is a good example, says Doug Inkley, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior scientist.”Some migrate as far as 9,300 miles from their Arctic breeding grounds to the southernmost tip of South America where they overwinter,” he said.

Columbus Dispatch: Ohio among 21 states plagued by toxic algae

The report, released yesterday by Resource Media and the National Wildlife Federation, lists 147 instances this summer in which state or federal officials posted algae warnings. That includes the 10 warnings posted for Lake Erie and several Ohio lakes and reservoirs.

Baltimore News Journal: Annapolis receives national recognition at National Wildlife Federation ceremony

Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen has accepted, on behalf of the city, the designation as a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Community Wildlife Habitat.

The Boca Raton Tribune: Free Trees Available to Groups Looking to Help Wildlife, Better Their Community

National Wildlife Federation is currently taking applications for organizations and groups wishing to hold a native tree planting this fall as part of its Trees for Wildlife program.  Trees for Wildlife is an educational program of the National Wildlife Federation, providing adult leaders with fun, hands-on science-based activities to help young people learn about the importance of trees to communities and wildlife and how to plant and take care of trees for the future.