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Apr. 20 National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools

For this event, the hosts will be providing the signs — so just bring yourself and your friends. We ask that you dress in BLACK to show our united support for the end of GUN VIOLENCE. We will ALSO give you a strip of ORANGE cloth to be worn as an armband or a headband. (We encourage you to wear the orange band all day long.)

We invite you to join us at 10 AM — in coordination with school walk-outs and rallies taking place nationally on April 20, 2018, the anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

There is an event page on Facebook

National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools

Most Americans are weighed down with the fact that so little been done in the last 20 years to stop gun violence in our schools. To mark the Columbine anniversary and inspired by the courageous young people of Parkland, Florida, we will gather for the National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools.

Together, we will take up the students’ call of “No more.” No more children murdered in school. No more parents sending a child to school who never comes home. No more teachers, coaches, principals, librarians or any school staff standing between students and a gunman. No more. Come stand in the place of the kids who died at Columbine. Give voice to the resolve of the nation to end gun violence.

Meet us in front of the Ventura County Government Center. Wear black clothing. Bring your friends and carpool. We follow all laws. Park in adjacent parking lots or side streets.

By choosing to attend this event, you are committing to participate nonviolently and in accordance with the law, to work to de-escalate confrontations with others, and to obey the orders of authorized event marshals and of law enforcement. You also acknowledge that you are solely responsible for any injury or damage to your person or property resulting from or occurring during this event and that you release all event sponsors and organizers (and their officers, directors, employees, and agents) from any liability for that injury or damage.

Cohosted by Indivisible Ventura, Grassroots Ventura, and Ojai Valley Indivisible.

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Environmental War Crimes – Part 5 – Money

A group of demonstrators, including one dressed as the Grim Reaper, march to protest the proposed resettlement of New York’s Love Canal neighborhood. In 1990, the state began selling new homes in Love Canal, a former toxic dump site whose previous residents had to be evacuated due to health hazards. (Photo by William Campbell/Sygma via Getty Images

On Monday,  we started our multi-point breakdown of a singularly destructive bill – HR 3354, a legislative monster of an appropriations act, whose length and complexity hides gifts, in the form of riders, for industries and anti-environmental extremists.  In Parts 1 and 2, we listed those that pose a clear threat to our health and that of our families by the removal or lessening of protections for our air and water. In Part 3, we spotlighted the ones that are focused on taking or abusing our public lands for private financial gain or on hindering their proper management. In Part 4, we focused on those that demonstrated our legislators disrespect for the our lives and health as well as that of our wildlife.

Environmental War Crimes – Part 1 – Air
Environmental War Crimes – Part 2 – Water
Environmental War Crimes – Part 3 – Land
Environmental War Crimes – Part 4 – Life

We’ve loosely organized these riders on their effects on the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.  That one is listed in “Air” in our arbitrary category system, does not preclude it from harming other aspects of the environment. The gas and oil industries and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) are examples that land in every group.

Today we’re going to talk about the ones that didn’t quite fit into any one group, those that specifically loosen controls on toxins, that allow polluters to shift cleanup costs to us and “industry-friendly” riders that are truly breathtaking in the audacity of their corruption. 

It’s just business! – Call to action:

Action: Make these calls, and just as importantly, share this with friends and family that live in GOP-dominated states and ask them to call their legislators. EVEN IF YOU’VE MADE THIS CALL, MAKE IT AGAIN. Pile them on. Make our legislators concentrate on the horrendous details parked in this bill.

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I’m asking Sen. [___] to reject HR 3354, and HR 4476 and come back with a clean appropriations act with both the removal of all anti-environmental riders and the restoration of full funding to match fiscal year 2016.

Contact your Legislator

Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Rep./Senator Contacts: www.phoneyourrep.com

Background Information on HR 3354 toxic issues – go as deep as you want. 

Thanks to defenders.org for their amazing compilation.

These items, from #1-12,  are the perverse easter eggs hidden in HR. 3354, just on a grab-bag of extremist and industry-friendly subjects. 

It’s just business.

#1 – Corruption 101: Shortchanging royalty payments to us, the taxpayers. 

logo-1

Oooh, look! This one is so important, that two legislators have made nearly identical bills!

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – Sec. 453 – Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – Sec. 457 – Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)

Sec. 453: Prevents the Bureau of Land Management from accurately measuring and reporting oil production on federal lands. The effect is to prevent federal agencies from ensuring that all royalties that are due are paid. Thanks, Bruce!
Sec. 457: Prevents the Bureau of Land Management from accurately measuring and reporting oil and gas production on federal lands. Atta boy, Steve! But we’re mystified why the American Institute of CPA’s, a group that loves accuracy, gives you money.

The BLM put out this exciting news on October 17, 2016! Interesting…

“WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management announced the finalization of three rules today designed to ensure the accurate measurement, proper reporting, and accurate recordkeeping of oil and gas produced from Federal and Indian leases in order to ensure that the royalties due are paid.

“The conclusion of this rulemaking effort is a significant milestone in the BLM’s effort to modernize its oil and gas program,” said Janice Schneider, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “The updates made by these rules create a durable framework for the future that will support the responsible development and management of the nation’s oil and gas resources and ensure that both the American public and tribes receive a fair return for these resources.

Business is more important than your health or the environment.

#2 – Delay and weaken critical health asessments in communities with Superfund sites.

Oh, this is very popular…must be good for us, right? Um…

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title III – Related Agencies – Department of Health and Human Services – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry – Toxic Substances and Envitonmnetal Public Health 
  • Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Appropriation Act (Senate Chairmen’s Mark) Title III – Related Agencies – Department of Health and Human Services – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry – Toxic Substances and Envitonmnetal Public Health 

1) Limits and reduces the health studies that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is required to do by removing both the deadlines and the guidelines for studying the impacts of chemical exposure on communities that petition for help. This provision would remove the right of citizens to petition the government for timely assistance after toxic chemical exposure.  The ATSDR would no longer have to complete their assessments within the one-year deadline currently required for Superfund sites, nor would they have complete a full “health assessment”, allowing them to substitute a less rigorous (undefined) health study. If you find yourself within range of a Superfund site on the National Priorities List, the list of the most contaminated sites in the nation, your health is now vulnerable to government “undersight”.

#3 – Leaves us with the cleanup costs for pollution, including mining pollution in all forms.

The GOP administration just opened up millions of acres of wilderness to hard rock mining…see our post on this here.

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US President Donald Trump holds up a pen after signing the hat of Bruce Adams, Chairman of the San Juan County Commission, after signing a Presidential Proclamation shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – Sec. 433
  • Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Appropriation Act (Senate Chairmen’s Mark) Title V – Wildfire Disaster Funding – In Senate Interior Appropriations Committee Explanatory Statement – Statement 6)

Sec. 433: Blocks the EPA from implementing, enforcing or finalizing requirements that hard rock mining sites carry insurance to cover environmental damage. This provision will likely leave cleanup costs to the taxpayers under Superfund instead of making the responsible party pay for the damage they caused.

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The Denver Post … A large waste-rock pile that is part of the Commodore Mine in Creede is one of two sites the EPA would be targeting as a Superfund site. The other is the Nelson Tunnel which is nearby. (Photo By RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

6) Erroneously suggests that EPA’s work to protect communities from toxic waste isn’t necessary and aims to protect the most dangerous industries that handle hazardous substances from financial liability for the toxic messes that they create. The Superfund Act was written to protect the public from hazardous spills and pollution and to hold violators accountable. Thirty years later, a range of industries declare bankruptcy and opt out of their financial obligations while communities are left with poisoned soil and water, and taxpayers get stuck with an exorbitant cleanup bill. Metal (hard rock) mining is the leading source of hazardous materials production and release in the U.S. In 2012, the EPA reported that the metal mining industry is the largest toxic polluter, releasing over 1.4 billion tons of pounds (about 40 percent of the total released by US industry). Taxpayers are already liable for billions in cleanup costs at hard rock mining sites due to inadequate insurance required for mining operations. EPA must protect human health and the environment, and hold polluters accountable by establish financial assurance regulations for the hard rock mining sector.

Embed from Getty Images

UNITED STATES – MAY 25: The Berkeley Pit, a former open pit copper mine and a part of the Silver Bow/Butte Area Superfund Site, is seen, in Butte, Montana, Thursday, May 25, 2006. The area is contaminated with aluminum, and heavy metals such as arsenic, copper, cadmium, and lead. (Photo by Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

#4 – Abandons rules to regulate dangerous solvents

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – In House Appropriations Committee Report (House Report 115-238)

6) There’s no represenative’s name attached to this beauty and you can see why. It encourages EPA to abandon the three proposed rules to regulate dangerous solvents. These are the first proposed rules to regulate existing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since asbestos in 1989. The language is particularly striking since the recently passed TSCA rewrite specifically authorized EPA to move forward with these regulations. The House rider will further delay protecting people from these toxic solvents that have already been extensively studied and linked to death and illness.

Isn’t protecting us and our environment from natural disasters a legislator’s “Business”? Um, no…

#5 – Block Implementation of Flood Risk Mitigation

  • Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 3280/H.R. 3354 –Title VII – General Provisions – Government-Wide – Sec. 745

Sec. 745:  – This provision would prevent implementation of new measures to protect public infrastructure from flooding. The federal flood protection standard is meant to increase our resilience to future flooding, protecting lives and reducing taxpayer dollars spent to rebuild after a disaster. The provision only serves to harm the American public.

#6 – Undermines ESA and FEMA process regarding floodplain management

  • Making further supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, for disaster assistance for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and calendar year 2017 wildfires, and for other purposes (H.R. 4667) – Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)

The Disaster Supplemental Relief bill for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (H.R. 4667) contains language that undermines the Endangered Species Act (ESA), exempts the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from its legal obligations regarding floodplain management, and severely undercut FEMA’s ability to safeguard our nation’s endangered and threatened wildlife. Section 2029 of H.R. 4667 would exempt FEMA from its existing responsibility to address the impacts that are caused by the action but occur later in time – of its National Flood Insurance Program and other flood programs on listed species and critical habitat. This damaging legislation both exempts FEMA from its legal responsibility to consult with federal wildlife agencies to examine the effects its flood insurance program has on endangered and threatened species and allows the agency to escape liability for violations of the ESA.

How about promoting a cleaner and more energy-efficient country?

#7 – Prevents us from understanding the costs of climate change

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title II– General Provisions – Dept. of the Interior Sec. 518 – Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – Sec. 463 – Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
Sec. 518: Blocks any consideration of the costs of carbon pollution on the rest of the world and bars the Department of Energy (DoE) from assessing and weighing the full costs of extreme weather or other climate impacts caused by our pollution, and the full benefits of any actions to improve energy efficiency or clean up carbon pollution.
Sec. 463: Rep. Mullins, a beneficiary of contributions from both the Koch brothers and the oil and gas industry, wants the government to willfully blind itself to the economic costs of climate change, which affect businesses, families, governments and taxpayers,  healthcare costs, property destruction, increased food prices, and more.

#8 – Block the Cape Wind Project

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title V – General Provisions – Sec. 511 – Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)

Sec. 511: prevent the Department of Energy from doing anything to further the Cape Wind Project off the coast of Massachusetts.

#9 – Blocking energy efficiency standards for light bulbs

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title V – General Provisions – Sec. 519 – Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX)

Sec. 519:  Really, Michael? This winner is trying to block the Department of Energy from implementing and enforcing common sense energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. This transition has been a success in lowering the US electrical load and efficient incandescent bulbs are among the variety of choices available for consumers. Reinstating this provision will prevent DoE from enforcing the standards against inefficient, noncompliant bulbs. Comparison of bulb types.

#10 – Undermines scientific research on fracking with insertion of industry input.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title V – General Provisions – In House Appropriations Committee Report #12

12) Language in the explanatory statement directs the EPA to conduct a study with a third-party partners on the effectiveness of environmental protections related to fracking. Rather than call for sound science, however, it signals that EPA should work with an organization friendly to industry, toward the likely end of a study that favors them.

Taking our voice away

#11 – Limits citizens without deep pockets from getting attorneys’ fees in settlements.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – Sec. 461 – Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)

Sec. 461: This rider cuts across all our protection acts. It discourage citizens from enforcing essential protections of the ESA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act by targeting court settlements involving federal agency actions, including public health and the environmental protections by barring payment of citizens’ legal fees whenever parties avoid costly litigation by agreeing to a settlement, thereby favoring continued litigation over settlement. The government needs citizens to be partners in enforcing all manner of America’s laws and this principle is enshrined in the numerous federal laws that provide reasonable fee recovery for successful citizen plaintiffs. This amendment would change this.

#12 – Limits citizens involvement with punitive reporting requirements.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions – In House Appropriations Committee Report (House Report 115-238)

1) Language in the report directs the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency to produce “detailed” reports on the cost of successful enforcement actions filed by individuals and organizations in federal court – reports identifying anyone who recovers litigation expenses from the government, and any judges who approve such reimbursements. This report subjects litigants to a punitive set of reporting requirements that target every citizen and judge involved. Congress removed from the Equal Access to Justice Act in 1995 – which provided for reasonable standards, this degrade our ability to bring suits further.

Original Content from Indivisible Ventura

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Environmental War Crimes – Part 4 – Life

On Monday,  we started our multi-point breakdown of a singularly destructive bill – HR 3354, a legislative monster of an appropriations act, whose length and complexity hides gifts, in the form of riders, for industries and anti-environmental extremists.  In Parts 1 and 2, we listed those that pose a clear threat to our health and that of our families by the removal or lessening of protections for our air and water. In Part 3, we spotlighted the ones that are focused on taking or abusing our public lands for private financial gain or on hindering their proper management.

Environmental War Crimes – Part 1 – Air
Environmental War Crimes – Part 2 – Water
Environmental War Crimes – Part 3 – Land

Although these earlier columns discuss the H.R. 3354 riders that will cause harm to wildlife as well as to humans as a side effect of their implementation, today’s column will focus on those that specifically target wildlife and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Why are GOP legislators so cavalier with our wildlife? 

Maybe they feel that wildlife, unlike cattle, oil and lumber, has no commercial value?

They are wrong.

  • In 2016, more than 101 million Americans – a staggering 40 percent of the U.S. population – participated in some form of fishing, hunting or other wildlife-associated recreation such as birdwatching or outdoor photography, spending  an estimated $156.3 billion on equipment, travel, licenses and fees.
  • In 2016, bird watchers spent nearly $41 billion annually on trips and equipment. Local community economies benefit from the $14.9 billion that birdwatchers spend on food, lodging and transportation. In 2011, 666,000 jobs were created as a result of birdwatching expenditures.
  • More than 25% of the medicinal prescriptions given every year contain chemicals from animals, including venom from the pit viper to cure the symptoms of Melanoma, and the venom from a tarantula can help fight neurological disorders. Here’s more. Any animal can become the next big scientific breakthrough. Unless they’re extinct.
  • New information is being collected constantly about the importance of even the smallest or  weirdest of creatures. Whole ecosystems depend on animals we may not think about.
  • Birds have been estimated to consume 98 percent of certain insect pests, including codling moths, enhancing agricultural production.
  • Predators are key to an ecosystem’s survival.

This sneak attack on our wildlife is happening through this appropriations bill. Stop it. – Call to action:

Action: Make these calls, and just as importantly, share this with friends and family that live in GOP-dominated states and ask them to call their legislators. EVEN IF YOU’VE MADE THIS CALL, MAKE IT AGAIN. Pile them on. Make our legislators concentrate on the horrendous details parked in this bill.

Minimal Script #1: I’m calling from [zip code] and I’m asking Sen. [___] to reject HR 3354, and come back with a clean appropriations act with both the removal of all anti-environmental riders and the restoration of full funding to match fiscal year 2016.

Contact your Legislator

Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Rep./Senator Contacts: www.phoneyourrep.com

Background Information on HR 3354 wildlife issues – go as deep as you want. 

Thanks to defenders.org for their amazing compilation. More to come.

These items, from #1-14,  are the perverse easter eggs hidden in HR. 3354, just on wildlife issues. We’ll be doing toxins tomorrow.

Grouse Issues

Why is it so important to save these birds? Look here, or here or here for articles.

#1 – Imperils Sage Grouse

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title I – General Provisions, Department of the Interior, Sec. 113
  • Senate Chairman’s Mark, Title I-General Provisions, Section 114

Sec. 113/114: Prohibits the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from conducting a new status review for the imperiled greater sage-grouse or Columbia basin sage-grouse for at least another year. In September 2015, FWS determined that the greater sage-grouse was not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act, and withdrew the species from the candidate species list. FWS cited unprecedented, landscape-scale cooperation on conservation efforts as reducing threats to sage grouse. However, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has initiated a process that will likely result in the severe weakening of the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. Sage-grouse populations are continuing to decline. Given the new administration’s effort to undermine the Planning Strategy, the ability to protect sage-grouse under the ESA is more crucial than ever.

#2 – Blocks protections for the Lesser Prairie Chicken (another form of grouse).

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (Senate Chairmen’s Mark) Title I – General Provisions, Department of the Interior, Sec. 121

Sec. 121: Blocks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from taking any steps to list the lesser prairie chicken under the ESA. First petitioned for listing in 1995, the bird was listed as threatened in April 2014, but the listing was overturned by the U.S. District Court for Texas in September 2015. The bird has lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat due to human activities such as oil and gas drilling, ranching and construction of power lines and wind turbines. Its population declined by more than half just between 2012 and 2013. FWS is still evaluating whether the bird needs to be re-proposed for listing based on current conservation efforts and new data and the agency should be free to make that determination based on scientific information, not political considerations.

Wolf Issues

Why is it so important to protect wolves?

Wolves have economic as well as environmental benefits. Read here.

#3 – Imperils Gray Wolves by “delisting them in Wyoming and the Great Lakes

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title I – General Provisions, Department of the Interior, Sec. 116
  • Senate Chairman’s Mark, Title I-General Provisions, Section 120

Sec. 116/120: Overrides a unanimous D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued on August 1, 2017 and removes existing federal protections for wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It would also codify a recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that stripped ESA protections for wolves in Wyoming. Finally, the rider would prevent judicial review of these wolf delistings, thus furthering this GOP-dominated Congress’ campaign to stealthily undermine our rights to seek out justice and defend our civil rights, public health, and environment.

#4 – Imperils Wolves in the Continental US by blocking Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title I – General Provisions, Department of the Interior, Sec. 117

Sec. 117: Blocks federal funding for the endangered gray wolf throughout the continental United States. The gray wolf is currently listed as endangered in most of the lower-48 states. While the return of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes has been an incredible success story, this iconic American species still only occupies a small portion of its former range and wolves have only just started to re-enter areas like northern California, where there are large swaths of suitable habitat. This rider would reverse the incredible progress that the ESA has achieved for this species over the past few decades and could once again put the gray wolf at risk of extinction.

#5 – Debates the classification of Mexican and Red wolves.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, In House Interior Appropriations Commnittee Report (House Report 115-238)

5) Directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to review and determine whether the Mexican gray wolf is a genetically valid subspecies and whether the red wolf is a genetically valid species and report to Congress within a year. The Service already went through an exhaustive study when the determination was made that the Mexican gray wolf should be listed as a subspecies and they are already reviewing the taxonomy of the red wolf. At this time, the best available,science upports genetic/taxonomic distinction for the red wolf, and thus the species continues to warrant protection.

#6 – Urging “Extinction” declaration for red wolves.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, In Senate Interior Appropriations Committee Explanatory Statement.

2) Encourages the FWS to grant the request the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to end the red wolf recovery program in FY 18 and declare the red wolf extinct. Congress should not be intervening in decision-making by expert federal wildlife biologists under the ESA. Those decisions should be based on the best available science, as directed under the ESA. The red wolf recovery program has been incredibly effective and a model for endangered species protection nationwide, including the very successful gray wolf reintroduction in the West.

Giving up on Red Wolves: A rider in the Senate Interior Appropriations Report committee report (Committee Report Pg. 17) encourages the Fish and Wildlife Service to end the Red Wolf recovery program and to declare the Red Wolf extinct. In expressing views about the status of the Red Wolf, this rider undermines the scientific and legal process established to protect and recover imperiled species.

Don’t forget these other Animals

#7 – Lion, tigers and bears!  This rider encourages inhumane “predator control” practices 

NOT SHOWING YOU ANY PICTURES HERE. USE YOUR IMAGINATION AND DON’T FORGET  TO CALL YOUR SENATORS!

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, Sec. 454 Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

Sec. 454: This provision from prime dick Rep. Young of Alaska would block implementation of rules regulation non-subsistence hunting on national preserves. Currently the National Park Service does NOT allow aggressive, scientifically indefensible “predator control” sport-hunting practices such as spotlighting denning bears and cubs as they hibernate, (For god’s sakes! where does the word “sport” come into this?) The agency arrived at their regulations through an open, public process in 2015 and the technical advice of wildlife managers and Rep. Young’s terrible rider will set back efforts to clarify appropriate National Park Service jurisdiction.

 

#8 – Blocks ESA protections for numerous species

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, Sec. 458 Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Sec. 458: Blocks federal funding for a protected species any time the FWS fails to meet its obligation to complete a five-year review of the species’ status as required by the ESA, which would devastate conservaion and recovery efforts for listed species. The agencies are often prevented from completing these reviews on time due to lack of funding or competing priorities. This provision would leave nearly 1,000 species currently awaiting five-year reviews in a state of limbo, because they would retain their ESA status, but it would block all federal funding for recovery efforts, law enforcement efforts, and consultations.

#9 – Blocks ESA protections for Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse.

Read here.

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, Sec. 459 Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)

Sec. 459: Blocks federal funding for the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse under the ESA, thwarting recovery efforts for this western species. The Preble’s meadow jumping mouse continues to experience habitat loss and face other threats throughout its range. This provision would eliminate crucial recovery programs for the mouse that require federal funding, such as Habitat Conservation Plans, and create uncertainty for stakeholders as to whether projects can go forward without violating the ESA.

#10 – Exempts sea urchins,and sea cucumbers from existing export licensing requirements.

Hey, weren’t we just talking about how important sea cucumber poop was?

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, Sec. 445 

Sec. 445 – Exempt thousands of species of echinoderms, commonly known as sea urchins and sea cucumbers, from existing export licensing requirements under Section 9(d)(1) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), unless the species is already protected under the ESA, the Lacey Act, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from enforcing Section 9(d)(1) of the ESA or compiling wildlife trade data such as exports or transshipments with respect to these species for at least a year. This exemption impacts the conservation of numerous imperiled marine species and obstructs efforts to prevent wildlife trafficking and illegal trade.

Vultures and/or Humans – Why they Matter – Toxins in our environment

Get a new cup of coffee and settle down for a rant here.

#11 – Exempts lead bullets and fishing tackle from regulation under the Toxis Substances Control Act.

eaglesdead

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, Sec. 420
  • Senate Chairmen’s Mark –  Title IV – General Provisions, Sec. 419

Sec. 420/419: Prohibits the EPA and all federal land management agencies from regulating the use of lead in ammunition, ammunition components and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act or any other law.

Why is this to important to someone who doesn’t give a fig about wildlife? 

Because it’s poisoning us too. 

In 1991, the federal government banned the use of lead shot for all waterfowl hunting not just because of the extensive scientific evidence that lead shot was poisoning millions of ducks, geese, and swans each year, but because it was also affecting human health as well. Today, spent ammunition represents one of the largest sources for lead pollution in our environment. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an orderoverturning a ban on using lead ammunition on wildlife refuges on his first day in office. And now the GOP, ignoring every scientific warning and the availablity of safer non-lead options that are  effective and cost-competitive, is using this backdoor method to spread lead contamination everywhere.

 

Let’s talk about the human consequences of using lead ammunition:

  • A 2009 study of North Dakotans, CDC and the North Dakota Department of Health, found that as wild game consumption increased, so did blood lead levels, affecting hunting families and low-income families receiving donate meat from food pantries. Although the difference was not high in adult subjects at 1.27 micrograms per deciliter, children naturally absorb more lead and the CDC has warned that there is no safe level of lead in the blood of children.
  • Evidence is also emerging of lead’s role in reproductive disorders, kidney disease, cognitive decline and neurological problems. Studies hint that chronic blood lead levels as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter may increase the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke. Evidence is also emerging of lead’s role in reproductive disorders, kidney disease, cognitive decline and neurological problems. Studies published in 2009 and 2016 suggest that lead exposure from shooting may decrease verbal memory and increase the frequency of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Lead is damaging, in part, because it mimics the calcium essential in maintaining healthy bones, nerve cells and blood pressure and can effect fetuses, through the calcium naturally released from a pregnant woman’s bones to nourish her growing fetus.
  • In addition to potential exposure from eating contaminated meat, workers and customers at a shooting range may inhale, ingest or absorb lead while loading ammunition, shooting, retrieving spent bullets and cleaning guns. The U.S. is home to more than 2,500 ranges and, every year, at least 20 million Americans participate in recreational shooting, according to the NSSF. Reports suggest the figure is increasing, with shooting growing in popularity among women and children. Between 2001 and 2013, the number of women target shooters rose from 3.3 million to 5.4 million, according to the NSSF. Meanwhile, the firearms industry has targeted children in an effort to ensure the future of shooting sports, according to a 2013 analysis by The New York Times and a 2016 study by the Violence Policy Center. Some ranges even offer birthday party packages.
  • “Inhaling lead particles at a shooting range can raise a person’s blood lead levels very quickly.” Depending on the type of gun used, the heavy metal can be released through the fragmentation or vaporization of the bullet and from the lead used as the primer or propellant. Experts agree that these risks can be controlled with proper ventilation along with personal precautions. However, sometimes things go wrong

Who had stopped using lead ammunition?:

  • The U.S. Department of Defense stated that while it has fully converted 5.56-millimeter war reserve cartridges (fired from the M16 rifle) to lead-free, their training rounds remain a mix of lead and non-lead. “The U.S. Army operations office (G-3) is tracking that and ensuring there is a timeline and flow that allows us to transition as soon as feasible,” the DoD said in a statement.

Why should hunters stop using lead ammunition?

Banner_TraditionalAlt“If non-lead ammunition is good enough for the U.S. military, with all their ballistics and performance testing, it should be good enough for hunters,” George Fenwick, president of American Bird Conservancy, said in a statement.

 

Other hunting groups are actively encouraging their fellow hunters to consider using green bullets, which are usually made of copper or copper alloys. A group of avid sportsmen has developed a website, HuntingWithNonLead.org, which espouses the virtues of non-lead ammo. Check out their FAQ sheet here.

“The idea of accidentally poisoning other non-target wildlife isn’t anyone’s intention,” the group states on their website. “But many birds and mammals feed on the … carcasses that they find during and after hunting season. In many cases, these animals unknowingly eat lead when the carcasses have been shot with lead ammo.”

OK, let’s work our way back to animals. Specically vultures/condors, although this is killing millions of other animals every year.

Lead poisoning is a continuing threat to vultures , including our California Condor

Our condor and other vultures around the world are in danger of disappearing, due to poisoning from the lead ammunition residue left in the carrion they consume. And according to a new report from University of Utah biologists, such a loss would have serious consequences for ecosystems and human populations alike.

Vultures are highly efficient consumers of carrion, sometimes locating and consuming carcasses within an hour, before other forms of decay can set in. And vultures’ stomachs are highly acidic, killing nearly all bacteria or viruses that may be present in carrion, such as anthrax, cholera, botulinum toxin, and rabies that would be lethal to other scavengers. Combined with the fact that vultures rarely come in contact with humans, vultures serve as a barrier to prevent diseases from proliferating in dead animals and spreading to humans. Other scavengers, like rats and dogs, are not so adapted, and could pass along those diseases into human populations, as many are already fixtures in cities. However, their digestive anomalies leave them particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning.

Messing with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) itself

#12 – Allows states to mess with ESA decisions

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, In House Interior Appropriations Commnittee Report (House Report 115-238)

2) Pressures the Fish and Wildlife Service to allow states significant leverage in ESA decisions and implementation. The agency already fully follows the direction in the ESA “cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the states,” yet the language incorrectly states that failures to cooperate with the states have engendered much of the controversy surrounding the ESA.

#13 – Inappropriately exempts areas fron ESA Critical Habitat

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, In House Interior Appropriations Commnittee Report (House Report 115-238)

3) Directs the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to exclude flood control areas from critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act such as for the Western distinct population segment of the yellow-billed cuckoo. The language is counter to the requirement in the ESA to designate critical habitat for listed species.

#14 – Urges disproportionate consideration of non-regulatory conservation actions

  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354), Title IV – General Provisions, In House Interior Appropriations Commnittee Report (House Report 115-238)

3) The report states that the Fish and Wildlife Service does not adequately include non- regulatory conservation actions when making listing decisions under the ESA and that the Committee expects FWS to work with states to develop a more reasonable policy. FWS already does this under their Policy for the Evaluation of Conservation Efforts for Making Listing Decisions (PECE) which contains guidance for whether or not Service must consider voluntary conservation measures adopted by states and private entities.

Original Content from Indivisible Ventura

 

 

 

 

 

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