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Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion

 

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EDITORIAL: An apology to sharks; Think twice if fins are a menu item. (Houston Chronicle, 08/18/14)
"The Gulf's population of great sharks has declined by 90 percent. Sharks are especially vulnerable to extinction because of their slow reproduction rates.... industrialized fishing of sharks is one factor leading to the decline in oysters ...Texas lawmakers should act to enact a ban on the sale or trade of shark fins.... if we act appropriately, perhaps museums won't be the only place that sharks can be found in the future."

EDITORIAL: Our View: The Wilderness Act has earned its keep (Idaho Statesman, 08/17/14)
"In an age of legislative gridlock characterized by polarized views on public lands ...would things such as the Wilderness Act, the Clean Water Act (1948) the Clean Air Act (1963) and the Endangered Species Act (1973) have a prayer of passage? ... We Americans have a funny way of resisting big, bold moves at the time of consideration. But generations later, many of these monumental public-land moves gain respect, and we can hardly imagine a time or a future without them."

Editorial: A water bond seems within reach, if no side overreaches (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 08/12/14)
"Legislation by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, and embraced by the other 14 House Republicans from California would loosen the Endangered Species Act, on the theory such a step would open the spigots. The measure no doubt makes some Central Valley water users feel good. But it has little chance of passing the Senate and would enflame California’s environmentalists, who would be key to any coalition seeking to pass the bond. California’s water problem isn’t the Endangered Species Act. It is that there hasn’t been sufficient rain in the past three years."

EDITORIAL: Green, but not with envy (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA] , 08/08/14)
"Lake Erie is not unique. Algae blooms feast on excessive agricultural runoff around the world. The Gulf of Mexico experienced one last year that was as big as Connecticut. Another bloom killed scores of manatees in Florida last year, and still another sickened hundreds of marine mammals along California’s central coast. Yet, public policy is slow to respond, and sometimes has been counterproductive. An initiative that just passed in Missouri, and which is gaining momentum in some other agricultural states, would prevent states from implementing the very measures that would diminish agricultural pollution. Called “right to farm,” it also is a right to pollute."

Editorial: What are wolves supposed to do? Order a pizza? Our View: A proposed rule makes it too easy to kill or remove Mexican gray wolves for acting naturally. (, 08/03/14)
"A proposed new rule for Mexican wolf reintroduction penalizes the animals for eating their natural prey. But it's not all bad: The proposed new rule also would allow reintroduction of captive-bred wolves into new areas. The rule also vastly expands the wolves' range from a relatively small area ... The Mexican wolf reintroduction effort serves a long-standing goal of preserving and restoring endangered species, and reflects a shared national value for species diversity....Mexican wolves are the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. They deserve protection that respects the value they bring to the ecosystem."

The House's Continued Assault on Endangered Species (Huffington Post, 07/29/14)
Jamie Rappaport Clark, President & CEO, Defenders of Wildlife: "Rep. Hastings knows that if he succeeds with these amendments, he will have taken a major step in undermining the ESA. Unfortunately for Hastings, the White House sees through the ploy, and today the Obama Administration released a veto threat saying that if the President were presented with H.R. 4315, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

Editorial: Grins and Grimaces (Knoxville News Sentinel [TN] , 07/26/14)
"A look at recent events in the news that pleased us ... .. and one that did not. Bat population drops: This summer Indiana State is leading a 12-week project to net bats in remote areas of the Smokies to see how white-nose syndrome, a fast-spreading disease that is wiping out species of cave-hibernating bats across the U.S., is affecting bats in the park. Researchers are especially interested in how it has affected the park's Indiana bats, a federally endangered species, and the northern long-eared bat, which is under review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be listed as threatened or endangered."

Editorial: Bison talks must stay cooperative (Bozeman Daily Chonicle [MT], 07/18/14)
"Members of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Bison Discussion Group are to be commended....The very idea of establishing a wild bison population has met bitter resistance from landowners and ranchers ... even those who live in areas where bison are introduced stand to benefit, with new economic opportunities stemming from ecotourism."

Eagle editorial: Prairie chicken plan misguided (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 07/18/14)
"Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for the state to raise and release lesser prairie chickens didn’t help his argument that Kansas should be trusted to protect the threatened species. It’s hard to be taken seriously when scientists are laughing.... “It’s almost impossible to conceive how someone could violate the rule other than by deliberately going out and shooting a chicken,” said Jason Rylander, a staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, one of three environmental groups that are suing for more aggressive protections of the birds."

Editorial: A condor is born, and Utah is a little better place; New Utahn is an old friend. (Salt Lake Tribune [UT] , 07/17/14)
"For the first time in decades, a California condor has hatched in Utah.... this is just the tale of what happens when one species takes on the task of preserving another for no other reason than to continue the vast tapestry of living things on the planet. Call it a vulture of diversity."

Editorial: Don't mess with Texas' big cranes; Leadership needed to spearhead protection of the state's environment and wildlife. (Houston Chronicle, 07/11/14)
"The extinction scenario for the most famous avian residents of the Texas coast is not farfetched. And anyone who has marveled at the majesty of the 5-foot-tall birds foraging for blue crabs in their wintering grounds at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport has to be saddened by the June 30 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel said that U.S. District Court Judge Janis Jack abused discretion in finding that 23 cranes had died because of a disruption to their habitat."

Editorial - Any change to monitoring requirement must protect shorebirds (Wilmington Star-News [NC] , 07/08/14)
"The federal and state agencies involved in those discussions must ensure that any changes allowed do not weaken protections for the birds and their nests....Among them are the American oystercatcher, the least tern, the black skimmer and the piping plover, which is considered a threatened species."

EDITORIAL: Our View: Loss of pest control is the real scary bat story; A mysterious fungus that is spreading through the region is good news only for mosquitoes. (Portland Press Herald [ME] , 07/07/14)
"The threat of extinction, to one or more bat species, is very real in North America, biologists say. One bat can consume thousands of insects in a night. Their loss could trigger an increase in not only mosquitoes and black flies, but other pests as well. That could, in turn, ease the transmission of insect-borne disease. The impact on agriculture could be great, as well, with some researchers putting the toll in the billions of dollars nationwide."

Editorial: Don't weaken manatee protections (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 07/07/14)
"There is no justification for the federal government to downgrade the protected status of the Florida manatee. It might make it easier for irresponsible boaters and builders to abuse their privileges on the public waterways. But the move would be terrible for the species and send the wrong message about Florida's natural resources. If anything, the state and federal governments should do more to protect these habitats."

Mercury News editorial: Senate should kill plan to increase use of lead ammo (San Jose Mercury News [CA] , 07/04/14)
"The health risk to national treasures such as the bald eagle is too high for the NRA and like-minded factions to get their way. Congress should follow California's lead and allow the EPA to regulate lead ammunition as responsible scientific study dictates."

EDITORIAL: Our View: GOP: Go to Moscow, Come Back to Reality (Times-News [ID] , 06/11/14)
"Put plainly, the “establishment vs. tea party” spat is destroying Idaho. That’s the problem with a one-party state. If the dominant party goes off the rails, the entire thing falls down. Idaho’s GOP is too busy arguing about the important stuff, like ... spending mountains of cash on a doomed-but-pandering bid to somehow “take back” federal lands that Idaho never actually owned.... And let’s not forget about the wolves. Showing how much they’re hated, we mean really hated, is worth a heap of money, too. The pesky school children can do more with less."... Enough with the absurd initiatives only designed to make “statements.” Enough with the lunacy."

Editorial: Roses and Raspberries: June 6 (Corvallis Gazette-Times [OR], 06/06/14)
"Fourth District Congressman Peter DeFazio noted the downside: OR-7 needs our help: “This is great news, but the critical federal protections that have allowed OR-7 to start his new pack are in jeopardy. As we celebrate OR-7 and his new family, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is threatening to disregard science and take the gray wolf off the Endangered Species list. If the Service delists the gray wolf, states could declare open season on gray wolves like OR-7, his mate, and these new pups.” We agree with the 160,000 people who have signed their names to a petition asking the USFWS and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to continue protections for the gray wolf."

EDITORIAL: Overdue call to environmental accountability (Tennessean, 06/06/14)
"The Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations for limiting carbon emissions from electric power plants, announced this week, were sure to be met with criticism since an alarming percentage of the American public still doubts that man-made climate change is occurring, and in fact accelerating.... ennessee and the entire country must do more to reduce carbon emissions — and on a dramatically larger scale than anything we have yet seen....verage Americans are seeing the results of this inaction in severe weather events, and scientists are seeing the long-term damage, as well, in glacier melt, species extinctions and more....his is a nation of 318 million people that must change its habits, and soon."

Editorial: EPA emission rules a good, but not great, step forward (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 06/03/14)
"Some scientists argue that mankind is in the middle of what, in geologic time, will be the “Sixth Extinction.” Not too many generations hence, they say, significant numbers of the Earth’s species will be eliminated as a result of catastrophic climate change.... both Sens. McConnell, 72, and Blunt, 64, will be dead and gone when the global warming bill comes due. In the meantime, they can pander to donors and voters and keep their jobs.... If we don’t lead, why should the world act? If the world doesn’t act, our grandchildren’s children will curse our names."

Eagle editorial: At least legislative session is over (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 05/06/14)
"Unfortunately, the session went wrong more often than not, including ... by trying to nullify federal law regarding the threatened status of the lesser prairie chicken."

Editorial: Brewer vetoes show leadership down the middle (Arizona Daily Sun, 04/24/14)
"As we have noted before, though, much of the anti-federalist rhetoric coming from the far right has more to do with specific policies they oppose, not uncompensated costs or federal meddling. Arizona can hardly complain about the federal dams and water projects on which the state was built, and it continues to get back in federal aid far more than its residents and businesses pay into the federal treasury in taxes. So when it comes to giving ranchers permission to kill wolves or forcing the federal government to pony up for a cattle compensation fund to be administered by the state, Brewer got to the point in her veto message: Just because lawmakers want to allow endangered wolves to be killed on federal lands doesn’t give them the power to override federal law — it’s an expensive lawsuit waiting to happen."

Editorial: Gov. Brewer's pen is mightier than bad bills; Our View: Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoes are in our best interests (Arizona Republic, 04/23/14)
"The bills squashed were more about ideological overkill than any attempt at good policy making. … A bill that would have let ranchers kill endangered Mexican gray wolves by putting them in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears was all about some ranchers' continued opposition to a federal reintroduction effort under the Endangered Species Act. Brewer's veto letter on SB 1211 said the state "simply does not have the power" to override federal protections for wolves. This bill was about putting a finger in Uncle Sam's eye. It was not necessary."

Mercury News editorial: Feinstein bill risks further damage to Delta (San Jose Mercury News [CA] , 04/21/14)
"House Republicans are demanding that any drought legislation roll back crucial environmental protections and end the San Joaquin River restoration project. They act as if these rules are all about helping fish, but keeping the river system healthy is critical for people who rely on its water."

Editorial: The high cost of climate change denial (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 04/18/14)
"Prolonged droughts. Melting ice caps. Heat waves and deep freezes. Rising oceans. Increased flooding. Endangered species going extinct. Expect more of this and then some — a threatened global food supply, for example — if climate change is left unchecked.... Here in Texas, research predicts rising sea levels that will cause environmental havoc through flooding, salinity and erosion... Many of Texas' most prominent leaders have been particularly shortsighted on climate change."

Editorial: Dianne Feinstein’s water bill is an overreach (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 04/17/14)
"One provision would lock in a specific inflow-export ratio to allow more water transfers to contractors south of the Delta from April 1 through May 31, regardless of water availability. This, of course, is the time that salmon and steelhead are migrating to the ocean. Feinstein should fix this provision by allowing agency experts to change the ratio depending on real-time water availability. The other provision talks about complying with endangered species law for some fish, but not for salmon and steelhead, which are on their way to extinction. Feinstein has said her goal is to protect fisheries. She should make that clear in the legislation. People whose livelihoods depend on salmon fisheries have been hurt by drought as much as Westside growers. In the past, Feinstein has said it is important to avoid seeking “gains for certain water users at the expense of others” or abandoning “fundamental state and federal environmental laws.” To make actions match words, she should fix the two provisions."

Editorial: Help, don’t hurt, the birds (Daily Iberian [New Iberia, LA], 04/17/14)
"The whooping cranes are an endangered species. They have a place in Louisiana’s landscape just as many other species of animals. Just as humans were a contributing factor to its disappearance, so too will humans need to be a contributing factor to its return and repopulate here."

Editorial: Turning our backs to global warming (Virginian-Pilot, 04/16/14)
"It will come as no surprise to Hampton Roads and Virginia, but Washington isn't doing enough to help limit global warming.... Given that our region is one of America's most vulnerable places (Miami and New Orleans face comparable or worse risks), Washington's legislative impotence carries an especially high potential price here.... The latest IPCC report argues that if the world wants to meet its goal of holding global warming under a dangerous threshold, it better get started now replacing fossil fuels with alternatives, including efficiency and power generation from wind, solar, tides. Otherwise, the IPCC report says, the world should ready for rising seas, disappearing species and more severe storms and flooding."

Editorial OUR OPINION: Heed bird-advocacy groups on wind (Grand Forks Herald [ND], 04/13/14)
"Wind power’s percentage of America’s energy production is sure to increase. With that in mind, developers and regulators should follow the conservation groups’ guidelines, because minimizing wind turbines’ impact on birds is in the best interests of us all."

Editorial: OUR VIEW | CLIMATE CHANGE: Options for climate change are on the table; now, U.S. must take lead (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 04/12/14)
"Climate change is already here; denying that is to deny reality..... coral reefs are already dying and fish and many other creatures are already migrating toward the poles or in some cases becoming extinct.... The economic threat posed by climate change far outweighs the economic discomfort of adjusting to meet it. And it poses a security threat to the United States."

Op-ed: Will sage grouse go the way of the lesser prairie-chicken (Salt Lake Tribune [UT] , 04/11/14)
Ed Arnett And Terry Riley: "As wildlife biologists, hunters, and conservationists, we watched closely as the fate of the lesser prairie-chicken unfolded on March 27 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the medium-sized game bird as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.... the lesser prairie-chicken can be restored and eventually de-listed if responsible conservation practices are followed. We also can avert the need to list as threatened or endangered another once-abundant game bird, the greater sage grouse, if conservation practices are embraced."