Nature's Voice Fall 2013
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President’s Climate Plan Embraces NRDC Vision D the largest single source of global each year, a staggering 40 percent warming pollution in the United of the country’s total. espite years of scientific America’s coal-fired and other power consensus about the dire plants, which account for some 2.4 threat of climate change, billion metric tons of CO2 pollution States has gone almost entirely NRDC has long been at the forefront unchecked — until now. In June, of the fight to rein in those emissions, President Obama announced a putting forth a detailed plan last sweeping plan to tackle climate year that would cut carbon pollution change, which includes, for the first time ever, reducing carbon emissions at the nation’s existing from existing power plants by 26 Pollution from a coal-fired power plant. power plants. “This is a watershed moment,” says Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program. “It’s heartening to see the administration enthusiastically Smoke stacks © Skyscan/Corbis embrace the sort of reductions in carbon pollution that we’ve been advocating.” percent over seven years, even as it would create some 210,000 jobs and reduce the average American’s electric bill. Many insiders expect that plan to figure prominently in the Environmental Protection Agency’s own strategy as it carries out the president’s climate agenda. “We’re pleased that the Obama Administration has committed to bold Although pollutants such as arsenic, lead and mercury have action,” says Lashof. “But there’s still much more work to long been regulated, never before have federal limits been be done, and we have to be vigilant that industry doesn’t imposed on the massive amounts of carbon spewing from derail the process.” NRDC Wins New Protections for Marine Mammals in the Gulf T hanks to a landmark agreement, whales and noise at that level can other marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico cause harm, yet that’s will finally receive protection from the devastating what whales and impact of seismic airguns, which the oil and gas industry dolphins in the Gulf uses for offshore exploration. The milestone protections are routinely having are the result of a settlement reached with the Obama to suffer through.” Administration and industry in a federal lawsuit brought Whale © Brandon Cole by NRDC and our allies. 6 Bryde's whale. The toll of this industrial onslaught has been even more acute in the wake of BP’s catastrophic oil spill in For years the oil and gas industry has deployed airguns 2010. Many of the Gulf’s marine mammal species, from in the Gulf with virtually no restriction, subjecting bottlenose dolphins to endangered Bryde’s whales, are threatened and endangered marine mammal species to a still struggling to recover. The new protections will relentless assault of explosive noise that is destroying their immediately ban airgun blasting from biologically critical ability to feed, mate and nurse their young — in short, to areas, such as important feeding and calving grounds, survive. “Throughout the northern Gulf, recent studies and will require industry to better monitor for marine show that noise from airguns alone averages nearly 120 mammal activity and to explore more environmentally decibels throughout the year,” says Michael Jasny, director sensitive alternatives to airguns, even as the Obama of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. “The Administration undertakes a comprehensive review government says that just a single second of exposure to of seismic exploration in the Gulf.