Nature's Voice Summer 2013
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in the news Pebble Mine Campaign Heads to London Free Speech Defended Big Win for Wilderness Nearly two million acres of wilderness-quality lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming will be protected from oil shale development, thanks to a vigorous campaign by NRDC and our Members. At issue was a Bush-era plan that would have been a boon for Big Oil while increasing production of one of the dirtiest fossil fuels. Instead, new regulations announced by the Obama Interior Department essentially reverse course and include added protections for sensitive wildlife habitat. “Our Members deserve tremendous credit here,” says Bobby McEnaney, deputy director of the NRDC’s Western Renewable Energy Project. “Their advocacy helped push this issue to the top of Interior’s agenda.” 2 O ur relentless campaign to stop the Pebble Mine estab lished something of a landmark this spring: Opposition to the gargantuan open-pit mine, which would devastate Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed and its legendary runs of wild salmon, has now outlasted the CEOs of two of the international mining giants behind the project. As investors in both companies — Rio Tinto and Anglo American — gathered in London in April for their annual shareholders’ meetings, NRDC Western Director Joel Reynolds was on hand as he has been for the past three years, joining representatives from Alaskan Native communities, Bristol Bay fishermen and other allies. “The outcry against this mine just keeps getting stronger,” says Reynolds, who handdelivered more than 200,000 petitions from NRDC Members and online activists to the companies’ new CEOs, calling on them to change course and abandon the environmentally and financially disastrous project, a message that was reiterated by a full-page ad in the Financial Times of London, sponsored by NRDC and our allies. More than 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents oppose the Pebble Whaling to Resume Mine, and just how much they stand to lose was brought into In flagrant violation of international law, Iceland has announced that it will resume the slaughter and trade of fin whales this summer after a two-year hiatus, saying it plans to kill up to 184 of the endangered animals. The move comes despite worldwide outrage over the country’s refusal to abide by international whaling laws and the pressure of diplomatic sanctions that were imposed on Iceland by the Obama Administration in 2011. NRDC believes the administration can — and must — do more. Our Members and online activists are pressing for economic sanctions against Icelandic whaling companies. communities around the world already devastated by mining vivid focus at the shareholders’ meetings, where residents of rose to express their outrage over poisoned rivers, rampant pollution and mining-related illnesses. “How can you say you are listening when you are not?” one woman from Colombia lamented in frustration. “Their stories are tragic,” says Reynolds. “And they’re further proof that we can’t entrust an American wilderness as magnificent and unspoiled as Bristol Bay — and the communities and wildlife that depend on it — to the mining industry.” Green River, Wyoming © Tim Fitzharris; bear and salmon © Wet Waders/AlaskaStock.com Residents of Sanford, New York, who are opposed to the spread of dangerous fracking in their community can once again make their voices heard at town meetings, thanks to the legal advocacy of NRDC. Last fall, the Sanford town board took the extreme measure of barring citizens from any discussion of the drilling practice during the public portion of meetings, after the board itself passed a number of pro-fracking resolutions. Faced with the threat of a First Amendment lawsuit from NRDC on behalf of outraged residents, the board rescinded its unconstitutional gag order in April. The case was brought by NRDC’s new Community Fracking Defense Project, which was launched in several states last fall.