At Long Last, Silence Will Settle on Yellowstone
fter nearly two decades of
growing snowmobile traffic and
intense legal battles and
weakened regulations posed a
numerous setbacks, our fight
serious environmental threat to the
to reduce the impact of snowmobiles
park’s habitat and wildlife. Hundreds
on Yellowstone National Park has
of the vehicles were lining up at
reached a heartening conclusion.
entrance stations and polluting the
In October, the National Park Service
air with exhaust, making it unhealthy
announced it is setting strong
for visitors to breathe the air and
standards for snowmobiles and
even forcing park rangers to start
snowcoaches that will cut their noise and slash their air pollution
wearing respirators. A ban on snow Snowmobiles will be quieter, less polluting.
by upwards of 70 percent. “Silence is golden,” says Chuck Clusen, director of NRDC’s National Parks Project. “One of the best places to experience the quiet symphony of nature is Yellowstone in deep winter. Bison © Tom & Pat Leeson
The National Park Service decision will go a long way toward quieting the distracting roar of snow machines.”
mobiles in the form of a three-year phase-out — advocated by NRDC
and by hundreds of thousands of messages from our Members — was instituted in 2001 but was soon reversed by the Bush Administration. Undeterred, we continued the fight against a rise in snowmobile use and in favor of stringent controls. In the wake of this latest victory NRDC will continue
The practice of allowing snowmobiles on unplowed roads
to push for a safer and more serene Yellowstone both for
in Yellowstone started in the 1960s, and by the early 1990s
human visitors and for the park’s storied wildlife.
U.S. Inaction Imperils Whales
round the world, the global fishing industry is
As part of a broader
taking a disastrous toll on whales, dolphins and
campaign to raise
other marine mammal species: More than
650,000 animals are killed or critically injured each year
and pressure the
after becoming tangled or trapped in enormous nets and
other industrial fishing gear, according to scientific estimates.
stration to take
Such horrendous casualties prompted Congress to include
a provision in the landmark Marine Mammal Protection
is releasing an
Act of 1972 requiring all imported seafood to be accompanied
in-depth report that details how enforcement of U.S. laws
by proof that it was caught in accordance with U.S.
could help shield a range of imperiled species worldwide,
standards for protecting marine mammal species. The
from whales in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean to
only problem? That provision has never been enforced.
sea lions in New Zealand to dolphins in the Indian Ocean.
“I think most Americans would be shocked to know that Whale and diver © Alberto Dario Romeo
the majority of imported seafood — whether it’s sea bass in a five-star restaurant or lowly fish sticks — violates federal law, and that the government has been doing nothing to stop it,” says Zak Smith, an attorney with NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. 6
Diver frees a sperm whale from a drift net.
“It’s unacceptable that this law is on the books but has been left to gather dust,” says Smith. “We’re calling on the National Marine Fisheries Service to enforce the seafood import law and save the lives of countless marine mammals around the world.” Make your voice heard at: www.nrdc.org/deadlycatch