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At Long Last, Silence Will Settle on Yellowstone

A

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

A

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

public awareness

650,000 animals are killed or critically injured each year

and pressure the

after becoming tangled or trapped in enormous nets and

Obama Admini­

other industrial fishing gear, according to scientific estimates.

stration to take

Such horrendous casualties prompted Congress to include

action, NRDC

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


Nature's Voice Winter 2014