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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:

Nature's Voice Winter 2014

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