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Giraffes May Finally Get Endangered Status

times of the year when fields would otherwise be bare. Meanwhile, we continue to battle against the wide­spread pesticide abuse that is killing off bees, monarch butterflies and other vital pollinators. When it comes to President Trump’s radical antienvironment agenda, “you don’t have to connect too many dots to read the U.N. biodiversity report as a scathing rebuke to the Trump admin­istration’s sweeping assault on wildlife,” says Casey-Lefkowitz. NRDC has been relentless in hauling the president and his administra­tion into court. For instance, we sued to disband Trump’s sham “International Wildlife Conservation Council” stacked with trophy hunters, and we challenged his administration’s plans to permit offshore seismic testing that could deafen, injure and even kill thousands of whales and other marine mammals, including such critically endangered species as North Atlantic right whales. Yet among the Trump administration’s myriad attacks, perhaps none epitomizes its war on wildlife more than the plan being hatched by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to eviscerate the bedrock Endangered Species Act, which would strip threatened wildlife of vital protections and make it easier for corporate interests to destroy their habitat. “As the U.N. report makes clear, we need to be strengthening our protections for vulnerable species, not dismantling them,” says Casey-Lefkowitz. “It almost goes without saying, but the minute Trump and Bernhardt try to lay a finger on the Endangered Species Act, NRDC will sue.”

Trump’s new executive order threatens clean water.

Trump Issues Two More Pro-Pipeline Orders Launching more attacks on our climate and clean water, President Trump has issued two executive orders meant to fast-track approval for proposed oil and gas pipelines and boost fossil fuel development. The first weakens a key provision of the Clean Water Act that empowers states to thoroughly review and block pipeline projects that cross their borders. “This state role is essential to protecting water quality. In some cases, state laws prohibit pollution that might be allowed under federal law,” says Kimberly Ong, an NRDC senior attorney. Trump himself admitted the order was a direct response to New York’s recent decision to block multiple pipelines that threatened its waterways.

EPA Backs Industry on Risky Herbicide Despite evidence linking glyphosate to cancer, the Trump Environmental Protection Agency has maintained its deceitful position that the chemical is not a carcinogen. The main ingredient in Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate threatens the health of applicators and farm workers and winds up in our food and water supplies. The World Health Organization concluded back in 2015 that the chemical was a “likely carcinogen,” and a recent toxicology report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Health Department,

The second executive order robs the public and government agencies of their traditional roles in the approval process for cross-border infrastructure like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. “Trump’s orders will leave communities in the dark about these projects and vulnerable to an industry that has repeatedly violated state water quality standards across the country,” says NRDC senior advocate Josh Axelrod. NRDC is continuing the fight against Keystone XL on multiple fronts, including a new lawsuit charging that permits for the pipeline were unlawfully rubber-stamped by the Trump administration without a full evaluation of the environmental impacts.

agreed. Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, has lost a string of multimillion-dollar lawsuits brought by users of glyphosate diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A lot of money is on the line. Bayer sells about 300 million pounds of Roundup in the United States annually, much of it to be used on its own Roundup-resistant crops. “Bayer, Monsanto and co-opted agencies like the EPA are out on a limb crying that the chemical is safe, while health agencies link it to cancer,” says NRDC senior scientist Jennifer Sass, who has submitted expert opinion on glyphosate’s risks during EPA public comment periods. “NRDC will continue to fight for tough regulations that protect our health and environment.”

Better late than never. It took a lawsuit filed by NRDC and our allies, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally agreed to move forward in determining whether Africa’s imperiled giraffes qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The agency announced its decision a full two years after NRDC and our partners filed a formal petition calling for the federal protections. Under the law, the FWS is supposed to respond to such petitions within 90 days. “Giraffes are in crisis, and the United States has long been complicit in the trade of giraffe parts like hunting trophies and skins,” says NRDC wildlife advocate Elly Pepper. “It’s time that the federal government stick its neck out for this species.” Indeed, Africa’s giraffe population has plunged nearly 40 percent in the past three decades, with fewer than 100,000 animals remaining today, even less than the number of African elephants. Yet on average, the United States imports more than one giraffe hunting trophy per day, and thousands of giraffe parts are sold domestically each year. “Unfortunately giraffes are a favorite target of trophy hunters, and the trophy hunting lobby has an outsize influence on the Trump administration,” Pepper says, pointing to the president’s phony “International Wildlife Conservation Council,” which is stacked with hunters, and NRDC’s ongoing legal fight to dismantle it. “We’re going to keep the pressure on until giraffes get the protection they desperately need.”

ROUNDUP: © ANDREI STANESCU/ALAMY; TRUMP: © EVAN VUCCI/AP; GIRAFFE: © DAVID CLODE

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Nature's Voice Fall 2019  

Nature's Voice Fall 2019  

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