May 17, 2019

USA: Status re 14-year-long Taylor Energy Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

Graphic by BilliTheCat on Pixabay

--- Forwarded message ---
From: Dustin Renaud, Healthy Gulf (formerly Gulf Restoration Network) <dustin@healthygulf.org>
Date: Thu, May 16, 2019, 9:56 AM
Subject: Taylor Energy Oil Spill Being Contained by USCG, Healthy Gulf Allowed to Intervene in Lawsuit
To: 

Healthy Gulf (formerly Gulf Restoration Network)
For immediate release: May 16, 2019
Contact:
    Dustin Renaud, (228) 209-2194, dustin@healthygulf.org
    Maggie Caldwell, (415) 217-2084, mcaldwell@earthjustice.org 


Judge Allows Healthy Gulf to Intervene in Taylor Energy Lawsuit over 14 Year Oil Spill
Coast Guard reports containment system is now fully installed and operating 

NEW ORLEANS-- Yesterday, a federal judge granted New Orleans-based advocacy group Healthy Gulf permission to intervene in a lawsuit defending the U.S. Coast Guard's actions to contain the ongoing Taylor Energy oil spill that has been leaking off the coast of Louisiana for over 14 years. Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law organization, is representing Healthy Gulf in the lawsuit.
Collapsed wells at Taylor Energy's drilling site approximately 15 miles off the southeast Louisiana coast have been discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico since 2004, when Hurricane Ivan caused the company's oil platform to topple and sink. Neither Taylor nor the federal government had undertaken comprehensive containment or control measures until October 2018, when the U.S. Coast Guard ordered Taylor to propose a plan to immediately contain the ongoing oil release. When Taylor failed to comply with the order, the Coast Guard took over the response and contracted with a remediation company to work quickly towards capping the spill. Taylor is seeking to reverse that order in federal court. Taylor's lawsuit seeks to bar any work by the federal government or its contractor on the spill response, effectively asking the court to allow its oil spill to continue indefinitely.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard submitted a status update to the judge stating that its containment system is now fully installed and operational and the spill is almost fully contained. The containment device has already captured 30,000 gallons of oil. 
"After 14 years, we are glad the Coast Guard is taking action to contain this runaway oil spill," said Dustin Renaud, communications director for Healthy Gulf. "Now we must make sure that they follow through on a permanent solution and ensure a spill like this never goes unchecked again. Rather than relying on industry self-reporting in the future, we must employ independent science and hold companies accountable to the law."
"It's good news from the Coast Guard that the containment device appears to be working despite Taylor Energy's efforts to allow this disaster to continue to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico," said Brettny Hardy, attorney from Earthjustice. "Now that Healthy Gulf is a party in the litigation, we will keep the pressure on to ensure the containment is complete and effective in putting an end to the longest oil spill in American history."
Background:
Healthy Gulf and its partner organizations discovered the existence of the Taylor Energy spill by chance in 2010 when out on a monitoring mission for the Deepwater Horizon spill. Since then, the organization has repeatedly asked the federal government to hold Taylor accountable and stem the uncontrolled flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now that the government has finally taken such action, Healthy Gulf is moving to help defend that action and ensure that remediation of the Taylor spill is taken and that a long term plan is in place to stop the release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

###
Founded in 1994, Healthy Gulf, formerly Gulf Restoration Network, is a nonprofit focused on empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico region.
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May 16, 2019

Earth: May 17th is Endangered Species Day. Take action for elephants!


----- Forwarded message ----
From: Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) <cdoyle@pawsweb.org>
Date: Thu, May 16, 2019, 9:59 AM
Subject: May 17th is Endangered Species Day. Take action for elephants!
To: 

Tomorrow, May 17th, is Endangered Species Day and PAWS is calling for special action to protect Asian elephants in Thailand.

Recently, Thailand announced it would lift a 10-year ban on the export of live captive elephants, allowing the animals to be shipped out of the country for "research" or "diplomatic" purposes. Regulations will also allow elephant products or parts to be exported for designated purposes.

Thai Foreign Trade Department Director-general Adul Chotenisakorn reportedly stated that exported elephants would have to be "treated properly by experts in accordance with the standards set by the World Association for (sic) Zoos and Aquariums" and CITES (Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

This statement sends up a red flag: There are no criteria to determine what destinations may be "appropriate and acceptable" for wild animals under CITES. Destinations have included Chinese zoos, where wild-caught African elephant calves from Zimbabwe are languishing in utterly inadequate conditions and, in some cases, forced to perform in circus-style shows. Some calves reportedly have died.

The Thai regulations would also prop up the greater zoo industry, where elephants are not thriving. For example, zoos in North America have been unable to establish self-sustaining populations of African or Asian elephants, and the number of elephants is steadily decreasing. Zoos remain dependent on elephant imports to maintain elephants for display.

Not only is it inhumane to ship elephants to faraway zoos, causing immeasurable stress and the trauma of probable separation of calves and mothers, exports of elephants will provide further incentive for the illegal capture of wild elephants who are then passed off as "captive." To feed the Thai tourist industry wild elephants are already being captured, including those smuggled in from Laos and Myanmar. By lifting the ban Thailand will only exacerbate this problem. In addition, the export of elephant parts and products will encourage the illegal wildlife trade.

Take action!

It's time to let the Thai government know that the world rejects the export of live elephants, their parts and products, with this multi-pronged action on May 17:

1. Send a message to the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC (if you live outside the U.S., please contact the consulate in your country). You can find a contact form here. Please keep your message simple and polite. You can use this sample:

To H.E. Mr. Virachai Plasai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary:

I am greatly disturbed that Thailand is lifting its ban on the export of live elephants, their parts and products – even if it is for research or diplomatic purposes. Not only is it inhumane to ship elephants to faraway zoos, the export of elephants will provide further incentive for the illegal capture of wild elephants. Likewise, allowing the export of elephant parts and products will only encourage the illegal wildlife trade.

Despite the best efforts of your government, elephants are sure to suffer and the illegal wildlife trade will flourish. This means that Asian elephants, already a highly endangered species, will be even more at risk.

I respectfully ask that the Thai government reconsider its decision and make the protection of Thailand's elephants – both wild and captive – a priority. Please share my message with His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

2. Tweet the Royal Thai Embassy at @Thaiembdc: Thailand: Save endangered Asian elephants! Reinstate ban on export of live elephants, their parts and products now! #ESDaySOS

3. Comment on the Royal Thai Embassy Facebook page. Please be polite!

4. Share this alert on social media!

Want to do more?

If your Congressperson is on one of the following committees, please send a message, call and/or Tweet. International wildlife conservation efforts come under the purview of both of these committees. Ask your Congressperson to publicly oppose Thailand's decision to lift its ban on the export of live captive elephants, and elephant parts and products. Tell them this action will adversely affect the conservation of Asian elephants by incentivizing the illegal capture of wild elephants and passing them off as "captive." It will also encourage the illegal trade in ivory and other elephant parts and products. Remind them that Asian elephants are highly endangered!

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Click here to see all members of the committee.

U.S. Natural Resources Committee. Click here to see all members of the committee.

Thank you for taking action on Endangered Species Day!



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May 2, 2019

MN: House votes to end wolf hunting

----- Forwarded message ----
From:Howling For Wolves <respond@howlingforwolves.org>
Date: Wed, May 1, 2019, 10:24 AM
Subject: MN House votes to end wolf hunting
To: 

Dear wolf advocate:

FANTASTIC NEWS IN MN: Yesterday was an epic day! The Minnesota House of Representatives voted to prohibit wolf trophy hunting in Minnesota! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who reached out to their legislators - now and in the past. We know it made a difference for the vote and the wolf. See how your House member voted and our media statement here.

The wolf hunting prohibition is part of a large environment bill in the House and will be negotiated with the state Senate.

FEDERAL WOLF DELISTING: The U.S. Department of Interior continues their quest to remove Endangered Species Act protections for all wolves in the United States and is taking public comments until May 14. Delisting puts their fate in the hands of many states who could implement hunting and trapping seasons immediately. Clearly this will be a death sentence for many wolves. Howling For Wolves stands for continued federal protections to ensure the wolf's long-term survival.

NATIONAL HEARINGS THIS WEEK:
  • Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (Republican) is holding an open, public meeting to hear comments on the proposed delisting. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services staff will be there, along with many local decision-makers. The event is from 10 AM to 1 PM this Friday, May 3, at Hudson House Grand Hotel, 1616 Crest View Drive, Hudson, WI, which is very near the Twin Cities, Minnesota. There will be a short presentation, and then the audience will have an opportunity to make statements. This is not a question/answer forum. Please attend if you can and make a short comment against the delisting.
  • Wolf supporters are holding a public hearing on the delisting in Sacramento, California this Thursday, May 2. Details are available here. 
  • Wolf supporters are holding a public hearing in Portland, Oregon on Monday, May 6. Details are on their Facebook page here. 
You can oppose the federal delisting on the Howling For Wolves TAKE ACTION website (top link). We have prepared a customizable comment - and encourage you to add your own personal statement as well. Our system will automatically submit your comment for you. If you're a business owner, please add your name to this group letter opposing federal wolf delisting.

Congratulations on a great win in Minnesota.

 -Maureen Hackett, MD
 President and Founder, Howling For Wolves
Donate Now: Help Us Protect Wolves
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