climate change

TLC Joins Environmental Groups Opposing Trump Admin Decision

The Trump administration finalized changes rolling back the Endangered Species Act on Monday. Regulators will now be allowed to factor in economic considerations when granting “endangered” status, species classified as “threatened” will see their protections weakened, and scientists will be limited in setting climate change-related protections. Critics say the changes were made to clear the way for mining, drilling and development projects in areas populated by protected species. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries. He is currently under investigation for possible ethics violations. The 46-year-old landmark Endangered Species Act has saved over 99% of classified animals, plants and insects since its inception. It’s credited with protecting the grizzly bear, the humpback whale and the bald eagle from extinction, among many others.

Environmental groups, Democratic lawmakers, and attorneys general have vowed to fight the changes. The Sierra Club called the move the “Trump Extinction Plan.” The International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement, “The most comprehensive assessment of biodiversity ever completed was released earlier this year and shows that more than one million species are at risk of extinction. These species are inextricably linked to our own well-being, livelihoods, economies, food security, and overall survival. Gutting key protections of the Endangered Species Act is precisely the wrong action for the U.S. to be taking.”

Find more information here: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/12/750479370/trump-administration-makes-major-changes-to-protections-for-endangered-species

Canadian Government Approves Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Ignoring risks to native people, climate and the Salish Sea, the Canadian government today formally approved an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. This decision comes after a major legal victory for British Columbia First Nations in August of 2018. This quashed the Canadian government’s original approval on the basis that they had not conducted adequate consultation with BC First Nations opposed to the project or fully considered the impacts of the pipeline expansion on the Salish Sea.

The Trans Mountain expansion is expected to result in a massive increase in oil tankers originating from the Westridge Marine Terminal, increasing vessel traffic in the shared waters of the Salish Sea from approximately 5 tankers a month to 1 every day, imperiling local residents, further endangering the Southern Resident orca population, and increasing the risk of a catastrophic oil spill of heavy diluted bitumen.

Press release by Earthjustice, representing U.S. Tribes, with quotes by Tribal Leaders https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2019/u-s-tribes-decry-trans-mountain-pipeline-expansion-approval

Quotes from Stand Up To Oil

“The Stand Up to Oil coalition condemns Canada’s approval today of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.” said Rebecca Ponzio, of the Stand Up To Oil campaign and Climate and Fossil Fuel Program Director at Washington Environmental Council. “The Trans Mountain catastrophe transcends the international border—imperiling the endangered Southern Resident orcas, contributing to the cumulative impacts of vessel traffic in the Salish Sea, and exacerbating the risk of oil spills in both Canada and Washington state. We recognize the leadership of Tribes and First Nations in the fight against new oil terminals and we will continue to take action in opposition to any expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.”

“As islanders, the Salish Sea is our everything –it drives our economy and our property values.  The Trans Mountain pipeline’s heavy sinking Alberta tar sand oil will increase oil spill risk for our human and marine community by 700%. We can’t stand idle at the international border as Canadian lawmakers push this through our shared waters. We stand with Tribes and BC First Nations in opposition to the pipeline expansion,” stated Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director, Friends of the San Juans

“By approving the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion, the Canadian government is putting our climate, First Nations, wildlife, and communities on both sides of the border at risk,” said Sierra Club Campaign Representative Stephanie Hillman. “This massive tar sands project would increase tanker traffic through the Salish Sea by 700 percent, devastating our coast and Washington’s already at-risk orca population. The movement across North America to fight back against dirty, dangerous tar sands pipelines isn’t going anywhere. We’ll continue to stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities to ensure that this pipeline is never built.”

“Health professionals across Washington share our Canadian colleagues’ deep disappointment in the Canadian government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline,” said Mark Vossler, MD, President of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This project is disastrous for our climate, violates indigenous sovereignty, and creates unacceptable risks to health– including toxic pollution linked to cancers and the threat of catastrophic oil spill.”

“Trudeau has become the Trump of the North by approving this pipeline. Trudeau is pandering to big oil  and ignoring climate science while jeopardizing the Salish Sea and the people who rely on it due to the significant increase in the likelihood of a catastrophic oil spill,” said Marcie Keever, Oceans & Vessels Program Director, Friends of the Earth US

“While on its face this feels like a setback, the reality is Canada’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline is almost irrelevant. The Asian markets are mythical at best, Washington state has all the tar sands it can handle, and robust opposition from frontline communities in California is preventing their refineries from expanding to take more tar sands. The West Coast has stopped new pipelines and oil tankers before, and we’ll do it again,” said Matt Krogh, Extreme Oil Campaign Director at Stand.earth

“This decision may fly in the face of climate science, indigenous rights, and basic reason, but it does not shake our movement’s resolve. We stopped this pipeline once with the power of the people, and we can do it again. It’s time to resist!” said Kurtis Dengler, Organizer, Mosquito Fleet