MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH
April 16, 2003
The Green Holocaust Files #11: Ape Extinction - Oil Addiction - Water Scarcity - Sludge Dumping - Dolphin Slaughter - UK CO2 Cuts
Here is one of several compilations I'd prepared for you last week. And there are plenty more coming your way.
There is not much to celebrate in this one - except perhaps the last item.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/GreenHolocaust11.htm
"We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thundercloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks... We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander."
-- Henry David Thoreau
"How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
1. Ebola Spurs Fears Of Looming Ape Extinction
2. OIL DEPENDENCE: Addiction rages blindly on
3. WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT Bulletin 69
4. Ships Dumping Sludge At Sea
5. GATT-Zilla vs. Flipper
6. Slaughter Season open for dolphins in Japan
7. UK Beats Greenhouse Gas Targets [by almost 200%]
OUR CLIMATE: DEAD OR ALIVE? Schumann's Resonances and Vision 2020 (VERY LONG!)
(...) This military array in Alaska and others like it around the world have the potential to deliver an equivalent nuclear detonation to a long-range target without warning, without the missile and without the radiation. One of 12 U.S. HAARP patents is titled: U.S. Patent 4873928: Nuclear-Sized Explosions Without Radiation. The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is a congressionally initiated program jointly managed by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. Using 3 gigawatts of power (3 billion watts) from a 23-acre site in Gakona, Alaska, it is considered the most powerful array on Earth. Another ability of an array such as HAARP could be used to heat radiate people within a large yet distant target, even a buried underground bunker or cave network. This would minimize public and international opposition to such a response as the effects, although not as visual as tactical nuclear detonations, provides a similar broad termination of targets. The world may not even realize anything had happened and thus large-scale enemy losses in one location without physical munitions detonations may be played down or passed off as conventional combat or Special Forces action. (...) While there is no concrete evidence of HAARP having been used, scientific findings suggest that it is at present fully operational. What this means is that HAARP could potentially be applied by the US military to selectively modify the climate of an "unfriendly nation" or "rogue state" with a view to destabilizing its national economy. Agricultural systems in both developed and developing countries are already in crisis as a result of New World Order policies including market deregulation, commodity dumping, etc. Amply documented, IMF and World Bank "economic medicine" imposed on the Third World and the countries of the former Soviet block has largely contributed to the destabilization of domestic agriculture. In turn, the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have supported the interests of a handful of Western agri-biotech conglomerates in their quest to impose genetically modified (GMO) seeds on farmers throughout the World. It is important to understand the linkage between the economic, strategic and military processes of the New World Order. In the above context, climatic manipulations under the HAARP program (whether accidental or deliberate) would inevitably exacerbate these changes by weakening national economies, destroying infrastructure and potentially triggering the bankruptcy of farmers over vast areas. Surely national governments and the United Nations should address the possible consequences of HAARP and other "non-lethal weapons" on climate change. (Michel Chossudovsky, 2000) Hopefully we will come to appreciate this fully before our technology drives the planet so far from the norm that the trajectory of human evolution is altered forever. Thus, the study of the relationship of our bodies, the electromagnetic environment and interaction with potentially planet-altering technology is more important than ever to understand on the subtlest levels. It seems mankind now has the daunting task of determining whether the ionosphere and SR will remain alive or dead whether the Voice of the Planet will continue to sing out or not.
More at http://www.geocities.com/nwbotanicals1/index.htm - Sent by <email@example.com>
Belizean macaws and tapirs threatened by dam project
Canadian dam threatens jaguar habitat
Belize groups to take Chalillo dam case to Privy Council in England
IF WE CANNOT EVEN PROTECT SPECIES AS IMPORTANT AS THE GORILLAS AND CHIMPANZEES, THEN WHAT HOPE IS THERE THAT WE WILL SUCCEED IN PREVENTING THE COMPLETE DEVASTATION OF THIS JEWEL OF LIFE CALLED EARTH?
Forwarded by Mark Elsis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ebola Spurs Fears Of Looming Ape Extinction
by Sean Markey, National Geographic News, April 7, 2003
For more than a year, conservationists in equatorial Africa have witnessed an Ebola epidemic burn a deadly trail through great apes at the heart of their range. The lethal virus has felled hundreds of endangered western gorillas and common chimpanzees from populations already devastated by commercial hunting and habitat loss elsewhere on the continent. Now, in the latest grave news from the region, researchers announced yesterday that numbers of great apes in Gabon have declined by more than half in less than 20 years. Experts fear the decline is even greater outside Gabon and that, unless trends are reversed, great apes could become effectively extinct in as little as two generations.
Researchers report great apes species including western gorillas (above) and common chimpanzees in Gabon have been halved in less than 20 years, felled by disease and poaching.
"This is a catastrophic decline of great apes in an area that contains the bulk of the world's remaining populations," said Peter Walsh, a quantitative ecologist at Princeton University and lead author of the study.
Concerned that standard conservation interventions will not work quickly enough, researchers call for aggressive law enforcement, protected areas management, and Ebola research and intervention measures to slow the rapid decline of great apes. "The other stuff is not working," said Walsh.
Among the countries of western equatorial Africaa region that includes Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African RepublicGabon and the Republic of Congo are considered ecological crown jewels. Tropical forests still cover 80 to 60 percent of the respective countries. Human populations remain relatively low. Last year, Gabon president Omar Bongo established 13 new national parks. The region is home to 80 percent of the world's western gorillas and most of its common chimpanzees. Which makes news of great ape declining fortunes there all the more troubling.
"If chimpanzees and gorillas are in trouble in Gabon, an area known for its pristine, unbroken forests, then we have a species-wide crisis on our hands," Lee White, a Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist who has worked in Gabon for the past decade and study co-author, said in a news release.
The survey warns that unless current trends are reversed, great ape species in the region will decline by another 80 percent in less than 30 years, or two generations, if not sooner, effectively signaling their extinction from Africa.
A 1995 study of great ape numbers in Gabon based population estimates on the percentage of forest cover. The formula failed to account for the impacts of commercial poaching and Ebola epidemics, which felled great ape numbers while leaving forests intact.
Researchers based the new estimate on extensive ground surveys of gorilla and chimpanzee nests in protected and prospective protected areas conducted between 1998 and 2002. Their analysis also factored in regional proximity to cities and incidences of human Ebola outbreaks.
The new study confirms what wildlife experts on the ground have long suspected and provides the first accurate handle on their true numbers, said Rebecca Kormos, a research fellow with the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, in Washington, D.C.
"A lot of deaths from the Ebola epidemic have occurred since this survey was finished, and it's done a lot of damage," said Walsh. "The situation is even worse than those numbers say."
Researchers noted that populations have not declined by 56 percent across the board. "What's left now is sort of islands of gorillas and chimpanzees
and other areas where they've been wiped out completely," said Walsh.
The survey noted that ape densities declined by 99 percent in the Minkébe forest of northern Gabon in the last decade. Ebola was the likely cause.
"It's mind-boggling how bad this news is," John Robinson, a senior vice president of international conservation programs with Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a news release.
Guns and Guards
Habitat lost to logging and agriculture once posed the greatest single threat to great apes in Africa. But commercial hunting and Ebola have leap-frogged to the fore in recent years.
Africa confronts a growing crisis in the bush meat trade. Commercial hunters using snares and guns strip an estimated one million tons of wildlife from forests to supply logging camps and distant cities with smoked bush meat. Trade has grown into a U.S. $1 billion-a-year industry.
While Gabon does have a crack, national anti-poaching team, it is too small and under funded to grapple with the scope of the country's bush meat problem, Walsh said. To intervene effectively, arming park guards, conducting regular anti-poaching patrols, establishing road blocks and vehicle searches, and searching trains and airlines for smuggled bush meat are necessary steps, Walsh said.
Other wildlife experts agree. "I think there are many different solutions, not just guns and guards. But that's also part of it," said Kormos, a great ape expert who has spent five years working in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. "Because at the end of the day you have to make a decision. If these species are really going to disappear because of bush meat hunting, well sometimes fairly strong actions are needed."
While controversial, similar law enforcement measures have proven effective elsewhere in Africa. In the 1980s the Kenyan government armed Kenyan Wildlife Service guards with semiautomatic G-3 rifles and shoot on sight authority to battle ivory poachers who killed close to 80 percent of the country's wild elephants and black rhinos in just two decades. Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and, more recently, the Central African Republic have enforced similar programs.
Meanwhile, commercial logging companies still routinely cut inside park boundaries in Gabon, Walsh said. Enforced park borders, park management plans, budgets, and other protected area management strategies are needed, he said.
National park systems and wildlife agencies in many African countries often lack basic resources to deal with complex problems facing them. "They're highly underfunded. Park guards have very little resources, very little training. And conservation staff from international conservation organizations often can't provide the support that they need to," said Kormos.
How to intervene in the Ebola outbreak sweeping through great apes in the region poses a thornier issue.
An outbreak in Gabon a decade ago may have killed thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The latest epidemic, most visible in Congo's Lossi sanctuary and now approaching gorilla-dense Odzala National Park, has spread like wildfire through 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles) and shows no sign of slowing down, according to Walsh.
The crisis has highlighted some disagreement within scientific circles as to the origins and true nature of the Ebola epidemic and what steps, if any, can be taken to arrest its spread.
Scientists are still seeking answers to such basic questions about where Ebola hides, how is it transmitted, and whether growing incidents of the disease is the result of human ecological change, as most commonly believed, or a spatial epidemic.
Those answers will ultimately determine what course of action to take. Is there little to do but watch disease burn itself out? Or can more aggressive measures, such as constructing epidemic "firebreaks" along rivers and roads, developing vaccination programs, relocating healthy animals, and culling the reservoir hosts of the virus, be taken?
Walsh and other paper authors demand that U.S. $10 million be immediately added to the budget of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Ape Fund for Ebola research and prevention.
They've also requested that the World Conservation Union upgrade western gorilla and common chimpanzees from "endangered" to "critically endangered" status.
Top researchers in human and ape Ebola met late last month in Brazzaville, Congo, to discuss the unfolding crisis. A second meeting hosted by Conservation International will be held in Washington, D.C. late next month.
"The idea that this is just a bunch of crazy environmentalists who only care about gorillas and chimpanzees is misplaced," said Walsh. "Our ability to understand the ecological dynamics of emerging disease is absolutely fundamental to preventing those emerging diseases from devastating humans, both in the remote places in the developing world and in the developed worldUnited States underlined."
A summary of the research appears in the current online edition of the science journal Nature.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" <email@example.com>
OIL DEPENDENCE: Addiction rages blindly on
April 10, 2003
By STEPHEN HESSE
Too bad the Iraq war is not just about oil. It would be much easier to fathom if it were. Similarly, dealing with the world's oil addiction would be far easier if it were a simple, zero-sum game, rather than a combination of grave dependencies and threats to human and environmental security on a global scale.
Since preparations to invade Iraq began, the Bush administration has been unable to allay suspicions that this war is all about oil. One after another, the rationales given have crumbled, as the United States has failed to document links between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 attacks, and United Nations weapons inspectors have come up empty-handed, leaving world opinion justifiably suspicious.
Bush supporters, seeking to counter skepticism, have assured the world that going to war for oil simply makes no sense. Why take oil by force when it is so much cheaper and easier to buy it? But for observers from Tokyo to Tehran, Bush has proven himself a man of principle at any cost. Clearly he would rather go to war than do business with a man who trumped his daddy. If Texans have a saying for this, it's probably something along the lines of, "Better to kick butt and die, than to eat humble pie."
Bush's efforts to corral public opinion with talk of democracy have only further inflamed suspicions. Vowing to free the Iraqi people and bring democracy to the Middle East, Bush has tried to harness the bold, big-hearted and altruistic American rhetoric of the 20th century. More than two years of U.S. unilateralism on the international stage have taken their toll, however, and to the ears of the world the Bush rhetoric smacks of thinly disguised hegemony.
On the most primitive level, Bush has never tried to hide his personal desire to depose Saddam Hussein, and finding a reason to do so has appeared a mere ancillary necessity. As for the oil, Bush will likely view it as the "just" spoils of a "just" invasion, a chance to set the corporate ledger "straight" for big oil: Iraq's national oil interests were, until 1972, privately owned by Mobil, Exxon, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and the French company CFP.
Beyond present concerns over the Iraq war, the larger truth about U.S. oil policy is equally, if not more, disturbing. One commentator asserts that the Bush administration is intent on ensuring our global economy remains addicted to oil.
Michael Renner, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, wrote in the January/February World Watch magazine: "Only in the most direct sense is the Bush administration's Iraq policy directed against Saddam Hussein. In a broader sense, it aims to reinforce the world economy's reliance on oil -- undermining efforts to develop renewable energy sources, boost energy efficiency and control greenhouse-gas emissions."
If Renner is right -- and Bush's domestic and international energy initiatives indicate that he is -- then the world community will have to depend on "new" Europe and Asia to begin countering the "old world" energy and environmental policies of the United States. This means first and foremost weaning ourselves off our oil addiction.
From a long-term perspective, oil is lethal. The welfare of human society and the global environment face no greater threat than our pervasive consumption of petroleum. With every barrel we guzzle we contribute to the mounting problems of plastic waste, toxic chemicals in our air, water and soil, and advancing global warming with its resulting climate change.
Resource wars, too, are on the short list of global threats posed by oil. None of these dangers should come as a surprise to policymakers. In this month's issue of The Ecologist, writer David Fleming explains that we have known for decades that oil dependence would begin to haunt us early in the 21st century. He cites reports from 1972, 1976 and 1980, all of which agreed that "it would take many years to develop new sources of energy on the necessary scale, so the sooner it started, the better."
Though awareness dawned more than two decades ago, nothing has changed. As Fleming notes, "Nobody blinked. America, having watched its own oil pass its peak in 1971, simply started to buy it in."
To a far greater extent than most of us realize, oil dominates our lives. Not just the oil that fuels our cars, trucks and electricity generation, but also the oil that the petrochemical industry processes into everyday products. Take a look around and see how many objects you can identify that contain no petrochemicals. Sitting over my laptop at my dining table, I spotted just a handful, mostly food, paper and clothing items.
Jeremy Smith, writing in the same issue of The Ecologist, notes how plastics have even taken over our bodies. "Unhappy with our looks, we enhance our breasts, calves and pecs with plastic . . . we weave nylon fibers into our denuded scalps . . . slip in a contact lens . . . we've got plastic dentures so like the real thing no one need ever know," Smith notes.
Looking around, it is easy to imagine that plastics have always been with us, but they are a relatively new phenomena. Just 80 years ago, says Smith, the fledgling petrochemical industry "took advantage of the abundance of hydrocarbons at petrochemical refineries to develop the raw materials for the plastinated luxuries we now 'need.' "
Though it may seem now that we have few other choices, Smith notes that at the same time petrochemicals were taking off, "the only product to have more uses than oil, but with none of the toxic side effects, was banned (thanks mainly to the same people who developed the plastics industry). That product was hemp -- the oil of which can drive cars, create plastics or be made into soap, the fibres of which can be turned into paper or clothes, and the seed of which is one of the most nutritious substances known."
The development of hemp was nipped in the bud, however, when it and its more potent cousin, marijuana, were outlawed, "thanks to the efforts of Dupont and William Randolph Hearst (with their respective vested interests in the plastics and paper industries)," writes Smith.
Today, hemp is being rediscovered as a "green" alternative to paper and petrochemical products. Ironically, while hemp has proven harmless, and marijuana arguably less dangerous than tobacco, the greed of 20th-century corporate patriarchs has ensured that our society is now helplessly addicted to oil and petrochemicals.
Stephen Hesse welcomes readers' comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 11 Apr 2003
From: Teresa Perez <email@example.com>
Subject: WRM Bulletin 69
WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
MOVIMIENTO MUNDIAL POR LOS BOSQUES
Maldonado 1858; Montevideo, Uruguay
Web page: http://www.wrm.org.uy
Editor: Ricardo Carrere
W R M B U L L E T I N 69
April 2003 - English edition
This bulletin is now also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Please let us know if you wish to receive it in some of these languages.
In this issue:
* OUR VIEWPOINT
- The struggle to avoid war
* LOCAL STRUGGLES AND NEWS
- Congo, Democratic Republic: Cell phones, forest destruction and death
- Kenya: Canadian titanium mining challenged by new government
- Liberia: "Logs of War" arrive in Italy
- South Africa: Timber industry and not medicinal plant gatherers behind forest loss
- East Timor: Survival, oil and sovereignty
- Laos: Asian Development Bank to support proposed Nam Theun 2 dam
- Malaysia: The plight of women workers in oil palm plantations
- Vietnam starts resettlement to make way for massive Son La dam
- Belize: Another turn of the screw on the Chalillo dam project
- Guatemala: Indigenous rights and logging licenses
- United States: Kinkos says no to genetically engineered trees
- Argentina: Echoes of the plebiscite against Canadian mining exploitation
- Brazil: Social and environmental disaster caused by paper mill
- Brazil: The need to avoid eucalyptus causing the same damage in Sao Paulo as it has done in Minas Gerais
- Uruguay: Inhuman working conditions at a Chilean forestry company plantation
- Papua New Guinea: Malaysian companies logging out the forest
* PLANTATIONS DEBATE
- Do you believe in Planted Forests?
- The struggle to avoid war
While the bombs still fall, the military tanks roll on, thousands of people die, the probable victors are already sharing out the loot. That is what this war was all about. Saddam and his mythical weapons of mass destruction were no more than a not very credible excuse. The whole world knew and still knows it. Both the oil and the lucrative contracts to reconstruct what they themselves destroyed are already in "good" hands.
In this case, the immaculate fluorescent green war, with fireworks launched by "intelligent weapons" and "friendly fire" presented by CNN was complemented by the war of pain, death and destroyed bodies shown by Al-Jazeera. Unlike the Gulf war -- where we only saw the fireworks -- this time the world entire world watched in horror the spectacle of the real war.
However, whether the war is shown to us in a real or in a virtual way, it should be pointed out that in both cases we run the same risk: that of growing accustomed to it. The horror and indignation over a war that we all know is unjust and whose televised pictures enter our houses daily, is followed by the acceptance that there will be more wars. There is already talk of Iran, Syria, North Korea, as episodes that are as outrageous as inevitable of a permanent war. This is the greatest challenge: to avoid becoming accustomed to war and to continue fighting for peace.
For years now, it is being said that the next wars will be over water. It is considered inevitable. Books are written and pictures made on the issue. You only have to wait for water to get scarcer for the inevitable denouement to take place. However, it is as avoidable as was the war that so many human beings are now suffering.
Of course, if the world continues along the path it is following, water will become scarce. What is more, drinking water is already scarce in many parts of the world, both in the north and in the south because of the unsustainable production and consumption model imposed throughout the planet. As a consequence of this model, forests and wetlands --the regulators of water par excellence-- continue to disappear. Watercourses continue to be modified and obstructed by large hydroelectric dams. Industry contaminates water sources all over the planet. Commercial agriculture continues to poison the land with agrochemicals that end up by contaminating water. The enormous monoculture eucalyptus plantations pump out millions of litres of water from the soil and prevent the water table from being replenished. All these events are reflected in articles describing very real situations in this same bulletin.
However, it is important to note that none of this is inevitable. On the contrary, peoples are crying out and struggling all over the world to avoid it. Against their governments, against the large corporations, against international organizations. Some times, they succeed, some times, they are defeated. Nevertheless, they struggle to avoid it.
However, from the centres of power, war continues to be chosen. Against nature, against water and against the people. Instead of addressing the causes generating the loss of water resources, the large companies have chosen to appropriate water. The privatization process is rapidly advancing and water --an essential resource for all living beings-- is gradually being taken over by the large corporations whose only objective is to make a profit. It is well known that the scarcer a resource is, the greater the profit for those who own it.
If we continue along this path, the consequences will of course be the usual ones: multinational water companies in one country will confront multinational water companies in another. Those of the stronger country will invade those of the weaker country. Not in their own countries of course, but in third party countries governed by some tyrant put into power by one of the two bands. Just as if water were oil.
It is time for common sense to prevail over madness. Humanity's resources should be precisely that: resources of and for humanity. So far, no dictionary has stated that the word "company" is a synonym of "humanity." Water is the source of all life and therefore access to water is a primordial human right. Its defence starts by protecting the ecosystems that ensure the water cycle --in particular forests and wetlands-- and ends by ensuring that each human being has drinking water available in accordance with his/her needs.
The war for water simply must not take place. Never. However, to ensure this, we now have to confront policies and actions leading to degradation and privatization of water in every corner of the planet and, at the same time, promote policies and actions leading to its conservation and equitable distribution. Citizens have the historic role of ensuring that their governments place the rights of their citizens before those of transnational companies, favouring life over death, peace over war. Each person has a role to fulfil, from defending a forest to opposing a dam, from promoting organic agriculture to opposing mining and oil exploitation, from advocating a legislation favouring conservation and equitable use of water to opposing monoculture tree plantations. It is possible. The war over water can be avoided. It is a task for us all.
CLIP - To read the rest of this bulletin go at http://www.wrm.org.uy
Forwarded by Mark Elsis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ships Dumping Sludge At Sea
by Craig Welch, The Seattle Times, April 7, 2003
It happens where no one sees it: In the dead of night, on the high seas, ships dump tons of toxic, oily sludge into the Pacific Ocean then falsify records to cover it up.
In the Northwest alone, a federal crackdown on ship pollution has put a captain and six chief engineers in prison in the past year for installing makeshift devices to pump engine-room waste overboard. These seven cases involving up to 20 ships generated millions of dollars in fines.
The shippers covered up the illegal dumping by ordering crew members to hide evidence, obtain fake waste-disposal receipts, paint over brackets used to bypass pollution controls even lie to grand juries. One chief engineer pleaded guilty last month to discharging 20 tons of oily sludge on one voyage from Japan to Vancouver, Wash.
No one knows how often such discharges occur, but investigators say dumping is so common they may be just scratching the surface.
Last week a South Korean engineer surrendered to U.S. marshals, and another awaits sentencing in Tacoma in a case that goes to trial this month. The Department of Justice is investigating others.
David Uhlmann, the Justice Department's environmental-crimes chief in Washington, D.C., said the problem appears "so rampant and so pervasive within the maritime industry" that his agency has ramped up enforcement, prosecuting cases up and down both coasts.
"It suddenly seems like the more we look, the more we find, and we know we're being fooled a lot of the time," said Norm Davis, who oversees ship inspectors for the state Department of Ecology in Puget Sound.
At issue is how cargo and container ships deal with waste oil, solvents and lubricants that leak and accumulate in a ship's engine room. Typically, the water and oil are separated, and the oil is stored as sludge in a tank. Some ships burn the contaminated goo in on-board incinerators, while others store it until the ship docks, where it is off-loaded for proper disposal.
But on-board, separators and incinerators need careful maintenance, some brands break down, and some don't have enough processing capacity. Sludge can be expensive and take time to get rid of. Some ships install hoses to bypass pollution-control systems and pump the waste overboard.
It's impossible to gauge the environmental damage, but oil can kill fish, [one gallon of gasoline pollutes 250,000 gallons of water] mammals, birds and their offspring, and destroy plant life. Scientists contend even small spills in ecologically sensitive areas can cause long-term harm to marine life.
It's equally hard to determine how much oily waste is dumped. A large container ship traveling between Asia and the West Coast on average can produce about 1,000 gallons of toxic sludge. Crew members in several cases admitted they regularly dumped everything. Commercial vessels make roughly 6,100 trips in and out of Washington waters annually.
A National Academy of Sciences study estimated last year that ships worldwide generate 500 million gallons of this sludge. It assumed that roughly 5 percent of waste from the huge tankers was discharged illegally and that 15 percent generated by smaller ships was discharged illegally. The study concluded that 65 million gallons is dumped annually.
Washington inspectors suspect the study significantly underestimated the problem.
"I would say that (study) number is conservatively low, but the issue is can I prove it?" said Mike Watson, chief warrant officer with the Coast Guard in Seattle.
Still, the organization that represents cargo vessels in Washington waters argues that most shipping companies have too much to lose to commit such willful crimes.
"I really don't think it can be that common because of the liability, and reputations at stake," said Mike Moore, director of the Puget Sound Steamship Operators Association. "The guys I talk to regularly, they do not want to fool around with environmental issues. They've put a lot more emphasis on stewardship and procedures and don't want to cut any corners."
Moore, the former head of the Coast Guard in Seattle, acknowledged that until recently violators were rarely caught, and punishment rarely meant jail time. He said no documentation justifies painting the industry with a broad brush based on high-profile bad actors.
"What kind of corporate culture endorses that kind of activity? It doesn't make sense," he said. "That's why I don't think it's widespread."
But Jim Oesterle, criminal-enforcement counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle, said interviews with crew members who move from ship to ship suggest otherwise: "Those we've talked to said this was not aberrant behavior it was viewed as accepted practice on other ships they've worked on," he said.
It is notoriously hard to catch crews illegally dumping sludge. Equipment is easily removed before ships come to shore. The only witnesses, typically, are crew members who are often unwilling to testify against employers. Those who do can face jail time, lose their jobs or be blackballed by the shipping community.
"Obtaining such testimony is challenging," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Chutkow wrote in a sentencing memo for one engineer. " 'Rogue' chief engineers who silently take the blame for limited, but easily provable, pollution-related crimes may be rewarded by employers once they return to their native countries."
Successful investigators, once aboard, typically spot small amounts of residual oil where it doesn't belong and ask why it's not reflected in the vessel's "oil record book," a log required by international law to track all oil use. Sometimes, they get lucky.
In an April 2002 Oregon case, a former crew member tipped off investigators with an e-mail and photographs of an illegal hose system. In a Washington case the same month, the Royal Canadian Air Force happened to pass over a ship and notice oil in its wake.
In an October 2002 case, the chemical tanker Kaede was about to off-load cargo from South Korea in Tacoma when a crewman turned on the vessel's sewage pump, accidentally forcing oil into Commencement Bay. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the ship and found an illegally fabricated hose system and a doctored log book.
Last Tuesday, that ship's chief engineer, Hyeong-Bin Jeong reported to U.S. marshals to begin his 6-month federal prison sentence. The Panama-based owner and Singapore-based ship operator agreed to pay $750,000 and submit its 14-ship fleet to inspections.
In Alaska, Boyang Marine and Boyang Ltd., which move refrigerated seafood on cargo ships, admitted last fall their entire 12-ship fleet had hidden illegal discharges for seven years. Assistant managers at corporate headquarters in South Korea obtained false waste-disposal receipts. Corporate officers ordered engineers to repaint well-used bolts that attached bypass hoses. They told a captain to instruct his crew to lie to a grand jury, according to a plea agreement.
Last fall, Boyang and two other companies agreed to pay $5 million in damages. A captain and chief engineer served six months in prison. Another engineer was sentenced to eight months. Several corporate managers and directors in South Korea were indicted and still are considered fugitives.
Moore, with the Steamship Operators, said that illegal discharges should be prosecuted but that oil-spill volumes have declined so much in the past decade that intentional dumping poses an insignificant environmental threat.
But Seth Tane, with the Oregon-based incinerator manufacturer Therm Tec, said once inspectors find a better way to track the problem, intentional dumping may dwarf accidental spills.
"Once calculating this stuff becomes more of a science, this will turn the shipping industry on its head," he said. "What you're seeing is the tip of the iceberg."
Craig Welch: email@example.com or 206.464.2093
Also forwarded by Mark Elsis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Public Citizen Press Releases
April 4, 2003
"GATT-Zilla vs. Flipper" Dolphin Case Demonstrates How Trade Agreements Undermine Domestic Environmental, Public Interest Policies
Federal Court Hearing Scheduled for Monday, April 7, in San Francisco
Proponents of sweeping trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) always have maintained that U.S. trade commitments do not affect or undermine domestic law. But the Bush administration's attack on a domestic environmental law is the latest proof - the "smoking dolphin," if you will - that trade commitments do lead to the erosion of domestic public interest policies.
On Monday, April 7, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco will hold a hearing in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups to halt the Bush administration's proposed change to the popular "dolphin-safe" labeling law for tuna. This case provides an excellent opportunity to examine the way that today's trade agreements intrude on domestic policy-making in the United States.
The Bush administration announced on Dec. 31, 2002, that it planned to weaken the rules protecting dolphins from encirclement nets used to catch tuna.
Since 1992, the United States has been under orders to weaken the dolphin law in question after it was ruled to be an illegal trade barrier by an international tribunal operating under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT. Recently, Mexico has stepped up threats of WTO action if the law is not changed. The Bush administration action underscores the concerns raised by public interest activists about domestic policies being attacked by foreign nations as illegal trade barriers in secret WTO tribunals.
The following provides a timeline of the challenge to the dolphin law and an explanation of the actions by the Clinton and Bush administration to comply with the resulting trade rulings and threats.
History of Dolphin Trade Case
For reasons that are poorly understood, yellowfin tuna in the Eastern Tropical Pacific often travel with dolphins. In the 1950s, tuna fishermen developed a deadly new method for catching the tuna. They would locate pods of dolphins swimming near the ocean surface and then herd the dolphins, along with the tuna swimming beneath, to the surface. Fishing vessels would then encircle the disoriented animals with giant purse seines, which could be drawn together at the bottom to trap the fish. The dolphins often drowned before they could be brought aboard the boat and released.
Outrage over the practice, which is estimated to have killed seven million dolphins in the region, helped spur Congress in 1972 to pass the Marine Mammal Protection Act. While this act drastically reduced the number of dolphin deaths, fishermen still were permitted under the act's provisions to kill tens of thousands of dolphins per year.
Public concern rose again in 1988, when an environmental activist secretly videotaped large numbers of dolphins being slaughtered on a Panamanian vessel. Congress that year banned tuna imports from countries that failed to meet U.S. dolphin conservation standards. Then in 1990, Congress reacted to a growing grassroots movement by creating the highly popular "dolphin safe" labeling program, which outlawed the use of the label for tuna caught using encirclement nets. In 1992, Congress banned the U.S. sale of all tuna that was not "dolphin safe."
Mexico and several other countries challenged the ban as a violation of the GATT. In 1991, a GATT tribunal ruled that U.S. law violated GATT rules because it treated physically identical "goods" - tuna -differently according to the manner in which they were caught, harvested or processed. Even though such "process and production" distinctions are vital to many environmental and other laws, the GATT tribunal ruled that the United States was allowed to protect dolphins only through "less trade restrictive measures." The panel also ruled that under trade rules, a country may not set regulations on its own markets that have implications reaching beyond its borders.
Initially, the United States did not change its dolphin law to conform with the GATT ruling. The fight over congressional approval of the NAFTA becoming heated and the Clinton administration thought that gutting a popular dolphin protection because of a trade ruling in a case brought by Mexico would threaten congressional approval of NAFTA. The 1991 GATT case had achieved a high profile because it was the first obvious attack on an environmental policy brought under the authority of a trade pact. But GATT rules required a consensus, which the United States could block, before sanctions could be levied.
But in 1995, the dispute resolution rules changed drastically with the formation of the WTO, which had been created by the Uruguay Round of the GATT and approved by Congress the previous year. The WTO featured an automatically binding dispute resolution system, meaning the United States lost its ability to keep the dolphin policy without suffering sanctions.
In 1995, with NAFTA already implemented and the WTO in effect, Mexico threatened to bring a challenge to the WTO over the United States' continuing failure to implement the 1991 GATT dolphin ruling. To avoid the embarrassing spectacle of being ordered by the WTO to "kill Flipper," the Clinton administration sought to weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Shortly after the 1996 election, President Clinton wrote a personal letter to then-Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo declaring that within 30 days of his new term, he would bring the U.S. marine mammal law into compliance with the 1991 GATT ruling.
Through 1996, a coalition of consumer, environmental and wildlife groups fought to uphold the law in Congress. In 1997, after an even bigger push by the Clinton administration, this time directly led by Vice President Al Gore and then-Undersecretary of State Timothy Wirth, Congress amended the Marine Mammal Protection Act. After skirmishes in court, the embargo against tuna caught with purse seines was lifted. However, tuna caught in ways that killed dolphins could not use the coveted "dolphin safe" label - making it considerably less marketable. The law stipulated that tuna caught with encirclement nets could be labeled "dolphin safe" only if a special dolphin safety observer (on boats as long as a football field) witnessed no dolphins deaths. The change to the definition "dolphin safe" was to go into effect only if a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) study mandated by the new legislation concluded that there were no detrimental impacts on dolphin populations by encirclement tuna fishing if certain techniques, such as divers, were used to free trapped animals.
In April 1999, then-Commerce Secretary William Daley announced that based on the results of NMFS' preliminary report, it would implement the 1997 amendment effective February 2, 2000. This would mean that the labeling standard for "dolphin safe" tuna would be weakened from a standard of "no encirclement fishing" to "no observed dolphin deaths." The Mexican government welcomed the tardy implementation of the GATT order.
However, in August 1999, environmentalists led by Earth Island Institute filed suit against the Commerce Department, arguing that Daley had acted arbitrarily and ignored scientific evidence when he promulgated the new regulation. The change in dolphin labeling was temporarily stayed. In April 2000, a U.S. district court ruled against the Commerce Department. In July 2001, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. The Mexican government revived its threats of a new WTO case.
Mexican tuna could still be imported under the law the Clinton administration had persuaded Congress to pass. It just could not be labeled "dolphin safe." Mexico argued that this situation did not satisfy the GATT ruling of 1991 and continued to hold the threat of a WTO case over the United States' head.
Watching two different administrations scramble to kill a popular domestic law at the mere threat of WTO action puts into perspective why so many countries no longer wait for a formal WTO challenge before weakening laws under attack.
In 2002, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans attempted to introduce identical regulations as the Daley rules to change the definition of "dolphin safe" to comply with Mexico's GATT-WTO demands. Last September, NMFS released the final report on dolphin populations required by the 1997 statute. The report found that dolphin stocks are depleted, that purse seine nets exert stress on dolphins and that dolphins are not recovering. However, another study required by the 1997 statute found that "purse-seine fishery is not having a significant adverse impact on any depleted dolphin stock."
On the basis of this latter report, on Dec. 31, 2002, Secretary Evans announced the Commerce Department would allow "dolphin safe" labels on tuna caught using the dolphin encirclement technique. Environmental groups filed suit and a temporary stay was granted in early January 2003. A hearing in the case is now scheduled on April 7 in San Francisco.
It is easy to lose track of why three presidents, four U.S. trade representatives, five U.S. Congresses, and three Mexican presidents have been working diligently to undermine a remarkably successful U.S. environmental law. But in the end, these most recent and perhaps dolphin-deadly developments illustrate how indeed so-called trade agreements do undermine vital domestic environmental and other public interest policies.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest group.
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Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2003
From: Georgette Bingisser <email@example.com>
Subject: Slaughter Season open for dolphins in Japan
AN URGENT APPEAL FROM TED DANSON
Please forward this message to your friends and family. We must speak out together about what's happening to dolphins and small whales!
The reports from Taiji and Futo, Japan are absolutely terrifying. Over the next five months the fishermen will kill more than one-thousand dolphins, pilot whales and other cetaceans. Unless we take immediate action, the killings will continue. The lives of thousands of dolphins are at stake.
The BlueVoice video team has been on the ground in Futo and Taiji documenting these atrocities. Last year our video exposé raised an international outcry and led to regulations restricting the hunt. This year we launched a spectacularly successful whale/dolphin watching program in Futo to replace the dolphin killing.
Help keep our team in the field. Our video exposés have forced the fishermen to conceal their actions. Now they block roads to the harbor and kill at night. Your support will enable the BlueVoice team to be on the scene to continue to bring this story to the world and end the killing forever.
Take action now by clicking on the links to send emails to the Japanese fishing cooperatives, donate to BlueVoice and tell a friend.
A GOOD EXAMPLE THE U.S. SHOULD FOLLOW
UK Beats Greenhouse Gas Targets [by almost 200%]
by Alex Kirby, BBC News Environment Correspondent, March 7, 2003
British industry has performed far better than expected in cutting emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), ministers say.
Thousands of companies achieved cuts in 2002 totalling nearly three times above the agreed targets.
Most of the reduction was in the steel industry, which has cut output because of severe problems.
But the government says the UK should manage to reduce its overall emissions by almost twice its international obligations.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said industry had cut the amount of CO2 it produced in 2002 by 13.5 million tonnes, more than 10m tonnes above the targets agreed under climate change agreements (CCAs).
The government signed 10-year CCAs in 2000 with 44 industry sectors, representing more than 5,000 companies. They include the UK's most energy-intensive industries - steel, aluminium, cement, chemicals, paper, and food and drink.
Defra says most of the cuts were achieved by the steel sector, but the rest of industry also beat their own targets by almost 1m tonnes.
Levy's silver lining
In 2001 the government introduced the climate change levy, intended to encourage industry and business to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Many industry leaders have objected to it, saying the penalties it imposes on them outweigh any benefits to society.
The government allows energy-intensive industries which sign CCAs to qualify for an 80% reduction in the levy. Of 12,000 individual sites covered by CCAs, 88% met their targets and have had their reductions renewed.
The Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, said: "The UK leads the world in meeting the challenge of climate change, and today's figures are another boost for the government's aim to cut our CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050.
"Estimates show that UK CO2 emissions fell again last year, and industry's contribution under CCAs is significant." He said the result was "very good news for the CCAs".
To achieve the 12.5% cut in greenhouse gases to which the UK is committed internationally, it will need to reduce COs emissions by about 35m tonnes by 2020.
Mr Meacher said he expected the UK to exceed the 12.5% cut, agreed under the Kyoto Protocol.
He said: "I believe we continue to be on target to reach a 23% reduction, which is probably better than any other country in the world, although probably equal with Germany."
The Sustainable Energy Minister, Lord Whitty, said: "This is good news for business, and good news for the environment.
"Industry has shown that it is prepared to play its part in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
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