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Vibrant Environment

An Endangering Act? Proposed Regulatory Changes to the Endangered Species Act

Wolf
By Lovinia Reynolds , Research Associate
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

On July 19, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their highly anticipated proposed changes to the rules implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Enacted in 1973, the ESA is credited with saving iconic American species like the bald eagle and the grizzly bear. It is one of the hallmark pieces of legislation of the early environmental movement and the legislation for species conservation in the United States. While the public generally supports the Act, the ESA is notoriously controversial for corporations and agribusiness. Industries such as oil and gas, land development, and mining criticize the ESA as a costly barrier to project development. Supporters of the ESA highlight its role in preventing the extinction of species that are crucial to U.S. ecosystems.

The Importance of Wetlands: The 2018 National Wetlands Awards

2018 National Wetlands Awardees (Roxie B. Photography)
By Kathryn R. Campbell, Staff Attorney; Senior Editor; Manager, National Wetlands Awards
Monday, May 21, 2018

“These places hold the world together,” said National Wetlands Awardee Latimore M. Smith of wetlands during his award acceptance speech. Simple words spoken to him early in his career as he explored a Louisiana bog, they continue to hold profound meaning and inspire him to this day. At the National Wetlands Awards ceremony that took place on May 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C., each of the six awardees shared stories about what inspired them in their efforts to protect and preserve wetlands.

What the Shell? The Story of the Pearl River Map Turtle

The Pearl River map turtle, unrecognized as a species by the U.S. government, ha
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Pearl River map turtle, found only in Louisiana and Mississippi, has been described as the least-known species of the least-studied turtle genus in North America. Sadly, it may become extinct before it becomes known. While the species is recognized internationally and by the state of Mississippi, the U.S. government does not acknowledge it, and that obscurity is harming its existence. In the March issue of ELR’s News & Analysis, Kristina Alexander explains why listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be the only way to save it from extinction.

Cryptocurrency—A New Tool to Help Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Tiger Alliance cryptocurrency is a new tool for mobilizing anti-trafficking reso
By Sara Kaufhardt, Research and Publications Intern
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The enforcement of wildlife trafficking laws suffers from a lack of capacity in “hotspot” countries to combat the powerful economic incentives for poaching endangered species. However, emerging technologies create new opportunities to counter these incentives for poaching by harnessing the economic incentives to protect ecosystems, natural resources, and wildlife.

A Problem in Small-Scale Fisheries Management in Spain and a Need to Rethink Implementation of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy

ACERGA fishing skipper Marcos Alfeirán during the protest camp in late 2015, NOS
By Xiao Recio-Blanco, Director, Ocean Program
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Galician Association of Purse-Seine Vessel Owners (ACERGA by its acronym in Galician) is the largest association of purse-seine vessel owners in Spain. Over a year ago, ACERGA fishers and many members of their families camped in front of the main building of the government of Galicia (northwestern Spain), demanding that their voice be heard in the regulatory process for determining Spain’s annual fishing quota distribution of mackerel and horse mackerel.

Represent a Wildlife Whistleblower: Announcing the NWC’s Wildlife Whistleblower Attorney Referral Service

Confiscated Wildlife Products at JFK Airport, Steve Hillebrand
By Meera Gajjar, Staff Attorney, National Whistleblower Center
Monday, May 1, 2017

It’s time to take the fight against wildlife trafficking from the jungles to the judges. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) recently launched its Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, and it is now seeking attorneys who are ready to join the vanguard by representing wildlife whistleblowers. This means helping whistleblowers develop effective reports and qualify for rewards under U.S. laws.

The Ecological Impacts of a Border Wall

Rio Grande River
By Caitlin Meagher , Research & Publications Intern - Spring 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017

Often lost in discussions of efficacy and payment relating to the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall is what would happen to the environment if a concrete divider were placed across a nearly-2,000 mile swath of habitat. While wall-like barriers already stand on hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding to a full-border wall would constitute a massive transformation of the rest of the United States’ southern borderlands, posing substantial threats to the wildlife that roam the area.

Saving the African Pangolin: The Case of Zimbabwe

White-bellied pangolin, National Botanic Garden of Belgium
By Nyasha Frank Mpahlo, Visiting Fellow
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Human threats to pangolins in Zimbabwe have been kept in check for hundreds of years by traditional practices, but the recent globalization of illicit trade in these scaly, anteater-like mammals has threatened to exterminate them. Held in high regard by traditional chiefs, village headmen, and the tribal communities in general, the pangolin has historically benefitted from human protection in Africa. Zimbabwean folklore advised that the hunting of the pangolin (haka) be strictly controlled, and the deliberate taming of the pangolin was a serious offense.

Thanks to Environmental Pioneers in the United States Who Set the Example for the Rest of the World

William Eichbaum, former Vice President World Wildlife Fund
By Robbin Marks, Vice President, Development & Membership
Thursday, May 12, 2016

ELI was founded in 1969—a time when U.S. environmental law was in its infancy and needed a place for cultivation and growth (an imperative that is still incredibly relevant today given the interconnectedness and severity of conservation challenges across the globe). At that moment in time, individuals across the country looked around and saw rivers catching on fire, poor air quality making it hard for children to breathe, and unfettered toxic pollution.