By, Mary Anne Hitt Director, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign
Reposted from 08/09/2012 3:07 pm. Huffington Post.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) and its chairman, Fred Hochberg, are facing a big decision about a coal project in one of the world’s most treasured places. Disturbing reports are emerging that the bank is considering financing a massive coal project in Australia with taxpayer money that would include an export terminal inside the Great Barrier Reef.
We need your help to put the brakes on this project now. This is only the latest in a string of coal projects supported by Ex-Im Bank that are harming communities and the environment in South Africa, India, and even here in Appalachia.
The project’s backers, India-based GVK and Australia-based Hancock Coal, are telling various media outlets that Ex-Im is prepared to finance equipment for their massive Alpha mine in Australia’s Galilee Basin. The Galilee Basin is ground zero for Australia’s push to triple coal exports, a move that would put Australia well ahead of Saudi Arabia for total carbon exports. The planned projects from Hancock Coal, including the Alpha mine, would not only flood the international market with nearly 8 billion tons of coal (double China’s current annual consumption) but also could ravage one of the world’s unique natural treasures — the Great Barrier Reef. Read the full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-anne-hitt/tell-us-exim-bank-dont-us_b_1757638.html
A Five Year Program consists of a schedule of oil and gas lease sales indicating the size, timing, and location of proposed leasing activity the Secretary determines will best meet national energy needs for the 5-year period following its approval. An area must be included in an approved five year program in order to be offered for leasing. Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act prescribes the major steps involved in developing a five year program including extensive opportunities for public comment. Under section 18, a five year program must to the maximum extent practicable, strike a balance between the potentials for environmental damage, discovery of oil and gas, and adverse impacts on the coastal zone, based on a variety factors required under section 18.
The Proposed Final 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program (PFP) establishes a schedule that is used as a basis for considering where and when oil and gas leasing might be appropriate over a 5-year period.
On June 28, 2012, Secretary Ken Salazar announced the PFP, which is the last of three documents that DOI will issue in connection with establishing the new Five Year Program for 2012 through 2017. The PFP followed the January 2009 Draft Proposed Program (DPP) and the November 2011 Proposed Program (PP). As required by section 18 of the OCS Lands Act, the PFP has been submitted to the President and Congress for a minimum of 60 days, after which the Secretary may approve the Five Year Program. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released the Proposed Final Program decision document (with supporting analyses) and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) immediately after the announcement.
- Proposed Final Program (PFP) decision document
- Programmatic EIS
- Supplemental Documents associated with the PFP and PEIS
|From http://www.boem.gov/Oil-and-Gas-Energy-Program/Leasing/Five-Year-Program/2012-2017/Five-Year-Program.aspx the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management|
ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2012) — Research from the University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton has found that an imbalance of nutrients in reef waters can increase the bleaching susceptibility of reef corals.
Corals are made up of many polyps that jointly form a layer of living tissue covering the calcareous skeletons. They depend on single-celled algae called zooxanthellae, which live within the coral polyps.
The coral animal and the associated zooxanthellae depend on each other for survival in a symbiotic relationship, where the coral supplies the algae with nutrients and a place to live. In turn, the algae offer the coral some products of their photosynthesis, providing them with an important energy source.
High water temperatures can block photosynthetic reactions in the algal cells causing a build-up of toxic oxygen compounds, which threaten the coral and can result in a loss of the zooxanthellae.
Without the algae, corals appear white, a state which is often referred to as ‘bleached’. Bleaching often leads to coral death and mass coral bleaching has had already devastating effects on coral reef ecosystems. Read more at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120819153617.htm
- Target: President Barrack Obama
- Sponsored by: Dean Jacobson, Ph.D., coral ecologist
Please require the Department of State to apply the coral protection that is required by Executive Order 13089, thus ensuring that all FAA projects at the Majuro airport in the Marshall Islands refrain from again using coral reef mining as a source of fill for its airport master plan (this is desirable and indeed possible due to a huge supply of fill in the lagoon, away from coral). By doing so, the “addiction” of destructive coral mining can finally be ended in the Marshall Islands, where living coral is needed to protect the increasingly vulnerable shorelines.
Sign the petition now at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/842/202/338/us-funded-coral-mining-in-the-marshall-islands/
The FAA, in a series of airport improvement projects using local contractors, has unintentionally caused the mining of near-shore lagoon coral reefs as a source of fill; the local EPA has always approved or ignored this practice. For example, in 2008 a large reef was mined by PII (a local company) for the ARFF fire station project (pictures available on Flickr). The US is required to follow a higher environmental road, thanks to Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 13089, which specifically requires protection of coral reefs even outside the US. Yet coral mining has again been approved, and may start within months, if local EPA approves it (for a second time) and if the US Embassy here in Majuro approves the local approval. See ten short videos of the reef at: www.youtube.com/user/atolldino/featured
Small school of feeding parrotfish (“scarids”) at the Majuro reservoir lagoon reef, due to be destroyed by dragline mining for the US FAA funded “RSA project”, a violation of US-RMI compact law and even FAA’s own Order 5050.4B.
08/20/12 Dean Jacobson posted on coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Today, PII, the company that has been permitted to mine a Majuro lagoon coral reef (over 500 meters along the shore) adjacent to the water reservoirs, has after a long pause continued construction work on the ramp onto which a huge dragline crane will be off-loaded from a barge. The EPA Board approval occurred without any examination of the reef that is to be destroyed, and without any EIA or public hearing. (The most recent public hearing considered an earlier plan that did not involve coral mining). This situation is a repetition of the flawed regulatory process, with pressure exerted by the RMI government, to mine the spectacular picnic area reef several kilometers to the west. The lack of transparency and due process was so egregious (and the reef so impressive) that FAA disallowed this dredge plan, and required that fill be obtained “off island”. FAA then reversed itself, and is now allowing a similar near shore coral reef (dredged from a shore-based crane). FAA needs to explain this inconsistency, especially when an alternative source of fill, in the shallow parts of Majuro lagoon, exists, which would prevent coral reef destruction.
I urge all concerned listers to send emails to FAA (email@example.com).
Please note that Ron Simpson now claims that FAA is free from any law designed to avoid damage to sensitive coastal regions, despite the existence of executive order 12114 (which specifically targets airport projects funded by FAA outside the US), and that the RMI is free to destroy its coral reefs with US funds in order to meet the FAA budget restrictions. This is not right.
By the way, a Majuro senator, David Kramer (also of PII) is again publically calling for my deportation, and the editor of our local paper is calling on me to shut up, just because I publically criticized the recently approved EMP submitted by PII which fails to adequately present a coral rescue and replanting mitigation effort, as they had promised to do (even going so far as to depict reef balls as ellipses, side view, in a diagram). It is well known that mitigation plans here are not made in good faith.
A group of rum-enthused fanatics will gather in Key West on Saturday, September 22 starting at 2pm to celebrate a plethora of fine drinking establishments while raising funds for the Reef Relief organization dedicated to protecting and preserving coral reefs in Florida.
Organizer Lindsey Higgins of Team Cocktail lifestyle apparel says last year’s inaugural event was a great success and she’s expecting a larger turnout this time. “We’ll be visiting some of Key West’s best and most interesting venues, sharing some great rum cocktails and contributing to one of our favorite non-profit organizations this year. We’re inviting all fun-loving people to join us in the southernmost city.”
Participants will enjoy tropical libations while leisurely strolling along Key West’s famed Duval Street, stopping at The Cork & Stogie, the Rum Bar at Speakeasy Inn, Pearl’s, Kelley’s, the Bottle Cap, Bogarts, Cowboy Bills, Willie T’s and Smokin’ Tuna. The cost is $30 and includes a t-shirt, drink specials, a Cruzan Rum cup and a donation to the non-profit organization.
The prime sponsor of the event this year is Rob’s Rum Guide, a noted publication spotlighting the best rums in the world, with tasting notes and product information on more than 300 cane spirits.
Additional sponsors include Starfish Travel, Coastlines & Tanlines, Rum Connection, RumShopRyan, Big Kahuna Brewer, Cruzan Rum and Diplomatico Rum.
At the Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn, legendary Keys bartender Bahama Bob Leonard will be serving his famous Hemingway Daiquiris, made with fresh lime and grapefruit juices, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and Diplomatico Rum Blanco premium white rum from Venezuela. Pub crawlers will also enjoy sipping Diplomatico’s luxurious Reserva Exclusiva, one of the world’s finest aged sipping rums.
Following the Saturday event, organizers, participants and sponsors will present a check to the Reef Relief organization in a short ceremony on Sunday, September 23 at their headquarters on Key West Bight, next to the Conch Republic seafood restaurant and bar.
Reef Relief’s mission is to improve and protect our coral reef ecosystems by increasing public awareness, increase scientific understanding, strengthen grassroots efforts, develop and implement strategies, and support eco-tourism
Sponsor Starfish Travel is offering special travel packages for participants. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-361-5877.
The world famous Crown Plaza La Concha Hotel on Duval Street is the official hotel partner of the Conched in Key West Bar Crawl, located within stumbling distance from all the bars. The hotel features well appointed rooms and popular roof-top bar that offers views of the entire island. To make a reservation, call La Concha at 305-280-0211, ask to speak with Mel Stewart and mention Conched in Key West Bar Crawl Group.
A warm up event is scheduled for Friday, September 21.
Written by: Fabien Cousteau. reposted from http://www.fastcoexist.com/
Fabien Cousteau paid a visit to Sylvia Earle and the underwater base in danger of losing its funding, and says that the work they’re doing there must be allowed to continue.
Not long ago, the general consensus was that our planet was flat. Sailing to the horizon would bring certain doom to unwary sailors who feared falling off its edge into oblivion. Lucky for us, some brave adventurers tested pioneering scientific theories of the day and risked their lives to challenge this notion: They sailed to the edge and beyond. It is this spirit of exploration and pushing our boundaries of knowledge that allows us to learn about this “oasis in space” and how we fit within its web of life.
Happy Shark Week! In honor of the One True American Holiday (all other holidays are less true, due to lower shark content), I spent about an hour reading about sharks on Wikipedia. Important findings from a solid morning’s research: sharks often have weird names. For example: the birdbeak dogfish. That’s a real animal! Ditto the flaccid catshark and, perhaps weirdest of all, the porbeagle, which doesn’t sound like a fish at all. Click through for more.
For immediate release: August 13, 2012
Contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-494
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced changes to the lionfish harvest at a media event today in Coral Gables. Harvesting invasive lionfish no longer will require a fishing license when using certain gear, and there is no recreational or commercial bag limit.
The FWC is taking these actions to encourage more Floridians and visitors to harvest lionfish.
“The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hopes that by increasing the opportunity for people to harvest invasive lionfish, we can limit the impact this nonnative invasive species has on Florida’s marine fish and wildlife,” said Jessica McCawley, director of the FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management. “We also want to express our gratitude to everyone, especially divers, who already go out on a regular basis to harvest lionfish.”
The changes, enacted by an executive order, apply only through August 2013. They are:
A recreational fishing license is not required to target lionfish while using a pole spear, a Hawaiian sling (picture included in photo set), a handheld net or any spearing device that is specifically designed and marketed exclusively for lionfish.
There is no recreational or commercial harvest bag limit for lionfish.
The changes do not allow spearing in areas where spearfishing is prohibited and apply to state waters only, which is from shore to 9 miles in Gulf of Mexico waters and from shore to 3 miles in Atlantic waters.
Lionfish are a nonnative invasive species that threatens Florida’s saltwater fish and wildlife. They prey on native fish and wildlife and can reduce native populations. Lionfish also compete for food with native predatory fish such as grouper and snapper. The FWC encourages people to remove lionfish in Florida waters to limit negative impacts to native fish and wildlife.
Lionfish have venomous spines, so the FWC urges careful handling. Unless a person is allergic to the venom, lionfish stings are rarely fatal. Anyone getting stung should immerse the wound in hot (not scalding) water or apply heat to the affected area for 30 to 90 minutes to help break down the toxin. Also, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Spearfishers should also take care not to damage the important reef habitat where lionfish often are found.
More information regarding lionfish is available at MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations,” then “Lionfish.” To view the executive order, visit MyFWC.com/About and click on “Executive Director” then “Executive Orders.”