Native America, Environmental Groups File Lawsuit to Overturn Trump’s Keystone XL Permit

First Suit Filed for an Injunction Against Trump’s Keystone XL Pipeline Permit by Indigenous Environmental Network, North Coast Rivers Alliance
WASHINGTON – The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA) have filed suit in Federal District Court in Great Falls, Montana, challenging the Presidential Permit issued by President Trump allowing construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
IEN’s and NCRA’s Complaint challenging the State Department’s approval of a Presidential Permit for the KXL Pipeline is available here: http://www.ienearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Complaint_for_Declaratory_and_Injunctive_Relief.pdf

Stephan Volker, attorney for IEN and NCRA, filed the suit on Monday, March 27th. The suit alleges that the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (“FSEIS”) fails to (1) provide a detailed and independent Project purpose and need, (2) analyze all reasonable alternatives to the Project, (3) study the Project’s transboundary effects, (4) disclose and fully analyze many of the Project’s adverse environmental impacts, (5) formulate adequate mitigation measures, and (6) respond adequately to comments. In addition, the FSEIS was irredeemably tainted because it was prepared by Environmental Resource Management (“ERM”), a company with a substantial conflict of interest. The suit also alleges that Trump’s permit violates the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
“President Trump is breaking established environmental laws and treaties in his efforts to force through the Keystone XL Pipeline, that would bring carbon-intensive, toxic, and corrosive crude oil from the Canadian tar sands, but we are filing suit to fight back,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Indigenous peoples’ lands and waters are not here to be America’s environmental sacrifice zone. For too long, the US Government has pushed around Indigenous peoples and undervalued our inherent rights, sovereignty, culture, and our responsibilities as guardians of Mother Earth and all life while fueling catastrophic extreme weather and climate change with an addiction to fossil fuels. The time has come to keep fossil fuels in the ground and shut down risky extreme energy projects like the tar sands that are poisoning our families, wildlife, water sources and destroying our climate.”
“Oil, water and fish do not mix. KXL poses an unacceptable risk to the Missouri River and its fisheries, including the nearly extinct Arctic grayling,” said Frank Egger, President of the North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA). “No oil pipeline is safe. One major oil spill, and the Missouri River and adjacent aquifers would be polluted for generations.”
“Because President Trump has turned his back on the Native American community and protection of our clean water, endangered fisheries, and indeed, survival of the Planet itself, we have asked the Federal Courts to order him to comply with our nation’s environmental laws,” said Volker. “We are confident that the courts will apply and enforce the law fairly and faithfully, and protect our irreplaceable natural heritage from the risky and unneeded KXL Pipeline. Alternatives including renewable energy and conservation must be given full and fair consideration to protect future generations from the ravages of global warming.”
Additional documents pertaining to the litigation can be obtained from the Volker law offices.
Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project

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With Carving Factories and Shops Closing in Preparation for the end of  Ivory Sales,the Price of Tusk in China are Plummeting

Ivory lust wanes in China, elephants rejoice

A mere 35 years ago some 1.2 million majestic elephants in Africa roamed the wide-ranging continent. With the inexplicable taste for ivory responsible for their demise, now fewer than 500,000 remain. Tanzania’s elephant population fell by 60 percent in five years; at this point Central African forest elephants could be extinct within 10.
While poaching has declined a bit as of late, some 20,000 African elephants are still slaughtered for their tusks each year, much in part to meet ivory demand from Asia, particularly China, notes Simon Denyer in The Washington Post.

“Reducing demand from China, the world’s biggest ivory market, is probably the single most important factor that could help end the widespread poaching of elephants in Africa,” writes Denver. And it looks like demand is not just being reduced, but plummeting.

The country is closing 67 ivory carving factories and retail shops this week, accounting for 30 percent of all, in preparation to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017.

And now a report has been released from the conservation group Save The Elephants, noting that the average wholesale price of tusks in China has fallen from $2,100 per kilogram in early 2014 to $730 this February. “The news is likely to foster hopes for an eventual end to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa,” writes Denver.

It’s easy to question the efficacy of government action given the strength of the black market, especially when it comes to illegal wildlife trade, but remarkably, the new direction seems to be taking hold here.

“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” says Peter Knights, chief executive of WildAid, a non-profit that has been advocating against the ivory trade. Noting that the drop in price indicates that ivory has become “a very bad investment,” he expects further declines throughout the year.

Interestingly, the legal ivory trade in China – which relied on stockpiled goods collected before the global ban – has inadvertently worked to harbor a booming illegal trade that has fueled poaching. But with the government decision to end the trade, demand all around is dropping. The economic slowdown, an official anti-corruption campaign, and growing public awareness have all contributed to the wane as well, explains Knights.

Even before the ban has officially begun, confiscation of illegal ivory flooding into the country has dropped by 80 percent in 2016, and poaching has declined in Kenya, Knights says. Now if Hong Kong, Britain and Japan would only climb aboard the ivory ban bandwagon, the future of the planet’s beautiful regal elephants could become even more secure. But for now, China is a start – and big one at that.