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Environmental Alerts

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Thinking Green
December 9, 2008

Thinking Green: Transparency Film - A NANPA member asked for advice on disposal and recycling of the thousands of old slides in their files. The slides had either been scanned to digital or were dupes and seconds that were no longer needed. The member was concerned about putting silver into a landfill or other disposal facility and also wondered whether the plastic and paper in the film and mount was recyclable. Further, they had some concern about their slide images being appropriated for unauthorized use.

Unprocessed slide (transparency) films have silver in them as a part of the photo-reactive systems in the plastic and/or emulsion layers (depending on the type of film.) The silver is converted and removed during processing. The silver ends up in the processing solutions and washwater. The silver does not become part of the color in a color slide. So silver is a problem for film manufacturers in the form of sprocket holes, leader clippings, off specification film and other production waste. It’s also a problem for film processors that have to manage their spent processing solutions and washwaters to comply with various environmental laws and regulations. But processed color slide film has no remaining silver. No hazardous waste management or disposal methods are warranted for your old slides, since the silver is no longer present.

Note: Black and white films and papers contain silver after processing and there are many facilities that recycle black and white photographic films to recover and reuse the silver (but not always the plastic.) Most of these facilities cater to medical, dental and photo labs but also take film from individuals. See the Ohio EPA’s list of Ohio and national silver recycling facilities at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/ocapp/p2/recyc/silver-recyclers.html.

Both the paper and plastic in processed, mounted color slides are technically amenable to recycling. However, we found no facilities that offer a specific service to do so. The primary problem is that the plastic and paper must be separated from each other. This is either labor or equipment intensive (your labor or the recycler’s labor and equipment.) The amount and value of the recovered material is low compared to the amount and value of recovered silver from black and white films, so businesses don’t see it as a financially attractive market. The plastic in virtually all slide films made since the 1950’s is recyclable polyester. Mounts are made from various recyclable plastics or paper. So the recycling of old slides is likely to require effort on the part of the photographer to separate the materials. Most residential and commercial paper and plastic recycling facilities can take the separated paper (mounts) and plastic (mounts and film.) Check with your local recycler.

If you are concerned about appropriation of your photos, it is suggested that you deal directly with credible recycling facilities and personally deliver the materials to the recycling facility.

Thinking Green: Photographic Printing Papers – Dr. Joe Zammit-Lucia prepared a guide to green printing papers in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy. The guide presents the current state of the art and options for the future. It can be downloaded at http://webfarm.foliolink.com/Artists/6350/GreenInPrint_April08.pdf.

Endangered Species Act Updates
December 9, 2008

Endangered Species Updates – For the latest updates on endangered species in the U.S. see the National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, Polar Bears International, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other web sites. The examples presented here include famous and not so famous examples of endangered species.

General Information

The gray wolf

The jaguar

The polar bear

The Salt Creek tiger beetle

The Karner blue butterfly

The blowout penstemon

Endangered Species Act
January 16, 2006

The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of the most effective wildlife conservation laws in the world. Passed in 1973, the ESA is designed to conserve ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend, and to provide for the conservation of such species. Under the ESA, an “endangered” species is one that is in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future. A “threatened” species is one that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Species such as the bald eagle, American alligator, and gray whale owe their existence today to the ESA.

Two government agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, share responsibility for implementing the Endangered Species Act. There are currently 1,855 species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA.

Since the ESA is the nation’s most powerful wildlife conservation tool, it is not without controversy.  Some believe the law infringes upon private property rights, and would like to see the ESA weakened. Others would like to see the ESA abolished altogether.

On September 29, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 3824, the “Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act,” introduced by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA).  Conservationists say the bill will significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act by eliminating habitat protections, repealing protections against hazardous pesticides, politicizing scientific decision making, and requiring taxpayers to pay developers, oil & gas companies, and other industries to comply with the law.

On December 15, 2005, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the “Collaboration for Recovery of Endangered Species Act” (S. 2110) in the Senate.  Conservationists say the bill continues the push begun in the House to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Debate on this bill is expected to begin when the Senate reconvenes in January.

To learn more, stay up-to-date and take action on this matter, see the following web sites:

Conservation and Environmental

Government and Education

Other

  • The National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition makes its case for revising the ESA at: http://www.nesarc.org/

 

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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
January 16, 2006

The 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is one of the last intact ecosystems in the world. The refuge is home to a spectacular diversity of wildlife, including caribou, polar and grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, musk oxen, and 135 bird species. Whether or not to disturb this last great wilderness by drilling for oil is at the heart of debate in the U.S. Congress.

On December 21, 2005, the U.S. Senate blocked a vote on a measure that would’ve allowed oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.  Led by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), oil proponents attached Arctic Refuge drilling language to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, a must-pass piece of legislation as it funds the salaries of U.S. troops. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) led the filibuster against the bill, and a motion to cut off debate failed by a vote of 56-44. Sixty votes are required to end debate on a bill in the Senate. The Senate went back to the drawing board and voted 48-45 in favor of removing the drilling language. The reconstituted Defense bill, free of Arctic Refuge drilling language, then passed unanimously.

In other legislation, the Senate voted 52-47 on November 3 to include Arctic Refuge drilling language in its final version of the budget bill. The House of Representatives, however, removed drilling language from its version of the budget on November 9.  When Congress met in December to work out the differences between the two bills, the Senate removed drilling language and approved its budget.  Differences still remain between the two bills, and final passage of the budget will be taken up when Congress reconvenes in January.

While the two latest attempts to open the Arctic Refuge to oil development failed, the refuge is not permanently protected. An act of Congress is all that is required to open the refuge to drilling. This issue will continue to be in the news as Congress reconvenes in 2006.  To learn more, stay up-to-date and take action on this matter, see the links in the April 5, 2005 alert, below.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
April 5, 2005

The 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is one of the last intact ecosystems in the world. The refuge is home to a spectacular diversity of wildlife, including caribou, polar and grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, musk oxen, and 135 bird species. Whether or not to disturb this last great wilderness by drilling for oil is at the heart of debate in the U.S. Congress.

On March 16, 2005, the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to delete a provision in its version of the U.S. budget bill that assumes  that preliminary leasing revenues from oil exploration and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be collected in fiscal 2006. The Senate subsequently approved their version of the entire budget bill.

This method of authorizing development has been described by some as a "back-door" approach to allow drilling in the refuge without fair and full debate in the Senate (since budget bills can't be filibustered.) The U.S. House of Representatives version of the budget bill did not have comparable provisions. The two bills differ in other ways and will go to a joint conference committee for resolution and then back to the respective houses of Congress for a final vote.

Regardless of the disagreement over the legislative approach, the development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remains extremely controversial and will be in the news as the budget bill progresses. To learn more, stay up-to-date and take action on this matter, see the following web sites:

Conservation and Environmental:

Government Web Sites:

Pro-Development Web Sites:

Environment 2005
January 17, 2005

Major Issue for 2005. It's clear that energy policy and the prospect of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be front and center on the Congressional agenda in 2005. To stay up-to-date on these issues, see the web sites of virtually any of the national environment and conservation organizations or the links in the energy related alerts below and check this page throughout the year.

Other Issues for 2005. Other continuing regulatory and policy agenda items include the implementation of the Roadless Rule, the Healthy Forest Initiative and the Clear Skies Initiative. To stay up-to-date on these issues, see the links in the August 16, 2004 and March 3, 2004 alerts below and continue to check this page for new alerts.

Things you can do. The "big-picture" issues noted above will receive much attention at the national level from advocates on both sides. NANPA members should consider pitching in with a comment or letter to your elected officials and policy makers from time to time.

There are also ways that members can get involved with these and other issues at the local level. Here are a few suggestions.

There are many ways members can make a difference with your photography as well as by your thoughtful participation in these planning processes. The NANPA Environment Committee encourages members to do so.

8th World Wilderness Congress
September 13, 2004

The 8th World Wilderness Congress (WWC) will be held in Anchorage, Alaska from September 30 to October 6, 2005. The WWC is held every three to four years. It is the longest-running public, international environmental forum.  The theme of the 8th WWC is "Wilderness, Wildlands and People – A Partnership for the Planet."

One of the programs at the WWC will be Conservation Photography - Images With Passion and Purpose. NANPA member Cristina Mittermeier is the contact person for this program. Several NANPA members and internationally-known photographers have already committed to making presentations or leading workshops. The conservation photography program starts a day early, on September 29th and extends until October 6th. The program will include presentations and breakout sessions, field workshops, slide shows and book and print signings.

Please consider supporting or attending this major conservation photography forum.

Environmental Issues 2004
August 16, 2004

NANPA recognizes the importance of the environment to the future of nature photography. We express that in our Mission Statement and in our Environmental Statement. So it goes without saying that we are also a pro-environment and conservation organization. As noted in the Environmental Statement, we encourage members to be "... active and informed citizens in matters of public policy that affect land use and environmental protection."

The Environment Committee has compiled a list of web sites that provide additional information about candidates and platforms.  NANPA members who want more information may find this list to be helpful in learning more about party platforms and the environment and conservation record and policy positions of national candidates. This brief list is a starting point. Do your own research and make your own decisions.

Roadless Rule Update
August 16, 2004

On July 12, 2004 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed a revised "Roadless Rule" and an interim directive that will be in effect until the Roadless Rule becomes final. The interim directive and the proposed rule were published in the Federal Register on July 16, 2004. Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted until September 14, 2004. The USDA web page with information about the Roadless Rule is at http://roadless.fs.fed.us/.

Most environmental and conservation organizations have information about the Roadless Rule on their web sites. For starters, see the Heritage Forest Campaign and the Natural Resources Defense Council. You might also want to read an MSNBC article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5350753/ and a thought provoking article on the Cato Institute web site at http://www.cato.org/dailys/07-21-04.html.

The Future of the Energy Bill
Updated April 4, 2004

UPDATE: The Senate leadership did not accept the new energy bill (S 2095) so the bill will not proceed to hearings. It is also unlikely that there will be an energy bill in the House of Representatives this year.

ORIGINAL ALERT: A new Energy Bill has been introduced in the Senate. It is S 2095 and was introduced by Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico. See information on this bill on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources web site. The bill can also be reviewed and tracked at the THOMAS - U.S. Congress on the Internet site. The specific web page for the bill is Senate Bill 2095 (S 2095). As of March 1, 2004, the bill does not include a proposal to explore for or develop oil and gas resources in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It does include language about the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska (NPRA) and several other provisions affecting oil and gas development in Alaska and the lower 48 states, including the continental shelf. This bill is in its very early stages. As more information, such as summaries of the bill or a House version of the bill become available, we will update this alert.

Summary of Other Environmental Issues
March 3, 2004

The status of some on-going issues and a couple emerging issues are summarized below.

  • Healthy Forest Initiative (HFI) - The HFI requires a combination of executive branch actions such as policy development and rulemaking, as well as Congressional action. Congress passed the HFI legislation in late 2003 and various executive branch actions are being implemented. See the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics and Heritage Forests Campaign web sites.

  • Roadless Rule - The exemption to the Roadless Rule in Alaska, including the Tongass National Forest has taken effect. See the web sites listed in other Roadless Rule alerts on this page including the Heritage Forests Campaign.

  • Clear Skies Initiative - The development of this initiative continues. The most controversial current topic is mercury pollution. The administration is proposing new rules for mercury pollution from power plants. One of the controversial components of the proposal is the possibility that polluters would be able to trade "mercury pollution credits" with other polluters. To date, such "cap and trade" programs have only been used for non-hazardous (non-toxic) air pollutants. Public hearings on the proposed mercury regulations have been held and public comments are being solicited. For more information, see the following web sites:

The USEPA Information Page On Mercury

The USEPA Proposed Rule and Technical Reports

The USEPA Public Hearing and Public Comment Information

The Clean Air Council web site and their Mercury Information Page and Summary of the Proposed Rule....and other sites listed in the Clear Skies Initiative alerts, below.
 

  • Tax Exempt Status of Private Land Conservation - The tax exempt status of land conservation programs will be considered by Congress in 2004. See the Land Trust Alliance web site and their Public Policy page.

  • Wolves, Bears and Mountain Lions - This could be the year of the wolf, bear and mountain lion. Each of these large predators has been in the news on a regular basis. Wolf reintroduction projects continue to be controversial. Aerial hunting in Alaska remains controversial. Black bears populations have grown in some areas to the point that special hunting seasons have been created to cull the population of bears. Last but not the least, mountain lions (puma, panther, cougar or catamount, if you will) have been seen more frequently in urban areas in the west and they’ve gotten lousy publicity (doing what they do naturally) by predating on bikers and joggers. For more information see:

The International Wolf Center.

Sinapu.

Defenders of Wildlife
and their Wolves Page or Living With Bears Page.

For information about threats to wolves in Alaska including the wolves in Denali National Park, see Save the Toklat Wolf and the Friends of Animals.

The Humane Society of the United States and their pages on Black Bears in New Jersey and Mountain Lions.

The California Department of Fish and Game page Living With California Mountain Lions.

The Mountain Lion Foundation.

The 2003 Energy Bill
Sep 23, 2003 (update note, April 4, 2004)

NOTE: The 2003 Energy Bill did not pass the Congress. The bill was thought to have enough bi-partisan support to pass. In the end it became quite controversial due to numerous provisions that were considered by many as concessions to industry or as “pork barrel” provisions designed to benefit a relatively small constituency. Proposed exploration and drilling for oil in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska was not included in the version of bill that was subjected to a vote. See the alert on the Future of the Energy Bill, above.

The 2003 Energy Bill is under consideration by a House/Senate Conference Committee. It's different from the 2002 bill. The House and Senate bills initially had no language authorizing exploration or drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). However, the House of Representatives leadership and the President are still pushing for drilling in ANWR and the House will try to add it in conference. The consensus among the Congressional staff members and lobbyists is that drilling in ANWR will not pass. There are not enough votes in the Senate, roughly 48, versus the 60 required to cut off a filibuster opposing drilling in ANWR.

The bill includes language about natural gas pipelines projects from Alaska to the lower 48 states. These projects have been a bit controversial. For the most part environmental groups support the pipelines since natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. The controversy has been related to the proposed technologies, alternative routes and the cost of government subsidies and guarantees for the financing of the pipeline projects.

See the House bill summary

See the Senate bill summary

The Senate bill is apparently much like last years energy bill while the House bill is new. The House bill has relatively more programs/money for research in nuclear energy and both bills have many incentives and funding for fossil fuel-related energy programs as well as some alternative energy programs. Both versions were initially referred to as bipartisan but as the conference committee proceeds with there discussion the bipartisan nature of the discussions will undoubtedly change.

Check back to this page to see updates and suggested action items regarding this important issue. Also see the web sites of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and the Alaska Wilderness League for additional information.

The Roadless Rule, Healthy Forest Initiative and Clear Skies Initiative
Sep 23, 2003

Clear Skies Initiative - The Administration’s Clear Skies Initiative has been announced. It incorporates changes to the USEPA’s air pollution control program under the Clean Air Act. Opponents say that the regulatory relief and market-based solutions in the Clear Skies Initiative are a “giveaway” to major air polluters and political contributors.

See the White House news release.

USEPA's Clear Skies information.

The Sierra Club's Clear Skies page

The Clear Skies Page at NRDC web site

Or another NRDC web page

The Roadless Rule - The Roadless Rule has been finalized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service. It excludes Alaska including the Tongass National Forest and gives state governors the ability to petition for relief under exceptional circumstances. A separate rule is in the works for Alaska. Alaska sued the federal government about the original rule but that suit was settled resulting in Alaska being a special case. For more information about this rule, see the Dec 12, 2002 alert, below.

For current information, see the USDA web site.


The Alaska Rainforest Campaign site.

And the NRDC FAQ's page.

There probably will be more lawsuits about this rule. Here's one example from the Wilderness Society.

Healthy Forest Initiative - The Healthy Forest Initiative (HFI) legislation has been passed by the House of Representatives. President Bush proposed the HFI earlier in 2003.

See the House bill summary.

The bill is also working its way through the Senate. See Senate bill summary.



The HFI has been and will continue to be a very controversial program particularly in the northwest and Alaska.

For more information see the U.S. Forest Service web site.

The National Fire Plan web site.

The Earthjustice web site.

And the Wilderness Society web site.

2003 Appropriations Bill May Nullify Environmental Protection Provisions
Feb 14, 2003 (update note, 09/23/03)

NOTE: The attempts by some Congressmen to nullify environmental protection provisions were for the most part, defeated.

The 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill may be used to nullify environmental protection provisions of other laws.

The Congress is considering the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (House Joint Resolution 2 also known as “H.J. Res. 2”.) This bill is being used by some Congressmen to achieve goals that are not directly related to the budget. Just as pork-barrel amendments in a budget bill can result in federal funds being funneled to the pet projects of a Congressman, the budget bill can also be used to enact provisions that remove or circumvent the applicability of environmental laws to certain activities. There are also Congressmen who oppose these provisions. They have introduced their own amendments that disallow the “anti-environment” amendments and riders.

The budget bill is moving quickly through Congress. If you are concerned about the “anti-environment” provisions, then you may want to see the web sites listed below. Some of them provide more detailed information and suggest actions that you might take. The government web sites listed provide information about the bill.

See the following web sites:

Court Upholds Roadless Area Conservation Rule
Dec 12, 2002

A decision on December 12, 2002 by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals lifted a preliminary injunction that stayed the implementation of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The stay was issued in response to a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service rule. This suit was filed in Idaho and was led by Boise Cascade. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule (a group of rules, actually) is designed to establish procedures for designating up to 58.5 million acres of national forest land as roadless, thus protecting them from development and essentially creating wilderness protection for the forest. This court decision removes the injunction and allows the U.S. Forest Service to implement the rule and the changes and clarifications to the rule that are currently pending. For more information, see the following web sites.

The Heritage Forests Campaign web site at http://www.ourforests.org/. The U.S. Forest Service site at http://roadless.fs.fed.us/. And the Wilderness Society at http://www.wilderness.org/.


You may also want to look at the list of national forests at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml in order to identify a National Forest near you that may be impacted by this rule.

Many environmental organizations have information about this rule on their web sites. In addition to the input from the public via the rulemaking process, the ultimate fate of this rule will be affected by this and other lawsuits, the position taken on the rule by President Bush and possible action by Congress to clarify the U.S. Forest Service authority in this area.

Air Pollution in the National Parks
Nov 14, 2002

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has issued a report titled "Code Red: America's Five Most Polluted National Parks." The report highlights the general problem of air pollution in the United States as indicated by data collected in the National Parks. The report features the five most polluted parks: Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, Mammoth Cave, Sequoia and King's Canyon and Acadia National Parks. The report also identifies the sources and types of air pollution and the aesthetic, human health and environmental damage done by air pollution. The most problematic sources are fossil fuel fired power plants and vehicular emissions. Most importantly, the report makes recommendations for action to be taken by Federal, State and Local authorities. The report relies, in part, on data and conclusions compiled by the National Park Service in their report "Air Quality in the National Parks, 2nd Edition."

If you have concerns about how air pollution can affect our health, our nature photography and everyone's enjoyment of the National Parks, then take time to review these reports and take action, as you deem appropriate.

Energy Conference Committee Takes No Action on Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Nov 14, 2002

The House/Senate Energy Conference Committee did not take action on the issue of exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the fall/election recess. It is unlikely that there will be any action during the lame duck session in 2002.

Denali Wolf Crisis
May, 2001

In March of 2001, three of Denali National Park's wolves died after being drugged for radio collaring by National Park Service researchers. Unfortunately, the alpha female of the Sanctuary pack, along with the alpha male of the Toklat wolves, failed to recover from the drug used in darting them. A pup from the Otter Creek pack also died from the procedure.

The Sanctuary alpha female was the only remaining adult member of the pack, after her mate died of natural causes earlier this year. A 10-month old pup may be the family's only survivor. His two siblings disappeared in a heavily trapped area shortly after their mother died. There is also serious concern over the Toklat's pregnant female, who survived the procedure, but may abort her unborn pups from the effect of the drug.

These losses aren't the only threats facing the surviving members of the Toklat and Sanctuary wolves. On the state lands bordering the Park, local residents have their traps set until trapping season ends April 30th and are legally allowed to trap Park wolves with an Alaskan trapping license.

For details on how you can help the Denali wolf population, see the Alaskan Wildlife Alliance's article.

Galapagos Alert
March, 2001

Tui de Roy, a NANPA member who grew up on the Galapagos Islands, has been informing the world of recent events that are endangering the local wildlife and threatening the Charles Darwin Foundation and residence located there. Local fishermen are demanding an increase in the quota of lobsters which can be harvested within the boundaries of Galapagos National Park. The fishermen turned violent and unruly last week and have ransacked the Charles Darwin Center and the National Park Headquarters on Isabela Island even going so far as to destroy the home of the National Park representative living there.

Several of the endangered tortoises were also taken hostage by the fisherman and many of the visiting tourists and tour companies were threatened. Nature photographers know what a wonderful and unique place Galapagos is for nature and wildlife. Tui's amazing images from the islands she loves so well have been seen by all of us either at NANPA or in other publications.

For more information or if you'd like to help, e-mail Tui de Roy at
roving.tortoise@voyager.co.nz

The preceding information is provided to you as an information service from NANPA in maintaining its responsibility to keep you informed about issues and events related to nature photography, the environment, and the Association. It is not NANPA's responsibility or intent tell you how to vote, what to think, where to go, or what you should do. And to that end NANPA does not endorse or promote such issues or events. This information is provided for informational purposes only. If NANPA takes a specific stand on any issue, it will be stated. If you would like more information on any issue, contact the NANPA office.



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