President Obama pardons Southern California wildlife trafficker
On December 20, 2016, USA Today details how President Obama pardoned a Huntington Beach man previously pleading guilty in 2005 to buying Indian Star Tortoises from a reptile dealer’s website that was notable of the 78 pardons granted this year (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/19/obama-grants-78-pre-christmas-pardons/95615810/). Fascinating facts about Presidential pardons going back to President Truman in this story.
Pardoned wildlife trafficker tied to international investigation
Every President in recent times has a mixed bag of promoting environmental protection and President Obama is without exception, though he has recently moved on major key issues to enhance his environmental legacy. A colleague recently reminded me of the 4 year international investigation our FWS/OLE office worked on from 2003 to 2007 into smuggling, money laundering and conspiracy involving wildlife traffickers in Singapore, Southern California and Virginia. In 2003, I played the role of a driver from a global carrier for the first controlled delivery of 51 live Indian Star Tortoises packed under some popular toy action figures. The parcel was sent from a major wildlife dealer in Singapore to a nondescript business in Diamond Bar where a lady signed for it. The investigation continued to 2007 to identify all major players in the smuggling scheme.
Indian Star Tortoises are and were part of the illegal wildlife trade in India. In 2014 over 55,000 Indian Star Tortoises were poached from just one trade location in Southern India. The research article is detailed with other wildlife smuggling statistics here http://natureconservation.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=5625
The illegal global wildlife trade continues growing exponentially and unabated.
President pardons two turkeys and reviews proposal for pardons in November
The traditional Presidential pardon of turkeys can be traced back to President Lincoln and this year’s pardon had some notable thoughts on the Presidential pardon of offenders (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-11-23/obama-pardons-2-turkeys-0-people-ahead-of-thanksgiving).
Pardon for Grizzly Bear delisting in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is waiting
With limited time in this administration, why not continue Endangered Species Act protections for the Grizzly in the GYE? With untold millions spent over the past decades for protection, the current delisting is a waste of taxpayer money after an initial poorly executed proposal and the sound science arguments for protection from some of the country and world’s leading scientists.
See the 5 minute plus video that summarizes key concerns by leading experts and scientists on the current Grizzly delisting (http://www.keepgrizzliesprotected.com/).
Temporary reprieve for Grizzly delisting in GYE to review over half million comments
A most recent article reflects that the Grizzly delisting in the GYE is on hold for at least six months while U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews the over half million comments:
These comments were all previously submitted to the Federal Register. Good news for a short time until a final decision is made.
No Presidential pardon for certain eagles under 30 year permits for wind industry
Google the words, “President extends 30 year kill permits for wind power industry” and scroll to the Scientific American article that details how the permit process was extended from the 5 year “Incidental Take” permit system in 2009 to the current proposed 30 years for both Bald and Golden Eagles.
Read what my colleague Lucinda Schroeder, a former FWS/OLE Special Agent and now published writer and I have to say about the 5 year eagle permit proposal for a wind power facility in Northern California we addressed in June 2014 in these two links:
“Incidentally”, the wind industry has been “taking” billions of taxpayer subsidies annually. Truly excessive considering the environmental impacts.
What an unscrupulous and shady debacle of taxpayer funded revenue awarded to the wind energy sector since 2007! Meanwhile the Altamont wind power farm has killed eagles since the 1980’s with no permit and has never been prosecuted.
Google “Save the Eagles International” and read the links that reveal the unvarnished truth of the wildlife impacts by the wind industry across our country and elsewhere on the planet.
Excessive taxpayer funded subsidies for wind, solar, fossil fuel, agriculture and insurance
Now wind power is part of the excessive taxpayer funded subsidy racket just like fossil fuel, agriculture subsidies, and insurance. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the federal government pays out $15 billion per year to support wind and solar projects, compared to $3.5 billion per year for coal, petroleum and natural gas. Agriculture and insurance subsidies total about $20 billion per year (http://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2016/10/23/debunking_the_fossil-fuel_subsidy_myth_110091.html). You should know where your taxes are going.
Google the words “Billions in taxpayer subsidies for wind power industry” and check out this article (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436228/wind-energy-subsidies-billions).
Research other articles on these issues to formulate your own opinion.
“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man”
Steward Udall – (1920-2010) – Secretary of Interior from 1961-1969
Photo Credit: Montana Public Radio