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House Republicans Pass Hostile 'Empty Oceans Act'
By Molly Masterton
The road hasn't been easy—in the 80s and 90s many of our fish stocks were still in bad shape—but through previous reauthorizations of the law in 1996 and 2006, Congress has consistently moved the ball forward on sustainable fisheries management, with broad bipartisan support.
And the health of our nation's fisheries and coastal economies improved as a result. Thanks to strong conservation mandates, and both lawmakers and fishing communities rising to the occasion, the number of overfished fish stocks and stocks subject to overfishing has been cut by more than half. And as of this year, 44 fish stocks have been successfully rebuilt from previously depleted levels.
But H.R. 200, the bill that the U.S. House of Representatives just passed in a contentious vote (222 yays, 193 nays), threatens to unravel those four decades of progress. H.R. 200 would weaken the core tenets of science-based fisheries management, increasing the risk of overfishing and delaying the rebuilding of depleted fisheries. It would also roll back science and accountability in recreational fisheries. And unfortunately, it retreats from the bipartisan common ground that has marked the law's success.
While H.R. 200 pretends to be a simple improvement to the law, it would eviscerate the very conservation requirements that have worked to restore our marine fisheries. This "Empty Oceans Act" would sell out our successful efforts to curb overfishing, harming coastal communities and the ocean wildlife we all love.
We should be tackling remaining challenges—like protecting marine habitat, replenishing stocks that remain at unhealthy levels, improving data collection and increasing our responsiveness to climate change—without compromising on conservation. Innovative approaches, not carveouts and loopholes, are what the thousands of stakeholders who spoke out against H.R. 200 (including fishermen, scientists, chefs and conservationists) are looking for.
Wednesday's highly controversial vote, with hours of debate and more than a dozen Republicans opposing the bill, demonstrated just how badly H.R. 200 misses the mark.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Nick Cunningham
A growing number of refineries around the world are either curtailing operations or shutting down entirely as the oil market collapses.
The Trump administration is expected to unveil its final replacement of Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks Tuesday in a move likely to pump nearly a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the lifetime of those less-efficient vehicles.
By Jake Johnson
Just over a month after proclaiming that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. would soon "be down to close to zero," President Donald Trump said during a press briefing on the White House lawn Sunday that limiting U.S. deaths from the pandemic to between 100,000 and 200,000 people would mean his administration and the country as a whole did "a very good job."
Documents unearthed in a lawsuit brought by a Missouri farmer who claimed that Monsanto and German chemical maker BASF's dicamba herbicide ruined his peach orchard revealed that the two companies knew their new agricultural seed and chemical system would likely damage many U.S. farms, according to documents seen by The Guardian.