WATCH: Poachers Ambush Sea Shepherd Vessel Protecting Nearly Extinct Vaquita
Sea Shepherd released a video showing fishermen shouting, hurling objects and trying to foul the propellors of the M/V Farley Mowat, a Sea Shepherd vessel used in campaigns against illegal fisheries activities.
SEA SHEPHERD SHIP ATTACKED INSIDE VAQUITA REFUGE www.youtube.com
The vaquita is the world's most endangered marine mammal, with only about a dozen left in their habitat in the Sea of Cortez, according to experts. The porpoises are not directly hunted but get entangled and drown in illegal gillnets set for capturing totoaba, a large and critically endangered fish that's prized for its swim bladder as a Chinese delicacy.
The fishermen were participating in "obvious illegal poaching" of totoaba, according to a Sea Shepherd press release sent to EcoWatch. The video shows some of the skiffs carrying gillnets, even though they are banned within the vaquita reserve.
Sea Shepherd said:
The poachers attacked by hurling leadweights, anchors, trash, dead fish and even Tabasco sauce at the vessel and its wheelhouse windows in addition to threatening ship's crew with Molotov cocktails, spraying gasoline at the ship and pouring gas in the sea around the vessel.
The video also shows the crew on the Farley Mowat using a hose to repel some of the boats.
Sea Shepherd said that while its vessel was temporarily immobilized after the propeller fouling, five fishermen boarded the ship and looted multiple objects from the deck.
"During the illegal boarding, the Sea Shepherd crew was able to keep the poachers from entering into the ship, and used an emergency firehose to repel the boarders, while waiting for naval forces to arrive," the press release said. "At this time a Mexican Naval Helicopter made several passes above the scene and the skiffs began to disperse."
The vessel's captain was eventually able restart the engines and headed to the port of San Felipe where the ship was met by the regional Navy Commander and reinforcements, according to Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd conducts maritime patrols inside the vaquita refuge and had recovered three illegal gillnets in the morning before the attack. The group's operations are conducted with the knowledge and cooperation of the Mexican government to help detect illegal fishing activities, the Associated Press noted.
Captain Paul Watson, founder and CEO of Sea Shepherd, said his organization "will not be deterred by violence."
"Our mission is to prevent the extinction of the vaquita porpoise and we will continue to seize the nets of poachers in the Vaquita Refuge," he said in the press release. "Sea Shepherd salutes the quick responsiveness of the Mexican Navy in defusing a dangerous situation."
Near-Extinct #Vaquita Gets Another Lifeline from the Courts https://t.co/9e60Qslzvj @NRDC @ConservationOrg— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1543723218.0
By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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