Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Zinke Rides to Work on Horse for First Day in Office Then Repeals Rule Protecting Wildlife From Lead Poisoning

Popular
Zinke Rides to Work on Horse for First Day in Office Then Repeals Rule Protecting Wildlife From Lead Poisoning

The former Montana congressman overturned an Obama-era policy that banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle in federal wildlife refuges. Photo credit: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement /Twitter

By Nadia Prupis

On his first full day in office Thursday, newly-confirmed Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke rode a horse to work and proceeded to repeal a rule that protected plants and animals from lead poisoning.

The former Montana congressman's order overturned a policy put into place by former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe on Jan. 19, before the Obama administration left office, that banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle in FWS wildlife refuges and other federal lands that allow hunting or fishing.

He also signed a separate order asking other agencies under his purview to come up with ways to make federal lands more accessible for recreational use, saying it "worries" him to think about hunting and fishing becoming a sport of the "land-owning elite."

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, spent lead ammunition causes poisoning in 130 species of birds and animals and hundreds of reports have been written about the dangers of lead exposure to wildlife. The center said Zinke's swift action repealing the ban came in response to pressure from the National Rifle Association, which spent $30 million on ads promoting President Trump's election.

"Switching to nontoxic ammunition should be a no-brainer to save the lives of thousands birds and other wildlife, prevent hunters and their families from being exposed to toxic lead and protect our water," said Jonathan Evans, the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health legal director.

"It's ironic that one of the first actions by Secretary Zinke, who fancies himself a champion of hunters and anglers, leads to poisoning of game and waterfowl eaten by those same hunting families," said Evans. "It's another sad day for public health and wildlife under the Trump presidency when special interests again prevail over common-sense environmental safeguards."

Zinke's gung-ho start to his first day in office comes after environmental groups expressed outrage over his confirmation on Wednesday, describing the former congressman from Montana as a "foe of endangered species" and warning that his voting record shows he "couldn't care less about our wildlife, climate or public lands."

Indeed, Zinke has voted against endangered species protections 100 percent of the time and has taken donations from the fossil fuel industry. Ahead of the confirmation vote in February, 170 environmental organizations sent a letter to the Senate urging them to reject him.

"Zinke is another climate science-denier with ties to Big Oil who won't lift a finger for real climate action. His agenda will put communities in danger and, if the coal moratorium is lifted, would spell disaster for the climate," said May Boeve, executive director of the climate group 350.org, in response to his confirmation.

The horse was named Tonto.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less