ESA Policy News, February 14, 2014: Keystone Pipeline, fisheries reauthorization debate, and FWS criticized in wolf delisting.
Feb14

ESA Policy News, February 14, 2014: Keystone Pipeline, fisheries reauthorization debate, and FWS criticized in wolf delisting.

Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by Policy Analyst Terence Houston.  Read the full Policy News here. DEBT CEILING: CONGRESS PASSES BILL EXTENDING DEBT LIMIT TO 2015 This week, the House and Senate passed a bill to extend the debt ceiling through March 2015. The bill was passed shortly after the US Department of Treasury announced it had to resort to extraordinary measures to keep the nation from defaulting on its federal debt. Passage of the clean debt ceiling occurred after several alternative proposals, including one to add legislation approving the Keystone pipeline, could not garner a majority of the Republican conference. Consequently, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), realized he would have to rely on a proposal that could gain backing of a majority of House Democrats. Congressional Democrats were steadfast in echoing the president’s sentiments that any legislation to increase in the debt ceiling be a clean bill free of extraneous measures. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 55-43 with all Republicans voting no. It passed the House with the support of 28 Republicans and opposition from two Democrats (Reps. Jim Matheson (UT) and John Barrow (GA). The 28 Republicans consisted of House Speaker John Boehner (OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA), Ken Calvert, (CA), Dave Camp (MI), Howard Coble (NC), Chris Collins (NY), Charlie Dent (PA), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA),Michael Grimm (NY), Richard Hanna (NY), Doc Hastings (WA), Darrell Issa (CA), Peter King (NY), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Kevin McCarthy (CA), Buck McKeon (CA), Pat Meehan (PA), Gary Miller (CA), Devin Nunes (CA), Dave Reichert (WA), Harold Rogers (KY), Peter Roskam (IL),Ed Royce (CA), Jon Runyan (NJ), John Shimkus (IL), Chris Smith (NJ), David Valadao (CA) and Frank Wolf (VA). NSF: US GLOBAL LEAD IN SCIENCE INNOVATION INVESTMENT CONTINUES TO FALL On Feb. 6, the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board (NSB) released a report, which concludes that a select group of foreign countries, including China and South Korea, are now contributing a greater share of their economies to research and development (R&D) investment than in decades past. Since 2001, the share of the world’s R&D performed by the United States has decreased from 37 percent to 30 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, Asian countries’ share of global R&D has risen from 25 to 34 percent over the same period. China’s share alone spiked from four percent to 15 percent over that decade. The report found that women compromised a higher proportion of occupations in social sciences (58 percent) and life sciences (48 percent) than in engineering (13 percent) and computer and mathematical sciences (25 percent). It also stated that while Hispanics, blacks and...

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EU reforms fishing policies
Jun05

EU reforms fishing policies

By Peter Janetos, ESA public affairs intern As noted in a New York Times article on May 30, 2013 a unanimous agreement between all 27 European Union (EU) member states will reform and change current fishing policies to make fishing more sustainable across the region.  This marks the biggest fishing reform in Europe since 2002.  The decision was reached Thursday by the European fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki, Ulrike Rodust German Member of Parliament representing the European Parliament, and Simon Coveney, Irish fisheries minister representing the EU fisheries ministries. The current policy is considered an utter failure and has resulted in 80 percent of Mediterranean and 47 percent of Atlantic fish stocks and fisheries to be overfished. “If we carried on, potentially 90 percent of all fish stocks would be unsustainable and at risk within the next decade” said European Parliament member Chris Davies. Cod is the primary fish caught by EU members in the Atlantic and has been significantly declining over the past three decades.  The new reform measures are predicted to essentially halt overfishing by 2015 and revive all stocks by 2020.  EU member states will be required to set quotas backed by scientific research by 2015 to give fish enough time to reproduce and grow.  Anglers will now have to abide by the newly implemented maximum sustainable yield (MSY), which limits fish catch to the amount a given stock can reproduce in one year.  Also new is a ban on the practice of improperly discarding unwanted fish “bycatch”.  These unintentionally caught fish — accounting for nearly 25 percent of total catches – are thrown back and usually die.  Under the new agreement anglers may only throw back 5 percent of their bycatch.  This reform also addresses the concern of EU conduct in overseas waters. EU boats will now only have access to surplus fish in territorial countries, not part of the EU. As described in the Times article, the reform is significant because it breaks with the old tradition of EU countries catering to their respective constituencies at the expense of the overall fisheries.  European Officials praised the agreement calling it “a historic step for all those involved in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.” Pew Charitable Trusts’ EU marine program director, Uta Bellion, characterized it as a “tremendous win for fisheries, the environment, and the European people. By agreeing to rebuild fish stocks, set a legally binding target to end overfishing, and reducing bycatch and discarding, European leaders finally showed the resolve needed to secure a future for a vital industry and the citizens that have come to depend on it for food.” However, some believe the...

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