Suit filed to save sea turtles

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1994:

Institute sea turtle restoration project director Todd
Steiner and EII itself together filed suit on October
31 against Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt for allegedly fail-
ing to enforce the 1978 Pelly Amendment to the
National Marine Fisheries Act, which requires the
Commerce and Interior departments to investigate
charges that other nations are violating treaties to
protect endangered species––and permits the impo-
sition of trade sanctions if the charges are sustained.
Steiner says Mexico has not adequately honored a
1990 pledge to halt the killing of sea turtles and
traffic in products made from their eggs and
remains. The terms allowed the sale of products
from turtles killed before the pledge was issued.

“We have proof,” Steiner told media,
“that much of what is now being sold as ‘old’ mate-
rial actually comes from turtles killed since the ban
was imposed.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
intercepted 9,350 sea turtle products valued at
$567,247 along the Mexican border between 1988
and 1993. Steiner believes this was just 10% of the
actual volume. “This is an early test of the NAFTA
environmental side agreement,” Steiner added.
“American voters were assured that U.S. environ-
mental laws would not be undermined by NAFTA.
This is an ugly sore that Mexico wants to keep hid-
den. Sea turtles saw the dinosaurs come and go,
and now they’re on the brink of extinction.”
In a similar suit, the Biodiversity Legal
Foundation on November 14 accused the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service of failing to designate critical
habitat for the endangered woodland caribou,
which inhabits the Selkirk Mountains of northern
Idaho and northeast Washington. Fewer than 50
woodland caribou survive. They were added to the
U.S. endangered species list in 1983.
“At stake here,” said BLF director Jasper
Carlton, “is not only the health and viability of this
last caribou population in the lower U.S., but also
the habitat of the grizzly bear, wolves, lynx,
wolverine, fisher, and northern goshawk. The
Selkirk Mountains are the only place left in the
lower U.S. where all of these species still exist
together in the wild.”
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.