October 10, 2012

    Photo: amanderson2/Flickr

Tanzania Applies for Ivory Firesale

Wants to downgrade elephant's protected status

Tanzania has formally applied for permission to unload its more-than-100-ton stock of ivory in a one-off sale. They also want to downgrade the protection of Tanzanian elephants from the highest category to allow for trophy hunting and trade in tusks, hides, and live animals. The country maintains that all proceeds from the sale would go toward elephant conservation. But environmentalists say the sale would counteract any positive revenue. "It's ludicrous for Tanzania to even consider applying for permission to cash in on its stockpile," said Mary Rice, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency. "Dumping more than 100 tons of ivory onto the market will only serve to further confuse consumers as to the legal status of ivory, stimulating fresh demand, spurring the black market, and leading to more poaching." The global ivory trade is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which will field Tanzania’s proposal. CITES rejected a similar proposal in March 2010.

Via The Guardian

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Lance Armstrong     Photo: Alexander Gordeyev/Shutterstock

USADA Releases Case Against Armstrong

Includes witness testimony, financial transactions, and tests

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has released the much-anticipated report detailing the case against Lance Armstrong. The 200-page release was accompanied by over 1,000 pages of documents, including sworn testimony from 11 of Armstrong's former USPS teammates, emails, financial statements, and new lab tests. The seven-time Tour de France champ led “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” USADA said Wednesday.

George Hincapie and Michael Barry stepped forward this morning to admit to doping and confirm their participation in the proceedings against Armstrong. Other teammates whose testimony is found in the report include Tyler Hamilton and Jonathan Vaughters. From Jonathan Vaughters' affidavit: "One evening while Vaughters was in Armstrong’s room borrowing Armstrong’s laptop, Armstrong injected himself in front of Vaughters with a syringe used for EPO injections, saying ‘now that you are doing EPO too, you can’t go write a book about it.’ From that point forward, Armstrong was open with Vaughters about Armstrong’s use of EPO." In separate affidavits, teammates George Hincapie, Michael Barry, Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, and Levi Leipheimer all testified that USPS trainer Jose "Pepe" Marti acted as the team's drug runner, supplying them and Armstrong with EPO.

Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned for life after deciding not to contest doping charges in August. USADA has said it expects to send the case file to the International Cycling Union by Monday. Through a spokesman, Armstrong said he would not comment on the report.

Follow a live-blog of analysis on the report at The Wall Street Journal. The complete report can be found here.

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Georgie Hincapie in 2009     Photo: Chuck Abbe/Flickr

George Hincapie: I Doped

Cyclist admits he testified to USADA, feds

Former road race champion and Lance Armstrong lieutenant George Hincapie today admitted to doping during his professional career, saying that he testified to USADA and federal investigators. In a statement, Hincapie said that he had decided to dope in order to remain competitive. "Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them," he said, adding that he stopped using drugs in 2006. In May, 60 Minutes reported that Hincapie told investigators he and Armstrong had supplied each other with EPO while racing on the U.S. Postal Service team.

Via Bicycling

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Sections of oil pipe, Canada     Photo: Loozrboy/Flickr

Montana Landowners Sue Exxon

Yellowstone River spill could have been avoided

Montana landowners are suing Exxon Mobil for a July 2011 spill in the Yellowstone River that caused health, livestock, and property damage. Officials in the town of Laurel, where the rupture occurred, had repeatedly warned that the pipeline was a hazard. “They should have known long before this happened that this river floods every spring and produces massive erosive forces,” said an attorney for the 14 plaintiffs. Exxon spent around $135 million in subsequent upgrades to the pipelines and on cleanup of the spill, which contaminated an estimated 70 miles of the Yellowstone riverbank. The spill caused greater property damage than all other accidents in the state over the last decade combined.

Via UPI

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    Photo: Lisa Jacobs/Flickr

Plan to Import 18 Belugas Raises Protest

Aquarium says they're for captive breeding and research

Animal rights activists are protesting the proposed importation of 18 beluga whales to American aquatic parks. Leading the importation initiative is the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, which claims the whales are needed for captive breeding, research, and education. Those opposed to the plan are protesting on bioethical grounds, citing the belugas’ vast natural habitat and migration patterns, which cannot be recreated in even the best captive conditions. There are currently 31 captive belugas on display in the United States, where their expressive features and friendly nature make them popular attractions. Some parks, like Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, charge as much as $450 to experience the animals up close in their enclosure. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will hold a public hearing on the issue this Friday in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Via New York Times

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