More Anti-Science Eco-Activism in British Columbia

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langseth.jpg (Photo courtesy LDEO)

September 29th, 2009 Project UPDATE

Courtesy the University of Oregon, which reports on Sept. 22nd that

After 30 days at sea and 16 days of successful seismic surveying of deep-sea hydrothermal ecosystems on the Pacific Ocean floor off British Columbia, researchers from two Northwest institutions have returned to dry land. Their mission to study the deep crustal structure of the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca ridge had drawn last-minute opposition by environmental groups, who in court filings had sought to stop the seismic surveying because of potential harm to whales and other mammals. A portion of the ridge includes the Endeavour Marine Protected Area that was established to foster conservation and responsible scientific study. Canadian courts rejected the groups’ cases. Prior to sailing, the project – the Endeavour Seismic Tomography Experiment – underwent a thorough environmental assessment by Canadian and U.S. regulators. The timing of the expedition was chosen to minimize marine mammal encounters. During the survey, certified marine mammal observers monitored the region on a 24-hour per-day basis. “Not a single marine mammal was either visually observed or acoustically detected during the seismic survey,” said Doug Toomey, professor of geological sciences at the University of Oregon and principal investigator of the National Science Foundation-funded project that was done from the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth.

Update continues below the fold…

The University of Oregon’s 22 September press release continues:

The ship is the academic community’s flagship seismic research vessel and is owned by the NSF. Universities, research institutes and labs use the Langseth to study the earth’s interior below the world’s ocean floors. The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University, operates the ship on behalf of the NSF. “Our results will have direct societal benefits, including an improved understanding of the life-cycle of deep-sea vents and on the importance of the Marine Protected Area as a long-term species reservoir for the entire northeast Pacific,” Toomey said. “We are learning about and how the structure of ocean crust and the Juan de Fuca plate contributes to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic hazards that threaten the Pacific Northwest.” Unlike other marine and terrestrial ecosystems, Toomey said, the hydrothermal vent communities at Endeavour are entirely dependent upon heat from a magma body within the oceanic crust as their primary source of energy. “A primary goal of our study was to image these below-seafloor heat sources, or magma chambers, that fuel and sustain the vent fields and their bottom-dwelling communities,” he said. Scientists from the UO and University of Washington used the ship’s extensive air source array to send low-frequency sound waves to image the structure beneath the seafloor of the region, which is a source of numerous earthquakes. Many of these earthquakes generate sound in the same frequency band as the ship’s seismic array. Earthquake swarms can continue for several weeks.

Information gathered by researchers will prove useful to a major Canadian project, as well.

“This experiment is particularly timely because it provides subsurface geological information that complements the work of the NEPTUNE Canada project at the University of Victoria to install a long-term cabled hydrothermal observatory in the hydrothermal fields” said William Wilcock, a UW marine geophysicist and a co-principal investigator on the project. He also noted that the seismic work went so smoothly that the Langseth was able to spend the last two days at sea mapping the seafloor in nearby regions that are also of interest to the NEPTUNE Canada team.

“Professor Toomey’s project will provide fundamental data complementary to data from NEPTUNE Canada’s cabled ocean observatory, with a node site at Endeavour. Data on 3-D seismic structure of the ocean crust will reveal how magmatic and hydrothermal vent processes sustain the special ecosystems and the relationship between regional plate-tectonic processes and natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, major slope failures, gas hydrate release,” said Chris Barnes of the University of Victoria in British Columbia and project director of NEPTUNE Canada.

“This project will directly contribute to ecosystem and conservation research at the Endeavour Marine Protected Area,” said Kim Juniper the BC Leadership Chair in Ocean Ecosystems and Global Change at the University of Victoria. Acquiring that information on the sub-surface magma system is essential to determine the stability of hydrothermal vent populations, he added.

Emilie Hooft, a UO professor of geological sciences also participated in the study. She noted: “The academic marine seismic community is one of the most careful communities in the world when it comes to monitoring and mitigating the effects of our seismic sources on marine ecosystems.

The Langseth operates in accordance with rules and regulations set forth by U.S. governmental entities and laws, and, in this case, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

There have been several other news reports on the completed study, including the Victoria Times Colonist on Sept. 25th: “Seismic surveys produced ‘vital’ results: Team says marine mammals fine, but environmentalists are skeptical”, which featured this bizarre statement by lawyer Lara Tessaro:

“We think they have missed the point of the monitoring. Success is not measured by failure to see whales and dolphins, it’s measured by seeing whales and dolphins and measuring their response.”

Meanwhile, the BBC reported on Sept. 23rd on studies indicating Seismic bangs ‘block’ whale calls.

And the Sept. 29th edition of TIME magazine, in a piece titled “Is Ocean Seismic Testing Endangering the Dolphins?”, discusses seismic testing by the Langseth off the coast of Taiwan:

For all the “hype on risks to whales from seismic research,” the benefits get little attention, says William Lang, a marine-mammal expert and former program director for ocean sciences environmental operations at the NSF. “The risk to people for not pursuing this type of research is simply not part of the story,” Lang says. In the past, explosives like dynamite were used to create seismic waves. Improvement of recording devices and computer analysis has further decreased the airgun sound intensity required for geological research. Airguns are “the best existing technology to produce the desired type of sound,” he says. Lincoln Hollister, professor of geosciences at Princeton University, also rejects claims that airgun use is correlated with damage to marine life, like lesions to the ears and brains or mass beachings. “In recent years, environmental groups have become increasingly negative about the use of airguns, and efforts have greatly increased to monitor studies,” Hollister says. “Tremendous damage has and is being done to the credibility of environmental groups” and, he adds, their demands are “seriously setting back university-based science.”

During all this, readers of the Thumb have been patiently waiting for EcoJustice to respond to queries made after their initial comments were published here. So far, the followups can best be characterized with the help of this web page.

September 14th, 2009 Project UPDATE

Courtesy project Principal Investigator Douglas Toomey (U. Oregon), who reports that no whales were harmed during the course of this project:

Scientists from the University of Oregon and the University of Washington have successfully completed ~16 days of seismic surveying at the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca ridge, a region that includes the Endeavour Marine Protected Area (MPA). The Endeavour MPA was established to facilitate scientific study of a deep-sea hydrothermal ecosystem. Results of the environmental research will have direct societal benefits, including an improved understanding of the life-cycle of deep-sea vents, of the importance of the MPA as a long-term species reservoir for the entire northeast Pacific spreading ridge system, and of how the structure of ocean crust and the Juan de Fuca plate contributes to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic hazards that threaten the Pacific Northwest.

The seismic surveying used the full 36-element, 6600 cu. in. airgun array of the R/V Marcus G. Langseth. Prior to sailing, the survey underwent a thorough environmental assessment by Canadian and U.S. regulators and the timing of the expedition was chosen to minimize marine mammal encounters. During the survey, certified Marine Mammal Observers monitored the region on a 24-hour per-day basis. Not a single marine mammal was either visually observed or acoustically detected during the seismic survey.

The low abundance of marine mammals in this region comes as no surprise to knowledgeable experts. Nevertheless, prior to conducting this successful environmental research, activist groups including EcoJustice, the Living Oceans Society and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society repeatedly claimed that the Endeavour MPA was a refuge for whales. These erroneous claims were propagated by individuals with a poor knowledge of the habits of marine mammals and a poor grasp of the established practices for permitting research that benefits society as well as the conservation, protection and understanding of a Marine Protected Area.

- Douglas Toomey (U. Oregon)

August 26th, 2009 Opening Post

It’s hardly been a month since I reported on the Batholiths experiment, which suffered deliberate sabotage from an eco-activist (Details in Blogging Batholiths and Blogging Batholiths Part 2).

Rex Dalton reports on a new case in the 18 August 2009 issue of Nature:

An environmental lawsuit is threatening the departure of a long-planned, US$4.7-million research cruise to image sea-floor structures off the coast of western Canada. The RV Marcus Langseth, a vessel operated by Columbia University in New York for the US National Science Foundation, had acquired all its permits to depart on 21 August for the Endeavour hydrothermal vents, 250 kilometres southwest of Vancouver Island. But on 10 August, the Canadian activist legal group Ecojustice, in Vancouver, British Columbia, sued the university, the Canadian department of fisheries and oceans and the minister of foreign affairs, alleging among other things that proper procedures were not followed in assessing how the seismic air bursts set off during the cruise would affect marine life.

I heard about this from project scientist Lincoln Hollister (Princeton), who commented on a related story in the Times Colonist (August 13th):

It’s a standard ploy by environmental groups to go to court to stop a project by legal fine print rather than by reason of science. The project they wish to stop is designed specifically to understand the plumbing system of the seabed volcanic vents ecosystem of the Endeavor Marine Protected Area. It is led by Professor Toomey at the University of Oregon; it would not damage marine life. The environmental groups have known of the pending study for over a year and a half; however, they waited until the research vessel was about to begin the study to announce by press release and application to the court the reasons they are against it. They did not submit their objections for open scientific review. With experienced lawyers, and with judges unfamiliar with the issues, they may succeed in court where they failed in consultations. Maybe after the judges, and the public, become aware of what has been lost by killing the academic research project, they will lift the injunction, but by then it will be too late. The ship will have moved on to other academic studies, elsewhere on the globe. In this case, there are no winners.

Once again, science gets the short shrift in the media and the court system. Hollister tells me that “I think the campaign would be helped by input in the press from Canadian scientists.

84 Comments

Here’s an update from August 23: “The (Canadian) federal government has granted an American research ship permission to conduct seismic blasts in a protected marine area off Vancouver Island, despite warnings from environmental groups that it will threaten endangered whales. … Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon gave the go-ahead Friday night for the government-owned RV Marcus Langseth to conduct blasts… The ship set sail from Astoria, Ore. Saturday morning…” - full story at http://www.calgaryherald.com/techno[…]0/story.html

? Seismic air bursts? Underwater? Or under the sea floor? How does that work?

fnxtr said:

? Seismic air bursts? Underwater? Or under the sea floor? How does that work?

The Nature article notes that

The cruise plans to sink 64 portable seismometers near the Endeavour vent field, fire airguns into the water for 10 days, then retrieve the data-laden seismometers that pop to the surface.

Dave

Ecojustice statements are full of typical inaccuracies. Sound levels in air are not at all comparable to soundlevels in the ocean - see http://www.acousticecology.org/oceanother.html

The MPA in question was created to protect forms of plant life that live at the sea floor. Its area is so much smaller than any large mammal habitat that it’s ridiculous to connect it with protection of mammals.

Green ideologues are religious fundamentalists like any other.

The environmental organizations repeatedly demonstrate that they do not know what they are talking about. They continue to feed the press with absolutely false statements (like “louder than a jet engine”) and the press prints them unknowingly.

The “Langseth” is a research ship used by primarily university-based scientists of all nations who are working on global environmental problems. It is an international treasure. Canada-based researchers have a big stake in preserving the integrity of the Endeavour project. The loss of this cruise would be a tactical blow to ongoing and future research of Canadians around its huge marine frontier. The US and Canada have further cooperative seismic work planned in the Arctic in 2010. This is now on the line. The notion of a US vessel doing dastardly things in Canada rather than in the US is a new low in nationalistic hyperbole.

The environmental groups seem to imply the MPA was set up solely for the protection of whales. In propagating this false notion they have given us a seemingly wonderful picture of the Endeavour MPA as a safe haven for whales, and why of all places would scientists want to “blast away” in “whale park.” Well, marine mammals are going through this small area the same as through any other part of the greater non-MPA seas around it. This is not some last green space in a city centre. At most, marine mammals and fish will locally divert as the ship approaches, as they do everywhere else on the globe. Under the procedures directed by DFO for the Endeavour project, there will be NO impact of any kind on marine mammals.


Some supposedly informed people seem absolutely convinced airguns really will kill animals out there, in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. If noise from airguns would kill whales, there would be no whales in the Endeavour MPA because noise from the earthquakes in the area, which are MUCH louder than the airguns, would have wiped out everything eons ago.



The experts who reviewed the proposal saw this as good science posing little to no risk to the environment. The environmental groups who have gone to court have defined their concerns as a whale problem. Totally ignored are the scientific objectives of the project! Scientists are studying the geological processes that led to the area becoming an MPA in the first place. The project has direct relevance to understanding earthquakes in the area. This is a fact that has been missed in the lawsuit of the environmental groups, and by the press in reporting of the lawsuit.



The environmental groups, running high on emotions and low on understanding, are discrediting environmentalism.

Marine geophysicist said:

The MPA in question was created to protect forms of plant life that live at the sea floor. …

For the curious, an “MPA” is a “Marine Protected Area.” You can find out more about the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents MPA here.

Dave

Hmmm. I know of a few scientists in the US in similar situations, their work is being delayed or derailed by “environmentalist” lawsuits. That said, it was just such lawsuits that shut down many of the environmentally damaging activities in the 60’s and 70’s, and continue to keep loggers, miners and others acting responsibly with our national treasures. Generally the problem occurs when the people doing the work haven’t dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. Don’t know if it is the same in Canada, but if you have the proper permits then the worst they can usually do is call for a review, which courts can expedite if time is of the essence, and then you’re on your way. I’d hate to see the baby thrown out with the bath water here - there is a reason you have to jump through all those hoops, and the fact that the work is being done for scientific reasons doesn’t shield you from oversight. If the problem is speedy resolution of challenges, change that, but don’t gut laws that protect our natural resources - even if a scientist “assures” us that no harm can come from their work.

Humans, including environmentalists, tend to favor warm-blooded, attractive, “intelligent” species.

This bias explains the occasional deviations of environmentalists from a perfectly rational approach.

A lot more people care about protecting wolves, cats, whales, dolphins, apes and parrots than care directly about plants and insects. Issues involving the former types of organisms can draw the attention of some people without rigorous scientific training.

Having said that, environmentalists as a group are still largely on the right side scientifically, assuming that we consider indefinite continuation of human life on earth, and respect for other forms of life, to be a “good” thing.

Climate change denialists and other anti-environmental types are far, far more harmful.

I agree with Phaedrus’s statement.

The threat of lawsuit is often the only recourse available to protect the environment, especially in instances when government agencies view exploitation and development as being higher priorities than conservation.

My ideology is as Green as anyone’s, but I’m also a skeptic and a strong supporter of the scientific worldview. I don’t support the anti-scientific elements who claim to be “Green”, and I won’t accept any responsibility for them.

WRT lawsuits as a tool for “Green” obtructionists, I agree with Phaedrus. If you don’t want any trouble, just make sure your project conforms with the laws.

In the interest of fairness, the federal institutions are sometimes put in an no-win situation. Many of the programs that our last administration required the Forest Service to implement were obviously and flagrantly in violation of legal requirements, and so employees had to choose between a pointless program (leading to inevitable challenge and overturn in court) or fight their bosses - easy to see why the programs got implemented, challenged, and killed. The scientific community is under no such mandate, generally. The problems I’ve seen occur in those cases are usually due to ignorance - unknowing violations of the migratory bird act, or trapping certain species without knowing the licenses required… In the cases where large multi-year projects were involved, the scientists had time to educate themselves and work with the agencies to perform the required studies and obtain the needed permits. There, when the inevitable environmental challenge came (I love/hate the Sierra Club) it caused a blip, but soon the work was back on track.

Dear Phaedrus and other commentators,

There is no argument that the appropriate environmental laws and protocols must be followed in any science study, and university-based earth scientists are, by nature, exceedingly environmentally aware.

The case in Canada, however, involves misuse of the laws of physics to raise an alarm where there was no need for alarm. The environmental organizations thought they had found a loophole by which they could stop a project that had been put together over a number of years by a couple of university professors. The fine details of law are not the responsibility of university scientists. They need to assume that the institutions involved will see that the laws are followed. The institutions on the US side of the border did just that, but a critical Canadian federal administration misplaced the application..it was reportedly lost for 6 months! This created the loophole for the environmental organizations.

Then, to compound the error, the environmental organizations have now demonstrated in court that they do not understand the physics of sound generation and of sound propagation in water. They have fed wrong and misleading information to their membership and to unknowing (in science) reporters to create a nationalistic feeding frenzy of environmentally concerned Canadians against those evil oil hogs from USA. To try and give a sense of rationality to their cause, they even created a myth that a volcanic vent field on the sea bottom was specially set aside as an area for the protection of whales.

The environmental groups even insisted in court that the study was really a cover for oil exploration.

The environmental movement has been set back seriously by these rogue environmental groups. However, it is not just a couple of small groups in British Columbia making havoc on university-based science (including Canadian university based science). These small groups are supported by some well-known international environmental groups.

The Canadian Press report on the court hearing on Tuesday is:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ca[…]rV_xPERQlKSQ

A very interesting analysis of the damage to science being done by the environmental groups is this from an environmental group that focuses on underwater noise issues:

http://aeinews.org/archives/326

Finally, the ecojustice facebook page has interesting discussions on the issue:

http://www.facebook.com/ecojustice

There is also the Ecojustice Blog, which reacts defensively to a Daily Kos post. These aren’t very informative, but it is sad reading nonetheless.

Entitled, “Blinded and deafened by science” they write: “We pride ourselves on our junk-free scientific approach to complex environmental issues.”

Considering the aggression of this and other legal actions, many have taken this on as a rallying cry, of “Science free junk.”

Maybe there is a better way to engage with these commentaries?

http://blog.ecojustice.ca/2009/08/b[…]science.html

To me key factors on the EcoJustice and friends views are, all science aside, the researchers are going out there and blast a whale refuge, they are really engaging in oil and gas activities, stopping this effort is really stopping industry, and there seems to be absolutely no recognition on what seismic research really contributes to understanding the environment. How much of this is genuine, limited understand or how much is intentional tactics where researchers are expendable pawns is important to sort out. If the latter, the rift between science and conservation will only widen. If not, then some constructive interaction is desperately needed. When they announce they like scientists and have a junk-free scientific approach - yeah, right.

lincoln S Hollister said:

The environmental groups even insisted in court that the study was really a cover for oil exploration.

That was also one of the allegations made by Ignmar Lee when he sabotaged the batholith project. How paranoid and ignorant are these people?

Late afternoon (ET) news:

The effort to enjoin is over - entire application was dismissed. EcoJustice will now have a fight over the amount they must pay for court costs.

More info on Thursday’s ruling here:

The Federal Court dismissed Thursday a request by environmental groups for a stay of the federal government’s authorization of U.S. scientific marine seismic surveys off the B.C. coast.

Justice Michael Kelen said he is not satisfied that the surveys would harm marine life based on new federal requirements imposed since the legal action was launched. The requirements include a reduction in the 180-decible level of the survey’s airguns to 160 decibels, an increase in marine mammal observers, and a stipulation that no testing occur within about seven kilometres of a whale.

Cheers, Dave

A view from the front line:

As PI on the seismic project in question, it has been a fascinating, frustrating, and (I keep hoping for this one) enlightening episode.

I think all can understand the frustration easily enough. Though let me add some details. Over the past two years I have spent months of my time participating in the process to permit our experiment. I have worked with NSF, LDEO, Canadian scientists and DFO to ensure that we achieved due diligence. What disturbs me is not that some question the value of our research or its potential impact. Reasonable questions, even unreasonable ones, can be raised and addressed with reasonable, rational responses. What disturbs me to the point of outrage is the legal chicanery that CPAWS and EcoJustice engaged in. Sabine Jessen from CPAWS is a member of the Endeavour MPA board that reviewed our work. She has known about it for almost 2 years. During those 2 years she apparently said very little. Yet, when questions do come, they come within days of our sailing, in a clear effort to use last minute legal appeals to monkey-wrench our experiment. If CPAWS and EcoJustice had reasons to be concerned, why wait until days before sailing? Why? The one answer I can find is that they know their objections will not hold up to thoughtful scrutiny and instead banked their strategy on last minute legal trickery. This time they lost. And the loss was not just in court. CPAWS and EcoJustice have lost the respect of scientists, many of whom are conservationists.

A conservation movement without science seems less potent to me. Herein lies a dangerous fallout of this fallacious lawsuit by EcoJustice.

What about ‘fascinating”? The list is long. Having received hate mail and phone calls from anonymous sources over the past few weeks is a new experience. Usually this comes from my colleagues and hopefully over a scientific discovery! Receiving threatening messages, to the point where my wife (a co-PI) and I were glad that our kids were with their grandparents is a new low in my career. I realize that this fringe of the environmental movement does not represent the vast majority of thoughtful (I hope!) environmentalists. What I hadn’t realized was just how much EcoJustice and the press fan these ignorant flames for their benefit. The gulf between science and the public is large. As scientists, we have our work cut out for us. It will be hard work, but it is necessary. Somehow we have to raise the level of discourse above legal trickery and hate mail.

Rereading the above I can see that “enlightening” is still beyond my grasp. But hopefully not for long. There is work ahead to do, first with my scientific and foundation colleagues that have supported and helped the PIs over the past 2 years of doing due diligence. The fact that we are here today, on the seas, collecting valuable environmental data that will benefit the Endeavour MPA as well as our society is some indication that we met our responsibilities well.

I look forward to continuing discussions.

It is possible that they have ethical considerations regarding the ocean ecosystem’s health that can trump scientific knowledge. I don’t see anything in this post that clearly indicates their position nor why they are necessarily wrong. There seems to be an assumption (based on the post’s content and lack of content) that there is a level of freedom of inquiry that trumps any ethical questions someone or some group might have. Saying that a “conservation movement without science seems less potent to me” might be spot on. No. It is spot on. But does the value of your research necessarily outweigh whatever problems it might create?

Pete said:

It is possible that they have ethical considerations regarding the ocean ecosystem’s health that can trump scientific knowledge. I don’t see anything in this post that clearly indicates their position nor why they are necessarily wrong. There seems to be an assumption (based on the post’s content and lack of content) that there is a level of freedom of inquiry that trumps any ethical questions someone or some group might have. Saying that a “conservation movement without science seems less potent to me” might be spot on. No. It is spot on. But does the value of your research necessarily outweigh whatever problems it might create?

The problem is that this project had already been reviewed for possible dangers to marine life prior to approval and found lacking any credible risk. So yes, unless something very unexpected turns out to happen beyond our means to assure otherwise, it does, because due diligence has already been done. It’s hard to validly “trump scientific knowledge” with fears that are purely unreasonable and unfounded.

Pete -

There seems to be an assumption (based on the post’s content and lack of content) that there is a level of freedom of inquiry that trumps any ethical questions someone or some group might have.

I don’t see that (critically important) issue here.

Please note that it is the scientific community itself that has clearly decided in favor of ethical limits on experimentation.

All scientific work involving subjects, human or animal is scrutinized heavily by professional ethics committees. No mainstream scientist openly proposes that freedom of inquiry blocks all ethical concerns.

Understanding of and resultant concern for ecological questions comes from science.

Despite my somewhat cynical sounding (yet accurate) comment above, I am very “environmentalist”.

I also believe that most of the time, even the craziest environmentalists are far closer to the rational truth than idiots who deny environmental reality. It is far less harmful to the human race as a whole to be an irrational pest about this kind of study, than to irreversibly harm the common environment.

Nevertheless, I am sometimes frustrated when certain minority elements of the environmentalist community, who perhaps allow narcissistic desire for attention and a superficially “morally superior” image, or even an unconscious understanding that they can usually get in the face of scientists without being beaten to a pulp but that that might not be the case with loggers or fisherman, to lead them astray, and mis-focus their energy on the beneficial activities of scientists.

Still, as I said, better to be an obsessive environmentalist than a climate-change denying creationist.

From Facebook.com/ecojustice

The responsible use of legal action means it should used as a last resort, and this is precisely what Ecojustice does. In his ruling Justice Kelen reprimands the Department of Foreign Affairs for ‘misplacing… Read More” Columbia’s application for foreign vessel clearance for nearly five months. When it surfaced in July 14th, our initial efforts were to directly petition the government outside of the courts.

It was only at the last moment, when the federal government had ignored our requests, that we pursued legal action – action that strengthened mitigation and was recognized as a proper course of action by the court itself.

We’re confident that our supporters agree.

~ECOJUSTICE August 28, 2009

This comment from Ecojustice illustrates how lawyers find legal loopholes to surprise unsuspecting scientists. For this project, scientists from the study and scientists of the regulatory agencies in both Canada and the US worked through the hazards and mitigation for the past 1.5 years or more. The environmental groups were aware of these discussions, but did not participate in them. Why? One answer is that they intended to snare the project in a legal loophole. A second answer is that there are no scientists on the staffs of the environmental groups, so the groups don’t actually know what they are doing.

The “strengthened mitigation” for Canadian waters, if applied elsewhere in Canadian waters, will seriously set back Canadian scientists, without any benefit to whales or to anything else.

I appreciate the scientific interests represented by this project, and won’t argue on that point, nor does ecojustice. That was never at issue. However, I would like to clarify two inaccuracies in the discussion above.

First and foremost, the decibel level of the tests. The actual reported decibel levels of the tests as recorded in DFO documents was 250 db. However, the environmental groups understood that that was a point source measure. That is why the figures discussed were no higher than 180, because this is the loudest measure you would expect to record in the environment. (ie what anything in the environment would be exposed to).

Secondly, nothing in the legal action, nor discussions between the groups that brought forward the suit, contained anything concerning oil exploration or anti industry sentiments. For the groups involved this was action based on the protection of a marine protected area, which the groups maintain should be an area off limits to human interfence in the same way that the idea of a land based refuge is. Attempting to link this legal action with ‘anti industry’ and ‘anti science’ is both inaccurate and un-rational.

Lastly, it bears consideration that the increased mitigation measures that were eventually put in place came forward only in the midst of the lawsuit itself, with the judge ruling over the case stating that these would unlikely have occurred if NOT for this legal action. The final statements in the Federal Court ruling are worth reading in full:

“With respect to costs, the Court recognizes that after this motion was filed the DFO required the Respondent Columbia University to substantially increase its mitigation measures to protect the marine mammals and it was only after that, that the Foreign Vessel Clearance was issued.

“When the applicants (Ecojustice, CPAWS and Living Oceans Society) appeared before the Court on the return of the motion, these facts had changed without their knowledge. Moreover, the application by the US Department of State for a Foreign Vessel Clearance was filed with the Department of Foreign Affairs on February, 26th, 2009. The evidence showed that the application had been misplaced by the Department of Foreign Affairs until July 14th, 2009. This error prejudiced the parties by substantially reducing the lead time which the parties would have to address the issues raised in litigation.

“In these circumstances, the Court is of the preliminary view that there ought not to be any cost awards against the applicants (Ecojustice et al) because the applicants could not have known about the changed measures to mitigate possible interference with the marine mammals by the seismic testing, and in fact, their imminent legal action may have precipitated the requirement for increased mitigation measures.”

http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/20[…]09fc848.html

If the actions of Ecojustice and their client groups are going to be criticized, which I have no problem with, then it should be on a rational basis with respect to the legal action itself, and not with sweeping statements. If anyone wants additional details about our action, its timing, and the reasons behind it, they’re welcome to get in direct touch with me directly.

Kori Brus Ecojustice Canada [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Ether Justice said: It was only at the last moment, when the federal government had ignored our requests, that we pursued legal action – action that strengthened mitigation and was recognized as a proper course of action by the court itself.

Why were you petitioning the government for action - legally or bureaucratically - instead of discussing the environmental consequences with the scientists performing the experiments?

I have to agree with Skeena. Your post talks about petitioning the government and being forced into legal action. It seems clear by your comments that the question for Eco Justice was not whether the experiments were really harmful, but what method to use to stop them.

“It seems clear by your comments that the question for Eco Justice was not whether the experiments were really harmful, but what method to use to stop them.”

Kori B’s comments make it clear, “For the groups involved this was action based on the protection of a marine protected area, which the groups maintain should be an area off limits to human interfence in the same way that the idea of a land based refuge is.”

In their opinion the seismic research ought not to be ocurring in an MPA. Even if the present research is harmless to sea life, future research might not be. Why allow the precedent to be set.

Kori Brus of Ecojustice wrote, “For the groups involved this was action based on the protection of a marine protected area, which the groups maintain should be an area off limits to human interference in the same way that the idea of a land based refuge is.”

According to Dr. Kim Juniper, who with two other scientists initiated the establishment of the Endeavour MPA, the story is a bit different than reported by Mr. Brus:

“The Endeavour MPA has been created to set the area aside for scientific research. Research activities are monitored by a Management Committee to mitigate use conflicts and environmental disturbance. Included in the present management plan are provisions such as zoning of sampling and ‘observation only’ areas, to ensure the pristine nature of the area and permit long-term observations of natural change and response to natural disturbances.”

(http://www.highseasconservation.org[…]/juniper.pdf)

That was exactly what the scientists proposed to do that the environmental groups tried to stop through injunction. To be sure, Brus’ “sweeping statement” may have some legal accuracy regarding how Juniper and his colleagues’ MPA project evolved; however, as it is, Brus’ statement seems not only misleading, but easily passed on as the fundamental truth, as the post of “rward” indicates.

Welcoming public dialogue, the lingering question is, did any member of CPAWS or LOS participate in the deliberations of the MPA management committee regarding the proposal for the study by the U. of Oregon and U. Washington academic groups?

Could you, Kori Brus, address that here?

RWARD said:

In their opinion the seismic research ought not to be ocurring in an MPA. Even if the present research is harmless to sea life, future research might not be. Why allow the precedent to be set.

I’m sorry, but if that’s really the argument, it’s stupid. There’s already a precedent because field research regularly takes place in areas set aside to protect endangered wildlife and habitats. That’s why scientists jump through hoops to get approval in the first place.

All this claptrap makes it sound as if a bunch of yahoos packed equipment onto a boat and decided to make a bunch of noise on a whim instead of going through what’s supposed to be rigorous impact assessment before anyone even signs off.

…and it’s more than a little curious that a bunch of people with ‘opinions’ think they should be able to derail a project that has had environmental impact concerns fairly high on the radar from day one.

As if to say “Sure you’ve done studies, but we’re protecting the earth, therefore we know better.”

Seriously.

I found this bit from the Acoustic Ecology Institute to be of interest:

While the Acoustic Ecology Institute has been closely monitoring the effects of seismic surveys for several years, and I do indeed have concerns about the degree to which airgun noise may disrupt foraging in some cetaceans, this particular lawsuit appears to me to be a dramatic over-reaction to what is planned. Throwing up legal roadblocks to a carefully designed, ten-day academic study is a very extreme reaction, and should be reserved for times and places where there is real danger of harm. But for this survey, the risks are truly negligible—and this is spoken by someone who resents the free use of “negligible impact” in EAs that minimize the effects of chronic behavioral disruption of cetaceans by noise.

I hadn’t heard of the AEI before; turns out they’re just up the street (well, a couple hundred kilometers up the street) from me, in Santa Fe, NM.

Funny. Right after the Web of Change’s retreat on Cortes Island, Ecojustice’s facebook page doth suffer a sea-change.

Commentary has been removed from Ecojustice’s Facebook page regarding specific subjects associated with Ecojustice’s attempt to enjoin the Langseth from researching at Canada’s Endeavour Marine Protected Area.

A Facebook thread, over what CPAWS (on whose behalf Ecojustice tried to block the Langseth project) knew and when and why that organization’s representative was not apparently proactive, was pulled yesterday.

At the beginning of this week, this post, by Langseth researcher Robert Weekly, disappeared:

Ecojustice’s Facebook Blogger

…in addition to our stance regarding the need to maintain the integrity of MPAs from human interference is the basis of our action, and we make no apologies for that.

Robert Weekly responded:

How noble. The only problem with your statement is that the Endeavour MPA was not developed to forbid human interference. In fact, the charter clearly states that any experiment designed ‘for scientific research for the conservation, protection and understanding of the Area’ shall not contravene any prohibitions set forth by the charter. How can you justify your efforts when ‘the basis of [your] action’ is fundamentally wrong?

And my message, re-posting Robert Weekly’s commentary, was plucked promptly the next day. And a post from last week, asking when Kori Brus would respond to William Wilcock, was also excised right after Web of Change’s conference ended.

Now, Dax Soule has just posted on ecojustice’s Facebook a simple question:

“What are the criteria Ecojustice uses to block a person from this conversation?”

The Web of Change conferences is a transformative event that “pushes the edges of technical and campaign innovation, models a culture of deep collaboration already present in our sector, shares leading organizational change and leadership frameworks, all in service to the transformative change our world and our communities so desperately need.”

Listed participants of last week’s conference —a who’s who of Canadian activism— included an Ecojustice blogger and a representative of Ecojustice’s “eminence grise” partner against Langseth—the Living Oceans Society. CPAWS has participated with Web of Change events in the past. Ecojustice spokesperson Kori Brus—who has been riding shotgun for Lara Tessaro this summer—has been a regular blogger for this organization, documenting how to use Facebook, Twitter and such to engage communities to affect change.

What happened? Did the anonymous Ecojustice facebook moderator come to work Monday, and see the “Inconvenient Truth” within Robert Weekly’s commentary? Or maybe there is a problem answering the persistent question about what CPAWS knew, and when? Or maybe someone at Ecojustice just wanted a “transformative change.”

I add one more point, to anyone who finds my posts sassy, sarcastic or somehow insinuatingly insulting:

A post by a budding young graduate student scientist has been trashed from a social networking web page. It’s petty, but a minor crime. But what about what Ecojustice is doing in the ends-justify-the-means bigger picture?

Is it ethical to trash a science project and the careers of young scientists for reasons that are demonstrably not true, all for the sake of some legal nuance somebody missed somewhere?

Anything for The Cause, apparently. Sound familiar?

EcoJustice, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Living Oceans Society have shown a remarkable inability to respond to discussion. Since discussions will not work with these groups, perhaps it is time to move on to their sponsors. Annual reports of these groups can be found on line and some of the sponsors are ones that recognize the importance of scientific inquiry for understanding and conservation of the environment.

Would it be useful to write letters to their sponsors from a group of concerned scientists?

I understand that in science, discussing possible mistakes you or your colleagues might be making to give faulty results is encouraged. Apparently not so for lawyers?

Dear Dr William Wilcock,

Further noting Ecojustice’s recalcitrance, failing to promptly respond to your questions despite having feigned a willingness for dialogue, I take the liberty of trying further to address some of them, clarifying ambiguities in the process.

Your first public question to Ecojustice pointed out that:

“Living Oceans Society [LOS] 2007 Annual Report makes it quite clear that the successful effort by ENGOs to stop the Batholiths seismic study was in part motivated by a desire to maintain the moratorium on offshore hydrocarbon development.”

.…and you asked of Ecojustice:

“In light of this written statement, why is it un-rational [irrational] for me to assume a similar motivation for your unsuccessful attempts to derail the Endeavour tomography study?”

From everything I’ve read, I’m not inclined to disagree with Ecojustice’s Kori Brus, who argued:

”…nothing in [Lara Tessaro’s 2009] legal action [to enjoin the R/V Langseth from exploring the underpinnings of the Endeavour MPA], nor discussions between the groups [CPAWS, LOS] that brought forward the suit, contained anything concerning oil exploration or anti industry sentiments.”

That said, while recent allegations otherwise seem to be misdirected, it is quite clear to me that Ecojustice has been giving, to paraphrase Lara Tesarro, “a nod of the head, a wink of the eye” to the Web-of-Change -inspired activists who mobbed websites like that of CTV arguing about secret oil research, (incidentally creating the culture of harassment to which Dr. Toomey referred earlier).

Indeed, one need only note for illustration the pandasthumb poster identified as RWARD, who is contributing to this thread.

It should be made clear also, however, that it is not just LOS that has insinuated an occulted oil agenda in such seismic scholarship.

Ecojustice has alleged such also, regarding a previous marine seismic survey, known as Batholiths—the 2007 Ecojustice suit that, unfortunately, succinctly severed ties previously binding university scientists with ecological activists:

“Margot Venton, a legal consultant for environmental group Ecojustice in Vancouver, acknowledges that the potential for oil and gas exploration was a concern…”

Venton was venting in the article of Rex Dalton, “Airgun ban halts seismic tests; Whales sink plan for survey off the Canadian coast” (Nature.com, online 2 January 2008).

In conclusion, for this pandasthumb.org post, it is probably not correct to say that Ecojustice was insinuating any secret oil research in the effort to define the processes underneath the Endeavour MPA that make up those hydrothermal vents, enabling the ecosystem there. But from previous documentation, such as Venton’s comment for Dalton in the Rex Dalton article, it is clear that this has been their agenda in the past, and this has motivated their stealth assault on the R/V Langseth.

And while the action itself of Ecojustice against the science researchers, as demonstrated on this Pandasthumb.org thread, is consistently unethical, the cause of preventing an oil catastrophe from happening off the coast of Vancouver island is a noble one; how does one explain that distinction to a broader public?

I hope no one has misinterpreted my comments to suggest that the scientists on the RV Langseth are stooges of the oil & gas industry. I sincerely doubt they are. But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

RWARD said:

I hope no one has misinterpreted my comments to suggest that the scientists on the RV Langseth are stooges of the oil & gas industry. I sincerely doubt they are. But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

Then why did you think that these scientists would appreciate being legally harassed repeatedly in order to put your group’s anti-science paranoia at ease?

No.

Precedent is for your legal wranglers, not research.

Only lawyers whine, “Well, they got to do it!”

Now let me ask you a question: if there is another scientific survey in an ecologically sensitive area, are your knee-jerk reactionary “I’m-saving-the-planet-so-I-know-more-than-any-mere-scientist” luddite friends going to do their homework properly next time?

S Celine said:

And while the action itself of Ecojustice against the science researchers, as demonstrated on this Pandasthumb.org thread, is consistently unethical, the cause of preventing an oil catastrophe from happening off the coast of Vancouver island is a noble one; how does one explain that distinction to a broader public?

Make a comparison to Whale Wars?

RWARD said:

I hope no one has misinterpreted my comments to suggest that the scientists on the RV Langseth are stooges of the oil & gas industry. I sincerely doubt they are. But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

Not that I can tell. As has been pointed out several times in this thread of comments, one of the reasons for the establishment of, and few exceptions for the prohibitions against using, the Endeavour MPA specifically is in the case of scientific research.
It may seem to you that you’re just trying to be extra careful, but the way it comes across is of grasping at straws.

Stanton said:

RWARD said:

I hope no one has misinterpreted my comments to suggest that the scientists on the RV Langseth are stooges of the oil & gas industry. I sincerely doubt they are. But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

Then why did you think that these scientists would appreciate being legally harassed repeatedly in order to put your group’s anti-science paranoia at ease?

First, they aren’t my group.

Second, I would hope that scientists would appreciate concern for the environment. Concern in this case may well be misplaced but I’m glad that people and organizations exist that care enough to make sure that we follow the rules.

Science should be an open enterprize. There’s nothing wrong with being watched closely to be sure our actions are legal and ethical.

RWard said:

Stanton said:

RWARD said:

I hope no one has misinterpreted my comments to suggest that the scientists on the RV Langseth are stooges of the oil & gas industry. I sincerely doubt they are. But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

Then why did you think that these scientists would appreciate being legally harassed repeatedly in order to put your group’s anti-science paranoia at ease?

First, they aren’t my group.

Second, I would hope that scientists would appreciate concern for the environment. Concern in this case may well be misplaced but I’m glad that people and organizations exist that care enough to make sure that we follow the rules.

Science should be an open enterprize. There’s nothing wrong with being watched closely to be sure our actions are legal and ethical.

Among other things, you sympathize with Ecojustice, and are appearing to speak on behalf of them. Furthermore, Science is already an open enterprise, and contrary to your comments, there is a vast gulf between “concern for the environment,” and “paranoia-fueled harassment.”

I mean, honestly, if the scientists weren’t concerned about the environment, then what makes you think that they chose this time of year to do their mapping when no whales were in the area to be deafened?

It’s hard to sympathize with a group like Ecojustice when the only forms of communication they are aware of are sabotage and harassment via frivolous lawsuits.

There’s a great difference between being “an open enterprise” and being subjected to baseless lawsuits to halt research programs that had already undergone environmental impact studies. There is a difference between “being watched to be sure our actions are legal and ethical” and, again, being stopped at the last minute by a group that apparently didn’t care enough to get the facts right or participate in previous dialog with the researchers to allay any fears of detriment to the ecosystem.
Science is basically the way you say it should be, most of the time. There was no evidence that this case was any different going in and there’s no such evidence coming out. On the contrary it appears that EcoJustice and their clients were in the wrong.

It may seem to you that you’re just trying to be extra careful, but the way it comes across is of grasping at straws.

I hope not. It may well be that EcoJustice is using unfair tactics to interfere with legitimate science. Perhaps not. Neither I nor most of the posters at Panda’s Thumb are privy to the motives of the two groups.

My only concern is preservation of the the ability of environmental advocates to bring suit in court when they feel a fragile environment is threatened. This is often the only effective means at their disposal to halt the actions of powerful proponents of development.

The legal action in this case may be inappropriate. If so it may have a negative effect on the attitudes of scientists towards environmentalism. I’m just not convinced the action was inappropriate.

Re Rward’s comment above, suits might be the action of last resort, but Ecojustice chose to apply the last resort at the last hour. This wreaked maximum damage on a totally vetted study. Perhaps a better process would be for there to be a rule that legal action be taken at least 3 months before a project is to begin.

From Rward: But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

The fact you raise the question of precedent exposes a goal of the BC environmental groups, which is to not allow oil exploration off the BC coast.

Lincoln S. Hollister said:

From Rward: But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

The fact you raise the question of precedent exposes a goal of the BC environmental groups, which is to not allow oil exploration off the BC coast.

Essentially, they don’t want even the potential for oil exploration off the British Columbian coast, even if it means sabotaging scientific surveys.

Daily Kos has an update summary of this discussion

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/[…]f-Ecojustice

Stanton said:

Lincoln S. Hollister said:

From Rward: But let me ask one question - does the seismic surveys conducted by the Landseth set a precedent for other surveys, non-scientific in nature, in protected areas?

The fact you raise the question of precedent exposes a goal of the BC environmental groups, which is to not allow oil exploration off the BC coast.

Essentially, they don’t want even the potential for oil exploration off the British Columbian coast, even if it means sabotaging scientific surveys.

The hard-core among them would also exclude potential for minerals exploration also, even though the mapping is a scientific study and obviously not an exploration project: ECOJUSTICE (14 August at 17:09) “actually, these researchers are academics looking to map the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents - less nefarious, but equally damaging.”

How is “mapping” the hydrothermal vents “damaging”??. I will re-emphasize that hydrothermal vents (igneous activity) have absolutely no geological connection to the occurrence of and/or exploration for oil and gas fields. It appears from many of the statements (from the hard-core) that they do not understand this distinction, nor do they care about it, as their only intention is to prevent all (real and delusionally perceived) resource extraction.

WKM

(Ecojustice writes on Facebook.com/ecojustice, in post September 15 at 8:21am, Deleted last week)

There is no secret evolution in the involvement of CPAWS and Living Oceans Society. We encourage you to ask more info, but the allusions you’re drawing are not valid and won’t be tolerated here.

I’ll happily discuss that more, but not as a response to hints and allegations with no foundation…

(Kori Brus, Interim Director of Communications for Ecojustice posted this, here, on Pandasthumb.org, on the same day as the now deleted facebook comment, above.)

If the actions of Ecojustice and their client groups are going to be criticized, which I have no problem with, then it should be on a rational basis with respect to the legal action itself, and not with sweeping statements. If anyone wants additional details about our action, its timing, and the reasons behind it, they’re welcome to get in direct touch with me directly.

Kori Brus Ecojustice Canada [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Lincoln S. Hollister said:

The fact you raise the question of precedent exposes a goal of the BC environmental groups, which is to not allow oil exploration off the BC coast.

1) I’m not sure how my question exposes anything about the goals of the BC environmental groups. I’m not associated with those groups nor, as far as I know, am I acquainted with anyone who is a member of any of the groups.

2) What’s wrong with environmental groups opposing oil exploration off the BC coast?

Noting Wheels’ suggestion to “Make a comparison to Whale Wars?” I wonder which film script could best describe the present situation. Sea Shepherd references aside, the bipolar logic of Star Wars’ Good vs Evil is visible in some attempts at discourse with the post-perestroika Ecojustice. But then there is something of All the Presidents Men here. Indeed, we are confronted with an eighteen-month gap.

In another unanswered question to Ecojustice, Dr. William Wilcock wrote:

“As a member of the [Endeavour MPA advisory] committee [the representative to Ecojustice’s suit partner, CPAWS] would have learned of the planned Endeavour Tomography Study no later than January 2008, eighteen months before she provided written comments in July 2009…]”

Wilcock emphasizes…

”…at least one of [Ecojustice’s] clients had at least eighteen months notice of the experiment…”

…and asks Ecojustice’s interim communications director, Kori Brus, to…

”…please document what non-legal action was taken and at what times during this eighteen month period.”

I’ve been trying to document that also.

For the moment, however, there is still no public record fully documenting the defined eighteen month gap. To be sure, I presume that the several University professors, who have put their name to assertions that CPAWS was aware so long prior to the Ecojustice attempt at enjoing the Endeavour tomographic project, are in possession of such documentation.

That said, I found one published statement, from February 2008, which directly addresses the Endeavour tomographic study that Ecojustice’s Lara Tessaro tried to stop. It’s in the same article that I mentioned in the previous post: the same Rex Dalton January 2, 2008 Nature article, entitled Airgun ban halts seismic tests; Whales sink plan for survey off the Canadian coast. There, Dalton refers to the problems Lara Tessaro’s Ecojustice suit had inflicted on what seems to be the Canadian Neptune project, a study…

”…meant to facilitate a Can $100 - million (US $99 - million) Canadian seafloor observatory system, [that] has been delayed at least three months, if not indefinitely.”

Rex Dalton, in this winter 2008 article, goes on to cite Dr Doug Toomey, the head scientist of the Endeavour tomography study that Lara Tessaro and Ecojustice would try to kill in the summer of 2009:

“The airgun issue is also thwarting plans for the Marcus Langseth, a US $20- million research vessel operated by the Lamont - Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City. The ship was intended to be in Canadian waters next July to measure seismic velocities in preparation for the installation of Neptune Canada — a seafloor observatory — in the summer of 2009, says Douglas Toomey, a geologist at the University of Oregon in Eugene. But the US $2- million cruise has now been delayed until at least October. A Lamont - Doherty spokesman says that US state department officials are seeking ‘reasonable assurance’ that the Toomey project will secure a permit before an expensive Canadian application process is initiated.’”

February 2008. Hmm.

Dalton’s article documents in a respected science magazine some direct consequences of Lara Tessaro’s destruction of the 2007 R/V Ewing project. The article even contains a comment by Lara Tessaro’s own colleague, Margot Venton, implying some extensive post-mortem conversations had transpired between the Nature writer and Ecojustice’s employees. And, like a Delphic oracle, it forewarns of potential problems with the Endeavour tomography study.

Lara never saw it, apparently.

Indeed, it seems Ecojustice still claims the law firm was privy to no information prior to July 2009 for which to plot their monkeywrenching trickery, and could only attack Toomey’s ship when there was something to attack. To illustrate, Ecojustice’s cloaked correspondent claims August 28, on another recently removed Facebook post, that the whole thing did not “surface” to their attention until the day Ingmar Lee, coincidentally, tried to monkeywrench a related project—July 14:

When it surfaced in July 14th, our initial efforts were to directly petition the government outside of the courts.

So they didn’t notice the Nature reference.

One might assume some distance by Ecojustice from Nature magazine, considering the contrasting plethora of commentary in the Canadian press around the same time. To be sure, as Rex Dalton writes this summer, Nature magazine’s multiple calls were ignored:

“Ecojustice officials didn’t respond to interview requests, but a statement on its website attributed to group lawyer Lara Tessaro says that the Canadian government should “refuse to sanction the harassment of endangered whales.”

Ecojustice’s Facebook moderator was asked to explain why Lara Tessaro didn’t take Rex Dalton’s calls, for his recent write-up on Ecojustice’s effort to write-down scholarship. The anonymous Facebook moderator replied in an August 18, 2009 post (now redacted):

“Lara’s phone has been ringing non-stop on this case - too bad her [sic] and Rex didn’t connect to bring out the legal and environmental facts.”

From this, one might conclude that she was unaware of the significance of Nature Magazine. To be sure, Lara Tessaro’s exaggerated comments, quoted elsewhere in the press, imply a general lack of interest in science or associated scholarship. Why anyhow should a lawyer spend time reading scientific literature—even if it addresses that person’s own legal victory?

Since neither Lara Tessaro nor her colleagues noted this February, 2008 article, what other documentation is there to map out the eighteen-month gap?

It’s been more than a month since we’ve heard a peep from Kori Brus.

Now that this post is slipping away (into the archives), so is Kori’s opportunity to clarify the actions taken by EcoJustice.

We gave it a good try, anyway. But that darn cricket-chirping sound is getting pretty annoying!

Cheers, Dave

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on September 29, 2009 12:00 PM.

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