Sierra Club: The Planet--1996
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The Planet
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Antarctica Activists Cheer Treaty

Antarctic activists are celebrating the passage of H.R. 3060, known as the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act, which allows the U.S. to ratify the international Protocol on Environmental Protection and prohibits mining in Antarctica for at least 50 more years.

"Antarctica is a global resource of unparalleled beauty, pristine wilderness and scientific importance," said Beth Marks Clark, Antarctic chair and advisor to the international committee. "You can imagine that after working on this issue for over five years with the last two administrations, this is quite a feat."

H.R. 3060 amends the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 to make the existing law governing U.S. research activities in Antarctica consistent with the protocol. The bill states that National Environmental Policy Act procedures must be used to meet the protocol requirement for comprehensive assessment and monitoring of the effects of all U.S. activities in Antarctica, before they happen. In addition, H.R. 3060 requires the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency to work together to enforce regulations for waste disposal and prohibit open burning. Finally, the bill amends the Antarctic Protection Act of 1991 to continue indefinitely a ban on Antarctic mineral extraction.

"We are very hopeful that Finland, Japan and Russia will follow the lead of the United States and ratify the protocol by the Antarctica Treaty Consultative Meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, next May," said Marks Clark.

Club Keeps Pressure on Shell, Nigeria

November 10, 1996, will mark the one year anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Nigerian military government. Saro-Wiwa's campaign against the pollution caused by Shell Oil in his community of Ogoniland caused a widespread uprising against Shell and its collusive relationship with the military regime that governs the country.

In the wake of the execution, the Sierra Club Board of Directors voted last fall to support a boycott of Shell Oil and an embargo of Nigeria.

"It's been a year now and no real sanctions have been imposed against Nigeria and Shell has not cleaned up its mess," said Stephen Mills, Human Rights and Environment Campaign director for the Sierra Club. To mark the anniversary of Saro-Wiwa's death and to keep the pressure on Shell and Nigeria, Sierra Club members and other environmental and human rights activists will be holding vigils and protests in cities across North America, including Washington, D.C., St. Louis, New York and Toronto.


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