Bush Holdovers Attempt to Undermine Obama Foreign Policy on Whaling

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jane Kochersperger, Media Officer, Greenpeace USA: + 1 202 319 2493

Bush Holdovers Attempt to Undermine Obama Foreign Policy on Whaling

Greenpeace Calls for Obama, Clinton to Assert Authority and Replace Officials

WASHINGTON - Just days after the
inauguration of President Obama, holdovers from the Bush administration
are already attempting to undermine his foreign policy on whaling.

According to news reports out of Hawaii, Bush appointees on the
International Whaling Commission - Doug DeMaster and commission
chairman William Hogarth - participated in closed-door negotiations
with Japan to finalize a deal that would allow increased whaling off
the coast of Japan in return for marginal limits on Japan's illegal
commercial whaling program in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The
trade-off will not benefit whale conservation and could actually put
additional endangered populations at risk.

Such a deal would directly violate President Obama's stated policy of
working to end Japanese whaling. In December of 2007, then Senator
Obama responded to a question from Greenpeace by laying out his foreign
policy on whaling issues:

"As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in
enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including
strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling,"
Obama wrote. "Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is
unacceptable."

"President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have the opportunity to
show the world that they're in charge and that the United States is
firmly committed to marine conservation by appointing new commissioners
to the IWC who will faithfully implement President Obama's foreign
policies," said Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner Phil Kline, a
longtime commercial fisherman. "We hope that these Bush appointees'
actions aren't allowed to set a precedent for foreign policy
freelancing by other Bush holdovers.'"

Japan's commercial whaling operation currently targets around 935 minke
whales and 50 endangered fin whales each season in the Southern Ocean,
under the guise of scientific research. Most of the whale meat is sold
in Japan's commercial market.

A review of this program by the IWC's Scientific Committee found that
it has failed to reach a single one of its "scientific" objectives. The
IWC has stated that it does not need the data produced by this program
and has repeatedly asked Japan to end its hunt. Moreover, some
populations of minke whale off the coast of Japan - known as J-Stock -
are classified as endangered and are at risk from an increase in
coastal whaling.

"Although the Bush administration is gone, these appointees are
sticking around to perpetuate Bush's anti-environment foreign policy
legacy," said Phil Kline, Greenpeace's senior oceans campaigner and a
longtime commercial fisherman. "It's time for them to wake up to the
fact that there's a new captain on board - and he wants to provide a
future for these magnificent creatures."

Vision, video, photos, report information

Response
from then presidential candidate Barack Obama available at:
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/assets/binaries/obama-questionnaire-response
Response
from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/assets/binaries/clinton-questionnaire-resp...
Washington
Post story about the attempts to craft a deal:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/24/AR200901...

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Independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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