Environmental News Updates

Travis Quezon

• A researcher conducting tests on 'ohelo, a plant found commonly in the Big Island's Hawai'i Volcanos National Park and Haleakala National Park on Maui, is seeking a patent relating to recent studies performed under the USDA. A summary of the research describes a method of growing 'ohelo seedlings in small scale domestication in an effort to stimulate conservation and preservation. 'Ohelo, or vaccinium reticulatum, is a shrub that is considered sacred by Native Hawaiians to Pele and is a source of food for the endangered nene bird.

• The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments on how to best resolve concerns of the U.S. Navy's sonar exercises, which have been found to kill or hurt endangered whales and marine mammals. The Bush administration seeks to trump an appellate court ruling that sets safety limits on the sonar's wavelengths. The president says that the use of mid-frequency active sonar is "essential to national security." Earlier this year, a district court found a likelihood that the Navy failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. To read the Supreme Court summary, visit the Supreme Court website.

• The National Wildlife Federation is currently seeking public testimony against efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act through proposed regulations that would decrease the role of the scientific review of federal actions that affect listed threatened or endangered species. For more information and to submit comments by Oct. 14, visit the NWF websiite and Regulations.gov.