Lawsuit to Save Endangered Species in Oregon

Lawsuit to Save Endangered Species in Oregon

Since 1999, there have been endangered populations of bull trout in Oregon, Washington and other Western states. Unfortunately, there is now an argument about to enter the courtroom about what is the best way to replenish these fish. 

Why Bull Trout Are Growing Endangered 

The bull trout’s food supply has greatly diminished because there aren’t as many salmon eggs or young salmon available for them to feed on. Of course, there are also some other factors that have led to them becoming endangered. These other treats come from things like warming water that’s occurred due to climate change; populations becoming much more isolated; the bull trout hybridization’s with non-native brook trout; and competition caused by trout from foreign lakes. All of this has led the bull trout in the lower 48 states to amount to only about 60% of their former population, making it a cause for concern.

What Is Planned to Increase the Bull Trout Population? 

web_SODOAfter a lawsuit in 2014 officials took actions to set up a recovery plan. It identified over 100 core trout areas in 6 recovery units. They’ve located these units across several of the Western states in the U.S. The recovery plan set forth some very specific actions about how experts would work to bolster the bull trout in each of these units. For instance, within the four largest recovery units the plan required stable populations of bull trout present in at least 75% of the core areas before they’d even consider delisting them. While the plan does aim for 100%, they consider 75% acceptable in some units because the Fish and Wildlife Service is confident the trout would still remain viable.

In September the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a proposal that outlined how they planned on boosting the bull populations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and a small section of Nevada. The problem is these groups don’t believe that there is enough being done to set up measurable goals to remove the species from the endangered species list.

Why Some Experts Are Opposed to This Idea 

LawsuitTwo conservation groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Wild Swan, are planning to sue the government because they believe this plan is insufficient and in some areas it would allow doing away with 25% of the bull salmon population. These groups also say the federal plan to bolster the bull salmon populations violates the Endangered Species Act.

According to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell the groups’ proposal to aid the fish’s recovery is illegal. However, Mike Garrity, executive director of Alliance for the Wild Rockies, says the government wants to “redefine recovery to almost extinct.” He went on to then say that the government wants to lower “the bar so they can delist bull trout.”

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When asked, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they don’t comment on pending litigation and would not be willing to make a statement until after the proceedings had completed.

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Legal Marijuana Users File Lawsuit Against Pesticide Use 

Legal Marijuana Users File Lawsuit Against Pesticide Use 

A marijuana growing business in Denver has recently been sued over the use of a controversial pesticide, marking the first ever product liability case involving the legal pot business in the state of Colorado.

Thousands of Pot Plants Seized, But Only because the Pesticide is Illegal

The lawsuit filed by two marijuana users claims that the pot company LivWell treated their marijuana plants with a fungicide called Eagle 20 EW, which is banned for certain crops. Earlier this year, state authorities quarantined thousands of LivWell’s pot plants believed to have been treated with this pesticide.

yaz-lawsuit-scalesThe case comes to light when marijuana continues to be considered an illicit drug by the federal government of the United States. However, individual state governments can pass laws to decriminalize the use of marijuana. In November 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 24, a legislation that legalized the use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The commercial sale of cannabis began on January 2014, when a number of companies legally got into the pot business.

Dilemmas over Regulating Legal Pot

Because pot growing is still a federal crime, there are no safety regulations surrounding mass production. Colorado’s state-level regulations surrounding marijuana cultivation are rudimentary—the state has so far only adapted an incomplete list of pesticides approved for use—leaving the plaintiffs in a legal quandary.

Eagle 20 EW is commonly used to treat grape and hop crops, but is banned in tobacco cultivation. The fungicide is proven to be dangerous when heated, but there is no research to indicate its effects, if any, on marijuana plants grown for consumption.

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The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit claiming the fungicide is “unhealthy,” and that action should be taken against LivWell for using an “unacceptable” substance.

LivWell has continuously insisted their pot is “perfectly safe.” The authorities released the company’s quarantined pot plants after they tested positive for acceptable levels of pesticide use.

However, the company has discontinued the use of Eagle 20 EW, LivWell’s attorney Dean Heizer told media.

“A Harbinger of Things to Come”

marijuana-handcuffsThe lawsuit’s ultimate aim is to make cannabis use safe for consumers, the plaintiffs’ attorney Steven Woodrow claimed.

Lawyers are already calling the case “a harbinger of things to come” for the legal pot industry. Just last September, Denver authorities recalled two marijuana products for “illegal pesticide use.” The state’s attorney general is currently investigating whether some marijuana companies in the state misleadingly labelled their products as “organic.”

Pesticides in the U.S. are regulated by the Environmental Protection Authority. State governments can seek approval for marijuana related chemicals through “special local need registration”; a process that can take years.

Instead of waiting, state authorities should test the products and write the guidelines themselves, said Alison Malsbury, a Seattle based product liability attorney. In the near future, marijuana would be treated like just another consumable like food or beverages, she added.

Excluding Colorado, only three other states—Oregon, Alaska and Washington State— have legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Yet the nation’s biggest pot consumer is the state of California, which has legalized marijuana sale for medicinal purposes, but has no regulations regarding its production.

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States’ and Federal Laws and Whistleblowers – Here’s What You Should Know In Order To Avoid Trouble For Alleged Retaliation

States’ and Federal Laws and Whistleblowers – Here’s What You Should Know In Order To Avoid Trouble For Alleged Retaliation

Whistleblowing has recently become fairly common. However, when it comes to retaliation against whistleblowers, it is not only frowned upon, it is punishable.  

If you choose to retaliate against whistleblowers in your company, you can’t get into some serious trouble, as there are numerous state and Federal laws that protect whistleblowers from the companies and the employers.  If you choose to get back to the whistleblower, read the latest whistleblower news, you all are facing criminal prosecution, especially in the circumstances are correct.  Therefore, you must be very careful when it comes to whistleblowers in your company, and the way you handle the entire situation.  

Who’s A Whistleblower? 

A whistleblower is an employee who chooses to make complaints regarding violations on the law that happened in the company.  A whistleblower can report numerous activities such as: illegal activities, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, explicit danger to public health, explicit danger to public safety, and all other actions which are prohibited by law.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Whistle-Blowing-06-29-11An employee, who makes a complaint about the employer, and the wrongdoing in the company, is protected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act from retaliation by his or her employer.  Even if the court does not find any wrongdoings in the company and even if it turns out that the employee’s complaints have been false, this employee by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is still protected from potential retaliation as a whistleblower.  The act of reporting alleged wrongdoings are seen as an act done in good faith, and therefore, the employee is protected and from its employer.

How To Avoid Whistleblower Complaints 

If you want to avoid potential damage which can be brought to your company and your business by whistleblower lawsuits, you should learn how to handle this very delicate situation.

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Firstly, you should never retaliate, and should remember to treat all the employees equally.  Many company owners are not aware of the wrongdoings in their companies, even when they do take place.  Do not take out your frustration on the employee that pointed out to the problem.

bigstock_Whistleblower_1614938Furthermore, you should be well acquainted with a few laws that allow employees to complain, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  Gather knowledge on the subject in order to be competent to address this particular and delicate situation.

Also, be very careful when it comes to disciplining whistleblowers for any other misconduct.  These actions can be seen as a violation of safety code.  Make sure and that you treat the whistleblower with respect and just like any other employee.

Investigating the credible complaints will get you on the right track.  You have to make sure that you do everything in your power to investigate any potential wrongdoings in your company.  This will put your company, you, and your whistleblower, at ease.

Disclaimer: This article aims to provide some information on legal matters; however, it is not substitution for expert legal advice.  Please consult a lawyer or an attorney if you are in need of a legal advice

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