Sierran Masthead

NAFTA, GATT Threaten Dolphins

With the backing of the Clinton administration, congressional leaders are moving legislation allowing the United States to import tuna that has been caught by encircling dolphins with nets. The proposed law would allow packers to continue using the dolphin-safe label on tuna. Under trade laws like NAFTA and GATT, dolphin-unsafe tuna cannot be subject to an import embargo.

In supporting a relaxation of current law, the Clinton administration is reversing a hard-fought environmental victory, and attempting to do what it claimed it would never do when NAFTA was being debated by Congress - allow other countries to successfully challenge our strong environmental laws in the name of unfair economic competition. H.R. 2823, introduced in the House by Reps. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-M.D..) - characterized by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) as all that is wrong with NAFTA and GATT - and S. 1420, introduced in the Senate by Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and John Breaux (D-LA.), would codify the administration-backed Panama Declaration and allow the United States, Mexico and 10 other countries to catch tuna by encircling dolphins with nets and still continue to use the dolphin-safe label, as long as they don't observe any dead dolphins.

To take action: Write or call your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 1460, introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Joseph Biden (D-N.J.), which would preserve the current dolphin-safe label and require significant annual reductions in dolphin mortality. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Call or e-mail the president saying that you deplore his support of the dolphin-killer bills.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[6/28/02]efp

Summer 1996