Friday, June 09, 2006

Feds Compicit in Rainforest Destruction?

A lawsuit has been filed alleging that mahogany has been illegally stripped from Peruvian rainforest and, adding insult to injury, has been imported into the US without intervention of relevant federal agencies.

ENS Link

NEW YORK, New York, June 6, 2006 (ENS) – Doubly illegal, mahogany from the Peruvian Amazon is being imported into the United States for deluxe furniture under the noses of three federal agencies, according to a lawsuit filed today by two Peruvian indigenous groups and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a U.S. conservation organization. The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York City.

Nearly all of Peru’s mahogany exports are logged illegally, the groups say. Importing it into the United States is illegal because it violates the U.S. Endangered Species Act and a major international treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the lawsuit charges.

Most of it, some 80 percent, comes to the US.

“Millions of dollars worth of Peruvian mahogany enters U.S. ports every year in violation of U.S. and international law,” said Ari Hershowitz, NRDC’s Latin America BioGems project director. “While U.S. border control agencies look the other way, the rainforest and the communities that depend on them to survive are being plundered.”

Several federal agencies have been named as defendants, as well as several corporations.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and three U.S. importers - Bozovich Timber Products of Evergreen, Alabama; T. Baird International Corporation of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; and TBM Hardwoods of Hanover, Pennsylvania.


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