Animals

In Some States, the Environment and Animals Won

Many environmentalists may not be happy with the president-elect, but ballot measures across the country brought hopeful news.

Last night's presidential election by Donald Trump was a bitter blow to environmentalists, since winner Donald Trump has said that he thinks global warming is a ruse created by China and would scrap measures put in place by the Obama administration to cut U.S. greenhouse emissions.

"I think it's clear that he wants no part of environmental progress," Bill McKibben, founder of climate action group 350.org, told the Washington Post.

But on a state level, the election news wasn't totally bleak. Voters in a few states did pass measures that would benefit the environment, protect parks and help animals, though other such measures were rejected.

In California, for example, voters narrowly backed a law already passed by the state legislature, which bars grocery stores and some retail outlets from providing free single-use plastic bags to customers, according to Cw6sandiego.com. Proposition 67 does allow stores to sell recycled paper bags and reusable plastic bags for a price of at least 10 cents apiece. But voters defeated another measure, Proposition 65, which would have earmarked tens of millions of dollars from the sale of bags for a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board.

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In Alabama, voters strongly supported an amendment that would protect funding for the state's parks from being used for other purposes by the state government. Alabama officials had transferred $15 million in park funding back into the state's general fund over the last five years. Five state parks were forced to close last year and others had to put off maintenance projects because of finding shortfalls, according to Al.com.

"It's crystal clear that Alabamians feel very strongly about their natural resources and about their state parks," Alabama State Parks System Director Greg Lein told the website.

Missouri voters similarly passed an amendment that extends for another decade a rule that requiring that the state's 0.1 percent sales/use tax be used for soil and water conservation and state parks.

In Oklahoma, voters rejected Question 777, which would have guaranteed the "right to farm" in the state. Opponents had said that the measure would have made it nearly impossible to enact regulations on farms, such as rules regulating agricultural runoff to protect local water quality, according to News9.com.

In Rhode Island, voters approved Measure 6, which authorized $35 million in bonds for environmental and recreational projects.

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Two states also passed new regulations to protect animals. Massachusetts voters passed Question 3, which bans the sale of meat and eggs from farms that confine pigs, lambs and chickens in tight quarters. The law includes farms that ship food products into Massachusetts from other states, according to the Boston Globe. The animal welfare law won't take effect until 2022.

Meanwhile, voters in Oregon passed Measure 100, which prohibits the purchase or sale of products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and sea turtle shells - a move designed to thwart trafficking in wildlife, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Voters in Washington state and California lawmakers previously have enacted such measures.

HSUS said in a press release that new law will ban the trafficking of 12 types of animals most targeted by wildlife traffickers: whales, sea turtles, elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, sharks, rays and pangolins, The new law also will impose felony-level fines on anyone caught buying or selling the parts or products from those creatures. It does not ban the mere possession of these item.

Oregon voters passed a measure to prevent trafficking in elephant ivory. Credit: Rob Hooft via Wikimedia Commons WATCH: Why the US And Big Oil Are Fighting Over a Chicken