Kempthorne Hides, Center Testifies (and Sues); See Video of Center Testimony at Yesterday's Congressional Polar Bear Hearing
Kassie Siegel, the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate, Air, and Energy Program director, testified as a legal and global warming expert at the April 2 Senate hearing on the Bush administration's refusal to list the polar bear as an endangered species. Siegel blasted Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne for rushing to sell oil leases in polar bear habitat while illegally delaying the protection decision.
Kempthorne brazenly refused to attend the hearing, but told reporters that he would continue to delay the decision until early summer. Good luck with that, Mr. Kempthorne: the Center, NRDC, and Greenpeace filed a summary judgment motion yesterday to fast-track our suit to end the delay.
Watch Kassie's testimony or read about it in the Anchorage Daily News.
Suit Brewing Over Bush Refusal to Protect California Seabird from Global Warming
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has missed the first deadline in the process for protecting the ashy storm-petrel, an imperiled California seabird, under the Endangered Species Act. The small, smoke-colored bird--long imperiled by threats from development to commercial fishing--now adds global warming to the list as rising temperatures alter its marine habitat and reduce its prey.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition to protect the ashy storm-petrel last October, but since the government failed to respond as required by law, on March 31 we submitted a notice of intent to sue to move the protection process forward.
Read our press release.
Minnesota Trapping Program Halted to Save Endangered Lynx
A judge ruled March 31 that Minnesota's state trapping program violates the Endangered Species Act by allowing the use of traps and snares that catch, injure, and kill Canada lynx. Since the species was listed as a threatened species in 2000, there have been 13 reports in Minnesota of these beautiful, secretive predators being caught in traps set for other species--with at least five trapped lynx dying as a consequence.
Lynx, which are extremely susceptible to trapping, are also at risk from many other threats, particularly habitat destruction due to logging. Monday's ruling, the result of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and others, declares that Minnesota must take all action necessary to ensure that no more lynx are trapped within core lynx habitat.
Read about the case in the Star Tribune.
There are 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth--and Uniting With the Center Is One
On April 1, a brand-new edition of New York Times bestseller 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth hit bookstores--and no fooling--it's probably the best guide out there for helping you through your journey to save the environment, one simple action at a time. What's one of the most important actions of all? Supporting the Endangered Species Act, of course. Check out page 104 for some background, statistics, and "steps for success"--including teaming up with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Visit the 50 Simple Things Web site to view a special page devoted to the Center.
Feds Start Historic Review of Global Warming Impact of National "Miles Per Gallon" Standard
On March 28, the U.S. Department of Transportation began an environmental review of the nation's current gas-mileage standards for cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs. The move was the result of a successful Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit that found that the government's laughably lax fuel-efficiency standards violated the law by ignoring global warming. This historical ruling, which also struck down loopholes exempting many large trucks from fuel-economy standards, marks the first appellate court decision forcing the Department of Transportation to consider global warming when setting fuel efficiency standards.
Read our press release.
Montana: Temperatures Rise, Rivers Fall, Fish Suffer
As the climate in the West gets warmer and drier--even more quickly than in other parts of the country--the Montana fluvial Arctic grayling is shouldering much of the burden. Montana's most imperiled fish, whose numbers have dropped to between five to 15 per mile, has fallen victim to the war for water as river diversions and agricultural dewatering have altered and drained its last remaining refuge: Montana's Big Hole River. If the fish is to survive the dangerous water-temperature increases and critically low river levels caused by global warming, its habitat needs to be improved--and the fish must be protected.
After the government refused to protect the grayling under the Endangered Species Act last year, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit.
Read more about it in the New York Times.
California City Agrees to Increased Public Scrutiny of Desert Developers
The wildflower bloom in the California desert is especially vibrant this spring because of strong winter rains--and these wildflowers will continue blooming in the future with stronger protections for their habitat in the Coachella Valley. After being on the wrong end of several lawsuits filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the City of Desert Hot Springs agreed to require state and federal wildlife agencies to review all new development projects to assure the protection of Coachella Valley's rare wildlife--including the desert bighorn sheep, burrowing owl, and Coachella Valley milk-vetch.
Read more in the Desert Sun.
No Idea Too Wacky to Keep Water Flowing in an Age of Global Warming--Except, Of Course, Stopping Global Warming
In a desperate attempt to address the Colorado River's dwindling flow, a recent report proposed 12 ideas to keep the water flowing out of the river to industrial, agricultural, and urban uses--proposals including cloud seeding over the Rockies, removing salt from ocean water, and even building an undersea pipeline to transfer water to Southern California from the Columbia River. Perhaps the oddest idea of all was to ferry fresh water across the Pacific Ocean, most likely from Alaska, in the form of icebergs or massive water bladders.
The only notion apparently deemed too bizarre to consider was to actually stop global warming. Go figure.
Read more in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Photo credits: polar bear (c) Pete Spruance, ashy storm-petrel (c) Glen Tepke, Canada lynx courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Game, Arctic grayling (c) Ernest R. Keeley, coreopsis and Colorado River courtesy of National Park Service.
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