Suit Filed to End Jaguar Killing
Early this morning, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Arizona Game and Fish Department to prevent it from capturing or killing any more endangered jaguars. The suit seeks to prevent another tragedy like the killing this spring of Macho B, the last known American jaguar. Arizona Game and Fish illegally set up mountain lion snares in the canyon Macho B was known to use without seeking a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Macho B was subsequently snared, almost certainly on purpose, and later killed. In a callous response, Game and Fish not only claimed the lion-trapping study had a valid permit, it said it also has a permit to purposefully capture and collar jaguars. It does not.
Our suit will end the agency's flouting of federal wildlife laws once and for all. It will ensure that no state actions or permits are allowed that could threaten jaguars without full, proper, and enforceable limitations that come with federal Endangered Species Act permits.
Read more in Arizona Daily Star.
Disastrous Development of Potential Park Stopped: Thanks for Helping
Last week Brightsource Energy listened to the detailed opposition of the Center for Biological Diversity's lawyers and scientists -- and thousands of supporters like you who sent emails -- and withdrew its plans for a controversial solar-energy project that would have taken up some 5,000 acres of pristine, ecologically critical California lands on their way toward national monument status.
The Center for Biological Diversity applauds the project's withdrawal: While a rapid transition to renewable energy is essential, pristine public lands don't need to be sacrificed. Mapping and analysis by the Center identifies more than 100,000 acres of degraded lands in the California desert where solar projects would have minimal environmental impact. That's where development should be directed, not in a potential national monument.
Read more on the solar project in ecofactory.com and take action to make sure its former site indeed becomes a national monument.
Murkowski Clean Air Act Killing Rider Killed: Thanks Again
Though nothing is final till it's final, it appears that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has lost her attempt to attach a rider to the EPA budget bill prohibiting the agency from using the Clean Air Act to rein in greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities. Buried under an avalanche of protests -- including thousands of letters from Center for Biological Diversity members and supporters -- the Senate has agreed not to allow the Murkowski amendment.
Stay tuned for more last-minute attempts to gut the Clean Air Act and prevent the Obama administration from taking decisive action on global warming. Republican pollution pushers and blue-dog Democrats are pushing on every front in Congress to keep coal, oil, gas, and inefficient cars rolling along.
Feds Listen, Float Plan to Address Bat Extinction Spiral
Responding to calls from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has drafted a plan to address the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome. Over the past three winters, the mysterious syndrome has killed about 1.5 million bats in the eastern United States, spreading from New York to Tennessee with devastating speed. Earlier this month, the Center wrote to the Fish and Wildlife Service requesting faster, more coordinated action on the crisis; we've also contacted the Department of the Interior and Congress -- with not a little help from our supporters. The final plan should provide specific guidance for state wildlife agencies on how to respond to white-nose syndrome, as well as measures to help the recovery of stricken bat species.
Get the latest on white-nose syndrome mortalities from Valley News.
Tejon Ranch Condor Battle Nearing Final Stages
This month, California's Kern County Planning Commission gave its blessing to Tejon Mountain Village, a sprawling city planned for the state's beautiful and biodiverse Tejon Ranch. The proposed 26,417-acre project would build 3,450 homes and up to 160,000 square feet of commercial development smack in the middle of federally protected habitat for the endangered California condor. Some environmental groups have agreed to allow the destructive project in exchange for leaving other parts of the ranch undeveloped. But the Center for Biological Diversity is standing up for the condor and the irreplaceable Tejon lands it calls home. We've challenged the ranch's request for a permit to build the city without adequate environmental review, and we won the disclosure of documents on the condor's fate on the ranch, which the ranch was keeping secret. Eight of the country's most prominent condor experts agree that a sprawling development won't fly in condor habitat.
Read more in the Bakersfield Californian and hear Center biologist Ileene Anderson speak in KQED radio's California Report.
Clearcutting Carbon Credits? Not If We Can Help It
This Monday the Center for Biological Diversity and allies submitted a letter countering a proposed rule that would encourage clearcutting as good for the climate -- instead of the very obvious opposite. One provision of the rule, up for adoption by the California Air Resources Board later this month, appears intended to let forest clearcutting qualify as a greenhouse gas reduction method and earn carbon credits. Of course, a forest clearcut is about as beneficial to the climate as a new coal-fired power plant, considering the ample greenhouse gases emitted in the clearcutting process -- plus the fact that clearcutting removes precious CO2-absorbing trees.
Read more in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Fighting Warming: Obama Vows to Deliver, You Already Have
This Tuesday during Climate Week -- the precursor to the United Nations' upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen -- President Barack Obama said he's willing to work to help the UN secure a strong international climate change pact. Obama called for world leaders to draft a response to global warming by the end of the year, citing his own administration's attempts to address the crisis, including House passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The Center for Biological Diversity congratulates Obama on promising to "boldly, swiftly" help the world confront climate change. But we'll have to do a lot better than the inadequate House-passed bill -- we must get to work now, both nationally and internationally, to reduce our atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm or below.
It's a good thing the planet has Endangered Earth readers out there already working to stave off the worst environmental disaster of our time. Last week, 177 of you sent in some amazing examples of smart things you've done to help the earth in response to our The Age of Stupid contest, from writing to Congress for a strong climate bill to installing solar panels to saving a freshwater wetland. (One reader was a little less ambitious, but we still appreciate his words: "Something smart I do is subscribe to your emails.") Readers, we're impressed.
Check out our Activist Spotlight page highlighting you readers' work and learn more about Obama's statement in the Washington Post.
Birding Tour to Help Environmental Justice, Honor Lost Leader
Last June marked the tragic passing of Luke Cole, one of the most influential figures in the environmental justice community. Founder and director of the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment, Cole was also a board member for the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. His work was among the first to highlight global warming as an environmental justice issue of massive proportions.
Cole was also an avid birder. So to celebrate his life and raise money for the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment, this weekend his friends will participate in and host a birding tour across Cole's home state of California to identify 400 bird species in 58 counties, from the great gray owl to the yellow-footed gull.
Read about Cole's courageous career in The New York Times and learn how you can pledge money for and participate in the birding tour.
Rattlesnake Roundups Leading to Diamondback Demise
According to a sobering recent study, rattlesnake-killing contests have dangerously reduced populations of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in the Southeast. "Rattlesnake roundups" are contests in which hunters bring in as many snakes as they can catch in a year to be milked for venom, butchered, and sold for meat and skin. The study, by Dr. Bruce Means, analyzed the number and size of snakes turned in at the roundups and found that both the total number of snakes and the size of each snake turned in have declined in the past 50 years. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, once a common species, are now being pushed toward extinction by hunting, habitat loss, and road mortality.
Check out our press release and learn more about our campaigns to save endangered reptiles.
Rubber Dodo Award: Inhofe Leading, Winer Gaining, Colbert Makes Suspicious Entry
With several thousand votes in, global warming denier Senator James Inhofe is leading the pack to win the 2009 Rubber Dodo Award for the individual who has done most to drive endangered species extinct. Close behind are Michael Winer, who is trying to put up a massive housing development in essential condor habitat at Tejon Ranch, and Idaho Governor Leroy "Butch" Otter, who salivates at the thought of shooting wolves.
We've gotten write-in votes for Gale Norton (old news), Sarah Palin (won it last year), Ken Salazar (maybe next year if he keeps following Bush policies), and most surprisingly, Stephen Colbert. A suspiciously large number of voters wrote in Colbert due to a feigned hatred of polar bears and a boast a few days ago that he wanted to "hunt a spider to extinction" because it was named after David Bowie.
If you haven't voted yet, do it today -- the award will be announced soon.
Extinction is serious business, and so is this award. So we're asking Colbert voters out there to consider the destruction advocated by Inhofe, Winer, Otter, and others.
Saved More Land Than Jesus? Thanks...I Think
In an interview in today's Tucson Weekly, famed environmental writer Chuck Bowden answered the question of who the best local environmental group is this way:
"The Center for Biological Diversity has saved more ground than Jesus. I often don't agree with them, but their record is better than mine. When I'm dead, and when everybody reading this is dead, the only thing that matters is ground."
Photo credits: jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Pascal Blachier under the Creative Commons attribution license; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Cburnett under the GNU free documentation license; desert tortoise by Beth Jackson, USFWS; power plant by Phillip J. Redman, USGS; Indiana bat (c) J. Scott Altenbach, Maryland Department Of Natural Resources; California condor courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Chuck Szmurlo under the GNU free documentation license; logging courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Jastrow under the GNU free documentation license; solar panels courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ceinturion under the Creative Commons attribution license; great gray owl courtesy Wikimedia Commons/BS Turner HOf under the GNU free documentation license; eastern diamondback rattlesnake courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Tad Arensmeier under the Creative Commons attribution license; rubber dodo award; Colorado River by Michelle Harrington.
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