Don't Let Congress Kill Wolves -- Take Action, Then Donate Today
In response to big court victories by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies stopping the killing of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes, conservative congressmen have introduced four anti-wolf bills seeking to forever strip protection from wolves in Idaho and Montana, and even nationwide. These disastrous bills would legalize the killing of hundreds, maybe even thousands of wolves.
The state of Idaho, for example, wants to shoot wolves from helicopters and gas pups to death in their dens. Montana wants to kill wolves in the Bitterroot Mountains. Ranchers in New Mexico want to kill two of the only remaining packs in the state.
Please click here to tell your congressional representative to oppose all anti-wolf bills.
Then make an emergency donation to the Center's Wolf Legal Defense Fund. Wolves are dying right now -- one of Oregon's only wolves was illegally shot just last week. We need to raise $60,000 immediately to fight in Congress and the courts to save all of America's endangered wolf populations.
Center Sues for Unique Desert Eagle
To save one of the Southwest's most majestic and imperiled birds, the Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society on Tuesday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for removing Endangered Species Act protections from the desert nesting bald eagle. Our lawsuit challenges the Service's conclusion that protections are no longer needed because all available science shows the bird is unique and important to the bald eagle species as a whole.
The latest agency removal of protections mirrors a 2007 move when the Bush administration gave federal biologists "marching orders" to reverse their opinions on the desert nester's peril and importance and "find an analysis that works" -- that is, an analysis that would justify removal of protections. After a Center lawsuit, a judge ordered that protections be restored, but now the eagle is once again stripped of the safeguards it desperately needs.
The desert nesting bald eagle is exclusive to the high-heat, low-humidity conditions of Arizona's Sonoran desert. Only 50 breeding pairs remain, and all are imperiled by habitat-destroying development, grazing, ORV misuse and other threats.
Check out our press release and learn more about the desert nesting bald eagle.
New York Times: The Gulf a "Sacrifice Zone"? Not for the Center
"The Gulf of Mexico was pretty much written off as a sacrifice zone," said Kierán Suckling, head of one of the country's most aggressive environmental litigants, the Center for Biological Diversity. "The focus was put on more pristine areas."
So says a recent New York Times piece outlining the Gulf's unfortunate neglect by most national environmental groups -- until the BP oil spill, of course -- when it came to destructive oil and gas drilling. And it's true: From 2001 to 2008, while the U.S. Forest Service was sued 388 times under one environmental law, only a single suit was filed to challenge drilling in the Gulf. But take note: That suit was filed by the Center and allies.
Of course, if the Center had known before the spill what we know now -- after our legal team's in-depth investigating revealed federal-agency corruption behind lax environmental review for all offshore drilling -- we'd have done everything we could to make sure the BP disaster never occurred. Now that we do know how underserved the area's been, we've alone filed seven more suits to help save the Gulf and other ecosystems from devastating offshore projects. And with your continued actions and support, we will make sure such a disaster never occurs again.
Read the full story in The New York Times.
Second Suit Filed to Save Richardson Grove Redwoods
Taking our fight to the next level for one of the country's most cherished ancient redwood stands, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies last week filed a federal lawsuit opposing the destructive expansion of a highway through Northern California's Richardson Grove State Park. We filed a state lawsuit in June against the project's proponent, the California Department of Transportation, for violating state environmental laws in finding that the project would have "no significant impact" -- despite Caltrans' own admission that it would harm old-growth trees and the natural community. Our new suit details numerous violations of federal law in the project's inadequate environmental review.
The highway expansion project would affect at least 72 old-growth redwood trees in Richardson Grove by cutting their roots or compacting hundreds of cubic yards of soil and paving over the roots -- not to mention letting oversized, CO2-spewing trucks speed through the grove to aid development in now-quiet Northern California towns.
Read more in the Contra Costa Times.
Protections Denied for Rare California Fish
Inexplicably upholding a flawed Bush-era decision, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced it will continue to deny Endangered Species Act protection to the critically imperiled Sacramento splittail, a fish native to California's Central Valley and San Francisco Bay-Delta. This hardy, foot-long minnow hasn't been robust enough to withstand the impacts of huge water diversions from its Delta habitat, nor to contend with loss of wetlands, pollution and other factors that have altered the degraded Bay-Delta ecosystem. In fact, state surveys show the splittail population has declined dramatically since 2002 and collapsed to barely detectable numbers in the past few years. The Bush administration stripped federal protections for the species in 2003 after water agencies filed suit. The Center for Biological Diversity fought back for the fish, suing in 2009 as part of a larger campaign to undo wrongful Bush-era endangered species decisions. That suit compelled the Service to promise it would revisit protecting the splittail, but its new decision is no better than its old one, and not based on sound science -- so we'll be suing again.
The Center first went to court for the Sacramento splittail in 1998, winning it a place on the endangered species list. A recent analysis by the Bay Institute that the splittail is at risk of extinction makes its need for protection clearer than ever. "President Obama promised that under his watch, environmental decisions would be made based on sound science," said the Center's Jeff Miller. "But the Fish and Wildlife Service under Ken Salazar doesn't seem to have gotten that memo yet."
Read more in The Sacramento Bee.
The Center in China: Pushing the World Toward 350 ppm
The Center's Climate Law Institute is well represented this week in Tianjin, China, where the latest round of international climate talks is taking place. Center climate attorneys Matt Vespa and Kevin Bundy kicked off the conference on Monday with allies at 350.org by releasing a new report, Not Just a Number: Achieving a CO2 Concentration of 350 ppm or Less to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Impacts. The report shows how crucial it is for us to reduce carbon dioxide levels to below 350 parts per million if we want to avoid the very worst future for our world.
So far, Not Just a Number has been welcomed by those at the conference, and it's particularly timely because the emissions-reduction goals of any international agreement are a major sticking point in this week's negotiations. The Center is playing a critical role in highlighting the shortcomings of the pledges made last year in Copenhagen by developed countries like the United States, pushing science-based reduction targets and outlining how we can swiftly and strategically reach those targets.
Check out our Center in China webpage, where you can read the report and watch candid Center videos of the conference. Then read this op-ed by Vespa and Bundy.
Take Action on Climate this Sunday for 10/10/10
10/10/10 is more than just a cool-sounding date. This Sunday, Oct. 10, will likely be the day of the largest global climate-action mobilization in history, when people from every continent take action locally to send a strong message to world leaders: We can't wait any longer to face the climate crisis head-on. This weekend people in more than 150 countries will participate in more than 2,800 events that make up a "Global Work Party" our leaders can't ignore.
Join the Center for Biological Diversity at amazing events in Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and Portland, Ore. -- from putting solar panels on the White House roof to protecting the warming-threatened northern spotted owl to a citywide bike party.
Learn about our events and hundreds of other events across the country -- or start your own -- here.
Center in D.C. for Population Strategy Meeting
This Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity participated in the fourth annual Population Strategy Working Group Meeting, held in Washington, D.C. Overpopulation Campaign Coordinator Randy Serraglio joined 75 other activists, academics, funders and governmental representatives in a wide-ranging discussion of the dynamics of unsustainable human population growth and strategies for addressing the challenge. Participants included numerous nonprofit organizations in the United States; an elected representative of the Australia parliament; leaders of population groups in Canada and the United Kingdom; and Paul Ehrlich, a leading voice of the modern population movement since the publication of his groundbreaking book The Population Bomb more than 40 years ago.
The Center appeared to be the only national environmental group in attendance, and therefore an essential -- if lonely -- voice representing the many species being crowded off this planet by human overpopulation. The Center's strong, science-based positioning on the issue was welcomed by attendees, as were the Endangered Species Condoms we distributed to the attendees, several of whom had already distributed the condoms in their own communities earlier this year.
Check out our newly revamped overpopulation website and learn more about Endangered Species Condoms.
Four Endangered Condors Set Free in Arizona
In some uplifting news for one of the world's most endangered birds, four captive-bred California condors were allowed to soar free in Arizona last Saturday. The birds were released at the remote Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, where they'll fly among richly colored canyons and mesas with more than 20 other species of raptors, including bald eagles, golden eagles and peregrine falcons. It was the 16th public release of California condors in Arizona and raises the state's current wild condor population to 73. The condor reintroduction and recovery effort has brought the total wild population from 22 birds in the 1980s, when the species narrowly escaped extinction, to 188 today.
Unfortunately, the four newly released condors will now face some unresolved threats in the wild, including the potential for lead poisoning from scavenging carcasses shot with lead ammunition. The Center has made major strides in our campaign to get the lead out of all hunting ammunition and fishing tackle to protect condors and other animals -- including humans -- from poisoning by the toxic metal.
Read more on Arizona's newest wild condor residents in the San Jose Mercury News.
And the Rubber Dodo Award Goes to . . .
. . . former BP Boss Tony Hayward.
OK, so the BP oil man wasn't exactly a dark horse in the Center for Biological Diversity's Rubber Dodo Award contest, which we hold every year to "honor" the person who did the most to drive endangered species extinct. The man at the helm of BP when it caused the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf certainly qualified as a top Dodo candidate. Under Hayward's leadership, BP secured the right to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico by falsely telling the federal government that an oil spill couldn't happen, as well as submitting a ludicrous spill-response plan claiming BP could capture spilling oil before it caused environmental damage. With more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf and media coming down hard on BP, Hayward famously whined that he "wanted his life back." Well, tell that to those devastated by the spill, including thousands of the Gulf's imperiled birds, sea turtles, mammals and fish that died.
"If there was ever a deserving Rubber Dodo Award recipient, it's Tony Hayward," said Kierán Suckling, the Center's executive director. "History will remember Hayward as the man at the helm of BP when it unleashed the worst environmental disaster in American history."
Check out our Rubber Dodo press release, get more from CNN and learn about our work related to the BP Gulf disaster.
Photo credits: bald eagle courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Beverly & Pack; gray wolf courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources; desert nesting bald eagle courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Al_HikesAZ; Gulf of Mexico shoreline by Sarah Bergman; Richardson Grove (c) Scott Pargett; Sacramento splittail by Tina Swanson, USFWS; Kevin Bundy in Tianjin by Matt Vespa; northern spotted owl courtesy USFS; California condor courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Andrew Weaver; overpopulation courtesy iStock/mura; rubber dodo.
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