Lawsuit Challenges Congress' Anti-wolf Rider
The Center for Biological Diversity is fighting back against congressional meddling in the future of Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves. This morning we filed a legal challenge to a congressional rider that stripped protection from wolves in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah. The rider, which was attached to last month's must-pass spending bill, marked the first time that Congress had removed protections from a specific plant or animal, opening a potential Pandora's box of unscientific intrusions into endangered-species management. We're challenging the rider for violating the "separation of powers" in the U.S. Constitution.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protection from gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and proposed removing protection for wolves in the Great Lakes region as well as 29 eastern states.
Wolves have only begun to recover in Oregon and Washington, are not known to live in Utah currently, and are threatened by disease and human killing in the Great Lakes. Even in Montana and Idaho, where their numbers are relatively strong, wolves are in danger of drastic decline due to the states' plans to allow unsustainable wolf hunting and federal predator-control. Gray wolves need steps taken forward, not backward, to ensure their recovery as a species. That's why we continue to push the feds for a national wolf recovery plan.
Read more in the San Jose Mercury News and get complete details in our press release.
Suit Filed to Stop Killing of Oregon Wolves
In other wolf news this week, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies went to court to save the lives of two gray wolves in Oregon. We filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop it from killing a pair of wolves from the Imnaha Pack -- one of only two packs in the state -- in response to a late April calf depredation. The Service didn't conduct an environmental review for the wolf-killing as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Wolves have only just begun to recover in Oregon. The state has fewer than 25 individual gray wolves -- none of which we can afford to lose.
Read more in The Seattle Times.
Lawsuit Launched to Speed Recovery for Calif. Amphibians
In California, the Center for Biological Diversity has launched a new legal push to save two of the state's most endangered species: the California tiger salamander and mountain yellow-legged frog. On Tuesday we filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to draft federal recovery plans for the two species. Recovery plans are roadmaps to recovery, outlining specific actions needed to save endangered species from extinction and eventually remove them from the endangered list. But though these plans are required under the Endangered Species Act, neither the salamander nor the frog has ever benefited from one.
The California tiger salamander is a large, slick, black salamander with brilliant yellow spots; the mountain yellow-legged frog takes on various colors but always sports intense gold eyes and yellow on the undersides of its hind legs. Both amphibians are threatened by forces including habitat destruction, pesticides and predation.
Read more in All Pet News.
Stop Toxic NRA Bill -- Help Protect Wildlife, People From Lead
At the bidding of the NRA and other gun groups, lawmakers in Congress have introduced a bill that would block the protection of condors, eagles, loons, swans and at least 130 other wildlife species -- not to mention people -- from dangerous lead poisoning. Specifically, the legislation would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate toxic lead in hunting ammo and fishing tackle -- which kills millions of wild birds and other creatures each year, as well as risking lead poisoning for 10 million hunters, their families and low-income beneficiaries of venison-donation programs.
The Center petitioned the EPA last year to regulate lead in ammunition and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substance Control Act. The EPA rejected the petition, so we took the agency to court, where our case is still pending.
Act now to urge your senators to oppose this harmful bill. Then read about a California condor chick -- whose species is imminently endangered by lead poisoning -- that was born late last month, and how the Center's Get the Lead Out campaign aims to ensure its continued survival.
Rare Lizard Imperiled, Not Jobs -- Take Action
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) has been loudly trumpeting that protecting the dunes sagebrush lizard under the Endangered Species Act will jeopardize most oil and gas jobs in southeast New Mexico. But a report just released by the Center for Biological Diversity proves his statements utterly groundless. Our analysis shows that protecting the lizard would affect less than 1 percent of public lands where drilling was proposed in 2010 and 2011. Meanwhile, the small, sandy-colored reptile is fast dwindling due to oil and gas development, herbicide spraying and many other threats.
The Center petitioned for the dunes sagebrush lizard in 2002. Last winter the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to protect the lizard as endangered, and last week said that doing so wouldn't endanger jobs. Notably, Pearce has received $1.2 million in campaign funding from Big Oil and Gas.
Take action to tell Rep. Pearce to quit pandering to the oil and gas industry and recognize the importance of saving the dunes sagebrush lizard. Then read more in the Las Cruces Sun-News and get details in our press release, where you can also access the report itself.
Legislation Would Gut Safeguards for Borderlands
Two bills now pending in Congress would eviscerate environmental laws in U.S. borderlands under the guise of improving border security, leaving sensitive habitat and species more vulnerable than ever. One bill would permanently exempt border-enforcement activities from 31 environmental and cultural-resource laws within 100 miles of all U.S. borders and coasts, while the other would let the Department of Homeland Security pick and choose which environmental protections to heed (or not) on all public lands within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Even border-enforcement agencies have effectively deemed these bills unnecessary for security.
Border species, including endangered jaguars and ocelots in the Southwest, are already threatened by border-enforcement activities like barrier and road construction, off-road driving and stadium lighting. They need more protection, not less.
Get details in our press release and learn more about the Center's campaign to protect borderlands and boundary waters.
Biodiversity Briefing: Fighting Dirty, Dangerous Energy
Fossil fuel energy projects hurt species, destroy habitat and squander resources. In the most recent installment of the Center for Biological Diversity's quarterly "Biodiversity Briefing," Executive Director Kierán Suckling spoke about our extensive national work against destructive energy development.
In the West, we're working to stop the Ruby pipeline, a monstrous proposed natural-gas pipeline that would dynamite its way across 1,000 streams and rivers in Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon, killing thousands of imperiled fish (like the Warner Creek sucker and Lahontan cutthroat trout) and other species. On the East Coast, we're turning our attention to hydrofracking, the region's most common form of natural-gas extraction, which blasts chemical-laced water into rock. In the Southeast, we're fighting destructive mountaintop-removal coal mining; we're still engaged in nine lawsuits defending the Gulf of Mexico from dangerous offshore oil drilling like the project that caused the devastating BP oil-spill disaster. And of course we're working to prevent any new oil drilling from marring Alaska's pristine Arctic habitat -- and we've succeeded there since 2007.
We invite you to listen to a recording of the first part of the briefing and share it with others who may be interested. For information on how you can join the Center's Leadership Circle and be invited to participate in Biodiversity Briefings live and ask questions of Center staff, email Major Gifts Associate Julie Ragland or call her at (520) 623-5252 x 304.
March Against Mountaintop Removal This June
Blair Mountain, W.Va., is one of the most significant historical landmarks in Appalachia -- the site of the largest uprising in American history since the Civil War. It was there, 90 years ago this summer, that up to 15,000 coal miners rose against the rule of coal operators, fighting for the right to live and work in decent conditions. The mountain has natural significance, too, as habitat for sensitive plants and animals and a source of drinking water for thousands of West Virginia residents.
Now Blair Mountain is threatened with obliteration by mountaintop-removal coal mining, and it's here that a new generation of Appalachians takes a stand. On June 6, environmental groups, labor unions and other activists and organizations will unite for the March on Blair Mountain, a five-day trek merged with workshops, cultural festivities and music. On the sixth day, a large rally will be held in Blair, followed by a march to the crest of Blair Mountain.
Join the Center for Biological Diversity and others in saving Blair Mountain by attending the march. Find out more about the event and learn about the Center's campaign to end mountaintop removal.
Save Wildlife With Your Tax Refund
What to do with that tax refund you got -- or will soon get -- from our beloved Internal Revenue Service? One great option: Invest in the future of the planet by putting your refund toward protecting endangered species and wild places.
If you give your tax-refund check to the Center for Biological Diversity, we'll put that money to work all year long to save spotted owls, polar bears, gray wolves and even tiny springsnails from the worst fate they could suffer -- extinction. We're the most effective and financially efficient endangered species group out there, so you can be sure your money will go far.
And guess what? Your tax-refund gift is tax-deductible. Please donate now and help save imperiled wildlife and wildlands.
Wild and Weird: Convicts for Conservation
Did you hear the one about the pimp, the car thief and the endangered Oregon spotted frog? Well, this one's no joke: Inmates at a Washington state prison are rearing Oregon spotted frog tadpoles as part of a program to reestablish the frogs in the wild.
Wildlife officials say the inmates at Cedar Creek Correctional Facility are giving the tadpoles such thorough, constant care that their success is stunning. In fact, the prison-raised frogs are healthier, and have higher survivability rates, than those raised in other places.
The current batch of tadpoles will be set free when they're full grown in November or December. As for their prison caretakers -- well, they may have to wait a little longer.
Get more from KOMO News or watch a video on the story. Then learn about the Center for Biological Diversity's campaign to save the Oregon spotted frog.
Photo credits: California condor courtesy USFWS; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/francoismi; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/Brian Digital; California tiger salamander by John Cleckler, USFWS; California condor courtesy Flickr Commons/Jim Bahn; dunes sagebrush lizard courtesy USFWS; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Pascal Blachier; Lahontan cutthroat trout courtesy California Department of Fish and Game; mountaintop removal site courtesy Wikimedia Commons/J.W. Randolph; northern spotted owl (c) Robin Silver; Oregon spotted frog courtesy USFWS.
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