Seattle Joins National Clean Air Cities Campaign
Big news in our campaign to get cities around the country to speak out on global warming: Seattle just became the latest -- and biggest -- city to sign our resolution urging President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to drastically cut carbon emissions. The Seattle City Council unanimously approved the resolution on Monday as part of the Center for Biological Diversity's nationwide Clean Air Cities campaign.
Seattle joins Albany, N.Y.; Boone, N.C.; and Arcata, Richmond, Berkeley and Santa Monica, Calif., in calling on the White House to do what's needed to reduce greenhouse emissions to the levels necessary to avoid catastrophic, runaway climate change.
Could your city be next? We need your help. Visit our campaign page, where you can find tools and information on how to get your community to join our movement.
Help Stop the Wolf Slaughter
Gray wolves are being killed in record numbers in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming since Congress stripped them of federal protection in April. The Center for Biological Diversity's legal team has multiple lawsuits going to stop the slaughter, but litigation is expensive and we need your help to win. Please make a lifesaving gift today to our Save the Endangered Species Act Fund -- your gift will be matched by one of our board members and thus worth twice as much.
100 wolves in Montana have already been killed this year, but state officials want more dead, so they just extended the wolf-killing season by six weeks. Idaho is about to send in government aerial gunners and trappers because the 154 killed there this year are also deemed too few. Wyoming just got the go-ahead to begin killing 200 wolves, and Oregon wants to kill two of its 14 wolves.
The Center has spent two decades defending gray wolves. Our emergency lawsuit in October stopped the killing of two of Oregon's wolves -- but that reprieve is only temporary while our legal challenge is heard. Separately, we're in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to stop wolf killing in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. And we're pressing the Interior Department to establish a nationwide wolf-recovery plan.
Thanks to your support, we've won important victories for wolves. But this fight is far from over. Our year-end, special matching gift fund -- Save the Endangered Species Act -- was set up for exactly these kinds of emergencies. Please, make a generous gift today and help save wolves from this slaughter.
Feds Turn Blind Eye, Once More, to BP Oil Disaster
Failing to heed any lessons from last year's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government is pushing for more and more offshore drilling. Although major problems that led to the BP spill have yet to be fixed -- there were 25 oil spills in the Gulf last month alone -- federal agencies are forging ahead with lease sales that seem to blithely ignore both the past and the future.
So on Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity and our partners sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management over Lease Sale 218, which would open up areas of the Gulf to new shallow and deepwater wells.
"Hundreds of dead dolphins and sea turtles washed ashore in the wake of the spill last year. The full extent of the toll this has taken on wildlife and people hasn't even been fully calculated, but the government's already eager to plow ahead with expanded leasing in the Gulf of Mexico," said Deirdre McDonnell, a senior attorney with the Center.
Read more in our press release and check out our Gulf disaster website.
Tell Congress Not to Rush Keystone XL Decision
Right-wing leaders in Congress this week just couldn't help themselves when it came time to put together a year-end budget bill. Rather than let it go through without sleazy backdoor riders, they attached one that would force a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the next 60 days. The 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada to Texas would be a disaster for imperiled species -- cutting through prime habitat and making hundreds of river crossings -- and worsen the climate crisis.
After more than 12,000 people surrounded the White House to protest the pipeline this fall, President Obama delayed a decision until at least 2013. But now oil-industry boosters want to force him to either veto a needed budget bill or approve the pipeline before a full environmental review can be completed.
Please act today and tell your representatives to oppose cynical riders that would rush a decision on the disastrous Keystone XL Pipeline.
Suit Filed to Protect Calif. Watersheds From Getting Fracked
Despite more than 1,000 instances of water contamination linked to the dangerous natural gas-mining practice known as hydraulic fracturing -- or "fracking" -- the Bureau of Land Management has leased 2,583 acres of land to frackers in Monterey and Fresno counties. The BLM sold the leases without any meaningful review or risk disclosure.
Accordingly, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal challenge last week to keep fracking's chemical cocktails away from sensitive California watersheds and the habitats of imperiled species like the sprightly San Joaquin kit fox and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard.
Read more in the East Bay Express.
Emergency Petition Filed for Puerto Rican Frog
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies this week petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately protect a tiny frog just recently discovered: Puerto Rico's coquí llanero. The Service proposed to protect the frog in October as part of our 757 species settlement.
But this dime-sized tree frog, discovered just six years ago, doesn't have time to lose. The Army Corps of Engineers is moving quickly to approve a massive project that threatens the continued existence of the frog: a 92-mile liquefied natural gas pipeline that would bisect Puerto Rico. Stay tuned for news on how you can help save this charming frog.
In the meantime, make its call your ringtone.
Deadly Delay in Protection for Ice Seals
As carbon emissions shot up this past year like never before -- worsening the warming that's already causing Arctic sea ice to disappear -- two seals dependent on that sea ice at least had federal protection to look forward to. Now that protection may well come too late.
The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to protect the Arctic's ringed and bearded seals under the Endangered Species Act in 2008; finally, in December 2010, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed to protect them in a year -- by this very week, in fact. But on Monday the agency delayed protection for another six months.
This summer Arctic sea ice approached its lowest level ever; it could disappear completely in the next 20 years, leaving no habitat for the seals. Bearded seals, with their mustache-like whiskers and elaborate courtship songs, need sea ice for giving birth and raising pups -- as do ringed seals, who nurse and protect their pups in snow caves atop sea ice. Both seals are also threatened by oil and gas development in their Alaska home, where an oil spill would be impossible to clean up.
In some better news, the ribbon seal -- which the Center also petitioned for but which was previously denied protections -- is being reconsidered for Endangered Species Act status due to a 2009 lawsuit by the Center and allies.
Read more in The Republic.
Atrazine Poisoning Our Wildlands and Wells -- 7,000 Took Action
Atrazine is one of the most commonly used and dangerous pesticides in the United States; two recent studies have again affirmed the threats it poses to wildlife and human health. Research compiled by 22 scientists in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology shows that atrazine leads to reproductive problems in wildlife, especially amphibians, such as turning male frogs into females. A recent study in Environmental Research links atrazine to disruptions in reproductive health in humans, through alterations of hormonal levels and women's menstrual cycles.
Atrazine has already been banned in the European Union because of its widespread contamination and impacts. We must also ban this poison in the United States. That's why the Center and our supporters this year sent in more than 7,000 comments to the EPA to support a ban. We also submitted formal legal and scientific comments emphasizing why we need to ban atrazine now and will continue the fight to keep our waters clean for all creatures great and small.
Read more in Science Daily and Scientific American.
Happy Holidays: Share Our Free Endangered Species E-cards
The holidays are fast approaching, and we at the Center for Biological Diversity like to show our thankfulness for the natural world that sustains us all by giving you a series of fun, unique holiday e-cards featuring species like the polar bear, gray wolf, bearded seal, sea star, coral and ivory gull. Send these cards to all your friends and family members to spread a little holiday cheer and conservation awareness -- without killing a single tree for an envelope or engaging a single truck for delivery (and without spending a dime).
Check out the cards here.
Vote to Help the Center Save Biodiversity -- Just Two Weeks Left
Here's an easy way to help earn money for the Center for Biological Diversity: the free click of a button.
Each year, the philanthropy-minded company Working Assets and its CREDO Mobile branch donate a portion of their members' charges to a select group of progressive organizations like ours. We're excited to be on the ballot in 2011, but the amount of money we receive at the end of the year will depend on how many of you vote for us. If you're not a Working Assets or CREDO customer, all you have to do is sign up as a CREDO action member, which lets you take online action with CREDO on important issues. Then you can go to the Working Assets voting page and assign maximum points to the Center. It's easy, quick and very helpful to our cause of saving species.
Please tell your friends and sign up and vote here now -- and we do mean now: Voting ends when the year does!
Wild & Weird: Prehistoric Predator Had 16,000 Eyes
More than 500 million years ago, a bizarre, shellfish-type predator called "Anomalocaris" swam the ancient oceans, its large eyes protruding on stalks from the sides of its head. This week a fossil specimen of those eyes -- which measured more than an inch across and sported a whopping 16,000 individual lenses -- was found on Australia's Kangaroo Island.
Anomalocaris grew to more than three feet long and lived in well-lit, clear waters; it apparently evolved sophisticated vision rapidly and may have triggered a kind of Darwinian "arms race" among animals in its environment, which in turn are thought to have developed spines, poison glands and other defensive weaponry in order to escape detection by its huge, goggling eyes.
Specimens of the creature have also been found in Canada and China, but the new find marks the first discovery of an intact eye. Modern-day dragonflies, with 30,000 lenses, are the only animals known to have more than Anomalocaris.
Read more and see a mug shot of Anomalocaris here.
Photo credits: gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Sakarri; Seattle Space Needle courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Jordon Kalilich; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/francoismi; loggerhead sea turtle courtesy Flickr Commons/Brian Gratwicke; piping plover (c) Sidney Maddock; San Joaquin kit fox courtesy USFWS; coqui llanero courtesy USFWS; bearded seal pup courtesy NOAA; California red-legged frog; sea star (c) Steve Elkins; vote sign courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Tom Arthur; Anomalocaris (c) Nobu Tamura.
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