Lawsuit Launched to Save Butterfly From Power Plants
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies took swift action this week to save the San Francisco Bay Area's most critically imperiled butterfly, the bright-colored and fragile Lange's metalmark. This butterfly is native to California's Antioch Dunes, where it feeds on only a single plant, the naked-stemmed buckwheat -- which is now being crowded out of the dunes by weeds, as nitrogen emissions change the dunes' soil chemistry.
Where does all that nitrogen come from? Power plants -- which the Bay Area already has plenty of. But in the past several years, the California Energy Commission has authorized three new plants within just a mile of Antioch's existing Contra Costa County Power Plant. That would leave Antioch with one of the largest concentrations of power plant emissions in the Bay Area.
To stop power plants from killing the only plant the Lange's metalmark needs to survive, the Center and allies on Tuesday filed a notice of intent to sue the commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and those who operate the plants. Of course, our legal action -- brought under the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act -- would also help the people of Antioch, who have to breathe all that nasty stuff those power plants would spew.
Read more in the San Jose Mercury News.
End Wolf-Killing Frenzy -- Double Your Gift
Another endangered wolf has been killed at the hands of a government sharpshooter. This time, it was a lonely female wolf in New Mexico who was shot after wandering onto private property in the Gila National Forest. The Center for Biological Diversity has been working for decades to save wolves -- but these incredible animals continue to face hostile enemies bent on wiping them out. Our legal team has several lawsuits going to stop the wolf slaughter, but it's expensive, and we need your help to win. Please make a wolf-saving gift today to our Save the Endangered Species Act Fund -- your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, so now is an especially powerful time to give.
Wolf-killing in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming has ratcheted up ever since Congress stripped wolves of Endangered Species Act protection in April. Hundreds have been killed this year -- and aerial gunners and government trappers are poised to continue the slaughter. The latest death in the Southwest came after a female went looking for a mate -- a nearly impossible task, because just 50 Mexican gray wolves survive in the wild.
The Center has a proven track record of fighting for -- and saving -- endangered wolves. Our emergency lawsuit in October stopped the killing of two of Oregon's wolves, but it's only a temporary reprieve while our legal case is heard. In a separate case, we're in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to halt wolf killing in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Our thanks go to the nearly 1,000 of you who made a life-saving gift in the past week. If you haven't given yet or can find more to give, help us keep fighting hard to stop wolves from being gunned down. Make a gift to our special year-end matching fund -- Save the Endangered Species Act -- and every dollar will be matched by another Center member. Then go a step more: Take action to help save Wyoming's wolves.
Great Lakes Wolves Lose Protection, Northeast Safe for Now
In more bad news for wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday announced that it's stripping wolves in the Great Lakes states of their Endangered Species Act protection. The move is premature, especially given that wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin remain threatened by disease and human persecution -- wolf killing is expected to ramp up quickly after they come off the endangered species list.
Wednesday's decision did include one piece of good news: The agency looks like it's going to keep Endangered Species Act protections in place for any wolves that might be wandering in 29 eastern states. The Center for Biological Diversity has been pressing the agency hard to not strip away protections for wolves in the Northeast, and our efforts paid off with Wednesday's announcement. Now it's time the Fish and Wildlife Service begin drawing up a wolf recovery plan for that region.
Get more from Minnesota Public Radio and make a special gift now to help the Center keep fighting to protect these wolves.
Court Rejects Plan to Build Warehouses Near Kangaroo Rat Habitat
The endangered Stephens' kangaroo rat -- already down to just a few bits of remaining habitat -- is getting a little more room to breathe. In response to a Center for Biological Diversity and allies lawsuit, a judge in Riverside, Calif., has just rejected plans to build warehouses smack in the middle of the k-rat's habitat that would have severed the last natural connection between the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park and the March Stephens' Kangaroo Rat Preserve.
Our suit was also filed over the increased diesel-truck pollution that would've resulted from the project. The decision is an important win for kangaroo rats -- small burrowing mammals that subsist primarily on seeds (which they tuck in their cheeks) and that are named for their distinctive hopping motion. Stephens' kangaroo rats, listed as an endangered species, are threatened because their favorite habitat -- grasslands -- is also the favorite target for housing and other development projects.
Check out our press release.
Congress Leaves Behind Mess on Keystone, Arctic
Amid all the chaos in Washington, D.C., this week, Congress is still clinging to some dangerous proposals for the environment. One of them would prematurely force a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline -- a risky project that would transport dirty tar sands oil from Canada to Texas, traversing streams, rivers and vast wildlife habitat for species like the piping plover and pallid sturgeon. The pipeline has yet to get a badly needed review of its environmental effects -- and yet Republicans in the Senate included it in a provision to extend the payroll tax holiday. (The House has since rejected that proposal but vowed to include Keystone and any future iterations of that bill.)
Meanwhile, Congress is also poised give oil companies a free pass on air pollution limits for offshore drilling in the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. In the Arctic, massive ice-breaking vessels that account for up to 98 percent of air pollution from drilling would be exempt for rules requiring pollution controls. The measure would also shorten the amount of time drilling operations would be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Offshore drilling is bad enough -- but this measure adds insult to injury for polar bears, walruses and other wildlife threatened by the industrialization of their Arctic homes.
Congress is sure to have more tricks up its sleeve when it reconvenes in January. We'll keep you posted on what they're up to and how you can help make sure our wildlife, climate and wild places aren't destroyed in the name of Washington politics. Thanks for responding to all our recent requests for action and going the extra mile to call your senators last weekend.
Learn about the Center's work on Arctic oil development and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Vanishing Bats Get $4 Million Bandage From Congress
How much does it cost to fight a staggering, bat-killing epidemic plowing through populations from Nova Scotia to Tennessee? According to Congress, about $4 million -- that's how much it directed the Department of the Interior to spend to respond to white-nose syndrome. It's a start -- but not nearly enough to deal with one of the most destructive wildlife disease crises in our nation's history.
Since it was discovered in a cave in Albany, N.Y., in 2006, white-nose syndrome has wiped out more than 1 million bats in North America, and it continues to spread. The Center for Biological Diversity has been at the forefront of the crisis, petitioning for federal protections for species such as the northern long-eared and eastern small-footed bats, and calling on federal agencies to take preemptive action to keep the disease from spreading. The $4 million allocation will do some good, but this crisis is unfolding fast. If we're going to stop this deadly disease from killing millions more bats, we'll need to do much more.
Read more in The Colorado Independent.
Climate Win: Tucson Becomes Latest Clean Air City
Tucson, Ariz., is the latest city to call on the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to take significant action on global warming. The Tucson City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night calling for reductions in carbon and other greenhouse gas apollutants.
The resolution is part of the Center for Biological Diversity's new Clean Air Cities campaign, which is organizing cities around the country to speak out in favor of addressing the global climate crisis.
Tucson joins Seattle, Wash., Albany, N.Y., Boone, N.C., and Arcata, Richmond, Berkeley and Santa Monica, Calif. in the campaign. Several other cities across the country will be considering similar resolutions over the next few months.
Will 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.
Take Action -- Speak Up for Chimps
Please speak up for protection for chimpanzees who can't speak up for themselves. The world population of wild chimpanzees has fallen by nearly 70 percent in the last 30 years. Wild chimpanzees have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1976, but captive chimpanzees are exempted from protection under a special rule. Lack of protection for captive chimpanzees is preventing the recovery of the species in the wild by encouraging illegal trade and compromising conservation efforts.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering whether to protect captive chimpanzees as endangered species. Please submit comments in support of the protection of all chimpanzees, both wild and captive, as endangered species.
Take action here, now.
Time's Running Out to Use Our Greener Giving Guide
As you scramble to cross off names on your holiday gift-giving list, animals and plants across the globe are scrambling to stave off extinction. This year, let us help you with your holiday shopping -- and save endangered species in the process.
Dive into the Center for Biological Diversity's Greener Giving Guide, where your purchases help us save endangered species -- or help some other worthy cause, like the HerpDigest e-magazine or the folks behind the fun, awareness-raising climate change board game Polar Eclipse.
Check out the guide -- and happier, greener holidays to you, from us at the Center.
Wild & Weird: "Elvis Monkey" Makes Coolest-new-species List
Elvis has left the building . . . and apparently found his way into the Greater Mekong region of southeast Asia.
A monkey with a fetching "Elvis" pompadour was just one of more than 200 species recently discovered in that region, the World Wildlife Fund reports. Other finds include a psychedelic-looking gecko spotted in Vietnam. The region is a biodiversity hotspot and home to some of the world's most threatened species, including rare tigers, Asian elephants, dolphins and catfish. No wonder Elvis sang "Love Me Tender."
Get more from CBS.com and watch this video.
Photo credits: Mexican gray wolf courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Brian Gratwicke; Lange's metalmark butterfly by Alan Wight, USFWS; Mexican gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/Bonnie Leer; gray wolf courtesy USFWS; Stephens' kangaroo rat (c) Mark A. Chapell; pallid sturgeon courtesy USFWS; Indiana bat courtesy USFWS; Tucson; chimpanzees courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Delphine Bruyere; green presents courtesy Flickr/moofbong; Photoshop reconstruction of snub-nosed monkey (c) Dr. Thomas Geissmann.
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