Grand Canyon's Million-acre Uranium Mining Ban Finalized -- Thank You
Years of campaigning -- and more than 150,000 actions taken by Center for Biological Diversity activists -- paid off this week as the Interior Department finally enacted its decision to protect 1 million acres of public land around Grand Canyon National Park from new uranium mining. The 20-year ban across more than 1,500 square miles will protect the Grand Canyon's springs and creeks, as well as a rich array of wildlife, including endangered fish like the humpback chub, from uranium-mining pollution that would have poisoned the area's waters and sullied an international icon.
Since 2008, the Center has filed several lawsuits to stop destructive mining in the Grand Canyon region. We've also helped bring together the broad coalition of conservation groups, native tribes, local leaders and citizens that has staunchly opposed mining for uranium in and around the national park. These vital protections for the canyon couldn't have happened without your activism and support -- so thank you.
Read more in The New York Times and learn about the Center's campaign to keep new uranium mining out of our precious Grand Canyon watershed.
Emergency Protection Sought for Rare Texas Salamander
The city of Austin is building a water-treatment plant that could drive the very rare Jollyville Plateau salamander to extinction. Because of this, the salamander was slated for a rapid protection decision under the Center for Biological Diversity's 757 species agreement, signed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last summer. But now a construction-related leak has put the two-inch salamander's life in even more imminent peril, threatening to siphon water from the springs where it lives -- so this week the Center and our local partners notified Fish and Wildlife that we intend to sue for emergency protection for the disappearing amphibian.
"This tiny salamander, which exists nowhere in the world except Texas, could be driven extinct," said the Center's Collette Adkins Giese. "This is an emergency -- the salamander needs immediate protection under the Endangered Species Act."
Read more in The Austin American Statesman, learn about our campaign to save the Jollyville Plateau salamander and check out our historic 757 species settlement.
Tell Obama: Keep Your Promise, Reject Keystone XL
President Obama vowed to end our addiction to oil and address the global climate crisis; we urgently need him to act on that promise by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. Pumping dirty tar sands oil from Canada to Texas is dangerous, and will only fuel our addiction to fossil fuels; worsen global warming; encourage the destruction of boreal forests in Canada; and put hundreds of miles of rivers, streams and endangered species habitat at risk of a devastating oil spill.
Congress is forcing Obama to make a rushed decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21. We can't let this dangerous project move ahead. Center for Biological Diversity supporters were among the 12,000 people who encircled the White House last year to protest Keystone XL. Now it's time to send him another message: Keep your promise and reject this project.
Send Obama a message today and learn more about Keystone XL.
Lawsuit Seeks Halt to Expanded Fishing for Bluefin Tuna
What's the best way to save the imperiled Atlantic bluefin tuna? It's definitely not more overfishing. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a lawsuit against a National Marine Fisheries Service rule that expands bluefin tuna fishing from Massachusetts to Florida.
Western Atlantic bluefin have declined by more than 80 percent since 1970 because of overfishing. Yet the Fisheries Service just made a new rule -- nearly doubling the number of bluefin that can be caught each day and lengthening the fishing season. Our lawsuit seeks to overturn that bad decision. Bluefin tuna -- huge, warm-blooded fish that can swim 50 miles per hour -- are already at the brink of extinction, partly because of their prized place on sushi menus. Earlier this month, a single bluefin weighing nearly 600 pounds was sold for $736,000 in Japan.
Read more about our lawsuit on takepart.com and the $736,000 fish in the Los Angeles Times. Then learn how you can take our pledge to boycott bluefin tuna and every restaurant that serves it.
Endangered Species Act Success: Wood Stork Recovering
Chalk up another success story to the Endangered Species Act. The wood stork in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina has rebounded from 5,000 nesting pairs in the late 1970s to 12,000 today. It looks like this beautiful white-and-black bird -- which grows up to four feet tall -- is on its way to meeting recovery goals by 2017 (the date set out in its recovery plan). That's why the Center for Biological Diversity is supporting changing the status of this once-rare bird from "endangered" to "threatened."
The Endangered Species Act has an unparalleled record of recovering species like the wood stork. The Act's protections have ensured that 99 percent of protected species have avoided extinction; a recent Center study of all threatened and endangered species in Northeast states found that 93 percent were on a recovery trend and 83 percent were recovering on time for their recovery plans.
Get more on the wood stork’s comeback from KeysNet.com and check out our press release.
Critically Endangered Monk Seals Slain in Hawaii
Disturbing news out of Hawaii: Two endangered Hawaiian monk seals were bludgeoned to death, another was shot, and authorities are investigating the suspicious death of one more. Hawaiian monk seals are among the world's rarest marine mammals. There are only 1,100 left, and their population is plummeting due to starvation and other factors.
The Center for Biological Diversity joined with allies on Wednesday in offering a $30,000 reward for anyone with information about the killings. The seal deaths come as more monk seals inhabit the main Hawaiian Islands, where their chance of survival is much greater than in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. That also means they're in closer proximity to people -- some of whom are apparently hostile. The Center's been deeply involved in securing Endangered Species Act protections for Hawaiian monk seals, including a successful 2008 petition, with allies, to protect their habitat along Hawaii's beaches and coastal waters. We're saddened and angered to hear of this rash of deaths and hopeful that authorities can stop the killers.
Read more in the Hawaii Reporter and learn about our hard work to save these amazing seals.
California Fox One Step Closer to Protection
Things are finally looking up for one of North America's most elusive and threatened mammals, the Sierra Nevada red fox. With only about 50 foxes remaining, the Center for Biological Diversity last year petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the foxes under the Endangered Species Act. The Service has just announced it will conduct a full review to determine if the foxes warrant protection under the Act.
Sierra Nevada red foxes are hovering on the brink of the extinction, and the Service's announcement puts them one step closer to protection. With a 99 percent success rate at saving species from extinction, the Endangered Species Act is these foxes' best hope for survival. Red foxes once roamed throughout the Sierra Nevadas and the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, but today only two small populations remain on just 4 percent of the fox's historic range. A small population and limited genetic diversity leave the species particularly vulnerable to livestock grazing, off-road vehicles and climate change.
Read more in The Sacramento Bee and learn about saving the Sierra Nevada red fox.
Red Flag Raised Over Acidification of Puget Sound
Washington's Puget Sound has been classified as a "water of concern" because of ocean acidification that's threatening fish and shellfish. For many of the past six years, the Pacific Northwest's baby oysters have been unable to survive, in part due to acidifying waters.
Carbon pollution since the Industrial Revolution has made the world's oceans about 30 percent more acidic -- a chemical change hurting corals, plankton, shellfish and the vast web of sea life. The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in 2009 to challenge Washington's failure to declare coastal waters impaired by ocean acidification. In settling that lawsuit, the EPA directed all states to consider ocean acidification as a threat to water quality under the Clean Water Act.
"Science says the Northwest's stretch of ocean, and the marine life it supports, is in trouble," said Miyoko Sakashita, who runs the Center's oceans program. "We have to act, and that means cutting carbon pollution."
Read more in the Summit County Citizens Voice and then find out how acidification is hurting oceans around the world.
Wild & Weird: Criminal Croc Steals Lawn Mower, Then Hoards It
Shortly before the New Year, an oversized crocodile inhabiting a reptile park in Australia lunged out of his artificial lagoon toward a zoo worker who was mowing the grass nearby. When the worker tried to fend him off with the only weapon easily to hand -- his heavy lawn mower -- the 16-foot reptile, who goes by the name Elvis, snatched the mower in his jaws and made off with it.
Elvis dragged the mower into his lagoon, where it remained underwater, guarded by the hulking, suspicious-looking croc, until the lawn-mower thief was finally lured away with a helping of kangaroo meat so zoo workers could slip in and reclaim the now-defunct appliance. They also snagged two of Elvis's three-inch teeth, pulled free of his gaping maw during the marauder/machine encounter.
"He's beaten us today . . . he's kingpin," said the zoo's operations manager. "He's going to be walking around with his chest puffed out all day."
See photos of Elvis and his prize at MSNBC.
Photo credits: Grand Canyon courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Luca Galuzzi; Grand Canyon courtesy NPS; Jollyville Plateau salamander (c) City of Austin/Mark Sanders; whooping crane courtesy USFWS/John and Karen Hollingsworth; Atlantic bluefin tuna (c) Paul Colley; Florida wood stork courtesy USFWS; Hawaiian monk seal courtesy USFWS; red fox courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Mike Baird; orca courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/p200eric; crocodile courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/edenpictures.
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