Protection Sought for California Wolves -- Thank You
Major news for wolf recovery on the West Coast: The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition on Monday to protect gray wolves in California under the state's Endangered Species Act. Listing under the Act would help protect wolves wandering across the state line and trigger the creation of the state's first-ever wolf recovery plan.
We launched the petition in response to the arrival of a wolf in California in late December, the first time a wild wolf had been spotted in the state since 1924. Now that there's a chance to reestablish wolves in the remote mountains and forests of California, they'll need the protection of the state's Endangered Species Act (especially since livestock owners have threatened to kill incoming wolves).
Thank you to the more than 600 people who stepped up last month with generous gifts to our California Wolf Fund. We'll need ongoing support to ensure a safe return for wolves in California, so if you haven't, please consider making a gift now.
Read more in the Los Angeles Times, plus this op-ed by the Center's Noah Greenwald in the Huffington Post.
Victory Against Destructive Flaming Gorge Pipeline
After hard work by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies -- including more than 5,000 passionate pleas against it (thank you) -- we've won a notable victory against a controversial planned pipeline threatening the Colorado and Green rivers and four endangered fishes.
Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied a preliminary permit application sought by proponents of the Flaming Gorge pipeline. The 500-mile pipeline would suck more than 80 billion gallons of water out of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir each year for sprawling developments along Colorado's Front Range. In December the Center and friends filed a legal challenge against the pipeline, pointing out that it would not only harm four imperiled fish (the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail chub) but also damage four national wildlife refuges and hurt habitat along the Colorado and Green rivers -- and their human communities.
"It's hard to imagine a worse idea, in this era of global warming, than burning fossil fuels to pump already-imperiled rivers hundreds of miles across mountains to fuel sprawl," said the Center's Taylor McKinnon.
Read more in The Salt Lake Tribune.
Oregon Spotted Frog Closer to Protection
The Oregon spotted frog, protected on an emergency basis in Canada in 1999, is finally getting a hearing in the United States by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will decide if it still warrants Endangered Species Act protection. The hoppers, which turn redder with age, have languished on the "candidate" list for protection since 1991, when it was found that 90 percent of their historic habitat had been lost.
The agency's latest plan to consider the frog for Endangered Species Act protection is part of the historic agreement struck last year with the Center for Biological Diversity requiring protection decisions on 757 species, including a decision on this frog in 2013. As with amphibians around the globe, the Oregon spotted frog faces an overwhelming barrage of man-made dangers, including introduced species, pollution and loss of habitat. This last has been particularly devastating, but the critical habitat protections of the Act would help restore healthy wetlands for the frogs.
Read more in The Oregonian.
Midwestern Cities Join Call for Action on Global Warming
Some of the biggest cities in the Midwest are joining the national call for urgent action on global warming. Minneapolis, Minn., plus Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., were the latest cities to join the Center for Biological Diversity's Clean Air Cities Campaign when they took action this week to urge the feds to use the Clean Air Act to cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming.
Said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak: "We are calling on lawmakers to reject any attempt to roll back Clean Air Act protections. We are fighting to ensure that the EPA has the authority and the funding to continue protecting public health by reducing both greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and pollutants that harm our air quality in general."
Cities from Seattle to Cambridge and Pittsburgh have also passed resolutions. And if you live in Santa Fe or Salt Lake City, be on the lookout for an email announcing when your city government will be considering joining the effort.
Don't see your hometown on the list? We can help you get your city onboard. For more information and a sample resolution, check out our Clean Air Cities campaign page.
Industry Tries to Overturn Grand Canyon Mining Ban
The National Mining Association this week filed a lawsuit to overturn a hard-won ban on new uranium mining across 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon. The lawsuit is challenging the government's 700-page study of the ban and the authority of the Interior Department to enact it.
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies fought for years to get the 20-year ban in place; we're not about to let it slip away. Several conservation groups, including the Center, vowed to intervene in the case to defend the mining ban in court.
The Grand Canyon is a biodiversity hotspot, an economic driver for the Southwest and an international icon that needs to be protected from toxic mining pollution. Over the past few years 400,000 people from 90 countries sent messages to the Department of the Interior requesting the mining ban.
Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.
Slowing Population Growth Would Help Climate Crisis, Too
Climate change and human overpopulation are tightly linked. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the rapid growth of the world's population is one of two primary factors driving global warming.
Now a new study by Dr. Philip Cafaro makes the case that slowing human population growth through voluntary programs should be on the list of solutions for tackling climate change. The discussion comes at an opportune moment, with the world population topping 7 billion and the climate crisis worsening. The Center for Biological Diversity has been working for years to highlight the effects overpopulation is having on plants and animals around the world; we think slowing human population growth by empowering women and improving access to family planning will have benefits for everyone and be a crucial part of easing the global climate crisis.
Read more about the study at the Population Media Center and learn more about our work on overpopulation.
Keystone XL Pipeline Being Proposed Piecemeal, But Still Tragically Flawed
The Keystone XL pipeline isn't dead. This week, TransCanada announced its plans to build a portion of the pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas -- and the Obama administration announced its support for those plans, promising an expedited review of the project.
So far, though, there's been no analysis of how this portion of the pipeline will affect wetlands or endangered species in the region (including the whooping crane, interior least tern, Arkansas shiner and piping plover). This latest proposal isn't a solution to the Keystone problem, and this week the Center for Biological Diversity called on the Obama administration not to cut corners when it comes to protecting wetlands, clean air, water and endangered species from any and all new incarnations of this project.
Read more in UPI.com.
Study: Climate Change Means Bleak Future for Birds
Imagine a world without birds -- or at least without many of the birds that brighten our lives today. According to an analysis of more than 200 individual studies of climate change's effects on birds, 600 to 900 land bird species (out of 8,500 worldwide) could disappear by 2100 -- and that's if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's middle-range projection of a 6.3-degree temperature rise occurs. The extinction toll rises by another 100 to 500 birds by each degree of warming above that projection.
It's yet another wake-up call on what we stand to lose if we let the climate crisis go unchecked.
Read more on the study in The New York Times and check out the Center for Biological Diversity's Web page about the alarming climate changes already underway. It features an amazing video showing 131 years of warming in 26 seconds -- and making it even clearer that birds don't have much time.
Wild & Weird, Couch Potato Edition: Kids Need More Than Vids
A recent study finds -- a bit counter-intuitively, in fact -- that "active," Wii-type videogame complexes, whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, don't seem to give kids any more exercise than they'd get playing sedentary videogames.
Whether or not jumping-around videogames make kids more fit than the other kind, we think the larger point is this: Kids need to get outside, breathe in the fresh air and investigate the world that exists outside the pixels.
Along with thinkers like Richard Louv, who wrote the 2005 tome Last Child in the Woods and coined the term "nature deficit disorder," we believe a measure of nature will do more for children's health and high spirits than anything a console has to offer. Getting out to wild places where there are bugs, birds and maybe even bears brings young people lasting physical and emotional benefits.
Read about the videogame study in UPI.com; take a look at Louv's 2005 book Last Child in the Woods; and check out one amazing kid who already loves nature and is a Center for Biological Diversity hero.
Photo credits: gray wolf courtesy USFWS; gray wolf courtesy USFWS Pacific; Minneapolis courtesy Flickr Commons/ivstinBY-NC; Oregon spotted frog courtesy USFWS; humpback chub by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department; Grand Canyon (c) Edward McCain; beach crowd courtesy iStock.com/mura; Keystone pipeline courtesy Wikimedia Commons; cranes courtesy Flickr Commons/parrs41; grass courtesy Flickr Commons/wot_nxt_BY.
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