Thank You for Standing Up to Oil Bully Shell
With the generosity of nearly 3,500 members, and a challenge match from another Center for Biological Diversity donor, we met -- and exceeded -- our goal for the Emergency Legal Defense Fund. It means a lot to have so many people step up to take on Shell Oil and say NO to its scare tactics.
The oil giant brought this obnoxious suit in an effort to preempt possible legal intervention by the Center and other groups to stop it from drilling for oil in the sensitive Arctic this summer. Drilling would threaten numerous endangered species with the catastrophic impacts of a spill in the fragile Arctic, perpetuate fossil fuel dependence and exacerbate climate change.
Thanks to everyone who made a donation to the emergency fund: We couldn't do this without you. The Center is determined to keep fighting hard to protect the Arctic wilderness from dangerous oil drilling. We've blocked every project since 2007, and we aren't about to back down. Help further by taking action for the Arctic now and read this excellent op-ed about us in the Huffington Post.
Wildlife Safeguards Weakened Across National Forests
National forests provide some of the last, best habitat for fish and wildlife. But since 2000, the U.S. Forest Service has issued three rules -- each of which the Center has blocked in court -- trying to weaken its duty under a 1976 law to ensure viable populations of national forest creatures.
Last week, the agency issued a fourth rule -- a rule that, like past attempts to change the original regulations safeguarding species on national forests, weakens fish and wildlife protections and paves the way for harmful development. It requires that the Forest Service only maintain viable populations of species "of conservation concern," and only at the discretion of regional foresters. Whether and how species are protected is left to local foresters -- protections that can be voluntary instead of mandatory.
As the Center's Taylor McKinnon said, "At a time when the emergency room is already overflowing with endangered species, weakening preventative care is exactly the wrong approach."
Read more in the Summit County Citizens Voice and learn about our fight for forests.
100,000 Free, Newly Designed Endangered Species Condoms for Earth Day -- Get Yours
The Center for Biological Diversity will mark this year's Earth Day (April 22) by distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms around the country. With the help of more than 1,000 volunteers, we'll be spreading the word about the devastating effects of human overpopulation on endangered species. Our innovative condom campaign has drawn attention around the country, with people handing them out at community events, libraries, college dorms, protests, bars and backyard parties.
In collaboration with artist Roger Peet, we've created special edition condoms for Earth Day 2012. The striking new packages feature six species: leatherback turtles, dwarf seahorses, western snowy plovers, hellbender salamanders, Florida panthers and polar bears.
This year will be the first Earth Day with more than 7 billion people on the planet. There's no better time to start talking about overpopulation -- and no better way than our free Endangered Species Condoms.
Check out our new Endangered Species Condoms packages and sign up to be a distributor. Then learn more about overpopulation and artist Roger Peet, whose career is devoted to raising awareness about the extinction crisis.
Help Sought -- Again -- for Tiny Arizona Owl
The Center for Biological Diversity is taking legal action to restore much-needed federal protection to the tiny, beautiful cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. There are fewer than 50 of these miniature owls left in the wild in Arizona's Sonoran Desert.
Pygmy owls were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1997, after a Center petition, but those protections were removed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006. The birds remain under threat from urban sprawl, invasive species, fire and drought; but the agency denied Endangered Species Act protections last October. This week, with a partner, we filed a new notice of intent to sue over the bird, launching a legal fight to challenge the specious bureaucratic logic behind that decision -- logic that refuses to give species protection unless the loss of them in one portion of their range will drive the whole species extinct. We're working to protect these owls in both Arizona and Mexico.
Check out our press release and learn more about saving this plucky pygmy owl, which is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Lawsuit Launched for Rare Southern Crayfish
Big Sandy crayfish play a big role in their Southeast freshwater ecosystems. The mini-lobster-like creatures dig burrows used by hundreds of other species and help keep streams clean; but these hard-shelled, pincer-armed invertebrates are no match for threats like mountaintop-removal coal mining, which blows the tops off Appalachian mountains and dumps the resulting toxic waste into streams.
The Center for Biological Diversity is stepping up to save them. After our 2010 petition to protect Big Sandy crayfish and hundreds of other Southeast stream-dwellers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the species "may warrant" protection -- but then missed its deadline to move forward and put this needy creature on the endangered species list. This week we filed a notice of intent to sue. "If we protect streams for the crayfish," says the Center's Tierra Curry, "then we'll also be protecting public health and water for drinking, swimming and fishing."
Read more in National Geographic and learn about the Center's campaign to save more than 400 species threatened by the Southeast freshwater extinction crisis.
Fast-tracking of Keystone XL's Southern Leg Touted by Obama, Slammed by Enviros
The battle continues against the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. Even though President Obama rejected the Canada-to-Texas pipeline earlier this year, he was in Oklahoma last week touting an expedited environmental review for building the southern leg of Keystone XL -- a move that would put people and wildlife at risk of oil spills, habitat destruction and, ultimately, calamitous climate change.
Keystone XL has drawn strong opposition from the Center for Biological Diversity, other conservation groups and thousands of people around the country. If it's fully built, it would carry the world's dirtiest oil -- tar-sands oil -- to refineries where much of it would be exported. In the process, it risks land, water and important habitat for endangered species like the whooping crane, piping plover, American burying beetle, interior least tern and Arkansas River shiner. Mr. Obama shouldn't cut corners on this dangerous project.
Read more in the Winnipeg Free Press, learn about the Center's work to stop Keystone XL, and then take action.
EPA Announces Cuts to Future Power Plant Carbon Pollution
The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced a new rule under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. The important news comes just after a dire warning by scientists that we're very close to the tipping point at which carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere will commit us to a global-warming feedback system making our planet irreversibly hotter.
The bad news is, the EPA's new rule doesn't go far enough fast enough. These new CO2-reduction standards only apply to future power plants, and even exempt future plants that burn "biomass" like trees (not a clean, green solution).
Already we're seeing the alarming effects of climate change -- floods, heat waves, epic droughts, wildfires and fast-melting sea-ice habitat for Arctic animals -- which are sadly only a preview of coming attractions if we don't clean up our act forthwith.
Check out our press release and our eye-opening Web page Climate Change Is Here Now.
Earth Hour 2012: Join Hundreds of Millions Against Warming
Can't wait for Earth Day? Then Earth Hour is for you. This Saturday, March 31, you can get some meaningful planet-saving practice in a single hour simply by turning off all the lights and appliances in your house from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. wherever you live on Earth. By dismissing the grid for a single hour, you can help enlighten political leaders on the need for strong action against climate change now. Hundreds of millions of people in at least 135 countries will take part -- including, of course, us at the Center for Biological Diversity. Just tune in, turn off and help stop warming.
Visit our Events Web page to read details and find out about where you can get involved, watch videos and read press -- and learn more about the Center's Climate Law Institute.
Wild & Weird: Dude, Are Those Whales on Acid?
Humpback whales are known for long migrations -- 16,000 miles a year. But according to recent reports, they may now be on a longer, stranger kind of trip.
We're hearing that in areas where ocean acidity is particularly high, some humpbacks are following cruise ships, apparently "dazed and confused" by the onboard lights and music. (A teenager was videotaped waving a glow stick at the whales and receiving, in response, what onlookers described as a wave of fins that reminded them "of a rave.") Scientists are now theorizing that the increased acid content of ocean waters may be affecting whale behavior -- and things may only get weirder if we keep spewing carbon into the atmosphere that's making ocean water more acidic. "Seems like they're on the verge of a pretty bad trip," said one biologist. "I hope we don't have to talk them down."
The reports may be more understandable come April 1. In the meantime, read something just as odd (and maybe less foolish) in New Scientist and learn more about the serious threat of ocean acidification.
Photo credits: ringed seal by John Moran; polar bears courtesy USFWS; marbled murrelet by Rich MacIntosh, USGS; Endangered Species Condom design by Roger Peet; pygmy owl by Chan Robbins, USGS; Big Sandy crayfish (c) Guenter A. Schuster; Keystone 1 courtesy Wikimedia Commons; smokestacks courtesy NASA; Earth courtesy NASA; humpback whale courtesy Flickr Commons/twin sis.
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