An Urgent National Call to Save Sea Life -- Take Action
The world's oceans and their rich array of life are in trouble. Every day 22 million tons of carbon dioxide are spewed from cars, power plants and other human sources are absorbed by oceans, making seawater more and more acidic. The lower pH is robbing creatures like sea stars, crabs and corals of the compounds they need to develop their hard shells -- and thus threatening their very survival. This has a ripple effect up the food chain, spelling disaster for larger animals, from salmon to sea otters to whales . . . and people.
On Wednesday the Center for Biological Diversity took the unprecedented step of calling on the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a sweeping national plan to address ocean acidification. It's part of our new Endangered Oceans campaign to save sea life from this pending disaster.
Join us in asking the EPA to stop ocean acidification from forever ruining our oceans and killing off the life they sustain. Sign the Center's petition to save our seas now. Then check out our new Endangered Oceans website to learn about species in imminent peril from ocean acidification, as well as how it's affecting the places where you live and travel.
Deadly Utah Coal Mine Expansion Blocked
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies have stopped the planned expansion of the largest coal mine in Utah, which would have directly threatened endangered sage grouse and worsened global climate change.
The expansion of the Southern Utah Fuel Company Coal Mine, which straddles two national forests, would have caused land subsidence over a large area and required new power lines and ventilation facilities while increasing traffic and depleting surface water. The expansion would have allowed the extraction of 55.7 million tons of dirty coal, posing a threat to imperiled greater sage grouse and Colorado River fish and contributing to the warming of an already overheated planet and acidifying oceans.
Get the details in our press release and find out more about global warming and energy policy.
Wolf Trapped, Tortured in Idaho -- Speak Up
Disturbing photos that went viral this week showed a grinning U.S. Forest Service employee next to a wolf in a trap surrounded by bloody snow in northern Idaho. Then it emerged that the trapped wolf had been shot by people on a nearby road. On Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity called on the U.S. Forest Service and state officials to investigate that employee's actions for animal cruelty.
"A year ago, that wolf was protected as a member of an endangered species, but last month he was trapped, tortured and killed thanks to an underhanded congressional rider that's also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of other wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains," says the Center's Michael Robinson. "The wolf-delisting rider was premised on trusting the states to treat wolves like other wildlife. But that trust was clearly misplaced by Congress."
We need your help to ask state and federal officials for a full investigation into whether the trapper and shooters violated Idaho's law against animal cruelty. Also, please contact the chief of the Forest Service to ask whether an employee setting a trap in public -- where, in Idaho, the wolf was likely to be tortured before being killed -- and then gloating about it online comports with the agency's internal standards.
Take action now and then learn about the Center's campaign to restore gray wolves across the lower 48.
Fight the NRA's Effort to Block Lead-poisoning Rules
Every year lead from hunting ammunition kills millions of birds and other animals, including bald eagles and endangered California condors, when they scavenge carcasses shot with lead bullets. To stop this preventable epidemic, the Center for Biological Diversity led a diverse coalition of more than 100 groups in calling on the federal government to eliminate lead hunting ammunition.
But now the National Rifle Association and its cronies in Congress are trying to stop us from protecting condors and other wildlife from lead poisoning. A bill has been introduced that would stop lead bullets from being regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as a toxic substance. We need your help to make sure the NRA doesn't get its way.
Take action now to help us stop the NRA's cruel and misguided Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 -- and share our petition with everyone you know. Then learn more about our Get the Lead Out campaign and watch a video of Bill Maher discussing our work.
10,000 Acres Protected From Las Vegas Development
Here's a nice win for western wilderness: The upper Las Vegas Wash area of Nevada, an environmentally rich and important area, had been tagged for sale by Congress in 2002, until -- just days ago -- the Bureau of Land Management announced it will be taken off the market and protected from urban sprawl. Sin City is already trying to drain the rare watersheds of wild Nevada dry to support its water needs, and more development would have had far-reaching consequences beyond the sprawl.
Protection for these 10,000 acres comes after the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, including a partnership with paleontologists, pressured the BLM to perform another environmental analysis of the land. They found a host of extinct ice-age species, such as Columbian mammoths and ground sloths, that had been buried in ancient meadows and spring mounds up to 200,000 years ago -- along with living species like desert tortoises, burrowing owls, kit foxes and the Las Vegas buckwheat, which can only grow in the gypsum-rich soil of the springs. Call it a gypsum-lover's jackpot.
Read more in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and learn about our campaign to save the species of the Silver State.
Suit Filed to Stop Harmful Gold Mining in California's Rivers
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies this week filed a lawsuit in California to block new plans to increase suction dredge mining, a polluting process that uses machines to vacuum up gravel and sand from rivers in search of gold. The state's wildlife agency recently approved a plan to allow suction mining throughout California, including areas that are sensitive habitat for salmon, steelhead trout, California red-legged frogs and migratory songbirds.
For now there's a moratorium on suction dredge mining in California, but that's set to expire in 2016. Once it runs out, the California Department of Fish and Game wants to increase river mining, which stirs up plumes of harmful mercury, turning clear-running mountain streams into a polluted waterway unfit for wildlife and water supplies. California lawmakers wisely put a temporary hold on this destructive practice; we need to make sure it doesn't start up again.
Read more in the Siskiyou Daily News and learn about the California red-legged frog and our work against all kinds of mining.
Kansas City, Salt Lake City Join Call for Global Warming Action
Salt Lake City and Kansas City, Mo., have joined what The Salt Lake Tribune calls "a growing movement among cities" urging President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take action on the global climate crisis. Both are part of the Center for Biological Diversity's Clean Air Cities program, which now includes about 20 cities around the country -- from Seattle to Cincinnati to Pittsburgh -- urging the feds to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution and avert a climate catastrophe.
After the city council in Salt Lake City took action, The Salt Lake Tribune wrote an editorial in support of strong federal leadership and action on climate change. The western United States will be among the world's hardest hit areas, the newspaper notes. "Climate change should be a matter of science, not politics," the paper said. "In the end, governments, large and small, will be forced to confront the vast upheavals that climate change will bring if we don't act now to curb greenhouse-gas emissions."
Read The Salt Lake Tribune editorial and then find out how you can make your city a Clean Air City.
Bat-killing Disease Marches West -- Take Action
The unchecked disease that's been killing bats at epidemic levels in recent years has jumped the Mississippi and is moving farther West, endangering millions more bats and threatening to drive some species extinct. As the death toll from white-nose syndrome pushes 7 million, wildlife officials have verified the deadly fungus has infected bats in two caves north of St. Louis.
Now confirmed in 19 states and four Canadian provinces, the outbreak stands alone as the worst wildlife epidemic in North American history. The little-understood disease is not only devastating bat populations but raises major concerns for farms that depend on the bug-eating talents of bats to shield them from as much as an additional $50 billion in annual crop losses and pesticide expenses.
Read more about the latest spread of white-nose syndrome in Scientific American, learn more about the Center for Biological Diversity's leading efforts to stem the spread of the disease, and then take action to support a bill in Congress to provide $8.5 million for white-nose research and management.
Study: Pesticides Strongly Linked to Bee Decline
According to a new study published in Science -- the first research of its kind to be carried out in realistic field conditions -- common pesticides used on crops are seriously harming bees by, among other effects, impairing the navigational abilities that allow these beneficial insects to find their way home. Linking pesticides strongly to plummeting honeybee populations in the United States and United Kingdom, the research found that bees that consumed one particular pesticide produced 85 percent fewer queens; another experiment showed a doubling in the number of bees that failed to return home when making trips to forage for food.
Bees pollinate about a third of the food we eat -- including tomatoes, beans, apples and strawberries. The Center for Biological Diversity has been working for more than a decade to reduce pesticides in the environment and combat their direct effects on endangered species, including the often-overlooked insects that play vital roles in our ecosystems. We've also campaigned for Endangered Species Act protections for a wide array of insects, including butterflies, dragonflies and beetles.
Read an article in The Guardian and find out more about our work to reduce pesticides in the environment.
Wild & Weird: Penguin Poop Visible From Space
Some folks like satellites because they help predict the weather, make our cell phones work and give us 1,000 wrestling channels on TV. But a few curious scientists like them for another purpose: illuminating where penguins poop.
Luckily for penguin biologists trying to save the birds from global warming, emperor penguins' waste products show up pretty well from space on the glistening-white Antarctic snow -- and we can collect these "data" via satellite. Using the poop-viewing technology, biologists can monitor flocks wherever they go by observing their poop area's size, placement and path and without having to go near those excretions -- or bothering the birds -- themselves.
Apparently, though, some scientists like to study penguins pooping up close: It's been documented that Adélie and chinstrap penguins can poop with four times the pressure humans can (who measured that?). And they're neat about it, too: That pressure comes in handy when they poop backward from the edges of their nests, sending their excrement flying almost a foot and a half away.
Read more in io9 and learn about the Center for Biological Diversity's work to protect penguins.
Photo credits: anemone with fish courtesy Flickr Commons/John Hanson; greater sage grouse courtesy Flickr Commons/USFWS; gray wolf photo courtesy USFWS; bald eagle with lead poisoning by Ken Lockwood, Eagle Valley Raptor Center; Las Vegas courtesy Flickr Commons/gTarded; California red-legged frog (c) Colin Brown; Kansas City skyline courtesy Flickr Commons/photoguyinmo; bat with white-nose syndrome courtesy Flickr Commons/USFWS; honey bee courtesy Flickr Commons/wwarby; penguin poop from space by Robert Simmons, NASA.
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