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On Time, On Target: How the Endangered Species Act Is Saving America's Wildlife

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New Center Report: Endangered Species Act Proven Successful

piping plover

Today is Endangered Species Day, and just in time, the Center for Biological Diversity released a groundbreaking report on the remarkable track record of the Endangered Species Act. We found that an amazing 90 percent of the 110 protected species we studied are on the right path to meet recovery goals set by federal scientists. How many other laws can boast that level of success?

Our study assessed protected animals and plants from all 50 states -- from sea turtles and whales to wolves and piping plovers -- to determine, in depth, the effectiveness of the Act. Our findings clearly show the Act is preventing extinction and putting rare species on the road to recovery -- a powerful rebuke to critics who claim the Act is a failure.

Learn more in our study, called On Time, On Target: How the Endangered Species Act Is Saving America's Wildlife.

If you're as inspired by our findings as we are, contact your senators urging protection for the Endangered Species Act or write a letter to your local newspaper -- all you need is right here in our new Take-action Toolbox. Then check out our op-ed in the Huffington Post.

1 Million to Obama: No Arctic Drilling -- Watch Our Video

Arctic video blitz

The save-the-Arctic movement is huge and growing -- for good reason. An oil spill there would be impossible to clean up and would destroy the habitat of polar bears, walruses, ice seals and whales.

More than 1 million people, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, wrote letters and signed petitions delivered to the White House on Tuesday that called on President Barack Obama to stop Shell Oil from drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer.

The Center and allies have lawsuits pending to challenge the government's approval of Shell's exploration plans and lease sales for Arctic drilling. Shell has also filed two lawsuits against our partners and us -- in an aggressive move possibly meant to quash the opposition. But the Center has kept drilling out of the Arctic Ocean since 2007, and we don't intend to stop now.

We can't fight this one without you. More than 58,000 of the 1.1 million people who spoke out this week are Center supporters; thousands of you have signed our petition to stop Shell. Thank you.

Read our press release and learn more about Arctic drilling. Then check out our cool video mash-up of dozens of people saying No! to Arctic drilling.

Tampa, Philly, Chicago Join Clean Air Cities Campaign

The Center for Biological Diversity's Clean Air Cities campaign is taking off, with more and more big cities piling onboard. So far this month, Tampa, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa., and Chicago, Ill., have all passed resolutions to urge President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide in order to stave off catastrophic climate change. That makes 25 cities -- home to more than 9 million people -- and counting.

The big-city popularity of the Center's campaign is doubly meaningful because bigger cities often have big pollution problems. (Hey, New York, Houston and Washington, D.C. -- we need you, too!)

If you're not already a resident of one our Clean Air Cities, become one by leading your community in joining this nationwide movement. We'll support you every step of the way. Then check out our new "Clean Air States" map showing all the states boasting Clean Air Cities. We hope, soon, we'll be a Clean Air Country.

Two Northwest Plants, 3,200 Acres Soon to Win Safeguards

White Bluffs bladderpod

Two of the least known -- and least likely to survive if they're not saved soon -- plants in the country are now a bit closer to recovery after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed them for Endangered Species Act protection this week. The Umantum desert buckwheat and White Bluffs bladderpod, found only in Washington's Hanford Reach National Monument, were finally proposed for federal safeguards (after being "candidates" for more than a decade) thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity's groundbreaking 2011 settlement with the Service, which is now moving 757 species toward protection. The plants also won a proposed 3,200 acres of federally protected "critical habitat."

Both plants were discovered in 1995. The buckwheat is a woody plant threatened by fire, invasive species, off-road vehicles and grazing, while the bladderpod is a showy flowering perennial threatened by landslides caused by seepage from farm irrigation -- plus fire, invasive species and ORV damage.

"These plants are part of what makes the Hanford Reach, the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River, so special," said Noah Greenwald, the Center's endangered species director.

Check out our press release to learn more.

Suit Filed to Save Alaskan Belugas From Offshore Drilling

beluga whales

The Center and allies just filed suit against the National Marine Fisheries Service for issuing a permit to the Apache Alaska Corporation allowing destructive oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet, home to endangered beluga whales. Survey technologies like explosives and in-water airguns disrupt whales' breeding, make them abandon habitat or stop looking for food, and cause hearing loss or death.

The inlet's white whales have already plummeted from 1,300 to only 280. "These smart, beautiful animals are unique and irreplaceable," said the Center's Alaska Director Rebecca Noblin. "The Fisheries Service should be doing everything in its power to protect them from dying off, not rubber-stamping every risky oil and gas project that comes along."

After a 1999 Center petition and 2008 lawsuit with allies, Cook Inlet belugas earned federal protections in 2008 and protected habitat in 2011.

Read more in The Washington Post and learn about saving these amazing belugas.

Old-growth Timber Sale Near Grand Canyon Challenged

northern goshawk

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service's approval of a 25,000-acre timber sale in Arizona's Kaibab National Forest, home to the northern goshawk. This raptor is magnificently adapted to its old-growth habitat, hunting with breathtaking speed and agility beneath a canopy of ancient "yellow-bark" ponderosa pines that have grown near the Grand Canyon's north rim for more than 200 years.

The Forest Service has made four other attempts to sell timber from Kaibab National Forest through the Jacob Ryan timber sale. Two were blocked by Center appeals, and the other two were withdrawn by the Service itself. In response to a Center appeal in 2009, the agency admitted to violating its own rules for logging in northern goshawk habitat. "There's no change in the timber sale," said Center Ecologist Jay Lininger. "Now the Forest Service just admits to wanting to cut down thousands of old-growth trees."

Read this article in the Kansas City InfoZine. Then learn more about saving U.S. forests and the northern goshawk and check out our press release.

Help Halt Handouts to Big Polluters -- Take Action

offshore oil rig

It's the 21st century, and our tax dollars are still subsidizing major polluters -- to the tune of billions every year. The result? Big Oil reports record-breaking profits, while climate scientists report record-breaking warming. Looks like we're paving our own road to ruin.

Good thing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) introduced legislation last week to repeal $113 billion of tax breaks, handouts and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry over the next 10 years.

But big polluters aren't going to go gently into that good night. So please -- join forces with the Center for Biological Diversity, and a coalition of other groups to fight back by signing your name to this simple message: Stop subsidizing big polluters.

Then learn what the Center's Climate Law Institute is doing against global warming.

Center's $19 Billion Suit Against BP Backed by 50 Law Professors

Deepwater Horizon

On June 18, 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity filed the first and only Clean Water Act citizen suit over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster, seeking to hold BP and Transocean fully accountable for the largest oil spill in our nation's history. Our case was lumped together with hundreds of other lawsuits against BP; swept up with other cases, it was dismissed by the district court.

Unwilling to give up, since the vast environmental harm from the oil spill remains, we appealed. We believe the court should still hear our case, including our claim for $19 billion in civil penalties that should go to restore the Gulf. This week our appeal was given a major boost when more than 50 law professors from across the country submitted a supporting brief, agreeing with us that our case is far from over. 

Thus our fight against BP continues. The company has still not been held accountable for the unprecedented devastation it brought to the Gulf ecosystem -- including harm to rare and endangered species, from piping plovers to Atlantic bluefin tuna and sea turtles.

Read more about our long fight to help right the wrongs of the Gulf disaster.

Wild & Weird: Interspecies Love

flamingosOver the past half-century, studies have detailed the evolution of communication and cooperation between mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. And anyone who's had a close relationship with a nonhuman animal -- domestic or wild -- has firsthand knowledge of their potential for complex social-interaction capabilities and subtle (if sometimes mysterious) communication through postures, roars, songs and play.

But have you ever seen an owl try to pet a dog? How about a cat playing with a dolphin? Polar bears wrestling with sled dogs? A massive elephant seal falling in love with a woman? (They both enjoy piña coladas and long waddles on the beach.) If not, just watch these videos and rejoice at the diversity of relationships in our species-rich world.

Of course, you may want to stick to tamer fare at home -- we draw the line at dog-smooching.

Kieran Suckling

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Report cover; piping plover (c) Sidney Maddock; Arctic drilling video blitz; "The Bean" courtesy Flickr Commons/GiullaumeCapron; White Bluffs bladderpod courtesy Flickr Commons/USFWS Pacific; beluga whales courtesy Flickr Commons/Mike Johnston; northern goshawk; offshore oil rig; Deepwater Horizon (c) U.S. Coast Guard; flamingos courtesy Flickr Commons/Kjunstorm.

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