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Stand With Us Against Keystone XL -- Take the Pledge

Take the PledgeWe've reached a critical moment in our campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline -- with your help, we've submitted comments, signed petitions and made it into a national debate. Now it's time to take it to the streets.

This week the Center for Biological Diversity launched a new pledge for our members and activists to oppose Keystone XL, participate in public protests to do so -- and, if needed, engage in peaceful acts of civil disobedience to drive our point home: No to Keystone.

Keystone XL would be a disaster for our climate and put wildlife and wild places at huge risk of spills and destruction. If we're going to stop it, we've got to get to the places where we can't be ignored: the streets, town halls, storefronts and all kinds of sites along the pipeline route.

More than 16,000 have already signed. Please -- stand with us and take the Keystone pledge. We'll be in touch in the coming weeks about how you can get involved.

Frostpaw Joins Protests at Nebraska Keystone Hearing

Frostpaw at Keystone XL rallyHundreds of people, including Center for Biological Diversity staff, staged a protest in Nebraska this morning outside the one and only public hearing the State Department is holding on Keystone XL. It's clear that the opposition to Keystone is growing by leaps and bounds as people grasp the danger it poses to our climate, wildlife and wild places.

"Keystone XL is an environmental disaster waiting to happen," said Peter Galvin, the Center's conservation director, who attended the Nebraska protest along with Frostpaw, our polar bear mascot. "Oil spills, environmental damage, wildlife at risk and a doubling-down on climate catastrophe -- there's just no way Keystone XL is in the national interest."

Check out our press release.

More Grand Canyon Condors Fall to Lead Poisoning

California condorOf the 80 wild condors that soar over the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas, seven have died since December. Three deaths have been conclusively linked to lead poisoning, which is also suspected in the other four deaths. The condors are poisoned when they eat carrion killed by hunters using lead ammunition.

The biggest land birds in North America, California condors are also the most endangered. Nearly half the birds reintroduced into Utah and Arizona since 1996 have died or disappeared, and most of the remaining wild Grand Canyon condors need regular, emergency blood treatment for lead poisoning to save their lives. The Center for Biological Diversity's Get the Lead Out campaign has fought for almost a decade to get rid of lead in hunting ammo across the country.

"It's clear that volunteer efforts to reduce lead ammunition around the Grand Canyon aren't getting the job done," said Center condor advocate Jeff Miller. "Given the wide availability, lowered cost and high performance of lead-free ammo, Arizona and Utah should admit it's time to require nontoxic rounds for hunting."

Get more from LiveScience.

Help Sought to Save Sea Life From Acidification

Yellow scroll coralThe clock is ticking on sea life. Every day some 22 million tons of carbon pollution are absorbed by the world's oceans. We're already seeing harmful impacts as seawater acidifies, coral reefs collapse, oyster beds disappear and the tiny creatures that are food sources for larger ecosystems dwindle and weaken.

On Wednesday the Center for Biological Diversity sent an urgent legal petition to the EPA seeking better standards to protect shellfish, corals and other marine life from the corrosive and deadly effects of ocean acidification. Meanwhile, on Tuesday President Obama released a long-awaited plan to improve ocean health and management -- a good step, but one that neglects a crucial solution: cutting carbon pollution.

"The science is clear: Our oceans are facing an unprecedented crisis," said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center's oceans director. "If we're going to avoid passing a point of no return, we need to do whatever we can to track this corrosive seawater and reduce pollution that's transforming life in our oceans."

Check out our press release.

New Suit Targets Calif. Fracking Once Again

San Joaquin kit foxFollowing last week's landmark legal victory against fracking on public lands in California, the Center for Biological Diversity and partners filed a new lawsuit in the state this morning challenging the feds' auctioning off of more than 17,000 acres in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties for drilling and fracking. The suit says the government didn't fully consider environmental harm before it approved the oil leases.

"The federal government has to stop shrugging off the dangers of fracking pollution to California public lands," said the Center's Brendan Cummings, who argued our previous fracking lawsuit in court. "Fracking and drilling in these beautiful places threatens precious wildlife habitat and endangers the whole Salinas Valley watershed."

Last year the BLM estimated that about 90 percent of wells currently drilled on federal lands are fracked. The controversial, dangerous technique has already been used in hundreds -- and perhaps thousands -- of California oil and gas wells. It threatens species like San Joaquin kit foxes and California condors.

Read more about our ambitious campaign to stop fracking.

Thousands of Endangered Species Condoms for Earth Day

Endangered Species CondomsNext Monday is the 43rd Earth Day, and here at the Center for Biological Diversity we're hoping you spend at least part of your day thinking about what you can do to make this planet a safer place for both nature and people.

As part of our work to highlight how human population growth is hurting wildlife -- one of the focuses of the first-ever Earth Day -- the Center's intrepid population activists will be giving away more than 15,000 free Endangered Species Condoms at events around the country. All told, the condoms will be part of 20 events in 13 states -- from New York and Florida to Alaska and Hawaii. They'll be featured at music festivals, ecology fairs, zoos, restoration projects and film screenings.

Read an Indianapolis Star preview of an Earth Day event at Purdue University featuring our condoms and learn more about other Earth Day events.

More Than 20,000 Seek Investigation of Wolf Killing -- Take Action

Mexican gray wolfThis week more than 20,000 supporters of the Center for Biological Diversity called on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to investigate January's apparent shooting of a Mexican gray wolf by an agent of Wildlife Services, a federal agency that destroys wildlife on behalf of the livestock industry. Wildlife Services' sister agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (in charge of enforcing the Endangered Species Act), has denied that any Mexican wolves were killed in January, refusing to say anything more.

It's been 15 years since the Mexican wolf reintroduction program began in New Mexico and Arizona. Today there are just 75 wolves and only three breeding pairs in the wild. They can ill afford any more losses. If the killing is confirmed, its victim will be the 13th Mexican wolf shot by federal agents.

Thanks so much to all of you who've helped us seek justice over this wolf killing. To those who haven't: You can still take action. Then read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Another Oil Giant Pulls Out of Arctic

Polar bearsGreat news from the Far North: A month after Shell Oil called off plans to drill in the Arctic this summer, another oil giant -- ConocoPhillips -- has halted its intended oil venture in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. Home to polar bears, ice seals and walruses, the Chukchi is also threatened by climate change, with warming temperatures reducing the sea ice Arctic animals need to survive. Not only would drilling directly destroy and disrupt these creatures' habitat -- oil spills, for instance, are impossible to clean up in icy Arctic waters -- it would also help hasten warming by bringing us yet more oil to burn.

ConocoPhillips dropped its summer oil-drilling plans last week, after admitting it hadn't resolved key issues. In mid-March Shell abandoned its plans following major legal pressure by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, along with a government report detailing the inadequacy of its technology and oversight.

"President Obama should put a moratorium on Arctic Ocean drilling," said the Center's Rebecca Noblin. "It's the right thing to do for workers' safety and the environment."

Get more from Reuters.

Wild & Weird: Post-rapture Pet Care Positions Open

Cat prayingAre you an animal lover seeking a volunteer position in the pet-care industry? Do you have flexible hours and an inclination toward atheism, agnosticism or another non-Christian belief system?

If so, then After the Rapture Pet CareTM is looking for you. ARPC is seeking applications from individuals at very low risk of being raptured up to take on the noble task of caring for pets after more salvation-prone humans (and pet owners) are taken up to the kingdom of heaven. Following the grand event prophesied in the Bible, unsaved workers will be needed here on Earth to help these pets, similarly unsaved, live out their lives in comfort.

Apply for a volunteer position, or, if you deem yourself likely to be raptured up, register your own pets for the service. Learn more from After the Rapture Pet Care.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: San Joaquin kit fox pups courtesy USFWS; Frostpaw at Keystone XL protest by Beth Wellington; California Condor by Lorraine Paulhus; yellow scroll coral courtesy NOAA; San Joaquin kit fox by B. Moose Peterson, USFWS; Endangered Species Condoms design (c) Lori Lieber and artwork (c) Roger Peet; Mexican gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Don Burkett; polar bears by Pete Spruance; praying cat courtesy Flickr/Ornoth.

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