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U.S. Oil and Gas Pipelines Are Dangerous and Deadly -- New Video

America's Dangerous PipelinesThe oil and gas industry loves it some pipelines. But a new analysis and time-lapse video reveals a deeply troubling history of pipelines in the United States: Since 1986, oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other incidents have resulted in nearly $7 billion in damages, more than 2,000 injuries, and more than 500 deaths.

The analysis of federal data, conducted by retired Ph.D. Richard Stover, comes as President Obama and the U.S. Senate consider the Keystone XL pipeline -- which the State Department predicts could spill up to 100 times during its lifetime.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies are mobilizing thousands of people around the country against Keystone and all the terrible risks it poses to our climate, wildlife, air and water.

"Pipelines have a long history of spills, injuries and death," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "President Obama can choose to keep his climate promise and side with protecting the American people from more oils spills, or he can side with an industry responsible for a record of mayhem."

Anyone who thinks pipelines are safe and reliable needs to read this and watch our video -- share it will all your friends and social networks. Then check out today's hard-hitting piece in Politico.

Breaking News -- 137,000 Demand Justice for Slain Sea Turtle Activist; Arrests Made

Leatherback sea turtleDemonstrators and environmental advocates from around the world joined together this week to demand justice for Jairo Mora Sandoval, a 26-year-old sea turtle activist who was murdered in Costa Rica in late May. As part of the effort, more than 137,000 signatures were submitted to the Costa Rican government calling for the arrest and prosecution of Mora's murderers.

On Wednesday the Center's Jaclyn Lopez helped organize and participate in a rally and march for Mora in Costa Rica; and in Los Angeles, Peter Galvin, the Center's director of programs, co-hosted a press conference outside the Costa Rican consulate. Similar events were held in Spain, Germany, El Salvador, Ecuador, India and Australia. That very same day, Costa Rican authorities made eight arrests in connection with the murder.

Jairo Mora's kidnapping and brutal murder was a tragedy and an assault on those who protect endangered wildlife around the world. We're greatly encouraged by the breaking news of the arrests and will keep working to push for safer beaches in Costa Rica and beyond -- both for people and for sea turtles.

Demand justice for Jairo Mora now. Then read more in the Costa Rica Star (in English) and La Nación (in Spanish).

Bat-killing White-nose Fungus Reaches Arkansas -- Take Action

Little brown bat with white-nose syndromeThe fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, an epidemic that has killed 7 million bats since 2006, has been found in Arkansas. Researchers swabbed the fungus off cave walls and bats in two northern Arkansas caves during the past two winters. New methods, able to detect the white-nose fungus at lower levels, have just confirmed the presence of the fungus on those swabs, though the disease hasn't yet been observed in the state.
Land-management officials have closed caves in much of the eastern and southern United States to help slow the spread of the disease. But in the West, thousands of caves on public lands remain open to recreational use. There is no known cure for white-nose syndrome.
"This is just the latest piece of clear evidence that the white-nose fungus is continuing to spread west," said Mollie Matteson, the Center's bat specialist. "Even though scientists are now able to find the fungus sooner, land managers in the West still haven't widely adopted preemptive disease-containment measures. When it comes to the survival of America's bats, they're playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette."  

Read more about our campaign to combat white-nose syndrome and save America's bats, then take action to help halt the spread of this deadly disease.

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Diamond Darter, Southeast Fish, Protected as Endangered

Diamond darterFewer than 125 diamond darters have been sighted in the past 30 years -- the small, sparkly fish is so rare it was believed extinct until it was rediscovered in West Virginia's Elk River in 1980. Last week, in keeping with the Center's 757 settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected it under the Endangered Species Act.

Once found in five states, the diamond darter now survives in only one; damming and water pollution have wiped it out across the rest of its range. After the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to speed a protection decision for the fish in 2011, a long list of oil, coal and timber industry groups submitted comments opposing the fish's protection -- and more than 4,800 Center supporters submitted comments to the Service in favor of protecting the fish. Thanks to all of you who spoke up.

"The Elk River supports more than 100 species of fish and 30 species of mussels. Protecting diamond darters will help ensure that this river is still a treasure for future generations of people, as well as freshwater animals," said the Center's Tierra Curry.

Read more about our campaign to save more than 400 vanishing southeastern aquatic species.

Study: Sea-level Rise Threatens 1,400 U.S. Cities

Sea-level riseHow's your backstroke? If you live on a U.S. coast, you may want to brush up on it -- along with your breaststroke and freestyle. A study just out this week predicts that sea-level rise will threaten at least 1,400 American cities and towns in the coming centuries, including Miami, Virginia Beach and Jacksonville, Fla.

The culprit, of course, is carbon pollution and climate change. If current CO2 emissions continue, places like Galveston, Tex.; Norfolk, Va.; and Coral Gables, Fla. could find the land housing half their population actually below the tidal line by 2050. The study was conducted by the nonprofit Climate Central and appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Of course, people won't be the only ones to find their habitat inundated; hundreds of rare and endangered species live along our coastlines, including birds, reptiles and mammals that are squarely in harm's way.

Read more in USA Today.

Suit Filed Over Planned Oil Development on 800,000 Acres of Southwest's Public Land

Mexican spotted owlThe Center and six other conservation groups sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management last week in Colorado for offering up 800,000 acres of public land for climate-warming oil shale and tar sands development without taking measures to protect endangered species.

The lands to be drilled and mined are in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming within the Green River Formation, which the U.S. Geological Survey says contains between 353 billion and 1.146 trillion barrels of oil with "high potential for development." That means these lands potentially hold 2 to 7 times as much dirty oil as the 170 billion barrels targeted by the notorious Keystone XL pipeline.

Mining for oil shale and tar sands would ruin wilderness, pollute and deplete water, and emit greenhouse gases. The lands at stake include habitat for several threatened and endangered species, including Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chubs, razorback suckers and Mexican spotted owls.

Check out our press release.

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Biodiversity Briefing: Restoring Wolves -- Listen Now

Gray wolfFor this quarter's Biodiversity Briefing phone call and Web presentation, I discussed the vital ecological role that wolves play in the wild and the dangers of the Obama administration's plan to strip Endangered Species Act protections from these animals across the lower 48 states (except the Southwest, with its few wolves struggling to survive).

Joined by the Center's Leadership Circle and Legacy Society members, I talked about how the Act has been an extraordinary and necessary force in helping these wild canines reach their current numbers in the northern Rockies, Great Lakes, and even Washington and Oregon. But wolves are still vulnerable, especially when they lose protection and become the targets of mass killing. Through 40 years of hard work, wolves are gaining a foothold in some crucial areas -- but it's way too early to say the job is done.

Listen to a recording of my exclusive briefing now, check out previous briefings, and then learn more about how to join the Center's Leadership Circle and attend the briefings live -- or email or call Major Gifts Associate Julie Ragland, (520) 623-5252 x 304.

Live in Florida? Help Us Celebrate Endangered Species Act Successes

Florida manateeThe Endangered Species Act turns 40 later this year, so we're teaming up with the Endangered Species Coalition and other environmental groups on a campaign called "A Wild Success: Celebrating 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act."

Will you help? Throughout the year we're asking people around the country to write letters to the editors of their local newspapers about the power and necessity of the Act. You can write about your favorite endangered species, urge Congress not to weaken this bedrock law, or just submit a few lines saying you're thankful for the lives the Act saves every day.

This month we're specifically asking people in Florida to write letters. If you live in the Sunshine State, you know how important the Act has been for manatees, Atlantic green sea turtles, crocodiles and wood storks. Find out how you can participate in this campaign. If you live in another part of the country, no fear -- your time to help will also come.

Meanwhile, check out our Wild Success Web page.

Wild & Weird: Bears Gone Wild -- Watch Video

Bear back-scratchPark Ranger Glenn Naylor of Alberta, Canada, loves to set up remote cameras to catch video of local critters, using footage of cougars, great horned owls and even wolves to let the public know about wildlife in their neck of the woods.

His latest wildlife cam captured video of a real-life bear jamboree in which a group of bears frolic and party around a scratching tree. So many bears pile onto a single small tree, it's a wonder the tree survives.

Check out the original the bear hoedown video, plus its dance remix; then find out more about Naylor's work at WildSmart.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: oil pollution courtesy EPA; America's Dangerous Pipelines video screenshot; leatherback sea turtle courtesy Flickr/Reiner Kraft; little brown bat with white-nose syndrome courtesy West Virginia Department of Natural Resources; grizzly bear image in take action banner by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; diamond darter courtesy Conservation Fisheries Inc.; sea-level rise courtesy Flickr/go_greener_oz; Mexican spotted owl by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; sea otters image in membership banner by Joe Robertson, Creative Commons; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/funpics47; Florida manatee courtesy USFWS; bear back-scratch courtesy Flickr/Bob Freund.

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