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Monarch butterfly
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Saving 31 Species the Trump Administration Left Behind

This month the Center for Biological Diversity's lawyers are working hard to rescue 31 rare species the Trump administration neglected to protect — or outright denied safeguards.

First we sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for indefinitely delaying protections for 10 species in dire need, including northern spotted owls and monarch butterflies. Trump's Service claimed that although all 10 needed help to avoid extinction, the administration had more important things to spend its money on.

Then, this Wednesday, we filed a notice of intent to sue the Service for completely denying protection to 21 other species under Trump. From the MacGillivray's seaside sparrow on the Atlantic Coast to the Kirtland's snake in the Midwest, these species face serious threats from habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species and pollution.

The Trump regime's nihilistic approach to nature and wildlife left it with the worst conservation record since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973: In four years it protected only 25 species.

Help us protect rare species by donating to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Leatherback sea turtle

Suit Filed to Save Sea Turtles From Deadly Nets

The Center and allies went to court this Tuesday to save thousands of sea turtles from drowning in shrimp nets.

Represented by Earthjustice, we sued the National Marine Fisheries Service over a Trump-era rule that would let certain shrimpers dodge a requirement to use turtle excluder devices in the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic. The rule would result in an estimated 1,300 preventable turtle deaths every year — more than doubling the number — including deaths of endangered species like leatherback sea turtles.

"Turtle excluder devices are a proven way to prevent sea turtles from needlessly drowning in shrimp trawls," said the Center's Jaclyn Lopez. "They also keep other wildlife from getting caught accidentally in the nets, making more room for shrimp. Using turtle excluders isn't just compassionate — it's good sense."

Plastic beach trash

It's Time to Break Free From Plastics — Take Action

We need your help to push legislation tackling the plastic crisis. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act would phase out throwaway plastics made from fossil fuels, hold the industry responsible for its waste, and pause construction on new plastic plants.

More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year, killing wildlife and wrecking ecosystems. The cost to human health is also enormous, especially in low-income areas and communities of color, where most plastic-making facilities and plastic-burning incinerators are located.

This crucial bill confronts the plastic pollution emergency head on to make a healthier, fairer future for us all. Please — ask your members of Congress to cosponsor it.

Alligator snapping turtle

Protection Proposed for Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtles

Following a Center petition and legal action, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed protecting Suwannee alligator snapping turtles as a threatened species.

Alligator snapping turtles have spiked shells, large claws, strong jaws, and prehistoric vibes. Suwannee snappers are a distinct population found in their namesake Suwannee River basin in southern Georgia and northern Florida.

"The Endangered Species Act can help lift these iconic turtles out of a staggering decline caused by more than a century of exploitation and habitat destruction," said the Center's Elise Bennett. "We'll continue to do everything we can to get them on the road to recovery."

Big Cypress National Preserve

Help Stop Drilling in Big Cypress National Preserve

Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve is a magical refuge of hanging moss, air plants, mangroves and ghost orchids. It's a vital part of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and home to rare wild animals like Florida panthers and bonneted bats. It was the first preserve in the U.S. national park system, created by Congress to protect the watershed's "natural, scenic, hydrologic, floral and faunal, and recreational values." And it now provides almost half of the water for Everglades National Park.
But an oil company is applying for permits to drill here, threatening all those priceless plants and animals and the ecosystems they live in. We can't let that happen.

Please join us in requesting the denial of these permits to drill in Big Cypress.

Mexican gray wolf

New Mexico Passes Trapping Ban

After years of advocacy by the Center and allies, including supporters like you, this week New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Roxy's Law, landmark legislation banning traps, snares and poisons on the state's public lands.

These cruel killing tools cause unspeakable suffering for animals they target — and many they don't, from pet dogs to endangered Mexican gray wolves. They also harm ecosystems by killing off important carnivores.

If you took spoke up for Roxy's Law through our action alerts, thank you. You made a difference.


Sanctions Urged to Save Last 10 Vaquitas

The use of deadly gillnets in the Gulf of California continues to drown and kill the world's last vaquita porpoises. So the Center and allies have, once again, called urgently for the United States and international authorities to force Mexico to save the desperately rare species. Only 10 individual vaquitas are known to survive.

"For years, scientists, conservationists and local fishermen have asked the Mexican government to stop illegal fishing," said the Center's Sarah Uhlemann. "When the U.S. government finally embargoed seafood from the vaquita's habitat, Mexico responded but still hasn't stepped up enforcement. Time is running out."

In our letter to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), we urged authorities to suspend trade with Mexico — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — in species including reptiles, orchids, spiders, sea cucumbers and sharks.

Phosphogypsum stack

In Florida, Threats From Phosphogypsum Exposed

This week the anticipated collapse of a phosphogypsum stack — holding up to 700 million gallons of wastewater — caused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency for Manatee, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties, while county officials issued evacuation orders for the area around the "gypstack."

Phosphogypsum is radioactive waste from processing phosphoric acid, used mostly in fertilizer, that can also contain carcinogens and toxic heavy metals. It's stored in massive stacks with the process wastewater on top.

"This environmental disaster was entirely foreseeable and preventable," said Jaclyn Lopez, the Center's Florida director. "With 24 more stacks storing more than 1 billion tons of this dangerous, radioactive waste in Florida, the EPA needs to step in right now."

Learn more and take action to protect communities and ecosystems from phosphogypsum.

Farm workers

Join Us: Creating a More Just Food System

The pandemic exposed the worst parts of the U.S. food system, from exploited workers and food insecurity to abuses of environmental laws and unchecked pollution. But we're forging a path toward food reforms that work for both people and the planet.

Join our next Saving Life on Earth webinar next Thursday, April 15 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. We'll discuss the hard lessons of 2020 and how we can work together to create a more secure, just and wildlife-friendly food system.
You have to register to join, so sign up and then check your email for a link. (If you don't see it, look in your junk folder.)

The Revelator: Reversing Coal Country's Toxic Legacy

Ehrenfeld Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project

Mining production is falling — great news for the planet. But Appalachia and other coal states are feeling the economic pain that comes with it, and with mining's lasting, devastating environmental effects.

Luckily there's still a chance to flip the script. Read this Revelator interview with Rebecca Shelton, who's leading a movement to help states and tribes clean up old coal mines, restoring the environment while creating much-needed jobs.

And if you haven't already, subscribe to The Revelator's e-newsletter now.

Amazon rainforest

That's Wild: The Asteroid That Destroyed and Created

Ask any five-year-old what made dinosaurs go extinct and they'll likely know the answer: a giant asteroid. But new evidence shows that this life-ending catastrophe for Tyrannosaurus rex helped give life to countless other creatures still here 66 million years later.

Check out this new Scientific American article to learn how the impact of that massive rock colliding with the Earth also led to the emergence of South America's Amazon rainforest, whose role in regulating the planet's freshwater cycle is integral to the existence of all modern life on Earth.

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Photo credits: Monarch butterfly by Kyle Glenn/Unsplash; leatherback sea turtle by Claudia Lombard/USFWS; plastic beach trash by Dustan Woodhouse/Unsplash; alligator snapping turtle by Christopher Evans/Flickr; Big Cypress National Preserve courtesy NPS; Mexican gray wolf by Jim Clark/USFWS; vaquita by Barbara Taylor/NOAA; phosphogypsum stack used with permission; farm workers by Zen Chung/Pexels; Ehrenfeld Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior; Amazon rainforest by Jlwad/Wikimedia.

Center for Biological Diversity
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