If you like what you read here, sign up to get this free weekly e-newsletter and learn the latest on our work.
Big Win for Sage Grouse in California and Nevada
Following a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, a federal court just ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally withdrew its proposal to protect bistate sage grouse.
Found in and around the Mono Basin area along the California-Nevada border, bistate sage grouse are a genetically unique, isolated population of greater sage grouse — who are famous for their showy plumage and mating dances, when the males strut and make popping sounds with large, inflated air sacs.
These birds were first proposed for Endangered Species Act protection back in 2013, thanks to a petition and legal settlement with the Center and allies. After some legal back-and-forth, they were again moving toward safeguards until Trump blocked the path in 2020. This latest ruling reinstates the 2013 proposal and requires the Service to move forward with a new final decision.
“These rare dancing birds have a shot at survival thanks to this court decision,” said Center biologist Ileene Anderson. “Without the Endangered Species Act’s legal protection, livestock grazing, development, and other threats will keep pushing them toward extinction.”
Help our fight for sage grouse and other species with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Help Close This Harmful Fossil Fuels Loophole
Fossil fuels are worsening the climate emergency and extinction crisis every day. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still using a shortcut called Nationwide Permit 12 to let corporations build more fossil fuel pipelines without proper environmental review or public input.
Nationwide Permit 12 lets companies build pipelines through rivers and wetlands as many times as they want, threatening drinking-water sources and wildlife habitat with leaks and spills. It’s been used to fast-track destructive pipelines like Keystone XL, the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline without meaningful guidance from the communities and Tribal nations they harm.
Tell the Army Corps to revoke Nationwide Permit 12 for the sake of endangered species, the climate and frontline communities.
Agreement: Feds Will Update Marine Mammal Counts
In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center and our allies, the Biden administration just agreed to release long-overdue population reports for manatees, sea otters and Pacific walruses — assessments required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
“We can’t protect these amazing, desperately imperiled animals without knowing how many exist,” said the Center’s Emily Jeffers. “These studies will help support strong federal action to shield manatees, otters and walruses from pollution, climate change and other hazards that are getting more and more deadly.”
In Florida a record number of manatees — more than 1,100 — died last year, most of them from starvation. In Alaska, climate change is melting the sea ice Pacific walruses need to survive.
Mexican Wolf Rule Cuts Kills but Lags on Science
In the wake of a 2018 legal victory by the Center and allies, the Fish and Wildlife Service finally announced Friday that it will eliminate its artificial cap of 325 on the Southwest’s wild Mexican gray wolf population — and temporarily curtail some authorized wolf-killings.
Unfortunately, it rejected desperately needed science-based reforms that would increase the wolves’ genetic health and long-term survival.
“Mexican gray wolves have won a reprieve from a planned massacre, but their hopes to find unrelated mates are being dashed at the same time,” said the Center’s Michael Robinson. “It’s disappointing that the federal government still refuses to replenish the priceless genetic diversity lost through its own mismanagement of these wolves.”
Take Action for Northern Long-Eared Bats
White-nose syndrome, a deadly bat disease, has killed off almost 99% of northern long-eared bats. Those who survive face a long list of other threats, from logging to development to pesticides. Yet these small, solitary insect-eaters currently only have minimal federal protection — and their habitat has none.
Thanks to a lawsuit by the Center and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed upgrading the bats' Endangered Species Act status from “threatened” to “endangered.” This greater protection would also protect the mature forest habitat the bats depend on.
Tell the Service you're counting on it to save northern long-eared bats from disappearing forever.
Win for U.S. Coasts: 3 Oil Leases Canceled
The White House just canceled three oil-lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet. Selling those leases — the last offshore offerings under a five-year plan that’s about to lapse — wouldn’t have affected gas prices for at least 10 years. But they would have hurt endangered species and worsen climate change.
"It’s great news, but much more has to be done,” said the Center’s Kristen Monsell. “To save imperiled marine life like beluga whales in Alaska and sea turtles in the Gulf, and to protect coastal communities and our planet from pollution, we need to end new leasing and phase out existing drilling.”
John Oliver on Energy Justice
We helped John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight with a hilarious exposé on the broken U.S. utility system. Oliver took a dig at electric utilities which, as our new report Powerless in the Pandemic shows, have disconnected U.S. households more than 3.5 million times since the beginning of Covid-19.
The Center’s Energy Justice program wages innovative legal and grassroots campaigns to drive the urgent transition to clean, renewable, wildlife-friendly and equitable energy. Big utility companies like PG&E are blocking that transition so they can keep burning dirty fossil fuels.
Just yesterday, we — with hundreds of other environmental groups and consumer advocates — petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the electric utility industry for widespread abuses that threaten our climate and democracy, including bribery, fake dark-money campaigns and denying customers renewable energy access.
Make a Difference on Endangered Species Day
The Center was founded upon the core mission of protecting endangered animals and plants, from miniscule fairy shrimp to gray whales and towering redwoods. They have an intrinsic right to live, and we know that when one species goes extinct, others — including humans — suffer.
Tomorrow, May 20, is Endangered Species Day, when people work together to ward off the extinction of rare animals and plants.
The Center will be celebrating by doing what we always do — saving species worldwide with science, law, media and advocacy. If you want to help, take action on our action alert page and share it with everyone you know.
That’s Wild: Ants as Architects and Engineers
It’s true that an ant brain has only 250,000 neurons, compared to the human average of 86 billion. But they sure know how to use them. These tiny marvels of cooperation can build bridges and rafts with no blueprints at all — using only their own bodies.
Learn more and watch them in action at ScienceAlert.
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
Donate now to support the Center's work.
Photo credits: Bistate sage grouse male by Jeanne Stafford/USFWS; pipeline spill via Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; sea otter by Rich Miller/Flickr; Mexican gray wolf by Brian Gratwicke/Flickr; northern long-eared bat © Scott Altenbach/Bat Conservation International; Cook Inlet belugas courtesy NOAA; smokestacks via Pixabay; John Oliver by Chad Cooper/Flickr; gray whale by Merrill Gosho/NOAA; blue crab and mummichog by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program; fire ant up close courtesy Insects Unlocked/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702