Big Win: Bad Fossil Fuel Deal Out of Budget Bill
In a tremendous victory for the climate and endangered species — plus the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups who stepped up to fight — a devastating side deal made between Sen. Joe Manchin and other Democrats has been removed from the funding bill moving through Congress.
The legislation would have sped up permitting for fossil fuel projects and undermined vital environmental laws. It would have basically greenlit the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia and Manchin’s home state of West Virginia — all but ensuring the extinction of a colorful endemic fish called the candy darter.
“Good riddance to Manchin’s dirty backroom deal and the bottom-of-the-barrel politics that it represented,” said the Center’s Energy Justice Director Jean Su.
Thank you to all the Center supporters who sent 66,000 emails asking Congress to stop this dirty deal. Keep helping us protect wildlife and the climate with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Florida Keys Mole Skink Proposed for Protection
As Florida reels from Hurricane Ian, at least there's good news for one of the state's rarest species. After 12 years of work by the Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed protecting the Florida Keys mole skink — plus 7,068 acres of critical habitat — under the Endangered Species Act. We first petitioned for protection in 2010. Then we successfully sued to overturn a baseless denial of safeguards by the Trump administration.
This slender, pink-tailed skink lives only in a few populations along the shorelines of its namesake islands, hunting insects under leaves and debris. The species is being pushed toward imminent extinction by climate change, sea-level rise, development and other human-caused threats.
Suit Seeks Help for Imperiled Tennessee Fish
Barrens darters, among the rarest fishes on the continent, were also a focus of Center work this week. On Tuesday we sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to protect this Tennessee species.
Barrens darters are unique little fish: Males establish a territory around a cavity under a flat rock, then produce knocking, drumming and purring sounds to court females and defend the nest cavity from other males. Once a female has chosen to spawn with a male, the pair will invert under the rock, and the female will stick her eggs to the rock’s underside. The male then cleans the eggs and guards them from predators until they hatch.
Suit Challenges Offshore Oil Plans in California
A year after a major oil spill ravaged Southern California beaches, on Wednesday the Center sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for failing to review decades-old plans for offshore oil platforms near Huntington Beach.
“These outdated plans don’t account for the rapidly aging oil industry infrastructure off California’s coast,” said Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center’s Oceans program. “Our coastal communities and wildlife — from common dolphins to western snowy plovers — can’t afford to wait for the next disastrous oil spill while the federal government does nothing.”
Logging Protestors Beat Criminal Charges
With help from Center mapping expert Curt Bradley, four people arrested during 2019 logging protests just had most trespass charges against them dropped. They set up blockades and treesits to protect a place called Rainbow Ridge in Northern California, home to Pacific fishers, northern spotted owls and red tree voles.
The activists — most notably 90-year-old protestor Jack Nounnan — were eager to go to court and use the “necessity defense,” arguing that their trespassing was necessary to halt a greater crime. They planned to use Curt's maps and a scientific report to show that logging the area’s precious mature trees could’ve caused landslides and harmed protected wildlife.
With charges dropped, they didn’t have to — and that’s a win in our book. But the fight isn’t over: The Humboldt Redwood Company still wants Rainbow Ridge for itself. The Center applauds these brave activists, and we hope to help protect this special place.
Win Against Megadevelopment in Idaho
In response to a lawsuit by the Center and Idaho allies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to revoke its permit for a massive marina and lakeside housing development on the state’s Lake Pend Oreille. The project was planned for the mouth of Trestle Creek, which holds more than half the area’s annual spawning sites for bull trout, a species protected under the Endangered Species Act.
“The Army Corps made the right call by pulling the plug on its permit for this highly destructive development,” said Whitney Palmer, an Idaho-based Center staffer. “We have to protect bull trout habitat from any project that forever alters the lake and stream these treasured fish depend on.”
Revelator: Five Big Threats to Rivers
“Nowhere is the biodiversity crisis more acute than in freshwater ecosystems.”
So say the authors of a new study showing that human activities have imperiled our waterways — along with almost one-third of freshwater fish species and many other aquatic animals and plants.
Read more in The Revelator. And don’t miss the free e-newsletter bringing you each week’s best environmental articles and essays.
Center for Biological Diversity
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