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Clean Air Victory Against Deadly Mercury Pollution


Mercury is one of the most harmful pollutants for wildlife and people –- so it was a big win for both when the Environmental Protection Agency finally announced rules to regulate mercury pollution from power plants. Toxic mercury is released from dirty coal-burning power plants across the country and accumulates in rivers, lakes and forests. Scientists have found alarming levels of mercury in a wide range of wildlife species, and its impacts are well documented: Mercury has been shown to impede schooling and spawning in fish, make birds lay fewer eggs and have trouble caring for chicks, and even impair mammals' motor skills. Some evidence indicates that elevated mercury levels can adversely affect species' immune systems.

The EPA's long-overdue regulations (which also reduce arsenic and other pollutants) under the Clean Air Act are projected to cut mercury emissions by an amazing 90 percent. The Center for Biological Diversity has worked for years to harness the power of the Clean Air Act to help keep toxic pollutants out of our air, our water, our wildlife and ourselves -- as well as its critical capacity to help us regulate greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times, learn about the Clean Air Act and become one of our Clean Air Advocates.

Wolves' Lives on the Line -- Last Chance to Help, Double Your Gift

gray wolf

Wolf-killing bounties are back with a vengeance -- and we need your help today to stop them. An anti-wolf group in Montana just announced they'll pay $100 for every wolf that's killed -- adding fresh fuel to a wolf-killing frenzy not seen in a century. We have until Dec. 31 to get every gift to our Save the Endangered Species Act Fund matched dollar for dollar. Please consider a generous donation now. If you've already given, thank you, and please share this urgent call to action with all your friends.

At least 120 wolves have been killed in Montana since Congress stripped northern Rockies gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protection in April -- but that's apparently not enough for the state. In fact, Montana is extending its hunting season past the original Dec. 31 deadline, through mid-February, to meet its ultimate target: 220 of these noble, beautiful wild canines shot dead. The situation isn't any better in Idaho, where the state is poised to send aerial sharpshooters and government trappers to ratchet up the killing after declaring that 154 dead wolves this year wasn't enough. And Wyoming just got the go-ahead to kill more than 200 wolves.

The Center for Biological Diversity is fighting hard in court to restore the wolves' rightful federal protections -- but we need your help to stop the killing and save our nation's wolves. We have only three days left in our special year-end match, so this is the best time to contribute to our Save the Endangered Species Act Fund and help us win this expensive legal battle.

Wolves need your help right now. Please give what you can and share this with your friends, then take further action to help save Montana's dwindling wolf population.

Keystone XL Pipeline Pushed Ahead, Action Needed Now

Keystone pipeline

In a blow to the natural lands and wildlife threatened by Keystone XL Pipeline,  the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill shortly before their holiday recess to extend jobless benefits and payroll tax cuts -- with a rider forcing President Barack Obama to decide on the permit for the controversial pipeline within 60 days.

The Keystone XL pipeline is an environmental disaster in the making. Not only would it transport some of the dirtiest oil ever produced, but the Canada-to-Texas pipeline would also cut across pristine habitat for endangered species like the piping plover and pallid sturgeon and go across iconic river systems like the Missouri. Making matters worse, it adds the risk of oil spills to the Ogallala Aquifer -- the drinking water source for millions in the Midwest -- and deepens our dangerous addiction to global-warming inducing fossil fuels.

President Obama has already stated that, if his hand is forced, he will deny the permit. We hope he honors his promise because, as endangered species director Noah Greenwald said, "This project, in good conscience, can't move ahead."

Now, join the 6,000 people who've already taken action to tell Congress not to rush this important decision, and read more in our press release.

Study: 75 Percent of Imperiled Species Aren't Protected

Kittlitz's Murellet

When it comes to getting rare and dwindling species the help they need, there's clearly plenty of work still to do. A new study finds that nearly 75 percent of plants and animals in the United States that are classified as imperiled by an international ranking system aren't protected under the Endangered Species Act.

To figure that out, researchers looked at the status of hundreds of species ranked by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and identified 18 mammals, 25 birds, 44 amphibians and 444 invertebrates that are considered imperiled but lack federal protections in the United States. Some of them have been under consideration for protection for years but have languished on the so-called "candidate" list. Under a landmark settlement secured by the Center for Biological Diversity earlier this year, many of the species will get protection decisions in the next five years, including the Gunnison sage grouse, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, Florida bonneted bat, Kittlitz's murrelet and the Jollyville plateau salamander.

Read more about the study in our press release and then learn about our historic agreement affecting 757 species around the country.

Rare Montana Insect Closer to Protection

zapada colombiana

The ravages of global warming are obvious at Montana's Glacier National Park, where all of its namesake glaciers are expected to disappear by 2030. The massive changes also spell trouble for a tiny aquatic insect: the western glacier stonefly, which is known to be in just five small streams in the park. This long-winged, beautiful brown-gray bug's survival depends on extremely cold glacial meltwater -- so the more the glaciers melt and disappear, the more dire the situation becomes for the stonefly.

There's new reason for hope, though: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the stonefly may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The agency made its decision in response to a petition for protection by the Center for Biological Diversity and partners. The stonefly is just one of many species in need of help in the face of climate change. Left unchecked, scientists predict that one-third of plants and animals could be on the path toward extinction by 2050.

Read more in our press release.

Just in Time for New Year's Eve: The Hump Smarter Hotline

Disco ball

So did you know that humans' busiest breeding day of the year is New Year's Eve? That's why the Center for Biological Diversity just launched the Hump Smarter Hotline, an irreverent, toll-free phone service urging callers to think twice -- once about endangered species and again about human overpopulation -- before taking an unprotected roll in the sheets.

The slightly sexy, definitely amusing hotline is the latest project from the Center's 7 Billion and Counting campaign, which highlights the connection between human overpopulation and the plight of polar bears, sea turtles, panthers and other imperiled species around the globe – and has handed out a whopping 450,000 Endangered Species Condoms to date.

So add a little compassion to your passion this year: Dial up our hotline -- 1-800-628-2399 -- and then share it (and its message) with your friends, fellow partygoers, family and on Facebook, and then learn more about our overpopulation work.

Holiday Travels? Use Our App to Find Species Wherever You Go

White fringed orchid

Did you make it to Grandma's house for the holidays? Well, it's a good bet that there are some threatened or endangered species somewhere nearby –- perhaps a pallid sturgeon or a white-fringed orchid or something even more surprising. The best way to find out for sure is to use the Center for Biological Diversity's new "Species Finder" application for Android mobile phones. With a few quick taps, the free app uses your phone's GPS to call up a comprehensive list of all imperiled species in the county where you are. There's also a search option to bring up a list of species for any county in the United States.

"Species Finder" is the latest creative media project from the Center. But don't forget our many others, including our wildly popular Rare Earthtones ringtones, Endangered Species Condoms and our "Wild Calls" iPhone app.

You find all these and much more on our Creative Media Web page.

Three Days Left: Vote to Help the Center Save Biodiversity

vote sign

Here's an easy way -- by Dec. 31 -- to help earn extra money for the Center for Biological Diversity: the free click of a button.

Each year, the philanthropy-minded company Working Assets and its CREDO Mobile branch donate a portion of their members' charges to a select group of progressive organizations like ours. It's been exciting to be on the ballot in 2011, but the amount of money we receive when the voting closes on Saturday, Dec. 31 will depend on how many of you vote for us. If you're not a Working Assets or CREDO customer, all you have to do is sign up as a CREDO action member, which lets you take online action with CREDO on important issues. Then you can go to the Working Assets voting page and assign maximum points to the Center. It's easy, quick and very helpful to our cause: saving plants animals great and small across the globe.

Please tell your friends and sign up and vote here now -- and we do mean now -- Voting ends when the year does, this Saturday!

Wild & Weird: Incredible Images of a Baby Polar Bear -- Watch Video

Endangered Earth Online has brought you plenty of weird and wonderful wildlife this year: the Elvis monkey, the camouflage octopus, a one-eyed shark, berserk squids and the mighty naked mole rats. Rest assured, there's plenty more to come in 2012, but let's end 2011 this way: with an incredible baby polar bear.

It's been a tough year for polar bears -- what with the rapidly melting sea ice and all -- but this tiny bear being hand-raised in Denmark (named Siku, which means "ice") is an unmistakable symbol of hope for the coming year and a poignant reminder of what we're fighting for.

Treat yourself to the video of this amazing little bear, and happy New Year.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/francoismi; birds eggs courtesy Flickr Commons/Jaroslaw Pocztarski; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/Brian Digital; Keystone pipeline courtesy Wikimedia Commons/shannonpatrick17; Kittlitz's murrelet (c) Glen Tepke; stonefly (c) Joe Giersch; white fringed orchid courtesy Wikimedia Commons; vote sign courtesy Wikimedia Commons; Siku courtesy Skandinavisk Dyrepark.

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