Fight Reignites to Stop Keystone XL
Republicans in Washington, D.C., aren't giving up trying to ram through the Keystone XL pipeline. On Monday, less than two weeks after President Obama rejected the controversial Canada-to-Texas project, Republicans in the Senate introduced a bill that would let Congress make it a reality. They're also scrambling to attach Keystone XL to other pieces of legislation floating around the Capitol.
We're not surprised: Big Oil and its congressional cronies were angered by Obama's rejection of Keystone XL. We can't let up on the counterpressure. If it's built, Keystone XL would, as climatologist Dr. James Hansen says, be "game over" for climate change. It would also be a disaster for Canada's boreal forests (where the tar sands the pipeline would carry are extracted) and put hundreds of waterways and some 20 imperiled plants and animals, from the whooping crane to the piping plover, at risk of a spill -- which government scientists say would be inevitable.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been at the forefront of the fight against Keystone XL, and we'll keep you up to date on how to stop this dangerous project.
Check out our press release, read our Oregonian op-ed on the issue and learn more about our Keystone XL campaign.
Take Action to Save Oregon's First Wolf Family
Whether you're from Oregon or not, the Center for Biological Diversity needs your help to save one of the state's very few wolf packs. The Imnaha pack -- the first to establish and produce pups in Oregon since wolves were exterminated from the state more than 60 years ago -- is in danger of demise. After the pack was involved in livestock depredations last spring, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife killed two of its wolves -- and would have killed two more, if emergency legal action by the Center and partners hadn't stopped it. (The pack has also lost another member: a young male who recently made his way to California, sparking renewed hopes of building a new population of wolves there.)
Now the Oregon Cattlemen's Association is pushing legislation that will allow the killing of the four remaining Imnaha pack members and rip a hole in the state's Endangered Species Act, since gray wolves are protected by that state law.
Take action now: Tell Oregon state officials to oppose this vicious, dangerous bill. Read more in The Register-Guardian and learn more about protecting wolves.
Georgia Finally Steps Up to Protect Native Turtles
After years of advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity and Georgia conservationists, the state has approved its first rules limiting the commercial harvest and export of wild freshwater turtles. Many of Georgia's 19 native turtle species are suffering from rampant commercial harvest. Turtle traders in the United States catch and export more than 2 million wild-caught freshwater turtles each year, mostly to supply food and medicinal markets in Asia; since 2008 the Center has petitioned 12 states to give wild freshwater turtles a break and ban commercial harvest. Georgia is the last southeastern state to regulate the trade.
The state's new rules are a big step forward, since they prohibit the collection of turtle eggs and rein in unlimited trapping of turtles, but there's still room for improvement: Annual collection limits are too high, for many species, and don't go far enough to safeguard wild turtles.
The Center will keep fighting to protect turtle diversity in Georgia and throughout the country. We've also petitioned to protect 20 freshwater turtles under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Flora and Fauna (CITES) and to grant Endangered Species Act protection to some of our nation's rarest turtles -- including the Cagle's map turtle, a small, beautiful turtle with creamy-yellow stripes on its legs and head, surviving only in the Guadalupe River system in Texas.
Read more in the Ledger-Enquirer and learn about the Center's campaign to save southern and midwestern freshwater turtles.
Suit Filed to Save Corals From Overfishing
The Caribbean's beautiful elkhorn and staghorn corals have long been in deep trouble. In 2006, a Center for Biological Diversity petition made them the first species to be federally protected due to vulnerability to global warming; they were given 3,000 square miles of protected "critical habitat." In addition to the main dangers of climate change, ocean acidification and pollution, these incredible coral species are threatened by overfishing -- and the Obama administration has just authorized targeted fishing for parrotfish.
Overfishing threatens elkhorn and staghorn corals because reef fish -- especially parrotfish and other grazers -- eat the algae around coral reefs that would otherwise choke out those corals and degrade the habitat that other creatures, from sea turtles to lobsters, depend on. That's why the Center filed a lawsuit this week against the National Marine Fisheries Service to stop overfishing of parrotfish in the Caribbean.
Read more in the Summit County Citizens' Voice.
10 Cities Commit to Clean Air -- Make Yours Next
Cities can be a powerful force pushing for national change. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity is working with city councils around the country to approve resolutions urging the Obama government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. So far 10 cities are on board, including the latest additions of Pittsburgh, Penn., and Oxnard, Calif.
Will your city be next?
Put your city on the front lines of the war against global warming by becoming a Clean Air Advocate and using our Take-action Toolbox to get your city council to pass a clean-air resolution. Then learn more about our Clean Air Cities campaign.
Coal Attacks Vulnerable Bats on Two Fronts
The last thing America's bats need while they're being wiped out by white-nose syndrome are more threats from other quarters, so the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service this week over a land swap that would doom endangered bats for the sake of dirty energy. A proposal to trade away 400 acres of bat habitat on Illinois' Shawnee National Forest to Peabody Energy Company, which intends to strip-mine the area for coal, would hurt endangered Indiana and gray bats -- some of which are already falling to the white-nose disease that has killed nearly 7 million bats since 2006.
That's not the only threat these nocturnal mammals face from coal. A new study details the hidden risk of mercury -- emitted by coal-fired power plants -- to bats and other wildlife. Mercury's toxic effects on human health are well known, but this study reveals that its neurological and reproductive effects can be equally grave for other species, especially delicate songbirds and bats.
Read more about the land swap in our press release and about the mercury study in The New York Times. Then check out the Center's Save Our Bats campaign.
Suit Seeks to Save Marine Mammals From Deafening Sonar
In 2010 the National Marine Fisheries Service issued the U.S. Navy a five-year permit for expanded military exercises that could "take" -- that is, harm or kill -- thousands of marine mammals along the West Coast, including whales, dolphins and seals. To stand up for these amazing animals, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies have sued the Fisheries Service for failing to counter the harm the creatures suffer from the exercises, which include anti-submarine warfare drills, surface-to-air gunnery and, most distressing of all, high-intensity mid-frequency sonar responsible for confusing and beaching marine mammals that depend on their acute hearing for navigation and hunting.
The Navy was implicated in the beaching of 200 melon-headed whales in Hawaii's Hanalei Bay after war games in the area in 2004. The Center's latest lawsuit seeks protections of sensitive areas in Oregon, Washington and California where wildlife are most likely to occur. These military exercises are real attacks on sensitive marine wildlife -- and, as the Center's Oceans Director Miyoko Sakashita confirms, "Whales and other marine mammals don't stand a chance against the Navy."
Read more in The Telegraph and learn about our campaign against whale-harming ocean noise.
UN to World: 9 Billion People by 2040 Means Tackling Food Crisis Now
This week the United Nations released a report stating that the expected strain on food and fuel supply from global population growth -- predicted to reach 9 billion people by 2040 -- hasn't been adequately addressed. Tethered by the expectation that more people will reach higher standards of living, the UN is estimating the world will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water to meet demands.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been working for years to raise public awareness about the strain that the growing human population is putting on the planet, including imperiled wildlife. Our oceans, for instance, reveal some of the best evidence of how a growing population affects plants and animals. Half the world's people live within an hour drive of a coast, so much of our protein comes from fishing. Destructive fisheries have devastating effects on coral, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, as well as causing commercial fish stocks to plummet.
Read more about the UN report in Scientific American. Then check out this coverage from PBS NewsHour of a community in the Philippines that was able to turn the tide by making family planning more accessible and raising awareness about ensuring a sustainable food source for the next generation.
Help Stop "License to Kill" Lynx in Maine
The Canada lynx is a steely-eyed, silver-furred wildcat that's one of the most effective predators around, stalking and preying on snowshoe hare and other woodland creatures. But the lynx is also prey, the victim of traps laid for animals like bobcats, foxes and coyotes. In Maine this winter, six lynx have already been caught in traps; one was found dead in a body-gripping trap. And more lynx trappings have probably gone unreported. Lynx -- with their small U.S. population and the many threats they face, from climate change to logging -- can't afford to lose any individuals to trapping.
But Maine, the state with the largest, precious U.S. lynx population, is seeking a permit to (accidentally) hurt up to 13 lynx a year as part of its trapping policy. The Center for Biological Diversity has been defending this wildcat for years, and now we're calling on you to help us.
Take action to tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to let Maine keep running a trapping program that does so little to protect lynx. Then learn more about our campaign to save Canada lynx.
Wild & Weird: Watch Out for Pervert Ostriches
Ostrich farms/petting zoos are few and far between, admittedly, but they do exist in places like Picacho, Ariz., and Solvang, Calif., where they produce a special breed of ostrich. Ostriches raised by humans apparently develop feelings for their surrogate parents' species -- feelings that sticklers for interspecies etiquette might deem inappropriate.
According to ostrich researchers, both male and female ostriches raised by people are twice as likely to make passes at them. In fact, 70 percent of the studied ostriches flirted (a.k.a. "engaged in courtship behavior") when human visitors came near. The good news is, that behavior consists mostly of elaborate, near-farcical dance moves -- so hold off on the pepper spray and put on your dancin' shoes.
Read more at io9.
Photo credits: gray wolf courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Stonehorse Studios; piping plover (c) Sidney Maddock; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Brian Digital; Cagle's map turtle courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Laaude; staghorn coral reef courtesy NOAA; city courtesy Wikimedia Commons/UpstateNYer; Indiana bat (c) Environmental Solutions and Innovations/Adam Mann; bottlenose dolphin courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Laaude; crowd courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Katrin Kominiak; Canada lynx courtesy Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife; ostrich courtesy Wikimedia Commons/A. Kniesel.
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