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Center Wins Right to Defend Grand Canyon Anew

Grand Canyon

This week we saw another win in our long fight to save one of the world's natural wonders: A judge awarded the Center for Biological Diversity, the Havasupai tribe and three other groups the chance to defend the 20-year ban we helped win on new uranium mining across 1 million acres of the Grand Canyon watershed.

Uranium pollution already plagues the canyon, but that didn't stop uranium prospector Gregory Yount from suing the federal government over its uranium ban last November. Now the Center and allies will have a seat in the courtroom to defend the ban -- and the animals and plants it protects. This is the first of four industry lawsuits attacking the ban that we plan to fight.

Read more in the National Parks Traveler and learn about the Center's work to stop Grand Canyon uranium mining.

Stop Pesticides From Pouring Into Our Waters -- Take Action

boreal toad

Sensitive amphibians, fish and other creatures -- including people -- could soon be at even greater risk from pesticides. The chemical lobby is planning a sneak attack on our water quality by attaching a toxic rider to a farm bill moving through the Senate: legislation that would allow unregulated pesticide applications directly into U.S. waterways.

Already more than 90 percent of U.S. waters are contaminated with pesticides. A staggering 2 billion pounds of these poisons are sold each year for U.S. use. The result? A major loss of fish and wildlife, especially amphibians, which are vulnerable because of their permeable skin.

But you can help. Take action now to tell your senators to say no to this rider and educate yourself (and others) about the Center for Biological Diversity's work to reduce pesticides in our environment. Then please observe Save the Frogs Day by speaking out against the dangerous pesticide atrazine.

Lawsuit Launched for Rare Forest Carnivore

Humboldt Marten

Fewer than 100 Humboldt martens are believed left in the world, and only 20 were detected in recent surveys -- yet these rare forest-dwellers still aren't protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned for the species in 2010; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said protection may be warranted. But the agency still hasn't acted to protect the marten, so on Wednesday we filed a notice of intent to sue.

A cat-sized carnivore related to minks and otters, the Humboldt marten is an extremely secretive animal known for its slinky movements and tendency to prey on porcupines by biting them on the face. Once relatively common, the animal is now only rarely found in coastal old-growth forests in Northern California and southern and central coastal Oregon. Because logging has destroyed most of its old-growth forest habitat, the Humboldt marten was believed extinct for 50 years until it was rediscovered in 1996.

Check out our press release and learn more about saving the Humboldt marten.

Nevada Water Grab Challenged to Save Dozens of Species

greater sage grouse

From the tail-feather-fanning sage grouse to the ancient desert tortoise, many imperiled animals and plants owe their lives to the groundwater of rural Nevada. But that water supply is under imminent threat. Nevada's state engineer has decided to let the Southern Nevada Water Authority -- which manages water distribution in the southern part of the state -- build a massive pipeline pumping up to 27 billion gallons of water from four rural valleys to feed Las Vegas sprawl. This is despite the fact that there are smarter, kinder alternatives.

The Center for Biological Diversity and more than 300 other groups in the Great Basin Water Network went to court Tuesday to appeal the decision. Said our Nevada-based ecologist Rob Mrowka, "The Water Authority's groundwater development project is the single largest threat facing Nevada's natural heritage, tribal traditional use and rural communities -- now and far into the future."

Get more from CBS News and check out our network of Nevada web pages.

Protection Pursued for Arizona Orchid

coleman's coralroot

The Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday that we'll sue if it doesn't make its past-due decision on whether to federally protect Coleman's coralroot, a fascinating purple flower found in the footprint of a proposed massive copper mine outside Tucson, Ariz.

We first petitioned for the plant in 2010; the Service said the species might warrant Endangered Species Act protection. But the agency hasn't moved forward to give Coleman's coralroot the safeguards it needs to survive plans for the Rosemont mine, a controversial open-pit copper mine that would hurt a huge array of rare species in Arizona's beautiful Santa Rita Mountains.

Unlike most plants, Coleman's coralroot has neither leaves nor roots and doesn't make its own food through photosynthesis. Instead, it gets nourishment from a symbiotic relationship with host fungi in the roots of trees and shrubs.

Read more in our press release and learn about the Center's work for Coleman's coralroot.

Congress Still Pushing Keystone XL -- Speak Up Again

whooping crane

In a stunning display of Big Oil influence in Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives has again inserted language into an unrelated bill that would immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a dangerous project for our climate, landscapes and animals like the majestic whooping crane.

If it's built, the 1,700-mile pipeline would daily transport up to 35 million gallons of oil from Canada's tar sands -- one of the dirtiest energy sources in the world -- to refineries in Texas, where it could be exported to global markets. The Center for Biological Diversity sued over the pipeline in October 2011, and the president rejected it this January. But Big Oil has big sway.

You've been taking action with us against Keystone XL since last October -- but the fight's not over, and we need you more than ever. Please tell your senators not to let this disastrous project move forward.

Help Shoot Down NRA's Lead-poisoning Legislation

California Condor

The NRA continues to push legislation that would stop wildlife from being protected from toxic lead ammunition that's left in the wild and responsible for killing millions of birds every year -- along with scores of other species.

The Center for Biological Diversity won passage in 2007 of California laws requiring hunters to use nonlead ammo in condor habitat. Now we've enlisted 150 other groups in our national Get the Lead Out campaign. But it's vital to stop the NRA-backed language that's already been pushed through the House and would prevent the EPA from using a federal toxics law to regulate lead bullets -- even though people, as well as wildlife, can be poisoned by eating lead-shot game.

Sign our letter telling your senators to say no to this bill (and share the letter with everyone you know), plus learn more about the Center's campaign to get the lead out. Also, check out this interesting New York Times op-ed, which clearly shows that the NRA does not represent all hunters.

Suit Seeks Investigation Into Dangerous Dispersants

oil dispersants

Two years ago, during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, some 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico to break up the spilled oil. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency had never looked at what effect those dispersants have on imperiled wildlife, and it still hasn't tackled that issue. The Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed suit last week to demand greater study of the dispersants' effects on endangered species -- before the next oil spill catastrophe occurs.

When mixed with oil, the chemical dispersants BP used are toxic to fish eggs, larvae and adults, as well as to corals, and they can make it difficult for sea turtles to breathe and eat. The type of dispersant BP used has been banned in the UK since 1998.

It's time for the EPA to fully analyze these chemicals; our wildlife and waters deserve better.

Read more in the San Jose Mercury News and check out our Gulf Disaster web page.

Celebrate Climate Impacts Day With the Center

350 ppm marchClimate Impacts Day, coming up May 5, is a global day of action to highlight the fact that the planet's headed for catastrophe if we don't reduce our greenhouse gas emissions soon to get atmospheric carbon concentrations down to 350 parts per million or less.

Join thousands of people across the world -- including the Center for Biological Diversity -- to help issue a wake-up call May 5 by attending or hosting an event, taking action in your community, volunteering for a green group or any other creative project you can think of.

If you live in San Francisco, please take part in our "Connect the Dots" event there. If not, check out events worldwide, from Lancaster, Pa., to Sydney, Australia. For now, take action with the Center from your computer. And don't forget to find out why the number 350 is so important.

Wild & Weird: Heck! That Fish-filcher Has Expensive Taste

European otter

Before they identified the culprit, police in Scotland were hot on the trail of a fish-filcher responsible for the disappearance of dozens of koi carp, worth more than $3,000, from a fancy private pond. Turns out the scofflaw was an otter.

Sometime over the course of a month this spring, 40 koi were apparently stolen from a privately owned water feature in a town called Heck, in southwestern Scotland. Distraught, the pond owner called the cops, who launched an appeal to find the felon. Soon enough, though, a wildlife officer informed them the perp was an otter.

British authorities have kept their dry wits about them. "As such, no crime has been committed," said a police spokesman.

Verify our story in the BBC News.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: California red-legged frog; Grand Canyon courtesy Flickr Commons/Mordac; boreal toad courtesy Flickr Commons/J.N. Stuart; Humboldt marten courtesy USFWS; greater sage grouse (c) Carol Davis; Coleman's coralroot (c) Ron Coleman; whooping crane (c) Robin Silver; California condor (c) Lorraine Paulhus; oil dispersants courtesy Flickr Commons/kk+; 350 march courtesy Flickr Commons/World Development Movement; European otter courtesy Flickr Commons/Catherine Trigg.

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