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National Poll: Just 1 in 3 Americans Want to End Wolf Protections

Gray wolfA new nationwide poll commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity finds that only a third of Americans support the Obama administration's proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in the lower 48 states. About 70 percent of voters said they believe wolves are a vital part of America's wilderness; 56 percent think wolves should be given a chance to return to unoccupied wolf habitat in places like Colorado, California and the Northeast.

The poll also revealed that a solid majority of people who voted for Obama (58 percent) oppose the plan to eliminate wolf protections and say wolf populations shouldn't yet be considered recovered.

"The Obama administration's plan to strip endangered species protections for wolves clearly doesn't have the support of most Americans," said Noah Greenwald, the Center's endangered species program director. "Wolves are wildly popular, and most Americans want to see more wolves in more places."

Read more in E&E News, and keep sharing our latest wolf Facebook meme.

Proposal Would Protect Ocean Off 6 States for Sea Turtles

Loggerhead sea turtleAs a direct result of legal work by the Center and allies, loggerhead sea turtles are on the verge of getting important ocean habitat protected. On Wednesday the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed "critical habitat" protection for waters off the coast of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The proposal is a key step forward, although it does fail to protect areas where loggerheads are known to feed along the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Our legal efforts to save loggerheads also paid off earlier this year when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed habitat protections for 739 square miles of nesting beaches.

"Whether they're on sea or land, sea turtles face a cascade of threats -- oil spills, plastic pollution, prey depletion, and drowning in fishing nets, among others," said the Center's Catherine Kilduff. "We can't expect these creatures to recover and survive if we don't protect the places they live."

Read more in The Kansas City Star.

Federal Court: Yes, Burning Trees for Electricity Counts as Air Pollution

Ameresco Biomass Cogeneration Facility at Savannah River SiteIn a major legal victory prompted by a Center lawsuit, a federal appeals court ruled last Friday that Clean Air Act limits on carbon dioxide pollution do apply to industrial facilities that burn biomass -- including tree-burning power plants. The decision vacated a troubling exemption from pollution-control laws that the EPA had carved out for "biogenic carbon dioxide."

The court said the agency had improperly exempted all sources of biogenic CO2 from permitting programs meant to protect people and the environment from harmful pollution. In fact, emissions from facilities that burn biomass emit significantly more CO2 per kilowatt of energy than power plants that burn fossil fuels -- even coal. Although "biomass" can mean anything from wood to agricultural byproducts to the rubber portion of tires, there's been a big push in recent years to generate more and more electricity from trees, threatening both forests and the climate.

"Burning trees to generate electricity is dangerous, polluting, and ought to be limited to protect people and the environment," said Center attorney Kevin Bundy. "This important decision will reduce respiratory ailments, protect forests and help ensure a healthier, more livable climate."

Read more in The Huffington Post.

Get Involved

Two Major Keystone Events in Washington, D.C. -- Join Us

Tar Sands Kill, Pipelines SpillThe Keystone XL pipeline comes front and center in Washington, D.C., this month with two crucial rallies. We need you there to speak out against this dangerous proposal, which will accelerate climate change, deepen our addiction to fossil fuels, and risk wildlife, habitat, and clean air and water.

The first event is July 22 at 6 p.m. outside a hotel where President Obama will be speaking to supporters at the Organizing for America Summit. The second is a rally at the White House on July 27. Activists from Walk For Our Grandchildren and other groups will gather in Lafayette Park across from the White House to urge Mr. Obama to reject Keystone and deal with the climate crisis.

Of course the Center and our activists will be there, too -- including our charismatic mascot Frostpaw the Polar Bear -- as we join our ally organizations and hundreds of citizens in urging the president to stop Keystone. These rallies are part of an important movement to get people in the streets and ensure that our opposition to Keystone is impossible to ignore.

We need you at our sides. Take a moment to RSVP to the July 22 event and the July 27 event. Then check out our No Keystone website, where you can download posters, factsheets, masks and more to use in all your anti-Keystone grassroots activism.

Suit Challenges Oil Development That Would Threaten Condors

California condorTwenty-six years ago, there were no California condors left in the wild and only 22 remaining in captivity. Today a heroic captive-breeding program and protection under the Endangered Species Act have given the bird a much healthier -- though still dangerously small -- population of about 430 individuals.

But last month San Benito County, Calif., approved the drilling of 15 new oil wells in the critically endangered birds' habitat. The oil wells will use cyclic steam injection -- a risky and polluting form of oil extraction that targets heavy crude -- in an area frequented by about 10 percent of all condors. The drilling site also drains to the Salinas River, an important source of drinking water and irrigation for some of the world's most productive farmland.

Last week the Center sued to halt this major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed.

"We must ensure San Benito County considers all dangers before turning this beautiful area into yet another oilfield -- in the process hurting condors, one of the country's most famous endangered species success stories," said the Center's Kassie Siegel.

Read more in E&E News.

Center Op-ed: Dull, Lifeless Oceans? No, Thanks

ClownfishThe Center's Oceans Director Miyoko Sakashita loves oceans. They offer her "an endless smorgasbord of delights," she declares in a new Huffington Post piece, with their "crazy, sort of unbelievable life: Sea horses, anemones, whales, lobster, limpets, sharks, the list goes on and on."

But their wondrous color and diversity are under threat from acidification, which a new University of California study says will hurt not only individual species -- like those with shells that can be damaged when water acidity increases, as oceans absorb the CO2 we spew into the atmosphere -- but also entire ecosystems. "The result? Homogenized ocean environments … devoid of a vast array of creatures who called these places homes for thousands of years."

We're pushing hard for the EPA to take bold action on acidification to save our marine life and its vast ocean home. "I'd hate to see it become the shell of the wonderful place it once was," writes Miyoko. "I don't want duller, drabber seas -- I want them vibrant, crackling with life and full of surprises."

Read more in The Huffington Post. Help spur a national plan to confront acidification. Sign our Endangered Oceans petition now.

This Land Is Our Land -- Don't Frack It Up

Rocky Mountain National ParkFracking technologies are transforming landscapes across the country, and our prized public lands are quickly becoming targets for industrial development.

A dozen areas in the national park system already house oil and gas operations, and 30 areas may be threatened by drilling in the future. Nationwide the Bureau of Land Management (which often controls vast tracts of land just outside national parks) estimates that 90 percent of new oil and gas wells on its land are fracked. But sadly the BLM's new draft fracking rules seem designed to encourage as much fracking as possible -- while doing little to protect the environment or people's health.

The negative effects of fracking -- including severe air and water pollution, devastating habitat loss, and public-health threats -- are undeniable. Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is already suffering from air-quality problems due to drilling and fracking on nearby public lands; southern Utah's Arches and Canyonlands national parks are surrounded by public lands targeted by the industry; and Theodore Roosevelt and Grand Teton national parks are threatened by the rapid expansion of oil and natural gas drilling and fracking.

The Center needs your help today. Please tell the feds to protect our national treasures from the dangers of fracking.

Bobcat Protection Act's Final Push Toward Law -- Take Action

BobcatAfter a deluge of comments from Center supporters, California's bobcats have moved much closer to protection. Due in great part to your support for these unique wild felines, A.B. 1213 -- the Bobcat Protection Act -- is in the final stages of the state's legislative process. The bill must now clear a final Senate committee on Aug. 12, then pass a full-Senate vote prior to the end of the legislative session on Sept. 13. Thanks so much for helping us push this good bill along.

The recent trapping deaths of numerous bobcats just outside California's Joshua Tree National Park outraged local communities and called attention to the need to change California trapping law, which currently allows unlimited commercial bobcat trapping between November and January. The Bobcat Protection Act, introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, would change this antiquated system and limit commercial trapping. Bobcats, with their plush fur, black-tufted ears, and smart, stealthy ways, don't deserve to be trapped without restraint on our California public lands.

If you live in California, take action now to protect bobcats by asking your senator to vote yes on the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013.

Wild & Weird: Ancient Undersea Forest Revealed -- Watch Video

Bald cypress forestWhen Hurricane Katrina moved through the Gulf of Mexico back in 2005, ravaging the coast, it also apparently uncovered a never-before-seen primeval forest buried under the ocean and sediment off the coast of Alabama. Protected from rot in an oxygen-free environment, this forest of bald cypress had remained entombed for some 50,000 years.

One of the divers to first explore the forest said the trees, when cut, actually still smell of fresh sap.

Now that the sediment seal has been broken, though, scientists have only a few years to study this amazing forest before marine biological processes will wear away its remains. Growth rings on the bald cypress trees could be key to opening a vast vault of information on the ancient climate of the Gulf.

Read more at Live Science and check out this fascinating video of the underwater forest.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: gray wolf courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/StoneHorse Studios; loggerhead sea turtle courtesy Flickr/Matt Kieffer; Ameresco Biomass Cogeneration Facility at Savanna River Site courtesy Flickr/Savanna River Site; Frostpaw image in the event banner by Beth Wellington; "Tar Sands Kill, Pipelines Spill" sign by Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity; California condor courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Chuck Szmurlo; clownfish courtesy Flickr/Jeff Kubina; Rocky Mountain National Park courtesy Flickr/Ernie Reyes; bobcat by Annica Kreuter; bald cypress forest courtesy E. Leger.

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Center for Biological Diversity

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