Center for Biological Diversity

Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog

Become a Monthly Sustainer With the Center

Take action now

Bookmark and Share


Rare Sierra Nevada Frogs, Toads Finally Earn Protection

Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogChalk up more successes to the Center for Biological Diversity's landmark agreement advancing 757 species toward protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just put three new amphibians on the endangered species list, all from the Sierra Nevada: Yosemite toads, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, and a population of mountain yellow-legged frogs that also calls this range home. Since we reached the settlement in 2011, we've won full protection for 106 species, with another 32 proposed for protection. And it's about time help came for these animals -- considering they've been waiting for more than a decade.

"We're glad these frogs and toads are getting the lifeline they need so badly," said the Center's Collette Adkins Giese, a biologist and lawyer specializing in amphibians and reptiles. "Threats like toxic pesticides hurt these animals even in the high Sierras. But now, with the protections of the Endangered Species Act, we can do what's necessary to save these rare amphibians from extinction."

The three amphibians will soon also get protection for some of their most important habitat.

Read more in The Sacramento Bee.

Endangered Orcas May Get New Habitat Protection Off Pacific Coast

OrcaIn response to a Center petition submitted in January, the National Marine Fisheries Service says it's now considering expanding critical habitat protections for endangered killer whales off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.

Portions of these "Southern Resident" whales' summer habitat in Puget Sound are already protected, but new safeguards would apply to important offshore areas that were only recently identified. The orcas travel up and down the West Coast during winter and early spring to feed on migrating salmon.

Despite nearly a decade of federal protection, the Puget Sound's orca population remains perilously small, hovering around only 80 animals. This proposal is an important step toward recovery and will help the whales stave off extinction.

Read more in The Washington Post and see a Center map showing where the orcas travel along the coast and where new habitat protections would occur.

Shine a Light on the Dangers of Fracking -- Take Action

Fracking rigEarly results of three separate studies in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming suggest a direct link between fracking operations and water contamination. That means community water supplies could be at risk -- yet the Environmental Protection Agency has prematurely shut down one investigation after another.

As oil and gas companies move to expand their operations throughout the country, it's vital that the effects of fracking be studied and known. But the EPA has repeatedly abandoned its investigations -- and the people suffering from fracking's harmful impacts.

On May 8 please join the Center and our allies across the country for a national call-in day as we tell the EPA to do its job. The agency must reopen these investigations into the dangers of fracking and bring the facts to light. Take action now and help us with a quick call.

Become a Monthly Sustainer

House GOP Launches Another Attack on Endangered Species Act

Bald eagle An ill wind is blowing, once again, from extremist GOP congressmen. On Wednesday Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee approved four bills to weaken the Endangered Species Act, including one that would siphon money away from saving wildlife for the sake of pointless reporting requirements and another that would water down the definition of "best available science" in determining how to manage imperiled species.

The bills, which likely will be voted on later this year by the full House, are the latest from Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and his far-right Republican friends, who released a plan earlier this year to dismantle key portions of the Act -- limiting citizens' ability to hold the government accountable, for instance, and giving local politicians more influence over which plants and animals get protected.

"These latest bills are part of a long-running strategy to hobble the law that, over the past 40 years, has put whales, wolves, grizzly bears, bald eagles and hundreds of other iconic species on the path toward recovery," said the Center's Brett Hartl.

Read more in our press release.

Obama Ate What? -- Take Action to Save Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin tunaPresident Obama made news last week in Japan by dining at a famous Tokyo sushi restaurant. The problem? Turns out the super-exclusive eatery serves one of the priciest and most endangered fish on Earth: bluefin tuna.

Since large-scale fishing began, Pacific bluefin (the kind fished in Japan) have declined by a staggering 94 percent. These magnificent fish -- capable of growing up to 9 feet long and swimming 50 mph -- have been seriously overfished to feed the high-end sushi market. It doesn't help that the leader of the free world may have eaten one of the few remaining in the Pacific.

Just days before the president went to Japan, the Center petitioned his administration to ban fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna. We need to act fast to keep these ocean giants safe from extinction.

Read more about Obama's menu choices in this Huffington Post piece from the Center's Miyoko Sakashita, then join our bluefin boycott and take action to tell the president it's not OK to eat imperiled fish.

Airlines Report: EPA Missing Chance to Make Big Greenhouse Pollution Cuts

Airplane with contrailA new report revealing a 26 percent gap between the most and least fuel-efficient U.S. domestic-market airlines -- giving Alaska and Spirit the best grades, American and Allegiant the worst -- shows that the EPA could do far more to make huge cuts to aviation greenhouse gas pollution.

Dramatic emission reductions from aircraft are easily achievable, the report shows, despite the industry's counterclaims. Aviation accounts for about 11 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. transportation sector; emissions from global aviation will quadruple by mid-century without action.

The Center and allies filed a lawsuit in 2010 to force the EPA to set aviation greenhouse gas pollution standards, and a federal judge quickly ruled the agency must address aircraft emissions under the Clean Air Act. But after three years, it still hasn't finished the first step in its rulemaking process.

"The airlines keep telling us that the EPA should ignore their carbon pollution because they're already doing everything possible to reduce it," said the Center's Vera Pardee. "But this 26 percent gap proves that is simply not true."

Read more in our press release.

Take Action

Another Fiery Crash of a Train Carrying Crude Oil

Lynchburg oil train derailmentThere's been another fiery derailment of a railcar carrying explosive crude oil from the Bakken region in North Dakota and western Canada. The latest crash happened Wednesday in downtown Lynchburg, Va., when a train went off the track, sparking a huge fire, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate, and spilling oil into the James River.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but the fire is the latest evidence of the dangers of shipping oil by rail, which has seen a 40-fold expansion since 2008 in the United States. The danger of derailments first garnered widespread public attention in summer 2013, when a runaway train transporting 72 tankers of Bakken crude crashed in Quebec, killing 47 people. On Dec. 30 a train transporting Bakken crude derailed and exploded near Casselton, N.D., and in January a 122-car train carrying Bakken crude derailed and caught fire near Plaster Rock in New Brunswick.

On Wednesday we renewed a call for a moratorium on these shipments until the safety of people and wildlife can be ensured.

"This has got to be a wake-up call for federal authorities to protect people and the environment from these dangerous shipments," said the Center's Mollie Matteson.

Read more in Politico.

L.A. Needs More Solar Power, and So Does the Rest of the Country

Solar panelLos Angeles should get FIT and power up. No, we're not saying the city needs yet another exercise fad -- but it does need to slim down its carbon footprint.

According to a new USC/UCLA report, changes to the city's "feed-in-tariff" (or FIT) program, run by the L.A. Department of Water and Power, could not only provide thousands of new local jobs but vastly increase the L.A. basin's rooftop solar-power output. The report recommends scaling up the FIT program, launched last year, from solar power providing 100 to 600 megawatts of energy, as well as providing more commercial incentives for rooftop solar projects.

Programs like FIT are the kind of smart-energy solutions we need more of across the country if we want to get off carbon fuels in the face of global warming. And now, past excuses for not moving forward with FIT programs -- and actually expanding them -- are falling apart as pilot projects prove effective and we successfully implement technological advances to integrate clean, local, renewable energy. We shouldn't keep a good idea down, the new report says ... and we all know, for our planet's sake, we can't.

Get more from Yahoo! News and read the report.

Wild & Weird: Conservationists Play Dress-up to Help Pandas

PandaDeep in the bamboo jungles of the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China, humans in tree-like costumes rustle in the wind, while others, dressed in awkward and slightly alarming panda suits, clean out cages.

No, it's not the world's remotest furry convention; rather it's cutting-edge wildlife conservation. At the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, a team of keepers is going to absurdly promising lengths (for example, their suits also smell like the bamboo-obsessed bears) to teach captive-bred pandas how to survive after release into the wild.

Last year, after 26 months of training by costumed human instructors, a reserve panda named Zhang Xiang became the first female panda to be released. More pandas are scheduled to be set free soon.

Watch a Center video compiling some remarkable photos (from photographer Amy Vitale) of costume-clad wildlife conservationists training young pandas for release.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Davefoc; Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Devin Edmonds, USGS; orca whale courtesy Flickr/TheGirlsNY; fracking rig courtesy Wikimedia Commons/BLM; wolves by John Pitcher; bald eagle (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; bluefin tuna courtesy Flickr/Aziz T. Saltik; airplane courtesy Flickr/; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Lynchburg, Virginia oil train derailment courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch, Diana Saunders; solar panel courtesy Flickr/Photovoltaik; panda courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Chen Wu.

Donate now to support the Center's work.

This message was sent to .

The Center for Biological Diversity sends out newsletters and action alerts through Click here if you'd like to check your profile and preferences. Let us know if you'd like to stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us.

Facebook "Like" Us on Facebook

Twitter Follow Us on Twitter

Twitter Follow Us on YouTube

Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702