Bookmark and Share
Center for Biological Diversity

No. 781, July 2, 2015

Donate Now Take Action Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Share

Petition: Save Sea Life, Regulate CO2 as a Toxic Substance

Humpback whaleThe world's sea life faces an unprecedented crisis from ocean acidification. Left unchecked, acidification will drive a mass extinction in our oceans, with corals and shellfish hit hard first and the effects rippling through the food web to harm all marine life, from fish to whales to otters.

But there's still time to change course. That's why this week the Center for Biological Diversity and former Environmental Protection Agency scientist Dr. Donn Viviani petitioned the Obama administration to regulate carbon dioxide under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. This first-of-its-kind petition seeks widespread reduction of CO
2 by classifying it as a toxic substance -- just as has been done for asbestos and PCBs. The measure would complement other efforts to reduce CO2.

Some 22 million tons of CO
2 are absorbed by our oceans every day. That has to change.

"Future generations will look back and wonder why we didn't do everything we could to save the world's oceans," said the Center's Miyoko Sakashita. "Failure to act is a decision to let our sea life die off and disappear. We can't let that happen."

Read a Huffington Post op-ed by Miyoko on this issue.

Feds Halt Red Wolf Reintroductions, Stall Recovery Plan

Red wolfThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it's dramatically downsizing the recovery program for endangered red wolves -- stopping their reintroduction from captive-breeding facilities into the wild. Simultaneously the Service is conducting another review that could weaken the red wolf recovery program, despite input from independent scientists saying it needed expansion. Last year the Service also eliminated the program's "recovery coordinator" position.

The red wolf -- smaller than a gray wolf, but larger than a coyote, with tawny reddish fur -- was declared endangered in 1973, and 17 wild wolves were captured for captive breeding. The subsequent reintroduction of captive-bred red wolves is considered one of the most innovative, successful programs to restore a critically endangered carnivore. Wolf releases began in North Carolina in the mid-1980s; the current population stands at about 112 wild wolves.

"Make no mistake, this is the Service abandoning endangered red wolves while they stand at the brink of extinction," said the Center's Brett Hartl. "The agency can dress it up in bureaucrat-speak, but there's no avoiding the fact that the recovery program for the red wolf is being left to wither on the vine."

Read more in our press release.

5,000 Acres Protected for Super-rare Las Vegas Butterfly

Mount Charleston blue butterflyThe Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday protected 5,214 acres of critical habitat in Nevada for a tiny, extremely rare butterfly -- the Mount Charleston blue -- of which fewer than 100 are known to remain, making it one of the most endangered butterflies in the world. It's found only on the upper elevations of the mountain for which it's named, about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Mount Charleston blues are threatened by fire suppression and recreational development; they were first identified in 1928, and conservationists first petitioned for their protection in 2005 -- but the species wasn't protected till 2013, under the Center's historic 757 species agreement. These butterflies are less than an inch long -- the males iridescent blue and gray, the females a drabber gray-brown.

So far under the Center's landmark 2011 settlement with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 142 species have gained Endangered Species Act protection and another 10 have been proposed for protection.

Read more in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Become a Monthly Sustainer

Declare Independence From the Meat Industry: Take Extinction Off Your Plate

Take Extinction Off Your PlateThinking about firing up the grill this Independence Day weekend? Take a moment to consider the real cost of that meat.

More than half of all U.S. agricultural subsidies are given away to the meat industry, while taxpayers bear the costs of climate change and pollution caused by livestock production and diseases linked to high meat consumption. Part of taxpayers' pain comes from giving ranchers a steep discount to graze their cattle on public lands at an enormous cost to wild lands, wildlife and water. Tax dollars also fund Wildlife Services, a federal predator-killing program that slaughtered nearly 3 million animals in 2014, mostly at the behest of the livestock industry.

Declare your independence from this destructive system. Learn more about the Center's Take Extinction Off Your Plate campaign.

Just Weeks After Oil Spill, California OKs More Offshore Fracking

Sea otterRecent oil spill or no, Gov. Jerry Brown and his oil division seem determined to make sure that it's business as usual for industry. Just weeks after the devastating Refugio spill near Santa Barbara, nine new offshore frack jobs in Long Beach Harbor have been approved by the state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.

Fracking was last used in California waters in December 2013, when oil companies fracked four offshore wells near Long Beach. Before that oil companies fracked at least 200 offshore wells in the region. The Center sued the U.S. Interior Department earlier this year for violating three federal laws by rubberstamping offshore fracking in federal waters off California's coast without analyzing fracking pollution's threats to ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and marine wildlife -- including sea otters, fish, sea turtles and whales.

"Approving new offshore fracking just weeks after Santa Barbara's devastating oil spill is a new low," said the Center's Kristen Monsell.

Get more from ABC News.

Protests Target Weak Sage Grouse Plans -- More Protections Needed

Sage grouseThe Center and allies this week filed administrative protests against 14 federal plans across 10 western states that were meant to protect the unique, imperiled sage grouse but fall far short of that, ignoring some of the direst threats to the species. Unless these plans are strengthened, federal Endangered Species Act protection will be needed -- which, under our landmark 2011 settlement for hundreds of rare species, the Fish and Wildlife Service must decide on by Sept. 30.

While the final plans have generally improved compared to the drafts, key deficiencies remain in every single sage grouse plan -- for example, federal sage grouse experts recommended that all priority habitats be closed to future oil, gas and coal leasing and withdrawn from future hard-rock mining claims, but not one of the 14 federal plans adopts these science-based recommendations.

"Greater sage grouse need much more help than these plans provide. You can't say you want to save these birds and then, in the next breath, recommend more oil and gas development in some of the most important places where they live," said the Center's Randi Spivak.

Read more in the Idaho Statesman.

Take Action

20 Rare Frogs, Turtles, Salamanders and Reptiles Move Closer to Protection

Western spadefoot toadIn response to a sweeping 2012 petition from the Center seeking Endangered Species Act protection for 53 amphibians and reptiles across the country, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday announced that 20 species of frogs, turtles, salamanders, snakes and skinks may qualify for protection and deserve scientific assessment.

The species include green salamanders in the Northeast; Blanding's and spotted turtles in the Northeast and Midwest, and Illinois chorus frogs in the Midwest alone; Rio Grande cooters, Arizona toads and Cascade Caverns salamanders in the Southwest; alligator snapping turtles, gopher frogs, southern hog-nosed snakes, Apalachicola kingsnakes, Rim Rock crowned snakes, Key ringneck snakes and Cedar Key mole skinks in the Southeast; western spadefoot toads, foothill yellow-legged frogs, Kern Canyon slender salamanders and relictual slender salamanders in California; and Cascades frogs and Oregon slender salamanders in the Northwest.

The initial positive findings for these species are the first in a series of decisions required from the Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the Center's petition presents sufficient information to warrant further consideration. The next step is a full status review; decisions on the remainder of the 53 species should be coming soon.

Read all our press releases on these species.

Wild & Weird: Endangered Bee Highway Under Construction in Norway

BeeRoughly 200 species of native bees in Norway are considered endangered. In response Norwegians in Oslo, the capital city, are building a "bee highway" -- the first of its kind, they say -- with rest stops providing shelter, food, and safe and convenient passage through the urban landscape.

A coalition of state agencies, businesses, organizations and individuals are turning empty lots into pollinator gardens, equipping rooftops with stylish hives, and mapping the network of bee infrastructure as it continues to grow.

"One should see it as a sign that companies are also taking responsibility for preserving biodiversity," one accountant, who convinced her company to invest more than $50,000 for the project, told The Guardian.

Read more in The Guardian.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

View this message in your browser and share it on social media.

Photo credits: Humpback whale courtesy Flickr/Green Fire Productions, Florian Graner; red wolf courtesy Flickr/Christine Majul; Mt. Charleston blue butterfly courtesy Flickr/USFWS, Corey Kallstrom; wolves by John Pitcher; Earth graphic courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; sea otter courtesy Flickr/Laura R; sage grouse courtesy Flickr/Alan Krakauer; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; western spadefoot toad courtesy Flickr/Ken-ichi Ueda; bee courtesy Flickr/Fredrik Rødland.

Donate now to support the Center's work.

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.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702-0710