Bookmark and Share
Center for Biological Diversity

No. 799, Nov. 5, 2015

Donate Now Take Action Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram

Landmark Climate Bill Would End New Federal Fossil Fuel Leases

Fracking rigBig news out of Washington, D.C.: A bill announced in Congress this week would end new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and oceans and cancel existing offshore federal oil and gas leases in the Arctic. If enacted it would keep up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.

The landmark climate bill was announced Wednesday by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). It follows a report and petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies outlining the importance of banning new leasing for oil, coal and gas on public lands and offshore areas as a key way for the United States to meet its obligations to stem global warming. More than 400 groups and leaders have joined our call to the Obama administration to end its federal leasing program.

"If we're going to solve the global climate crisis, we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and this brave legislation puts us on the right path," said the Center's Randi Spivak. "Developing our last publicly owned fossil fuels would cripple our ability to avert worst-case climate impacts."

Read more in our press release.

Study: California's Poorest Counties Hit Hardest by Glyphosate Spraying

Glyphosate reportThe chemical glyphosate -- commonly known as Roundup -- is a probable cancer-causing agent and the most widely used herbicide across the United States and the world. On Monday the Center and allies released a report revealing that more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state's eight poorest counties.

The analysis, called Lost in the Mist: How Glyphosate Use Disproportionately Threatens California's Most Impoverished Counties, also finds that the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino.

"We've uncovered a disturbing trend where poor and minority communities disproportionately live in regions where glyphosate is sprayed," said Dr. Nathan Donley, a Center staff scientist. "In high doses glyphosate is dangerous to people, and California can't, in good conscience, keep allowing these communities to pay the price for our overreliance on pesticides."

Read more in our press release.

Scientists Slam Plan to Strip Oregon Wolf Protections -- Last Chance to Act

Oregon wolfA group of top independent biologists has rebuked Oregon's plan to remove state Endangered Species Act protections from its wolves, counted at only 83 individuals and missing from nearly 90 percent of suitable habitat in the state. Contrary to a "fundamentally flawed" Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife study, these scientists say, the wolves are far from recovered. Pulling protections now would show that politics -- not science -- guide Oregon wildlife management.

The scientists' critical analyses of the state study joined more than 22,000 comments submitted by the Center and others in the Pacific Wolf Coalition to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which will vote Nov. 9 on whether to remove safeguards.

"According to some of the world's foremost experts in wolf and population biology, Oregon's move to strip gray wolves of protection simply doesn't reflect reality," said the Center's Amaroq Weiss.

Many thanks if you've already acted to protect these wolves. If not write the commission before 5 p.m. Pacific on Friday (tomorrow). Learn more and read the scientists' letters in our press release.

Become a Monthly Sustainer

America's Only Jaguar Gets a Name: Tucson School Kids Announce 'El Jefe'

JaguarA nationwide contest sponsored by the Center ended Monday with the announcement of "El Jefe" as the winning name for the only known wild jaguar in the United States, which lives just 30 miles from downtown Tucson.

El Jefe has been photographed more than 100 times by trail cameras in the nearby Santa Rita Mountains over the past three years -- the first documented jaguar roaming wild in the United States since the 2009 death of famous jaguar Macho B.

The jaguar's new name, Spanish for "The Boss," is a nod to his place at the top of the food chain. Students at Tucson's Felizardo Valencia Middle School, which has a jaguar for its mascot, cast votes for their favorite names last month and received instruction in jaguar biology and natural history.

"Like most people, the more these kids learned about the awesome power and majesty of the jaguar, the more pride and enthusiasm they showed," said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center who worked with the students. "It's just really inspiring to feel that energy and know that they care so much about this beautiful animal."

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star and watch this video from Cronkite News.

U.N. Study: World's Climate Pledges Too Weak to Ward Off Dire Warming

SunsetJust ahead of the Paris climate talks in December, a United Nations analysis has found that pledges made by 145 countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions won't be enough to prevent dangerous global warming.

According to the study, even if these countries actually fulfill their pledges, our planet will warm by almost 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius) by 2100 -- likely meaning profound damage to our resources and ecosystems, plus more drought, heat waves and other extreme weather.

The U.S. pledge, for one, is deeply inadequate. But President Obama has the power to greatly increase America's influence through deeds like ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and cutting airplane emissions. Climate-summit negotiators hope for an agreement that will help keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. The U.N. analysis shows that will require much stronger action from developed nations -- and soon.

Read the Center's press release and our new webpage outlining five steps America must take to protect our planet.

Longtime Ban on Crude Oil Exports Under Siege -- Take Action

Fracking illustrationRepublican senators and the oil industry say they're just a handful of votes shy of passing legislation to lift the United States' 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. If passed this bill would mark a dangerous reversal of existing U.S. policy, and would launch the country deep into the business of exporting fracked oil and gas -- which is why we need your help to kill this toxic bill as quickly as possible.

Scientists tell us we must leave at least 80 percent of fossil fuels in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change. Lifting the oil export ban would move us in exactly the opposite direction, unearthing an additional 3.3 million barrels per day.

Terminating the ban will also unleash fracking across America -- exposing communities to increased air pollution, water contamination, risk of explosions from crude-carrying trains, and surges in earthquakes like those caused by the oil industry in Oklahoma.

Act now to urge your senators to stand up against Big Oil and oppose the bill to lift the crude export ban. We'll be far better off keeping these fossil fuels in the ground.

Take Action

Worst of the Worst: Monsanto Wins 2015 Rubber Dodo

Monsanto protestYou voted: Monsanto is the unlucky (and deserving) recipient of the Center's annual Rubber Dodo award. We give out this award every year to the person or entity who's done the most to destroy wild places, species and biological diversity. Monsanto produces and sells Roundup and its toxic active ingredient, glyphosate, the most widely used pesticide in the United States and the world.

Glyphosate has been classified as a "probable human carcinogen" by the World Health Organization and is considered a leading cause of the 80 percent decline of monarch butterflies.

"The science is increasingly clear that glyphosate is damaging wildlife and putting people at serious risk and yet Monsanto continues to aggressively peddle the stuff to farmers and really any customer it can find," said Kierán Suckling, the Center's executive director. "It's hard to fathom the depth of the damage that glyphosate is doing, but its toxic legacy will live on for generations, whether it's through threatening monarchs with extinction or a heightened risk of cancer for people where it's spread."

Read more in our press release.

Call to Suspend Review of Keystone XL Is a 'Desperate and Cynical Ploy'

PipesYou may have seen the news this week that TransCanada asked the Obama administration to suspend its review of the long-controversial Keystone XL pipeline. This, of course, came after hundreds of thousands of people spoke out against the proposed pipeline as part of a mass movement to tackle the climate crisis and move away from dangerous fossil fuels.

"TransCanada rightly sensed that the tide has turned against Keystone XL, and now they're trying to delay any decision in the hopes that they can get a Republican president to approve it," the Center's Valerie Love told the press this week. "It's a desperate and cynical political ploy, but it doesn't change the fact that Keystone would be a disaster for people, wildlife and the climate. President Obama shouldn't wait any longer: He needs to reject this pipeline now -- once and for all -- so we can move on to energy policies that are smart, sustainable and preserve a future for all."

Read more in Newsweek.

Tell the Mauritian Government: Stop the Bat Kill

Mauritius fruit batOnce home to the now famously extinct dodo bird, the small island nation of Mauritius is a global biodiversity hotspot under threat. This idyllic, tropical locale off Africa's southeast coast has a menagerie of rare plants and animals -- but they're vanishing at a startling clip. One species at high risk is the Mauritius fruit bat (aka flying fox), a megabat with a two-and-a-half-foot wingspan.

The country's government is planning to kill around 18,000 of these bats -- or roughly 20 percent of the entire population -- in what may be the largest cull of any threatened species ever. While the government claims the bats must die to protect lychee fruit growers, scientists say there's no evidence to support those claims. Many islanders oppose killing the bats, and experts with the International Union for Conservation of Nature strongly recommend nonlethal options.

Act now to add your voice to the growing opposition. Urge the Mauritian government to reconsider its plans and protect, not kill, these unique and ecologically important pollinators.

Wild & Weird: Sheep Flatulence Forces Airplane to Land

SheepLast week a Singapore Airline Boeing 747 freighter carrying 2,186 sheep from Australia to Malaysia was forced to make an emergency landing in Bali when its fire-detection devices went off.

Once the plane was on the ground, investigators discovered that the fire alarm had been triggered by exhaust gases from the sheep, more commonly known as farts.

Sadly, according to Purdue University sheep specialist Mike Neary, sheep under excess stress -- for example, during an international flight -- experience intense gas bloating and other medical complications.

Read more at UPI.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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

Photo credits: Fracking rig courtesy Flickr/WildEarth Guardians; glyphosate spray courtesy Flickr/Chafer Machinery; gray wolf courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; wolves by John Pitcher; jaguar courtesy USFWS; sunset courtesy Flickr/David Evers; fracking illustration courtesy Flickr/Jared Rodriguez, Truthout; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; protest courtesy Flickr/Die Grünen Kärnten; pipes courtesy Flickr/Loozrboy; Mauritius fruit bat courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Simon J. Tonge; sheep courtesy Flickr/grassrootsgroundswell.

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