Bookmark and Share
Center for Biological Diversity

No. 839, Aug. 11, 2016

Donate Now Take Action Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram

State Issues Kill Order for Wolves in Northeast Washington

Profanity Pack wolvesReturning wolves to the West Coast is no easy job.

This week we learned that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to kill members of the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County, in the northeastern part of the state. The agency's kill order followed investigations concluding that wolves from this pack were behind the recent deaths of three calves and a cow, all on public-lands grazing allotments. The decision was made under the guidelines of a new lethal-removal protocol agreed upon this spring by the state Wolf Advisory Group, which includes Department of Fish and Wildlife staff as well as representatives from the ranching, hunting and conservation communities.

The Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting for years to bring wolves back to Washington, Oregon and California -- which takes more tolerance than the Profanity Peak pack is getting. We'll keep fighting.

"We're deeply saddened that wolves are going to die," said Amaroq Weiss, our West Coast wolf organizer. "We aren't part of the advisory group but have made clear that we don't support the killing of the public's wildlife on public lands."

Read more in The Seattle Times.

Vanishing Rio Grande Mussel Proposed for Protection

Texas hornshell musselFollowing a landmark settlement with the Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed endangered species protection for the Texas hornshell, the last surviving native freshwater mussel in New Mexico. The animal is severely threatened by plans for a new dam, as well as ongoing pollution and destruction of its river habitat.

Sporting a dark-green or brown shell up to 4 inches long, the Texas hornshell was once found throughout the Rio Grande watershed. It's now confined to six isolated stretches, including just two tributaries of the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico.

"The remarkable survival of this unassuming creature spotlights the critical importance of protecting our last clean, flowing rivers -- and doing right by mussels and people alike," said the Center's Michael Robinson.

Protection was proposed as part of our historic 2011 agreement with the government to expedite decisions on 757 species. So far 147 have been protected as a result, and another 35 have been proposed for safeguards.

Read more in our press release.

Offshore Drilling in Alaska? Lessons From Exxon Valdez Still Apply

Exxon ValdezGot four minutes? Then hop over to our Medium page and read this piece from our Alaska representative Dune Lankard about the life-changing lessons of the Exxon Valdez spill and the importance of halting new offshore leases in Alaska.

Dune is an Eyak Athabaskan Native, lifelong Alaska resident, and subsistence and commercial fisherman. His piece explores the hard truths about the 1989 oil spill in Prince William Sound and the lessons we're doomed to repeat if we continue business as usual.

"This single event changed my life and the life of my community forever," Dune writes. "Indeed, that devastating experience informs my roles as a tribal leader, a fisherman, a committed conservationist  --  and today, my strong opposition to the current push for new offshore oil leasing around Alaska."

He continues: "We have already done more than our fair share to feed this country's unquenchable thirst for fossil fuels, even at the loss of our precious environment, fisheries and public trust. It's time to write a new chapter and create a truly sustainable economy."

Read more from Dune and follow the Center on Medium.

Become a Monthly Sustainer

Study: Endangered Species Listing Process Taking 6 Times Too Long

New England cottontailAccording to a report in the latest edition of the journal Biological Conservation, over the past 40 years imperiled species have waited on average more than 12 years for Endangered Species Act protection -- even though legally the protection process should take no more than two years.

The study, which analyzed the listing process for 1,338 species protected between 1973 and 2014, also found that vertebrate species are protected more quickly than invertebrates and plants, and that lawsuits (like those filed by the Center and other conservation groups) hasten protection for the species they champion. The newly uncovered delays and biases -- caused by scant federal funding, shifting policies and differing priorities among presidential administrations -- are "of grave concern," in the words of lead author Dr. Emily Puckett.

That's putting it tactfully, to say the least: Over the past four decades, more than 40 species have gone extinct while waiting for protection.

"As this study shows," said the Center's Noah Greenwald, "even more species might have been lost if it weren't for petitions and lawsuits by concerned groups and citizens."

Read more in our press release.

Lawsuit Targets Plan to Turn California Aquifer Into an Oil Waste Dump

Oil derrickIn the Price Canyon area of San Luis Obispo County, there are at least 100 wells for drinking water and crop irrigation within a mile of an aquifer that California officials seem eager to turn into a permanent disposal site for oil wastewater. So last week the Center filed suit against the regulators for their failure to analyze the risks associated with injecting oil waste into this underground water supply.

It's the first attempt by Gov. Jerry Brown's oil officials to seek an "aquifer exemption" allowing the waste injection since revelations last year that oil companies have been allowed to dump toxic waste into scores of protected underground water supplies across California -- waste that can contain high levels of benzene and other cancer-causing chemicals.

"Oil regulators are disturbingly determined to turn this aquifer into an oil-industry waste dump, but they can't just shrug off California's environmental laws," said Maya Golden-Krasner, the Center attorney bringing the lawsuit. "California officials must put our thirsty state's water needs ahead of oil-company profits."

Get more from KSBY San Luis Obispo News.

Dragonflies 1, Industry 0: EPA Was Right to Cancel Toxic Pesticide

DragonflyThe Environmental Protection Agency's decision to halt use of a pesticide that's highly toxic to freshwater wildlife like dragonflies, crayfish and mussels survived an industry challenge last week from Bayer CropScience: The agency's appeals board agreed the company had failed to live up to its commitment to stop selling the pesticide after studies confirmed its toxicity to wildlife.

The EPA knew back in 2008 that flubendiamide, an insecticide designed to kill caterpillars, is very toxic to aquatic invertebrates and accumulates in the environment with each application -- yet the agency granted Bayer a limited approval while the company did more studies on the chemical. After the studies confirmed unacceptable levels of harm, the EPA requested voluntary cancellation (and the Center supported that request with friend-of-the-court briefs) but Bayer refused. The company fought the EPA's decision and now has lost the appeal

"Cancelling flubendiamide is a huge win for freshwater wildlife around the country," said Center Senior Attorney Stephanie Parent. "Harming species like dragonflies, crayfish and mussels has cascading effects on the entire web of life, and this pesticide poses unacceptable risks."

Read more in our press release.

Take Action

Overturn Citizens United and Stop the War on Wildlife -- Take Action

American burying beetleAs a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United ruling in 2010 -- which holds that corporations are legal persons and money is "free speech" -- political contributions going directly to Congress from the oil and gas industry have skyrocketed. And it's no mystery where that money's influence went: Members of Congress turned around and launched a 660 percent increase in legislative attacks on the Endangered Species Act and imperiled wildlife like American burying beetles and sage grouse, whose protection was "in the way" of fossil fuel projects.

Fortunately senators on Capitol Hill have put forth Senate Bill 6 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 -- the "We the People Package" -- to put campaign reform front and center for the next Congress. The bills would put limits on campaign contributions, mandate public disclosures, and require all candidates running for federal office to report contributions more than $1,000. Curtailing legalized bribery and shining a light on "dark money" contributions will help ensure that science, not corporate-funded political schemes, decides the fate of wildlife.

Your voice is needed -- act now to sign our petition in support of these resolutions.

Wild & Weird: It's a Frog! It's a Fish! No, It's a Frogfish! -- Watch Video

FrogfishResembling car-emblem Darwin fish -- that is, fish with sprouting legs and feet -- the strange denizens of the ocean called "frogfish" are the only fish known to walk. Different species of these marvelous critters can look like frogs, bulldogs, or squat masses of coral or rock, but they all look weird. And they all balance themselves on leg-like fins to make their way across the ocean floor.

Frogfish, of which there are nearly 50 known species, are camouflage hunters. They spend most of their time with their bodies stock-still, except for the fleshy lures protruding from their noggins, which they swing around to attract prey as they wait for a snack. And while they may seem lethargic, they actually have one of the fastest attack strikes on the planet: A frogfish can swallow its prey whole in 1/6,000th of a second.

Do yourself a favor and watch our new video of these concentrated lumps of oddity waddling around the ocean floor, flipping their lures and gulping up prey.

Kieran Suckling

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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

Photo credits: Profanity Peak pack wolves courtesy Washington Department of Natural Resources; Texas hornshell mussel by casaverdesol/Flickr (licensed image cropped from original); Exxon Valdez courtesy NOAA; wolves by John Pitcher; New England cottontail courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior; oil derrick by ali_e/Flickr; dragonfly by steven2005/Flickr; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; American burying beetle courtesy Doug Backlund/SD Game Fish & Parks; frogfish by buzzthediver/Flickr.

Donate now to support the Center's work.

Remove me from this mailing list.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends out newsletters and action alerts through Click here if you'd like to check your profile and preferences.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702-0710