We Stand With Standing Rock
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Thousands Make a Stand With Standing Rock -- Thank You

More than anything in the coming years, we'll need people power. Thousands of people took to the streets from coast to coast on Tuesday, in solidarity with those fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. It was a powerful day of community-building, respect, and thousands of people speaking as one against this disastrous project.

Thanks to all who attended one of the 100-plus events held around the country, from San Francisco and L.A. to Tucson, Flagstaff, Portland, St. Petersburg, and Washington, D.C.

This week also brought good news: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delayed the granting of an easement for the pipeline. And the number of people fighting it continues to grow, as more and more Americans call for the protection of indigenous rights, sacred places, our water and our climate.

Check out these rally photos and watch this video of Tucson's event on Facebook or YouTube.

Bald eagle

Taking the Fight to Trump

As the smoke clears from Donald Trump's election, we're starting to see some villains from the past loom out of the dark clouds. George W. Bush's endangered species henchman, David Bernhardt, has been hired to oversee the transition of the Interior Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Perennial climate denier, Endangered Species Act critic and former Bush advisor Myron Ebell will run the EPA transition. And Stephen Bannon, a white supremacist whose Breitbart News published articles such as "Animals That Aren't Delicious or Useful Deserve to Be Extinct," was tapped as Trump's chief strategist.

The Center has successfully faced off with Bernhardt and Ebell in the courts before, stopping their agendas cold. We're bringing on more top-notch lawyers to do it again. The courts are the only pillar of government not controlled by Trump and his cronies -- the only thing standing between his extremist agenda and the most vulnerable members of our society, including endangered species. The Center's fierce lawyers will be there as we always have to defend our democracy and environment.

We're also taking to the streets. Stay tuned for an invitation to join our January cross-country, town-to-town rally in protest of Trump's vicious attack on the climate, clean water, endangered species, women, minorities, religious freedom and the LGBT community. Starting in Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle, we'll cross the country, rallying supporters in towns large and small before we converge on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, bringing our message to Trump's inauguration.

Landmark Victory in California: Monterey Bans Fracking

Yes on Measure Z

There was a bright spot on a dark Election Day: Voters in Monterey County, California's fourth-largest oil-producing county, last Tuesday passed Measure Z, banning fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques. The measure won with more than 55 percent of the vote, despite supporters being outspent 30 to 1 by oil companies. Monterey is California's sixth county to ban fracking.

"David beat Goliath in Monterey County's stunning victory against oil-industry pollution," said the Center's Kassie Siegel. "Despite spending millions, oil companies couldn't suppress this grassroots campaign. This triumph against fracking will inspire communities across California and the whole country to stand up to this toxic industry."

Read more in The Mercury News.

Southern Resident killer whale

Orca Protection Zone Sought Off Washington State

With the recent deaths of a mother orca and young calf, Puget Sound's killer whales -- which migrate along the West Coast -- have dipped to a new population low of only 80 individuals. So conservation groups including the Center have petitioned the Obama administration to create a 10-square-mile "whale protection zone" near San Juan Island to protect orcas from vessel noise and disturbance that interferes with feeding.

The National Marine Fisheries Service acknowledges that these whales are at high risk of extinction, but it has resisted calls from conservation groups and citizens to quickly expand critical habitat protection.

"This whale protection zone could jump-start orcas' recovery with concrete protections," said Miyoko Sakashita, our oceans program director.

Read more in The Journal of the San Juan Islands.

Don't Let Congress Turn Our Forests Into Fuel -- Take Action


Trouble is brewing in the lame-duck session of Congress that started this week: The timber industry is pushing no fewer than three federal riders that would force regulators to pretend that burning forests for fuel is somehow "carbon neutral." Biomass (plants and plant-derived materials burned for fuel) spews out even more climate-damaging CO2 per megawatt-hour than coal does. Once released, the carbon lingers in the atmosphere for decades -- even centuries.

Act now to urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to oppose the industry's anti-science biomass riders.

Keep It in the Ground

Election Won't Trump Climate Action, World Vows

News of Donald Trump's election spread like a shockwave through groups of experts and activists in Morocco for this month's United Nations climate conference.

But dismay quickly turned into determination, said Center representatives at the conference. Spearheading panels and organizing protests, the Center convened with global activists fighting fossil fuel extraction, highlighting the continued need for work aimed at keeping coal, oil and natural gas in the ground.

"The world is rising up to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground and stop dangerous and unjust projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline," said the Center's Kassie Siegel. "Trump's deadly contempt for our planet will unleash grassroots climate action like nothing we've ever seen."

Read more about our work to fight the climate crisis.

African forest elephant

Feds Dragging Feet on African Elephants, Center to Sue

Last year the Center petitioned the U.S. government to recognize forest and savannah elephants in Africa as two separate species and protect them as "endangered." The feds failed to act, so this week we gave notice that we're going to sue -- it'll be one of the first wildlife suits the Trump administration will have to contend with from us. A devastating illegal slaughter of these elephants for ivory is driving them toward extinction.

Countries participating in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) recently agreed to tackle shutting down domestic ivory markets; a U.S. "endangered" listing would help spur further protections.

"The United States needs to lead on protecting elephants," said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney at the Center. "A world without them would be a very sad place."

Read more in our press release.

Flotsam logo

#EcoList of Things We Love

Five Animals Handling Winter Like a Boss

OR-25 wolf

New Wolves in California

Exciting news: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed that two new wild, adult gray wolves are exploring Northern California's Lassen County. One is male -- DNA scat tests show he's the son of famous wanderer OR-7, born in Oregon -- and the other is female, "origin unknown," possibly from a more distant western state. That means she'll bring essential genetic diversity to California wolves if she and the male have pups.

"This is another landmark for California wolf recovery," said the Center's Amaroq Weiss. "This state has great wolf habitat -- OR-7 proved that with his historic travels here -- and now his son and son's mate are helping create a legacy."

Read more in the Times Standard.

EPA Approves Dangerous Dicamba

Soybean field

The EPA has just OK'ed the use of the toxic herbicide dicamba on crops genetically engineered to tolerate it, opening the door for dicamba use to jump from under 1 million pounds to 25 million-plus every year on GE soybeans and cotton. This approval blatantly ignores the legal requirement to examine harm to wildlife when green-lighting pesticides.

"Once again the EPA is allowing for staggering increases in pesticide use that will harm endangered whooping cranes and many more of our most imperiled plants and animals," said Center scientist Nathan Donley. Read more.

Florida softshell turtle

Wild & Weird: Florida's Softshell Turtles

If Florida were ever to hold a weirdo pageant, you better believe the competition would be stiff. There's a whole lot of humans and animals in the Sunshine State who'd certainly be in the running.

Consider, for instance, the Florida softshell turtle. It can breathe through its skin and use its long neck as a snorkel.

Watch this video -- including footage of one softshell turtle interrupting a PGA golf championship -- on Facebook or YouTube. Also check out our latest Save the Weirdos piece for more facts on this kooky creature (and don't forget to like it, share it and follow us on Medium, if you please!).

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Photo credits: Standing Rock protest courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; bald eagle by Nature's Pics online; Measure Z photo courtesy Protect Monterey County; Southern Resident killer whale by Miles Ritter/Flickr; logging image by mkaufmann/Flickr; pipeline illustration by Lauren Walker, Truthout; African forest elephant by Swallowtail Garden Seeds/Flickr; Flotsam logo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; wolf OR-25 courtesy ODFW; soybean field by Sarah Cady/Flickr; Florida softshell turtle by Tara Tanaka.

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