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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Court Battle Begins to Save Monuments From Trump

President Trump went to Utah Monday and announced he was making deep cuts to the size of two national treasures, shrinking Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by about half.

But it's not a done deal. Within hours the Center for Biological Diversity and conservation allies were in court to sue Trump, and tribes also mounted legal challenges. We have the law and public opinion on our side: More than 2.8 million people wrote to the Interior Department urging the administration to preserve protection for these iconic places.

"This has nothing to do with state's rights and everything to do with Trump bending over backward to please polluters and right-wing zealots," said the Center's Randi Spivak.

Get more from CNN.

Salt Lake City protest

People Power: Thousands Protest Slashing of Monuments

Litigation isn't the only way we're fighting back against Trump's attempt to tear apart national monuments.

Some 5,000 people rallied in Salt Lake City before Trump's announcement, and our activists with Ignite Change organized more than 40 events around the country this week, including rallies, protests, concerts, letter-writing parties and visits to congressional offices. Our signs, banners, hashtags and voices were all over media and social media — thanks to all of you who participated.

We're proud and inspired to see so many passionate volunteers and activists speaking out for public lands and wildlife. The fight is going full tilt — so please take a moment to join Ignite Change and don't forget to follow Ignite Change on Facebook and Twitter.

7 Songs for the Anthropocene

Mos Def

Environmental music can be bad. You know what we're talking about: awkward pleas to save the whales. Embarrassing elegies to the ozone layer. Soft-rock melodies about smog that completely fail to stir the emotions.

Fortunately there's also great music worthy of Mother Earth and the heroic fight to protect her — but you might have to dig a little to find it. Our newest Flotsam eco-list, "7 Songs for the Anthropocene," shines the light on some of the good stuff.

Check it out at the Center's Medium page.

Polar bear

Trump Holds Goliath Oil-lease Sale in Arctic

Giddily auctioning off the Arctic to Big Oil, the Trump administration opened bids Wednesday on the largest-ever oil-lease sale in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve — offering all available land in the reserve to private companies for exploration and drilling. More than 10.3 million acres are suddenly up for grabs in what has been, until now, a stunning wilderness teeming with caribou, grizzly bears and migratory birds.

The reserve is the single-largest parcel of public land in the United States, and larger than 12 states.

"North Alaska is the country's last frontier, and Trump's inviting the oil industry to suck the life out of it," said the Center's Kristen Monsell. "We have to fight back and try to protect these wild places to avert disaster."

Get more from Newsline and in this Medium piece about the front lines of the Arctic oil feeding frenzy.

Monarch butterfly

100 Groups Urge Feds to Spend Money Saving Monarchs

In the past 20 years, monarch butterflies' population has plummeted by 80 percent, largely due to the pesticide Roundup killing off their caterpillars' food, milkweed. Scientists say there's a nearly 60 percent chance the butterflies' spectacular, multigenerational migration could soon collapse. So the Center and 101 other groups have sent a letter to federal agencies urging an increase in funding for monarch conservation and habitat restoration.

"It's heartbreaking that these magnificent orange-and-black butterflies, once common in our backyards, may now be heading for extinction," said the Center's Stephanie Kurose. "We need strong leadership from the Natural Resources Conservation Service if we're going to save this beloved creature for future generations."

Get more from WTTW Chicago.

Revelator Roundup: Monuments, December Reads

Bears Ears National Monument

The Revelator provided some important context this week on Trump's decision to slash the size of two national monuments. One story provided an in-depth look at some racist roots in the fight over these public lands. Another shed light on how American Indian leaders have reacted to Trump's proclamations.

Also, take a few minutes to get caught up on some of the best environmental books out this month — and then sign up for The Revelator's weekly newsletter.

Okinawa delegation

U.S. Base a Disaster for Japan's Dugongs

The U.S. military is wreaking havoc in Okinawa, Japan, a Center delegation discovered last week. Massive concrete blocks have been dumped in Henoko Bay, crushing coral and seagrass crucial to the endangered Okinawa dugong, a manatee relative. The construction is the start of a military base that could wipe out the animals.

The Center delegation inspected the project, which violates U.S. law, and discussed our lawsuit challenging the project with Japanese officials. The team also met with Okinawan activists and co-plaintiffs to plan for our hearing in U.S. court May 24.

"This base is an assault on Okinawa and a death sentence for the dugong," Center cofounder Peter Galvin told Japanese reporters.

Read about the Center's visit and take action.

Mojave shoulderband snail

Trump Administration Denies Protections to More Species

The Trump administration continues to deny lifesaving protection to some of the country's most endangered animals.

This week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused Endangered Species Act protection for a California snail whose habitat is threatened by an open-pit gold mine, and a Florida crayfish fighting to survive pollution and sea-level rise. Earlier this year the Trump administration denied protection to 29 other threatened species, including Pacific walruses and Rocky Mountain fishers.

"The job of the Fish and Wildlife Service is to protect endangered wildlife. But under Trump, the agency's clearly catering to industry interests," said the Center's Tierra Curry.

Read more about the slighted Mohave shoulderband snail and Woodville Karst cave crayfish.

Trump Passes Fatally Flawed Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

Mexican gray wolf

Trump's Fish and Wildlife Service just finalized a dangerously defective "recovery plan" for Mexican gray wolves. Instead of outlining a roadmap to recovery for these endangered wild canines, the plan will thwart their success — and long-term survival — in their historic homelands.

"This isn't a recovery plan, it's a blueprint for disaster for Mexican wolves," said the Center's Michael Robinson. "By limiting their habitat and stripping protections too soon, this plan ignores the science and ensures these wolves never reach sufficient numbers to be secure." Get more from Reuters.

Red fox

Wild & Weird: Not All Red Foxes Are Red

Turns out the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) isn't always red. There are a handful of color mutations that occur naturally in the wild — white, black, silver — and a seemingly endless variety of permutations created by human breeders for the fur industry.

Check out our video on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram to see a beautiful red fox exhibiting a silver/black morph.

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Photo credits: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by James Marvin Phelps/Flickr; Salt Lake City protest by Joe Trudeau/Center for Biological Diversity; Mos Def by prawnpie/Flickr; polar bear by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; monarch butterfly by cybergate9/Flickr; Bears Ears National Monument by Scott Jones/Flickr; Okinawa delegation by Patrick Sullivan/Center for Biological Diversity; Mohave shoulderband snail by Lance Gilbertson; Mexican gray wolf (c) Robin Silver/Center for Biological Diversity; red fox by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online.

Center for Biological Diversity
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