Victory: Court Blocks Massive Arctic Oil Development
As the result of a suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, a federal court just nixed the approval of the Willow Master Development Plan, a large oil and gas project in Alaska’s Western Arctic. The project was approved under Trump but defended in court by the Biden administration, despite its climate pledges.
Among other problems, said the judge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly consider the project’s impacts on polar bears, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
“This is a huge victory for our climate and polar bears,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center. “If President Biden is serious about addressing the climate crisis, he has to prohibit all new oil and gas activity in the Arctic.”
Lawsuit Launched for 19 Foreign Species
The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to propose protection for 19 foreign wildlife species: five butterflies, 13 birds and a clam. All of them — including Japan’s Okinawa woodpecker, Brazil’s black-backed tanager and Bolivia’s southern helmeted curassow — have gone unprotected on the Service’s “candidate” waitlist, some for more than 30 years.
“Perpetuating Trump’s snail’s pace of protecting foreign wildlife is unacceptable for the Biden administration in this global extinction crisis,” said the Center’s Tanya Sanerib. “Beautiful, unique butterflies and birds are facing extinction without the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and we won’t sit by while they languish on a government waitlist.”
Wolves in the Crosshairs — Even Pups
Weeks after fatally shooting two four-month-old pups from Oregon’s Lookout Mountain wolf pack, state wildlife officials just reauthorized the killing of two more family members. Two yearlings and five other young littermates are at risk.
Meanwhile — since the Fish and Wildlife Service, under President Biden, is standing behind Trump’s removal of wolves’ federal protection — state-sponsored hunts elsewhere will likely slaughter hundreds more wolves this year.
“Biden can’t say his administration supports science-based decisions and then let Wisconsin, Montana and Idaho turn into a bloodbath for wolves,” said Center wolf expert Amaroq Weiss. “That’s why we’re in court to win back their Endangered Species Act protection.”
Please help our fight by giving to the Wolf Defense Fund.
Wildlife Crossings Save Mountain Lions and More
Cars and trucks in the Golden State kill millions of animals annually, including imperiled San Joaquin kit foxes, desert tortoises, and California mountain lions. Worse, the actual number of wildlife collisions may be 10 times more than reported.
A new Center study shows that when properly done, wildlife crossings on California roadways can dramatically lower that body count and protect drivers, too, reducing wildlife-vehicle crashes by at least 80%. We’re calling on state lawmakers to prioritize wildlife connectivity with clear mandates to preserve and enhance linkages and fund crossings to help animals survive a fragmented landscape.
Watch our new video on Facebook and YouTube of a puma sniffing a remote camera near Los Angeles.
Suit Seeks to Regulate Vinyl as Hazardous Waste
Polyvinyl chloride — aka vinyl — is in toys, clothing, packaging, building materials and many other everyday items. It releases toxic chemicals and carcinogens into the air, water and food web. So last week the Center sued to make the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency take the first step toward regulating PVC as hazardous waste.
“PVC is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever made,” said Center attorney Emily Jeffers. “The federal government can’t keep ignoring that reality.”
Elusive Bumblebee Protected as Endangered
Following legal action by the Center, on Monday the Fish and Wildlife Service protected Franklin’s bumblebees under the Endangered Species Act.
But despite admitting the bees are at high risk of extinction from pathogens and pesticides, the Service didn’t protect their habitat. This decision stems from a Trump-era rule change limiting critical habitat to species directly threatened by habitat destruction, which we’re also challenging in court.
“This is a good step, but the failure to protect critical habitat will make recovery an uphill battle,” said the Center’s Quinn Read. “There’s just no way to save species like this unique bumblebee without protecting the places they live.”
Revelator: 13 New Books on Pollution
Team Buckwheat T-Shirts Back in Stock
Join Team Buckwheat! Tiehm’s buckwheat is a rare wildflower the Center is fighting to protect. Show your support and raise awareness about native plant conservation by rocking our Team Buckwheat short-sleeved T-shirt, just restocked and redesigned. It’s printed in water-based white ink on super-soft jersey of 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled plastic in heather bark. $18 while supplies last.
Vanishing: Awake and Worrying About Moose
What if moose, so mighty and massive, went the way of bison? Moose aren’t endangered, but we’ve taken abundant species for granted before — bison and passenger pigeons come to mind — and paid a terrible price.
In the latest essay in our Vanishing series examining the human toll of wildlife losses, poet Joanna Lilley reflects on the possibility of losing moose and other species around her home in northern Canada. “I always thought one of the main reasons I love going into the forest was so that I could be alone,” she writes, “but I’ve realized that I don’t actually want to be alone.”
Read the essay now.
That’s Wild: What the Pluck?
A new report published in Ecology describes an understudied behavior of interspecies pilfering: Some birds take great risks to snatch hair from live mammals for their nests.
Novel data and dozens of videos posted to YouTube show small birds, like titmice and chickadees, dive-bombing cats, humans, dogs, racoons and a porcupine and fleeing with stolen follicles. Kleptotrichy, derived from the Greek words for “steal” and “hair,” appears to be more common in the avian kingdom than scientists once thought.
Read more at ScienceNews.
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Photo credits: Polar bear cub by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; black-backed tanager by Hector Bottai; gray wolf pup from Oregon's Wenaha pack courtesy ODFW; California mountain lion remote-camera footage screenshot; PVC pipes by Stephen Smith/Flickr; Franklin's bumblebee by James P. Strange, USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit; Revelator books on pollution; Team Buckwheat T-shirt by Ric Santora/Center for Biological Diversity, Tiehm's buckwheat plant by Patrick Donelly/Center for Biological Diversity; moose by Aaron Bradley; tufted titmouse by Brian Repa/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
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