Fighting Pollution From the Plastics Boom

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350 Groups Call for Action on Plastics Plant Pollution

More than 350 organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a legal petition Tuesday demanding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopt strict air-pollution standards for industrial plants that manufacture plastic.

U.S. plastic production is booming, fed by a glut of cheap fracked gas. Plastics plants — most located in low-income communities of color — are allowed to emit hundreds of tons of toxic and cancer-causing air pollutants annually, plus millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

Our petition calls for five specific actions by the EPA, including updates to decades-old clean-air standards and a requirement that any new petrochemical plants be powered by zero-carbon energy.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Las Vegas traffic

Our Message to Climate Leaders: Clean Up Transportation

Global leaders need to phase out oil production and focus on electrifying cars, trucks, airplanes and other modes of transportation with renewable energy.

That was a key message delivered this week by the Center at the United Nations climate conference in Madrid, Spain. Transportation accounted for nearly one-quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 and is the fastest-growing source of climate pollution.

"Beating the climate crisis means both keeping oil in the ground and weaning ourselves off the dirty petrol fueling cars, buses, trucks, airplanes and ships," said the Center's Jean Su. "The world's addiction to oil must end, and the first step is giving the public transportation that's oil-free."

Read more in EcoWatch.

Canada lynx

Suit Launched to Save Minnesota's Rare Lynx

In Minnesota protected Canada lynx are dying in traps set for other wildlife like bobcats and pine martens, which are snared for their fur. The state has repeatedly failed to prevent these deaths — so on Wednesday the Center launched a lawsuit against it for violating the Endangered Species Act.

"Minnesota's wildlife managers would rather appease a small number of trappers than protect these beautiful wild cats," said Collette Adkins, the Center's carnivore conservation director. "We hope this lawsuit will finally convince them to make lynx conservation a priority."

Get more from MPR News.

Court Blocks Sale of Oregon Old Growth

Oregon old-growth forest

After a lawsuit by the Center and allies, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that the state's sale of 788 acres on the Elliott State Forest was illegal. Now Oregon must fully protect the land in public ownership for the sake of clean water, mature forests, wildlife habitat, carbon storage and recreation. Said the Center's Noah Greenwald, "The state should never have sold these beautiful public lands — a treasure for coho salmon, marbled murrelets and people alike."

Read more in The Corvallis Advocate.

Pittsburgh spring

A Win for Breathable Air: Asthma Pollutant Must Be Tackled

A federal court has ordered Trump's Environmental Protection Agency to stop illegally delaying plans for cleaning up asthma-causing sulfur dioxide pollution from fossil fuels. Across eight states, from Arizona to Michigan to Pennsylvania, the affected areas are home to millions of people.

"Trump's absurd promise to bring back coal has failed miserably as the country shifts to cleaner energy sources," said the Center's Robert Ukeiley. "But this administration's addiction to fossil fuels is still forcing millions of Americans to breathe unhealthy air."

Read our press release.

The Revelator: How Do We Decide a Species Is Recovered?


What do we mean when we say a species isn't endangered anymore? Some argue that to measure our successes in rescuing species from the brink of extinction — and now, more than ever, those successes are vital to conservationists' strategies and morale — we need the clear definitions and benchmarks of a "Green List."

Read about it in The Revelator and subscribe to The Revelator's weekly e-newsletter.

Are Christmas Trees Sprayed With Pesticides?

Christmas tree

In his new column, the Center's #EcoExpert Dr. Donley answers the question, "Are there pesticides on my Christmas tree?" The short answer — well, you guessed it: Commercial Christmas tree growers do spray trees with pesticides, as is typical with most nursery plants.

To find out which pesticides are applied — and how much, and the health risks posed — check out Dr. Donley's advice, which includes some ideas for how to safely share your Christmas with the traditional tree.

Polar bears

Simplify the Holidays

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, American households generate 25 percent more waste than usual — enough to fill 140,000 garbage trucks every week of the holiday season.

And it's not just the extra trash that's a problem. All the natural resources that go into producing and shipping novelty gifts and decorations make the winter holidays dreary for wildlife by harming the habitat they need to survive.

But surveys have shown that most Americans wish the holidays were less about "stuff" and more about family and caring for others. So the Center has partnered with New Dream on a campaign called Simplify the Holidays. Check it out to learn how to refocus the season on what really matters.

18,000-year-old puppy

Wild & Weird: 18,000-year-old Puppy May Be Missing Link

DNA from an incredibly well-preserved, 18,000-year-old puppy corpse found in permafrost in Siberia doesn't quite fit the profile of a wolf or a dog and may represent an intermediary stage in the domestication process.

Read more at Gizmodo.

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Photo credits: Coalition representatives deliver plastics plants pollution petition to the EPA's San Francisco office by Sean Ogami/Center for Biological Diversity; Las Vegas traffic by Peter Thoeny/Flickr; Canada lynx by Eric Kilby/Wikimedia;Oregon forest by David Patte/USFWS; Pittsburgh spring by Sean X Liu/Flickr; bison by Neal Herbert/NPS; Christmas tree by Jonathan McPherskesen/Flickr; polar bears by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; 18,000-year-old puppy courtesy Centre for Palaeogenetics.

Center for Biological Diversity
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