Launched: A Suit to Save U.S. Waters From Trump


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Chiricahua leopard frog
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Suit Launched to Protect Rivers and Wetlands Nationwide

Earlier this year President Trump unveiled his Dirty Water Rule: a plan to remove protections against pollution from about half the nation's wetlands and potentially millions of miles of rivers and streams.

It's the largest rollback of the Clean Water Act since the law was passed in 1972 and will allow polluters to pave over wetlands and turn waterways into industrial toilets. It's also illegal: It violates both the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

So the Center for Biological Diversity and allies launched a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Trump rule.

Lost protections for water will affect each and every one of us and put hundreds of endangered species at greater risk of extinction, including Chiricahua leopard frogs, Chinook salmon and southwestern willow flycatchers. To slow the extinction crisis and safeguard human health, we need to expand Clean Water Act protections, not shrink them.

Consider supporting this work with a donation to our Wildlife and Wild Places Defense Fund.

Florida bonneted bat

Beloved Florida Bat to Win Habitat Protections

Following a lawsuit by the Center and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to protect "critical habitat" for Florida bonneted bats by Aug. 13.

Florida's largest and rarest bats, named for their spectacular ears, have declined dramatically due to pesticides and habitat destruction from sprawl. Their remaining colonies, surviving in just 11 roost sites, are now also urgently threatened by sea-level rise. Previous Center action won them Endangered Species Act protection in 2013.

"These bats are a remarkable part of Florida's natural heritage and give us valuable services like pest control," said the Center's Florida Director Jaclyn Lopez. "We can't save them without protecting the places they live."

Read more.

Pronghorn

Petition Aims to Protect Wyoming's 'Path of the Pronghorn'

The Center and partners filed a legal petition on Wednesday challenging the Trump administration's plan to allow 3,500 new gas wells in southwestern Wyoming. The massive frack-field expansion could block the ancient "Path of the Pronghorn," preventing pronghorns' access to winter ranges they need to survive.

The iconic, 170-mile migratory path connects Grand Teton National Park and crucial cold-weather habitat farther south in the Upper Green River Basin. Drilling in the area could eliminate Grand Teton's entire population of roughly 300 pronghorns.

"This plan would sacrifice Grand Teton's magnificent pronghorn herd and one of North America's oldest migration corridors to enrich fossil fuel companies," said the Center's Wendy Park. "It's obscenely cruel and shortsighted."

Learn more.

Emperor penguins

Center Lawsuit Forces Trump Action on Emperor Penguins

Prompted by a Center lawsuit, on Wednesday the U.S. government agreed to make a decision by July 2021 about whether to propose Endangered Species Act protections for imperiled emperor penguins.

Emperor penguins, found only in Antarctica, are gravely threatened by climate change. They need reliable sea ice to breed and raise their chicks. Entire colonies have already been lost in areas where sea ice is disappearing or breaking up early.

If emperor penguins are protected as endangered, federal agencies will be required to ensure that their actions — including the generation of large volumes of carbon pollution — don't jeopardize the penguins or their habitat.

Get more.

Burrowing owl

What It Takes to Keep These Little Owls Going

Burrowing owls in San Diego County are getting a helping hand in making a comeback.

These diminutive birds once lived throughout California's grasslands. But as we've paved over open spaces — and killed off the rodents who dig these owls' underground homes — their populations have been winking out. In San Diego County the situation is particularly dire: There may be only 75 breeding pairs left. That's not enough to sustain their numbers.

But the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has been working to secure the owls' survival in the region by breeding them in captivity and establishing new colonies in the wild. This program is funded in part by an agreement won through a Center lawsuit.

Learn more about how the owls are getting a second chance in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Frostpaw

The Center's Frostpaw the Polar Bear is on the campaign trail until Super Tuesday to urge all presidential candidates to address the global wildlife extinction crisis. So far Frostpaw and allies have spoken with Joe Biden, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang (who's since dropped out of the race). The bear's next stop: Nevada, this weekend, for the state's Democratic caucuses.

Smokestack

Appeal Filed Over Louisiana's OK of Plastic Polluter

The Center just went to court, with our local partners, to challenge the state of Louisiana's irresponsible air permits for Formosa Plastics' massive proposed petrochemical complex. It would place 14 plants spanning 2,500 acres in St. James Parish, a predominantly African American community already inundated with industrial pollution.

The state's environmental-quality department got more than 15,500 comments from residents opposing the project, which would dump 800 tons of toxic pollution into the air each year, including cancer-causing ethylene oxide, benzene and formaldehyde. It granted the permits anyway.

"This plant would poison the people of St. James Parish and worsen the climate crisis just so Formosa can churn out more throwaway plastic," said the Center's Lauren Packard.

Read about it in The New York Times.

The Revelator: Wildlife Photographer Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo's beautiful photographs of birds and other wild creatures are informed by empathy, ethical rigor and her own background in bioacoustics. In a new interview, she talks about all this and more with The Revelator.

Get the scoop and sign up for The Revelator's weekly e-newsletter.

Sonoyta mud turtle

Wild & Weird: The Aquatic Desert Turtle

Endangered Sonoyta mud turtles evolved as an aquatic species in one of the driest parts of the Sonoran desert. These turtles, which sport charming chin nubbins, live in just two places on Earth: a tiny portion of the Rio Sonoyta in northern Mexico and a spring in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona.

Unfortunately this second site may be obliterated — along with the turtles — by imminent border-wall construction. With your help, we're doing everything we can to stop it.

Watch our new video of the Sonoyta mud turtle on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Chiricahua leopard frog by Patrick Randall/Flickr; Florida bonneted bat by Gary Morse/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; pronghorn by Tom Koerner/USFWS; emperor penguins by Michael Van Woert/NOAA; burrowing owl by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; Frostpaw in New Hampshire courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; smokestack by Tom Burke/Flickr; Melissa Groo courtesy Melissa Groo; Sonoyta mud turtle by David Christian.

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