Endangered Earth Online


Suit Launched to Protect Pollinators, Frogs From New Pesticide

Karner blue butterfly

The Center for Biological Diversity and other public-interest groups notified the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday of our intent to sue over its failure to protect a range of federally protected species — including bees, butterflies, amphibians and birds — from a powerful, newly approved insecticide called “insecticide.”

Even though the EPA recognized the chemical could harm endangered species, it didn’t consult with any wildlife agencies to protect those species. The insect poison could be particularly harmful to solitary bees that are often important crop pollinators — 4,000 species of which live in the United States.

“This systemic insecticide makes a plant highly toxic to any birds, butterflies and bees that feed on it, but the EPA has turned a blind eye and approved it without considering how it will hurt imperiled wildlife like the endangered Karner blue butterfly,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center’s new Environmental Health program. “It’s our government’s duty to investigate how dangerous insecticides might affect wildlife — not just rubberstamp their approval.”

Read more in The Oregonian.


Feds Ban Imports on Four Large Constrictor Snakes — Thank You

Reticulated python

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just made it illegal to import four kinds of nonnative constrictor snakes — or sell them across state lines — by adding them to the list of “injurious” wildlife under a law called the Lacey Act. This should prevent widespread introduction of these exotic animals, which can be extremely destructive to U.S. ecosystems and our own native species.

In 2010 scientists identified nine snakes as posing an unacceptable risk of establishing invasive populations; two years later the agency said four of those species would be listed as “injurious”: Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas, and northern and southern African pythons. And now the Service has announced that it will list four of the remaining five snakes under the Lacey Act — the reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda.

Last summer the Center submitted comments on a proposed rule that identified numerous scientific studies documenting the risk posed by exotic constrictor snakes. About 30,000 Center supporters backed our efforts, writing to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to ask that the remaining snakes be listed as injurious. The Center — and the snakes that won’t be trafficked — thank you.

Read more in The New York Times.


Help Bring Northwest Grizzly Bears Back From the Brink — Take Action

Grizzly bear cub

The grizzly bears of the Pacific Northwest could soon get some much-needed help from the feds: The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service have declared they’ll be teaming up to restore a healthy grizzly population to the North Cascades, bringing in bears from neighboring areas. Now the agencies need to hear from you to know these massive, iconic bears have your full support.

The rugged North Cascades mountain range is key to grizzly survival in the lower 48, according to scientists … but only six bears are currently living there. Since they earned Endangered Species Act protection in 1975, grizzlies have begun to recover — but some populations could still disappear, so they all must be expanded to counter threats like climate change, development and logging.

The Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service have waited years to invite public input on their plan for Cascades grizzlies — so we have to act quickly.

Voice your support now for grizzly recovery in the Cascades to keep this project and these bears moving forward.


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San Leandro City Council Says No to Dangerous Oil Train Project

Oil train

San Leandro, Calif., became the latest city to oppose a proposed Phillips 66 oil train offloading facility in San Luis Obispo County when its city council unanimously passed a resolution Monday urging county supervisors to deny the project’s permit. The San Leandro Teachers’ Association and San Leandro Unified School District are also opposed.

If approved the facility would bring mile-long oil trains, carrying 2.5 million gallons of crude, through densely populated areas nearly every day. Oil train traffic in the United States has increased more than 4,000 percent since 2008 — bringing with it a steep rise in derailments, spills and explosions, with more oil spilled in rail accidents in 2013 than in the previous four decades combined.

“I look out my classroom door every day at the trains going by on the Capitol Corridor,” said schoolteacher Claudia McDonagh. “With the recent exploding derailments in West Virginia and Illinois it becomes easy to imagine one of those mile-long oil bomb trains coming off the tracks and into my classroom.”

Read more in our press release.

Oil Waste Is Contaminating California’s Underground Water, Officials Admit

Contaminated water

Facing tough questions from California lawmakers, state regulators admitted last week that oil companies are contaminating underground water by dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into protected aquifers.

Documents obtained by the Center had already shown that oil companies were allowed to drill about 2,400 illegal injection wells for waste disposal or oil production into protected aquifers, including many with water clean enough to drink.

But last week’s state Senate hearing confirmed the dire consequences. “We believe that any injection into the aquifers that are non-exempt has contaminated those aquifers,” water official Jonathan Bishop told lawmakers.

This illegal dumping contaminates water because fracking flowback and other oil waste contain cancer-causing chemicals like benzene. But Gov. Jerry Brown’s oil regulators have so far shut down just 23 of the illegal wells, so we have much more work to do.

“If Gov. Brown doesn’t halt fracking and illegal waste water injection, Californians will bitterly regret the damage done to our water supply,” said the Center’s Kassie Siegel.

Learn more about these illegal oil industry wells via our new interactive map.


Help Give Away New Endangered Species Condoms for Earth Day — Sign Up Now

Endangered Species Condoms

At the very first Earth Day in 1970, the world’s rapidly growing human population was a central part of the conversation. But now, 45 years and 3.5 billion more people later, population growth is rarely talked about.

You can help change that by joining the Center’s Endangered Species Condoms project.

Every year we give away tens of thousands of free condoms in packages featuring wildlife threatened by humans’ runaway population and overconsumption. And this Earth Day we’re launching a new lineup of Endangered Species Condoms with different species; new artwork; new slogans; and new, sustainable, fair-trade Sustain brand condoms — but we need volunteers to help us distribute them at events and in communities across the country.

The deadline to sign up to be an Earth Day condom distributor is March 25. Even if you’ve signed up in the past, we need you to confirm your contact information and current mailing address. Sign up to volunteer and get a sneak preview of our new condom designs.


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Dozens Die in South Pacific Superstorm, Island President Faults Climate Change

Cyclone

When Cyclone Pam hit the South Pacific island of Vanuatu last weekend, at least 24 people died — and the massive storm flattened buildings, wrecked infrastructure, and left more than 3,000 survivors displaced.

Right after the storm hit, Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale warned that climate change was contributing to more extreme weather conditions, specifically cyclone seasons, in his region — like those that caused Pam. In an affecting speech, he also lamented other climate change-related phenomena threatening his country.

“We see the level of sea rise,” Lonsdale said. “The cyclone seasons, the warm, the rain, all this is affected. … This year we have more than in any year. … Yes, climate change is contributing to this. I am very emotional. … We do not know if our families are safe. As the leader of the nation, my heart hurts for the people.”

Read more in The Guardian.


Wild & Weird: Did Man’s Best Friend Cause the Neanderthal Extinction?

Neanderthals

For millennia Neanderthals raised their young, buried their dead, hunted, laughed and lived in the presence of a daunting variety of Pleistocene Eurasian megafauna: giant cave bears, saber-toothed tigers, huge lions, woolly rhinos and leopards. But then, some 40,000 years ago — in what amounts to the blink of an eye in evolutionary time — Neanderthals and that host of megafauna nearly all fell to extinction. No single prevailing theory has yet explained the event.

But we do know that modern humans showed up in Neanderthal territory not long before the Neanderthals disappeared. A new book by retired anthropology professor Pat Shipman puts forth the hypothesis that modern humans, and their alliance with another apex predator, the wolf-dog, allowed the newcomers to hunt more efficiently than Neanderthals. Through domestication of wolves, humans were able to hunt many species, like mammoths, that Neanderthals rarely challenged.

Read more on Pat Shipman’s book The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction, including an interview with the author, in National Geographic.


Kierán Suckling
@KieranSuckling
Executive Director

Here is the link to the web site http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

There are many more issues going on, so don’t hesitate to take a look at the web site.

 

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