Kari Birdseye's Blog Posts

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Kari Birdseye's blog


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

Kari Birdseye is Earthjustice's National Press Secretary / Associate Media Director and occasional blogger of topics that demand more than a standard press release. Kari helps get the great work of Earthjustice recognized in the media and elsewhere and is especially intrigued by issues involving climate change, the Keystone Pipeline XL, the Endangered Species Act and anything furry with four paws. She carries her passion for animals and underdogs outside of the walls of Earthjustice and is inspired daily by the natural beauty of her home state of California. Kari also loves to cook, but refuses to press garlic without a glass of nice California wine.

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14 June 2013, 12:01 PM
Federal agency proposes handing protections to the states
The famed wolf OR-7.
(Richard Shinn / DFG)

If the Obama administration has its way, one of Oregon’s most popular travelers—OR-7—could be a goner. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed eliminating federal endangered species listing for wolves across nearly the entire continental U.S., handing protections to the states. This is bad news for wolves since many states are more interested in catering to powerful hunting and ranching interests than protecting this species that hasn’t yet recovered.

OR-7, a male gray wolf born in Oregon, left his pack in September 2011 to cross state lines, perhaps seeking a mate. He captured the imagination of school children and wildlife enthusiasts throughout the country as they followed his path—tracked by a radio collar. He’s traveled through ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests, shrublands and woodlands and even crossed agricultural lands. He’s been caught on cameras planted in the wilderness.

Not one public sighting or run-in with ranchers or livestock has been reported. Nonetheless, OR-7—and untold numbers of other wolves—could be shot on sight if the FWS lifts federal protections.

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22 March 2013, 7:27 PM
And ConocoPhillips eager to drill in the Arctic Ocean

Earthjustice received some superb video today from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, of Shell’s beat up Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, as it was lifted onto a huge dry haul ship to be carried to Asia for repairs:

This comes on the heels of a report from the Department of Interior, which summarized  a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season and was highly critical of the oil giant’s operations.

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28 February 2013, 8:01 AM

Shell suspends oil drilling operations indefinitely
Sea ice in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea.
(Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Shell announced that the company is hitting the pause button on oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic. Mother Nature graphically demonstrated this summer what conservation groups have been saying for more than a decade—the extreme weather and conditions of the Arctic, with its stormy, frozen seas make the Arctic environmentally treacherous for oil drilling.

Fortunately, it didn’t take a major oil spill and devastation of the fragile Arctic ecosystem for Shell to put its damaged drill rigs in a time out.

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18 January 2013, 4:05 PM
Industry not ready for offshore drilling in treacherous waters
Shell drill rig grounded near Kokiak Island. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter)

As Royal Dutch Shell continues to make perfectly clear, industry is not prepared to safely explore for oil in the pristine waters of America’s Arctic. Shell’s Arctic operations have been called the “gold standard” of the oil industry and if this is the best they’ve got, the industry is not Arctic ready.

Beyond the arguments of the Arctic being a harsh, dangerous, infrastructure-less environment, the question remains, does it make economic sense to drill for oil in this remote region now for barrels of oil in 10 years? In 12 years, cars will be averaging 54.5 mpg. Energy efficiency and a growing renewable fuel market are also making headway. U.S. oil production hit its highest level in 20 years in 2012 and it is projected to increase an additional 14 percent this year—without the extreme oil of the Arctic. In 10 years, will Americans need the extreme oil of the Arctic that Shell is so desperately seeking?

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20 December 2012, 4:56 PM
Salazar announces National Petroleum Reserve conservation measures
Caribou in the western Arctic, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced a final plan for managing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a vast and wild area in northwestern Alaska that provides vital habitat for caribou, countless shorebirds, waterfowl, bears, wolves and wolverines, among others.

The plan is the first that covers the entire reserve, and it is a major step forward for protective management of the western Arctic.

Under provisions of the plan, key habitat areas such as these are protected:

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19 October 2012, 2:54 PM
Shell’s drill ship off the coast of treasured wilderness
The Arctic Refuge is one of the most splendid stretches of wilderness left in America.  (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Shell Oil has until the end of October to wrap up drilling operations in the Arctic.

This week, a great piece of photojournalism illustrates just how close their Kulluk drill rig is to the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Earthjustice fought for years to protect.

The photo below, shot by Gary Braasch, demonstrates that the fragile ecosystem of America’s Arctic waters is not the only treasure that would be devastated by an oil spill:

Shell's <i>Kulluk</i> oil rig offshore Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge. October 2012. (Gary Braasch / WorldViewOfGlobalWarming.org)

Shell's Kulluk oil rig offshore Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge. October 2012.
(© Gary Braasch / WorldViewOfGlobalWarming.org)
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08 October 2012, 8:56 AM
State delists endangered gray wolf and the hunt begins
Wolves perform a valuable ecological role and stand as a living symbol of wilderness. (NPS)

In Wyoming, wolves that were federally protected on Sept. 30 became legal vermin overnight—subject to being shot on sight in approximately 90 percent of the state as of Oct. 1. In the remaining 10 percent of Wyoming, wolf hunting season opened for the first time since the gray wolf was eradicated from the state in the early 1900s. Fifty-two wolves are expected to be killed in the “trophy zone” hunting season and dozens more in the free-fire “predator zone” over the coming weeks.

All of this wolf-killing threatens to turn back the tide of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies and leave Yellowstone area wolves isolated from other wolf populations in the region. And it is all happening because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned wolf management in Wyoming over to state officials, despite the fact that Wyoming’s wolf management policies open the door to unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state and provide inadequate protection for wolves even where killing is regulated.

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27 September 2012, 1:44 PM
Drilling poses too many environmental risks, says Total CEO

The “Big Oil” companies are breaking ranks. The fourth largest oil company in the world told the Financial Times yesterday that drilling in the Arctic is too risky, a position held by the environmental community for the past seven years.

Total SA CEO Christophe de Margerie, said, “Oil on Greenland would be a disaster … A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company.” This is the man who runs one of the world's largest integrated oil companies, with operations in 130 countries. According to Hoover’s, Total “explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas; refines and markets oil; and trades and transports both crude and finished products.”

The outspoken Big Oil CEO isn’t the only leader expressing concern.

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14 September 2012, 4:17 PM
Mass of sea ice forces drilling to halt, raises doubts about spill cleanup
Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Shell’s vice president of Alaska operations was quoted last Saturday as saying "Happy, happy, happy." Then the ice showed up.

Hours after Shell began drilling in the Artic, operations were forced to shut down to accommodate a drifting 30-mile by 12-mile hunk of sea ice, moving at a rate of a mile every 30 minutes. That’s what ice does in the Arctic—it is unpredictable, unforgiving and moves in with the high winds just in time to ruin a happy day.

A week ago, the Department of the Interior approved drilling in “non-oil-bearing zones” and Shell immediately began drilling its first exploration well in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Northern Alaska in the early morning hours of Sunday. The drilling lasted only a few hours before the company took a “precautionary” move and disconnected the drilling rig from the seafloor anchors and temporarily moved the vessel off the well site. One wonders what would happen if such an ice mass moved in while Shell was trying to respond to a major oil spill.

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31 August 2012, 2:11 PM
Shoot-on-sight killing of endangered wolves allowed in 30 days

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose a blue moon to announce the delisting of the gray wolf in Wyoming, which will take effect in one month. Is it because a blue moon is also called the “betrayer moon,” or perhaps it’s just before a holiday weekend and they are hoping most won’t notice?

By eliminating federal protections and handing wolf management over to Wyoming, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision will allow hunters, ranchers, wolf haters and anyone living or visiting Wyoming to commence unconditional wolf killing—without a license and by virtually any means in nearly 85 percent of the state. In the rest of the state, Wyoming will open up a hunting season on wolves immediately after it gains control.

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