Posts tagged: Wildlife and Places

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Wildlife and Places


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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.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
17 January 2014, 2:08 PM
Seven wolves dead as Earthjustice seeks restraining order
Two members of Idaho's Golden wolf pack, which is targeted for extermination. (Hobbit Hill Films LLC)

Despite enacting the world’s first and best endangered species law, our hatred toward the wolf continues to loom large in some parts of this country. Consider Idaho, where the wolf lost its endangered species listing in 2011 and faces hostile measures.

During the past two weeks, Earthjustice has been in court asking a federal judge to halt Idaho's unprecedented program to kill two wolf packs deep within the largest forested wilderness area in the lower-48 states. These wolves live on federal land, miles and miles away from ranches and civilization. As of Friday, seven had been killed by a hunter-trapper hired by the state.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
24 December 2013, 1:05 PM
Sharks and oil and honeybees, oh my!
How much of Yosemite Valley will you be able to see on your next visit? Read more in the #10 unEARTHED blog post of the year. (Chrissy Pepino / Earthjustice)

Looking back at the most popular blog posts from 2013 we find a wide variety of subjects generated substantial readership.

unEARTHED readers were all over the map this year. Your concerns are wide and varied.

And that should give us all hope.

So, counting down (just in case you missed one) here are the Top Ten Most Read unEARTHED blog posts of 2013.

View Nailah Morgan's blog posts
23 December 2013, 1:41 PM
Key deer, loggerhead sea turtle among 233 federally protected species at risk
Nearly all of the Florida land area where the tiny Key deer live will be submerged by this century's predicted average 3–4 feet sea level rise. (Photo by U.S. FWS)

A recent report, Deadly Waters, details a new threat to endangered species: rising sea levels. After analyzing data from scientific literature, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity identified 233 federally protected species in 23 coastal states that risk habitat loss due to sea level rise.

And these species are not alone. Excessive flooding from rising sea levels combined with powerful Atlantic hurricanes, will lead to storm surges that thrust onto the coast, similar to the one that hit Atlantic City during Hurricane Sandy. Many coastal homes will be lost to rising seas. As climate change continues, coastal residents and wildlife will need to move further inland to survive threats from sea level rise.

The United States is home to more than 1,000 threatened and endangered species, and 1 out of 6 of those species rely on habitats like salt marshes and coastal forests that will be affected by rising sea levels. The state of Florida encompasses the fourth largest population of endangered species (120) and more than half are at risk from increasing sea levels, including Key deer and Loggerhead sea turtles which reside in different areas of the Florida coast.

View David Henkin's blog posts
13 December 2013, 9:31 AM
Earthjustice uses the ESA to protect Hawai‘i’s many vulnerable species
The Oʻahu ʻelepaio, a native flycatcher, relies on the forests that ring Mākua Valley. (Eric VanderWerf)

Hawaiʻi has the dubious distinction as the endangered species capital of the world, with more imperiled species per square mile than any other place on the planet. While Hawaiʻi makes up less than 0.2% of the land area of the United States, it’s home to over 400 threatened or endangered species, nearly one of every three domestic species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Hawaiʻi’s native species are so vulnerable because they evolved in isolation. Due to Hawaiʻi’s remote location in the middle of the Pacific, before humans arrived, new species reached the islands only by wind, wave or wing. New plant species successfully colonized the islands only about every 100,000 years.

Once in Hawaiʻi, these pioneers encountered little competition and evolved into a multitude of new forms, filling empty ecological niches. Scientists believe a single seed, likely carried from North America stuck to a bird’s feather, evolved into a family of 28 entirely new plant species, occupying diverse habitats from wet to dry forests and from near sea level to alpine shrublands.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
12 December 2013, 2:10 PM
Earthjustice and our clients have made the law's promise a reality
A California condor soars over the Grand Canyon. (Chris Parish / The Peregrine Fund)

Ten years ago, my family saw firsthand the power of the Endangered Species Act in action. We were backpacking in the Grand Canyon and a California condor soared overhead. The sheer size of his wingspan was awe-inspiring. As we rounded the next bend, there sat the condor at the side of the trail, a marvel to behold.

The return of condors to the Grand Canyon is a testament to our nation's commitment to protect the heritage "we hold in trust to countless future generations of our fellow citizens," as President Nixon proclaimed when he signed the Endangered Species Act 40 years ago.

But the Endangered Species Act did not miraculously save imperiled species as a matter of course. In its wisdom, Congress included citizen suits in the law to make sure the law would be followed. Earthjustice lawsuits by the dozens on behalf of hundreds of clients have made the law's promise a reality.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
12 December 2013, 1:20 PM
Legislators support full examination of new science to protect whales
Humpback mother and calf. (Achimdiver / Shutterstock)

In November, whales and other marine mammals along the Pacific Coast from Northern California to the Canadian border got a little help from a federal court. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas set a deadline of August 1, 2014 for the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a plan that will ensure Navy sonar and live-fire training doesn’t violate the Endangered Species Act.

The deadline came after a September 2013 court decision that found the Fisheries Service approved Navy training based on incomplete and outdated science.

“These training exercises harm Southern Resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises—through the use of high-intensity mid-frequency sonar,” said Steve Mashuda, an Earthjustice attorney who represented Northern California tribes and environmental groups. “The Fisheries Service must now employ the best science and require the Navy to protect whales and dolphins in its ongoing training exercises.”

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
06 December 2013, 9:43 AM
Collapsed colonies spell disaster for our food system, and toxic pesticide is to blame
Honeybee visits a mountain mint blossom. (Photo courtesy of Penn State)

Want to know what else disappears if honeybee colonies continue their alarming rate of collapse? Our food.

According to Time Magazine, honeybees, which pollinate crops like apples, blueberries and cucumbers, are responsible for one-third of the food we eat.

Which is why a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice is so important. We're representing the Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith. In the opening brief just filed, groups argue that the EPA failed to measure exactly what risk a toxic pesticide, sulfoxaflor, poses to bees.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
22 November 2013, 4:58 PM
Two years after Elwha dam was torn down, the fish storm back
Chinook salmon spawn in Elwha River in September 2013. (NPS)

Two years ago, after a decades-long struggle that involved Native Americans, biologists, Earthjustice, and eventually Congress itself, engineers began to dismantle two century-old dams on the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. The river is only 70 miles long, but most of it is in the Olympic National Park, and so is in pretty good shape, having avoided the fate of other Pacific Coast streams, that have been badly damaged by logging.

A remnant population of salmon survived to spawn in the four miles of river between the downstream dam and Strait of Juan de Fuca. People hoped this would be a sufficient number—on the order of 4,000 fish—to recolonize the river above the dams, once the dams were gone, the result of the largest dam-removal operation ever undertaken in the U.S. Fish biologists predicted that runs on the Elwha should eventually reach nearly 400,000 fish annually, and this year it’s beginning to look as if they might be right. A veritable flood of all five species of Pacific salmon, plus seagoing steelhead trout, have found their way up the Elwha and its tributaries and found suitable spawning grounds—gravel beds where they lay and fertilize their eggs in depressions called redds. More salmon have returned over the past two months than at any time in at least 20 years.

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View Marjorie Mulhall's blog posts
19 November 2013, 1:34 PM
Six ESA defenders honored by national environmental groups

Last week, Earthjustice and 20+ partner organizations hosted an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and honor some of the most important champions of this visionary law.

On Dec. 28, 1973, Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together to pass the ESA—one of the most effective environmental laws ever enacted—with near-unanimous support. The Act was then signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon.

The crowd at our anniversary event—held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.—was comprised of members of Congress and their staff, federal wildlife agency staff, and representatives from environmental and conservation groups, among others.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 November 2013, 5:03 PM
As Thanksgiving nears, we have much to give thanks for
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean. (NASA)

The approach of Thanksgiving is a good time to step back from the fast pace of our fight to protect the Earth and its people, and reflect on the many reasons to be grateful. Please join me and share what’s on your gratitude list by leaving a comment at the end of this piece.

My personal list starts with being thankful for the millions of people in this country and around the world who are standing up to polluters and to government agencies that fail to do their jobs. Citizens in record numbers are educating one another, advocating for change and going to court to enforce the law in order to end climate pollution, habitat destruction and poisoning of communities. Without citizen enforcers, environmental damage would go unchecked.

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