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.


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 Terry Winckler's blog posts
02 April 2010, 12:07 PM
Earthjustice aims legal efforts at restoring ESA protections

This week, after seven months of dodging bullets, Idaho's wolves got a reprieve: the statewide hunt that left 188 of them dead is over.

The actual number of wolves killed since hunting was legalized last year is more than 500—including those shot during the Montana season and others killed by governmental agents protecting livestock.

Wolves became fair game in Idaho and Montana last year after losing the protection of the Endangered Species Act—a move initiated by the Bush administration and ultimately endorsed by the Obama administration. Almost immediately after Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar agreed to the delisting, the states of Idaho and Montana announced fall hunting seasons.

53 Comments   /  
View Brian Smith's blog posts
01 April 2010, 1:31 PM
New book explores the ecology of the Tongass National Forest

A lovely new book arrived recently at Earthjustice headquarters. Salmon in the Trees is a beautiful, coffee-table book from photographer Amy Gulick, featuring essays by several natural history writers. The book explores the interconnected ecology of America's largest temperate rainforest, the Tongass National Forest.

As many of you know, Earthjustice has been working to protect the Tongass for decades. Our latest effort is a lawsuit to end a Bush-era exemption for the forest from protection under the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. (Video after the jump.)

2 Comments   /  
View Jared Saylor's blog posts
31 March 2010, 3:48 PM
Obama administration sends mixed signals on drilling
The Chukchi Sea. Photo: Florian Schulz /

Today, the Obama administration sent a mixed signal on offshore oil drilling, a move guaranteed to raise concerns from native groups, environmentalists, and communities living near some of the most sensitive and biologically diverse coastal areas. Obama and Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a plan to halt oil and gas leasing in Bristol Bay off Alaska's southwestern coast and to postpone future lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, off Alaska's northern coast, while needed missing information is gathered.

We agree that Salazar made the right move on Bristol Bay—home of the world’s largest salmon fishery—and on postponing future oil and gas lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, sensitive areas of America's Arctic Ocean that are undergoing dramatic shifts due to climate change and about which large gaps in basic scientific information remain. These proposals give the administration the chance to use sound science and smart planning in future decisions about new leasing in the Arctic.

5 Comments   /  
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
23 March 2010, 1:52 PM
Endangered Right Whale Adds to Its Dwindling Population

When we filed suit to challenge a proposed Naval training range in waters off the coast of Florida it was to ensure the future of the critically endangered right whale. The area is smack dab in the only known calving grounds for right whales – only about 400 remain in existence today. And get this: Over the weekend scientists conducting aerial surveys observed a right whale calf being born off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. This is huge for the scarce right whale population and drums the point we’ve been trying to make: to build a training range where whales and their calves are in harm’s way would be negligent and immoral. The National Marine Fisheries Service has said: the loss of even a single individual right whale may contribute to the extinction of the species.

Years ago right whales nearly went extinct due to overhunting but although they’re no longer hunted right whales are still victims of human activity. Because their calving grounds and habitat stretch through some of the busiest shipping channels and fishing spots in the world, right whales are often struck by passing ships or become entangled in fishing gear. And now, despite the obvious threat facing right whales and their potential extinction, the U.S. Navy is planning to construct a 660-square mile undersea warfare training range.

This birth is a rare look at a species which has been listed as endangered since 1973 but remains at risk of extinction due to shipping and fishing operations within their habitat. The training range would be a surefire threat to an already imperiled animal. But with our legal challenge – we’re working so that won’t happen.

5 Comments   /  
View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
19 March 2010, 3:16 PM
Will Big Agribusiness Listen?

A National Academy of Sciences review panel today announced findings that federal protections for salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are scientifically justified. The determination by the panel comes after months of controversy sparked by the plan’s modest restrictions on massive pumps in the Delta. These huge pumps export water to farms and cities south of the Delta, but also cause Delta rivers to run backwards, pulling large numbers of baby salmon and other fish to their deaths.

The new federal plan, won by Earthjustice attorneys, requires the pumps to run below maximum capacity from January to June when baby salmon migrate through the Delta to the sea. Before the plan was put in place, unrestricted pumping not only contributed to the collapse of threatened Central Valley salmon runs, but helped drive the population of non-threatened, commercially-valuable Sacramento River king salmon to such low levels that ocean salmon fishing along one thousand miles of coastline was completely closed for the first time in history during 2008 and 2009. Sacramento king salmon have traditionally formed the backbone of sport and commercial salmon fishing in California and Oregon, and the closure cost thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of lost economic activity in both states.

1 Comment   /  
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
15 March 2010, 5:40 PM
Looking for love, in all the wrong places

When you hear “Wolverine!,” the first thing you think of is:

Wolverine poll.

We’re not keeping score, but if we were, we’re guessing that A) Wolverine of the X-Men, and B) the University of Michigan’s mascot would be winning handily over C) Gulo gulo (common name: wolverine).

Wolverines seem to do their best to avoid humans, which may explain their probable low-rated finish in the above informal poll. But in the Sierra Nevada, one Gulo gulo is making his name known and is out cruising for love.

3 Comments   /  
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
09 March 2010, 6:06 PM
British Columbia students learn that natural beauty is its own reward

One of the great environmental victories of our time—preserving the Flathead Valley from development—has quickly become a teachable moment for middle school students in British Columbia.

The naturally dazzling Flathead, with its abundance of wildlife and environmental splendors, will not be sacrificed to get at its plentiful oil, gas and coal deposits, the BC government decided last month. This is how the decision is being taught to students:

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and his government want to focus on building a creative economy.' This includes clean technology, smart forestry practices and tourism—not fossil fuel extraction. Premier Campbell says it's important to balance economic growth with caring for the environment.

1 Comment   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
09 March 2010, 12:36 PM
Extinction of animals and plants is a global phenomenon
Palila, an endangered Hawaiian bird, perched on a Mamane tree.

It's hard to imagine that the earth is now experiencing a mass extinction like no other in human history.

Online news organization Mother Nature Network recently published an eye-opening graphic that maps out the top 20 countries with the most endangered species. Ecuador tops both the endangered animal and plant species lists, harboring 2,211 endangered animal species alone, while the U.S. comes in second with more than 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles.

43 Comments   /  
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
08 March 2010, 12:45 PM
Wildlife do not appreciate our bright lights

For many of us, the lights never truly go out. (Speaking literally, of course. Metaphorically? Now that’s a topic for another post.)

Long after we’ve switched off our lights and settled down to sleep, the soft glow of street lamps continues to spill out into the night. Traffic lights tirelessly cycle red, green, yellow, while electronic billboards advertise to the heavens. Even in our homes, that microwave clock keeps shining, holding total darkness at bay.

Light pollution may often be relegated to a lower tier of concern than, say, air or water pollution. After all, a little light drowning out the stars might be hard to match up against pea soup smog, or an oil-slicked waterway.

Although it may seem to simply be an astronomer’s annoyance, our 24-hour, man-made lightshow has created larger problems. Last week, Earthjustice put one brightly lit luxury Hawaiian resort on notice: follow the law, or we’ll see you in court.

1 Comment   /  
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
26 February 2010, 1:33 PM
PBS documentary looks at Obama administration’s handling of gray wolves

Update: You can learn more about Earthjustice's work to save wolves (including an interactive timeline) in our newly updated campaign page.

The wolf lifts its muzzle and—as its breath flows like smoke into the crisp air —you hear the sound of wilderness, crying out from the TV set.

This image alone is worth a visit to your local PBS channel, starting tonight (Feb. 26), to view a documentary examining how wolves in the northern Rockies have been affected by the Obama administration's relaxation of regulations protecting wolves. To see when the program can be viewed in your area, go here.

Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold, who has spent much of his career working to protect northern gray wolves and grizzly bears in the Rockies, figures prominently in the film. He carefully describes natural and man-made threats to both species, and makes clear his disappointment with Obama's Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar for signing off on a Bush administration decision to stop protecting wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

16 Comments   /