Posts tagged: Wildlife and Places

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Wildlife and Places


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

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.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
23 February 2010, 5:31 PM
Wandering the watery world
Baby loggerhead greets the world. Photo: National Park Service.

Last week, Monday Reads took a look at the seafaring Hawaiian petrel, avian travelers who spend nearly their entire lives over the open ocean. Today, we turn to another wanderer (albeit one who dwells under the waters, rather than above) who also shares an Earthjustice connection: the loggerhead sea turtle.

Born on sandy beaches at a mere fraction of their adult weight, loggerheads who survive into the decades of their adult years can grow to a stately 350 pounds, swimming the ocean currents of the world. Once plentiful, the loggerheads today are in decline, facing serious threats from human activity, such as miles of maiming hooks courtesy of bottom longline fisheries.

As hatchlings, loggerheads break free of their eggshells with no one to guide them to the waters of their future but instincts and the moonlit starry night. Big city lights have been known to beckon to the young—human and turtle, alike—luring the naïve hatchlings with false hopes and promises. (Several hundred loggerhead babes were quite nearly waylaid in just this manner, attempting to parade across a bustling street in Scarborough, Australia earlier this month.)

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
21 February 2010, 3:09 PM
March brings Roadless Rule's day in court, but threats loom
Dome Peak Roadless Area, Colorado - Photo (c) Ted Zukoski

More than a decade ago, dedicated conservationists within and without the Forest Service began clamoring for a nation-wide policy to protect the last remnants of roadless lands across the National Forests. The rationales were many: providing solitude for wildlife, preventing wildfires (which occur most often near roads), protecting water supplies for cities and towns, and leaving the last scraps of land unharmed by the buldozer after a century of pressure from loggers, miners, and other development.

And after the most comprehensive public input process in the history of American government—more than a million comments from members of the public, hundreds of hearings and open houses, a comprehensive environmental review—President Bill Clinton signed the "Roadless Rule" into law with just a week remaining in his term. The rule proteced 58 million acres of America's last unroaded lands from auction, bulldozing and commercial logging.

But the Roadless Rule immediately came under assault. George W. Bush and the logging lobbyists he hired to run forest policy promptly set about dismantling the rule. And even before the rule had been signed, anti-environmental interests had filed the first of a barrage of lawsuits aimed at taking down the rule.

The rule had its defenders, however. Conservation groups, represented by my Earthjustice colleagues Jim Angell, Kristen Boyles, Tim Preso, Tom Waldo and others, fought off the attacks in court. And, for the most part, they won. Thanks to them, when the Bush Administration finally packed its bags, the Roadless Rule was bloodied but very much alive.

And now, nearly a decade after it was adopted, the Roadless Rule will celebrate another red letter day.

8 Comments   /   Read more >>
View John McManus's blog posts
19 February 2010, 5:13 PM
Major ag operators push to pump more water

Thousands of jobs linked to the decline of Sacramento River salmon have been lost—but big agricultural interests in California are stepping up political efforts that may permanently extinguish salmon and the industries they support.

Even without this latest assault, the future of California's king salmon is in doubt. Salmon runs are at all time lows, due in large part to water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta that suck baby salmon in and kill them. The water is going to agricultural operators south of San Francisco Bay—and now they want more.

20 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
12 February 2010, 6:38 PM
A petrel primer: three tantalizing tidbits
Hawaiian petrel. Photo: Josh Adams / USGS.

“And over this desolate face of nature a stern silence reigned, scarcely broken by the flapping of the wings of petrels and puffins.”      —20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Jules Verne

The mysterious, rarely seen Hawaiian petrel are true seafarers, living nearly all of their lives over the open ocean. Earthjustice is working in the Aloha State on behalf of these endangered birds. Once plentiful throughout the islands, they are colliding—literally—with human development, killed when they fly into power lines.

For the non-birdwatchers among us, these birds may seem to be a nondescript bird species—but they aren’t ‘just another bird.’ Today, Monday Reads presents not one, but three interesting tidbits to better acquaint you with the Hawaiian petrel.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
10 February 2010, 12:46 PM
Flathead Valley’s natural riches will be kept intact

<Update: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced that he will introduce legislation that provides the same protections on federal lands in Montana that British Columbia has agreed to.> Canada's portion of the Flathead Valley—a dazzling part of wilderness known as the "Crown of the Continent"—has been saved from the kind of mineral development that is destroying many parts of the United States.

British Columbia, in partnership with the state of Montana, has agreed to ban mining, oil and gas development and coalbed gas extraction in the valley, which is adjacent to a World Heritage site spanning the U.S.-Canadian border.

This is a big win for Earthjustice and its Canadian counterpart, EcoJustice, which had petitioned the United Nations in 2008 to investigate proposed mining activities. What's been saved, says Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, is "a treasure more precious than coal or gold."

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
08 February 2010, 3:00 AM
Getting to know pika, while we still can
Go, little pika! Go! We're cheering for you. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimon / CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s been a tough few days for the American Pika, who were shut out of the endangered species list, no thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These alpine rabbit cousins (don’t let those mousey ears fool you) are adapted to live in cold climates and can overheat at even a mild 78°F. Rising temperatures have pushed pikas farther and farther up their mountainous habitat—and if things don’t change, soon there will be nowhere else for them to go but extinct.

Pika aren’t just any small fuzzball. The character and antics of this scrappy flower-gathering herbivore have endeared them to scientists, hikers, and Monday Reads writers alike.

For the most part, pikas are hard working little bunnies. (Slacker pika do exist; more on that later.) Although they weigh only a third of a pound, they must collect more than 60 pounds of vegetation to survive the winter. Pikas don’t hibernate, instead hunkering down by their “haypiles” and munching on the stores through the snowy months. How come the food doesn’t spoil, you ask? The venerable David Attenborough brings us these teeny mammals in action, and tells us why:

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
05 February 2010, 2:55 PM
Fish and Wildlife agency leaves tiny creature to fend for itself

<Update: Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie said he is contemplating challenging the decision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to list the pika>. Warming temperatures have sent the tiny pika scrambling for its life to the nation's highest peaks—but, it may take the nation's courts to save it.

Yesterday (Feb. 4), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused to wrap the pika in the protections of the Endangered Species Act, even though it has been driven from most of its historic range by climate change-linked conditions and clings to existence in the cooler air of mountain tops.

It took an Earthjustice lawsuit to make FWS even look at the pika's plight. Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie reacted to the agency's decision:

We've already lost almost half of the pika that once inhabited the Great Basin, and scientists tell us that pika will be gone from 80 percent of their entire range in the United States by the end of the century. To conclude that this species is not threatened by climate change is an impossible gamble that we can't afford.

View Molly Woodward's blog posts
05 February 2010, 11:05 AM
Ozone, salmon, household cleaners
Ozone-caused smog in Los Angeles

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

This week found Earthjustice attorneys in courtrooms addressing a variety of issues, from protecting wildlife to public health.

On Monday, David Baron was in Arlington, Virginia, testifying in support of stronger standards for ozone pollution. Ozone is the main ingredient in the gray-brown haze commonly known as smog that blankets cities across the U.S. Each year it sends thousands of people to emergency rooms. Its long-term effects actually prevented a witness from testifying. The good news is that the EPA might finally reign it in.

On Tuesday, George Torgun, Mike Sherwood, Erin Tobin, and Trent Orr were all in Fresno, California, defending salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. California's largest water district has asked a judge to temporarily suspend protections for the fish from February through May, when baby salmon migrate from the Sacramento River to the ocean.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
03 February 2010, 4:43 PM
Agribusiness in court to seize Sacramento water from fish and fishermen

Yesterday (Feb. 2), Westlands Water District—California's largest and most politically powerful agribusiness group—asked a federal judge to block a federal salmon restoration plan that protects salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Earthjustice attorneys, who won a court order in 2008 putting the restoration plan in place, were there to defend it. Westland's move could put the survival of the river's salmon—and California and Oregon's multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational salmon fishing industry—on the line. The judge will announce his decision next week.

Westlands wants to end restrictions on the operation of huge delta water pumps and canals from February through May, when baby salmon migrate from the Sacramento River to the ocean.

23 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
01 February 2010, 5:04 PM
Of right whales and dogs
Fargo the detection dog meets a right whale calf up close and personal. Photo: New England Aquarium.

Collectively, detection dogs have had a long and illustrious career. Although drug sniffing and bomb detection dogs often get top billing, canines are also proudly finding counterfeit DVDs, bed bugs, and cell phones.

And now we can add right whales to the list.

(Well, right whale scat, at least. Although occasionally, a curious right whale may show up along the way.)

38 Comments   /   Read more >>