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Endangered Species Act

An adult delta smelt.

The delta smelt is a fish that grows to no more than three inches in length, but over the years this threatened species has made big headlines in California’s dusty, water-rights battleground. One congressional representative, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), is even on record as calling the smelt a “stupid little fish” that doesn’t deserve water (see video below). Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed such narrow-minded claims by denying a Big Ag-led attack against the smelt.

A Mexican gray wolf.

For three decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed politics to trump science in its efforts to recover the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf in Arizona and New Mexico. As a result, the agency’s track record on restoring this iconic animal to the wild under the Endangered Species Act has been marred by years of delay and false starts, leaving this subspecies on the brink of collapse. Despite these challenges, conservationists vow to keep fighting on the wolves’ behalf and Earthjustice is now leading their efforts.

passenger pigeon

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction. It’s unbelievable that a species whose flocks were once large enough to block the sun is now completely gone, but that is the reality of human impact on the natural world.

The extinction of the passenger pigeon is more than a sad story about a species of birds, however. It is also a frightening example of what our future could hold if we don’t value our natural heritage.

A blueback herring.

River herring spend most of their lives in the Atlantic Ocean. They are anadromous fish species, which means they return to spawn in coastal rivers in the spring. But these small fish are in big trouble. Based on analysis by the National Marine Fisheries Service, their populations have declined more than 98 percent from their historic level.

A wolf in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

Back in June, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said, “I don’t have second thoughts” about the agency’s proposal to drop Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across most of the United States.

Here are five reasons why Director Ashe, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and President Obama should most definitely think twice about this proposal:

Alyssa Grayson.

There’s something so wonderfully refreshing about the direct and earnest way kids comment on the world around them. They don’t have the snark of so many online personalities, nor the posturing language of the politician always walking the line. Kids are still filled with clear-eyed wonder. Their observations tend to cut straight to the heart of the matter without assumptions and with a natural sense of justice.

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About the Earthjustice 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.