Posts tagged: Endangered Species Act

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Endangered Species Act


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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.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 April 2014, 3:41 PM
New pesticide dangers lurk 50 years after Rachel Carson's death
Rachel Carson, 1907-1964. (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

"A Who's Who of pesticides is therefore of concern to us all. If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals, eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones - we had better know something about their nature and their power." - Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring"

There is a reason why our Springs still have bald eagles, screeching falcons and wave-skimming pelicans. The reason is Rachel Carson, who died 50 years ago this month – just two years after her book “Silent Spring” alerted the world to how pesticides like DDT had infiltrated and were poisoning the very building blocks of life.

Today, DDT is banned in the U.S. and many of the creatures it had nearly extinguished have rebounded, but the plague of pesticides Carson warned about continues to infiltrate our lands, our air, our water, and many of Earth’s creatures, among them ourselves. It’s a plague hard to fight and hard to protect ourselves against – in part because our regulatory system treats the chemicals as if they had rights: safe until proven guilty.

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View Alexander Rony's blog posts
16 April 2014, 11:37 AM
Captured 40 years ago, Lolita symbolizes movement to free captive animals
A pod of southern resident orcas in Boundary Pass, north of San Juan Island, WA. (Howard Garrett / Orca Network)

(An infant orca was captured in 1970, named Lolita, and has lived ever since in a tiny pool at the Miami Seaquarium. The following is about her life and a growing movement supported by Earthjustice to have Lolita reintroduced to her native waters and possibly rejoined with her family pod in Washington state waters.)

The whale trappers were exhausted. For months the southern resident orcas of Puget Sound had been outsmarting them, dodging their traps and distracting their ships away from the younger whales. But the trappers meant business, and they returned with faster boats and loud explosives. On August 8, 1970, the trappers corralled the orcas into a cove and captured them in nets.

The trappers took home seven infant orcas, those still young enough to be trained and sold as entertaining distractions to marine parks. But the event soon unfolded into a larger scandal—a fisherman later found the purposefully sunk corpses of four infant orcas—galvanizing public opposition and leading to an agreement banning orca captures in Washington state waters. By the time these captures stopped in 1976, 13 orcas had been killed and 45 more had been removed from their families. The demographic hole left in the population caused a decline that, along with other factors, led to Endangered Species Act protection for this population in 2005.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
14 April 2014, 1:12 PM
Earthjustice targets a number of looming or ongoing envrionmental threats
(iStockphoto)

America’s waterways, endangered species, and children are in this month's spotlight because of looming or ongoing environmental threats.

On a bright note, the EPA finally proposed a long-sought rule to protect most of America’s waterways from toxic pollutants. The rule would reinstate protections removed under the George W. Bush administration. Affected are 59 percent of America’s streams, 20 million acres of wetlands, and drinking supplies for 117 million citizens.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
14 February 2014, 12:59 PM
Idaho leads the nation in open hatred for wolves, pursuit of wolf killing
A gray wolf peers out from between the birch trees. (Holly Kuchera / Shutterstock)

State officials and some groups in Idaho are continuing their relentless persecution of the gray wolf, with almost 250 wolves killed so far during the 2013-14 season alone. This week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game released its predator management plan for the Middle Fork area of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The plan details IDFG’s intentions to reduce the wolf population in that area by 60 percent through several years of professional hunting and trapping efforts to inflate the local elk population.

In a related action, on Friday Earthjustice was back in court seeking to permanently halt Idaho’s wolf killing program in central Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

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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 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 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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