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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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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
15 January 2010, 10:54 AM
Clean Air Act, public lands drilling, efficiency standards, Pacific fisher

Some top stories from the last week at Earthjustice...

Sen. Lisa Murkowski seems determined to undermine the Clean Air Act, and has enlisted industry lobbyists in her quest. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen discussed why it's critical to take action now to protect this important environmental law.

The days of rampant, indiscriminant oil and gas drilling on public lands are over, according to an announcement from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The BLM will develop and extend the environmental review processes for public lands drilling plans, something Earthjustice attorneys have advocated for years. 

The DOE just released new efficiency standards for Laundromat washing machines, but unfortunately they won't do enough to weed the least efficient from the market. Next time you take a trip to the Laundromat, try to find a front-loading machine, as these tend to waste less water and energy than top-loaders.

If you haven't heard much about the rare Pacific fisher, it might be its rarity after centuries of fur-trapping and logging in the Pacific northwest. Now, an Earthjustice lawsuit has helped make sure it's still eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Find out more about this mighty porcupine hunter in Monday Reads.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
11 January 2010, 7:04 PM
A quick primer on the Pacific fisher, and a photo mystery
Porcupines, beware. Photo: John Jacobson, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Question: What animal combines perseverance and tenacity with pro-wrestling moves to dine on porcupines?

Answer: Read on…

Last Thursday, we heard from Earthjustice’s California regional office on their success in protecting the rare Pacific fisher. Monday Reads was wondering, just what might be a Pacific fisher? Though its name may conjure up images of kingfishers and the like, this fisher doesn’t fish: it’s a close relative of the otter and the mink.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
22 September 2009, 1:42 PM
Agreeing with Earthjustice, court restores Endangered Species protections

Yellowstone's grizzly bears are back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, thanks to a federal court decision overturning Bush-era directives.

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