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Endangered Species Act

An estimated 20 percent of Atlantic bluefin tuna, spawned this year in the Gulf of Mexico, died because of BP's oil spill according to an assessment based on satellite images.

The European Space Agency, in league with the Ocean Foundation, reached that conclusion after collecting satellite images and other data from the start of the spill on Apr. 20 until Aug. 29. The nearly-200 million gallon spill occurred at the height of the spawn and affected one of two areas in which the tuna spawn.

Already under great stress because of overfishing and the impacts of longline fishing, the oil spill has put the tuna in such peril that the National Marine Fisheries Service is conducting its own year-long study into whether it should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
 

Bears, you’ve had it tough this past year.

Out in Yellowstone, the grizzly members of the family are being thwarted by voracious mountain pine beetles, who are depriving the bears of one of their key food sources (fatty and delicious whitebark pine seeds). A year ago, Earthjustice won ESA protections for the bears, but the federal government has appealed the court’s decision. The fight continues.

September is Salmon Month at San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay. Sponsored by the SalmonAID coalition - of which Earthjustice is a member - Salmon Month brings together more than two dozen conservation, commercial and sportfishing organizations, as well as the West Coast's best restaurants in order to educate the public about wild salmon and the perils they face across our coast. This wide-ranging coalition motivates citizens to take actions that protect our amazing wild salmon and the rivers they call home.

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

In September 2009 Earthjustice attorneys succeeded in winning a court case that forced the federal government to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

The bears lost federal protection in 2007 in spite of a rapid decline in one of their main food sources, the seeds of whitebark pine trees. Whitebark pines are in decline due to warming temperature in the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains where they grow.

The state of Montana is planning to greatly increase the number of wolves hunters will be allowed to kill this fall. That is unless a federal judge rules in favor of an Earthjustice lawsuit intended to protect wolves.

Montana recently approved plans to allow hunters to kill 186 wolves, up from the 75 wolves allowed in last year's hunt. <Check out what the New York Times has to say!>

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fallen far behind in one of its most important responsibilities: to protect the American public from toxic air pollutants. The New York Times recently reported on a new study from the agency's Inspector General which found that the EPA is currently violating federal law by failing to put these protections in place.

Last week marked the 5th appearance of Endangered Species Day. Although young as annual commemoration days go, Endangered Species Day draws attention to an age-old countdown that has been accelerated by human development at a frightening rate. In the U.S. alone, more than 500 species have gone extinct since the Mayflower docked.

“The battle to restore a proper relationship between man and his environment, and between man and other living creatures, will require a long sustained political, moral, ethical, and financial commitment far beyond any commitment ever made by any society in the history of man. Are we able? Yes. Are we willing? That’s the unanswered question.” – Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day.

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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.