Skip to main content

Fish and Wildlife Service

When you hear “Wolverine!,” the first thing you think of is:

Right photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/existentialhero/ / CC BY-NC 2.0.

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).

<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.

Wolf hunting began this morning in Idaho, as a federal judge continues to consider an urgent request by Earthjustice and allies to halt the hunting. A young female was reportedly the first wolf killed.

Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold argued Monday for an injunction to stall hunting in both Idaho and Montana as part of a lawsuit seeking to restore protection of the wolves under the Endangered Species Act. Protections were removed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Idaho is allowing 255 wolves to be killed, and Montana 75.

 

As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the water buffaloes try to use our drought crisis to pave the way for diverting more precious Sacramento River water to Los Angeles and, especially, San Joaquin Valley growers with their lovely subsidies, some of the same interests are asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to empanel the God Squad.

The Squad, formally known as the Endangered Species Committee, can override the Endangered Species Act in time of great emergency, and the Pacific Legal Foundation argues that the biological opinions that order more water for salmon and smelt, constitute just such an emergency for agriculture. The salmon opinion, in fact, says that not only are protected salmon at risk from not enough water--but Puget Sound killer whales are,too, since the salmon are an important part of theiir diet. PLF has its work cut out for it.

What does it take to peel back the abstractions of email, press reports, and legal briefs and really see some of what is at stake in Earthjustice's work? It's as easy as getting away from the computer, out of airports, and off the interstate.

Over the last couple of weeks I was lucky enough to travel across the Great Plains and the Rockies. Everywhere I went, I saw our country wrestling with the big challenges of energy supply and climate change, biodiversity and wildlands protection, and the human consequences of poorly enforced environmental standards.

One of the grandest victories scored by environmental types in California has been the battle to save Mono Lake at the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada. Owens Lake, to the south, was obliterated by users in the Los Angeles basin, who simply appropriated virtually all the water that once flowed from the mountains into the lake (the easiest and most entertaining way to brush up on this story is to see the movie Chinatown).

Grist, the most valuable daily green news and comment ezine, published a very interesting piece May 4, talking about "old" environmentalism and "new" environmentalism as exemplified by campaigns to protect wolves (that's the old part) and polar bears (new).

Both efforts have news hooks just now, and one, at least, does not display the Obama administration, particularly Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a good light.

Earthjustice is preparing to sue the Obama administration over its stunning decision to withdraw protections from northern gray wolves.

Any day now, a notice of intent to sue will be filed, giving  Interior Sec. Ken Salazar just 60 days to rescind his wolf edict or face court action.

Salazar last week said he will strip the wolf of Endangered Species Act protections, in the process endorsing one of the most infamous Bush-era actions. As a result, gray wolves could be targeted by hunters in at least two states.

Pages

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.