Posts tagged: wolves

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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.

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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 Marty Hayden's blog posts
16 December 2011, 4:31 PM
Arctic rider snuck into year-end funding legislation
(Florian Schulz /visionsofthewild.com)

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the great big man in the red suit and last-minute Christmas shopping.

I’m talking about the House GOP majority trying to deliver on their year-long assault on environmental and public health protections in the last two bills that will be passed by Congress this year.

The first is the omnibus spending bill that was passed by the House and Senate today. For the past two weeks, the GOP House Leadership and Appropriations Chairs have had a priority list of anti-environmental policy riders they had to have in any final spending bill. Some of those at the top of the list included blocking measures to require the clean up of industrial boilers and incinerators, cement kilns and power plants, and attempts to railroad Clean Water Act protections for streams, rivers and lakes. Removing protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Midwest were also on the list.

Thanks to the efforts of the White House, and Senate and House Democrats, none of these anti-environmental riders will become law in the final spending bill. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the Arctic. A last-minute, backroom deal tacked on a measure that excludes oil companies from complying with Clean Air Act protections in the Arctic.

View David Lawlor's blog posts
13 December 2011, 11:55 AM
California, here he comes? His search for a mate goes viral
A wolf, but not OR7. There are no known photos of wolf OR7.(Photo: Galen Rowell)

There’s nothing like a good road trip—you grab a handful of your favorite CDs, some snacks, a sense of adventure, and you’re off! Cruising down the open road, wind blowing through your hair, eyeballing heretofore unknown terrain, wondering who the heck lives in that little shack beside the highway in the middle of nowhere.

That’s how we humans do a road trip. But if you want to learn what a real road trip looks like, then you need to follow the saga of a gray wolf known to Oregon officials simply as OR7. Sure, OR7 could have grabbed his favorite Howlin’ Wolf album, packed some elk jerky and brought along his map of eastern Oregon.

But this dude is hardcore.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
22 July 2011, 10:26 AM
Fishy cleanups, meaty eco dilemmas, dirty soaps
Grey wolves in Yellowstone help keep the elk population in check. Photo courtesy of Arran_Edmonstone

Environment loses in predator versus people standoff
A new study has found that the decline of the world’s largest predators is wreaking havoc on the rest of the ecosystem, reports the Washington Post. Nature abhors a vacuum, and by killing off large sums of the world’s wolves, lions, buffalo and wildebeest, humans have inadvertently opened a door to other, sometimes less beneficial, wildlife. For example, the decimation of lions and leopards in parts of sub-Saharan Africa has allowed disease-ridden baboons to thrive, sometimes venturing into populated areas. And in the U.S., the hunting and killing of wolves in Yellowstone Park has incresed the numbers of elk and deer, which devour the forest food supply, leaving less food for other creatures. Deer also carry ticks that spread Lyme disease, an emerging infectious disease that can affect the joints, heart and central nervous system in humans.

Though the authors of the report acknowledge that it can be difficult to predict the effect that the loss of a large predator will have on the environment, what is clear is that no species is an island unto itself. In fact, the reintroduction of a native species can sometimes have a positive effect on the environment. For example, a reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone back in the 1990s has helped keep the elk population in check, thereby allowing other creatures like beavers and birds to bounce back. Said William Ripple, co-author of the international report, “It’s amazing the effect one species, the wolf, can have on the entire ecosystem.”

View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 July 2011, 9:03 AM
House comes out swinging in its newly revealed 2012 spending bill

The 112th Session of the House of Representatives is at it again, doing what they do best: writing legislation to strike and block the clean air and clean water laws that keep us alive and healthy.

This morning, the House majority released its spending bill for the year 2012, and not to disappoint those who wish to live in a world with big corporations enjoying full freedom to foul our air and water without restriction, penalty or accountability, the bill manages to take direct aim at a handful of landmark environmental safeguards and a slew of major public health protections.

Legislating through appropriations is a back-door, manipulative move in its own right. It essentially means that instead of having to muster the votes required to pass new laws or take our current environmental and health safeguards off the books, House leadership is using a spending bill to simply stop and block all funding for these protections. The laws still stand as they are, they just can't be enforced. The way this House sees it, if the agencies can't get the money to enforce our current laws, there's no need to worry about what the laws actually mandate.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
12 April 2011, 12:20 PM
Federal budget targets gray wolves and wild lands

It’s been a harrowing past few weeks (to say the least). The first jolt came Feb. 19, when House leaders approved a spending plan that slashed an array of environmental safeguards and pretty much gave polluter industries a free pass to continue using our air and water as their dumping grounds.

Amid the back and forth over the final spending legislation, the government came this close to a disastrous shut-down, with rumors that women’s reproductive rights and the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions were on the bargaining table, but in the end, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were able to stave off clean air and water attacks. The final budget will be voted on by congressional leaders in the next few days and cuts $38 billion.

But not all was won. In the 11th hour, House Speaker John Boehner and his Tea Party flank were able to slip a few anti-environmental attacks in there, among them one that will remove ESA protections for gray wolves.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 March 2011, 3:28 PM
Earthjustice remains committed to the cause

It is with deep regret that we must announce that Earthjustice was forced to step down as the courtroom lawyer for wolves in the Northern Rockies in the two cases related to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s action to remove or reduce their Endangered Species Act protections. This action was not our choice, but a course of action compelled by our ethical responsibilities to our clients.

Our passion for the wolf is greater than ever. Our years of advocacy, along with our able partners, to promote wolf recovery and our successful legal battle against politically motivated and premature delisting of the wolves are some of our proudest achievements. Our attorneys have devoted tens of thousands of hours to this cause and would still be doing so, but for the conflict of interest among our clients that has compelled us to withdraw as counsel at this juncture.

As lawyers, there can come a point where we can no longer represent multiple clients in litigation because the clients’ interests become adverse to one another. There has been a divergence of positions among our clients in the litigation challenging the delisting of gray wolves; some favor settling the case, while others do not. That divergence has forced us to withdraw as counsel.

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View Marty Hayden's blog posts
17 March 2011, 12:09 PM
At any time, Congress could remove species from endangered list

<Editor's Note: Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen has released a statement about the organization's continuing efforts to protect the gray wolf.>

The fate of gray wolves—and of the Endangered Species Act itself—may be voted on at any time in the climax of an historic struggle in Congress over budgeting and political philosophy.

Congress took its first stab at approving a full fiscal year 2011 budget on Feb. 19, and unfortunately the House GOP majority and some Democrats proposed slashing billions in public funding and eliminated safeguards for our air, water and wildlife, as well as two dozen anti-environmental policy provisions (riders).

The Senate alternative, unveiled March 4, excluded all of the these anti-environmental riders except one: a rider ordering the Interior Secretary to reinstate a court-overturned 2009 rule. The rule delisted wolves within portions of the northern Rockies, including Montana, Idaho and portions of Utah, Oregon and Washington. It insulated that rule from court review. If enacted, this would be the first time in the ESA’s history that Congress has legislatively delisted a species.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
22 February 2011, 3:00 AM
Animals' taste in music revealed (Creed doesn't make the cut)
(Photo: drhstars01 / Photobucket)

News headlines last week prominently featured both music (the Grammy Awards rolled out their red carpet) and the environment (the GOP’s proposed spending legislation steamrolled through the House, nearly crushed under the weight of riders and amendments seeking to rollback many environmental and public health gains of the past several years).

What readers may not be aware of is that in two smaller stories, the environment weighed in on music:

EXHIBIT A: Wolves give Creed a chance. (And then leave.)

A few weeks ago in southern Norway, 13-year-old Walter Eikrem was on his way home from school, listening to Creed (“heavy-metal music,” according to Spiegel International), when he (distressingly) crossed paths with four wolves. His mother had given him strict instructions on what to do in just such a circumstance: Don’t Run. (Walter’s Mom: "You can even get a little poodle to run after you if you run away.”)

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 February 2011, 4:15 PM
House lawmakers continue to slash essential protections for the American public

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

Once the amendments are voted on and settled, the whole House will cast a final vote on the entire bill package with all the passed amendments. Then the Senate takes its turn, crafting a spending bill of its own. The two chambers must then confer and agree on one bill that funds the federal government by March 4 -- or the government must shut down until its spending and funding sources are settled.

The amendments that the House is currently considering are wide-ranging. They aim to cut government spending by cutting the funding streams of hundreds of government programs. So, instead of ending those programs through legislation and appropriate voting, many members of the House are seeking to delete the programs by wiping out the funds that keep them going.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
17 February 2011, 6:45 AM
Amendments target wildlife, water, air, public health, natural resources

Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal government running.

Unfortunately, that measure—called a continuing resolution—is loaded with amendments and provisions that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and seeks to override the rule of law at every turn.

These so-called  “riders” could not pass on their own merits, so their sponsors hope they will ride the coat-tails of this must-pass budget bill. Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants. They would overturn court decisions that we have obtained to stop illegal behavior and force federal agencies to comply with the law.

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