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Kari Birdseye's Blog

Farmworker Victorino

Victorino’s story is part two in a weekly series of personal narratives from farm and agricultural workers, illustrating the need for stronger worker and safety protections against pesticide exposure. To get beyond the statistics of 10,000 to 20,000 pesticide poisonings on farms a year in this country, we go to the frontlines, beginning in California.

Black carbon is the sooty, particulate pollution that reaches deep into your lungs and causes asthma and other respiratory and heart diseases.

Black carbon also plays a major role in global warming—second to only carbon dioxide.

Here’s a great introduction to black carbon that may spur you to action, and even make you smile.

One of the newborn bison calves, born at Montana's Fort Peck in the spring of 2012.

Some extra thunder rumbled into north central Montana, when wild bison finally set hooves on the ground at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The return was the culmination of legal efforts to restore the animals to their historic prairie habitat. Members of the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes were eager to receive them.

This comes on the heels of a report from the Department of Interior, which summarized a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season and was highly critical of the oil giant’s operations.

At a press conference announcing the findings, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared that Shell had “screwed up,” and the report concluded:

Shell announced that the company is hitting the pause button on oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic. Mother Nature graphically demonstrated this summer what conservation groups have been saying for more than a decade—the extreme weather and conditions of the Arctic, with its stormy, frozen seas make the Arctic environmentally treacherous for oil drilling.

As Royal Dutch Shell continues to make perfectly clear, industry is not prepared to safely explore for oil in the pristine waters of America’s Arctic. Shell’s Arctic operations have been called the “gold standard” of the oil industry and if this is the best they’ve got, the industry is not Arctic ready.

In Wyoming, wolves that were federally protected on Sept. 30 became legal vermin overnight—subject to being shot on sight in approximately 90 percent of the state as of Oct. 1. In the remaining 10 percent of Wyoming, wolf hunting season opened for the first time since the gray wolf was eradicated from the state in the early 1900s. Fifty-two wolves are expected to be killed in the “trophy zone” hunting season and dozens more in the free-fire “predator zone” over the coming weeks.

The “Big Oil” companies are breaking ranks. The fourth largest oil company in the world told the Financial Times yesterday that drilling in the Arctic is too risky, a position held by the environmental community for the past seven years.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose a blue moon to announce the delisting of the gray wolf in Wyoming, which will take effect in one month. Is it because a blue moon is also called the “betrayer moon,” or perhaps it’s just before a holiday weekend and they are hoping most won’t notice?

She’s big, dirty and 42-years old—that’s old in power plant years.

They call her Big Sandy in Kentucky and she has two and a half years to clean up her act until she’s either shut down or replaced with newer, cleaner energy resources.

The uplifting movie Big Miracle, opening this weekend, has the power to educate people across the country about America’s Arctic Ocean, along with the people and wildlife that call it home.

This is the same place Royal Dutch Shell is planning to drill in our Arctic waters this summer—with no viable method to clean up an oil spill in these extreme conditions. And President Obama has the power to stop them.

The President made the right decision on the Keystone pipeline XL today. House Republicans forced the arbitrary deadline of February 21 and there was really only one legal way to answer. Since the State Department hasn’t finished its environmental review of the pipeline and requests for alternative routes that bypass sensitive lands and habitats are not on the table yet—that would be a NO.

You’re adorable but you will die if the temperature rises much above 80°F. So climate change is a big deal in your world, which just happens to be high mountain peaks. Who are you?

You are the American pika, a small member of the rabbit family that the California Dept. of Fish and Game has agreed to designate as a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act (ESA). It’s the first step towards full protection in the state. The DFG is now seeking public comment on a proposal to list the pika as an endangered or threatened species.

There was more than the usual lurking going on Thursday afternoon in Lurker Park in East Hanover, New Jersey. More than 50 people turned out to protest the Obama administration’s fast-tracking of a proposed electrical power line that would bring coal-fired power to New Jersey. The protesters say we should be using less, not more, coal-fired power and new information now shows that clean energy solutions can keep the lights on in New Jersey.

Documents released as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Earthjustice have uncovered strong ties between Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the team of lobbyists hired to promote the pipeline’s approval at the State Department.

Once upon a time, a valley known for being so fertile that it could grow much of America's produce came to be known for something else entirely: air pollution. The people of California's San Joaquin Valley needed help because the polluted air was making them sick with asthma -- at rates three times higher than the entire nation. Thousands were dying each year because of the smog, particulate matter, lead, arsenic and toxic gases in the air.

Polar bears are drowning. Huge glaciers are melting. Low-lying cities are worried. All because of climate change. But, when the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.

Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.

(Kari Birdseye is the new National Press Secretary for Earthjustice. An 11-year veteran with CNN, she was comforted by the familiar, hectic pace she experienced in her first week with Earthjustice communications.)

What a week. What a first week at work for Earthjustice. Even before I entered the doors, I knew the Gulf Oil Spill anniversary and Earth Day promised to expiate my learning curve. 

About the Earthjustice Blog

The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.