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Endangered Earth

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1 Endangered Earth on Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:56 am


Endangered Earth

No. 632, August 30, 2012

Clock Ticking to Save Wyoming's Wolves
Arctic Sea Ice Hits New Low

Shell Oil Asks for Favors From Feds Again Take Action

Lawsuit Launched to Save California Wildlife From Fracking

EPA Agrees to Address "Kraft" Pulp-mill Pollution

Center Op-ed: "Plastic Simply Does Not Belong in the Ocean"

Pennsylvania May Protect Three Bat Species Help It Happen

Desert Tortoises Endangered by Military-base Expansion

Wild & Weird: Got Zombies? Call Uncle Sam

Donate today to support the Center's work.

Take action now.

Clock Ticking to Save Wyoming's Wolves

At any moment, Interior Secretary
Ken Salazar is expected to strip Endangered Species Act protections
from Wyoming's wolves, the last federally protected packs in the Rocky
Mountains. The move will open up 80 percent of the state to wolf
killing. Wyoming's kill-at-will policy for most of its wolf territory
will promote the quick extermination of 170 wolves -- and then many more
as each year's pups are wiped out to permanently keep the population

Wolf killing is already rampant in Montana and Idaho,
where wolves lost protection in early 2011. The Center for Biological
Diversity is rushing to develop an emergency legal action, in response
to the proposed delisting, that will stop the killing in Wyoming.
Salazar, though, is poised to push the plan through, even though the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a similar plan from Wyoming last

Read an editorial about this critical battle for the region's last federally protected wolves in the Los Angeles Times.

Arctic Sea Ice Hits New Low

It's official: The extent of summer sea ice
across the Arctic has hit a historic low. Monday's announcement from the
National Snow and Ice Data Center capped a summer of record-breaking
extreme weather events fueled by manmade climate change, including
40,000 high-temperature records that have been broken in the United
States this year. At this pace, the Arctic could be ice-free in the
summer for a day or more by 2020. Animals like polar bears, ice seals
and walruses, which rely on the sea ice to survive and raise young, are
almost certain to face a higher death toll from starvation and drowning.

And that's very bad news for people too. "The sea-ice death
spiral, coming during one of the warmest summers in American history,
is just one more clear sign of the deepening climate crisis that we
ignore at our own peril," said Center for Biological Diversity Climate
Science Director Shaye Wolf.

The good news: If we can drastically reduce emissions now, we can still lower our atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million and avoid climate catastrophe.

Read more in Wired and help spur the feds to action by signing our People's Petition to Get to 350 and making your city the next Clean Air City.

Shell Oil Asks for Favors From Feds Again -- Take Action

It seems almost every week that Shell Oil comes
up with a new way to ask for special treatment. This week the oil giant
asked the Interior Department to bend the rules and give it a two-week
extension on its Chukchi Sea drilling permit. But letting Shell drill
later into the fall is a truly bad idea: A late-season blowout in the
Arctic would be catastrophic, with oil gushing into the ocean for months
and frozen seas making cleanup nearly impossible. That will
dramatically raise the risk of oil spills reaching polar bears, walruses
and ice seals -- and add an extra level of danger to Arctic oil
drilling, a practice already fraught with potentially devastating

Read more about Arctic oil development and take action now to tell the Interior Department not to let Big Oil take big risks with our Arctic waters and wildlife.

Lawsuit Launched to Save California Wildlife From Fracking

Fracking has become a fact of life in at least
nine counties in California -- and that spells possible trouble for
endangered species. On Wednesday, the Center for Biological Diversity
filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for
not properly assessing the effects of fracking on threatened and
endangered species on the state's public lands. Fracking, or "hydraulic
fracturing," is a method of oil and gas extraction that injects millions
of gallons of highly pressurized water, sand and toxic chemicals deep
into the earth. It has undeniable impacts on the environment, including
habitat for imperiled animals like steelhead trout, California condors
and San Joaquin kit foxes.

Yet the BLM continues to issue oil
and gas drilling leases and permits -- all the while relying on outdated
wildlife analyses that don't factor in the dangers of fracking.

Read about it in our new press release. And take action by telling California officials: California needs a fracking ban. Then learn more on our California Fracking Web page.

EPA Agrees to Address "Kraft" Pulp-mill Pollution

After a 17-year delay and a 2011
lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency has finally agreed to review outdated
rules meant to control air pollution from "kraft" pulp mills. These pulp
mills use chemicals to dissolve woodchips into fibers for making paper
-- in the process spewing vast amounts of poisonous, stinking gases into
the air, including nitrogen oxides and sulfur compounds. "People living
nearby have no choice but to breathe it," said the Center's Vera
Pardee. "It's time to set standards that force the use of new
pollution-control technologies."

Kraft pulp mills also emit greenhouse gases, fueling dangerous climate change.

Rules for regulating pulp mills' dangerous emissions are supposed to be
updated every eight years . . . but the EPA hasn't done it for 25.
The new settlement with the Center and partners will mean the agency
either proposes rules to revise the old standards by next spring or
declares that no updates are needed. If it does propose revisions, new
rules will be finalized the following year.

Read more in our press release.

Center Op-ed: "Plastic Simply Does Not Belong in the Ocean"

The Clean Water Act has an
impressive record of making water safer to drink and more livable for
wildlife. Now it's time for the landmark law to be used to tackle
another growing crisis: plastic pollution in our oceans. Plastic litter
on our beaches and in ocean waters is deadly for nearly 300 marine
species, including sea turtles, whales, seals, fish, corals and
seabirds. Hundreds of thousands of animals die each year from eating or
getting tangled up in plastic.

The Center for Biological
Diversity recently filed the first-ever petition to the Environmental
Protection Agency to begin curbing plastic pollution in the ocean. Said
the Center's Oceans Director Miyoko Sakashita in a new piece in The Huffington Post:
"The more I learn about this crisis, the more one thing becomes clear:
We've got to stop polluting these areas with derelict fishing gear,
beverage bottles, caps, shopping bags and every other scrap of plastic
that, while convenient for us, is a daily death sentence for sea life.
Plastic simply does not belong in the ocean."

Read Miyoko's Huffington Post op-ed, learn more about our ocean plastics campaign and take action to stop plastic from killing ocean animals.

Pennsylvania May Protect Three Bat Species -- Help It Happen

In the Northeast, numbers of little
brown bats, northern long-eared bats and tricolored bats have all been
reduced drastically -- in some states by more than 97 percent -- by the
devastating epidemic called white-nose syndrome. The Center for
Biological Diversity petitioned in 2010 to protect little brown bats and
northern long-eared bats. Now Pennsylvania may be heeding that call

The state has proposed to safeguard the three species under its own
Endangered Species Act, which would help raise awareness of the bats'
plight, protect habitat where mothers and young roost, and limit human
access to bat hibernation areas, where the animals are very sensitive to
winter disturbance. Pennsylvania's proposal sets a good example for
other states, and the feds, to give these bats the emergency help they
need to survive deadly white-nose syndrome, which has already wiped out
nearly 7 million bats.

Take action to support protecting these three bat species in Pennsylvania; then read more about white-nose syndrome and how we can help stop it.

Desert Tortoises Endangered by Military-base Expansion

The Marine Corps Air Ground
Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., is one of the nation's most
popular areas for off-road vehicles. Now the Corps is proposing to
expand the base into 189,700 acres of the community's federal land.
ORVers are angry -- because an expansion would reduce their legal
off-roading areas -- and while the Center for Biological Diversity often
opposes off-roading for its habitat destruction, we're actually with
the ORV lobby in opposing this base expansion.

That's because
it would also endanger a wildlife-management area that's key habitat for
ancient, gentle desert tortoises: A preposterous 3,040 to 17,766
tortoises could die. "That's appalling," said Center biologist Ileene
Anderson. The Center will keep fighting for the tortoises, as we've
fought for more than 15 years.

Read more in The Desert Sun and learn about our work for the desert tortoise.

Wild & Weird: Got Zombies? Call Uncle Sam

Don't worry. Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani,
a "zombie" fungus discovered in ants in 2011, hasn't yet spread to
humans. That's a good thing since it grotesquely infects its hosts,
takes over their brains and bodies, guides them to a prime location for
fungal growth and finally kills them. But what if the undead decide to
come after us?

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control is
on the case. A CDC spokesman has assured frightened citizens that the
agency is unaware of any virus that would animate a human corpse,
control its brain, and lead it on a rampage of cannibalism.

But just in case, there's the agency's "Zombie Preparedness" Web page, posters and graphic novella Zombie Pandemic
-- which, purely coincidentally of course, may also help zombophobes
prepare for more common disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and
terrorist attacks.

Check out the CDC's Zombie Preparedness page for yourself and see photos of the zombie fungus infecting ant brains at National Geographic.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Pacific walrus by
Captain Budd Christman, NOAA; gray wolf courtesy Flickr Commons/Brian
Digital; Arctic sea ice by Goddard Photo and Video, NASA; Noble Discoverer
drillship courtesy USFWS; San Joaquin kit fox by B. Moose Peterson,
USFWS; pulp mill courtesy Flickr Commons/Max Gag; plastic marine debris
courtesy EPA; little brown bat courtesy Flickr Commons/Chris Mathers;
desert tortoise courtesy Flickr Commons/sandman; zombie courtesy Flickr

Thanks to Ametrine at:


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