Posted on October 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation group eyes Clean Water Act as tool in climate fight
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — It’s not clear if anything — besides massive cuts in carbon dioxide emissions — can stop the acidification of oceans, but the Center for Biological Diversity would at least like to see the EPA try to water quality standards as a way to tackle the problem.
The conservation group last week filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to address ocean acidification that may already be killing oysters in Oregon and Washington and threatening a wide range of other sea life. The lawsuit challenges the EPA’s decision that seawaters in those two states meet water-quality standards meant to protect marine life despite disturbing increases in acidity. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Act, climate change, CO2, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Predation by killer whales seen as main threat
A dramatic decline in sea otter numbers in southwest Alaska has prompted an all-out recovery effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Nothern sea otter. Photo via USFWS.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal officials have finally completed a recovery plan for northern sea otters living along the coast of southwest Alaska, but fully recovering the species may prove to be a big challenge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says predation by killer whales may be the single biggest factor in significant population declines documented since the 1950s.
“There may be few actions that can be taken to mitigate predation as a threat, but the sea otter recovery program should search for solutions and be open to novel ideas,” the scientists wrote in the recovery plan. Above all, more research is needed to pinpoint population trends and reasons for the decline, they wrote.
The 50 to 60 percent drop in otter numbers has had a dramatic effect on coastal ecosystems in the region. Otters are a keystone species in their ecosystem niche. They control sea urchin populations, which prevents over-grazing of underwater kelp forests, which are important habitat for a slew of other species. Read the recovery plan here. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Alaska, Aleutian Islands, biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, northern sea otters, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Activists seek to halt drift gillnet fishing altogether
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal officials this week enacted emergency regulations to try and protect Pacific Ocean sperm whale population from California’s drift gillnet fishery, which has been killing non-commercial fish and marine mammals at an alarming rate.
The practice of setting miles of floating nets may be one of the cheapest ways to fish for commercial species, but it’s also one of the most destructive to marine resources. Recent fishery observer data indicates that, for every two swordfish the fishery catches to sell, on average one blue shark, 15 ocean sunfish, and a long list of other fish are thrown overboard dead or injured.
The new regulations issues by the National Marine Fisheries Service will shut down California’s drift gillnet fishery if a single endangered sperm whale is caught dead or injured. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: California, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, marine mammals, national marine fisheries service, oceans, sperm whales | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Diesel exhaust is significant regional contributor to soot pollution.
Green group cites lack of EPA enforcement in nine-state legal action
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — More than 100 years after the dawn of the industrial age, factories and power plants are still spewing toxic soot into the air, even though the technology to halt the pollution is readily available.
Conservation advocates last week said enough is enough, and announced a far-reaching lawsuit that would force the EPA to finally live up to its obligation to enforce Clean Air Act standards.
“The Clean Air Act can only work to protect public health and ecosystems if it is actually enforced,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “EPA and the states have a moral and legal duty to work to together to clean up the toxic soot that’s polluting our skies.” (more…)
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Center for Biological Diversity, Environment, EPA, soot | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 31, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Federal agencies want to dial back their requirements to track impacts to endangered species. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Cutting back on take limits could put more plants and animals at risk of extinction
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —Watchdog groups are warning that a proposal to weaken endangered species standards could put some plants and animals at greater risk of extinction.
The new rule would scale back the requirement that federal agencies fully track impacts to endangered species under broad programmatic environmental studies. Cumulative impacts on rare species from actions like oil and gas drilling would be discounted in the decision-making process, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
The change is being proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, both agencies have repeatedly failed to track how the projects they approve are affecting rare and vanishing species. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, NEPA, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds reject argument by ultra- conservative property rights group
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A tiny population of threatened killer whales in Puget Sound will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The National Marine Fisheries Service this week rejected a petition from the Pacific Legal Foundation, which had challenged the population’s status.
The fringe property rights advocacy group claimed, based in invalid science, that the Puget Sound “southern resident” killer whales are not a distinct population. In response, the federal government conducted a year-long review of the status and eligibility of the orcas for Endangered Species Act protection and confirmed that the whale’s endangered listing remains warranted. (more…)
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, conservation, endangered species act, national marine fisheries service, oceans, Orcas, Puget Sound | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Re-opening caves could lead to spread of deadly white-nose syndrome
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service this week denied an appeal of a new cave-access policy for the Rocky Mountain region, clearing the way for the re-opening of some caves that have been under a blanket closure the past three years to try and prevent the spread of bat-killing white-nose syndrome.
The fungal pathogen was probably introduced to caves in the Northeast by humans and quickly spread to kill more than 7 million bats as far west as Missouri and Oklahoma. Bats are unsung members of the country’s ecosystems, providing valuable insect-control and pollination services. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: bats, Center for Biological Diversity, U.S. Forest Service, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Will the Endangered Species Act save the Miami blue butterfly? Photo via USFWS.
40-year-old law seen as bulwark against biodiversity crisis
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — If you can imagine looking up at the night sky and watching familiar stars blinking out forever, then you might have some sense of what’s going on with the planet’s plants and animals in part of the greatest wave of extinctions and biodiversity loss in many thousands of years.
The constellation of life is losing stars at an alarming and increasing rate, including the likely extinction of two Florida butterfly species announced last week by the U.S. Fishd and Wildlife Service — Florida Zestos and rockland grass skippers.
In a press release, conservation groups say the loss of the two species could have been saved with the protection of the Endangered Species Act. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, extinction, Florida | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Caving to political pressure from western states, the Obama administration wants to remove endangered species protections for the ecologically vital predators
A gray wolf follows a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy NPS/Doug Smith.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In a move that’s sure to spur another round of contentious lawsuits, the Obama administration is moving ahead with its controversial plan to take nearly all wolves across the U.S. off the endangered species list.
Federal biologists say wolves are recovered and no longer need endangered species protection, but conservation groups immediately blasted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying that the agency based its conclusions on faulty science.
“This is like kicking a patient out of the hospital when they’re still attached to life-support,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves cling to a sliver of their historic habitat in the lower 48 and now the Obama administration wants to arbitrarily declare victory and move on. They need to finish the job that Americans expect, not walk away the first chance they get. This proposal is a national disgrace and our wildlife deserve better,” Greenwald said. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, endangered species act, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wolf delisting, wolves | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Endangered species like Florida’s manatees would have little chance of surviving, much less recovering without the Endangered Species Act to protect them from the excesses of greedy developers and their Republican political allies.
The words change, but the song remains the same — and it’s all about money
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Radical anti-environmental House Republicans are once again on the march against endangered species protections. In a hearing this week, the GOP renewed its attacks against the bulwark environmental law, retreading the same arguments that have been rejected by the American people more than once.
The message trotted out by right-wingers like Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) doesn’t change much from year to year: Grow the economy, create jobs, but it’s really driven by a corporate agenda that wants only to extract more profit from public lands.
This latest assault comes as the nation celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Act — a world-famous law that has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species entrusted to its care and put hundreds of them on the road to recovery. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, Doc Hastings, endangered species, endangered species act, Environment | 1 Comment »