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Jul 23, 2009
Focus: Environment
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Uranium Mining Stopped on 1 Million Acres

In response to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the Department of the Interior this Monday banned new uranium mining on a million acres near the Grand Canyon for two years. A spike in uranium prices has set off a mining rush of more than 8,000 claims in the area, threatening to poison wildlife and the water supply of millions of people who depend on the Colorado River. The Center, Grand Canyon Trust, and the Sierra Club filed suit, winning a court injunction and spurring Congressman Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz, to invoke an emergency mining-closure measure in the House of Representatives. Obama's Interior Department, however, violated the closure, provoking a second suit by the Center and a constitutional showdown over who has the right to control mining on public lands, Congress or the Presidency. Monday's million-acre closure resolves most of the differences and buys the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River breathing time while Congress considers a permanent ban.

Many thanks to the more than 11,000 supporters who sent letters to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in the last two weeks -- your action helped secure this crucial mining ban. Read more in The New York Times; send a personal thank-you to Salazar, Grijalva, and Congressman Nick Rahall, D-W.V., for their work protecting the area; and learn about and watch a live broadcast of this weekend's grand gathering to rally aid for the Canyon.


Herbicide Spraying Stopped on 1.5 Million Acres

In response to a legal challenge by the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians, last Friday the Bureau of Land Management withdrew its decision to spray herbicides on 1.5 million acres in southern New Mexico. The plan would have been the most sweeping herbicide proposal yet seen in the state, covering the entire area managed by the Bureau's Roswell field office, including water sources for the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and habitat for 12 endangered species. If herbicides were allowed in the area, species from the Pecos bluntnose shiner to the Pecos sunflower could be killed through habitat contamination or direct ingestion.

The fight goes on, however, as the BLM has separately proposed to spray herbicides on more than 700,000 acres of other public lands in the Roswell area.

Read more in the Roswell Daily Record.


Clearcutting Halted on 2.6 Million Acres

In response to a suit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the Obama administration last Thursday withdrew a Bush-era plan to quadruple clearcut logging on 2.6 million acres of federal land in Oregon. Bush's Western Oregon Plan Revision would have trashed salmon spawning streams, old-growth forests, habitat for endangered birds like the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, prompting the Center, Earthjustice, and a dozen other groups to take to the courts. Kudos to the Interior Department for seeing the light and walking away from Bush's catastrophe.

Read the press release and learn more about our campaigns to save the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.


Center Polar Bear Ad Reaches 90 Million Viewers, Among Most Popular in Nation

Last year thousands of Center for Biological Diversity supporters contributed more than $70,000 to help us get two public service announcements on the airwaves to motivate people to save polar bears and stop global warming. We promised to reach 10 million viewers. Well . . . in a little over six months, our ads reached more than 90 million viewers (or 180 million eyeballs) and are still going strong. During that time, they were the 13th most popular public service announcement in the country. They helped motivate more than 94,000 people to petition for polar bear protection.

Running in English and Spanish, the animated and haunting live-action pieces have been shown 18,000 times from Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, and Chicago to Fairbanks, Birmingham, Bozeman, and Toledo. It would have cost $2.4 million to buy this much television time, but thanks to our supporters, we were able to get this public service airspace for just $70,000 in production and distribution costs.

Watch them for yourself now. And pass this email link on to your friends.

* Special thanks to Care for the Wild International and the Temper of the Times Foundation for helping us storm the airwaves.


Reward Posted for Meadow-trashing, Toad-mashing ORVers

Seeking justice for the Yosemite toad and a beautiful Wild West ecosystem, last week the Center for Biological Diversity and allies posted a $1,500 reward for a dirt-biker posse that damaged a central Sierra Nevada meadow. The band of vandals was spotted last month making a hasty retreat with their motorcycles from California's Groundhog Meadow, where researchers had arrived for a study on the imperiled Yosemite toad. The bikers left the meadow scarred with deep wheel ruts from spins and zigzags, which drained the site's shallow layer of water and left toad tadpoles and eggs fatally high and dry.

Besides joyriding vandals, the Yosemite toad is endangered by introduced fish, pesticides, grazing, drought, and other threats. This incident underscores its need for prompt protection, which the Center has been working for since 2000.

Read more in the Stockton Record, where you can also learn who to call if you have facts on the perps.


Florida Shells Out Historic Turtle Protections

It's official: Thanks to a Center for Biological Diversity petition, as of this Monday, Florida's freshwater turtles are off limits to commercial harvesters. The state's historic harvesting ban, one of the country's strongest conservation measures for freshwater turtles to date, puts the brakes on an industry responsible for up to 150,000 soft-shell turtle exports from the state in the past five years. Turtle collection not only hurts the reptiles themselves -- because they're long lived and have low reproduction rates, harvest-caused population reductions are a serious setback -- it also harms humans, since many captured turtles that are contaminated with mercury, PCBs, and other toxins end up on dinner plates in Asia.

The Center has now petitioned a dozen southern and midwestern states to protect terrapins from commercial overharvesting -- and with the help of nearly 4,000 letters sent by our online activists (hey, thanks!), we're making progress. Now, with the Florida victory under our belts, it's the perfect time to push other states for crucial turtle-harvesting bans.

Read more in USA Today and take action for turtles now.


The Worst of Both Worlds: Pesticide 5,000 Times Worse for Warming Than CO2

What could be more horrible than a pesticide that hurts species and contaminates water and air? One that also acts as a greenhouse gas 4,780 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Last week, the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block the release of this monster chemical, called sulfuryl fluoride, onto farms and fields in four states. Pesticide company Dow AgroSciences has requested a permit for spraying 32,435 pounds of the stuff on 65 acres of test plots in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California -- and this permit must be denied. Releasing just 10 percent of the proposed poundage into the air would be equal to spewing out 15.5 million pounds of CO2, causing the same amount of global warming as a 30-miles-per-gallon car driven around the world more than 930 times.

Read more in Greenbang.com.


Canada's Governor General Snacks on Seal Heart

In a display deemed "too bizarre to acknowledge," Canada's Governor General Michaelle Jean ate a slaughtered seal's heart raw to show support for seal hunting in the great white North. Jean, the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as Canada's head of state, knelt above a pair of seal carcasses at an Inuit festival and asked a native woman, "Could I try the heart?" She then swallowed a slice and declared it tasty: "It's like sushi. . . And it's very rich in protein."

Jean's seal meal was a probable reaction to the European Union's June ban on seal hunting and large-scale pelt trading in Canada, Greenland, and elsewhere (with exceptions made for traditional Inuit hunts). Canadian restaurants with seal on the menu received an unexpected and controversial boost last month.

Learn more about Jean's pinniped snack from BBC News and read about Canada's seal-serving restaurants in The New York Times.


Kierán Suckling
Executive Director


Photo credits: Grand Canyon courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Tobias Alt under the GNU free documentation license; Grand Canyon (c) Edward McCain; Pecos bluntnose shiner courtesy Flickr/Joel Deluxe under the Creative Commons attribution license; northern spotted owl courtesy USFS; polar bear (c) Center for Biological Diversity; Yosemite toad courtesy USDA Forest Service; Barbour's map turtle courtesy USGS; pesticide preparation courtesy USDA; bearded seal (c) David S. Isenberg.

This message was sent to Earthforceunited@aol.com.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends out action alerts and newsletters through DemocracyinAction.org.

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