CBD and Politics, one and the same.

Vtr_Racing

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Latest from the group that hates what we do.
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/cleaning_up_the_bush_legacy/index.html

CLEANING UP THE BUSH LEGACY
The years 2000 through 2008 — the two presidential terms served by George W. Bush — amount to a Dark Age for endangered species. The administration was hands-down the worst in history at listing species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, with only 61 species earning federal protection throughout the entire eight years — compared to 522 under the Clinton administration and 231 under the Bush Sr. administration. Dragging its feet on responding to listing petitions, fighting stubbornly against protecting species in court, and constantly delaying real protection for species by instead placing them on the “candidate list” where they languish for years, the Bush administration regularly stooped to corrupt tactics that let politics dictate endangered species decisions.

The administration also did its utmost to ensure that those few species that are listed received the least amount of protection possible. Court orders forced the administration to designate critical habitat for more than 150 species, but in a rash of decisions snubbing species science, the administration slashed 67 percent of proposed designations by an average of nearly half before finalizing them, reducing protected habitat acreage by almost 63 million acres.

The most famous mammal to be listed during Bush’s tenure — the iconic, global warming-threatened polar bear — was robbed of crucial protections by a special rule exempting climate change and oil and gas development from regulation under the Act. And just before Bush left office, he finalized deeply damaging changes to the rules that have made the Endangered Species Act successful for 35.years.

The Center was kept busy throughout George W. Bush’s regrettable presidency, not only with lawsuits for individual species, but also leading the way in exposing the administration’s bad actions to the media and policymakers and pushing the drive toward reform. Unfortunately, the mess Bush made of our wildlife-protection laws is a big one, and we’re still cleaning it up.

LITIGATING POLITICAL CORRUPTION
At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that implements the Endangered Species Act, the undermining and manipulation of scientific data for the benefit of private interests reached a new height under the Bush administration. By suppressing, twisting, and ignoring information from its own biologists, the administration removed Endangered Species Act protections for species that still needed it, refused to grant protections to many species in the first place, and withheld essential habitat protection for a long list of others. Many of the illegal decisions were engineered by former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Julie MacDonald, who resigned in disgrace following a scathing misconduct investigation by Interior’s inspector general. In many cases, government and university scientists carefully documented the unauthorized editing of scientific documents, the overruling of scientific experts, and the falsification of economic analyses.

To combat this species-harming corruption, in 2007 the Center kicked off the biggest endangered species litigation action ever undertaken, a campaign for 59 imperiled species and more than 8 million acres of habitat wrongly denied feder al protection because of Bush administration political interference. Since we filed our notice of intent to sue for 55 species in 2007, we’ve sued to protect 45 species, and we’re in the process of preparing suits for more. Our campaign has already met with significant success, prompting the Fish and Wildlife Service to agree to redo critical habitat designations for 16 species: the California red-legged frog; arroyo toad; vermilion darter; Mississippi gopher frog; four New Mexico invertebrates; the Santa Ana sucker; and seven plants from California, Oregon, and North Carolina. The newly proposed critical habitat designation for the California red-legged frog alone totals approximately 1.8 million acres — quadruple the area previously protected. In addition, thanks to our work, the Service will also reconsider listing the rare, highly imperiled Mexican garter snake.

We continue to push for better protection of all the animals and plants wronged through illegal Endangered Species Act decisions made by MacDonald and other Bush-era bureaucrats. We won’t end our campaign until we’ve ensured that none of these species’ recovery — or the political interference that led to weakened protections — are swept under the carpet.

Check out a timeline of our campaign and read what the media has had to say.

THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT EVISCERATION
On December 11, 2008, George W. Bush’s Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne finalized sweeping changes to the rules that govern how the Endangered Species Act is carried out — changes with a proven track record of failure that would gut protections for endangered species by excusing thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Act. The Bush administration finalized the rules after a hasty public-review process — in which more than 300,000 comments from the public were supposedly reviewed in two to three weeks — and afforded them only a cursory environmental assessment. The very same day the final rules were published, the Center, Greenpeace, and Defenders of Wildlife sued. Nine states, including California, New York, and Oregon, followed with suits of their own soon after.

In March, Obama issued a presidential memorandum instructing agencies to disregard portions of the Bush rules, and then Congress passed special legislation that gave Interior Secretary Ken Salazar 60 days to undo the regulations eviscerating the Act — along with regulations weakening protections for the polar bear — with the stroke of a pen. Secretary Salazar must do so by May 9, or the regulations will stay in place until and unless they’re overturned by the courts.

Learn more about the Endangered Species Act evisceration and take action to save the Endangered Species Act and the polar bear before time runs out.

“REFORMATTING” SPECIES OUT OF PROTECTIONS
On August 5, 2008, the Bush administration proposed another rule change affecting endangered species that would change the formatting of the federal endangered and threatened lists to dramatically reduce listed species’ protections. The proposed change would create a new column heading of “Where listed” that would essentially mandate protection for a species only in its current range. A column for a species’ entire historic range — the area in which a species should be protected — would be considered an "information-only column."

Because most endangered species have lost substantial portions of historic range, this rule could condemn many species to extinction. Take, for example, the gray wolf, which was listed as endangered in the lower 48 states and as threatened in Minnesota in 1976 — if this supposed “formatting” change had been in place then, the wolf could not have been listed in the lower 48 states where it wasn’t found. Likewise, if the change had been enacted after the California condor went extinct in the wild, the magnificent bird would have only been protected in zoos.

The amendment reflects a policy shift that was articulated in a 2007 memorandum [Link to Solicitor’s memo.] from Interior’s solicitor, which argues that the Fish and Wildlife Service must only consider and protect the current range of endangered species. The positions argued in the memo and put in place by the August 5 proposed amendment are clearly inconsistent with the language and intent of the Endangered Species Act.

Unfortunately, though this proposed rule has been pushed to the sidelines, it hasn’t gone away and could still potentially be finalized. The Center is keeping a close eye on the current administration to make sure it isn’t.
 

Vtr_Racing

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This group is hiding behind ther ESA to further its own agenda at the expense of others.
Responding to snowballing support from citizens, scientists, and politicians for our nation's sovereign endangered species protection law, this Tuesday Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rescinded the Bush rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act by letting thousands of federal activities -- including those emitting greenhouse gases -- slide past independent review under the Act. But in a key omission, Salazar took no action to quash the Bush administration rule sharply limiting protections under the Act for the polar bear -- a rule exempting the very threats that loom largest for the species, greenhouse gas emissions and oil and gas development, from regulation under the Act. Thanks to legislation passed by Congress in March, Salazar received the authority to rescind both the Endangered Species Act rule and the polar bear rule -- and he only has until May 9 to stick up for the bear.

"Secretary Salazar took an important step toward restoring needed protections for endangered species," said Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity's biodiversity program director. "But he still needs to rescind the special rule for the polar bear, which amounts to a death sentence for these majestic animals." Just before Salazar's announcement Tuesday the Center delivered more than 90,000 petitions from supporters, plus letters from 1,300 scientists and more than 130 conservation organizations calling for Salazar to rescind both rules. We'll keep this pressure on till May 9. Meanwhile, according to a major new scientific assessment, climate change is hitting the entire Arctic ecosystem hard -- not just the polar bear, but every form of Arctic life.

Get more on Salazar's latest action (and lack of it) from the Associated Press and read about the new assessment of the Arctic's peril in the UK's Guardian. Most importantly of all, if you haven't already, sign our petition to save the polar bear now.



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Obama's 100-day Report Card


This week, the Obama administration hit its big milestone: the first 100 days of the presidency. So it's time to take stock. We doubt our readers will argue with our view that after experiencing the nightmare of the Bush administration, President Barack Obama is . . . well . . . a very welcome upgrade. But what grades would the Center for Biological Diversity give his administration, environment-wise?

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's move to restore science to the Endangered Species Act gets a big, fat gold star. Obama's decisions to strike oil leases and slow oil-shale permitting earn him a "Good job!" and "Nice work!" But Salazar's thus-far neglect of the polar bear? Corporate fuel efficiency standards that fall below Bush's, stripping protections for wolves, and flip-flopping on mountaintop-removal mining and guns in national parks? Hmm. A definite "Needs improvement."

Check out Center Executive Director Kierán Suckling's report card for Obama's first 100 days (and report cards from some other prominent activists, bloggers, economists, and writers) at Salon.com. Read more on Obama's first 100 days in E & E News.



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EPA to Withdraw Permit for New Mexico Coal-fired Power Plant


Thanks to appeals by the Center for Biological Diversity and others, this week the Environmental Protection Agency decided to reject a permit approving the Desert Rock power plant in northwestern New Mexico, rightly citing some serious environmental issues the planned plant would pose. Besides emitting mercury and other contaminants in the San Juan river basin, where the endangered Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker swim -- and are already afflicted with heavy-metal contamination thanks to three other nearby power plants -- Desert Rock could spew out hundreds of millions of tons of greenhouse gases over its 50-year lifespan, making a hefty contribution to the climate change that endangers us all.

The agency's decision to withdraw the permit for Desert Rock -- called a "prevention of significant deterioration permit" and necessary for the power plant to proceed -- continues a pattern of federal and state agencies, as well as power companies, delaying or cancelling proposed coal-fired plants across the nation as concern grows over their environmental impacts and financial viability. It's high time. And while this probably won't be the last you hear about Desert Rock, we intend to make sure the end's in sight for this project.

Read more in the Durango Herald and New York Times.



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New Alliance to Restore Arizona's Once-majestic Ponderosa Forests


Marking a sea change -- or should we say tree change? -- in southwestern forest politics, last Friday the Center for Biological Diversity, Grand Canyon Trust, and Arizona Forest Restoration Products signed a landmark agreement supporting a plan to safely restore beneficial fires and conserve biodiversity in northern Arizona's ponderosa pine forests. After a century of decline and decades of litigation, the agreement focuses industry and conservation groups on a goal of conserving species and ecosystems by conducting strategically located restoration projects that will allow managers to safely re-establish natural fire regimes across entire landscapes. The plan supports the construction of an "oriented-strand-board" plant by Arizona Forest Restoration Project, which will use small trees garnered from ecological restoration projects and create more than 600 jobs.

The agreement seeks to reduce high densities of fire-prone young trees that resulted from a century of old-growth logging, fire suppression, and livestock grazing -- thereby creating conditions where fire can resume its natural sustaining role, both within restoration treatments and across forested landscapes. The effort will amount to one of the nation's largest forest ecosystem restoration programs.

Read more in the East Valley Tribune.




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Tejon Ranch Salamander Heads Toward Protection



Last week the Tehachapi slender salamander, a Tejon Ranch denizen a bit less famous than the endangered California condor, got some good news when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the species may warrant federal protection. Tejon Ranch -- a vast, privately owned biodiversity haven north of Los Angeles -- encompasses most of the salamander's last range, limited to the Tehachapi Mountains and southern Sierras. Development plans on Tejon Ranch threaten five of the known locations of the skinny, secretive salamander, which is also threatened by road construction, mining, grazing, and flood-control projects. The species was first petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 2006.

"Development of Tejon Ranch poses an immediate threat to the Tehachapi slender salamander and dozens of other species," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Public Lands Deserts Director Ileene Anderson. "If we're going to save California's natural heritage, including this salamander, more land needs to be protected from urban sprawl."

Check out our press release and learn more about our campaign to save Tejon Ranch.



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Groups Challenge 49 Oil and Gas Leases in New Mexico


After the Bureau of Land Management announced it would lease 49 parcels of New Mexico public lands for oil and gas development -- with the sale taking place on Earth Day -- last Wednesday the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a formal written protest over the government's failure to address the action's global warming implications. Our protest came just days after the Environmental Protection Agency finally issued a proposed finding that greenhouse gases do indeed "threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations." In New Mexico, oil and gas production contributes about 25 percent or more of the state's total greenhouse gas emissions.

"Fossil fuel combustion is producing a critical mass of greenhouse gases that has already shifted the planet's climate system into dangerous territory," said Center ecologist Jay Lininger. "It's a cruel irony that the Bureau of Land Management would lease more climate-threatening oil and gas on Earth Day."

Peruse our press release for details and learn more about our campaign to fight dirty energy development on public lands.



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Center Speaks Out on Dams Planned Near Panama Nature Preserve


To protect the largest, most diverse virgin rainforest remaining in Central America -- and to help save an imperiled tribe from destruction -- last Thursday Peter Galvin, conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity, made a personal appearance at the shareholders' meeting for the Virginia-based AES Corporation regarding three hydroelectric dams planned for an area of rainforest in Panama. The dams would be built in the buffer zone of La Amistad International Park, an internationally recognized World Heritage Site boasting astounding biodiversity and one of the last refuges for endangered species like the jaguar, ocelot, and resplendent quetzal. The AES Corporation plans to build three hydroelectric dams on the Changuinola River, the Park's lifeblood, which would also flood the villages of the Ngobe tribe and endanger its livelihood.

The Center and allies petitioned in 2007 to deem the park a World Heritage Site "in danger" from the dams; we've also aided Panamanian environmental lawyers in challenging the dams and mobilized public comments against them. At Thursday's AES shareholder meeting, Galvin distributed information on the dams' evil effects and urged the company to abandon the ill-fated project.

Check out our press release, where you can read Galvin's letter to the AES president, and learn more about our Central America campaign.



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Livestock Convert Habitat and Taxes Into Greenhouse Gases


$115 million: That's the amount the federal government loses each year administering ecologically destructive livestock grazing on public lands. $1.35: That's the amount ranchers pay to graze one cow and calf on public lands for an entire month -- about 40 cents more than you'd pay for a 13-ounce can of dog food. In Arizona, livestock grazing has contributed to the imperilment of 70 of 116 species listed by the state as threatened or already eliminated from the area. And global livestock "emissions" -- that'd be cows' burps and farts -- now account for 37 percent of all human-induced methane (which is 23 times as climate-warming as CO2).

Because bleeding tax dollars to destroy ecosystems, species, and the climate seems ludicrous, the Center this year amended a petition we filed in 2005 that seeks to increase federal grazing fees; our amendment also requests that the feds assess the relationship of public-lands grazing to global warming. This week, the Obama administration agreed to review our petition, but only time will tell whether the administration has the guts to err on the side of sanity instead of the great western livestock lobby. We'll keep you posted.

Read an article on the debate over regulation of livestock emissions in the Yankton Press and Dakotan.
 

Tom_Willis

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Anybody that brags about closing down a power plant needs to live without lights and air conditioning and a refrigerator and running water and a phone and access to a hospital and street lights and packaged food and mail and television and the internet and all those other nice things made available by power. And their neighbors who are also forced to live in 18th century conditions should be encouraged to drop in on them to express their solidarity and appreciation when they are dirty, dehydrated, starving and unable to communicate with the rest of the world. Until then they are just the latest generation of less-than-men who want to feel good about themselves at the expense and risk of others.

Seriously makes me feel sorry for their parents. How does that conversation go when they run into a old neighbor at the post office or wherever and the neighbor says "how's johnny doing since he went off to college" and they tell 'em that the kid lived in a tree for a year and worshiped it, but now he mostly hangs out on the couch between protests and tells them how to live their lives and won't shower and all the females he knows have armpit hair and they're all depressed and bitter and not a single one of his friends has ever had a real job.
 

GlamisGurlie

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I think you must have a confirmed Delusional Disorder to be part of the CBD because NO SANE PERSON would believe any of the lies these people spew and make up! There studies are the ones that are false and tailored by corrupt biologists - the ones on their payroll - and convienently drafted to suit their purpose. There EA's have been disproven in court by LEGITIMATE biologists many times. They are just as guilty as the entire population of energy consumption, riding/driving in closed areas and the like... These people at the CBD truly have no grip on reality :mad:
 

Vtr_Racing

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This is directly from THEM! Its what they are putting out for their sad souls.
 

GlamisGurlie

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This is directly from THEM! Its what they are putting out for their sad souls.
I hope you didn't take what i meant to be directed at you Marc :eek: I meant it meaning for any follower of the CBD delusional movement...
 

baja619

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WAFJ!! I am subscribed to their newsletter and I cannot believe the filthy garbage that spews out of these Jackholes rear end. These truly despicable people are completely out of their minds and tie up millions of our tax dollars filling hundreds of frivolous lawsuits.
 

Vtr_Racing

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No not at all. Just emphasising how really out there these folks actually are. Its beyond amazing. Its now becoming increasingly evident to the average Joe who hasnt been following this stuff like we have over the years, that this mentality is creaping into the mainstream.
 

pjc

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Dirty, filthy Hippies dancing in the streets naked and they expect us to applaud.

They have 'till 2010 to push their radicalism on us with full and complete backing of the present administration. Some of you voted for "change". Are you happy?

Count the days.
 
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