Defenders News Briefs: Fall 2010
Defenders Sues To Stop Coal Mining
Continuing to push for cleaner, more sustainable energy, Defenders of Wildlife in July sued the Interior Department to halt the sale and mining of coal leases in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming. The basin is the nation’s largest coal-producing region, with 500 million tons strip-mined every year and then burned in hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country. The region’s coal is responsible for nearly 14 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the first case challenging the Obama administration’s failure to confront the climate change impacts of its federal coal-leasing program. The administration plans to offer 12 new leases that could collectively produce 5.8 billion tons of coal—as much as has been mined from the entire region over the last 20 years. Burning this coal would release more than 10.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide—nearly one and a half times the total amount of greenhouse gases released in the United States in 2008.
Foundation Helps Defenders Protect Wildlife
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in June awarded Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Wilderness Society a $3.1 million grant for a three-year project to promote wildlife-friendly and environmentally-responsible renewable energy development. The grant will allow the groups to coordinate and increase their oversight of and advice to government agencies in the selection of sites for geothermal and wind- and solar-powered energy projects. “This grant will help ensure that wildlife conservation has a strong voice in the development of a national policy for renewable energy at a time when the environmental, economic and human costs of our continued addiction to fossil fuels have become all too apparent,” says Defenders President Rodger Schlickeisen. “We are very grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for this support.”
Cousteau Helps Highlight Sea Otter’s Plight
To help kick off Sea Otter Awareness Week, which began September 26, Defenders unveiled a new public service announcement (PSA) about the otters’ plight that features ocean advocate Philippe Cousteau, grandson of the legendary French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Defenders unveiled the PSA at a beach screening in Santa Barbara, California, and timed it to coincide with National Beach Cleanup Day.
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