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Three conservation groups filed a legal challenge today over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to adequately protect thousands of imperiled lesser prairie chickens from being killed or harmed by oil and gas drilling, grazing and other human activities. Although the bird’s population declined an estimated 50 percent last year, in April the Service designated the bird as “threatened” rather than “endangered,” a distinction that allowed the agency to authorize ongoing “incidental take” of prairie chickens under a series of unproven, voluntary conservation agreements.
Members of the Natural and Working Lands Coalition commended the final state budget deal reached by the Legislature and Administration on cap-and-trade investments as a promising start to advancing natural resource solutions to climate change. The final budget deal includes nearly $100 million in investments in natural resources, including forests, agriculture, wetlands and urban forestry, to remove carbon pollution from the air and reduce potent greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and methane.
The fate of wolves across most of the continental United States remains uncertain one year after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) proposed to delist wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At each step of the delisting process, including written comments, public hearings, testimony and discrediting review from a panel of expert scientists, the Service's delisting proposal has been called into question for being shortsighted, premature and based upon bad science. Final action on the Service’s proposal is expected later this year or early next year.
Animal protection and wildlife conservation groups, along with individual hunters and sportsmen, have petitioned the Department of the Interior to require the use of non-lead ammunition when discharging a firearm on the more than 160 million acres of federal lands managed by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Each year, an estimated 10 to 20 million birds and other animals die from lead poisoning, either by ingesting lead shot or fragments directly or by feeding on lead-contaminated prey.
Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted to establish state protections for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act after delaying the decision at an April hearing. Wolves have historically thrived in the California and with recent discussions by scientists and stakeholders about the imminent return of gray wolves to the Golden State, the commission has taken advance steps to protect the endangered species within state boundaries. The decision comes on the same day that wildlife biologists have confirmed that a new wolf pack is forming in Oregon near the California border.
A new advertising campaign pressuring Idaho’s Governor Butch Otter to end his statewide war on gray wolves was launched today by Defenders of Wildlife.
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new regulation that would cut emissions from the over 600 power plants in the United States.
Animal Planet removed a segment titled “Man- Eating Super Wolves” from its Monster Week line up this week after over 80,000 Defenders of Wildlife members and other activists contacted the station demanding the episode be immediately removed from the air.
Last week the Senate passed a California drought bill that could have devastating impacts on the state’s already-stressed endangered salmon and steelhead, migratory birds and wetlands. The bill overrides critical federal endangered species requirements and legal rulings to allow greater water exports from the Sacramento Delta to benefit powerful industrial agricultural interests.
This week members of the Montana Board of Livestock (BOL) met to determine the fate of Yellowstone’s wild bison. Today, the BOL voted unanimously to reject a joint proposal put forth by Montana’s Department of Livestock and Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to expand the tolerance zone for bison outside of Yellowstone National Park, which would enable bison to roam on as much as 421,000 acres federal, state and private lands west and north of the park.