Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Hawaiian Bird, Flowers, Tropical Lizards Closer to Protection

Good news this week for the iconic, urgently threatened Hawaiian 'i'iwi, two California flowers, and two lizards (from Florida and the Caribbean). Following petitions from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the 'i'iwi and San Fernando spineflower for Endangered Species Act protection and announced that the Florida scrub lizard, lesser Virgin Islands skink and Lassics lupine flower may warrant protection.

The 'i'iwi -- or scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper -- is a bright-red bird living high up in Hawaiian forests; the spineflower, once thought extinct, survives in only two Southern California populations. Florida scrub lizards need habitat near pine and oak trees; lesser skinks live in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Lassics lupine is a pink alpine wildflower whose total global range, in Northern California, covers less than 4 acres.

These species are at risk from climate change, development, farming, invasive species and other threats.

Read more on the 'i'iwi in the Honolulu Civil Beat.

Lesser prairie chicken

1 Million to Obama: Halt New Leases on Public Lands, Oceans

Something powerful happened last week in Washington, D.C.: More than 1 million signatures were delivered to the White House asking President Obama to stop fossil fuel lease sales on America's public lands and oceans. The petitions were submitted by a coalition of climate activists, indigenous leaders and communities on the front lines.

Also, some 40 people -- including Center staff -- occupied the headquarters of the Department of the Interior as part of the call to keep fossil fuels in the ground; 13 were arrested.

Over the past year, thousands of people have peacefully challenged more than 20 federal fossil fuel auctions across the country. The growing movement to keep polluting fuels in the ground has caused the administration to halt several of those sales.

Read more in our press release and watch the petition delivery on Facebook or YouTube.

Massive Utah Coal Sale Halted to Save Sage Grouse, Climate

Sage grouse

After the Center and allies appealed a federal decision to lease 6,175 acres of public land for coal mining in Utah -- including crucial habitat for the rare, dancing greater sage grouse -- the feds this Tuesday had to stop the sale pending review, which may take 45 days.

The feds had offered up an area beneath Utah's beautiful Fishlake and Manti-La Sal national forests -- containing 56 million tons of coal -- despite a recently declared three-year moratorium on all new coal mining on federal lands.

Read more in Deseret News.

Tierra Curry

"Spending 25 years on a waiting list caused this little fish to be wiped out from nearly two-thirds of its range, so it's a relief that it has finally been proposed for the protection it needs to survive."

— Center Senior Scientist Tierra Curry on a proposal to protect the Pearl darter under the Endangered Species Act. Read more.

Phosphate mine sinkhole

Radioactive Sinkhole From Florida Mine Threatens Aquifer

News broke last Thursday that a massive sinkhole below a phosphate strip mine near Tampa has been releasing radioactive waste into Florida's aquifer for three weeks, threatening millions of people's drinking water. The mine's owner, Mosaic, and state officials have reportedly known about the problem since it began -- but "failed" to go public.

"Enough is enough," said the Center's Jaclyn Lopez. "Florida must take a stand against this destructive mining that puts our health and environment at risk. Mosaic wants to mine 50,000 more Florida acres -- but this incident shows it can't even handle the waste currently generated."

Check out our aerial footage of the sinkhole on Facebook or YouTube, read Jacki's op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times and sign this petition to end phosphate strip mining in Florida.

Center for Biological Diversity staff

A Troubling History for Dakota Pipeline Company

Energy Transfer Partners -- the conglomerate behind the Dakota Access oil pipeline -- is responsible for 29 pipeline safety incidents since 2006, in which 9,555 barrels of hazardous liquids were leaked, according to a new Center analysis of federal data. Those spills resulted in $9.5 million in damage, reports show.

The company is attempting to build a pipeline to ship Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. More than 180 tribes, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, are fighting the pipeline, which would desecrate sacred lands and threaten water supplies.

Read more in our press release and sign the petition to stand in solidarity with those opposing the pipeline.

Save the Weirdos


American Burying Beetles: A Love Story

Important Win Over Oil Trains in New York

Oil train

After pressure from the Center and allies, the state of New York has finally announced it will require new air permits from Global Companies and Buckeye Partners, corporations that have been operating crude-by-rail facilities in Albany since 2012.

Air monitoring at a low-income housing community adjacent to Global's railyard has consistently revealed benzene -- a human carcinogen -- well above state guidelines. In addition to shipping flammable Bakken crude from North Dakota, Global had plans to ship Canadian tar sands oil to the Albany port and load it on barges for transport down the Hudson River. Read more.

Orchid mantis

Wild & Weird: A Walking Flower

The orchid mantis, Hymenopus coronatus, is one of several species of "flower mantises" so called for their resemblance to blooms. Also commonly known as a walking-flower mantis, the orchid mantis -- native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia -- is amazingly camouflaged when sitting on an actual orchid. The mantis' body parts mimic the parts of the flower, its four legs looking nearly identical to orchid petals.

Take a look at our new video on Facebook or YouTube and see an orchid mantis on an orchid flower, hunting and eating a fly.

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Photo credits: 'i'iwi by Dan Hutcheson/Flickr; petition delivery by Valerie Love, Center for Biological Diversity; sage grouse by Alan Krakauer/Flickr; staff photo courtesy Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity; phosphate mine sinkhole by Hannah Connor, Center for Biological Diversity; Center for Biological Diversity staff by Robin Silver; Save the Weirdos logo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; oil train by Ted McGrath/Flickr; orchid mantis by Steve Smith/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702