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Viewing recent news releases in program Oceans .
Trade Ban, Stronger Protections Sought for 20 Imperiled Coral Species
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal government today to provide critical new protections for 20 threatened coral species, including a ban on trade and new rules against killing and harming them. Although the corals have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2014, they currently receive few safeguards, despite existential threats from climate change and the aquarium trade.Read more.
Appeal Challenges Louisiana’s Air Permits for Formosa Plastics’ Massive Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.—Local and national organizations filed an appeal today challenging the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to approve air permits for Formosa Plastics’ massive proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish. The complex would contain 14 plants spanning 2,500 acres, just one mile from an elementary school in a predominantly African American community already inundated with industrial pollution.Read more.
Salmon Advocates Challenge Approval of Washington Net Pen Aquaculture
SEATTLE— Conservation and environmental groups filed a lawsuit today challenging a recent decision by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife permitting Cooke Aquaculture to rear domesticated steelhead in Puget Sound net pens.Read more.
Bill Would Slow Expansion of U.S. Plastic Production, Study Impacts to Communities, Oceans, Climate
WASHINGTON― U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) introduced legislation today that would slow the fossil fuel industry’s aggressive push to increase production of plastic and also require studies about its effects on communities, marine life and climate change.Read more.
Federal Protection Sought for Rare Freshwater Alaska Seals
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal government today to provide Endangered Species Act protection to a rare population of approximately 400 freshwater seals found only in Alaska’s Iliamna Lake.Read more.
Lawsuit Targets Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Hawaiian Waters From Plastic Pollution
HONOLULU— Environmental groups sued the Trump administration today for failing to protect 17 coastal water bodies around Hawaii from widescale plastic pollution that covers beaches, degrades coral reefs and threatens birds, fish, sea turtles and other wildlife.Read more.
Dugong Defenders to Rally Today at S.F. Hearing on U.S. Airbase’s Threat to Endangered Animals
SAN FRANCISCO— Activists will stand with Turtle Island Restoration Network and The Center for Biological Diversity on Monday to protest the construction of a new U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched to Save Alaska’s Cook Inlet Beluga Whales From Harmful Oil Exploration
ANCHORAGE, Alaska— Conservation groups today threatened to sue the Trump administration for approving oil exploration in Alaska’s Cook Inlet after new federal data found a dramatic decline in the area’s population of endangered beluga whales.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges EPA’s Dangerously Outdated Plan for Offshore Oil Spills
WASHINGTON— The University of California-Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today in federal court in San Francisco to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to issue rules restricting use of chemical agents such as Corexit to clean up oil spills.Read more.
Petition Seeks California Endangered Species Protections for Leatherback Sea Turtles
OAKLAND,Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network filed a petition today to protect leatherback sea turtles under the California Endangered Species Act.Read more.
Louisiana Issues Air-pollution Permits for Formosa Plastics Plant
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality today issued air-pollution permits for a massive petrochemical complex that Formosa Plastics wants to build in St. James Parish, Louisiana.Read more.
Court: Trump Administration Unlawfully OK’d Longline Fishing Off California
OAKLAND, Calif.— A federal district court has ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to adequately analyze threats to critically endangered leatherback sea turtles when it allowed longline fishing off California. The Trump administration violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act in failing to consider the best available science on impacts to leatherbacks.Read more.
Trump Administration Permits Oil Company to Harm Alaska’s Endangered Whales, Ice Seals
ANCHORAGE—The Trump administration today announced the issuance of federal take permits that would allow Hilcorp Alaska to kill or seriously injure 14 whales and nine ice seals as it constructs the Liberty offshore drilling island. The controversial project would be the first offshore drilling development in federal Arctic waters.Read more.
Legal Petition Seeks New Air Pollution Standards for Petrochemical Plants
WASHINGTON― More than 350 community and conservation organizations filed a legal petition today that demands the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopt strict air pollution standards for industrial plants that create plastic.Read more.
National Coalition to Announce Legal Challenge to Plastic Plant Pollution at San Francisco EPA Office
SAN FRANCISCO― More than 350 community and conservation organizations from around the country will announce a major new legal challenge to pollution from industrial plants that create plastic tomorrow in San Francisco.Read more.
Legal Pressure Forces Trump Administration to Protect Imperiled Ice Seals’ Arctic Habitat
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration agreed today to finally make a decision on designating critical habitat in Alaska for two ice-seal species. Both bearded and ringed seals are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act because climate change is melting their Arctic sea-ice habitat.Read more.
Trump Administration Proposes Oil Drilling Expansion in Alaska’s Arctic Reserve
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Trump administration released a new draft plan today that could dramatically increase the federal land available for oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Reserve. The Bureau of Land Management’s proposal includes an alternative that would turn over about 18.3 million acres to the oil industry.Read more.
Trump Administration Denial of Protection to Pacific Walruses Appealed
ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The Center for Biological Diversity filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today challenging the Trump administration’s denial of Endangered Species Act protection to Pacific walruses. The Center’s lawsuit says officials have ignored the threat that climate change and the loss of Arctic sea ice poses to the walrus’ survival.Read more.
California Crab Season Opening Delayed by Whale Entanglement Risk
SACRAMENTO— The California Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced a preliminary decision to delay this week’s opening of commercial Dungeness crab season after aerial surveys showed the presence of humpback whales. Whale entanglements in crab lines have been a major problem in recent years, which the Department pledged to address in a legal agreement earlier this year with the Center for Biological Diversity.Read more.
Poll: Most Santa Barbara County Voters Oppose Plans to Restart Offshore Drilling
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— A majority of Santa Barbara County voters say they oppose proposals to restart ExxonMobil’s offshore drilling platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, according to a new poll.Read more.
Ninth Circuit to Hear Arguments Against Arctic Offshore Drilling Project Approval
PORTLAND, Ore.— A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s approval of the Liberty project, the first offshore drilling development in federal Arctic waters.Read more.
California Crab Season Delayed to Nov. 23 to Protect Whales From Entanglement
SACRAMENTO— The California Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced a delay of the Nov. 15 opening of commercial Dungeness crab season to reduce the risk of whale entanglements. This preliminary decision to delay the opening to Nov. 23 was based on data indicating the prevalence of whales off California presents an elevated entanglement risk.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched Over Trump Administration’s Failure to Recognize Plastic Pollution in Hawaiian Waters
HONOLULU—The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice today of its intent to sue the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency for failing to protect Hawaiian waters contaminated by plastic pollution.Read more.
Feds Launch Process to Protect Endangered West Coast Orcas From Vessel Disturbance
SEATTLE— The National Marine Fisheries Service today announced a public scoping process to determine how to protect critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales from boat noise and disturbance in Washington’s inland waters.Read more.
Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Release Gulf of Mexico Fracking Records
NEW ORLEANS— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for failing to release public documents revealing the extent and risks of fracking of offshore oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.Read more.
Formosa Plastics Settles Texas Pollution Case for $50 Million, No More Plastic Releases
VICTORIA, Texas— Formosa Plastics today settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit brought by a former shrimper and San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper challenging its extensive plastic pollution of waterways around its Point Comfort, Texas plant. Under the $50 million settlement, Formosa is paying for pollution cleanup and promises no future discharges of plastic pellets or other plastic materials from the plant.Read more.
Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Protect Hawaii’s Cauliflower Coral
HONOLULU— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for failing to protect cauliflower coral around the Hawaiian Islands. The bushy, shallow-water coral species has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change.Read more.
Tests Find Plastic in 20 Percent of Mexican Fish
MEXICO CITY— Microplastics from product packaging and other sources are present in the stomachs of 20 percent of commercially important fish from three regions in Mexico, according to new tests by conservation groups and scientists from prominent Mexican universities.Read more.
Federal Rule Proposed to Protect Pacific Humpback Whale Habitat
SAN FRANCISCO— The federal government proposed a new rule today to designate 302,961 square nautical miles in the Pacific Ocean as critical habitat for three populations of endangered humpback whales. The move could help protect migrating whales from ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, and oil spills.Read more.
Trump Administration OKs Nighttime Airgun Blasts That Threaten Endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whales
ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The Trump administration published a new permit today that aims to allow Hilcorp Alaska to conduct seismic airgun blasting in Cook Inlet at night. But that nighttime blasting violates a federal rule requiring “good visibility” to the “naked eye” to help ensure marine mammals aren’t in the blast zone.Read more.
Climate Strike Highlights Opposition to Restarting ExxonMobil Offshore Oil Platforms Off Santa Barbara
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— California Central Coast residents will march and call for climate action Friday as part of the global Climate Strike Week of Action. The Center for Biological Diversity, one of more than 30 participating organizations, will use the occasion to highlight opposition to ExxonMobil’s proposal to restart its dormant offshore drilling platforms off Santa Barbara County.Read more.
Federal Rule Protects Endangered Orcas’ West Coast Habitat
SEATTLE— The federal government proposed a new rule today expanding critical habitat protection along the West Coast for critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, whose population has dipped to just 73 orcas.Read more.
Western, Central Gulf of Mexico Excluded From House Bills Banning Offshore Leasing
WASHINGTON— The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills today to limit offshore leasing in federal waters. But both bills ignore the western and central Gulf of Mexico, where most federal offshore oil and gas production currently occurs, and Alaska. Both bills now move on to the U.S. Senate.Read more.
Formosa Plastics’ Proposed Louisiana Plant Gets Permit to Destroy Wetlands
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a Clean Water Act permit for Formosa Plastics’ massive proposed plastic plant in St. James Parish, La. This federal permit authorizes the company to dredge and fill sensitive wetlands along the Mississippi River.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Hilcorp’s Plan to Blast Cook Inlet Beluga Whales
ANCHORAGE— Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s approval of rules allowing Hilcorp Alaska LLC to harm Cook Inlet beluga whales and other marine mammals as it expands its offshore oil and gas operations in Cook Inlet.Read more.
West Coast Whale Entanglements Drop After Legal Settlement with California, Crab Fishery
SANTA ROSA, Calif.— The number of whales entangled in fishing gear along the West Coast dropped this year following a legal settlement that ended California’s commercial Dungeness crab season early.Read more.
Lawsuit Filed to Protect Habitat for 12 Endangered Coral Species
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for failing to protect 12 coral species around Florida and islands in the Pacific Ocean. The corals all received Endangered Species Act protection in 2014, but they did not receive the critical habitat protection the law requires.Read more.
Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Protect Endangered West Coast Orcas
SEATTLE— Conservation groups sued the Trump administration today for ignoring a legal petition to protect critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales in the heart of their Salish Sea habitat.Read more.
Trump Visit to Plastic Plant Ignores Pollution Crisis, Outdated Federal Rules
MONACA, Pa.― President Donald Trump’s visit today to a massive plastics plant being built in Pennsylvania by Royal Dutch Shell ignores the plastic pollution and toxic chemicals such plants are allowed to release under decades-old federal regulations. Local groups protested today’s visit and the petrochemical industry’s plan to increase U.S. plastic production using the oversupply of fracked natural gas.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched to Protect Green Sea Turtle Habitat Threatened by Sea-level Rise, Plastic Pollution, Warming
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Sea Turtle Oversight Protection and Turtle Island Restoration Network filed a notice today of their intent to sue the federal government for failing to protect green sea turtle habitat, which faces threats from sea-level rise, plastic pollution and warming.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Huge Offshore Drilling Sale in Gulf of Mexico
WASHINGTON― Environmental groups sued the Trump administration today to challenge its fourth oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The sale offers more than 78 million acres to offshore drilling without fully analyzing the risks to people, wildlife or the environment.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Atlantic Sharks, Giant Manta Rays From Lethal Fishing Gear
WASHINGTON— On behalf of Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice sued the Trump administration today for failing to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays from being captured and killed in U.S. fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.Read more.
Trump Administration Permits Hilcorp Alaska to Harm Marine Mammals in Cook Inlet
ANCHORAGE— The Trump administration issued final rules today allowing Hilcorp Alaska to harm beluga whales, sea otters and other marine mammals as the company expands its offshore drilling activities in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.Read more.
Legal Petition Seeks Ban on Plastic Pollution From Petrochemical Plants
WASHINGTON― More than 270 community and conservation organizations filed a legal petition today that demands the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopt strict new water-pollution limits for industrial plants that create plastic.Read more.
Trump Administration Agrees to Revisit Ocean Salmon Fishing Impact on Endangered West Coast Orcas
SEATTLE― A lawsuit challenging West Coast salmon fishing’s impact on critically endangered orcas was put on hold today after the Trump administration agreed to update its analysis. A federal judge approved the settlement and stayed the case until May 1, 2020, or sooner if the National Marine Fisheries Service completes the new biological opinion that will include mitigation measures.Read more.
Lawsuit Forces Trump Administration to Consider Oil Drilling’s Harm to Endangered Wildlife in Gulf of Mexico
TAMPA, Fla.— Prompted by a lawsuit filed by three conservation groups, the Trump administration has finally agreed to complete a legally required consultation about the harm offshore oil drilling does to whales and other threatened and endangered wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.Read more.
Louisiana to Hold Hearing on Massive Formosa Plastics Toxic Chemical Complex
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— Louisiana will hold a public hearing on issuing 15 air permits for Taiwanese company Formosa Plastics. The massive proposed complex would be one of the largest and most toxic plastic production facilities in the world.Read more.
Federal Court Rules Formosa Plastics Is Liable for Plastic Pollution in Texas
VICTORIA, Texas— A federal judge in Texas on Thursday found Formosa Plastics liable for polluting Texas waterways with billions of plastic pellets from its plant in Point Comfort. The Taiwanese company is currently seeking permits to build an even larger plastic-making plant along the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, La., a project strongly opposed by local residents and national conservation groups.Read more.
Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Protect Imperiled Ice Seals’ Arctic Habitat
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the National Marine Fisheries Service today for failing to designate critical habitat in Alaska for two ice-seal species. Both bearded and ringed seals are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act because climate change is melting their Arctic sea-ice habitat.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Rollbacks of Offshore Drilling Safety Regs
WASHINGTON— Ten environmental groups sued the Trump administration today to challenge rollbacks of the 2016 Well Control and Blowout Preventer Rule, a safety regulation meant to prevent another blowout like the one that caused the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Trump Permits for Longline Fishery Off California Coast
SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network sued the Trump administration today for permitting a new longline fishery in the Pacific Ocean.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched to Protect Hawaii’s Cauliflower Coral After 36 Percent Decline
HONOLULU— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect cauliflower coral around the Hawaiian Islands. The bushy, shallow-water coral species has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change.Read more.
Fisheries Meeting Aims to Ensure Enough West Coast Salmon for Starving Orcas
PORTLAND, Ore.— Federal, state and tribal fishery managers and experts on critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales begin meeting today to discuss how West Coast salmon fishing is limiting availability of the starving orcas’ main food source.Read more.
Pipeline Shutdown Prevented 27 Million Tons of Carbon Pollution in California
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— The closure of Plains All American Pipeline’s coastal California oil pipeline after it ruptured four years ago has prevented massive emissions of climate pollution. If the seven offshore drilling platforms served by the pipeline had not gone idle, they would have added 27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution to the atmosphere. That’s roughly equivalent to operating two coal-fired power plants in California over the same period — or burning almost 30 billion pounds of coal.Read more.
Records Show ExxonMobil's Pacific Platforms Were Corroded Before 2015 Shutdown
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Federal records show ExxonMobil’s offshore drilling platforms on the California coast had widespread corrosion and gas leaks requiring emergency responses before they were shut down by the 2015 Refugio Oil Spill.Read more.
Lawsuit Seeks Details on Ocean Chief's Oversized Role in Slashing Environmental Protections
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today for refusing to release public records detailing the activities of Stuart Levenbach, the agency’s chief of staff. The NOAA chief of staff oversees the overall operations of the agency and implements the policy directives and objectives of the administration.Read more.