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Feds Propose More Than 6,000 Square Miles of Coral Habitat Protections in Florida, Caribbean, Pacific
WASHINGTON— The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced two proposed rules today to designate more than 6,000 square miles of critical habitat protections for 12 threatened coral species off Florida, in the Caribbean and in the Pacific Ocean. The rules were prompted by a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued to force the urgent, long-overdue protections.Read more.
Formosa Plastics Opponents Ask Feds to Expand Environmental Justice Analysis of Suspended Permit, Hold Hearing
NEW ORLEANS— Following the Army Corps of Engineers’ recent suspension of its permit for Formosa Plastics’ proposed Louisiana plant, plaintiff groups in the federal lawsuit that sparked that decision asked today for a public hearing and expanded analysis of the plant’s environmental justice, wetlands and pollution impacts.Read more.
Trump Administration Proposes Rolling Back Arctic Offshore Drilling Safety Rules
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration today announced a rule to weaken offshore drilling safety rules specially designed for the Arctic’s hazardous, remote waters. It’s the administration’s third major rollback of offshore safety regulations created by the Obama administration after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.Read more.
Navy’s Pacific Northwest Training Plan to Harass Endangered Whales
SEATTLE— The Trump administration published a final rule today allowing the U.S. Navy to harm and harass endangered whales and other marine mammals 1.7 million times during military training exercises in the Pacific Northwest over the next seven years.Read more.
Army Corps Suspends Permit for Formosa Plastics’ Controversial Louisiana Plant
WASHINGTON— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans today to suspend its permit for Formosa Plastics’ proposed plant in St. James Parish, Louisiana. The move comes just before a Nov. 5 filing deadline for the Corps to defend its issuance of permits in a federal lawsuit filed by project opponents. The agency has asked the federal court to stay proceedings in the case.Read more.
California Approves Regulations to Reduce Whale Entanglements in Crab Gear
SACRAMENTO, Calif — California state officials have released a final rule to reduce the risk that endangered whales and sea turtles will get entangled in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The new regulations, which go into effect Nov. 1, were prompted by steep annual increases in reported whale entanglements and a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity.Read more.
Lawsuit Aims to Protect Snowy Plovers From Off-road Vehicles at Oceano Dunes
OCEANO, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the California Department of Parks and Recreation today for continuing to allow motorized vehicle use that kills protected snowy plovers at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Inadequate Federal Review of Gulf of Mexico Endangered Species
GREENBELT, Md.— Four conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the federal government’s failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act in its assessment of the harm the offshore oil industry inflicts on endangered and threatened marine wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. This long-overdue assessment was triggered by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy and took a decade to complete.Read more.
Ocean-based Climate Solutions Act Would End Offshore Oil Leasing, Protect Marine Habitat
WASHINGTON— Legislation to end the federal offshore oil-leasing program and pursue other oceans-related solutions to the climate change crisis was introduced today by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva.Read more.
‘March for Black Lives’ to Say No to Louisiana’s Amendment 5, Formosa Plastics
GRAMERCY, La.— Opponents of the massive proposed petrochemical complex that Formosa Plastics seeks to build in Louisiana are planning a “March for Black Lives: No on Amendment 5” for this Saturday.Read more.
EPA OKs First Finfish Farm in Federal Waters
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Environmental Protection Agency has authorized a permit to discharge 80,000 pounds of fish farm waste directly into the Gulf of Mexico from the first finfish farm ever authorized in federal waters. The Velella Epsilon experimental fish farm off Florida’s west coast received the permit late yesterday, the EPA announced today.Read more.
Seismic Blasting Efforts Halted in Atlantic Ocean
CHARLESTON, S.C.— A status conference on seismic litigation revealed today the industry will not pursue efforts to employ seismic blasting to search the Atlantic Ocean for offshore petroleum deposits this year, and possibly for several years.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Federal Approval of Alaska LNG Project
WASHINGTON— Conservation groups sued the federal government today for approving the Alaska LNG project, which would export U.S. liquefied natural gas to Asia. The lawsuit challenges the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s May 21 approval of the project and refusal to grant a June 23 request for rehearing.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched to Challenge Seattle Harbor Expansion’s Threats to Orcas
SEATTLE— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consider how ship traffic harms critically endangered orcas when it approved plans to expand Seattle Harbor, the Center for Biological Diversity said today in a notice of its intent to sue the agency. This declining population of orcas is down to just 72 individuals.Read more.
Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Protect Nassau Grouper Habitat
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Conservation groups sued the federal government today for failing to protect the nearshore habitat of the Nassau grouper, which faces threats from pollution and climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and ocean acidification.Read more.
Lawsuit Fights Trump Administration Plan to Open 18 Million Acres of Western Arctic to Oil and Gas Drilling
ANCHORAGE — Conservation groups today sued the Trump administration over its plan to allow oil and gas drilling on 18.7 million acres of the Western Arctic, known as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.Read more.
Lawsuit Aims to Block Drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
ANCHORAGE, Alaska— Environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging the Trump administration’s decision to allow oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Bureau of Land Management’s plan for drilling in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge would cause irreparable damage to one of the world’s most important wild places and takes the United States in exactly the wrong direction on combating climate change, the suit says.Read more.
Federal Government Agrees to Protect Green Sea Turtle Habitat
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service must designate protected critical habitat for green sea turtles under a new legal agreement with conservation groups. Sea-level rise, plastic pollution and global warming threaten green sea turtle habitat.Read more.
Judge Orders Deadline for New North Atlantic Right Whale Protections
WASHINGTON— As a result of a successful lawsuit by several environmental and animal organizations, a federal judge today ordered federal fishery managers to issue a new rule for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales no later than May 31, 2021.Read more.
California Moves to Protect Declining Leatherback Sea Turtles
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The California Fish and Game Commission voted 5-0 today to advance leatherback sea turtles to candidacy under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The vote follows a June 2020 recommendation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that increased protections may be warranted. The action came in response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network.Read more.
Ban on Collecting Hawaii Reef Fish for Aquarium Trade Upheld
HONOLULU— The state of Hawaii’s Environmental Council has upheld the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ decision to maintain the ban on collecting fish for the aquarium pet trade off the west coast of Hawaii Island and to reject an environmental impact statement aimed at restarting the destructive practice.Read more.
ExxonMobil Oil Trucking Plan Jeopardized by Refinery Shutdown, County Staff Opposition to Using Dangerous Route 166
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – ExxonMobil’s plans to restart its offshore drilling platforms in Santa Barbara County and truck that oil through California have been undermined by two unrelated announcements. Opponents responded today by calling on the company to abandon the project and decommission its offshore operations.Read more.
Feds: High Extinction Risk for All Seven Leatherback Sea Turtle Populations
WASHINGTON— A new review of leatherback sea turtle science concludes that seven distinct populations of leatherback sea turtles face a high extinction risk. The National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today a finding that all seven leatherback sea turtle populations remain endangered, denying a petition by the commercial fishing industry to relax some protections.Read more.
Black Teatfish Sea Cucumbers Move Toward Endangered Species Protection
WASHINGTON— The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service found today that the imperiled black teatfish sea cucumber may warrant Endangered Species Act protection and potentially a trade ban. Overfishing and the wildlife trade have caused rapid population declines for these plump, spotted, shallow-water sea cucumbers.Read more.
Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales
WASHINGTON— Conservation groups filed a rulemaking petition today seeking additional ship-speed limits along the Atlantic coast to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. In June a baby right whale was found dead off the coast of New Jersey, with propeller wounds across its head, chest and tail.Read more.
Santa Barbara County to Vote on ExxonMobil Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil in California
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Santa Barbara County has released the final environmental impact report on ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks so it can restart three drilling platforms off California, setting up a vote on the project.Read more.
Trump Administration OKs Liquid Natural Gas by Rail Despite Explosion Risks
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration released a final rule today allowing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be shipped by rail, overruling critics who warn that it risks deadly explosions. The Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration amended federal hazardous-materials rules that have prohibited LNG from being shipped by train.Read more.
Formosa Plastics Agrees to Delay Work on Louisiana Plant After Opponents File for Injunction
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— A federal judge has approved Formosa Plastics’ agreement not to start construction work on its massive petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana after opponents filed a preliminary injunction on July 14 to block work on the site.Read more.
California Data Show Regular Truck Crashes, Deaths Along Proposed ExxonMobil Oil-trucking Route
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— There’s been a large truck collision every week, and almost two fatalities per year, on average over the past five years along the California highways where ExxonMobil wants to send up to 70 oil tanker trucks a day, according to California Highway Patrol data analyzed by the Center for Biological Diversity.Read more.
Opponents of Formosa Plastics’ Louisiana Plant File for Preliminary Injunction
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— Opponents of Formosa Plastics’ massive proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana filed for a preliminary injunction today to block construction of the project. The proposed facility would be one of the largest plastics plants in North America.Read more.
Right Whales Decline as Deadly Entanglements Continue, IUCN Finds
GLAND, Switzerland— North Atlantic right whales are moving closer to extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared today in an update to its “Red List of Threatened Species.” The large whales found off the East Coast of the United States and Canada are declining because of entanglements in commercial fishing gear and ship strikes.Read more.
California Coastal Commission Orders Oceano Dunes to Remain Closed to Vehicles to Protect Nesting Shorebirds
OCEANO, Calif.— The California Coastal Commission has ordered State Parks officials to keep significant portions of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area closed to vehicles and camping through the end of September to protect western snowy plovers.Read more.
California Holds Hearing on Rule to Prevent Whale Entanglements in Crab Gear
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California wildlife officials are accepting public comments and holding an online hearing today on a proposed rule to reduce the number of endangered whales and sea turtles that get entangled in commercial Dungeness crab gear.Read more.
Filing Challenges Trump Administration Approval of Alaska LNG Project
WASHINGTON— Environmental groups and an Alaskan Native village council filed a formal request Monday for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its approval of the Alaska LNG project, which would export U.S. fossil fuel to Asia.Read more.
California Agency: Protection for Leatherback Sea Turtles May Be Needed
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended today that Pacific leatherback sea turtles move toward protection under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The action came in response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network.Read more.
California Officials Interfering With Protected Shorebirds’ Nesting at Oceano Dunes
OCEANO, Calif.— California parks officials may have violated the Endangered Species Act by interfering with western snowy plovers’ nesting activities at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, according to a warning letter sent today by the Center for Biological Diversity.Read more.
Trump Removes Atlantic Ocean Protections to Expand Commercial Fishing
BANGOR, Maine— President Trump issued an executive order today allowing commercial fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The announcement, made amid the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing national protests against police violence, follows a federal court ruling in December that rejected a challenge by commercial fishing group to the monument’s designation.Read more.
Judge: EPA Must Update 26-year-old Plan for Offshore Oil Spills
SAN FRANCISCO— A federal judge ruled late Tuesday that the Trump administration must update its outdated plans for responding to offshore oil spills. Current plans by the Environmental Protection Agency don’t take into account studies raising health and environmental concerns about the frequent use of toxic chemical oil dispersants.Read more.
California Proposes Regulations to Prevent Whale Entanglements in Crab Gear
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California state officials released a proposed rule today to reduce the number of endangered whales and sea turtles that get entangled in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) was prompted by steep annual increases in reported whale entanglements and a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity.Read more.
Pipeline Shutdown Prevented 34 Million Tons of Carbon Pollution in California
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— The failure of Plains All American Pipeline’s coastal California oil pipeline five years ago prevented massive emissions of climate pollution. If the seven offshore drilling platforms served by the pipeline had not gone idle, they would have added 33.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution to the atmosphere.Read more.
‘Oil 101’ Webinar to Discuss Industry Impacts on Santa Barbara County
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Environmental groups will hold an online education session called “Oil 101: Moving Beyond Platforms, Pipelines and Pollution in Santa Barbara” on Monday, May 18. The webinar, open to the public and media, will discuss the legacy of the Plains Pipeline oil spill that blackened Santa Barbara area beaches five years ago. It will also include a discussion of ExxonMobil’s pending proposal to restart its offshore platforms and truck that oil on California highways, Cat Canyon and other local onshore drilling projects, and the need to address climate change.Read more.
Petition Seeks Federal Protections for Black Teatfish Sea Cucumbers
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal government today to protect black teatfish under the Endangered Species Act. Overfishing and wildlife trade have caused rapid population declines for this spotted, plump sea cucumber, found in shallow waters outside the United States.Read more.
Louisiana Groups Urge Delay in Power Project for Industrial Polluters, Citing COVID-19 Concerns
ST. JAMES PARISH, La.— The coalition opposing Formosa Plastics’ massive proposed petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana, has requested a delay in upgrading electric transmission lines to serve that project and future industrial polluters. The coalition’s letter cites current public health warnings about COVID-19 and damage to wetlands.Read more.
Trump Administration to Consult on Protecting Endangered Whales in California Shipping Lanes
LONG BEACH, Calif.— The Trump administration has agreed to examine ways to better protect endangered whales and sea turtles from being struck by ships using California ports.Read more.
Trump Administration Moves to Weaken Oil Pipeline Spill Rules
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration proposed weaker new rules today governing how companies operating oil pipelines prepare for and respond to oil spills. The changes would eliminate or modify several key protections and relieve companies of the responsibility for reporting many oil spills.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched Against Trump Administration for Failing to Protect Nassau Grouper Habitat
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Conservation groups launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration today for failing to protect Nassau grouper habitat, which faces threats from nearshore pollution and climate change impacts like sea-level rise and ocean acidification.Read more.
Lawsuit Prompts Review of Plastic Pollution Impacts on Hawaiian Waters
HONOLULU— Responding to a lawsuit from environmental groups, the Trump administration has ordered Hawaii to examine the impact of plastic pollution on its waters, beaches and wildlife.Read more.
Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Expansion of Gulf of Mexico Drilling
WASHINGTON—Environmental groups filed a legal challenge today to the Trump administration’s latest oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The supplemental complaint over today’s offshore auction follows similar lawsuits in 2018 and 2019 that say federal officials illegally expanded Gulf drilling without fully analyzing the risks to people, wildlife or the environment.Read more.
Lawsuit Advances Protections for Hawaii’s Cauliflower Coral
HONOLULU— The Trump administration has finally agreed to make a decision about protecting cauliflower coral around Hawaii under the Endangered Species Act. In an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity filed in federal district court in Honolulu today, the National Marine Fisheries Service says it will determine whether the coral warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act by June 30.Read more.
Opponents of Formosa Plastics Project to Demand Louisiana’s St. James Parish Council Rescind Approval
CONVENT, La.— Opponents of Formosa Plastics’ massive proposed petrochemical complex in Louisiana will urge the St. James Parish Council today to rescind its land-use permit for the project, following up similar earlier requests with new information. The demand follows the discovery of burial sites of enslaved people on the property, the filing of two lawsuits against the project, and the record-setting $50 million settlement of a lawsuit against Formosa for polluting Texas waterways with billions of plastic pellets.Read more.
Lawsuit Launched to Protect Endangered Whales in California Shipping Lanes
LOS ANGELES— The Center for Biological Diversity notified the Trump administration today that it is failing to protect endangered whales and sea turtles from being struck by ships using ports in California.Read more.
Lawsuit Forces Trump Administration to Protect Habitat for 12 Coral Species
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration agreed today to issue critical habitat protection for 12 threatened coral species: five species found in Florida and the Caribbean and seven around islands in the Pacific Ocean.Read more.
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.