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  • Tue, 23 May 2017 19:38:38 +0000: El Financiamiento del Muro Fronterizo Amenaza la Vida Silvestre y las Comunidades - Press Releases

    Contacto: Catalina Tresky: (202) 772-0253 o ctresky@defenders.org

     

    SANTA FE (23 de mayo de 2017) - El gobierno de Trump publicó el día hoy su presupuesto para el año fiscal del 2018 que incluye financiamiento para la extensión del muro en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México.

    Bryan Bird, director del programa suroeste para Defenders of Wildlife, respondió con la siguiente declaración:

    "El financiamiento de la expansión del muro fronterizo no es un buen uso de fondos. Estos fondos deben ser utilizados para los programas que mantienen nuestro aire y agua limpios y que protegen nuestra vida silvestre y áreas salvajes. El presupuesto presentado del presidente Trump es una venta de nuestro patrimonio natural.

    "Un muro impenetrable dividirá a familias y comunidades a lo largo de la frontera y dividiría y aislará importantes paisajes del suroeste, empujando animales al borde de la extinción como jaguares, lobos grises y ocelotes. La extinción es para siempre, y si se va la naturaleza, nosotros también.

    "El Congreso debe oponerse a cualquier presupuesto que trate de construir este muro fronterizo que destruirá el tejido de nuestros valores fundamentales: la igualdad, la justicia y la preservación de nuestro patrimonio natural.”

    Más información

    La Vida Silvestre en la Frontera

    Se han construido más de 600 millas del muro en los cuatro estados fronterizos del sur: California, Arizona, Nuevo México y Texas.

    En California, las barreras fronterizas afectan a más de una docena de especies amenazadas, incluyendo el sapo Arroyo que se encuentra en peligro de extinción y la mariposa Quino. Cualquier extensión del muro fronterizo dividirá por ejemplo el río Tijuana que corre a través del Valle de “Marron” en el condado de San Diego y el área protegida de Jacumba. También cortará rutas migratorias importantes para las ovejas de carnero de Península, devastando los esfuerzos de recuperación.

    En Arizona, el muro de la frontera afecta significantemente al desierto de Sonora -- donde viven los antílopes que se encuentran en peligro de extinción, los búhos pigmeos y las tortugas -- y las Islas del Cielo, así nombradas por las "islas" de hábitats boscosos.

    En Nuevo México, los hábitats importantes se encuentran en “el talón” del estado, un mosaico de tierras públicas y privadas manejadas en gran parte para la conservación. También hay tierras extensas manejadas por el Servicio Forestal que son vitales para la migración de los jaguares entre los E.E.U.U. y México.

    En Texas, estas barreras impiden que las personas y los animales accedan al Rio Grande, una fuente de agua vital para las comunidades y la vida silvestre.

    Política del Muro Fronterizo

    La Sección 102 de la ley “REAL ID” del 2005 otorgó al Secretario del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional un poder sin precedente para renunciar a cualquier ley federal, estatal o local para construir carreteras y barreras a lo largo de la frontera. Esta excepción ha sido invocada cinco veces para eximir al departamento de más de 35 leyes ambientales para construir caminos y barreras en la frontera, incluyendo la Ley de la Política Ambiental Nacional (NEPA), la Ley de Especies en Peligro (ESA), la Ley de Antigüedades y la Ley para la Mejora del Sistema de Refugios Nacional para La Vida Silvestre.

    En el 2006 el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, el Departamento del Interior y el Departamento de Agricultura emitieron un Memorando de Entendimiento que estableció metas, principios y guías sobre la seguridad fronteriza, incluyendo formas de minimizar y prevenir un impacto significativo en los recursos naturales y culturales y como aplicar la Ley de Especies en Peligro y otras leyes, reglamentos y políticas ambientales.

    El día 25 de enero de 2017, Presidente Trump firmó una orden ejecutiva que autoriza la extensión del muro fronterizo.

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    Defenders of Wildlife está dedicado a la protección de todos los animales y plantas nativas en sus comunidades naturales. Con más de 1,2 millones de miembros y activistas, Defensores de la Vida Silvestre es un destacado defensor de soluciones innovadoras para salvaguardar nuestra herencia de vida silvestre para las generaciones venideras. Para más información, visite www.defenders.org y síganos en Twitter @DefendersNews.

  • Tue, 23 May 2017 19:36:38 +0000: Proposed Border Wall Funding Threatens Wildlife, Communities - Press Releases

    Media contact: Catalina Tresky, (202) 772-0253 or ctresky@defenders.org

     

    SANTA FE (May 23, 2017) – The Trump administration released its FY 2018 budget proposal today, which includes funding for an expansion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

    Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

    “Funding the expansion of the southern border wall is a non-starter. It’s a misuse of funding that should instead be used for programs that keep our air and water clean and protect our wildlife and wild places. President Trump’s dirty budget is a sellout of our nation’s natural heritage.

    “An impenetrable wall would divide families and communities along the border and bisect and isolate important Southwestern landscapes, pushing borderland wildlife like jaguars, Mexican gray wolves and ocelots to the brink of extinction. Extinction is forever, and as nature goes, so will we.

    “Congress should oppose any budget proposals that aim to construct this border wall, which would ultimately shred the fabric of our core American values – equality, justice and the preservation of our natural heritage.”

    Background

    Wildlife along the Border 

    More than 600 miles of border walls and barriers have been constructed in all four southern border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

    In California, border barriers affect more than a dozen endangered and rare species, including the endangered Arroyo toad and Quino checkerspot butterfly. Any extension of the border wall would bisect the Tijuana River that meanders through the locally protected Marron Valley in San Diego County and the federally protected Jacumba Wilderness Area, cutting off important migration routes for the highly endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, devastating recovery efforts.

    In Arizona, the border wall significantly affects the Sonoran Desert, home to endangered Sonoran pronghorn, cactus ferruginous pygmy owls and desert tortoises, and the world-renowned Sky Islands, so named for the “islands” of forested habitat rising out of a “sea” of surrounding desert and grasslands.

    In New Mexico, important wildlife habitats are found in the state’s ‘boot heel,’ a mosaic of public and private lands largely managed for conservation. There are also expansive U.S. Forest Service lands in the state that are critical for jaguar movement between the U.S. and Mexico.

    In Texas, walls and barriers block people and animals from access to the Rio Grande River, an iconic and vital water source for communities and wildlife alike.

    Border Wall Policy

    Section 102 of the 2005 REAL ID Act gave the Secretary of Homeland Security unprecedented power to waive any federal, state, or local law to construct roads and barriers along the border. This waiver has already been invoked five times to exempt the department from more than 35 environmental laws to construct roads and barriers along the Southwest border, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Antiquities Act and National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act.

    In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture issued a Memorandum of Understanding that set forth goals, principles and guidance on border security implementation, minimizing and preventing significant impact on natural and cultural resources while efficiently and effectively implementing the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws, regulations and policies.

    On Jan. 25, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” which called for the expansion of the border wall.

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    Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

  • Tue, 23 May 2017 18:59:23 +0000: President’s Budget Sells Out America’s Wildlife and Wild Places - Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org

    WASHINGTON (May 23, 2017) – President Trump has released the administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. Contrary to its title, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” it sells out one of our nation’s greatest legacies, our wildlife and natural heritage. The budget slashes the non-defense discretionary budget, which is the main source of funding for agencies that conserve and protect our environment and natural resources including the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. The budget also proposes to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Finally, the budget includes funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall, which would have major consequences for native species like jaguars that need to move across the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

    “This budget is death by a billion cuts. It would gut the federal government’s ability to protect the health, safety and prosperity of all Americans. We’re particularly stunned by the devastating cuts to programs that conserve our natural resources and our lands, water and wildlife.

    “You cannot make America great by destroying our natural heritage. President Trump’s proposal threatens the destruction of one of America’s last great wild places. As the crown jewel of America's public lands system, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains vital habitat for iconic species like polar bears, caribou, muskoxen and 200 species of migratory birds from all 50 states, and the native Gwich’in people depend on the land for their subsistence economy and cultural identity.

    “This budget proposes drilling in one iconic area, the Arctic refuge, to help fund a damaging and useless border wall in another fragile landscape. It’s a bad deal to sell-off and sell-out vital wildlife habitat on public lands. Once these wild places are gone, they are gone for good. Furthermore, the Trump budget includes devastating and unacceptable cuts to vital conservation programs that are essential to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission of protecting, recovering and managing our nation’s native wildlife and helping to conserve wildlife globally.

    “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be good stewards of our environment and leave behind a legacy of protecting our air, land, water and wildlife. But this budget is a disaster that flies in the face of those values. We urge Congress to reject the President’s budget, block the border wall and stand up for the Arctic refuge.”

    Background:

    The president’s budget proposal calls for slashing $216 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) FY 2017 enacted discretionary budget, a 14.2 percent cut:

    • Funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System, the largest land and water system in the world dedicated to wildlife conservation, would be more than $90 million below the level needed just to keep up with the FY 2010 level adjusted for inflation. 
    • Funding to recover threatened and endangered species would be reduced by more than 5 percent even though more than 400 listed U.S. species do not have recovery plans and FWS receives less than 25 percent of the funding needed each year to implement all recovery actions identified in recovery plans.  
    • Funding to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act would be cut by nearly 17 percent, possibly leading to more species extinctions.  This reduction would severely hinder FWS from making progress with its seven-year listing workplan that allows the agency to prioritize over 350 species for listing decisions. 
    • Funding for cooperative recovery, a program that supports more efficient and strategic efforts across landscapes to recover threatened and endangered species on National Wildlife Refuges and surrounding lands, appears to be eliminated.
    • Funding for key FWS science programs would be eliminated.
    • Funding for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, which have been working to address complex challenges across large landscapes such as climate change, would be eliminated.
    • Funding for the Wolf Livestock Loss Demonstration Program that assists livestock owners co-existing with wolves would be eliminated.
    • Funding for key grant programs that conserve wildlife both here in the U.S and internationally are severely cut. The Cooperative Endangered Species Fund, which provides grants to state to conserve threatened and endangered species, would be cut by nearly 64 percent.

    Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports land acquisition in our national wildlife refuges, parks, forests and other public lands, is slashed by a devastating 84 percent below the enacted level.

    President Trump’s budget also calls for authorization of four lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, generating $1.8 billion over 10 years, and $1.6 billion in funding for the proposed Southwest border wall for FY 2018.

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     Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

     

  • Thu, 18 May 2017 15:42:21 +0000: Deputy Secretary Nominee No Friend to Wildlife - Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org

    WASHINGTON (May 18, 2017) – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing to consider the nomination of David Bernhardt for Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt raises serious concerns for the future of wildlife conservation, habitat protections and protecting our natural heritage from harmful industrial uses.

    Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

    “David Bernhardt’s history, both in the private sector and at the Department of the Interior, disqualifies him for Deputy Secretary of the Interior, a role that must prioritize managing and preserving a healthy natural heritage for future generations. His work as a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry, agribusiness, and other corporate interests represents a serious conflict of interest. It calls into question his ability to balance the needs of our wildlife, public lands and scarce water resources with pressure from big polluters for more access and less regulation.

    “During his long tenure at the Department of the Interior he repeatedly sacrificed the trust placed in him by the American public to conserve our wildlife, public lands and other natural resources to help line the pockets of big industry. We urge the Senate to reject this nomination and demand a deputy secretary who can truly be a trustworthy steward of our nation’s most sensitive and imperiled natural resources.”

    Background:

    • Mr. Bernhardt has represented mining and extraction companies, developers, and oil and gas interests, including EP Energy, the National Ocean Industries Association, Cobalt International Energy and Rosemont Copper (now Hudbay Minerals).

    Conflict of Interest: Cadiz Water Project

    • David Bernhardt’s lobbying firm, Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck, has a significant financial stake in the Cadiz water project, which seeks to pump water from an aquifer beneath California’s fragile desert and sell it to urban water agencies in southern California.
    • Scientists fear that the project would significantly damage Mojave National Preserve and Mojave Trails National Monument by drying up springs and other waters that are critical for bighorn sheep, bobcats, and other wildlife. 
    • The Cadiz project will require permits from the Department of the Interior. If confirmed as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Bernhardt would be in a position to approve this ill-advised project.

    Conflict of Interest: Westlands Water District

    • Bernhardt and his firm have represented Westlands Water District in California — the largest water district in the United States and a key player in big agribusiness. In his work for Westlands, Mr. Bernhardt lobbied Congress to undermine Endangered Species Act protections that are critical for protecting salmon and other native fish in the San Francisco Bay-Delta. 
    • Mr. Bernhardt also helped Westlands negotiate a settlement with the Department of the Interior regarding toxic agricultural drainage that is currently stalled pending action by Congress. Mr. Bernhardt’s confirmation would allow him to help push the deal across the finish line, to the benefit his former client – and the detriment of California’s waters and wildlife.

    Endangered Species

    • As former Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, David Bernhardt authored an opinion that stated that the Department could not use the Endangered Species Act to address the threats of climate change to polar bears, even if the species was protected under the Act.
    • Another opinion, which was subsequently thrown out in court, interpreted the definition of “endangered species” in a manner that made listing more difficult, but made it easier to remove protections for endangered species.
    • Mr. Bernhardt’s time at Interior was also associated with a series of investigations conducted by DOI’s Inspector General, including one report that concluded that staff within the department were interfering with the scientific integrity of the Endangered Species Act.

     

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     Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

  • Wed, 17 May 2017 17:18:10 +0000: Troubled Waters: Orca Month Celebrates Whales Past and Future - Press Releases

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    Contact: Cindy Hansen (Orca Network); 360-223-5666; cindy@orcanetwork.org

                      D.A. Giles (Center for Whale Research); 360-378-5835; giles@whaleresearch.com

                      Robb Krehbiel (Defenders of Wildlife); 206-577-2007; rkrehbiel@defenders.org

         Leigh Anne Tiffany (Defenders of Wildlife); 202-772-0259; ltiffany@defenders.org

         Nick Abraham (WEC); 206-631-2629; nick@wcvoters.org

                   

    Troubled Waters: Orca Month Celebrates Whales Past and Future

    SEATTLE (May 17, 2017) – June marks the 11th annual Orca Awareness Month in Washington state and second annual in Oregon and British Columbia. Members of the Orca Salmon Alliance (OSA) are hosting events throughout the month to educate the public about the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population and the challenges they face, including reduced Chinook salmon numbers, pollutants in the water, higher risk for oil spills, and increased boat noise from shipping traffic.

    A kick-off celebration for Orca Month will be held on June 4, 2017.

    Event: 2017 Orca Month Kick-Off Celebration

    When: Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 2:00-5:00 pm PT

    Where: Golden Gardens Bathhouse, 8498 Seaview Pl, Seattle, Wash.

    What: A family-friendly event with arts-and-crafts (bring an old t-shirt and repurpose it into an Orca Month 2017 tote bag), face painting, storytelling and orca-themed activities. There will also be a memorial for the leader of the SRKWs, Granny J2, and six other members of the orca community who passed away in 2016, leaving the highly endangered Southern Resident orca population teetering on the brink of extinction at just 78 individuals.

    Who: Speakers will include: Ralph Munro, former WA Secretary of State (invited); Brenda Peterson, teacher and author of the upcoming "Wild Orca: The Oldest, Wisest Whale In The World"; Dave Neiwert, author of "Of Orcas And Men"; Dr. Deborah Giles, Research Director/Project Manager at the Center for Whale Research; Paul Cheoketen Wagner, Native American storyteller and award winning flute player; Sondra Simone Segundo, singer and author of "Killer Whale Eyes". Event emcee will be author and former KING 5 meteorologist, Jeff Renner. There will be a special welcome to the Duwamish homeland by Ken Workman, the great, great, great, great grandson of Chief Seattle. Music will be provided by tribal musicians.

    Why: Orca Network – an orca conservation organization – started Orca Month in 2007 to bring together researchers, advocates, and orca lovers everywhere to raise awareness of the threats facing these magnificent animals and provide a community to celebrate the orcas of the Salish Sea.

    Visit our website at orcamonth.com to find out more about this and future Orca Month events.

     

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    Orca Salmon Alliance works to highlight the connection between two endangered species that need help: Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon. OSA works together to support member organization collaboration and to develop OSA-wide initiatives. Our primary objective is to prevent the extinction of the SRKWs by recovering the wild Chinook populations upon which the whales depend for survival. Member organizations of OSA include: The Center for Whale Research, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Orca Network, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Save our Wild Salmon, Seattle Aquarium, Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Whale Scout. Partners for Orca Month 2017 include: Puget Sound Partnership and Washington State Ferries.

  • Wed, 17 May 2017 14:26:30 +0000: Defenders’ CEO Awarded Audubon’s Prestigious ‘Rachel Carson Award’ - Press Releases

    Jamie Rappaport Clark demonstrates a lifelong commitment to protecting endangered species

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Jared Saylor (202) 772-3255; jsaylor@defenders.org

    Washington (May 17, 2017) – Defenders of Wildlife’s president and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark, was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award for her lifetime of commitment to protecting endangered and threated species and their habitats.

    A video tribute to Clark’s career is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjVWt773Txc 

    Clark, along with Dr. Heidi Cullen, chief scientist at Climate Central and Anne Thompson, chief environmental correspondent at NBC News, received the awards at the 14th annual Women in Conservation luncheon in New York City. 

    “This award is a tremendous honor that I will cherish forever,” Clark said. “Rachel Carson has always been a hero of mine, an inspiration for the work I do. I am very thankful to the National Audubon Society for this recognition.”

    Clark became president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife in October 2011, after serving as executive vice president since 2004. Clark has devoted her career to the preservation and protection of America’s wildlife, spending nearly 20 years doing federal conservation work, culminating with her service as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after an appointment by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Under Clark’s leadership, Defenders has become widely recognized as an important strategic thought leader on conservation policy and implementation.

    When Clark was in college, she worked for Cornell University on a reintroduction program of peregrine falcons into the wild. Twenty years later, as the director of FWS, she stood on the cliffs near the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise to announce the falcon’s recovery and removal from the list of endangered species. 

    “It was that pivotal point of working with a species on the brink of extinction that made me realize that I wanted to work with imperiled wildlife,” Clark said. 

    Most recently, Clark has led an effort at Defenders of Wildlife to defend the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most effective law protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. She recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works at an oversight hearing on the Act where she spoke of the law’s significance to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitat. In the last two years alone, Congress has attacked the Endangered Species Act through nearly 150 bills, amendments and riders. 

    “The ESA is this nation’s most farsighted commitment to future generations, promising to sustain the richness of life on earth for our benefit and that of our children to come,” Clark said. “Endangered species

    and the plans put in place to restore them are increasingly presented as barriers or annoyances to unfettered development or unchecked land use activities.  The Act is enormously flexible, however, and has been improved by continuous administrative reforms that have made the law work better, both for the species it is designed to protect and for the landowners and stakeholders affected by its provisions. Rachel Carson was our foremost voice for endangered wildlife, and I am proud to follow her path.”

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    Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews. 

  • Fri, 12 May 2017 19:16:49 +0000: Iconic Yellowstone Female White Wolf Illegally Killed - Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2017

    Contact: Leigh Anne Tiffany; (202) 772-0259; ltiffany@defenders.org

     

    Iconic Yellowstone Female White Wolf Illegally Killed

    BOZEMAN, Mont. (May 12, 2017) –  An iconic female white wolf in Yellowstone National Park was illegally shot last month, according to necropsy results released late yesterday by the National Park Service. The wolf was found by hikers on April 11 and euthanized by NPS employees due to injuries from the shot.

    Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

    "The death of this wolf is another tragic loss in the trend of illegally poaching iconic species. Yellowstone National Park’s wolves are unequivocally prized. These wolves are valued globally, and local communities reliant on tourism benefit significantly from their presence.

    "Returning wolves to their natural habitat has a beneficial effect on the entire ecosystem. Wolves help restore greater native diversity of both plant and animal species through their unique hunting and culling behavior.  Defenders of Wildlife believes in the inherent value of wildlife and our natural world and condemns the unlawful killing of any animal."

    Background:

    This wolf – one of three known white wolves in the Park – helped form the pack. She and the alpha male had at least 20 pups over their more than nine years together before she was killed.

    If you have any information about the killing of this wolf, please contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch Tipline at (888) 653-0009. You can also text them at (202) 379-4761, or email them at nps_isb@nps.gov.

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     Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

  • Thu, 04 May 2017 23:20:07 +0000: State of New Mexico Issues ‘Sophie’s Choice’ on Mexican Gray Wolf Pups - Press Releases
     
     
     
    Expert: Bryan Bird, 505-395-7332, bbird@defenders.org
    Media contact: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org
     
    State of New Mexico Issues ‘Sophie’s Choice’ on Mexican Gray Wolf Pups
     
    SANTA FE, N.M. (May 4, 2017) – Today it was reported that the Department of Game and Fish in New Mexico has permitted the release of two Mexican gray wolf pups into the wild but only under the condition that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) remove two wild-born pups and place them into captivity.
     
    Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:
     
    “The state of New Mexico is trying to force a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ between wolves that are already in the wild versus adding to the population with two pups that may benefit the entire wolf gene pool. This is an absurd condition and the antics coming out of the state of New Mexico are inexcusable. Only recently did the 10th Circuit Court lift an injunction placed on any new wolf releases in New Mexico.
     
    “Now that the court has spoken, the state wants to play more games with the future of this species that is already racing towards extinction. We need more wolves and less politics. The State of New Mexico should let the scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do whatever is necessary to help rebuild the wild population of the world’s most endangered gray wolf species.”
     
    Background:
     
    Mexican gray wolves, or lobos, are the most endangered gray wolf subspecies in the world. Lobos are facing low numbers and a genetic crisis in the wild. Limited genetic diversity in the wild can result in smaller litters and lower pup survival – a recipe for extinction.
     
    In May 2016, the state of New Mexico filed suit against FWS requesting a preliminary injunction to halt all Mexican gray wolf releases into the wild within the state. In June 2016, a federal court granted New Mexico the preliminary injunction, halting all Mexican gray wolf releases within the state. As interveners in the case between the state and FWS, Defenders and our partners appealed that ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Defenders represented the Center of Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and New Mexico Wilderness Alliance in the case.
     
    On April 25 2017, The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to lift the preliminary injunction allowing further releases of highly endangered Mexican gray wolves into the wild within New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) should now resume wolf releases within the state without any conditions for removal of a commensurate number of wolves.
     
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    Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.
  • Wed, 03 May 2017 17:43:10 +0000: Lawsuit Challenges Trump Reversal of Arctic and Atlantic Drilling Ban - Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

    CONTACT: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org

     

    Unlawful executive order puts climate, sensitive oceans, coastal residents and economies at risk

    ANCHORAGE, AK (May 3, 2017)  – Conservation and Alaska Native groups today filed a lawsuit against President Trump, challenging his decision to jettison a permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

    Quote from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

    “President Trump’s back-handed revocation of President Obama’s order protecting the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from oil leasing demonstrates his administration’s single-minded focus on fossil fuel extraction at the expense of every other value.  Exposing the enormously sensitive ecosystems of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to the risk of a catastrophic oil spill is playing roulette with the nation’s coasts, wildlife, birds and fish.  It is also manifestly illegal. No President has ever before tried to undo a previous President’s determination, made under a specific grant of authority from Congress, that ecologically sensitive offshore waters deserve protection from the risks inherent in oil drilling.

    “We do not need and cannot use the oil that may lie under these waters if we ever hope to meet our nation’s commitment to addressing climate change.  We call upon the court to reject President Trump’s unlawful exercise of arbitrary power.”

    The groups, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society, represented by attorneys at Earthjustice and Natural Resources Defense Council, also issued the following joint statement:

    “President Trump’s April 28 executive order exceeds his constitutional and statutory authority and violates federal law. Responding to a national groundswell of opposition to expanded offshore drilling, President Obama permanently ended oil and gas leasing in most of the Arctic Ocean and key parts of the Atlantic Ocean in December, using his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). Until Trump, no president has ever tried to reverse a permanent withdrawal made under OCSLA, which does not authorize such a reversal. 

    Trump’s executive order could open up more than 120 million acres of ocean territory to the oil and gas industry, affecting 98 percent of federal Arctic Ocean waters and 31 biologically rich deepwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean. Offshore drilling in these undeveloped regions threatens to harm irreplaceable wildlife, sensitive marine ecosystems, coastal residents and the businesses that depend on them, and our global climate.”

     

    Background:

    · Drilling in remote and inaccessible Arctic waters threatens injury to imperiled wildlife such as polar bears, whales and walruses and people that depend on them. Drilling there is particularly dangerous and risky because it would be effectively impossible to clean up an oil spill in icy, remote Arctic waters. The federal government itself has concluded that there was a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill if development and production in the Chukchi Sea moved forward under even a single large lease sale. 

    ·  In the Atlantic, drilling in the protected areas would threaten unique and critical habitat for a multitude of whale species, as well as swordfish and sea turtles. In addition, Atlantic drilling threatens the region’s vibrant fishing and tourism industry—a spill equivalent to the BP Gulf oil disaster could coat beaches stretching from Savannah to Boston.

    · These major risks are particularly egregious and pointless in a world assaulted by climate change, given the extremely long lead times needed before these undeveloped offshore areas could be brought into production.  Full development and burning of oil and gas from the Arctic Ocean alone could release nearly 16 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the equivalent of over nine years of tailpipe emissions from every car and truck on the road nationwide.  Pursuing this development stands at cross-purposes with the nation’s necessary and rapidly accelerating move away from fossil fuels, and with previous commitments to address global climate change.

    The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Alaska.

    Online version of press release available here.

    Media Contacts:

    Rebecca Bowe, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2093, rbowe@earthjustice.org

    Anne Hawke, Natural Resources Defense Council, (202) 513-6263, ahawke@nrdc.org

    David Willett, League of Conservation Voters, (202) 454-4598, david_willett@lcv.org

    Faith Gemmill, REDOIL, (907) 750-0188

    Gwen Dobbs, Alaska Wilderness League, (202) 266-0418, gwen@alaskawild.org

    Cassady Craighill, Greenpeace, (828) 817-3328, ccraighill@greenpeace.org,

    Kristen Monsell, Center for Biological Diversity, (914) 806-3467, kmonsell@biologicaldiversity.org

    Jonathon Berman, Sierra Club, (202) 495-3033, jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org

    Jennifer Witherspoon, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0269, jwitherspoon@defenders.org

    Tim Woody, The Wilderness Society, (907) 223-2443, tim_woody@tws.org

    Elisabeth Balster Dabney, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, (907) 687-4890, dabney@northern.org

    ###

    Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

     

     

  • Mon, 01 May 2017 21:03:20 +0000: Crisis Averted: Spending Bill Free of Attacks on Wildlife - Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT: Haley McKey, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org

    Washington (May 1, 2017)Congress has reached a deal on a 2017 omnibus spending bill which will fund the federal government through September of this year.

    The legislation is free of anti-wildlife amendments or “riders” that attack the Endangered Species Act, wildlife refuges and conservation efforts, except for a rider from last year’s budget which blocks future Endangered Species Act protections for sage-grouse for at least one year. The budget also preserves 99 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and increases funding for clean energy and scientific research.

    Congress also authorized establishment of a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Foundation. Similar to public foundations created for national parks, national forests and fish and wildlife conservation, the new BLM Foundation may accept and spend contributed funds to conserve and reclaim public lands and resources administered by the BLM.

    Despite these victories, the budget does not give vital federal conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund a bump in funding to match the increase in defense spending proposed in the bill. These programs are already starved for money and other resources.

    Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:

    “There is much to appreciate in this spending bill, not least that it prevents another government shutdown. It is also thankfully largely free of riders that threaten wildlife refuges, endangered species and even the Endangered Species Act itself. And it keeps the Environmental Protection Agency, our first line of federal defense in the fight against climate change, almost completely intact. This is no doubt thanks in great part to those who spoke out, on Capitol Hill and across America, for protecting our environment and our natural heritage.

    “But while this budget avoids sneak attacks on wildlife, it rings alarm bells regarding potential future cuts to conservation funding and future negotiations on border construction. Allocating funds to replace vehicle barriers with fencing is particularly troubling, as it could bisect important Southwestern wildlife habitats and divide border communities.

    “Thousands of Americans have stood up for science and climate over the past two weeks, and thousands more are marching today on May Day for workers and immigrants’ rights.  We will continue to stand in solidarity with Americans fighting for a progressive, just society and against any proposed funding for a border wall.

    “We may be able to breathe a sigh of relief now, but we will never stop fighting to protect our natural heritage.”

    Background

    Between the House and Senate bills, there were more than 75 riders seeking to degrade bedrock environmental and conservation laws, such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. Through hard-fought negotiations on this bill, Democrats successfully blocked anti-environmental provisions, including the following items:

     • Language to block efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are clearly and consistently defined

    • Language to block implementation of the Clean Power Plan, including greenhouse gas emissions restrictions from new and existing power plants

    • Multiple provisions aimed at weakening the Endangered Species Act by substituting politics for science, including riders that affected the listing status of gray wolves and lesser prairie chicken. 

    ###

    Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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