Tag Archives: Center for Biological Diversity

‘EPA Needs to Step In’: Florida Workers Race to Prevent Massive Spill of Radioactive Waste

“Federal officials need to clean up this mess the fertilizer industry has dumped on Florida communities and immediately halt further phosphogypsum production.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-5-2021

Florida’s Piney Point reservoir seen from an aerial view on Sunday, April 4, 2021. (Photo: 10 Tampa Bay/YouTube Screengrab)

Florida workers over the weekend rushed to prevent the collapse of a reservoir wall containing hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater from a defunct phosphate mine, a looming environmental catastrophe that prompted mandatory evacuation orders and a declaration of emergency by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A leak in the Piney Point reservoir was first reported late last month, sparking fears of a complete breach and possible upending of stacks of phosphogypsum, a radioactive waste product of fertilizer manufacturing. During a briefing on Saturday, a public safety official for Florida’s Manatee County warned that “structural collapse” of the storage reservoir “could occur at any time.” Continue reading

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Senate Dems Employ Obscure Law in Effort to Reverse Trump Rollback of Methane Emissions Standards

While lawmakers are also using the Congressional Review Act to challenge one other policy change, it could be used to target dozens of deregulatory actions from Trump’s presidency.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-26-2021

Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State well on the Evanson family farm in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Photo: Tim Evanson/flickr/CC

Four members of the Democrat-controlled Senate this week introduced a resolution that would use an “obscure but powerful” federal law to reverse the Trump administration’s weakening of Obama-era rules on fossil fuel companies’ emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Angus King (I-Maine)—who caucuses with the Democrats—led a larger group of lawmakers Thursday in introducing a resolution of disapproval, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to reinstate Obama-era methane rules. Continue reading

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Lawmakers Urge Biden to Block Massive Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

“This disastrous project is an affront to environmental justice and contrary to your goals to reduce pollution in frontline communities.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-18-2021

Environmental justice campaigners across the country have spoken out against the proposed Formosa Plastics Complex in Louisiana. (Photo: Louisiana Bucket Brigade/Twitter)

A pair of lawmakers known for fighting for environmental justice in Congress sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday urging President Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises to curb pollution in frontline communities by permanently blocking a large petrochemical complex in an area of Louisiana called “Cancer Alley.

Residents of St. James Parish, Louisiana and environmental justice advocates nationwide have come out against the Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group’s plans for a $9.4 billion complex that would release cancer-causing chemicals and, according to one watchdog’s estimate, produce 13.6 million tons of planet-heating emissions per year. Continue reading

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MONARCH Act Introduced to Ensure ‘Beloved Pollinator’ Is Around for Future Generations

“In only a few decades, a migration of millions has been reduced to less than two thousand butterflies.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-17-2021

Butterflies seen at Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove on November 30, 2015. (Photo: Sandy/Chuck Harris/CC BY-NC 2.0)

A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced two bills on Wednesday to boost conservation of the western monarch butterfly to save the population from total collapse.

The legislation comes at a critical moment for the iconic species. The Xerces Society said in January after its latest annual western monarch count that 1,914 monarch butterflies were recorded overwintering on the California coast—a figure the conservation group said reflected a staggering 99.9% drop from numbers in the 1980s and was an indiction the species was heading toward extinction. Continue reading

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Biden Urged to ‘Be the Hero’ to Save American Bumblebee From Extinction

“It is our hope that the Biden administration grasps the gravity of this moment.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-1-2021

Failure to secure Endangered Species Act protections for the American bumblebee, said the the Center for Biological Diversity’s Jess Tyler, could risk “losing this iconic part of the American landscape forever.” (Photo: Xerces Society / Katie Lamke)

Warning that threats including the climate crisis and pesticides are pushing the American bumblebee toward extinction, two conservation groups on Monday urged the Biden administration to give federal protections to the native pollinator.

“We’re asking President [Joe] Biden to be the hero that steps up and saves the American bumblebee from extinction,” said Jess Tyler, an entomologist and staff scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “It’s unthinkable that we would carelessly allow this fuzzy, black-and-yellow beauty to disappear forever.” Continue reading

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‘Major Win for the Planet’: Federal Court Strikes Down Trump Coal Power Plant Rule

“This decision frees up the new Biden administration to begin working immediately on the science-based greenhouse pollution rules we desperately need to make up for lost time.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-19-2021

The Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned by Xcel Energy and located in Becker, Minnesota, shown in 2016. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Climate campaigners welcomed a federal court’s decision Tuesday to strike down the Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule—dubbed by its critics the “Dirty Power” rule—which loosened restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants.

“A failure by Trump is a major win for the planet,” said Clare Lakewood, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “The court has wisely struck down another effort by this administration to shred environmental protections in service of polluters.” Continue reading

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In ‘Brutal Blow’ to Wildlife and Gift to Big Oil, Trump Finalizes Rollback of Migratory Bird Treaty Act

“The Trump administration is signing the death warrants of millions of birds across the country.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2021

A pied-billed grebe on an oil-covered evaporation pond at a commercial oilfield wastewater disposal facility. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 migratory birds die each year in oilfield production skim pits and oil-covered evaporation ponds.(Photo: USFWS Mountain Prairie/Flickr/cc)

Just over two weeks before President Donald Trump is set to leave the White House, his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday finalized a rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—a law that’s been in place since 1918 and which conservation groups credit with holding corporate polluters accountable for harming bird species.

In what the Western Values Project called a “parting gift to Big Oil by corrupt former oil lobbyist Interior Secretary David Bernhardt,” the USFWS announced a new rule under which the federal government will no longer penalize or prosecute companies when their actions cause the inadvertent death of birds. Continue reading

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Groups Provide Biden With Draft Climate Emergency Order to Help Put Out ‘Fire Fanned by Trump’

The president-elect “must take bold action the moment he steps into the Oval Office, without punting to a dysfunctional Congress.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-16-2020

Image by Jasmin Sessler from Pixabay

President-elect Joe Biden must swiftly move once in office to “avert the climate emergency” with a series of actions to ensure the nation invests in “a just, clean, distributed, and democratic energy system that works for all.”

That’s the demand Wednesday from over 380 groups who’ve sent Biden a draft executive order (pdf) that details how, exercising executive authority, he can rein in greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the environment while boosting jobs and community wellbeing. Continue reading

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Under Cover of Thanksgiving, Trump Administration Pushes to Relax Rules Protecting Birds

The proposal—which the administration admits would likely lead to more avian deaths—would let energy and other companies off the hook for “incidentally” killing birds.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2020

A Bohemian waxwing spotted in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on December 27, 2012. (Photo: Keith Williams/Flickr/cc)

Despite acknowledging that the move would lead to an increase in the 500 million to one billion birds that die each year in the United States due to human activity, the Trump administration on Friday published a proposed industry-friendly relaxation of a century-old treaty that protects more than 1,000 avian species.

As part of the administration’s race to rush through as many regulatory rollbacks as possible before President-elect Joe Biden enters office on January 20, the U.S. Department of the Interior released an analysis that sets the stage for modification of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s interpretation of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Continue reading

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Victory for Tribes, Waterways, and Planet as Pebble Mine Denied Permit

“Sometimes a project is so bad, so indefensible, that the politics fall to the wayside and we get the right decision.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-25-2020

Photo: Brandon Hill/NRDC

Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened “lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem” and death to the area’s Indigenous culture.

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