Tag Archives: Center for Biological Diversity

Air and Water Under Threat as SCOTUS Targets Environmental Laws

“It seems like we have a new conservative supermajority on the court that is much more inclined to do a slash-and-burn expedition through our major environmental laws.”

By Julia Conley   Published 1-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Coastal Wetlands at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, MA.
Ohoto: Kelly Fike/USFWS/flickr/CC

Environmental advocates and congressional Democrats are raising alarm after the U.S. Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in two cases regarding bedrock regulations designed to protect the quality of the nation’s air and water.

The nine justices announced Monday that they plan to hear arguments in the case of an Idaho couple who were blocked from building a home on their land by the Clean Water Act. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chantell and Michael Sackett’s land contained wetlands and the couple needed a federal permit to build. Continue reading

Share Button

More Than 130 Groups Call on CFTC to Shut Down ‘Dystopian’ Water Futures Market

“In this time of global-warming-induced drought in California, the last thing we need is to gamble on our precious water resources.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 12-20-2021 by Common Dreams

Drought conditions, at a filtration pond, in Campbell, CA 2014. Photo: Tyler Bell/flickr/CC

Warning Wall Street against commodifying what has been treated since ancient history as “a common right for everyone,” more than 130 civil society groups on Monday demanded that federal regulators shut down the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s water futures market.

Food & Water Watch organized the petition, which was sent to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a year after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) opened the world’s first market for water futures contracts, based on water rights in drought-plagued California. Continue reading

Share Button

Green Groups Demand Answers About ‘Flimsy’ and Buried Biden Drilling Report

“Public records released as a result of this request will shine light on the dangerous chasm separating Biden’s climate promises from his refusal to phase out the use of our public lands and waters for oil and gas extraction.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-2-2021 by Common Dreams

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at the White House. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior/flickr/CC

A trio of climate and conservation organizations on Thursday filed a public records request regarding the development of a report about leasing federal lands and waters to fossil fuel companies that the Biden administration released the day after Thanksgiving.

The administration came under fire for not only the contents of the U.S. Department of the Interior report—required by President Joe Biden’s January executive order on “tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad”—but also dropping it on the Friday after a holiday. Continue reading

Share Button

Climate Coalition Demands Biden Halt ‘Outrageous’ Offshore Drilling Auction—Largest in US History

The proposed lease sale, said over 250 groups in a joint letter, “shockingly offers more area than the Trump administration initially proposed.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-10-2021 by Common Dreams.

Offshore oil rig off Catalina Island. Ohoto: arbyreed/flickr/CC

As the Biden administration prepares to auction off more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel extraction, over 250 advocacy groups published an open letter on Wednesday imploring U.S. President Joe Biden to cancel the sale and fulfill his promises of bold climate action.

At least 267 organizations, including 36 representing Gulf of Mexico communities, sent the letter to Biden, who just last week promised the world at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland—also known as COP26—that the United States will be “leading by the power of our example” in the fight against the planetary emergency. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Embarrassing’: US Absent as World Joins Together to Protect Biodiversity

“It reinforces the notion that the U.S. is a fair-weather partner when it comes to environmental conservation, including issues of climate change,” said one critic.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-15-2021

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed in Michigan. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS

As the United Nations Biodiversity Conference wrapped up Friday, critics are once again pointing to the glaring absence of the United States from negotiations to strengthen an international treaty to restore and protect the variety of life on Earth that has been ratified by every country except the U.S.

The U.S. did send a team to this week’s meeting, which was hosted by China and attended in-person and virtually because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—a crisis that has highlighted the need to reform humanity’s relationship with nature. Continue reading

Share Button

Utilities Took $1.25 Billion in Pandemic Aid Then Shut Off Power to Households Nearly 1 Million Times: Report

“These companies took bailout dollars from taxpayers and turned around to lobby against shutoff moratoria proven to save lives.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2021

A new report from BailoutWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that leading U.S. utilities took $1.25 billion in pandemic relief funds even as they cut off power to vulnerable households nearly a million times. Photo: Matt Wiebe/Flickr/cc

Over a dozen leading U.S. utility companies took more than a billion dollars of publicly-funded pandemic bailout money while pulling the plug on power to vulnerable households nearly a million times, according to a new report out Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and BailoutWatch report—entitled Powerless in the Pandemic: After Bailouts, Electric Utilities Choose Profits Over People—details how utilities used their political power “to secure bailouts that cost taxpayers $1.25 billion, cushioning them from the pandemic economy,” while disconnecting vital services from some of the most vulnerable U.S. households. Continue reading

Share Button

Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass ‘Imperiled’ Polar Bears

“We’re hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-16-2021

A new rule announced on August 4, 2021 by the Biden administration will allow fossil fuel companies operating in northern Alaska to harass polar bears and walruses while searching or drilling for oil. Photo: Andreas Weith/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of conservation groups sued the Biden administration on Thursday over the U.S. Department of the Interior’s recent rule allowing fossil fuel companies to harass polar bears and walruses while searching and drilling for oil and gas in the Southern Beaufort Sea.

Announced last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the rule was quickly blasted as “disturbing” by Kristen Monsell, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups behind the new federal lawsuit (pdf) in Alaska. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Hard to Imagine Worse Idea’: Biden to Resume Fossil Fuel Leases on Public Lands and Waters

“The president made a promise to ban all new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters,” said Greenpeace, “and the American people expect him to keep it.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-17-2021

Off shore oil rig drilling in Santa Catalina Channel. Photo: arbyreed/flickr/CC

Climate groups are expressing deep concern following an Interior Department announcement Monday that the Biden administration will resume oil and gas drilling leases on public lands and waters—a practice President Joe Biden vowed to ban during his 2020 run for the White House—in response to a federal court ruling.

While the Biden administration confirmed in its announcement that an appeal has been filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in a legal battle with the state of Louisiana—which sued the federal government over the pause in the oil and gas leasing program ordered by Biden earlier this year—the Interior Department said leasing would resume while the process plays out. Continue reading

Share Button

Wisconsin on Track for Another ‘Wolf Slaughter,’ Sparking Calls for Federal Protections

“Our state’s Natural Resources Board voted today to double down on wolf management that goes against science and ethical norms.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-12-2021

Wisconsin is set to hold its second wolf hunt of the year this fall.. Photo: Gunnar Ries/flickr/CC

Less than a year after a February wolf hunt condemned as “an outright slaughter,” conservation advocates are warning that the animals in Wisconsin are at risk of being wiped out after state officials voted Wednesday to approve a kill quota of 300 wolves for the fall 2021 hunting season—more than twice the number proposed by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The “harvest quota” was approved in a 5-2 vote at an in-person meeting of the Natural Resources Board. Continue reading

Share Button

In ‘Critical Step’ for Climate, Biden to Restore Protections for Tongass National Forest

“The Tongass is not only one of the few truly wild places left on the planet, it is vital to our path forward as we deal with climate change,” said the Alaska-based group SalmonState.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2021

Hikers walk through the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. (Photo: U.S. Forest Service/Flickr/cc)

Conservation and climate action groups on Thursday applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement of far-reaching new protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest as well as a restoration of a key rule that former President Donald Trump rescinded three months before leaving office in a bid to open millions of acres to industrial logging.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the administration would put back in place the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, also known as the Roadless Rule, which Trump exempted Alaska from in a move that outraged Indigenous communities in the region as well as environmental advocates. Continue reading

Share Button