Tag Archives: Center for Biological Diversity

‘Big Win’ for Public Lands and Climate as US Judge Reinstates Coal Lease Ban

“It’s past time that this misguided action by the Trump administration is overturned,” said one environmental campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Surface coal mine in Gillette, Wyoming. Photo: Greg Goebel/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Climate and Indigenous activists on Friday applauded the reinstatement of an Obama-era moratorium prohibiting new coal leases on all public lands until after the completion of a thorough environmental review.

Brian Morris, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Montana, issued an order reinstating the 2016 moratorium, which Ryan Zinke, former President Donald Trump’s disgraced interior secretary, reversed the following year. Continue reading

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Biden Accused of Lighting Fuse for ‘One of the Nation’s Biggest Carbon Bombs’

“This is pouring another 5 billion gallons of oil on the fire every year and bulldozing a national forest in the process,” said one critic. “It’s a horrifying step in the wrong direction.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-7-2022 by Common Dreams

An oil trai outside Essex, Montana. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

The Biden administration came under fire this week after paving the way for an oil railway that its own projections suggest would increase planet-heating pollution in the United States by almost 1%.

President Joe Biden “should be doing everything in his power to respond to the climate emergency, but he’s about to light one of the nation’s biggest carbon bombs,” Deeda Seed, a campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday in a statement. Continue reading

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Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could ‘Doom’ Hope for Livable Future

“The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases,” said one scientist. “The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A coal fired power plant on the Ohio River just West of Cincinnati, Photo © 2013 Robert S. Donovan Licensable under the Creative Commons license.

Amid widespread outrage over recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue another decision this week that legal experts and activists warn could imperil the Biden administration’s climate goals and thus, the planet itself.

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—one of the few remaining cases from this term—is “the most consequential climate case in decades,” Sierra Club said Monday. Continue reading

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Pushed by Progressives, Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Renewable Energy

“We hope this use of the Defense Production Act is a turning point for the president, who must use all his executive powers to confront the climate emergency head-on,” said Jean Su with the Center for Biological Diversity.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 6-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photovoltaic solar panels mounted on roof in Berkeley, CA. Photo: Alfred Twu/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The White House announced on Monday executive actions to help “create a bridge” to a “clean energy future” including invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of U.S.-made solar panels.

The actions, first reported by Reuters, come as the Build Back Better’s climate provisions remain stalled in the Senate and amid the threat of new tariffs the solar industry has blamed for dampening domestic projects. Continue reading

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Arizona Slammed for Permitting Uranium Mine That Imperils Grand Canyon Tribe’s Water

“Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Havasupai activists protest against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Jake Hoyungawa/Grand Canyon Trust)

Indigenous and environmental activists on Friday condemned an Arizona agency’s approval of a key permit for a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon that opponents say threatens the land, water, wildlife—and Native Americans’ ancestral obligation to safeguard a place they’ve called home for centuries.

The Arizona Republic reports the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday issued an aquifer protection plan permit for Canada-based Energy Fuels Resources’ Pinyon Plain Mine, located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Kaibab National Forest.

Conservationists and tribes have long opposed the mine, which has been in various stages of planning and preparation since 1984 but from which no uranium has yet been extracted. The Havasupai people, some of whom live in a nearby canyon, say the project imperils their sole source of drinking water.

“Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed threatens the enduring legacy of this landscape and jeopardizes the entire water supply of the Havasupai people,” Michè Lozano, Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in a statement, warning of the “incredible threats that uranium mining poses to the limited underground sources that feed the canyon’s creeks and waterways.”

According to NPCA:

The mine… has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and tribal cultural resources…

In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021.

Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.

“Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”

Asserting that “uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon,” Amber Reimondo, energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said that “uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

Havasupai tribal leaders have long argued against uranium mining on lands from which their ancestors were ethnically cleansed to make way for white tourists before being pressed into dehumanizing railroad labor.

One of the staunchest Havasupai mining opponents, the late Tribal Chairman Rex Tilousi, believed that his people “were given a responsibility to protect and preserve this land and water for those yet to come.”

“The ancient rock writing in our canyon tells us to protect this place,” Tilousi said at a 2018 prayer gathering. “The canyon doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the canyon, to the Earth, to the water. It created us and gave us life. We are fighting for our lives and for those who are yet to come.”

Carletta Tilousi, Rex’s niece and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spoke against uranium mining at an Earth Day rally in Phoenix last week.

“Native Americans, we have struggled so far and so long, and we don’t need it anymore,” she said. “We want to make sure our future generations have clean air, clean water, and a happy life. That’s all we ask for.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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Biden Takes ‘Critical First Step’ to Fix Landmark Environmental Law Gutted by Trump

“The Biden administration cannot stop here,” said one advocate, calling on the White House “to ensure we tap NEPA’s full potential to address the unprecedented environmental challenges we face now.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-19-2022 by Common Dreams

While welcoming the White House’s move Tuesday to repair some of the damage that the Trump administration did to a federal law known as “the Magna Carta of environmental legislation,” green groups also urged President Joe Biden to go even further.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized its “phase 1” rule for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), reaffirming that federal agencies reviewing infrastructure projects such as highways and pipelines must consider all relevant environmental impacts, including those that are climate-related. Continue reading

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Biden EPA Unveils ‘First-Ever’ Blueprint to Protect Endangered Species From Pesticides

One campaigner expressed hope that the agency “will back up its words with concrete actions” to address “historic wrongs.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-13-2022 by Common Dreams

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said a new agency plan “serves as the blueprint for how EPA will create an enduring path to meet its goals of protecting endangered species and providing all people with safe, affordable food and protection from pests.” (Photo: TumblingRun/Flickr/cc)

Environmental campaigners on Tuesday cautiously embraced the Biden administration’s historic new blueprint to guard endangered species from pesticides as a much-needed step forward while also calling for more concrete moves to protect wildlife, people, and the planet.

Welcoming the Environmental Protection Agency’s “first-ever comprehensive workplan” on the topic, Center for Biological Diversity environmental health director Lori Ann Burd said in a statement that “I’m encouraged that the EPA has finally acknowledged the massive problem it created by refusing, for decades, to consider the impacts of chemical poisons on our most vulnerable plants and animals.” Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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