Tag Archives: Endangered Species Act

‘Major Victory’: Court Orders EPA Review of Glyphosate’s Cancer and Endangered Species Risks

“While it comes too late for many farmworkers and landscapers who suffer after glyphosate exposure, we are grateful for the court’s ruling,” said a representative for one plaintiff.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/CC

A federal appeals court on Friday issued a ruling on the weedkiller glyphosate that the coalition involved with the case called “a historic victory for farmworkers and the environment.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its conclusions about the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, a popular herbicide created by Monsanto—which Bayer acquired in 2018. 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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‘Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm’ to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

“We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy,” said one conservation expert.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-22-2021

A family of gray wolves tends to their pups. After 45 years, gray wolves were delisted from the Endangered Species Act by the Trump administration on January 4, 2021. (Photo: Chad Horwedel/Flickr/cc)

In what wildlife defenders called “the biggest news so far for wolf protection in the United States in 2021,” a Wisconsin court on Friday sided with conservation groups and canceled this year’s wolf trophy hunt season just 15 days before it was set to begin.

In an oral bench ruling expected to be appealed, Dane County Circuit Judge Jacob Frost issued a temporary injunction halting the hunting season—which would have started on November 6—by reducing a 300-wolf kill quota to zero until the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) complies with its own rules, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. Continue reading

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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

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Leaving Parts of Trump’s Pro-Polluter Legacy Intact, Biden Gets C- on Environmental Report Card

Biden’s “limited achievements must be put in context of what both science and justice require to avoid the worst impacts of the climate and extinction crises,” said the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2021

Photo: Eric Haynes/CC

Expressing alarm over President Joe Biden’s support for a number of pipeline projects and his failure to reverse the vast majority of environmental regulatory rollbacks introduced by his predecessor, the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund on Tuesday gave the president a grade of C-minus and said he “needs improvement” on its Environmental Report Card.

Six months into his presidency, Biden has fully met five out of 25 “concrete and achievable environmental promises” he made on the campaign trail, and has only reversed three of former President Donald Trump’s rollbacks.

CBD Action Fund noted in the report card (pdf) that the president signed an “unprecedented” 17 executive orders on his first day in office in January, including three that fulfilled “Day One” promises he had made: “formally beginning the reentry process to the Paris climate agreement, permanently rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, and directing all federal agencies to elevate addressing environmental justice to protect frontline communities.”

The group emphasized, however, that during Biden’s first six months in office the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented drought” and “record-shattering heatwaves” which climate scientists have long warned about.

“Thus, even as his administration is evaluated at the six-month mark, its limited achievements must be put in context of what both science and justice require to avoid the worst impacts of the climate and extinction crises,” the report card reads.

“President Biden got off to a strong start right when he took office, but his environmental agenda appears to be stalling out,” said Brett Hartl, chief political strategist at the CBD Action Fund. “He has to light a fire under his Cabinet and the federal agencies to complete his campaign promises without foot-dragging, because the climate and extinction crises are getting more urgent every day.”

Overall, the group credited Biden with fulfilling five campaign promises so far, including holding a global climate summit in his first 100 days in office and reinstating federal flood-protection standards that assess climate change risks.

The administration has taken steps to fulfill 13 other campaign pledges, including:
  • Ending financing for overseas coal projects;
  • Installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Requiring that disadvantaged communities receive 40% of benefits from climate spending.

“For other campaign promises, the Biden administration has yet to initiate efforts to achieve them,” the report card says. “For example, Biden spoke numerous times during the campaign about addressing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. He proposed a $20 billion conservation fund to address deforestation. However, this initiative was not part of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, and it is unclear what other steps the administration will take to address deforestation.”

CBD Action Fund identified just three Trump-era environmental rollbacks that Biden has reversed, including the so-called “secret science” rule restricting data the EPA can use to enact regulations; eliminating the use of the “social cost of carbon” in environmental reviews; and curtailing categories of industrial polluters subjected to greenhouse gas regulations.

Biden was also credited with taking steps to restore protections to the Tongass National Forest and the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, and with announcing recently that officials will “begin the process of undoing additional Trump-era rollbacks,” the report reads.

“The timeline and scope of these efforts is unclear,” said the CBD Action Fund. “For example, the Department of the Interior announced in June that it would ‘revisit’ the Trump-era rollback of the regulations guiding consultations under the Endangered Species Act.”

“But the department signaled that it would only reverse one of over 20 changes made by the previous administration to the regulations—specifically restoring the earlier definition of ‘indirect effects’—and stated that this effort would not even begin until December 2021 at the earliest,” the group continued.

In addition to more than two dozen Trump-era rollbacks the administration has taken no action to reverse, the group expressed indignation at Biden’s decision to support some of Trump’s attacks on the environment.

The president has declined to block the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota or shut down operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as approving nearly 2,500 new drilling permits on public lands and waters—”roughly the same amount that the Trump administration approved during its first entire year in office,” the report card reads.

“Biden’s bold vision during the campaign won’t be met if his administration leaves large chunks of Trump’s pro-polluter legacy intact,” said Hartl.

Biden has also supported Trump’s weakened protections from pesticides for endangered species, an increased limit for Atrazine pollution in waterways, and the expanded use of antibiotics on citrus crops.

“If President Biden does not act boldly, right now, the impacts of climate change will be severe enough to make large swaths of our planet nearly uninhabitable,” CBD Action Fund said.

After a promising start, the group added, “complacency and inertia could stymy further progress on his climate and environmental goals. Without a continued and sustained effort in the next 12 to 18 months, any potential environmental legacy could easily be erased.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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Biden EPA Admits Faulty Glyphosate Review Under Trump But Still Won’t Take It Off US Market

“Time to face the music, not run and hide,” said one critic of the agency’s latest legal maneuver.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2021

A monarch butterfly sits on milkweed. (Photo: Mara Koenig/USFWS)

The Center for Food Safety on Wednesday denounced the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency for arguing that Roundup should remain on U.S. shelves for an undisclosed period of time even after admitting that the Trump-era review of glyphosate—the key ingredient found in Roundup, the world’s most widely used herbicide—was flawed and requires a do-over.

In its federal court filing (pdf) requesting to redo the Trump administration’s faulty assessment of glyphosate, the EPA failed to provide a deadline for a new decision; instead, the agency maintained that Roundup—created by agrochemical giant Monsanto, which was acquired in 2018 by the German pharmaceutical and biotech company Bayer—should stay on the market in the meantime. Continue reading

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Green Groups Sue Army Corps of Engineers Over Nationwide Pipeline Permit

“There’s simply no justification for allowing destructive and dangerous pipelines to avoid rigorous environmental review.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-3-2021

In December 2016, the Belle Fourche pipeline spilled 180,000 gallons of crude oil into the Ash Coulee Creek in North Dakota, just three hours’ drive from the site of a massive Indigenous-led protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. (Photo: Jennifer Skjod/North Dakota Department of Health)

Five eco-advocacy groups sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday for allegedly violating federal law by issuing a nationwide fossil fuel pipeline permit without adequate analysis of its environmental impacts.

The lawsuit (pdf)—filed in a federal district court in Montanta by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Sierra Club, Montana Environmental Information Center, Friends of the Earth, and Waterkeeper Alliance Inc.—accuses the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) of violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act by reissuing Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) “without adequately assessing its significant direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects.” Continue reading

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Wolf Slaughter in Wisconsin Spurs Call for Biden to Reinstate Federal Protection for Iconic Species

“Wisconsin’s actions offer a tragic glimpse of a future without federal wolf protections.”

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

The three-day wolf hunt that took place in Wisconsin last month “is a brutal reminder of what could spread to states like Minnesota if America’s wolves aren’t re-listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,” said the Center for Biological Diversity. Photo: Gunnar Ries/flickr/CC

Conservation advocates are urging the Biden administration to reinstate federal protections for the gray wolf after Wisconsin hunters far exceeded the state’s kill quota last month.

“Wisconsin’s actions offer a tragic glimpse of a future without federal wolf protections,” said the New York state-based Wolf Conservation Center. 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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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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