Friday, October 31, 2008

SF Chronicle Tells It Like It Is: "Bush's Last Ditch Attempt To Destroy The Planet"

This provocative headline in today's SF Chronicle speaks truth to power about the Big Bad Bushies.
Strong words, perhaps, but the Bush Administration is attempting to sneak in a handful of deregulation measures that address vital environmental issues including greenhouse gas emissions, drinking water, mountaintop removal coal mining, containing oil spills and ocean fishing. (Bush is seeking to increase GHGs, MTR, oil spills and overfishing while decreasing drinking water quality.)
You've got to guess that W and his buddies are also hoping for a McCain/Palin administration, since Sarahcuda is a nightmare for all living beings (from the moment of conception).
You've gotta give it to this guy, after eight years he can still shock with his aggressively destructive, hypocritical and slipshod policy agenda.
Indeed. Given the opportunity to "give it to this guy," we'd be sure the pie would land squarely on his face.

And then we'd be promptly arrested for eco-terrorism, no doubt.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Double-Talk Express

On the heels of McCain calling for Ted Stevens to step down, McCain's own complicated ethics have been called into question.

McCain pushed for land swap that would have benefited Keating associate.
McCain and an aide pushed for the exchange in more than a half-dozen sometimes-testy letters and phone calls up and down the Forest Service's hierarchy, according to former agency officials and correspondence. McCain's office even circulated draft legislation that would have overridden the agency's objection to surrendering national forest land. Ultimately, the deal fell apart.

McCain's behind-the-scenes maneuvering on Spur Cross contrasts with his image as a congressional ethics champion and his pledge - made after the Keating scandal in 1991 sullied his reputation - never to intervene with regulators again.
No! A lying politician! We're shocked. Shocked!

Friday, October 24, 2008

There's probably a downside, but we don't want to know about it


Today, let's just celebrate this bit of good news from the LA Times: Cute island foxes are making a comeback on Santa Rosa Island, in what signals a "wildly successful comeback."
"It may be one of the quickest recoveries in the history of the Endangered Species Act," said Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett. "It's a phenomenal success story."

And all it took was booting out dozens of fox-killing golden eagles, bringing back the bald eagles that were nearly wiped out decades before and killing some 5,000 feral pigs.

The island fox was listed as an endangered species in 1994. Officials said it may be taken off the list in about three years.
At the lowest point, the population on Santa Rosa Island numbered only 15- perilously close to extinction. Thankfully, the ESA was able to protect and recover them. Hurrah!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SOBs with shotguns

Some jackass shot a Mexican wolf pup in Arizona this month.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the 6-month-old wolf apparently was shot to death while standing along a dirt road about seven miles southwest of Hannagan Meadow. The wolf was found dead Oct. 13.
Who does things like this? Why? And why doesn't someone else bust them, to the tune of $52K in reward money?

Not a great day for wolf news- Ralph Maughan has a post up about the bad year for reproductive success in the Yellowstone wolf populations. At least, though, that's due to natural attrition. Population fluxes are to be expected, right?

Someone send us some good news, OK? We're FREAKING OUT.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A little reminder about a lot of anxiety

The New York Times today had an excellent op-ed about the Last Minute Mischief that the Bush Administration could be up to in the waning months of its term.
All presidents indulge in end-of-the-term environmental rule-making, partly to tie up bureaucratic loose ends but mainly to lock in policies that their successor will be hard pressed to reverse.

President Bill Clinton’s midnight regulations were mostly good, including a rule protecting 60 million acres of national forests from road-building and most commercial development. Not surprisingly, most of President Bush’s proposals are not.
Yeah, no kidding. Bush is dumping Resource Management Plans like trash on BLM lands, trying to dismantle the protections of the Endangered Species Act, and working actively to get its destructive border wall built before January.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A win for whales!


(Photo: NOAA)

Despite Sarah Palin's unqualified opinions on the matter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined today to list the beluga whale of Alaska's Cook Inlet under the Endangered Species Act.
Palin, Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate, has strongly objected to the federal government's possible declaration of the whale as endangered.
Why would she object to listing?
The Interior Department has proposed making available oil leases in the Cook Inlet as early as next year and in 2011, saying the waters have an estimated $1.38 billion worth of energy resources. Protection of the whale could hinder some of those activities.
Heaven forbid we limit oil and gas development! (And we do mean Heaven- we suspect that Sarah Palin's direct line to God is giving her all the direction she needs for dominion- and destruction- over all things.)

Well, hooray for NOAA. Seems like at least NOAA is holding its own against the Bush Administration's assault on the ESA.

More info about the beluga whale and their "distinctive melon-shaped heads" here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Take that, oh ye enemy of turtles!

Boots, belts and wallets. That's what the 700 smuggled animal skins (including skins of endangered sea turtles) were being used for, and that's why a federal court in Denver today indicted the last of seven smugglers in the case.
"Seven arrests, seven guilty pleas, and seven prison sentences should send a message to anyone considering smuggling protected wildlife into the United States," Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a statement.

Several species of sea turtles are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

"Hurt sea turtles, do time," Troy Eid, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, said in a statement.
So, how about listing the Sonoran desert tortoise under that there ESA and providing some kind of protection for them too? Today, WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project filed a petition to do just that.
The tortoise's population has dropped 51 percent in Arizona since 1987, says a new study that analyzed data from 17 tortoise study plots....

Causes of the tortoise decline include urban sprawl, cattle grazing, disease, drought, mining, federal projects such as roads, drainage ditches and irrigation diversion projects, and motor vehicles driven by illegal immigrants and the U.S. Border Patrol, the groups say.
Same old, same old for native desert species. Hopefully, with a new administration and a new DOI, the tortoise will get a positive finding. Then we can work on recovering this charismatic species. Come on, who doesn't think this guy is charismatic?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Izembek Road Proposal: Another Example of Greedy Politicians at the Public Trough

Written by DL guest, Rachel Gurney:

Every administration since Ronald Reagan’s has made it a priority to protect the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska . Yet, right now, a proposal before Congress threatens the very resources this globally significant refuge was created to protect. Called the Alaska Peninsula Refuge and Wilderness Enhancement Act, this bill (S. 1680/H.R. 5151) will do anything but “enhance” wilderness. In fact, the Act would allow the construction of a road between the towns of King Cove and Cold Bay that would pass through the biological heart of the Izembek Refuge, fragment its irreplaceable wetlands, and put tens of thousands of migratory birds and other wildlife at risk—all at taxpayers’ expense.

The town of King Cove spent nearly $250,000 to hire Steve Silver, a lobbyist involved in many of Alaska ’s previous pork projects, to bring home the Izembek road bacon. Unless there is a broad public outcry, the Izembek proposal will be one the bills included in a huge public lands package likely to be approved by Congress in mid-November. This must not be allowed to happen! America ’s taxpayers have already spent $37.5 million to help meet King Cove’s health and safety needs. Now Congress seems willing to sacrifice the refuge to ram this unnecessary and harmful project through. Americans who care about wild places—and who are sick and tired of special-interest bills that help just a few people at taxpayers’ expense—should tell their Senators and Representatives to remove this bad bill from the H.R. 5151 package before that package comes to a vote in November. For more information, click here. [Ed note: Or read this.]

Thursday, October 02, 2008