Fast-track Review Threatens Bears Ears’ National Monument Designation
President Trump took the first step last month toward revoking or shrinking 27 national monuments, directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reexamine all monuments designated since 1996 that are larger than 100,000 acres. Zinke has until June 10 to make a recommendation on Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which President Obama created last year. Bears Ears encompasses 1.3 million acres of red-rock desert, including thousands of Native archaeological sites. A full report on the 27 monuments under review is due August 24. Public comments on Bears Ears must be submitted by May 26.
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Guardians Fights for Climate Data
The Western Environmental Law Center, on our behalf, filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests last month with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management and Office of Surface Mining. We’re seeking to reveal what Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is planning for our public lands and force the Trump administration to comply with basic transparency requirements. The administration’s recent anticlimate executive order and secretarial order direct the agencies to identify climate policies that would be targeted for removal by the new administration. Our FOIA requests aim to spotlight the fossil fuel industry’s influence, via email or other communications, over the orders.
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Victory for Lobos in the Land of Enchantment
In response to our—and allies’—emergency appeal, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s ruling that blocked releases of critically imperiled Mexican wolves into New Mexico. The decision allows vital recovery efforts to proceed and is a clear rebuke of the state’s attempts to undermine lobo restoration. The ruling sends a clear message that anti-carnivore political interests will not be allowed to hamper recovery efforts for this endangered species. The victory is already having an impact: this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed two pups born in captivity into a wild wolf den in New Mexico.
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Defending Chaco as Trump Steamrolls Navajo Nation
We filed an opening brief in federal court in April calling for the reversal of 362 drilling and fracking approvals in the Greater Chaco region. Since the Navajo Nation asked for a fracking moratorium last February, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved nearly 30 new drilling and fracking permits, authorized new pipelines, and approved other developments to accommodate new fracking in this area of northwestern New Mexico. The Greater Chaco region is the cultural heart of the American Southwest and has sustained Indigenous communities for thousands of years. Sadly, the oil and gas industry has laid siege to this sacred landscape, but we’re pushing back.
Congress Commits Dollars to Heal Wild Lands and Streams
Thanks to the support of our Congressional champions, the 2017 spending bill Congress finally passed included $40 million for the Forest Service’s Legacy Roads and Trails program. Starting with our 1,000th Culvert celebration in D.C. last spring, Guardians, The Wilderness Society, and many partners kept the pressure on to ensure these dollars were committed. Projects that fix or remove problem roads help reconnect streams and landscapes, and that means grizzly bears, lynx, and bull trout have more freedom to roam. Since 2008, our advocacy has resulted in $470 million dedicated to this program.
Confronting Trump's Climate Denial
Guardians took aim at President Trump’s climate denials last month and called on a federal court to overturn a massive coal mine expansion in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. In an opening brief, we challenged the administration’s attempts to eliminate climate reports and roll back policies to limit carbon emissions. The brief is part of an ongoing lawsuit over expanded mining at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine, one of the largest coal mines in the world. The Black Thunder mine alone is the root cause of around 2 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
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Settlement Protects Clean Water in Heart of Denver
We reached agreement this month settling years of litigation associated with the General Chemical site along the South Platte River in Denver. The accord resolves a Clean Water Act lawsuit we filed to ensure that pollutants on and under the former chemical manufacturing and mining site aren’t threatening public health or the environment. The settlement triggers monitoring of ground and surface water onsite and directs a half-million dollars to enhance water quality in the river through the redesign of a park to benefit river health and underserved communities.
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Five Imperiled Sharks and a Guitarfish Receive Endangered Species Act Safeguards
In response to our scientific petition, the National Marine Fisheries Service protected five rare sharks and a guitarfish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) this month. The daggernose shark, Brazilian guitarfish, striped smoothhound shark, spiny angelshark, and Argentine angelshark are listed as endangered, while the narrownose smoothhound shark is listed as threatened. All are imperiled by human exploitation and lack of regulations controlling overfishing. Guardians petitioned for protections for 81 marine species and subpopulations, including the guitarfish and sharks, under the ESA in 2013. More than half of all marine species may be at risk of extinction by 2100 without significant conservation efforts.
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Beavers Return to the Valles Caldera National Preserve
Beavers haven’t wasted any time using the native streamside vegetation that our restoration crew and volunteers planted from 2012 to 2014 in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico. Last fall we documented the first beaver dam using the willows we planted along San Antonio Creek. When we returned this spring to document additional changes to the ecosystem we were amazed. Over the winter, the beavers created a lodge and used nearly all the willow whips, cottonwoods and alders we planted along 1.3 miles of the creek. Witnessing the power of wildlife to recover is our ultimate reward.
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photo credits: (Left column) Cedar Mesa, Bears Ears National Monument—BLM. North Park flaring—WildEarth Guardians. Mexican wolf pups—Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team. Greater Chaco Pueblo Bonito—WildEarth Guardians. Greenwater River, Mt. Baker Snoqualmie NF, WA—WildEarth Guardians. coal = climate change—WildEarth Guardians. Platte River—WildEarth Guardians. Guitarfish—Johan Fredricksson, Creative Commons. beavers at Valles Caldera National Preserve. (Right column) Rebecca Henderson
and Dan Kowalski—Rebecca Henderson
and Dan Kowalski. Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen logo—Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen.bear picnic—familyfrugalitynfood. ClimateWest blog—WildEarth Guardians. grizzly bear—Sam Parks. Howling Affair 2017—WildEarth Guardians.
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“We live next to a National Forest, so we are fortunate to be
able to walk in beauty every day. But even when we were city dwellers, we
realized how vitally important and yet gravely imperiled our wild places are.
WildEarth Guardians is at the forefront of cutting-edge litigation, education,
and mobilization. We are proud Wild Bunch members. Join us!”
~ Rebecca Henderson
and Dan Kowalski, Pinewood Springs, CO
If you would like to
host a house party for WildEarth Guardians let us know by emailing us here. Rebecca Henderson and Dan Kowalski
did just that on April 30. We are grateful for their gracious hosting,
sharing with friends, and commitment to the wild.
Put these dates on your calendar!
Dine at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe anytime during the month of
June and 2% of all CASH sales will be donated to WildEarth Guardians!
June 8—Santa Fe Summer BBQ
October 6—Santa Fe Guardians Gala
December 7—Albuquerque Treehugger Bash
ClimateWest: Your Inside Scoop on
Our Climate and Energy Program
Check out ClimateWest, our Climate and Energy Program blog and your source for
up-to-date information and commentary on Guardians’ efforts to confront Trump
and the fossil fuel industry. Whether you’re looking for new maps, pictures,
opinions, or dirty details on Trump’s dealings, tune in to ClimateWest
and stay abreast of our work.
So, How'd it go...
Thanks to more than 7,400 of you who signed
our citizens’ letter telling the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service to reintroduce grizzly bears to Washington’s North Cascades
National Park. Once numbering over 50,000 across the American West, grizzlies
in the Lower 48 were hunted, poisoned, and trapped to near extinction by the
1930s. While bears are making a comeback to areas near Yellowstone and Glacier
National Parks, fewer than 20 grizzlies live in the prime habitat of the North
The 9th Annual Howling Affair was inspiring! We invite you to join us for
number 10 in 2018. The warm evening set the stage for an hour of interactive
stations with live rescue birds, performers, and program discussions. After
dinner, we heard from three Guardians staffers who covered our work on the
Colorado River, across the West on keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and for
compassionate coexistence. If you would like to be inspired about ending the
war on wildlife, hear Michelle Lute’s remarkable story here. And we raised over $50,000! We are so
grateful to our partners in this work; thank you!