The Environment

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  Canadian Groups to Push to Keep Orcas On Endangered Species ListAugust 30, 2006 16:51 A group of Canadian environmental groups will rally to keep the endangered status for orcas in the U.S.

Representatives of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, the Georgia Strait Alliance and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee will join American groups to protect the southern resident orcas as an endangered species.

The Northeast Pacific southern resident orca population is protected in Canada under the federal Species at Risk Act, which lists them as endangered. They are protected under the Endangered Species Act in the U.S.

In March 2006, the Washington State Farm Bureau and the Building Industry Association of Washington brought a lawsuit arguing that the endangered species listing is unlawful. The industry groups argue the southern resident orcas do not fit the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency's definition of species as a "species, subspecies or distinct population segment of a species."

The Georgia Strait Alliance and The Western Canada Wilderness Committee have been given standing in this lawsuit as friends of the court.

The southern resident orcas live off the coast of southern B.C. and northern Washington.

At least one local whale-watching company supports the environmental groups in the bid to keep the southern residents listed as endangered.
  Farr Urges Patience In Sea Otter FundingAugust 30, 2006 10:02 Rep. Sam Farr came to Cannery Row Tuesday looking for ammunition from experts for the next battle for the California sea otter.

Members of the Otter Recovery Project who met with the Carmel Democrat at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary headquarters were told not to expect much legislation out of Washington, D.C., for the remainder of this year. Farr said he hopes to come back under a new Democratic House majority leadership in January, when the nation's conservation priorities might be friendlier to ocean issues.

"The mood in Washington," he said, "is cut, squeeze and trim -- except for the war in Iraq."

Key to congressional interest in the sea otter, he said, lies in its general usefulness, economically, environmentally and even to national security.

"People love animals," Farr said, and the sea otters, California condors and other wildlife have an economic impact on the Central Coast's tourist industry, drawing wildlife fanciers from all over.
  Weather Prevents Whale From Being Freed From Fishing GearAugust 30, 2006 10:00 Officials say poor weather prevented them from removing fishing gear from a humpback whale. Federal officials say the whale has moved into unprotected waters near Chatam Straight. And seas were too rough for a Marine Mammal Stranding Network team to remove fishing equipment that is trailing the whale.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries spokeswoman Sheila McLean says the whale is not in imminent danger. The humpback was first spotted in Stephens Passage last week. Crews partially removed the fishing gear and attached a satellite tracking device.

Officials also reported two more tangled whales, one near Haines and another near southern Admiralty Island. Also, officials say a dead humpback whale with fishing gear attached to it was reported found a beach on southern Admiralty Island.
  Marine Patrol Rescues WhaleAugust 28, 2006 10:00 Maine Marine Patrol officers rescued a 22-foot whale Saturday that was tangled in lobster gear, according to the state Department of Marine Resources.

The entangled 22-foot minke was reported by Division II Marine Patrol Sgt. Jay Carroll. Carroll and Capt. Troy Dow spotted the whale around 12:25 p.m. while aboard the department's patrol vessel Dirigo, just southeast of Northeast Harbor.

Stephen Robbins, the DMR's whale take reduction gear specialist, is part of the team responding to whale rescues and disentanglements in the region.

Robbins, who lives more than an hour from where the minke was spotted, was on his way to the site when Carroll called to say the whale had been freed.
  Fish & Game Plays Dumb Over New Salamander SpeciesAugust 28, 2006 09:52 A coalition of conservation groups filed suit in California state court today, challenging the refusal of the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to protect the recently discovered Scott Bar Salamander under California’s state endangered species law. Rather than herald the new species—a rare subset of an already threatened species—DFG stripped the salamanders of protection, subjecting them to immediate threat from logging operations.

Joseph Vaile, campaign director of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild) says that DFG is taking advantage of the new discovery to open up the species’ habitat to clearcut logging. “Fish and Game is playing dumb about the threats to the Scott Bar Salamander. They are saying ‘we don’t see the new Scott Bar Salamander on our list of threatened species, so we don’t need to protect them and we can now allow logging in areas that were protected last year,’” said Vaile.

The Scott Bar Salamander (Plethodon asupak) was first described as a new species in a May 2005, when a scientific paper separated it from the Siskiyou Mountains Salamander (P. stormi). The latter species is listed as threatened under California’s Endangered Species Act (CESA). Many of the known sites of the new species have thus been protected from logging , until now. DFG not only took the position that because the new species’ name is not on the agency’s list, it does not need protection, but encouraged the logging of forests previously set aside to protect known salamander populations. Those logging attempts were hastily withdrawn when the groups challenged them in court.

“The recognition of the Scott Bar Salamander is one of the most exciting developments in conservation science in this region in decades,” said Noah Greenwald, a conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). “It is appalling that the Department of Fish and Game, the agency responsible for protecting California’s incredible diversity of life, is using this discovery as an excuse to deprive these very same salamanders of the protections they clearly need, of the protections they in fact had before they were recognized as unique.”
  Bush Administration Pesticide Rules For Endangered Species Are IllegalAugust 26, 2006 09:15 A federal judge in Seattle today overturned new Bush administration rules that made it easier for pesticide makers to ignore the effects of their products on endangered plants and animals. The court set aside the administration's rules, and restored prior standards that provided greater protection to protected wildlife and plants. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by a coalition of national and regional wildlife conservation and pesticide reform organizations.

"Pesticides are driving America's wildlife toward extinction, and this administration wants to remove the checks and balances that hold them accountable," said Patti Goldman, an attorney with Earthjustice, who is representing the coalition. "It's time for them to stop trying to sidestep the law, and start addressing this problem in a serious and systematic way."

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to ensure that the use of pesticides won't set back the chances of survival and recovery of species threatened with extinction. The law mandates EPA to consult with wildlife specialists in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to apply the best available science to meeting this obligation.

The challenged rules -- the product of fierce closed-door lobbying by pesticide companies -- cut the wildlife scientists out of the equation, effectively allowing pesticide managers at EPA, not wildlife experts, to make key decisions about the impact these chemicals have on protected species. By eliminating the checks and balances built into the ESA through inter-agency consultation, the new rule makes it easier for agribusiness and other industries to use highly toxic pesticides despite the risks to the environment. Scientists, conservationists, and members of Congress had strongly opposed the rule change.

The judge determined that the rules were "arbitrary and capricious" because they ignored the risks to species and because EPA political appointees ignored the unanimous concerns of its own scientists. The ruling found that the rules would "actually result in harm to listed species". [pg 37, linked above] and noted the "total absence of any technical and scientific evidence to support or justify" the agencies' rule. [pg 35] He also found that the agency had violated the law by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement assessing the impacts of, and alternatives to, the proposal.
  Environmental Issues Bring Out Differences In MI Governor's RaceAugust 26, 2006 09:11 Michigan's businesses have thrived over the decades in part because of the state's vast array of natural resources: abundant water for fishing, recreation and manufacturing; timber for construction, fuel and woodworking; iron for steelmaking; fertile land for farming.

But the state also has struggled to balance the protection of its environment with the needs of business.

Decades of pollution dumped on the ground and into waterways has cost billions of dollars for lengthy cleanups. Disputes have broken out over water use, who can walk on Great Lakes beaches and the dumping of out-of-state trash in Michigan landfills.

In a state that's still losing more jobs than it's gaining, both Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican challenger Dick DeVos say the state must help companies by streamlining environmental requirements and finding ways to promote jobs while still protecting the environment.

But they differ on how those goals should be met.

 
  U.S. To Lease 8 Million Acres In Alaska For DrillingAugust 23, 2006 14:27 Despite strong opposition from environmental groups, the Bush administration Wednesday said it would offer energy companies next month the opportunity to search for crude oil and natural gas on 8 million acres in Alaska's western Arctic region.
The acres to be leased will be on 696 tracts in the northeast and northwest areas of the National Petroleum Reserve. Environmentalists are especially concerned because 373,000 acres north of the reserve's wetland-rich Teshekpuk Lake will also be offered for lease for the first time.

About 183,200 acres relinquished since a 2002 lease sale will also be reoffered to energy companies.
The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, which will conduct the lease sale Sept. 27, said the reserve's energy supplies are needed and steps will be taken to limit the impact of drilling at biologically sensitive areas near Teshekpuk Lake.

The reserve is estimated to hold between 5.9 billion and 13.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 39 trillion to 83 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Two billion barrels of oil may be around Teshekpuk Lake alone.
  Service Denies Petition To List 16 Insect Species Under Endangered Species ActAugust 21, 2006 09:45 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that a petition to list 16 insects in the Algodones Dunes area of southern California under the Endangered Species Act does not contain substantial information to warrant adding the species to the Federal list of threatened and endangered species. The negative finding on the petition was published in the Federal Register on August 18, 2006.

The petition to list the insects was submitted to the Service by the Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Sierra Club. Under the Endangered Species Act, the Service is required to review the petition and determine whether it contains substantial information to warrant listing in a process known as a 90-day finding.

The 16 insect species include two sand wasps, two bees, one vespid, two velvet ants, three jewel beetles, two scarab beetles and four subspecies of weevils. The petitioners claimed these 16 insect species are endemic to the Algodones Dunes system and are habitat specialists with restricted geographic ranges, making them more prone to extinction.
  Arizona Must Confront Threat Posed By Non-Native SpeciesAugust 21, 2006 09:37 It appears the No. 1 threat to Arizona native wildlife and fish in these imperiled biotic communities continues to be the introduction, perpetuation and expansion of non-native sport fish, baitfish, crayfish and bullfrogs throughout Arizona's river systems. This primary threat remains the "800-pound gorilla in the room" that nobody wants to talk about.

Most of the vertebrate species (i.e., native fish, amphibians and reptiles) listed or considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act in Arizona have aquatic or semi-aquatic life histories.

More than 60 percent of our native fish are already listed. These native species have been driven towards extinction primarily by the constant threats posed by non-native species. These alarming figures are testament that we are rapidly losing our natural heritage.
  Environment Emerges As Central Issue In PA RaceAugust 16, 2006 21:36 Many House Republicans, particularly in the Democratic-leaning Northeast, are touting their political independence at a time when the party affiliation they share with President Bush increasingly appears a political liability in this volatile election year.

A case in point is two-term Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Gerlach, who hopes that the centrist image he has sought to cultivate will enable him to fend off a vigorous rematch challenge by Democratic lawyer Lois Murphy.

Their contest appeared destined from the start to be one of the year’s most competitive: Gerlach edged Murphy, then a first-time candidate for public office, by just 2 percentage points two years ago in Pennsylvania’s 6th District, a partisan battleground in suburbs and exurbs near Philadelphia.

Gerlach points to his emphasis on environmental protection as evidence that he is no conservative hardliner. In a July 27 press conference organized by the Republican Main Street Partnership, an organization dedicated to promoting GOP moderates, Gerlach emphasized his efforts in Congress to promote energy independence for the nation and to protect green spaces from development.

“I come from a district that’s fast growing, outside of Philadelphia, and the environment is very, very important,” Gerlach said.

Gerlach has bucked the party line on some environmental issues, including his vote against oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  Prize Puts Focus On Endangered SpeciesAugust 15, 2006 12:33 African elephants, Humpback whales and American wolves all have something in common. They're in trouble, and they appear on the "red list" as a threatened, or endangered, species. But a unique award and prize, started in Indianapolis, will soon be given to a scientist who is helping to stop their extinction.
Kids visiting the Indianapolis Zoo may not know it but they're the future to saving thousands of endangered species. Scientists expect at least 11,000 types of animals to disappear in the next 20 years.

"We're in a tipping point right now. We're at a point where it is too late for some things but there is tremendous hope for others," explained Michael Crowther, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo.

Crowther hopes the Indianapolis Prize will make people more aware of the need for conservation. "The Indianapolis Prize is a way to tell the world the story of conservationists. This is a chance that we have to tell stories that are changing the world." He quickly added with exuberance, "It is the coolest thing that I've ever heard of!"

 
  Lampricide Puts Endangered Species at RiskAugust 14, 2006 08:44 Some scientists are concerned that a chemical used to kill sea lampreys in a tributary of Lake Champlain could put endangered species at risk.

The sea lampreys are being targeted in Lewis Creek because the eel-like parasites attach to trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon. The lamprey wound and sometimes kill the cold-water fish, which tend to occupy deeper reaches of Lake Champlain.

"The lamprey go to the cool, deep water along with the trout," said Brian Chipman, a biologist with Vermont Fish and Wildlife. The lamprey also attach to other stocked fish, including walleye pike, lake sturgeon, channel catfish and lake whitefish, he said.

The parasites spawn in the most of the 24 rivers and streams that feed into Lake Champlain. All of those feeder streams are included in the state and federal long-term sea lamprey control program and most have been treated with lampricide at least once.

State environmental officials say the lampricide, trifluoromethyl or TFM, would kill most of the sea lamprey larvae in such places as Lewis Creek and should spare most of the endangered freshwater mussels, if the chemical application levels are kept within designated limits.

State and federal fish and wildlife officials have a permit to conduct the chemical application in early October over a 12-hour period, according to Bradney Young, a U.S. fisheries biologist.

 
  Living On Earth: Killing Endangered Species To Save ThemAugust 11, 2006 15:09 I'm not quite sure how I feel about this...

Thirty years ago, it seemed that the magnificent bighorn sheep of the western mountains were headed for extinction. The bighorn is the most prized trophy of the four North American wild sheep species that hunters consider a grand slam. So, the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep came up with a program to save the endangered animals by killing just a few of them. Now, saving an endangered species by hunting them sounds like an oxymoron, but the organization had the notion that by getting a lot of money for a few hunting permits, they could raise money for sheep conservation and community development. The concept seemed unusual to writer Daniel Duane. So, he joined a foundation hunt in Vizcaino Biosphere, in the south of Baja, California, recently and wrote about that experience for Mother Jones magazine.

 
  Georgia Governor Testifies On Endangered SpeciesAugust 09, 2006 12:59 My question is... how can humans survive in the long run without placing strong emphasis on species and resource protection?

Governor Sonny Perdue today testified before the U.S. Senate Committee of Environment and Public Works to detail Georgia’s efforts to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect Georgia’s water resources and protect endangered species downstream.

“I cannot believe Congress passed the Endangered Species Act with the intention of providing substantially more protection for the species than for human beings,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “The Corps can provide for both the needs of the endangered species and the needs of humans upstream if it operates wisely and is guided by sound science and good planning….mussels are getting more water now than they would if no dam had been built and no reservoirs created.”

In March, the Corps announced a new reservoir management plan for the ACF Basin reservoirs called the Interim Operations Plan (IOP). The IOP was intended to support the needs of the endangered Gulf sturgeon during its spring spawn and the needs of two species of protected mussels in the summer. The state of Georgia is concerned that it mandates the release of far more water than is necessary for the protection of the endangered species and depletes the water storage upon which people and wildlife depend. The Corps has been largely unresponsive to these concerns.
  China To Let Tourists Hunt Endangered SpeciesAugust 09, 2006 12:49 This is despicable...
China is to auction licenses to foreigners to hunt wild animals, including endangered species, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

The government would auction licenses based on types and numbers of wild animals, ranging from about $200 for a wolf, the only carnivore on the list, to as much as $40,000 for a yak, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

The auction, taking place on Sunday in Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, would be the first of its kind in Chinese history, it added.

"Some animals are from the first and second category of national wildlife protection, but with the strict limitations in place, the hunting could not destroy wild animal populations," the daily said.

The report made no mention of the endangered giant panda, some 1,500 of which survive in nature reserves in southwestern China.
  Colorado-Born Lynx Gives Birth; Milestone In Reintroduction PlanAugust 09, 2006 12:43 A lynx born in Colorado has given birth to two kittens, a major milestone in the state's ambitious attempt to reintroduce the elusive cats, researchers said Tuesday.


It was the first documented case of a Colorado-born lynx giving birth since the reintroduction program began in 1999. The cat, born in 2004, gave birth to two males in mid-June.

The news was tempered, however, by a dramatic reduction in the number of births this year. Colorado Division of Wildlife researchers found four dens with a total of 11 kittens, down from 18 dens with 50 kittens last year.
  Feds Asking For Public's Thoughts On 'Cooperative Conservation'August 08, 2006 22:00 Sounds like some BS to us...

Leaders of the Bush administration's "cooperative conservation" effort will hold their first public meeting in Spokane on Wednesday to gather ideas on how disparate groups can work together to protect the environment.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne will attend the meeting, dubbed a "listening session" that is intended to foster cooperation on thorny environmental issues.

The Bush administration, which held a conference on the topic last year, defines cooperative conservation as the efforts of landowners, communities, conservation groups, industry, and government to work together to preserve the environment.

"We believe cooperative conservation is the best way to protect the environment," Bush said in mid-June when he announced creation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument. "This means we must focus on the needs of states, and respect the unique knowledge of local authorities, and welcome the help of private groups and volunteers."

 
  Senate Vote For Triple Border Wall Will Destroy Endangered Species And EcosystemsAugust 07, 2006 13:43 The Center for Biological Diversity blasted this week's U.S. Senate vote to fund the construction of a massive triple wall over 370 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, calling the plan a colossal environmental disaster and declaring that it will not stem the tide of illegal immigration.


More border walls, militarization, low-level aircraft and roads would further damage already-stressed wildlife and places, such as the Cactus Pygmy Owl and Sonoran Pronghorn in Arizona, Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard and Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep in California, Jaguar and Mexican Gray Wolves in New Mexico, and the Rio Grande River, Ocelot, and Big Bend National Park in Texas. Triple walls are harmful to wildlife, blocking migration corridors and destroying valuable habitat. The distance of the triple wall - 370 miles - is approximately the distance of the entire border in Arizona.


"It's a sad day for America. In 1987, President Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall and stated, 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,' but less than 20 years later, the Senate votes to build a new Berlin Wall on the U.S.-Mexico border," said Michael Finkelstein, Executive Director with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Jaguars, Mexican Gray Wolves, Peninsular bighorn, low flying Pygmy Owls and other endangered species need to cross their borderland habitat often, and this wall would crush their ability to survive."


As federal enforcement intensifies, a key focus should be wildlife-friendly vehicle barriers in strategic and at-risk places on the border, such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Goldwater Range, Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge and Coronado National Forest. In a more reasonable move, the Senate also approved 461 miles of vehicle barriers, but it is not known if a wildlife-friendly design will be used.
  Congress Shoots Down Taxidermy Tax ScamAugust 04, 2006 13:52 The Humane Society of the United States today praised the U.S. Senate for including a provision in the Pension Reform Act, passed last night by the Senate and last week by the House of Representatives, to close a loophole in the tax code that has been exploited by trophy hunters and allowed them to unfairly deduct the costs of their hunting excursions across the globe. The HSUS uncovered the scam and brought it to the attention of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who shepherded the taxidermy tax scam provision to passage.

The inclusion of this provision will help protect wildlife around the world and save American taxpayers an estimated $43 million over the next decade. The president is expected to sign the Pension Protection Act, which was approved by wide margins in both chambers.

"The phoniness of this kind of donation called out for congressional action," Grassley said. "It was time for self-enriching hunters to become the hunted. Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States, we're taking the tax cheating out of taxidermy. I'm grateful for the group's diligent work in exposing this scam in the first place and then helping Congress shut it down."
  Bush's Grade On Environment FallsAugust 04, 2006 08:36 More Americans than ever disapprove of President Bush's handling of the environment, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, which also has found that spiraling fuel costs are altering household spending habits.

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the national poll said the Bush administration was doing too little to protect the environment. The negative rating was up considerably from The Times' last major survey on the environment, in 2001, when 41% said he wasn't doing enough.

Nevertheless, despite growing disenchantment with administration policies, most people share the president's preference for investment in new technologies over mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions.

Respondent Lisa Brutvan, 42, a real estate consultant from Atlanta who is not registered with any political party, said she voted for Bush because of his stance on terrorism. "I knew in making that decision that I was making a choice against the environment. I figured that for eight years we could survive it," she said. "But I think it's reaching a little bit more of a critical mass.
  3 Million Fish Suffocate In Salton Sea Die-OffAugust 03, 2006 16:59 Some 3 million fish suffocated in the Salton Sea's largest tilapia die-off since 1999, clogging a harbor with rotting fish that is driving away boaters and fouling the air in the Coachella Valley desert.


"The whole Salton Sea is full of dead fish," said Bryan Brinegar, part of the Environmental Recovery Systems cleanup crew wading into the smelly mess to scoop dead fish into barrels.


The battle for oxygen among booming tilapia population contributed to the heavy die-off, an annual summertime event that came earlier this year because of the unusually hot July.


Salton Sea fish die-offs are the result of natural biological and chemical reactions that sap oxygen from the troubled lake.
  UK and CA on Global WarmingAugust 03, 2006 15:18 In California this week UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Stage Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have been discussing the scope for co-operation on climate change. This could be good news for UK companies hoping to tap into the US market for renewable energy technology.

The agreement aims to tie both California and the United Kingdom to a list of measures:

- The United Kingdom will share best practices on emissions trading and lessons learned in Europe. California and the United Kingdom will also explore the potential for linkages between our market-based mechanisms that will better enable carbon markets to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.
  Lebanon Oil Spill Makes Animals Casualties Of WarAugust 03, 2006 09:19 The Bush administration's lack of action in intervening in the current Middle East conflict is now complicit in contributing to the delay in environmental cleanup after a major oil spill caused by Israel.

Add bluefin tuna and green turtles to the casualties in the Hezbollah-Israel conflict.

Green groups are calling an oil spill along Lebanon's Mediterranean shore the largest environmental crisis in the country's history.

The spill came after Israeli planes struck a Lebanese power plant, dumping 15,000 tons (13,600 metric tons) of oil into the eastern Mediterranean.

The massive spill has since spread along the length of Lebanon's coastline. Neighboring Syria has also reported oil spots on its beaches.

"Depending on the winds and sea currents, the spill could reach Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus," warned Wael Hmaidan of Lebanon's Green Line Association environmental group.
  FL Manatees No Longer EndangeredAugust 02, 2006 08:43 In a move embodying the success of recent protection efforts and new state standards regarding species in decline, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously on June 7 to remove the manatee from the state's endangered species list. The commission also voted that day to remove the bald eagle from a list of "species of special concern."

Manatee Numbers Climbing

In public hearings prior to its vote, the commission noted more than 3,100 manatees now live in Florida, up from roughly 1,200 in 1991. Moreover, computer modeling indicates no chance of the species going extinct during the next 100 years.

"I believe the manatee has recovered," commission chairman Rodney Barretto told the press after the vote. "We should be rejoicing."

Protections Remain

The Florida decision to downgrade the manatee from "endangered" to "threatened" will not result in any reduction in the level of protection afforded manatees, according to the commission. For example, very stringent speed restrictions on boats plying coastal waters will remain unchanged.

The effect of the reclassification is to list manatees accurately within the state's species listing criteria. All species listed as "endangered," "threatened," or "of special concern" receive protection plans tailored to their particular needs. Any time a species is added or removed from the lists or changes status, the commission reevaluates and drafts appropriate protection plans tailored to the new developments.

"We've made this process science-based," explained commission spokesman Willie Puz in the June 7 Miami Herald. "We are able to look specifically at one species and tailor a plan to meet that species' specific needs."

The endangered status of manatees under the federal Endangered Species Act will not change.
  Court Overturns Ruling On Endangered SpeciesAugust 02, 2006 08:34 The Bureau of Land Management does not have to get input on impacts of water diversions and ditches built before 1976, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 24 overturned a lower court decision that would have required the BLM to "consult" on water transmissions over rights of way on BLM-administered land—input that would provide ways to mitigate actions and minimize effects to protect endangered species.

In the case of Western Watersheds Project v. Matejko, the court held that six rights of way used to move water across federal lands in the Upper Salmon River Basin are not subject to consultation because the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which gave the BLM its authority over such actions, was not in place when the ditches and diversions were built.

Western Watersheds Project, based in Hailey, argued that under the federal Endangered Species Act the BLM was required to "consult" on the use of the rights of way.

Consultation is one requirement of a formal process that occurs when an endangered species issue arises.
  Turtles, Tourists At LoggerheadsAugust 01, 2006 13:26 An interesting article that reminds us that we must be conscious of our impact on the environment even as we attempt to observe and learn more about it...

Yakushima island has the largest spawning grounds for loggerhead turtles in the North Pacific and is the northernmost landfall in Japan for green turtles.

Last year, about 4,000 loggerhead turtles came ashore on the island. Even taking into account the possibility that some of the turtles landed more than once, it is believed the island serves as a haven and spawning site for nearly half the loggerhead turtles that came ashore in Japan in 2005. It is recognized as the place in the North Pacific where loggerhead turtles lay the most eggs.

Because Yakushima is visited by such a large number of turtles, three of the island's beaches where the sea turtles come ashore most often were designated a wetland under the international Ramsar Convention last year. The beaches, Maehama, Inakahama and Yotsusehama, are collectively known as Nagatahama and are located in the northwest of the island.

The turtles lay eggs on the island from May to July, and the hatchlings make their way to the sea from July to September.
  CA-UK Clean-Air AllianceAugust 01, 2006 13:21 British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger paid a visit to the Port of Long Beach on Monday to announce an agreement between Great Britain and California to combat global warming.
The announcement, which seeks to lower the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air by two of the world's largest economies, comes amid a widening split over environmental policies between the Bush administration and Blair's and Schwarzenegger's governments.

"We see that there is not great leadership when it comes to the federal government and protecting the environment," Schwarzenegger said. "So this is why we as a state move forward with it because we want to show leadership."

Blair's three-hour visit to the British Petroleum terminal here came toward the end of the first trek to California by a sitting British Prime Minister.