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Animals
Don Burkett

New Trump Administration Plan for Mexican Gray Wolves Puts the 'Lobo' on Path to Extinction

The Trump administration released on Wednesday its long-overdue recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves, one of the most endangered mammal species in North America with an estimated wild population of just over 100. However, the plan charts a course for extinction rather than recovery, cutting off wolf access to vital recovery habitat and failing to respond to mounting genetic threats to the species.

"It's a 'recovery plan' in name only. Without additional habitat and greater genetic diversity, the wolves will continue to teeter on the brink of extinction. The plan provides none of these essential needs," said Heidi McIntosh, an attorney with the nonprofit environmental legal organization, Earthjustice, which sued the federal government on behalf of conservation organizations.

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Trump Watch
Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

Lawsuit Challenges Trump's Approval of Corporation's Plan to Drain California Desert Aquifer

Conservation and health-safety groups filed suit on Tuesday in federal court challenging the Trump administration's approval of an enormous groundwater-mining and pipeline project in Southern California. The Cadiz water project, approved without environmental review, includes the construction of a pipeline through the Mojave Trails National Monument and other public lands in the area.

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Climate
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How to Talk to Your Relatives About Climate Change: A Guide for the Holidays

By Abigail Dillen

Most people who know me are too polite to question climate change when I'm around, but there are relatives and old family friends who hint at the great divide between their worldviews and mine. I think they sincerely believe that I would crush the economy forever if I had my way. On the other end of the spectrum are friends and family who are alarmed by climate and genuinely want to know what we and our elected officials can do about it. But no matter who's in the mix, it's hard to bring my work home for the holidays. Most of the time it feels easier to leave our existential crisis unmentioned.

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Energy
An oil train moves through California's Central Valley. In 2009, 10,000 tank cars transported crude oil in the entire U.S. This one terminal alone proposed bringing in 73,000 cars a year. Elizabeth Forsyth / Earthjustice

Victory: Concerned Citizens and Environmental Groups Stop Oil Train in Its Tracks

A coalition of concerned citizens, environmental groups, and health and safety advocates successfully challenged the approval of a massive refinery and rail project that will further harm air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and subject residents in several states to the catastrophic risks of a derailment involving scores of tanker cars filled with explosive Bakken crude oil.

The Alon Bakersfield Refinery Crude Flexibility Project, approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, would have enabled the refinery to unload crude from more than 200 tanker train cars per day, allowing it to import up to 63.1 million barrels of crude oil per year. A lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Association of Irritated Residents, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club claimed that Kern County's certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) failed to meet its legal duty to fully assess the project's risks and disclose them to the public. The court agreed.

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Trump Watch
Stars illuminate the landscape of Bears Ears National Monument. Earthjustice / Mark Toso

Fate of National Monuments Remains Shrouded in Secrecy: Earthjustice Sues Federal Agencies for Withholding Information From Public

For months, the Interior Department, Bureau of Land Management and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have repeatedly failed to answer the public's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information related to the Trump administration's ongoing review of national monuments—protected federal lands and waters that belong to the American people.

The review of the country's national monuments has been marked by a lack of transparency—Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke has yet to disclose how he incorporated input from Native American tribes and the 2.8 million Americans who urged protections for national monuments in the public comment period into his leaked draft recommendations to shrink monuments and gut their protections. On Thursday, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of six organizations whose requests for information on national monuments have been met with radio silence.

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Here's the Dirt That Industry Won't Tell You About 'Clean' Natural Gas​

By Abigail Dillen

Most mornings, I fry an egg on a gas range that I view as essential to achieving sunny-side-up perfection. My mother was a great cook who loathed electric stoves, so I am programmed to believe in the superiority of gas—which is becoming awkward, because my job is all about advancing 100 percent clean energy.

Cooking with gas is not, by itself, a big problem for the climate, but it ties into a larger American romance with gas that could be our undoing. "Natural gas" has a clean and healthy ring to it. But burning gas to heat and power our homes and factories, let alone our vehicles, is no more compatible with slowing climate change and preserving a livable planet than burning "natural" coal or "natural" oil.

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Climate
Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near New Salem, North Dakota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC. BY 2.0

Dakota Access Pipeline to Remain Operational During Environmental Impact Study

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) can continue operating pending an environmental review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the Corps in July 2016, arguing that the pipeline destroyed sacred sites and threatens the water quality of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that sits downstream of the site where the pipeline crosses the Missouri River in North Dakota.

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Earthjustice attorney Ted Zukoski (left) stands in Colorado's Sunset Roadless Area. Wild Earth Guardians / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Battle to Protect 50 Million Forest Acres May Finally Be Won After 16 Years

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

A decades-long fight over a landmark rule protecting wild forests nationwide took another successful–and possibly final–turn last week after a U.S. district court threw out a last-ditch attack by the state of Alaska against the Roadless Rule.

Adopted in the closing days of the Clinton administration, the Roadless Rule prohibits most logging and road construction in roadless areas of national forests. These lands, today equaling about 50 million acres or about the size of Nebraska, are some of the wildest places left in America.

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Orcas have been listed as endangered species in both the U.S. and Canada. Miles Ritter / Flickr

Endangered Species Act Protections in House Committee Crosshairs

One of our nation's core environmental safeguards is at risk of being hollowed out, as the House Natural Resources Committee takes up legislation Wednesday to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Starting at 11 a.m. ET, the committee is voting on five bills that aim to weaken a variety of protections offered by the flagship conservation law. A detailed description of each proposal is included in this letter of opposition.

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