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Trump’s Wall 'Would End Any Chance of Recovery for Endangered Jaguars'

President Trump announced Thursday that his administration will pursue a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a project that would perpetuate human suffering, harm border communities and halt the cross-border movement of jaguars, ocelots, wolves and other wildlife.

Among animals, the wall would be particularly harmful to highly endangered jaguars. Two jaguars have been photographed north of the border in recent years, but the U.S. population will never reestablish if migration from the small population in northern Mexico is blocked.

The wall would be particularly harmful to highly endangered jaguars.Conservation CATalyst / Center for Biological Diversity

"Donald Trump continues to cling to his paranoid fantasy of walling off the U.S.-Mexico border, regardless of the harm it would do to border communities and wildlife," said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "We already know that walls don't stop people from crossing the border, but Trump's plan would end any chance of recovery for endangered jaguars, ocelots and wolves in the border region."

Billions of dollars have already been spent to construct and maintain hundreds of miles of existing border wall with little to no environmental oversight, resulting in major problems with erosion and flooding in border communities and the blockage of normal wildlife movement across the border. Yet Border Patrol and Homeland Security officials have repeatedly testified that the border wall is nothing more than a "speed bump" that does not stop people from crossing, and just this week an outgoing Homeland Security official called Trump's push for a wall "preposterous" and "an incredible waste of taxpayer money."

"Like many of Trump's ideas, this one has nothing to do with reality," Suckling said. "By any measure the U.S.-Mexico border is more secure now than it's ever been. There is no reason to sacrifice the health of border communities and wildlife for such political grandstanding."

Migration corridors are crucial for the recovery and survival of wildlife along the border, especially those with small populations, including wolves, ocelots and jaguars.

"The border region is home to a rich diversity of living beings," Suckling said. "It's a place where north and south meet and overlap—the only place in the world where jaguars and black bears live side by side. It's this diversity that makes us strong, not some wasteful, immoral wall."

The wall is widely opposed, especially among communities in the Southwest.

"We will not stand by while Trump creates a Berlin Wall on America's border," Suckling said. "We'll fight this Stone Age proposal in every way we can—and if necessary put our bodies in front of the bulldozers."

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Car Pollution Is Killing Coho Salmon

The grisly video above shows a coho salmon struggling to survive in polluted stormwater runoff on the Duwamish River in Washington. This contaminated water—filled with oil from cars, pesticides, dirt and debris—can kill this particular species of Pacific salmon in hours, according to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, which posted the clip on Oct. 21.

Sadly, it appears that this fish is one of many coho salmon in the Puget Sound Basin that have died, and will continue to die, from this man-made tragedy.

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A tiger known as Tony spent his life in a cage at a Louisiana truck stop. Tony died last week. Janusz Sobolewski / Flickr

The Tragic Tale of Tony the Truck Stop Tiger

By Stephen Wells

For more than six years, the Animal Legal Defense Fund fought tirelessly to save a tiger named Tony from a cage in the parking lot of a Louisiana truck stop. Sadly, we received news last week that Tony had died of kidney failure after spending 16 years confined to his cage, living and dying as a roadside attraction. Tony's plight is a microcosm of the problems with our legal system, a system that treats sentient beings as property and affords disproportionate political influence to their captors and abusers.

Tony was born into captivity, sentenced from birth to a life of exploitation, a gimmick used by his owner Michael Sandlin to sell gasoline at the Tiger Truck Stop. It doesn't take a degree in veterinary medicine to know that a truck stop is no place for a tiger. But veterinarians and animal behaviorists weighed in emphatically on Tony's behalf. Dr. Jennifer Conrad, a doctor of veterinary medicine with decades of experience with captive large cats, personally visited Tony and concluded that he was "exploited to the detriment of his welfare."

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'Landmark Decision' Casts Youth as Official Intervenors in Pipeline Case

By Frank Jossi

In what is regarded as an unusual step, a group of 13 young people have joined together to become court sanctioned intervenors as they fight a proposed Enbridge Energy pipeline through northern Minnesota.

Intervenors are sanctioned by the state Public Utilities Commission to represent parties in contested cases. They are generally lawyers and experts hired by energy firms, clean energy organizations, environmental groups, governmental agencies and an occasional citizen or two.

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Renewable Energy
The Masdar Solar Hub in the United Arab Emirates is a state-of-the art solar testing and R&D hub for photovoltaic and solar thermal technology. Masdar

Solar Power Forecast: Record-Low Costs Expected to Keep Plummeting as Technology Improves

The already-plummeting costs of installing solar power could fall an additional 60 percent over the next decade, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said Monday.

IRENA director general Adnan Amin told Reuters that the organization expects an additional 80 to 90 GW of solar capacity will be added worldwide each year for the next five to six years, and that improvements in technology, including batteries, will help drive down costs.

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Scott Pruitt. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Report: EPA Hires 12 More Bodyguards for Pruitt, Costing $2M Annually for Full Security Team

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has been noted for taking unusual steps to operate with extreme caution at the job—including the installation of a $25,000 soundproof communications booth and contravening a bi-partisan EPA transparency practice of keeping his schedule secret.

Now, CNN reports, the EPA is expanding Pruitt's security detail with an additional 12 agents, meaning his total security fleet stands at 30 bodyguards. This will cost the department $2 million a year in salaries alone and does not include training, equipment or travel.

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Offshore Oil Drilling May Be Coming to a Coastline Near You

By Pete Stauffer

It's nearly impossible to convince certain people, most notably leaders of our federal administration, that bold action is needed on climate change, but recent events have certainly made a compelling case.

Three major hurricanes have battered U.S. coasts in recent months, impacting the lives of millions of people and causing billions of dollars in damage. Although no single storm event can be blamed directly on climate change, scientific experts agree that the warming climate and ocean waters contribute to the frequency and scale of hurricanes—putting the residents, natural resources and economic security of coastal communities at elevated risk. This makes the Trump administration's proposal to expand offshore oil drilling off U.S. coasts all the more dubious.

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Taken on Oct. 11 in Barrio Maní, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Cathy Mazak

'We Are Not OK': A First-Hand Account of Hurricane Maria

By Cathy Mazak

I'm so happy to be able to communicate with you again. As many of you know, I live in western Puerto Rico. In this post I want to tell you a little about my family's experience with Maria, and how you can help Puerto Rico.

On Thursday Sept. 21, when the sun came up, I looked out our front door at a wintery landscape. There was not one leaf on one tree in all the tropical forest that surrounds our property. Instead, the walls of my house were plastered with one-inch-by-one-inch pieces of leaves. It was as if they had been stripped off the trees, chopped in a food processor, and coated onto our house with a pressure washer.

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12 Global Cities Commit to Create Green and Healthy Streets By 2030

On Monday, the mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland and Cape Town committed to a series of ambitious targets to make their cities greener, healthier and more prosperous. By signing the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, the pioneering city leaders pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030. The policies are designed to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens and help tackle the global threat of climate change.

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