Eliminate Dangerous Anti-Wildlife Wording in Defense Bill

Target: Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Goal: Stop dangerous anti-wildlife bill from further endangering threatened species.

Threatened wildlife will be at further risk if a proposed bill passes. The House of Representatives’ version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is an annually passed bill that sets the budget for the US Department of Defense, contains language that is detrimental to wildlife. Specifically, if the bill passes with the harmful provisions, the greater sage-grouse and the lesser prairie chicken will not be listed under the Environmental Services Association for the next 10 years, and protections for the endangered American burying beetle will be removed. Furthermore, the bill will enable the US Navy to operate without regard to marine life for a decade.

In recent weeks, this bill has passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it is currently under review. There is still time to make a difference. Please sign this petition to demand Speaker of the House Paul Ryan urge US senators and representatives to stop the harmful provisions of the bill from passing.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Speaker Ryan,

The House of Representatives’ version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains environmentally harmful language that must be removed. The bill would eliminate necessary protection for the endangered American burying beetle, the threatened sage-grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, and allow for the US Navy to operate unchecked without regard to marine life for a decade.

Please consider the detrimental effect these provisions in the bill would have on these species and on marine life. The purpose of the NDAA is to protect America, not to harm wildlife species and the environment. We ask that you uphold the true principles of the NDAA and remove the environmentally detrimental provisions in the House’s version of the NDAA.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: gary4now

Stop Purging Conservation and Wildlife Advocates from National Park Services

Target: Mary L. Kendall, Deputy Inspector General of the Department of the Interior

Goal: Investigate allegations of unfair employment practices against conservationists and climate change advocates.

“Throughout my career, I’ve never encountered anything like this, ever.” These words, uttered by a conservationist with a four-decades long record of service, echo the sentiments of many environmental advocates and ethical leaders who now serve under an administration hostile to those very values. To date, 16 individuals serving our nation’s federal lands in senior-level positions  received demotions or reassignments; they believe these actions are retaliation for conservation or climate change advocacy. Many more dismissals could follow.

The most high-profile and recent of these questionable maneuvers is the treatment of soon-to-be former Yellowstone Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. This summer, Superintendent Wenk was given a choice: accept a reassignment across the country or resign. Either way, officials wanted the man who has served forty-plus years in national park services out of Yellowstone by August. Wenk chose resignation, believing the reassignment for which he was provided no reasoning resulted from his opposition to a planned reduction of Yellowstone’s bison populations. Moreover, Wenk contends that his dismissal reflects Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s ambition of prioritizing industry and profit over conservation. The bison initiative is believed to be the result of extensive lobbying from a major livestock group in Zinke’s home base of Montana.

As the conflicts of interest continue in organizations like the Interior Department and the EPA, those who would protect our environment and its wildlife continue to be neutralized. Sign this petition to demand the Interior Department’s investigative branch restore the integrity of the guardians of America’s most beloved lands.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Kendall,

You have received at last count 16 complaints from long-serving Interior Department officials who believe they were the victims of “punitive action” by department leaders. You claimed that you could not take action on these allegations because those responsible did not explain their reasoning for reassignments.

This answer is not good enough. As an investigator, it is your job to ‘investigate’ and to find these answers. Our nation’s most cherished lands, including its first national park, Yellowstone, are on the line. These lands need protectors and advocates that will look out for their best interests, not the interests of the corporate bottom line. Yellowstone’s senior official charges that he was forced into resignation simply because he opposed a controversial policy involving some of the park’s most prominent wildlife. “It’s a hell of a way to be treated at the end of four decades spent trying to do my best for the park service and places like Yellowstone, but that’s how these guys are,” Superintendent Dan Wenk recently said.

Is this how you are? Is the legacy you want to leave one of loyalty to the individuals you are supposed to keep in check, or loyalty to the oath you took when you joined the agency entrusted with protection of our federal lands and its wildlife? The choice is yours.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Yellowstone National Park

Block Anti-Environment Supreme Court Pick

Target: Orrin Hatch, President pro tempore of the United States Senate

Goal: Block Supreme Court pick who opposes environmental regulations against climate change.

President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh, an extreme anti-environment candidate, as his pick for the most recent vacancy on the Supreme Court. This man has fought against environmental and conservation groups for years, earning him the nickname “Lord Voldemort” by Center for Biological Diversity Senior counsel Bill Snape.

While Kavanaugh is quoted as having admitted in 2016 that humans are contributing to global warming, his actions suggest that he is strongly opposed to any meaningful measures to reduce carbon emissions or avert climate change. In past cases over the last decade, he has argued that climate regulations are a legal overreach and has chosen to ignore scientific findings that suggest environmental action is necessary. He has also sided against measures that would regulate air pollution across state lines, even though such pollution is thought to contribute to premature births and thousands of preventable deaths each year.

We cannot allow someone with such an anti-scientific and extreme conservative mindset to shape important legal decisions for years, or perhaps even decades to come, at this crucial point in our history. Sign the petition below to block this anti-environment candidate from taking this highly influential seat on the Supreme Court.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Hatch,

Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has consistently opposed measures that would protect people’s health and safety and the long-term well-being of the environment. He considers any action to combat climate change or protect endangered wildlife to be a legal overreach, and for this reason he must be rejected.

Kavanaugh has opposed creating critical habitat for endangered species, stood against measures to reduce air pollution, and sided with big business on issues related to carbon emissions and global warming. He will likely undermine the Endangered Species Act and rule against any legal cases that involve necessary environmental regulation.

You must do everything you can to protect wildlife and future generations of Americans. That is why we are urging you to vote against this nominee, and to encourage other members of the U.S. Senate to do the same.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Denounce Repeal of Protections for America’s Marine Life and Oceans

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Don’t exploit marine habitats for oil drilling and other destructive practices.

Our country’s marine life is under attack. President Trump unveiled a new U.S. oceans policy that, like most of his executive orders, guts the legacy of his predecessor. This time, marine habitats and marine life could pay the biggest price. Gone from the policy are such words as “climate change,”  “ocean acidification,”  “biological diversity,” “protect,” “restoration,” and “conservation.” In their place is an emphasis on “ocean industries” and “domestic energy production.” By essentially repealing America’s National Ocean Policy, Trump has once again put corporate interests over the long-term health of our planet.

Much of the priorities outlined in the new policy focus on how agencies and industries can “use” the ocean to promote growth, such as the increased offshore drilling that Trump has long coveted. Guidelines and management that supposedly “prevent productive and sustainable use” are also targeted. In an ever-emerging trend under this administration, deregulation will very likely enable profiteers to exploit the environment with no consequences. Perhaps worst of all, the new order will significantly strip away current conservation plans being considered and implemented in areas like the Great Lakes and the north Atlantic coastal regions of America. The government-backed comprehensive data collection tools that help boost and build these efforts are largely absent under the new policy.

Sign this petition to condemn this destructive continued assault on our vulnerable marine ecosystems and to urge a return to environmental stewardship.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

“We learned through painful experience that the ocean is indeed exhaustible, but we also learned that if we are smart about how we use the ocean, it can provide a wealth of benefits for decades and decades.”

Heed the words of this marine ecologist and long-time leader when you so quickly praise the end of supposed “government overreach.” Our government at its best helps guide the country and its people to a better future. With self-destructive actions such as the revocation of the National Ocean Policy, you are putting the burden of environmental carelessness on future generations who will suffer the most from the thoughtless actions of today.

By taking away the federal government as a key ally of state and local governments in marine conservation efforts, these communities will suffer in the long-term from abusive practices that now have no restraint. Areas such as the Great Lakes that have adopted plans to improve and develop natural marine habitats will face abandoning these important efforts. And as the marine life and the beautiful landscapes these communities rely on for sustenance and growth continue to deplete and diminish, their erosion will be squarely on the shoulders of a government that can only think in terms of short-term profit and gain.

Reverse course or risk reversing this country and its natural wonders to places from which they may soon be forever lost.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: George Bosela

Protect Rare Cuckoo Bird from Extinction

Target: Greg Sheehan, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Protect yellow-billed cuckoo bird from extinction at the hands of habitat loss.

A rare cuckoo bird may soon be taken off the endangered species list. Ranchers and miners have filed suit, demanding the yellow-billed cuckoo bird be removed. Sign the petition to ask that the bird, rapidly disappearing from our nation’s forests, be protected.

The bird plays an important role in the ecosystem. It preys on some insects and other small animals, controlling their populations. However, the birds have all but disappeared in the western part of the United States as their habitats have been destroyed by land clearing and development.

Sign the petition to demand that the bird remain on the endangered species list. The yellow-billed cuckoo bird must be protected, not abandoned.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Sheehan,

Ranchers and miners have filed suit, demanding that the yellow-billed cuckoo be removed from the federal endangered species list. However, this bird matches the very definition of endangered. It has virtually vanished from the American West due to habitat loss and development.

To remove this species from the federal list will ensure its extinction. I demand you keep the yellow-billed cuckoo on the endangered species list.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Stop Natural Gas Leaks Poisoning Our Air

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Reduce methane leaks from the oil and gas industry that are contributing to climate change.

Natural gas may not be the clean alternative to coal that it is widely believed to be. Methane leaks from natural gas refineries may be emitting just as much greenhouse gases as coal-fired electricity production, and there is no end in sight. This “clean” fuel is contributing significantly to climate change but is unacknowledged by the EPA.

A recent study has shown that the EPA has largely underestimated methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. A compilation of over 100 independent datasets revealed that methane leaks from natural gas processing equate to approximately 2.3% of natural gas production. One researcher used optical gas imaging to spot methane leaks from equipment such as condensate tanks, which would otherwise go unnoticed to the naked eye. Lost methane from the entire natural gas industry, emitted directly to the atmosphere, could power over 10 million houses for an entire year. Estimates by the EPA consider only the emissions from the fuel burning to generate the electricity, not the overall process, and therefore underestimate the total emissions by as much as 60%.

Nearly one third of electricity generated in the U.S. is from natural gas-fired plants. This so-called cleaner fuel is just as polluting as coal overall, and something needs to be done. Rather than rolling back the Obama administration’s attempt to limit these methane leaks, the EPA needs to promote better control technologies and limit these fugitive methane leaks. Sign the petition to encourage regulatory action by the EPA to significantly reduce these methane emissions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

Methane leaks from supposedly clean natural gas processing are just as polluting as coal-fired power generation, yet this administration is doing nothing to stop these emissions.

A study of over 100 natural gas sites using optical gas imaging revealed that over 20% of facilities examined were releasing methane into the atmosphere. These fugitive emissions were from parts of the process that are not typically regulated as emissions sources, such as leaking condensate tanks. An independent compilation of similar studies by the Environmental Defense Fund has estimated emissions from natural gas-fired power generation are up to 60% greater than EPA estimates due to fugitive gas leaks that the EPA does not account for. The approximate 2.3% methane loss from these leaks could power 10 million homes for an entire year. That represents a significant revenue loss and a significant emission of greenhouse gases.

These methane leaks are destructive to the environment and frankly a waste of resources. The EPA needs to mandate better control technologies to prevent these significant methane emissions from contributing further to climate change. Do not reverse the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce this emissions source. Promote better control technologies in this industry and crack down on these unplanned releases.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dirk Ingo Franke

Applaud Hawaii on Deadly Pesticide Ban

Target: David Ige, Governor of Hawaii

Goal: Congratulate Hawaii on pursuing environmental and public safety despite the Trump administration’s continued push for environmental deregulation.

Hawaii has banned the use of dangerous chlorpyrifos in pesticides. Lawmakers have chosen to protect the environment and their children’s safety despite the Trump administration’s refusal to ban this toxic substance nationwide. Hawaii is the first state to take a stand on this issue and should be applauded for its leadership.

Chlorpyrifos is a widely used chemical in pesticides and has been linked to neurological damage in children exposed to it. Children run a higher risk of developmental disabilities, lower IQ, and ADHD when exposed to the chemical. Farmers who spray this chemical are also at a higher risk of developing lung cancer and immune disorders. Yet a 2017 CNN report identified chlorpyrifos as the most widely used pesticide nationwide. Hawaii’s ban, which will begin in 2019, will prevent the use of chlorpyrifos, ban the spraying of pesticides within 100 feet of schools during school hours, and require the reporting of controlled chemicals to Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture.

Despite an EPA study recommending the ban of this substance from use due to its negative health effects, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the request for a nationwide ban. It has been widely reported that this is likely due to the Trump administration’s close ties with a chlorpyrifos manufacturer, Dow Chemicals, which lobbied heavily against a ban and contributed significantly to the Trump administration.

Nationwide calls for a ban of this dangerous substance, including several ForceChange petitions here, here, here, and here, have been largely ignored by Pruitt and the EPA. We must show our support in protecting our children. Sign the petition to applaud Hawaii for its environmental stewardship and leadership in taking a stand against the destructive Trump administration.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Ige,

Hawaii’s recent ban on chlorpyrifos, despite the Trump administration’s continued assault on our environment, is admirable. I applaud you and your state legislature for your unanimous support of this law, which will protect our children from dangerous neurological health impacts.

Chlorpyrifos has been shown to have negative health impacts in those exposed, especially children. An EPA study recommended a ban of this toxic substance, yet President Trump and Scott Pruitt have bowed to the demands of the industrial lobby to allow continued use of this substance nationwide. It is unspeakably dangerous to take this stand, when the environment and public health is at stake.

If our federal government will not care for our children and the environment, the states must do so themselves. Thank you for your leadership in environmental and public health issues, especially in regards to this ban on dangerous pesticides. I hope you will encourage your fellow governors to do the same.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Zeynel Cebeci

Protect More Than 300,000 Homes from Flooding

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Protect coastal communities from the danger and damage of swelling oceans.

A recent climate change study has revealed that rises in sea level as a result of climate change will pose a threat to many US coastal communities. According to the findings, as many as 311,000 houses face the possibility of coastal flooding every two weeks starting sometime in the next 30 years. This type of damage is estimated to affect properties that are collectively worth $120 billion.

Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said of the study: “The impact could well be staggering. This level of flooding would be a tipping point where people in these communities would think it’s unsustainable. Even homes along the Gulf coast that are elevated would be affected, as they’d have to drive through salt water to get to work or face their kids’ school being cut off. You can imagine people walking away from mortgages, away from their homes.”

Sign this petition to urge Scott Pruitt to invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent coastal community damage from swelling oceans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

A recent climate change study has revealed that climate change will have a devastating impact on the coastal communities of the United States as a result of rising sea levels. As many as 311,000 homes could potentially face bi-weekly coastal flooding well within our lifetime, as soon as 30 years from now. Even houses that are prepared to face coastal environments by being built on stilts would not save residents from the unsustainable lifestyle changes that would be necessary if this type of sea level rise happens. These changes include the choice between driving in high water to attend work or school, or staying home to protect their personal safety.

Climate change can be slowed and prevented by lowering greenhouse gas emissions. I urge you to invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent coastal community damage from swelling oceans.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tiago Fioreze

Don’t Mine Our Beautiful National Monuments

Target: Saf Dhillon, CEO of Glacier Lake Resources, Inc.

Goal: Prevent the destruction of previously protected national monuments from mining.

A Canadian mining company has purchased property that was formerly part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. With the Trump administration’s rollback of federally protected lands last year, this area is now going to be stripped and destroyed for a profit.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was dedicated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. It encompassed 1.9 million acres southeast of Boulder, Utah and was previously America’s largest national monument. In December of 2017, the Trump administration committed the largest reversal of federal land protection, reducing the area of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half, to about one million acres. This means that the former federal protections will no longer prevent mining and development; what was once a pristine landscape could now be gone forever.

Conservation organizations currently suing the Trump administration maintain that only Congress has the authority to revoke or modify national monument status. This means that President Trump’s action in reducing the federally protected area of the affected national monuments was illegal and the 200 acres of the Colt Mesa sold to Vancouver-based mining company, Glacier Lake Resources, Inc., was not Trump’s to sell. This land should not be available for commercial development, which would destroy the beauty and environmental treasure that is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Sign the petition to encourage this mining company to show some restraint in favor of environmental protection and stop efforts to mine this land which, even if not in name, is still a national treasure.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Dhillon,

Your company’s proposed development of land formerly included in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is deplorable. Glacier Lake Resources should not be mining this area. Even if the federal protections have been revoked in name, and even this is debatably legal, the Colt Mesa is still considered a national treasure.

Under the Antiquities Act, Congress delegated authority for the establishment of national monuments to the president. However, Congress maintained the authority to revoke or modify these federal protections. President Trump sold you something that wasn’t his to give. Proponents of these rollbacks might tell you that his power in revoking protection is implicit in this regulation. I for one am not comfortable staking a claim, literally or figuratively, based on implicit power.

This “welcome addition” to your portfolio is a pristine landscape and a national treasure. It is not too late to prevent development of this important landmark. Stop your company’s assault on our environment and do not mine Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Peter Fitzgerald

Return Tigers to the Wild

Target: Jim Kurth, Director of United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Return US tiger population to its natural habitat.

Much of the United States’ tiger population lives in backyards or captivity, rather than in the wild or in zoos. According to news reports, all but six percent of these animals live in breeding facilities, backyards, or apartments; in some states it is even easier to buy a pet tiger than it is to adopt a rescue dog.

This is not good for the tigers or the humans who keep them captive. According to conservationists, the captivity of tigers makes it harder to keep track of their numbers, as well as fueling the illegal trade of tiger parts that is still a major problem in certain parts of the world. Additionally, dozens of children have suffered brutal injuries from tigers kept as pets or found living in backyards; four even lost their lives, and authorities were forced to kill the tigers responsible.

The planet’s tiger population has been in dire straits for years now, with the species dangerously close to extinction at certain points. We need to aid the return of tigers to the wild or to the zoos where they can be kept safe. Sign this petition to remove tigers from captivity immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Kurth,

The United States has seen more tigers living in backyards or in captivity within the past year, causing problems for conservationists aiming to keep track of their numbers as well as leading to children in homes containing the animals being attacked or even killed. Four children lost their lives to tiger attacks, leading the authorities to put the animals down, and the captivity of the animals in general helps fuel the illegal tiger parts trade in certain parts of the world.

You must return these tigers to either the wild or to the zoos where they can be properly cared for. Apartments and backyards are no place for wild animals, especially ones that have been on the endangered list for years as tigers have been. Part of keeping the population safe is ensuring proper habitat. You must outlaw keeping tigers in captivity, and aid in the return of the surviving animals to their proper habitats.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: William Warby