Group Chair Barbara Grover reports: On Saturday, Nov. 16, the Endangered Species and Global Warming Action Teams tabled at the Pittsburgh Zoo for the Polar Bears’ Birthday (ages 13 and 9) celebration. They provided children’s activities (e.g. word searches, puzzles, mazes, activity packets, netting endangered species in a ‘pond’) as well as adult information on endangered species issues, fracking, and Tar Sands Oil. T-shirts and 2014 Sierra Club calendars were available for modest donations. (more…)
ACTION: Tell your State Representative and State Senator that you oppose HB 1576 and SB 1047.
The gas drilling and mining industries are going after the protectors of Pennsylvania’s threatened and endangered species. These industries claim that the PA Fish and Boat Commission and the PA Game Commission are hindering their plans to develop projects. They would like the agencies to get out of their way.
For decades, these agencies have implemented programs to protect threatened, endangered, and rare species, such as the osprey, the great egret, the bog turtle, the banded sunfish and wild trout. These programs have been largely successful in protecting habitat and restoring wildlife. (more…)
A basic ecological tenet is that all natural things are interconnected. That is clearly evident by the impact of a warming clime in North America. A delayed onset of winter means a healthier population of winter ticks late into Fall, contributing to a drastic reduction in the number of moose in Minnesota and Montana, one herd falling from 4,000 in the 90’s to one hundred today. In the Rockies the mountain pine bark beetle is moving to higher elevations, killing off whitebark pines, and thereby removing a source of pine nuts for birds, squirrels, and grizzly bears. In 2010 in the Greater Yellowstone Area there were 602 grizzly bears – today there are fewer than 140. Migration is not usually an option for isolated mountain populations, but along the Maine coast lobsters are migrating further off shore to seek cooler waters. Tell that to your climate change denier friends.
On September 18 a hearing was held in Freeport regarding a bill that would shift responsibility for the state’s endangered species program from the Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission to the legislature. In favor of the bill were the Aggregate and Concrete Association and the PA Coal Association. In opposition to the bill, representatives of the PA Federation of Sportsman Clubs, PennFuture, PA Fish and Boat Commission, and the PA Game Commission argued that the bill is unnecessary, violates the intent of the federal Endangered Species Act, introduces economic considerations and politics into decisions on the listing and delisting of species, which is specifically prohibited by the current law, and would fail to fix “problems” it purports to solve. (more…)
|September 17, 2013|
|10:00 am||to||12:00 pm|
ACTION: Tell your State Representative to oppose HR 1576.
NOTE: A hearing on HB 1576 will be held:
10 a.m. Tuesday September 17
IUP Northpointe Campus,
167 Northpointe Blvd., Building 167, Room 129.
Freeport PA 16229
House Bill 1576 would blunt the effect of the state’s list of threatened and endangered species of fish and wildlife, allowing more mining, drilling and clear-cutting in Pennsylvania’s lands. The Fish and Boat and the Game Commissions would have to go through a very cumbersome regulatory review process. In addition, the agencies would only be allowed to protect fish and wildlife already listed by the federal government. At the same time, permit applications for mining, oil and gas drilling, and timbering would be approved, without any on-the-ground check for their impacts on the PA endangered species. See the video of the Exec. Dir. of the Fish and Boat Comm. testifying at 2:35 mins. and the Sierra Club’s Tom Au testifying at 47:00 mins.
To mark International Endangered Species Day, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed a proclamation calling attention to the plight of endangered species. In the proclamation Council commend the Sierra Club Allegheny Group’s Endangered Species Action Team (ESAT) for the work it does by educating the public and advocating for endangered and threatened plants and animals. (more…)
ACTION: Contact EPA’s Steve Owens at or call him at 1-202-5642902 to request a suspension of the neonicotinoid seed coatings until independent scientists verify safety.
Where is Rachel Caron when we need her? Two years ago a United Nations report highlighted the collapse of honeybee colonies around the world. Even last year there remained numerous possible explanations of this disorder, but today the most likely cause is believed to be the use of nicotine-based insecticides called neonicotinoids like imidacloprid and clothianidin, marketed by Bayer and Syngenta.
The EPA allowed “conditional registration” of neonicotinoid-based insecticides in 2003 but after a safety study conducted by Bayer itself, in 2010 the EPA granted unconditional use of these insecticides. As part of its Pollinator Protection Campaign, last week the Sierra Club joined beekeepers and other environmental organizations brought suit against the EPA. In referring to the Endangered Species Act and FIFRA, the plaintiffs want the court to remove EPA’s approval of products containing clothianidin and thiamethoxam and issue an immediate suspension of their use.
|March 22, 2013|
|7:30 pm||to||9:30 pm|
Award-winning Florian Schulz will present the stories and images from his Arctic adventures. Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, in partnership with the Alaska Wilderness League.
7:30 to 9:30 pm, Friday, March 22
Pittsburgh Zoo Education Center
Wild Place 1, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Florian Schulz is a photographer with a strong conservation vision. He spent almost two years traveling from northern Greenland to northwest Alaska, photographing amazing animals, including spectacular images of a mother polar bear and her cubs, and other wildlife who call this harsh habitat their home.
The evening will feature Florian’s presentation, a silent auction to support the Alaska Wilderness League, and a dessert reception. After the presentation, Florian will be available to sign copies of his book “To the Arctic.” A guided tour of our polar bear exhibit is also included.
Registration is by mail only. Click HERE for a registration form.
$15 members/$20 non-members. Includes dessert reception.
Planning a highway project can take a long time, but often, when the funds suddenly become available, there is a big rush to get final approval from all the various agencies. Sometimes that last minute rush can neglect some important factors, and that is what a number of environmental organizations including the Sierra Club believe may happened in Somerset County. After many years, PennDOT is now beginning to improve the section of US Rte 219 between Somerset and Meyersdale, and last month the public was asked to comment on the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit. Among the apparent failures of the planning process was an incomplete assessment of bat hibernacula, neglect of the cumulative impact on wetlands, and the absence of a detailed plan for the disposal of millions of cubic yards of excess soil material. The Sierra Club and Mountain Watershed Association called for re-submission of application for the USACE permit.
In a sad sign of the times, on June 26 the Pennsylvania Game Commission board moved the classification of the upland sandpiper, a grassland nesting bird, from ‘threatened’ to ‘endangered’ in its Endangered Species program. Added to the ‘threatened’ list were the northern harrier, a raptor, and the elusive long-eared owl.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring, considered the most significant influence in mounting an era of environmental awareness and action around the world. To commemorate the anniversary, the National Aviary and The Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University
will hold a celebratory symposium May 11-12, 2012. The main sessions will cover:
• Award winning Natural History Writers
• Silent Spring’s Lessons- the predictions & state of the environment today
• Challenges for the 21st Century- preserving our life support system
• Green-washing and bridging the credibility gap
• Voices for the Future
For the full agenda click HERE
REGISTER NOW! $50 Friday only, $75 Saturday only; $100 both days; Student Discount Available at Registration.
At 8PM EDT on Sunday, March 18th the Discovery Channel will launch a natural history series FROZEN PLANET, joining forces with the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, and the Sierra Club. The series will portray our earth’s polar regions, where the scale and beauty of the scenery and power of the natural elements are unlike anywhere else on the planet.
By now the planned Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico is well known. Receiving less publicity is the Northern Gateway pipeline, planned by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc to transport the bituminous tar sand oil from Bruderheim in Alberta to Kitimat in British Columbia. Apart from the usual environmental concerns of constructing and maintaining large pipelines, the $5.5 billion project is opposed on the grounds of oil tanker spills in the narrow inlet from the port at Kitimat and out to sea between the coastal islands of the Spirit Bear Coast. The temperate rain forest of this coast is the home of the Spirit Bear, which has become the icon for the National Resource Defense Council’s campaign (see the Spirit Bear video). ACTION: Send a message to Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel, urging him to stop this project.
Most attempts by conservatives to use the recent budget deal to remove programs they were ideologically opposed to failed, but not all. For the very first time, Congress circumvented the Endangered Species Act and removed an animal from the endangered species list. This unprecedented measure, without any scientific justification, concerned the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies. It was attached to the budget by Representative M. Simpson (R, ID) and Senator J. Tester (D, MT) in a straightforward political move that had nothing to do with reducing the debt.
The survival of the gray wolf in the northern Rockies has a long history, a history of wildlife protection and ranchers rights. In January 2009 President Obama ordered Interior Secretary Salazar to halt action on de-listing of the gray wolf until the matter has been fully reviewed.
ACTION: Please contact your Congressman and Senators Casey and Toomey. Urge them to ensure that in future any removal of species from the endangered list only be done by the means set our under the Endangered Species Act, including public hearing and debate.
Under the federal Endangered Species Program the bald eagle was listed as endangered in 1967. By 1989, a small breeding population had been re-established in Pennsylvania by the Game Commission, with the number of nesting pairs passing 100 in 2006 and the species being moved from Endangered to Threatened. Today, there are about 190 nests in 48 counties. Despite this progress, the bald eagle population is under threat from the development of shoreline habitat and other factors. (more…)
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