The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

May 13, 2010

it's the first and second halves

it's the first half of this, the dancing, that illustrates
the future of beautiful avatars. or the smooth beauty of plants
grown from what appears to be the very youngest of stemmings.
and it surely matters: stasis, in the midst of histrionics. (with Fau Ferdinand)

it's the second half of this, the bleeding, that demonstrates
what happens to ungainly avatars. or to the segmented animals
hatched from what appears to be one of the oldest of avatars.
or does it matter; at least there's some action here.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 19:05:24
From: Center for Biological Diversity <>
Subject: Endangered Earth: Gulf Nightmare Continues, New Climate Bill a Bust

                       Center for Biological Diversity

                            No. 512, May 13, 2010

          Gulf Disaster Growing: Pressure Mounting on BP, Regulators


           Feds Approve 27 Drilling Projects in Gulf After BP Spill


            Feds Forced to Protect Habitat for Endangered Abalone


                  San Diego Butterfly on Path to Protection


            Climate Proposal Calamitous for Climate -- Take Action


               Lawsuit Launched to Stop Ocelot, Jaguar Killings


         Thousands Rally for Okinawa Dugong, Ecosystem -- Take Action


                 Suit Filed to Curb Particulate Air Pollution


                  Biodiversity Briefing: The Arctic at Risk


                 Center Wins #1 Spot in Green Choice Campaign




Donate today to support the Center's work.

Take action now.

Deepwater Horizon

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Gulf Disaster Growing: Pressure Mounting on BP, Regulators

[BoatInOil_DanielBeltra_Greenpeace.jpg] The  Center for Biological Diversity
has been going nonstop since our update on the Gulf Disaster last week --
every hour, there's more coming out about BP's lack of adequate safety and
spill-mitigation measures, more failures to stop the gushing oil, the oil
industry's widespread influence over regulatory agencies, and continued
approvals of Gulf drilling projects after the spill (see below). Through our
extensive, well-researched efforts, hundreds of newspaper, radio, and
television stories are out now discussing the dangers of offshore oil
drilling, its impacts on coastal communities and their endangered wildlife
and plants, and the urgent need to reassess how and where offshore drilling
is permitted.

The Center's team of expert researchers, lawyers, and scientists couldn't be
doing this critical, urgent work without your outpouring of support and
energy -- thank you.

But the BP spill won't stop tomorrow. Clean-up in the Gulf of Mexico will
take years, and more drilling is slated to happen from the Gulf to the
Arctic. The Center will be following every development closely and putting
the pressure on the Obama administration and Secretary Salazar to stop all
future offshore drilling. 

Join us in taking action and read our collection of oil-spill media stories.

Check out the Center's Gulf Disaster Web site every day for the latest news
on the spill, press releases from the Center, a slideshow of impacted
species, and updated answers to the most important spill-related questions.
There's also a map of the oil spill and critical habitat for the imperiled
Gulf sturgeon and piping plover.


Feds Approve 27 Drilling Projects in Gulf After BP Spill

[GulfOffshorePlatform_Flickr_ChadTeer.jpg] Even as the BP spill gushes
millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the agency tasked with
overseeing offshore drilling is continuing to exempt dangerous new drilling
operations from environmental review. Since the BP oil-rig explosion on
April 20, an investigation has revealed that the U.S. Department of
Interior's Minerals Management Service has approved 27 new offshore drilling
plans as of May 7 -- 26 of those under the same environmental-review
exemption used to approve the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon project.  In fact,
two of the exempted approvals went to BP, based on the same false assertions
about oil-rig safety and an inconceivably alleged improbability of
environmental damage.

This is more bad news about the Mineral Management Service, but
unfortunately it gets worse.  Last week, the MMS became embroiled in
controversy when it was revealed that it had exempted BP's offshore drilling
plan from environmental review, and that it exempts hundreds of dangerous
offshore oil-drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico every year, by using a
loophole in the National Environmental Policy Act meant only to apply to
non-damaging activities like building an outhouse or creating a hiking

In response to the review-exemption scandal, last Thursday Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he had banned approval of new offshore
oil-drilling permits -- but the next day, Interior acknowledged that
environmental exemptions and drilling plans have not been halted. Salazar is
still allowing those flawed drilling approvals to proceed, only halting the
issuance of a last technical check-off that doesn't involve any
environmental review.

Get more from ABC News and see Center for Biological Diversity Executive
Director Kieran Suckling talk about it on Democracy Now!


Feds Forced to Protect Habitat for Endangered Abalone

[BlackAbalone_byGlennAllen_NOAA.jpg] The National Marine Fisheries Service
is now required, due to a settlement with the Center for Biological
Diversity, to protect "critical habitat" for the endangered black abalone, a
shellfish threatened by disease and global warming. Once common in Southern
California tide pools, the species has declined by a shocking 99 percent
since the 1970s -- first overwhelmed by overfishing, now plagued by climate
change, ocean acidification, poaching, and a disease called withering
syndrome that has virtually eliminated the abalone from the Southern
California mainland and many areas of the Channel Islands.

After a Center petition, the black abalone gained a place on the endangered
species list in 2009 but didn't receive the habitat safeguards that must
accompany federal protection. "Black abalone is on the cusp of extinction
and could be California's first marine species lost to global warming," said
Center attorney Catherine Kilduff. "Habitat protections can provide a basis
for recovery of the black abalone, which is a crucial constituent of
California's kelp bed ecosystems."

Get more from KPBS.


San Diego Butterfly on Path to Protection

[HermesCopperButterfly_c_DouglasAguillard.jpg] After a legal settlement with
the Center for Biological Diversity, last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service announced that one of Southern California's rarest insects, the
Hermes copper butterfly, warrants consideration as an endangered species.
Although the Center petitioned to give the butterfly Endangered Species Act
protection in 2004 -- after a previous petition in 1991 -- the Service
refused to even consider protecting the butterfly, a move later proven by
Center-obtained documents to have resulted from the Bush administration
overruling agency scientists. There's really no scientific doubt that the
species needs immediate protection: In 2003, 19 of the remaining Hermes
copper populations were destroyed by fires that burned about 39 percent of
the species' habitat -- and fires aren't the only danger. "Sprawl,
wildfires, and climate change are a triple threat for this beautiful
butterfly," said the Center's Jonathan Evans.

Our Hermes copper settlement is one of 50 recent successes in overturning
politically motivated endangered species decisions made by the Bush
administration. A decision on whether protection is warranted for the
butterfly is due next spring.

Check out our press release and learn more about the Hermes copper.


Climate Proposal Calamitous for Climate -- Take Action

[Smokestacks_NASA.jpg] In the midst of what appears to be the worst offshore
oil disaster in U.S. history, yesterday Senators John Kerry and Joseph
Lieberman proposed a climate bill that won't solve the problems of global
warming -- and that continues pandering to the fossil-fuel industry,
including expanded offshore oil drilling. The proposal reflects months of
back-room dealings between the senators, major polluters, and other D.C.
insiders, and would provide just a fraction of the greenhouse-gas reductions
that would get our atmospheric CO2 to below 350 ppm, the only level
scientists say would keep us under the climate-catastrophe tipping point.
The proposal would also ban successful Clean Air Act programs from reducing
greenhouse pollution, thwart state and local efforts to tackle warming, spur
increased oil and gas drilling -- including offshore drilling -- subsidize
dangerous and costly nuclear energy, and incentivize the destruction of
forests for biomass energy production.

"The Kerry-Lieberman proposal is not the answer because it asks the wrong
questions," said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for
Biological Diversity. "A successful climate bill must build upon, and not
roll back, our existing foundation of environmental protections, and it must
achieve the greenhouse pollution reductions necessary to avert dangerous
climate disruption."

Get more from Reuters, listen to a clip of Center Senior Counsel Bill Snape
talking about the proposal on NPR's Morning Edition, and take action now by
urging your senators to support a real climate bill that protects our
environment -- not the oil industry and other polluters.


Lawsuit Launched to Stop Ocelot, Jaguar Killings

[Ocelot_TomSmylie_USFWS.jpg] To defend the endangered ocelot and jaguar from
government traps, snares, and poisons, last month the Center for Biological
Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue Wildlife Services (the
predator-control branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) as well as
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A 1999 Fish and Wildlife "biological
opinion" -- an Endangered Species Act document delineating the extent of
harm that government activities may inflict upon jaguars -- allows the
killing of one jaguar as long as Wildlife Services tries to avoid that death
by sticking to rules meant to minimize the risk. But the biological opinion
is woefully out of date, and the rules only cover a tiny portion of habitat
where jaguars may roam. Jaguars in other areas are completely vulnerable to
federal predator killing on behalf of the livestock industry. And Wildlife
Services may continue its lethal work in the area of southern Arizona where,
last year, the jaguar Macho B was killed through a bungled snaring effort --
and where other jaguars may be expected to return.

Meanwhile, endangered ocelots haven't even received the benefit of
consultation between Wildlife Services and Fish and Wildlife regarding
traps, snares, and poisons in Arizona -- leaving ocelots unprotected despite
their Endangered Species Act status. This month, an ocelot was run over by a
vehicle near Globe, Arizona, and last year one was photographed further
south in the state -- the first animals of this secretive species to be
confirmed in Arizona since 1964.

Check out our press release and learn more about jaguars and ocelots.


Thousands Rally for Okinawa Dugong, Ecosystem -- Take Action

[Dugong_SuehiroNitta.jpg] On April 25, in a stunning display of solidarity
and perseverance, more than 90,000 citizens of Okinawa, Japan protested the
relocation of a U.S. military base on their tiny island. At the same time in
Washington, D.C., members of the Network for Okinawa -- of which the Center
for Biological Diversity is a member -- rallied in front of the Japanese
embassy in support of the Okinawa protest. Meanwhile, the Network for
Okinawa and the Tokyo-based Japan-U.S. Citizens for Okinawa Network
sponsored a full-page Washington Post ad aimed at reaching a larger U.S.
audience. Two days earlier, the Center sent U.S. President Barack Obama and
Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama a letter -- signed by more than 500
environmental, peace, justice, and religious organizations -- demanding the
immediate closure of the base and the cancellation of plans to relocate it
to Henoko Bay, Okinawa. On May 16, 30,000 Okinawans will create a human
chain around the Futenma base's 11.5-kilometer circumference in yet another
remarkable demonstration against the base relocation.

Despite these highly visible demonstrations against the relocation -- and a
campaign promise to get the base out of Okinawa -- Prime Minister Hatoyama,
under heavy U.S. pressure, has recently reiterated that the base will be
relocated to Henoko Bay: habitat for more than 1,000 species of fish; almost
400 types of coral; three species of turtle; and the beloved Okinawa dugong,
a rare relative of the manatee. As Center Conservation Director Peter Galvin
explains, "Destroying the environmental and social well-being of an area,
even in the name of 'national or global security,' is itself like actively
waging warfare against nature and human communities."

Get details on the protest in The New York Times, read this Chalmers Johnson
op-ed, see our Washington Post ad, and take action against military activity
in dugong habitat.


Suit Filed to Curb Particulate Air Pollution

[ParticlePollution_byLaurelHagen.jpg] The Center for Biological Diversity
has filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for missing
numerous deadlines to limit particulate pollution in five western states.
The EPA violated the Clean Air Act by failing to determine whether 13 areas
in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada are complying with
air-pollution standards -- as well as failing to hold all those states
accountable for carrying out plans to meet those standards -- required under
the Clean Air Act. Our suit seeks a court order requiring the EPA to correct
these violations for the sake of human health and clean air.

Particulate matter, or PM-10, is air pollution made up of tiny particles --
about 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair -- that can travel
deep into the lungs and cause deadly respiratory illnesses. This pollution
also damages ecosystems and obscures scenic views, including at national
parks and wilderness areas.

Get details in our press release and learn more about our work to uphold the
Clean Air Act.


Biodiversity Briefing: The Arctic at Risk

[PolarBear_c_CenterForBiologicalDiversity.jpg] The Center for Biological
Diversity focused this season's quarterly Biodiversity Briefing on our work
to protect the Arctic ecosystem, already endangered by climate change and
now the planned site for more risky oil and gas drilling. Executive Director
Kieran Suckling opened the conference call with an outline of our extensive
polar bear work, from our petition and lawsuits that earned it Endangered
Species Act protection to our litigation to retain and strengthen that
protection to our suit that recently won the bear an unprecedented "critical
habitat" proposal of 120 million acres. Center attorney and Alaska Director
Rebecca Noblin gave listeners a summary of recent Arctic victories --
including protections for Cook Inlet belugas and North Pacific right whales
-- as well as an update on warming-threatened species we're still working
for, like the Pacific walrus and ribbon seal.

The Center is currently working to save all Arctic species -- and the very
waters and lands they need to live -- from oil and gas drilling slated to be
started in July by Shell Oil despite the enormous threat drilling poses to
the ecosystem. Besides challenging that drilling at all levels and suing to
save Arctic mammals from oil-industry harassment, last week we filed a
notice of intent to sue the Obama administration for placing the Arctic at
risk of an oil spill -- which could be even more catastrophic than the
disaster now unfolding in the Gulf.

Listen to the briefing and learn about our campaigns against oil and gas
drilling and the Arctic meltdown. For information on how you can join the
Center's Leadership Circle and be invited to participate in Biodiversity
Briefings live when they happen, email Development Director Jennifer
Shepherd or call her at (520) 396-1135.


Center Wins #1 Spot in Green Choice Campaign

[BlackbirdSinging_WikimediaCommons_MaleneThyssen.jpg] Thanks to the glowing
praise of hundreds of Center for Biological Diversity fans, we came in at
the top of the list of 262 environmental charities reviewed in this year's
Green Choice Campaign -- a project by charity-reviewing Web site
GreatNonprofits to identify the nation's top-rated green groups based on
online reviews from supporters like you. "The Center for Biological
Diversity is about integrity and doing the right thing," wrote one reviewer;
said another, "I find that the Center for Biological Diversity does more for
the health of Life on Earth (including homo sapiens) than any other
environmental/ecological organization I have run across in 43 years of
activism." On GreatNonprofits' site, our work to save species has been
credited with everything from steering college students toward majors to
curing the blues to helping people sleep better at night. We've been called
"lean and mean," "environmental heroes to the Nth degree," and "hands down
the best bang for your environmental buck."

Read and keep singing our praises at; you can learn more
about the Green Choice Campaign from


Kieran Suckling
Executive Director


Photo credits: Deepwater Horizon explosion courtesy U.S. Coast Guard; boat
in oil by Daniel Beltra, Greenpeace; Gulf offshore oil platform courtesy
Flickr/Chad Teer; black abalone by Glenn Allen, NOAA; Hermes copper
butterfly (c) Douglas Aguillard; smokestacks courtesy NASA; ocelot by Tom
Smylie, USFWS; dugong (c) Suehiro Nitta; particle pollution by Laurel Hagen;
polar bear (c) Center for Biological Diversity; blackbird courtesy Wikimedia
Commons/Malene Thyssen.

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 21:09:51
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: The oil is creeping towards my home in Alabama as I write this,
     and it is breaking my heart

The oil is creeping towards my home in Alabama as I write
this, and it is breaking my heart.

by Brinkley Hutching

It's Getting Hot In Here Dispatches from the Youth Climate

May 12, 2010

I grew up in one of the most beautiful places. Montrose,
Alabama. My family lives on Mobile Bay, and I spent my
childhood exploring the many bays, rivers, streams and
creeks near my home. Starting at age 7, I would spend whole
days exploring the local waters and shorelines with my
little 13 foot boat. What existed naturally in my own
backyard was truly utopian. Now, all the beautiful trees,
wildlife and pristine waters, all will see the thick black
and red oil within these next days. It brings a deeper ache
than I can express.

As I flew out to the spill last Friday with my father (he's
a pilot), I wasn't prepared for what I was going to witness.
Here are some notes I took during the flight as we
approached the source of this disaster:

"We are starting to smell oil.the pungent smell burns my
nostrils and I feel nauseated to the core of my being..oh my streaks of oil are everywhere. thick black near the
well. it is crude oil and it stretches as far as I can see.I
am sick.I can't feel my own body or distinguish any of my
feelings right now. this is the worst and most saddening
situation I have ever seen in my life.The boats are randomly
skewn about, and they are so disorganized! The cleanup
efforts look completely haphazard and ineffective. It is
utter chaos down there! Boats randomly placed, pulling booms
that are simply swirling the oil around in circles! I really
don't feel alive right now. this is a horrible dream. why the
heck didn't BP have to have a plan in place for a disaster
like this?!"

It was so much worse than I could have ever imagined and not
even close to what the media has been portraying. I couldn't
even take it all in. I saw miles and miles of crude oil
pouring from the Earth's core to the ocean's surface, red as
blood, where it then proceeded to move eerily and ominously
with the current toward my home. Before I even registered
sadness, tears poured down my face. My entire body cried. I
felt so helpless looking down at that uncontainable and
chaotic mess. I will never be able to clear that picture
from my mind.

This disaster could have been prevented, yet it wasn't due
to BP's own negligence and a weak national energy policy.
What's outrageous is that BP is doing everything they can to
avoid assuming responsibility for this spill. How dare they
try and sidestep responsibility for the worst disaster in
the Gulf's history?!?!?!

Over 4 million gallons of crude oil are destroying the Gulf
coast and innumerable wildlife habitats while also crippling
local economies - this is destroying my home.The time of
giveaways and loose regulation of the oil industry must end.

I hope with all my heart that this disaster will be a huge
wakeup call. Things must change. We must all work to lessen
our dependence on fossil fuels and be involved in a clean
energy revolution. Congress needs to ban offshore drilling
and President Obama needs to provide unwavering support to
end offshore drilling.

Please talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbors. Start
organizing yourselves. Become involved with these serious
issues we are facing. If we continue on our current path of
carelessly extracting fossil fuels like oil and coal, rather
than harnessing clean, renewable energy like wind power, we
will see many more tragedies like the BP oil spill.

From the disaster zone,

Brinkley Hutchings

[From Brinkley Hutching's blog, a post entitled A Local's
Account of the Deepwater Disaster.  She filmed an
astonishing video from her fathers aircraft, as they flew
from their home to the source of the spill and back.  See
below.   She is also the Greenpeace Campus Coordinator at
University of North Carolina-Wilmington.]


Still photos taken during the flight - 91 photos in album


hccreekkeeper  -  May 09, 2010  - An aerial view of the BP
Slick, ground zero... The Source. Hurricane CREEKKEEPERc
flies you to the scene and tells it like I see it!

On May 5 we saw it on Chandeleur Islands. On May 7 we saw
oil sheen approaching Dauphin Island in Alabama. On May 8
tar balls were washing onshore.

Who and where is going to be next.



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