Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oil Spill Threatens the Galapagos of North America (Ocean Conservancy) | WILL THIS SPILL CHANGE ANYTHING? (Greenpeace)


Oil Spill Threatens the Galapagos of North America

California leads the nation in marine protection with the largest network of marine protected areas in the country. The Gaviota oil spill puts ten years of cooperation between fishermen and conservationists to protect the state’s crown jewels at risk.
Media Contact:
Greg Helms
Manager, Fish Conservation Program

May 20, 2015

Statement from Greg Helms, manager, Fish Conservation Program, and Santa Barbara-based marine protected area expert:

Santa Barbara, CA: “Yesterday’s crude oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara County, resulting from an inland pipeline break, is a reminder that oil and water don’t mix. California leads the nation in marine protection with the longest network of marine protected areas in the country. In the Gaviota Coast area with its world-class and irreplaceable marine life, the community has just completed years of work establishing four marine protected areas due to its very special nature. The currently four-mile long oil slick puts ten years of cooperation between fishermen and conservationists to protect the state’s marine crown jewels at risk. The threat that this oil spill poses to important locally harvested species like sea urchin, squid and lobster as well as marine mammals and seabirds, and the Naples Reef and Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Areas that serve as their feeding and breeding grounds concern us. The companies must be held fully accountable for the impacts of this spill. This spill is a wake-up call for us to look at how we as a state prioritize the different uses of our ocean and the risks associated with them."

Ocean Conservancy: Oil Spill Threatens the Galapagos of North America

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Yesterday afternoon, news spread of the latest oil-related tragedy to occur in the United States—an oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County in Central California, along the Refugio State Beach coastline. Though the pipeline was on land, it was found to be leaking into a culvert that eventually emptied into the ocean. By the time the pipeline was shut off, oil had been spilling into the sea for at least three hours.
Oil from a broken pipeline coats miles of the Pacific Ocean and shoreline near Goleta, Calif., May 20, 2015, after a 24-inch underground pipeline broke May 19th and leaked into a culvert leading to the ocean. Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline said an thousands of gallons of oil were released before the pipeline was shut down. Photos by Jonathan Alcorn/Greenpeace.
As of yesterday evening, officials claimed that an estimated 21,000 gallons had spilled into the ocean in an oil slick that was four miles wide. Unfortunately, as of this morning, the slick had spread to at least nine miles wide, as the winds and tides did what they do. And now, a new estimate says that up to 105,000 gallons of oil might have been spilled.
Refugio State Beach has been closed indefinitely. The area is a sensitive and important place for all kinds of species, including migratory whales and rare seabirds—and wildlife has already been affected. Though there is no estimate of how much wildlife has been impacted so far, things don’t look good.
California Oil Spill
California Oil Spill
The cleanup is painstaking work. There are several dozen workers outfitted in protective suits and helmets on the beach, shoveling up contaminated mud and rocks into plastic bags. It is made more arduous by having to take place both on shore and on the water, since the oil originated on land.
California Oil Spill
California Oil Spill
California Oil Spill
Greenpeace visited the site to survey the true damage and to share with the world the devastation to the Santa Barbara County coastline, and to communicate the dangers of fossil fuels so that we can transition to clean energy and prevent this from happening again.
California Oil Spill
Plains All American Pipeline, the company that owns the ruptured pipeline, has a history of spills. The company has apologized, with the district manager saying, “We’re sorry this accident has happened, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience to the community.”
This spill has not occurred in a vacuum. We can now add it to the sad history of oil-related spills and accidents that have happened the world over in the past years—including one that happened very near to this area in 1969, which spilled 3 million gallons of oil into the ocean.
As Annie Leonard, our Executive Director, has said, “Oil spills are never accidents. They are the direct result of substandard oversight of fossil fuel companies who put their profits above human and environmental impacts.” Each time a spill, oil train explosion, or some other disaster occurs, we look to our leaders to take responsibility to make change. So far they’ve demonstrated that they don’t have the courage to stand up to Big Oil.
We all hope that this oil spill will quickly be contained and cleaned up. But are we willing to keep taking chances for future accidents to occur? I can’t help but think of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s research that shows that there’s a 75% chance of an oil spill occurring in the Arctic if drilling takes place there. Even with that scary fact, the Obama administration has decided to give Shell the conditional go-ahead to drill. Let’s demand better from our President and other leaders before it’s too late.


Friday, May 15, 2015

House Passes Anti-Endangered Species Amendment | Defenders of Wildlife

May 15, 2015
Contact: Courtney Sexton,, 202.772.0253
House Passes Anti-Endangered Species Amendment
Protections for two species on the brink removed by irrelevant amendment in defense bill
WASHINGTON— Today the House of Representatives voted to include in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) an amendment proposed by Rep. Lucas (R-OK) which jeopardizes the recovery and continued existence of the lesser prairie chicken and American burying beetle by removing their protections under the Endangered Species Act and preventing future listing and conservation action.
The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, President, Defenders of Wildlife:
“The NDAA has once again been hijacked for use as a vehicle for those blatantly seeking to weaken the Endangered Species Act – the underlying bill already contains a sweeping provision that denies protections for the imperiled greater sage-grouse. Inclusion of this amendment is another shameful, opportunistic abuse of one of our nation’s most important pieces of legislation that Congress passes each year, and is an outright attack on the bedrock environmental laws that protect our air, lands, water and wildlife.
“This amendment was not requested by the Department of Defense, is unrelated to military readiness and does not belong on the NDAA, or anywhere else for that matter. It is the epitome of irresponsibility to yank a species off the endangered list simply because certain special interests are opposed to science-based conservation. Summarily removing a species from the list does not mean that species is magically recovered – quite the opposite. Removing a species’ protections before it has had a shot at recovery only increases conservation costs and the likelihood of extinction.
“It is heartening to see that at least some members of Congress, including Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), recognize the pettiness and the trickery of these attacks on our natural heritage, and came forth to speak out against such triviality.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @defendersnews.

House Passes Anti-Endangered Species Amendment | Defenders of Wildlife

Medicinal Plants - old US map

"Medicinal Plant Map of the United States of America." Edwin Newcomb and the National Wholesale Druggists' Association, 1932.

This map of medicinal plants depicts one or two important species that grew in each state in 1932, identifying the plant as native or cultivated and describing its medical uses. A few species of seaweeds float in the map's Atlantic Ocean, and the border identifies important medicinal plants from around the world... 

History of medicinal plants: Map of the plants in the United States from 1932.