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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Cougars Officially Declared Extinct in Eastern U.S., Removed from Endangered Species List

Reuters: “Eastern cougars that once prowled North America from Michigan to South Carolina were officially declared extinct and removed from the U.S. endangered species list on Monday, eight decades after the last confirmed sighting of the wild feline predator.The large cats, also known as mountain lions, pumas or panthers, historically roamed every state east of the Mississippi River but by 1900 had all but vanished due to systematic hunting and trapping, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.The agency opened an extensive review in 2011 into the status of the eastern cougar, a genetic cousin of the mountain lions that still inhabit much of the Western United States and of a small, imperiled population of Florida panthers found only in the Everglades. In 2015, federal wildlife biologists concluded that pumas elsewhere in the Eastern United States were beyond recovery, and thus no longer warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act. The plan to de-list them became final on Monday.”

Federal Register: “We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine the eastern puma (=cougar) (Puma (=Felis) concolor couguar) to be extinct, based on the best available scientific and commercial information. This information shows no evidence of the existence of either an extant reproducing population or any individuals of the eastern puma subspecies; it also is highly unlikely that an eastern puma population could remain undetected since the last confirmed sighting in 1938. Therefore, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended, we remove this subspecies from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 01/23/2018 and available online at https://federalregister.gov/d/2018-01127, and on FDsys.gov…”

Why Birds Matter, and Are Worth Protecting

They help the environment, but they also help our souls. In 2018 we’ll explore the wonder of birds, and why we can’t live without them. National Geographic: “If you could see every bird in the world, you’d see the whole world. Things with feathers can be found in every corner of every ocean and in… Continue Reading

Optimal routes by car from geographic center of US to all counties

Topi Tjukanov is a geographer (M.Sc.) with a business degree (BBA) from Helsinki, Finland. Besides normal work (Project Specialist in the Ministry of the Environment) and normal(ish) hobbies, he’s enthusiastic about geospatial data, visualizing it and learning the latest tricks in modern GIS.” Spatial data from a new perspective – See Topi’s “map and the… Continue Reading

Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration

Washington Post – “More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members… Continue Reading

NOAA: 2017 was 3rd warmest year on record for the globe

NOAA, NASA scientists confirm Earth’s long-term warming trend continues – “…The average temperature across the globe in 2017 was 1.51 degrees F above the 20th century average of 57 degrees F. 2017 marks the 41st consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average. The six warmest years… Continue Reading

A Surprising Feature of Historic Photos of DC – the addition of many trees!

Via Casey Trees [please join me in supporting this or similar groups planting trees in communities throughout our cities] – “…Our fair District is a historic and photogenic city, there is no doubt. When looking a before and after photos of places throughout the city, we found ourselves looking at something else – the evolution… Continue Reading

EU declares war on plastic waste

The Guardian – “The EU is waging war against plastic waste as part of an urgent plan to clean up Europe’s act and ensure that every piece of packaging on the continent is reusable or recyclable by 2030. Following China’s decision to ban imports of foreign recyclable material, Brussels on Tuesday launched a plastics strategy… Continue Reading

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): An Overview

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): An Overview – CRS report via FAS – Laura B. Comay, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy; Michael Ratner, Specialist in Energy Policy; R. Eliot Crafton; Analyst in Natural Resources Policy. January 9, 2018. “In the ongoing energy debate in Congress, one recurring issue has been whether to allow oil and gas… Continue Reading

9 Places to find data on the environment

Data Drive Journalism: “What is the best way of reporting on data related to the environment? Where do you find the data in the first place? How do you make it relatable to the public and which challenges do you face along the way? Last October, seven experts got together on the Data Journalism Awards Slack team on… Continue Reading

1980-2017 Q4 – U.S. Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters

“NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) tracks U.S. weather and climate events that have great economic and societal impacts (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions). Since 1980, the U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, as of December 2017). The… Continue Reading

U.S. Waterways Are Getting Saltier, With Possible Effects on Drinking Water

Science: U.S. rivers are getting saltier, potentially compromising drinking water: “The bomb cyclone that hit the northeastern United States last week left roadways and vehicles caked in a white film of road salt and grime. Those salts might be washing into the region’s fresh waterways, a new study reveals. A 50-year-long analysis of hundreds of… Continue Reading

NYC sues major oil companies over climate change

Washington Post: “The New York City government is suing the world’s five largest publicly traded oil companies, seeking to hold them responsible for present and future damages to the city from climate change. The suit, filed Tuesday against BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, claims the companies together produced 11 percent of all… Continue Reading