California

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Is mining in Oregon worth the costs?

This investigative piece details the environmental damage and concerns of mining for gold.

“This kind of mining is often described as ‘recreation,’” Frost [WELC attorney] says, “but with the price of gold is where it’s at, it’s a business venture.” Frost is the attorney for a current lawsuit against Oregon DEQ challenging its general permit that authorizes suction-dredge operations throughout much, though not all, of the state.

WELC defends the Kalmiopsis Wilderness from development (WELC article)

One of our biggest challenges today is dealing with hold-over laws from previous eras, when America was considered to be a limitless wilderness and environmental protection wasn’t yet a concern. Probably the worst of these is the 1872 mining act, under which anyone can lay a claim to public land and mine it – often with only a minimal consideration of what that will do to the environment.

Poisoning of Pristine Wilderness Stream Halted (press release)

We are pleased to share the good news that we have stopped the state of California from poisoning a pristine stream in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness on the east slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

This is the second time we have successfully challenged California Department of Fish & Game's plan to dump rotenone - a toxic chemical that kills all oxygen-breathing organisms - along an 11-mile stretch of Silver King Creek.  

Ensuring Survival of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

The Southwest Willow flycatcher, a small migratory bird barely 6 inches long, is on the verge of extinction. As early as 1995, the Flycatcher was listed as endangered and an ensuing plan was hatched to protect and preserve it.

The flycatcher travels throughout the Southwest and nests in riparian (streamside) habitats where there is running water and dense growths of trees. Its Latin name means “mosquito king,” and its ability to control insects is an essential function benefiting people as well as plant life.

Feds propose more critical habitat for flycatcher

8/12/2011

Great news for the endangered SW willow flycatcher! In response to WELC's lawsuit, FWS proposed to increase critical habitat for the tiny bird from the original plan of 730 river miles to 2,090 river miles. Now, habitat necessary for the flycatcher’s recovery will be shaped by science, not politics.

Click here to read the news article.

Court rejects off-road plan for Eldorado National Forest

5/27/2011

WELC wins protections for endangered species and meadow habitats threatened by off-road vehicles, such as ATVs and dirt bikes, on California's Eldorado National Forest.

Recreation Groups Argue For New Law Before Ninth Circuit

12/14/2010

The extent to which nonfederal parties can participate in environmental litigation is now under review by an en banc panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals following a case argued on December 13, 2010.  Read the full article.

Fighting Greenhouse Gas Pollution from Industrial Operations

One thing the West is known for: Our clean air. But we have to work to keep it that way. Industrial operations with their heavy machinery are also a part of the West, and these need to be looked at carefully as we consider how to reduce greenhouse gases.

Promoting Renewable Energy with Companies, Nonprofits, Schools, and Communities

In May of 2010, we joined with the other nearly 50 companies, nonprofits, school districts, and municipal agencies to help found the Voluntary Renewable Energy Coalition. Our membership in this coalition exemplifies our wide-ranging work out of the courtroom to join with like-minded people to support next-generation energy laws and policies that will speed our transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable, carbon-free energy. As a member of this coalition, we support three basic principles.

Ensuring Sufficient Water Supply for the Colorado River

The Department of Interior has issued its “shortage” plan for dealing with drought in the Colorado River basin.  The problem is that it is based on overly-optimistic precipitation forecasts, ignoring evidence of past drought as well as global warming.  This means that the river and its habitat including the Grand Canyon will suffer in drought years when little water is left in the river.  WELC is challenging this plan based on unscientific assumptions, to ensure that there will always be a vibrant Colorado River and Grand Canyon for generations to come.

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