Protect Wolves and the Endangered Species Act
The gray wolf is depicted on Wisconsin's license plate because the recovery of this native predator under the Endangered Species Act, or ESA is a source of state pride and a symbol of our bipartisan tradition of science-based natural resource management. That's why the Sierra Club and many others were alarmed when Wisconsin Act 169 passed within hours of ESA delisting in 2012. This law, promoted by a small faction of powerful lobbying groups, included a 4 1/2 month long wolf season and allowed for trapping and hunting with bows, guns, and dogs. Wisconsin became the only state to allow the use of dogs in wolf hunting, despite a 2013 poll of 625 registered voters that found over 80% opposed the practice. We were further dismayed in 2014 when rules went into effect allowing year round unregulated training of dogs on wolves - through breeding and denning seasons. As a result of trophy hunting, trapping, hounding, training, and annual quota overkills, our state lost at least 518 wolves in just 3 years. And six prominent wolf researchers voiced serious concerns about insufficient state monitoring and unsustainable management in letters to the US Fish & Wildlife Service sent in fall 2014.
The unsustainable hunting policies in Wisconsin and other states that jeopardized wolf recovery prompted a December 2014 judicial decision to restore endangered species protections for Great Lakes wolves. Unfortunately Congressman Reid Ribble (R, WI) and others have introduced HR 843 and HR 884 to legislatively remove federal protections for gray wolves. Any Congressional bill or Appropriations Rider that promotes the legislative delisting of wolves will place not only wolves, but also the entire Endangered Species Act in jeopardy, as there will be no stopping other, future delisting efforts for far less beloved and notable species. In this way, the Endangered Species Act, one of the most significant, effective environmental laws ever enacted, will be dismantled. We face an uphill battle educating decisionmakers about this issue, as the well-organized pro-hunting lobby and select state legislators have been urging colleagues to sign a letter supporting Congressional delisting of gray wolves. That is why it is more important than ever for you to speak out to support the ESA and science-based wolf protection today! Click here to urge your members of Congress to stand up for wolves and the Endangered Species Act today!
Support Clean Transportation Options in Wisconsin
Expanding investments in transit, biking, walking, and local roads is essential for reducing our dependence on dirty tar sands oil, reducing climate change emissions and air pollution, and meeting mobility needs of low-income communities, disabled citizens, young professionals and seniors. For many years, WisDOT has been spending billions of taxpayer dollars overbuilding highways, while shortchanging local roads, transit, and biking and walking infrastructure.
Highways continue to expand, even as demand for them is dropping. Wisconsinites drove 8.4% fewer miles in 2012 than in 2007, and surveys show young professionals increasingly want to live and work in places that offer options other than driving!
Help us block repeated attempts to remove transit from the transportation budget, support for a more balanced transportation budget that meets the needs of all citizens, reject attempts to divert flexible funds that should be used for cleaner transportation options to highways. Click here to sign the petition calling for a more balanced transportation budget today!
Take Action to Stop Destructive Mining Threatening the Penokee Hills
Gogebic Taconite's proposed open pit iron-ore mine in the Penokee Range offers short-term benefits in exchange for increasing the risks of permanent water contamination, adverse health effects, and degradation of the Bad River Tribe's culture. The Penokee Range is home to hardwood forest and pristine rivers and streams, wetlands, and lakes. The land provides crucial habitat to wolves, bald eagles, songbirds, rare plants, and countless other animals that rely on the forested community. This project would have serious air and water impacts on the Bad River Watershed, including threatening over 1,000 acres of wetlands, the Bad River / Kakagon Sloughs, over 75 miles of Outstanding and Exceptional Resource Waters, and the aquifer that supplies well water to homes and businesses in the area. Over 200 inches of snow each year provides fresh clean water that supports the Bad River Watershed and Lake Superior. The Kakagon and Bad River coastal wetland complex on Lake Superior are known as "Wisconsin's Everglades". This area is critical to the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa for wild rice production. The new iron mining law fundamentally limits DNR’s authority and resources needed to scientifically evaluate the impacts of this damaging proposal. We cannot risk these vital water resources and public health just to suit arbitrary mining company deadlines.
Mining is a 'boom and bust' economy, especially true with the inconsistent steel market. The mine threatens the current tourism and wild rice economy critical to the region. The risks don't outweigh the potential short-term jobs.
Click here to urge the DNR to reject this risky proposal in order to safeguard Wisconsin's fragile natural resources.