Friday, January 13, 2017

Success Stories!

Farm Owners Convicted for Allowing Cow Torture.
Goal: Applaud decision to convict farm owners for allowing employees to abuse cows.
The owners of a dairy farm where employees allegedly abused cows have pled guilty and have been sentenced to pay $75,000 per count of abuse, the maximum monetary fine. One of Chilliwack Cattle Sales’ owners, Wesley Kooyman, was also convicted of another count of animal abuse, and he will be prohibited from having control over his factory farm or owning any animals for a year.
Judge Robert Gunnell, who handed down the ruling, said that the employees were not properly trained or supervised by the farm owners, resulting in the significant abuse the cows suffered. Wayne Kooyman would allegedly only check on his employees once a day, at 3:30 in the morning, and so the employees could easily hide their abusive behavior. As soon as the owners left, they would reportedly go back to beating the cows, kicking them, and hanging them from chains around their neck. The workers allegedly responsible for the abuse will go on trial in May.
This victory for farm animals is a result of tireless work from animal advocates, including members of the ForceChange community who signed petitions like this one. While the ruling cannot erase the abuse the cows faced, it will prevent more animals from needlessly suffering at the hands of cruel humans. Sign this petition to thank Judge Gunnell for standing up for these dairy cows.
A newly elected class of progressives serve their first full day in Congress -- and they are deeply grateful to PCCC members. Since 2009, we've raised over $8 million for progressive candidates and nearly 10 million calls!

A record high number of new House members are joining the Progressive Caucus, and every new senator got elected with Elizabeth Warren's and our help.

Our cavalry has arrived to make the case for expanding Social Security benefits, show the way to improve health care competition through a public option, and demand a $15 minimum wage.

We're proud to fight as partners in the trenches with them as they play not just strong defense, but strong offense. We'll work to protect millions of Americans from Trump's authoritarian agenda, and fight to reform voting rights, criminal justice, and campaign finance. 

Turn on images to see Pramila Jayapal. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07is a top PCCC-endorsed "bold progressive" game changer and ran on many Warren-Sanders ideas! As an activist, she helped pass a $15 minimum wage in Seattle. PCCC members donated $57,558 through 11,470 donations and made 364,995 calls. Final result: 56.3% to 43.9% after winning big primary.
Pramila says, "The Progressive Change Campaign Committee helped me from the beginning, and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to PCCC members who made over 364,000 calls to voters and over 11,400 individual grassroots donations. Thanks to the support of great friends like PCCC, we won! Now we’ll keep fighting together to make college debt free, expand Social Security, and increase the federal minimum wage.”
Turn on images to see Jamie Raskin. Jamie Raskin (MD-08) is another top PCCC-endorsed "bold progressive" game changer -- and he attended our candidate training. Jamie literally wrote the book on gerrymandering reform and is a crusader for campaign finance reform. PCCC members donated $56,648 through 12,114 donations and made over 21,000 calls. Final result: 59.3% to 35.6% after winning close primary.
Jamie says, “Happy New Year PCCC, and thank you! In 2016, you helped me win the most expensive Congressional primary in American history. In a $21 million race, we were outspent 10-1 by opponents and by more than 20-1 on TV. But PCCC was there when I needed a progressive lifeline from around the country. PCCC members gave me more than 11,000 small financial contributions and big solidarity, strength, and hope. With the grassroots campaigning and awesome progressive fervor you helped create, we proved that in a democracy, public office is something you earn -- not something you buy. And on our side you earn it through service and commitment to democratic values and progressive change. America needs PCCC’s visionary national network and agenda now more than ever.”
Turn on images to see Pramila Jayapal. Nanette Barragán (CA-44) is our third big "bold progressive" game changer -- and she attended our candidate training. Nanette made debt-free college, expanding Social Security, and fighting for a bold progressive agenda key to her upset victory. Final result: 51.1% to 48.9%
Nanette says, “I ran as the progressive outsider and won my race by 1%. Many thanks to Progressive Change Campaign Committee members who made over 2,800 donations to my campaign -- and to the PCCC for its great candidate training, which I attended in 2015. I look forward to fighting together with you against the Trump agenda. And we will pivot from defense to offense so Americans know that progressives are the ones fighting for the little guy against Big Money, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and other powerful interests in order to improve the lives of our neighbors and communities. Let's do big things together in 2017!"
Turn on images to see Rick Nolan. Rick Nolan (MN-08) represents a rural district and is a top Republican target every cycle. He's also a PCCC-endorsed "bold progressive" candidate -- passionately fighting for campaign finance reform, expanding Social Security, and other issues of importance to working families. PCCC members made 2,641 donations and 51,305 calls for his campaign. Final result: 50.3% to 49.7%.
Rick says, “I’m proud of my record of standing up to unfair trade deals and harmful trade practices that threaten good Minnesota jobs. So when my opponent resorted to personal attacks and distorting my record, I was glad to have the support of grassroots groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which called 50,000 voters in my district to set the record straight. ”

Our allies need to know that when they speak up against Trump that we will have their backs.

Turn on images to see Carol Shea Porter. Carol Shea Porter (NH-01) knocked off a Republican incumbent by campaigning on bold progressive issues like expanding Social Security and debt-free college. We were proud to endorse her. PCCC members made 99,719 calls and made over 2,726 donations to her campaign. Final result: 44.2% to 42.9%.
Carol says, “I’ve been able to count on the Progressive Change Campaign Committee over the years. I especially love their grassroots, get-out-the-vote energy. PCCC members made over 65,000 calls to voters about my race! I’m excited to keep fighting together for the issues we believe in — issues like the public option, debt free college, campaign finance reform, and expanded Social Security benefits.”
Turn on images to see Catherine Cortez Masto. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV-Sen) kept Harry Reid's Nevada Senate seat blue -- and was a PCCC Take Back The Senate candidate with a strong record on Wall Street reform. Elizabeth Warren said that she is "exactly the kind of ally I need in the Senate." PCCC members donated $55,367 through 9,426 donations and made 138,438 calls. Final result: 47.1% to 44.7%.
Catherine says, “Thanks to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee for their incredible support in my campaign for the U.S. Senate. PCCC organizers and volunteers boosted our field efforts, making 138,438 phone calls and raising over $45,000 from thousands of people-powered donations. Together, we’ll work in Washington to fight Trump's extreme policies, advance a progressive vision, and make sure the big Wall Street banks can never again run roughshod over Main Street.”
Turn on images to see Tammy Duckworth. Tammy Duckworth (IL-Sen) was a bright light on a dark election night, flipping a Republican Senate seat to Democratic. She was a PCCC Take Back The Senate candidate -- and we donated $55,477 through 10,612 donations, and made 194,676 calls. Final result: 54.4% to 40.2%.
Tammy says, “Thousands of Progressive Change Campaign Committee members helped get us here, and I want to thank each and every one of them. Whether donating over $50,000 to help us combat misleading attack ads or helping us reach almost 200,000 voters across Illinois, you all played an important part and I look forward to your partnership as we work to protect working families and stand up to President Donald Trump when he pushes policies that hurt Americans."
Turn on images to see Maggie Hassan. Maggie Hassan (NH-Sen) was one of the earliest supporters of debt-free college and proposed public financing of congressional elections. She was a PCCC Take Back The Senate candidate who flipped a Republican Senate seat. Together, we donated $51,366 through 8,789 donations to her campaign. Final result: 48.0% to 47.9%!!
Maggie says, “Despite Super PACs and dark money groups pouring over $50 million into New Hampshire to ensure that we would lose, corporate special interests proved to be no match for our grassroots strength. In a race that we won by only 1,000 votes, every single contribution and door knocked helped make the difference – and I’m very grateful for the support from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s grassroots network. In the Senate, I will work to get big money out of politics, expand opportunity, and include more people in our shared success.”

We were also proud to help elect Kamala Harris (CA-Sen) as a Take Back The Senate candidate, and Ruben Kihuen (NV-04) as an Expand The Map candidate.
In 2017, we look forward to fighting alongside these progressive winners, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and other progressives in Congress.

The Year in Wildlife Wins: 2016 Victories in Review. 2016 was full of challenges for wildlife. With an increasingly anti-wildlife, hostile Congress, the illegal takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and an Interior Secretary nominee that raised serious concerns for wildlife conservation, there were certainly setbacks and frustrating outcomes. But this year had plenty of wins and success stories too: the first female panther crossed the Caloosahatchee River, the first phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan kicked off in September and President Obama permanently banned new offshore drilling in huge areas of the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. Here’s a look back at this year’s good news.
  • Public Lands Victories in California: The year started off with a landmark victory for public lands. In February, President Obama announced he would be designating three national monuments in the California desert – Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments. The president’s proclamation conserved 1.8 million acres of California’s most ecologically important and scenic areas for generations to come.
  • Fish and Wildlife Service steps up for wolves, bears and other carnivores: In August, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) posted a final rule prohibiting Alaska from applying its “predator control” program to National Wildlife Refuge System lands in the state. Alaska’s controversial program authorizes the culling of native carnivores through aerial gunning, baiting, trapping, and killing mother bears and cubs and wolves and pups in their dens to inflate deer, moose and caribou populations. The announcement of the predator rule was a great way to end the summer.
  • A Battle Won for NC Red Wolves: In September, Defenders scored a big victory in court for North Carolina’s dwindling population of wild red wolves. A federal judge in North Carolina has issued a preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from removing native wolves from the wild unless they pose an imminent threat to human safety or property. In recent years, FWS had been removing wolves simply because some vocal landowners don’t want them there – a significant departure from years of prior practice. Lawyers for Defenders of Wildlife and our allies argued in a court hearing on September 14 that a preliminary injunction was needed to stop the agency from further harming the world’s only population of wild red wolves. On September 29, Judge Terrence Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a ruling preventing the Service from unnecessarily trapping and killing any more wolves.
Red wolves still need serious help from FWS to survive and recover in their North Carolina habitat. We’re keeping the pressure on FWS to recommit to the red wolf recovery effort and resume releasing captive red wolves into the wild, managing coyotes in the recovery area to prevent hybridization and we are undertaking a serious coexistence effort to create social acceptance for wolves in the wild of North Carolina. This battle will certainly continue in 2017.
  • Big cats on the move: Fantastic news for endangered Florida panthers came out in November, when wildlife officials announced they had documented a female panther north of the Caloosahatchee River. For decades, these imperiled cats have been found only in the southern tip of Florida. On rare occasions, a male would be seen north of the river, but unless females also started roaming that far north, the species couldn’t truly expand. Now, there’s proof that at least one female has made the journey, bringing with her the hope that the population of Florida panthers can truly grow and thrive. She’s not the only big cat making moves: in addition, a second jaguar may have been spotted in Arizona, and a new ocelot den was discovered recently in south Texas! These stories show that there is hope for the recovery of America’s most interesting and imperiled wildlife, but there is still a long way to go. That’s what makes Defenders’ work on recovery plans, protecting habitat and working within the states to create habitat and corridors so important.
  • The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan: Way back in 2008, Defenders of Wildlife embarked on a mission with federal and state agencies and our conservation partners to create a plan that would promote “smart from the start” renewable energy development in the California desert that directs development towards lands with lower habitat and wildlife values. On Sept. 14, 2016 Interior Secretary Sally Jewell signed the first phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), completing almost a decade’s-worth of hard work to conserve the most intact desert lands in the country and iconic wildlife like the desert tortoise all while promoting a clean energy future. For more on the DRECP and what it means for wildlife, read California program director Kim Delfino’s blog.
  • Wildlife Corridors: On Dec. 7, Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2016, which aims to establish a National Wildlife Corridors System to connect important habitats for native fish, wildlife and plants. The more habitats are connected, the better the chance that wildlife will survive the stresses of habitat loss, fragmentation and climate disruption. Connecting our public wildlands and waters is key to the survival of a diverse array of treasured species, from the grizzly bear to the monarch butterfly. To learn more about connectivity, click here for a blog from Defenders’ Senior Policy Advisor on Federal Lands Peter Nelson.
  • President Obama protects federal waters from drilling: Just in time for the holiday season, wildlife lovers were gifted with great news: President Obama permanently banned new offshore drilling in parts of federal waters off the Atlantic Coast and in the Arctic Ocean. This will reduce the threats posed by offshore oil and gas development to imperiled and endangered species in these two regions, including North Atlantic right whales and humpback whales, sea turtles, belugas, polar bears and walruses. Withdrawing these waters from oil drilling will make our oceans healthier and safer for marine and coastal wildlife, and will help protect local communities and local industries like fishing and tourism from the harmful effects of oil and gas extraction. And it marks the important recognition that we cannot achieve the nation’s climate change goals if we continue to expand oil and gas development into new, pristine environments like the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.
  • Continuing resolution spares wildlife: On Dec. 9, the Senate voted on a continuing resolution that funds the federal government until April 28, when the national budget will be considered again. For four months at least, endangered species, wildlife and habitat in the United States will be spared from anti-wildlife provisions that were shoehorned into FY 2017 spending bills, including riders that would end all federal protections for gray wolves in the continental United States, block Endangered Species Act protection for the lesser prairie-chicken and force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow the state of Alaska to use  intensive predator control practices (such as killing mother bears and cubs and shooting wolves and coyotes with pups) on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. However, the fight isn’t over yet.  All of these riders and more could very well be back on the table in 2017, so wildlife advocates and our allies in Congress will need to be vigilant and keep the pressure on to pass a clean budget, free of riders that attack the Endangered Species Act or our wildlife, water, lands and air.
  • A step forward for sharks: On Dec. 28, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) published a proposed regulation to protect the oceanic whitetip shark in the Federal Register today in response to a petition filed by Defenders of Wildlife. The regulations would give the shark threatened species status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed regulation. The oceanic whitetip shark is a victim of the international shark fin trade; it is also frequently killed as bycatch in other fisheries. We’ve already lost at least 70 percent of these sharks across the globe, and this proposal is a step towards making sure they aren’t lost forever for the sake of a delicacy.
There was plenty to celebrate in 2016. We must now look ahead to the New Year and the challenges we will face in 2017. With the support of conservation advocates across the country, there will be many more victories for wildlife to come.

The post The Year in Wildlife Wins: 2016 Victories in Review appeared first on Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

Using 1953 Law, Obama Indefinitely Blocks Offshore Oil Drilling in Arctic and Atlantic

President Obama banned oil and gas drilling in almost all of our Arctic Ocean and swaths of the Atlantic — forever.

This is a major victory for our oceans, marine wildlife and coastal communities — and it wouldn't have happened without the determination of hundreds of thousands of NRDC supporters like you.

For more than three years, NRDC led the charge to push President Obama to put these two coasts off-limits to the oil and gas industry. In the last month, we underscored this decision as one of the key actions the President should take before he leaves office. And today, against all odds, our voices were finally heard — and heeded.

The President's decision permanently removes most Arctic waters and portions of the Atlantic Ocean from oil and gas leasing — safeguarding our oceans and marine wildlife, reducing global warming pollution and moving America away from dirty fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.

But it still leaves parts of the Atlantic Ocean and other coastal waters, especially the Gulf of Mexico, vulnerable to Big Oil — which becomes even more dangerous once Donald Trump is sworn in as President just weeks from now.

Trump has made no secret of his intention to open up more of our cherished public lands and offshore waters to drilling in the first 100 days of his presidency. He's already stocking his cabinet with fossil fuel insiders like Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson and climate deniers like Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

That means these last weeks before Inauguration Day are absolutely critical as we gear up to defend today's win and fight Donald Trump's anti-environment plans on every front — in court, in Washington and in cities and towns across America. But how hard we can fight depends directly on your support in the next few days.

Please join me in celebrating today's important victory protecting our Arctic and Atlantic coasts from oil drilling — and donate so we're ready to take on the Trump administration's disastrous environmental plans in 2017 and beyond.
Over the past few years, YOU joined with thousands to ask President Obama to protect our coasts from dangerous drilling projects and keep climate change-causing fossil fuels in the ground. You sent messages, called the White House, protested on the ground (and on the water) — and he listened!
Share this Facebook post to tell your friends and family the good news about our oceans!Today we celebrate with the Arctic and Atlantic communities whose cultures and livelihoods depend on a healthy ocean. But the fight is not over for the Gulf Coast communities who still live under the shadow of oil spills and fossil fuel pollution, and we will continue to stand with them in that fight.

President Obama enacted these protections using a law that will be difficult for President-elect Trump to overturn, but there is still a chance he could try. If Trump tries to go after these new protections, we’ll stand in his way — and I know you’ll be standing with us.
Arctic Atlantic Victory Email.png
Scientists, environmental leaders and hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country had urged the president to take action to protect critical habitat from oil spills, to aid the transition to a clean energy future and to help the United States meet the carbon reduction goals necessary to avert the worst effects of global climate change.

The Obama administration’s decision builds on its earlier move excluding the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from its five-year oil and gas leasing program.
This victory is the result of a 10-year campaign of unyielding litigation and powerful coalition action—against enormous odds—to confront climate change and protect our planet.
As President Obama said at a May gathering in Washington, D.C., with leaders of five Nordic nations, “We have a moral obligation—to this and future generations—to confront the reality of climate change and to protect our planet, including our beautiful Arctic.”
The Arctic is ground zero for the devastating impacts of climate change, warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. Along the Atlantic coast, residents and businesses rely on a healthy ocean for their way of life.
This decision will help us live up to that moral obligation and provide important protection for ocean communities, ecosystems and wildlife as a new administration that is hostile to the scientific consensus about climate change—and eager to open federal lands and waters to more drilling—prepares to take power.
The FOUR PAWS year 2016 in review
Bring You Home - the bears you saved in 2016
I want to share with you a brief video that features just a few of Animal Rahat's many highlights of 2016 – from the opening of its new sanctuary to the daring rescue of a cow who had fallen into an uncovered well.
Video: 2016 Was a Tremendous Year for Animals

PETA's projects supporting Animal Rahat are truly making a difference in the lives of so many animals who have previously known nothing but abuse and hideous neglect.
From the first major victory in an Endangered Species Act lawsuit brought on behalf of animals in captivity, to a cutting edge legal strategy that saved a puppy from an abusive situation, to an undercover investigation that’s still sending shockwaves through the factory farm industry—thanks to your generous support—the Animal Legal Defense Fund spent 2016 fighting for animal protection on every front.
Today—and everyday—we thank you for your unwavering support. These are your victories.
Today, Tilikum’s death at SeaWorld is a stark reminder of how much work we still have ahead of us in 2017—and we’re so glad we have you by our side. Thank you for your support in 2016—and thank you for your support in the coming year.

In Defense of Animals
VIDEO: Best Animal Wins 2016. 2016 was a phenomenal year for animals thanks to you! Historic measures to protect elephants... dogs rescued from the murderous dog meat industry... thousands of young people educated in compassion... and so much more. SEE VIDEO
Endangered Species Act Win: Tobusch Fishhook Cactus
Tobusch fishhook cactus
In a new victory for the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed last week to downlist the Tobusch fishhook cactus from endangered to threatened, meaning the tiny, spiny plant has begun recovering under the Act's protection.

Found in oak woodland savannahs of the Edwards Plateau in Texas, the cactus faces threats from livestock grazing, urban sprawl, periodic fires, parasites, small population size and climate change. Since it was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1979, many more populations have been found and several have been protected. Read more in our press release.