The U.S. House has voted 266-153 to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to transport tar sands oil from Alberta via the U.S. for export from the gulf coast. An effort in Nebraska to block construction of the pipeline through the state has also been surpassed. President Obama has signaled that he would veto the pipeline if it is approved by Congress, but Congressional Republicans are hopeful they have sufficient votes to block the veto.
State and Federal agencies have decided to give OR-7, Oregon's most famous wolf, status as a designated pack leader. OR-7 found a mate and had a litter of wolf pups in Western Oregon last winter, making it the first wolf pack west of the Cascades in decades. The pack status comes when the federal government is considering lifting the endangered species listing for wolves.
Although sabotage is rare, there are an increasing number of incidents of mountain bikers encountering lines drawn across trails in British Columbia. Similar instances have happened in Oregon in recent years. Hikers and mountain bikers share trails access, and with increasing numbers of mountain bikers, conflicts are occurring more than in years past.
For the past seven years, bee die-offs have been happening at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, largely due to increased almond demand, bees are more needed than ever. Beekeepers have been adapting rapidly to feed this growing need and today, even with the die-offs, there are more hives in the U.S. than before the epidemic started, and a new industry is evolving to meet the demand.
North America's monarch butterfly population has seen a 90 percent decline since the 1990s. The decline is largely due to habitat loss and pesticide use that limits the growth of milkweed, the species' sole food source. Monarchs make a 3,000 mile migration between Mexico and Canada, and their range covers the entire United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will do a year-long study to determine if Monarch Butterflies deserve federal protection.