California condorApril 19, 1972: In Sierra Club vs. Morton, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Sierra Club does not have legal standing to stop a ski resort project proposed by the Walt Disney Company near Sequoia National Park. Justice William O. Douglas argues that the forest itself has a stake in the case: "inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation." A subsequent lawsuit stops the building of the resort.

April 19, 1979:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bans polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s).  The toxic substance is a known carcinogen that is widely used in electrical transformers as an insulator.

April 19, 1987: AC-9, the last California condor alive in the wild, is captured. Over the next 20 years, an intense captive breeding program brings the species back from the brink. Nearly wiped out by habitat destruction, DDT use and other threats, there are now nearly 400 California condors (at right) alive, nearly half of them re-released into the wild.

Photo: ZUMA Press

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.