Center for Biological Diversity

Pick the 2014 Rubber Dodo Award Winner -- Vote by Midnight, Oct. 30

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It's time to pick the most outrageous eco-villain of 2014 -- fill out the form at the bottom of the page to cast your vote. The Center for Biological Diversity established the Rubber Dodo award in 2007 as a way to spotlight those who do their very best -- that is, their worst -- to destroy wild places and drive species to extinction. The award, named after one of the most famous extinct species on Earth, is given out every year.

Previous recipients of this prestigious faux-accolade include the infamous Koch Brothers (2013), climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (2012), BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), polar bear foe Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007), who set a record low in the number of plants and animals he placed on the endangered species list.

The 2014 nominees are (drumroll please):

Bear trapWildlife Services: No government program kills more wildlife than the U.S. Department of Agriculture's cynically named Wildlife Services. In 2013 its agents killed more than 2 million native animals -- a 30 percent increase over the previous year. That included 320 gray wolves, 75,000 coyotes, 419 black bears and 866 bobcats. The methods are gruesome, including aerial gunning, traps and exploding cyanide caps. Most of the animals were targeted on behalf of the livestock and agriculture industries, along with other powerful interests. And most of Wildlife Services' operations are conducted far from public view, with little accountability to the American people. It's a rogue and deadly program that shouldn't have a place in the 21st century.

Cliven BundyCliven Bundy: Two decades ago this Nevada rancher stopped paying the federal government for the privilege of grazing his cows on public lands near Mesquite, Nev. His permit was revoked, but he continued to use the land illegally -- racking up $1 million he owes to taxpayers. When he ignored court orders to remove the trespass cattle, some of the cows were rounded up -- until he and hundreds of armed, anti-government supporters converged on the impound lot, forcing the feds to release the livestock for fear of violence. To top off his grandstanding on the evils of Big Gummint, Bundy then went on a racist rant reported in The New York Times that drove him off the airwaves, including at Fox News, where he'd become a budding star.

Crop dustingMonsanto: The same corporation that brought us Agent Orange, a defoliant infamously used in the Vietnam War -- as well as DDT, PCBs and bovine growth hormone -- morphed into a biotech firm around the turn of this century. It's now leading the charge worldwide to patent GE seeds; its aggressively marketed seeds are made to be resistant to the company's Roundup herbicide -- a uniquely potent killer of milkweed, which is the only food of the monarch caterpillar. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with these crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in midwestern corn and soybean fields, contributing substantially to a 90 percent decline in monarch numbers in under 20 years -- putting these iconic backyard butterflies in danger of extinction.

Rep. Doc HastingsRep. Doc Hastings: Hastings has been the long-time ringleader in a group of right-wing Republicans tearing into the Endangered Species Act to erode wildlife protection. The Washington state congressman has repeatedly called the Act a failure and organized a series of fear-mongering hearings to give profiteers and anti-government ideologues a forum to complain bitterly about the landmark law (despite robust evidence it has been 99 percent successful at saving plants and animals from extinction and has put hundreds of species on the road to recovery; the facts have never stopped Mr. Hastings). He and his allies have also introduced a series of bills that would cripple the Act and give politicians, rather than scientists, more influence over which species get protected.

Enter your name, email address and zip code, then vote below.

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Photo credits:  bear trap courtesy Flickr/Minnesota Historical Society, Cliven Bundy courtesy Flickr/Gage Skidmore, crop dusting plane courtesy Flickr/tpmartins, Rep. Doc Hastings courtesy Flickr/House GOP.

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