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A train carrying crude oil from North Dakota passes through Washington state on its way to a refinery.

Late last week, emergency crews in Culbertson, Montana rushed to raise 22 toppled tanker cars, right a felled power line and contain 35,000 gallons of spilled oil. In an all-too-familiar scene, 106 rail cars loaded with explosive crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota were hurtling toward a West Coast refinery when they were thrown from the tracks like a child’s toy train set.

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy grew up on a cattle ranch east of the Black Hills of South Dakota, seemingly destined to be a cowboy. But the truth is he detests cows. He’s not fond of horses either. They both mean work to him. Instead he left home to study chemistry, but abandoned that pursuit to bum around the country for five years before landing in Livingston, Montana near the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. A self-taught photographer, he has spent more than 3,000 days hiking, skiing and rafting through the park taking pictures of the grizzlies, wolves and bison that cross his path.

Shiprock is a sacred site in the Navajo Nation located near the Four Corners Power Plant

The Four Corners Power Plant is an energy behemoth that has been operating—and polluting—since 1963. Despite the Interior Department’s announcement that it will approve a 25-year lease extension on the power plant, there is a silver lining to the plant’s hazy plumes that’s not just a mercurial sheen.

A wind turbine at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) site in Colorado.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (which covers Colorado and five other states) upheld Colorado’s authority to require that electric utilities in the state increase the use of renewable energy. The decision, the first from an appellate court that squarely addresses the constitutionality of this type of state-based renewable energy standard (RES), deals a significant blow to industry-led efforts to roll back these standards.

Activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the "Paddle in Seattle" protest in May 2015, in Seattle. These initial protests have sparked similar #ShellNo kayaktivism around the U.S.

This past weekend, groups all around the country took a stand (and raised a paddle) to protect the Arctic Ocean. July 18 was a national day of action that included rallies, speeches by a U.S. Senator and Congresswoman and groups of kayaktavists who hit the water to say “Shell No” to Arctic drilling. Here are some of our favorite moments captured on social media. (You might recognize a few familiar faces, too!)

A Duke Energy coal fired power plant

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives will vote on HR 1734, Rep. David McKinley’s (R- WV) sixth attempt at a coal ash bill that protects his largest campaign contributors. This year’s bill weakens, delays or removes critical health protections recently established by the EPA to keep communities safe from toxic coal ash. Big utilities and coal companies want the new rule gutted, and McKinley and the House majority are eager to oblige.

A coastal church in Iceland

This is a guest blog by Rev. Dr. Terry Gallagher. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Educated originally as an engineer, Terry, following a 30 year career as an industrial manufacturing executive, answered the call to ministry. He attained a Master of Divinity degree from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary. He served as a local church pastor in Michigan for seven years.

Michigan City Power Generating Station

Imagine running through endless rows of luscious trees that tower over you, while being enveloped by the sweet aroma of freshly ripened apples. Envision yourself walking your dog down a nature trail and being entranced by the transformation of green leaves to bright yellow, orange and red. See yourself walking through a calm, undisturbed forest, while the snowflakes slowly dance down all around you. Then, visualize yourself spending hot summer days running up vast sand dunes and diving head first into the clear, refreshing water of Lake Michigan.

“Protect” spelled out by activists in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

One thousand miles, 28 stops, one woman on a bicycle with a portable theater. This Saturday, Miho Aida finishes her cycling tour of the Northeastern United States, where she has been spreading the story of the Gwich’in people through her award-winning film “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins:  Gwich’in Women Speak.”


About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.