unEARTHED, the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Blogs


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Earthjustice on Twitter

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S 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.

View Jessica Lawrence's blog posts
25 October 2013, 2:39 PM
Country is striving to become carbon neutral as sea levels rise
Funafuti Atoll, capital of Tuvalu. (Bruce Richmond / USGS)

During a United Nations session on human rights last month, Earthjustice’s U.N. representative applauded Costa Rica for acknowledging the link between its carbon emissions and climate change-induced human rights violations like the ones occurring in Tuvalu.

Representative Yves Lador was part of a coalition of NGOs that took the floor at the U.N. Human Rights Council to support an important step in the protection of environmental human rights. The session was the U.N.’s periodic review of the status of human rights in the tiny atoll nation.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 October 2013, 1:53 PM
Toxic ash disposal at Kingston still dangerous and poorly regulated
The Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill, in 2008. (TVA)

It’s been almost five years since the TVA Kingston coal ash disaster blanketed an idyllic riverfront community in toxic waste.

I revisited the site earlier this month, and the progress of the ongoing Superfund mega-cleanup is evident. One can once again see what brought generations to settle in this scenic valley, amid the broad rivers, quiet bays and gentle green mountains.

In Harriman, Tennessee, families enjoyed vibrant waterfront recreation off sandy beaches along the calm sloughs. Before 2008, every riverfront home had a dock, and the neighborhoods were tight, sharing a common love of the beauty and bounty of the water and mountains. In December 2008, all this was destroyed by the dam’s collapse.

House nearly buried by TVA Kingston Disaster, December 2008.

House nearly buried by TVA Kingston Disaster, December 2008.
1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
21 October 2013, 5:44 PM
Joins in encouraging mayor to allow ordinance to become law
Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety are prepared to defend the bill if any companies challenge it in court.  (Toa55 / Shutterstock)

It took the Kauaʻi County Council 19 hours to decide to pass, by a vote of 6–1, a controversial ordinance that would restrict the use of pesticides near sensitive areas by companies developing GMO crops, and require them to disclose the chemicals they use and the engineered crops they are growing.

And while Kauaʻi Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. must approve the ordinance for it to become law, Earthjustice Attorney Paul Achitoff and George Kimbrell, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety, sent a letter to the mayor urging him to approve the legislation. The letter states that both lawyers are prepared to intervene on behalf of community groups to defend the bill if any companies challenge the bill in court.

View Sarah Burt's blog posts
21 October 2013, 7:05 AM
Many in his classes have issues that make them vulnerable to air pollution
Jason, at the Curtis Bay neighborhood's Filbert Community Garden. (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)

(This is the final installment in a four-part series profiling communities that could be seriously impacted by increased toxic air and water pollution resulting from the federal government’s financing of the export of Appalachian coal to Asia.)

This week we hear from Jason Reed, who lives near the Port of Baltimore's CSX coal export and processing facility.

This is his story:

View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
18 October 2013, 1:37 PM
Action prevents development leases in Utah's red rock country
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah. The park is known for its impressive geological wonders. (Darren J. Bradley / Shutterstock)

It is rewarding to successfully wrap-up a case. This can be especially true when our work protects special places, preserving them for future generations. It is a pleasure to be able to point at a map and say, “Those are the places that were saved.”

149 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 October 2013, 1:14 PM
Industry falls short in challenges over health and car/truck emissions
The Supreme Court building. (Architect of the Capitol)

This week the U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed industry by refusing to hear challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that carbon dioxide and other climate change pollutants endanger our health. The court also rejected attacks on carbon pollution limits for cars and trucks – limits that respond to the court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, and are important parts of the agency’s efforts to curb such pollution under the Clean Air Act.

The court’s action also provides a solid footing for future EPA action to set standards for other major sources of climate change pollution like power plants, refineries, and oil and gas operations. A 2011 Supreme Court ruling confirmed EPA's authority to set such standards.

12 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
18 October 2013, 9:18 AM
Congress and the White House reach bipartisan budget compromise

On Wednesday night, with less than two hours before the country defaulted on its debts, Congress ended the standoff that shut the government down for 16 days, kept countless federal workers without work or pay, and left anyone watching disheartened by partisan antics. In the end, it amounted to Congress deciding to do its job and allowing others to do the same.

Budget compromise vote count. (Source: NYT)

Source: New York Times. See the Senate and House vote breakdown

Did the extreme right in Congress get what they wanted out of this theater and was it worth holding workers’ and families’ budgets hostage and taking us to the brink of default? The House had prepared a wish list of deeply harmful energy, environment and public health policy riders that got sidelined by its attack on Obamacare.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
16 October 2013, 3:38 PM
As wild bison return to the plains, ranchers target them as livestock
Newborn wild bison at Ft. Peck in the spring of 2012. (Bill Campbell)

Now that the court battles have been won and the wild bison are back on tribal reservations, the anti-bison interests are at it again.

The latest tactic is to get a Montana court to declare that the transplanted bison are “livestock” instead of “wildlife” under state law if they leave the reservations and roam on to public or private lands. Not only would this require treating roaming wild bison just the same as stray cattle, but it would likely put up a major roadblock to additional bison restorations in the future, as wildlife managers would have no authority to transplant animals classified as “livestock” under the law.

Earthjustice filed a brief today in response to this new effort to prevent bison restoration.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Brian Smith's blog posts
14 October 2013, 3:11 PM
Court decision helps keep Caribbean coral reefs alive
Parrotfish are being fished to dangerously low levels. (NPS)

If you tried to invent the perfect caretaker for the Caribbean’s fragile coral reefs, it would be hard to top what nature already has created—the parrotfish.

And thanks to a court victory this week, these strikingly colored butlers of the sea will get help in carrying out their mission of removing remove algae that can smother and kill coral reefs.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Abigail Dillen's blog posts
14 October 2013, 2:18 PM
Strong power plant carbon limits are critical for tackling climate change
EPA is now taking the next step to control pollution from new power plants. (Calin Tatu / Shutterstock)

This op-ed originally ran on October 11, 2013, on LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cements the urgency for U.S. leaders to move boldly and quickly on climate change, and the most logical place to start is the nation's fleet of power plants.

Recently, when the Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, groups involved with climate change cheered the announcement. Cleaning up power plants is an essential first step to addressing climate change and its effects, from superstorms to catastrophic fire seasons. Power plants are by far the biggest carbon polluters in the country, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. There is no excuse for building any new, dirty plants without carbon pollution controls.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>