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In his 2010 State of the Union speech, President Obama delivered an impressive salvo to our overseas peers:

There is no reason that Europe or China should have the fastest trains.

And with that, he seemed to have kick-started America into the race to develop the high-speed rail systems of the future. Except that in Europe and China, the future is already here.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made it clear—when it comes to the environment, we are at a crossroads. There is historic opportunity for us to lead the clean energy revolution that will transform our societies or watch as others claim the technologies, jobs and environmental benefits that will be its rewards.

There are only about 400 right whales in existence at the moment. Which means the loss of just one of these creatures could contribute to the overall extinction of the entire species.

That's why Earthjustice joined with several groups to challenge the U.S. Navy's decision to build it's $100 million Undersea Warfare Training Range in the calving ground for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. The range would be 50 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. This is the only known calving range for right whales. In total, 14 conservation groups are protesting this training range.

We're asking the Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service to study the impacts of building and operating the training range in this location. The Navy has moved forward with this plan despite protests from Earthjustice and other groups. But we plan to challenge this plan—and protect right whales as best we can.
 

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

One result of burning coal is lots and lots of toxic coal ash. It's stored in hundreds of ponds across the U.S., and it can flood and devastate entire communities. Yesterday, Earthjustice joined more than 100 environmental groups in a Day of Action, urging the White House to finally call coal ash what it is: hazardous waste.

A heated debate over mountaintop removal coal mining last week drew huge crowds. The competitors: Don Blankenship, CEO of coal giant Massey Energy, and Waterkeeper founder Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The reporter: Earthjustice Campaigns Director, Jared Saylor. The victor: Decide for yourself!

The same Massey Energy is one of several industry groups asking a federal appeals court to review (aka do away with) the EPA Clean Air Act endangerment finding. In defense of the finding, 16 states and New York City filed a motion last week to intervene in the case.

Glacier National Park is nearly 100 years old, and Monday Reads introduces us to a truly incredible photography project in celebration of its centennial birthday. Right next door on the U.S.-Canadian border lives the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, now threatened by mining plans in the nearby Flathead Valley. But there was hopeful news last week: Earthjustice encouraged an investigation that has resulted in a recommendation of a moratorium on mining and a conservation plan for this essential region.

Last week, we got a bit of good news.

Earthjustice and our allies in British Columbia and Montana convinced a UN committee in 2009 to come investigate serious environmental threats facing the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park which lies on both sides of the U.S and Canadian border.

After sending a team to investigate last fall, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will recommend a moratorium on mining in the Flathead Valley of southeastern British Columbia and the development of a conservation and wildlife management plan for the region. (Video after the jump.)

Coal ash currently stored in ponds across the U.S. could flow continuosly over Niagara Falls for three days straight. The new Dallas Cowboys stadium couldn't hold all the coal ash in those ponds; in fact, you'd need 263 Dallas Cowboys stadiums to hold it all. We'd need to build 738 Empire State buildings to contain it all.

The EPA Clean Air Act endangerment finding, under attack in the U.S. Senate by Lisa Murkowski and her lobbyist allies, is also facing opposition in the courts. Last month, a band of industry interests asked a federal appeals court to review the EPA's finding, which is a prerequisite for using the Clean Air Act to reduce global warming pollution in the U.S.

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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.