Skip to main content

Blogs

One grandmother from Virginia called on the EPA to "do the right thing... step up."

Gefen Kabik, 14, of Potomoc, Maryland asked, "Since when has money become more important than people?"

And Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said, "There are a lot of people who can't afford to be in the room today who are depending on you to make the right choice."

I'm just back from vacation and came across a clipping I've been carting around for a month. It's a column by Jack Hart that appeared in the Oregonian newspaper on Aug. 1. It is titled, "The fallacy of growth in a finite world."

Mr. Hart, by the way, is no shrieking greenie, he's a former managing editor of the Oregonian, now an author, teacher and writing coach. A cynical, hard-bitten newsman, in other words.

In one sense, Mr. Hart's thesis is a truism: Perpetual economic growth is impossible. Eventually the planet will run out of oil, clean air, potable water, natural gas, or a hundred other resources--or the ability to absorb pollution. The popular mantra of the moment--sustainable growth--is an oxymoron if there ever was one.

But challenging the idea of growth is only rarely spoken in public. Heretical, impractical, political suicide. But someone's got to do it, and I tip my hat to Mr. Hart, a brave man. I hope this piece gets circulated far and wide.

Knowledge is king, and now we know more about the extent of damage coal ash sites across the country are causing to our drinking water. A new report issued today by Earthjustice, the Environmental Integrity Project and  Sierra Club offers data that documents water contaminated with arsenic and other heavy metals at 39 coal ash dumps in 21 states.

Mountaintop removal mining is one of those things in life that you can't really understand until you've seen it. All the blog posts, articles, editorials, and columns in the world combined can't equal the impact of bearing direct witness to a mountain being razed by explosives, to streams buried in rubble, and to crystal mountain waters running black.

Florida's St. John's River is fouled this summer with green slime, and dead fish are washing up on its shores. Every time it rains, nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen poison this river and others all over Florida. The poison comes from sewage, animal manure and fertilizer.

It is a crisis big enough that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed in November 2009 to set the first-ever legal limits for nutrient poisoning.

Headlines in the last week trumpeted a decision by Xcel, Colorado's largest utility, to convert several old coal-fired power plants into natural gas plants.

The decision was hailed by some as a victory for the environment, since natural gas, when burned, results in fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases.  Some proclaimed the political power of coal on the wane in the West and natural gas ascendent.

Pages

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.