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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
19 August 2009, 4:24 PM
Earthjustice president sees firsthand environmental bests and worsts
Wind power parts enroute

What does it take to peel back the abstractions of email, press reports, and legal briefs and really see some of what is at stake in Earthjustice's work? It's as easy as getting away from the computer, out of airports, and off the interstate.

Over the last couple of weeks I was lucky enough to travel across the Great Plains and the Rockies. Everywhere I went, I saw our country wrestling with the big challenges of energy supply and climate change, biodiversity and wildlands protection, and the human consequences of poorly enforced environmental standards.

Signs of change in our energy economy are everywhere. Across Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, I kept running into wide-load 18 wheelers hauling giant pieces of wind towers to the sites of new wind farms. One of the truck drivers told me that the towers were made in Texas. Some of the small towns practically had to shut down their main streets to let the rigs through.

10 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
19 August 2009, 3:08 PM
Want to keep tabs on mountaintop removal mining? Here's how.

Concerned about mountaintop removal mining? Hungry for minute-to-minute coverage of all things coal? Looking to keep the August doldrums at bay by organizing your internet browser bookmarks?

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, you need to click here. Bookmark the site. Read it daily.

I've just directed you to Coal Tattoo, a blog by Charleston (WV) Gazette environmental reporter Ken Ward Jr. It's the go-to source for coverage on mountaintop removal mining that is both timely and thoughtful.

The blog celebrated its six-month anniversary this month. The occasion ushered in congratulations and praise from folks on all side of the mountaintop removal mining debate—a testament to Ken's fair and accurate reporting.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
19 August 2009, 3:06 PM
Power lines to the people don't serve clean energy sources
Power transmission lines. Photo: Department of Energy

If you look at a map showing a planned network of high-voltage power lines through West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, you’ll notice something curious: they match up quite neatly with the region’s existing power plants.

The $1.9-billion Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) is a pet project of two of the country’s most powerful coal producers: American Electric Power and Allegheny Energy. And they don’t seem particularly interested in making room for their counterparts in the renewable energy business.

That didn’t seem quite fair to those of us at Earthjustice. So last month we went ahead and intervened in the project’s Virginia State proceedings, hoping to help clear a space at the table for renewable energy.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
19 August 2009, 9:42 AM
Obama and the courts back roadless areas. Mostly.
Roadless area in Wyoming's Beartooth Plateau. Photo: Nelson Guda, 2009

We've seen considerable activity concerning national forest roadless areas in the past few weeks in case you missed it—most of it welcome.

Early this month, the federal appeals court upheld a district court ruling that found that the rule the Bush administration cooked up to replace the 2001 Roadless Rule was illegal, and therefore reinstated the 2001 rule. (The Bush rule invited governors to suggest how national forests in their states should be run. The 2001 rule forbids most road building and logging in roadless areas in national forests.)

Shortly thereafter, the Forest Service, under President Obama and Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, announced that it will appeal a ruling out of Wyoming, where a cantankerous federal judge found the 2001 rule illegal. Twice. Earthjustice has appealed that ruling, and now we're joined by the administration.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
19 August 2009, 9:41 AM
Fraud, misinformation cloud climate and energy debate
Development on an oil shale research lease in Western Colorado. Copyright Peter Hart, 2009.

Climate change deniers like to say there's no proof of global warming, or no proof that it's human caused, or no proof that's it's a bad thing.

But it's those who are hoping to torpedo efforts to do something about global warming that have recently been exposed as liars and frauds. Last month, media reports confirmed that opponents of the cap and trade bill resorted to just making stuff up, sending in forged letters to Congress on behalf of advocacy groups who did not, in fact, oppose the House legislation.  

And this week, Congressional investigators found a new batch of forgeries prepared by the same lobbying firm representing the oxymoronically-named "Clean Coal" coalition.

For a group of folks unconvinced by mountains of data, global warming deniers certainly are good at creating their own alternative reality.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
18 August 2009, 4:17 PM
New fraudulent letters opposing the climate bill revealed

The scandal involving a D.C. lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates that sent forged letters opposing the climate bill to members of Congress continues to grow. A number of blogs are covering a press release from Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that states five new forged letters were uncovered as part of a congressional investigation launched shortly after reports of the first batch of forged letters surfaced.

The recently discovered letters, sent to three Democratic representatives—Tom Perriello (D-VA), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and Christopher Carney (D-PA)—were purportedly from senior citizen centers and expressed concern that fixed-income seniors would be hurt by rate increases as a result of the climate bill. 

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Peter Campbell's blog posts
17 August 2009, 5:09 PM
Some Woodstock artists had a lasting impact on our environment.
Richie Havens performing at Woodstock. Photo: Derek Redman and Paul Campbell

Much is spoken about the legacy of Woodstock, the concert that defined a musical era, now celebrating a 40-year reunion. I came across this fascinating slideshow on Treehugger's website, discussing the post-Woodstock environmental activities of some of the famous rock and folk musicians that performed there. While some might be skeptical as to how great a conference Woodstock was, discovering this 40-year history of environmental stewardship that followed speaks to the historic importance of the event.

The slideshow notes some fascinating environmental pursuits of classic 60's artists. Here are some additional links and details on the musicians featured and their earth-friendly activities:

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
17 August 2009, 2:04 PM
EPA and Obama can still stop destruction of lake
Photo: Pat Costello, courtesy of Lighthawk

Last Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers quietly gave Kensington gold mine permission to kill an Alaskan lake with mine tailings. It's disappointing for those of us who've been fighting for years to keep this lake—and the Clean Water Act—from being trashed.

Technically, the Corps had every right to grant the permit. So spoke the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year in a narrow ruling that said a Bush-era twist of the Clean Water Act allowed a slurry of toxic, chemically-processed mine tailings to be defined as "fill." Fill, such as rock, has long been legal to place in our waterways under permits issued by the Corps.

Earthjustice, which argued against the permit in court, was disappointed by the ruling, but had good reason to believe the dumping would not be allowed.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Brian Smith's blog posts
14 August 2009, 2:35 PM
Secret industry memo reveals "Astroturf" copy-cat incivilities

Unhappy with the Waxman-Markey climate bill, polluting industries are planning their own version of Town Hall disruptions recently seen over health care reform. The goal is to shout down any public discussion of the most important environmental issue facing the world.

Greenpeace obtained a copy of a secret memo allegedly being distributed by the American Petroleum Institute that encourages industry workers to  "aim a loud message at those states’ U.S. senators" with a series of rallies. They want senators to reject "tax increases, and access limitations on jobs and on consumers’ energy costs" and call on sentaors "to oppose unsound energy policy and 'get it right'."

View Bill Walker's blog posts
12 August 2009, 5:05 PM
New standards for soda machines save CO2 equal to 2M cars a year
Flickr: t-dawg

I'm outing myself as a old fogey, but I remember Coke machines like this one. They don't make 'em like that any more—which is a good thing, considering how much energy beverage vending machines use.

As part of its ongoing update of energy efficiency standards for home and commercial appliances, the Department of Energy has issued new rules that will reduce global warming pollution by almost 10 million metric tons over 30 years. That's an energy savings equal to what's used by more than 830,000 American households in a single year, and a carbon dioxide savings equal to that produced by 2 million cars a year.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>