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The imprints of Glacier National Park's eponymous treasures define every captivating view in the park: towering arêtes cast shadows over cirques and U-shaped valleys, opalescent lakes extend like fingers between summit and valley floor, and glacial melt cascades from hidden valleys over rock banded with shades of yellow, purple, red, gray and green.

As we get ready to gas up our grills in a final hoorah to summer this Labor Day, an exhibition highlighting war-era food posters at the National Agriculture Library reminds us that simple acts like growing our own food and conserving food supplies for those in need were once thought of as our patriotic duty, rather than small steps towards a socialist agenda.

In 2011, the EPA is expected to propose the first-ever limits on global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants—good news, considering these pollution giants are responsible for a third of CO2 emissions in the United States. To the industry lobbyists and their mouthpieces in Congress who are resorting to all sorts of fear-mongering to smother these critical efforts: take heed—the American public isn't on your side.

A new poll from the Benenson Strategy Group, commissioned by NRDC, polled 1,401 registered voters and found that 60 percent support the regulation of global-warming gases from power plants and refineries, another significant source of such pollution. And in a vote of confidence for the EPA, 54 percent expressed confidence in the agency's ability to control the emissions.

Along with a suite of other pollution control rules the EPA is and will be pursuing, the forthcoming rules to limit global warming pollution from coal plants provide a tremendous opportunity to protect our health and planet while building a clean energy future. Those on the payroll of big polluters will try to keep us stuck in the past, but a vocal American public that demands strong action on global warming from the EPA and the Obama administration can help carry us forward.

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.


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.