unEARTHED, the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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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 Jared Saylor's blog posts
16 July 2009, 10:32 AM
Only a few boos mar debut of powerful documentary on Appalachia coal

The email came late Wednesday afternoon, just three days before the July 11 premiere that's been planned for months. The South Charleston Museum in West Virginia, which had agreed to show the documentary, "Coal Country," was backing out because of "concerns" about security at the event. Threats of protests meant the museum didn't want to take part in showing a film that offers an unbiased and frank portrait of coal and its impact and history in Appalachia.

When executive producer Mari-Lynn Evans (who produced the powerful documentary "The Appalachians" for PBS in 2005) got the bad news about the South Charleston Museum, she immediately sent an email to the local activists helping plan the premiere. By Thursday morning, a flurry of phone calls, emails, conference calls and meetings were taking place in a mad rush to find an alternate location to show the film.

13 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
15 July 2009, 1:42 PM
EPA reveals locations—now it must actually regulate coal ash
A house destroyed by coal ash that spilled in December 2008 from the TVA containment pond.

It appears the old maxim "ask and you shall receive" is alive and well.

On June 18, a coalition of environmental groups, including Earthjustice, filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the Environmental Protection Agency to make public a list of "high hazard" coal ash disposal sites across the country.

Eleven days later, we had the information in hand. The 44 sites were spread across 10 states as follows:

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
15 July 2009, 12:03 PM
 

American politics is a wonder. Let’s say you’re unhappy with the climate bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives a while back. You think you might be able to influence the Senate and an eventual conference committee if you could get an opinion piece published in the Washington Post. Who would be your best messenger? A respected scientist to argue about the science? A Nobel prizewinning economist to attack the economics of the bill? Maybe a former government energy official from the not too distant past? How about Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin? The soon-to-be-former governor of Alaska and Tina Fey lookalike who ran for vice president on the McCain ticket? Why, yes. Sarah’s your choice.

12 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
14 July 2009, 4:06 PM
 
Photo: NASA

I just received a most curious press release from GfK Public Affairs and Media.

GfK, one of the largest marketing research companies in the world according to its website, conducted a poll to determine the ranking of various countries as "brands." The country with the best overall reputation is Germany. The U.S. finishes seventh. As a tourist destination, Italy finishes first, France second. As an exporter, Japan comes first, the U.S. second.

But the poll the release directed my attention to, released to coincide with the recent G-8 meeting in Italy, ranked countries based on how they "behave responsibly to protect the environment." Tops is Switzerland. The top 10 include all the Scandinavian countries, plus Germany and the Netherlands in Europe, plus Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
10 July 2009, 3:30 PM
 

You'd think Colorado's two Democratic U.S. senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, would be in the forefront to protect one of Colorado's most valuable natural resources: our water. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether they will be.

As has been amply detailed by Earthjustice and in a recent op-ed in the Denver Post by Trout Unlimited's Melinda Kassen, the federal Clean Water Act turned America's water from a polluted (and sometimes burning) mess into much cleaner lakes, rivers and streams.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
08 July 2009, 3:41 PM
 

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to "uphold and defend" the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which set out to protect nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands across the country. Not long ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has responsibility for the Forest Service among many things, announced that he will personally review any projects proposed in roadless areas. This move was labelled a year-long "time out" for road building and logging by some in the media, but in fact, there's no guarantee.

With an eye toward nudging the president to a more bold and forthright act, five conservation organizations are launching a major ad campaign aimed directly at the president.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
08 July 2009, 1:38 PM
 

The pictures are not what you'd generally call beautiful, but they're stirring nonetheless: the early stages of the demolition of the Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River in Oregon, which has been killing salmon for decades.

The demolition is the result of yeoman (yeowoman too) efforts by a cast of hundreds, including Earthjustice's Mike Sherwood, who jumped through dozens of hoops, went to court, raised hell, and finally prevailed. Demolition will take some months yet—a celebration at the site is planned for October 10, though that could change a little. Go to Waterwatch for updates. Savage Rapids Dam Is Dead. Long Live Savage Rapids.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
02 July 2009, 3:07 PM
Sunflower Electric must apply for new air permit

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has thrown a wrench into the expansion of Sunflower coal-fired power plant in Kansas. It's the first hopeful sign out of that state since its new governor cooked up a deal allowing the expansion in May.

In a letter this week, the EPA told the state and Sunflower Electric that it must apply for a new air permit before building a massive, dirty 895MW coal-fired power plant. Agreeing with a position taken by Earthjustice, the EPA said Sunflower must submit new environmental analyses addressing hazardous pollutants, dirty particulates and the possibility of cleaner technology than may exist today.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
30 June 2009, 11:25 AM
 

How many Presidents of the United States does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one.

It's no joke. Millions of Americans have already changed their light bulbs to save energy and fight global warming. New lighting standards announced Monday will help all our homes and businesses make the switch, and as a result, save billions of dollars in utility bills and create thousands of new jobs.

The new lighting standards will save enough energy annually to power all U.S. homes for almost a year, while saving consumers $1 billion to $4 billion a year in utility bills. The long-delayed standards come just a few months after the president directed Energy Secretary Steven Chu to speed up the process of setting efficiency standards for a variety of home and commercial appliances, from refrigerators to soft-drink vending machines.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
30 June 2009, 9:20 AM
 

A good case could be made that the most important U.S. federal environmental laws are the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. And what do they have in common? They were enacted (amended since in some cases) in the early 1970s and signed into law by Richard Nixon, a conservative republican.

Which makes the reaction of the Republican right wing to the recent House passage of a compromise climate bill so interesting.