Skip to main content

Blogs

On the Obama administration's second Earth Day, we can look back on some change we can believe in: oil and gas leases near national parks in Utah suspended, a glimmer of progress on slowing the destruction of rivers and streams in Appalachia by coal mines, the beginning of EPA's commitment to slow global warming from car tail pipes.

But 15 months in, the administration appears to have at least one glaring blind spot: how to reduce the environmental destruction from coal mining in the West - both on the ground and in the atmosphere. 

This time of year is when young salmon in California hitch a ride on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers out to the ocean—if they escape the massive pumps in the Delta. These pumps redirect the water and send it south to huge agricultural operations in the San Joaquin Valley - in the process the sucking in and killing salmon.

Since a recent judicial order in Florida's efforts to restore the Everglades hit the news, many people are asking: What does it mean?

The short answer is that it creates both risks and opportunities.

The twists and turns of this case are pretty complex, so let me explain what Federal Judge Mareno's order does. The judge granted a motion to force the South Florida Water Management District to spend $700 million to build a reservoir in the southern Everglades Agricultural Area.

As mother, I try to protect my children from exposure to toxic chemicals in household products. But as an environmental attorney, I know only too well that our country's existing system of regulating chemicals is badly broken.

The same law that allowed asbestos to remain on the market long after it had been proven carcinogenic now has parents doubling as forensic chemists scrambling to keep up with the latest research on health risks posed by the items in their homes.

When the EPA said on its website that April was going to be the month when we'd see the first ever federal coal ash regulations, environmental groups were in support. Sure, it would be four months later than what the EPA originally promised when a billion gallons of coal ash spilled across 300 acres in Tennessee, but we remained optimistic.

Now the month is half over and still no coal ash regulations. So, we're taking our fight up the ladder.

Glacier National Park is commemorating its centennial this year. Hoping to celebrate the park's tremendous beauty in person, I recently submitted a request to camp in Glacier's high country later this summer. If I'm lucky enough to obtain the permits, I will find myself hiking high trails in the home of grizzly bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, Canadian lynx, bald eagles, and more than 1,000 plant species, to name just a few.

This week, after seven months of dodging bullets, Idaho's wolves got a reprieve: the statewide hunt that left 188 of them dead is over.

The actual number of wolves killed since hunting was legalized last year is more than 500—including those shot during the Montana season and others killed by governmental agents protecting livestock.

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

It turns out that pesticides aren't just dangerous in agricultural use. Last week, the U.S. EPA called for clearer labels and tighter regulations for flea treatments after the agency noticed an increase in adverse reactions from pets treated with the pesticide-laden products.

The father of energy saving techniques, Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfield, may soon join the countless other people whose names have since been transformed into units of measurement. We think the term Rosenfield as the new unit for energy savings has a nice ring to it.

Campaign director Jared Saylor examines the Obama administration's mixed message decision to halt oil and gas leasing in Bristol Bay off Alaska's southwestern coast and to postpone future lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, while allowing exploration drilling to move forward in both seas starting as early as this summer.

This week, Earthjustice celebrated two big wins on the environmental front. First, the Department of Energy announced its adoption of strong water heater standards, which is set to cut both energy usage and energy bills. Not to be outdone, the EPA made its own announcement with its adoption of new guidelines designed to prevent continuing harmful environmental impacts caused by mountaintop removal mining.
 

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.