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New Yorkers should be proud of their lawmakers today.

On their first day back in session, members of the New York State Assembly voted to approve a temporary moratorium on the controversial form of gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." (No word on whether Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind" was blasting in the halls of the Capitol during the late-night vote.)

In a bold and precedent-setting move, Costa Rica has prohibited all future open-pit metal mining! Environmentalists are celebrating the passage of the new law, which—approved unanimously by the Costa Rican Congress—establishes Costa Rica as a country that is "free from open-pit metal mining."

Costa Rica is the first country in the Americas to recognize the severity of the environmental and economic harms caused by open-pit mining, and to say no to future open pit mines.

My friend Ken Brower has a fascinating piece in The Atlantic Monthly for December on the visionary astrophysicist Freeman Dyson. Ken has known Dyson for years and wrote a wonderful joint profile of Freeman and his then-estranged son, George, titled The Starship and the Canoe.

As Ken writes, Dyson belongs in the same company as Einstein and other certifiable geniuses for his contributions to physics and other fields, including medicine.

But Dyson is also a climate denier, arguing that global warming won't be all that bad. Ken evidently saw Freeman being interviewed by Charlie Rose, spouting all this indefensible claptrap, and couldn't let it pass. It's a fascinating piece with plenty of useful observations. I recommend it.

Today, in the midst of Thanksgiving, we invite you to spend a minute and 17 seconds with us as we honor the many Earthjustice supporters responsible for significant achievements this year on behalf of people, wildlife and the wild places we all love.

We've put together a simple, elegant video story of four of those achievements. As one of our supporters—or perhaps someone who might become one—you should instantly see how powerful and important that support is.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced final rules for the disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry, one of the largest sources of methane, a potent global warming pollutant.

According to the EPA, the rule will cover 85 percent of the greenhouse gas discharges from the oil and gas sector and will require reporting by about 2,800 facilities.

Although the recent elections signal a return to more inhospitable times for environmental protection in Congress, we are sustained by two constants: the power of the law and the dedication of our supporters.

The law provides leverage for progress even when political winds shift, and our steadfast supporters have shown time and again that they trust in our ability to wield it for positive change, regardless of the prevailing politics.

The coal mining industry is developing plans to send massive amounts of U.S. coal to China. The move comes as coal companies see little room for growth domestically as concerns grow over climate impacts and local pollution.

The Australian mining giant Ambre Energy asked a Cowlitz County (WA) commission last night to approve a port project that would allow for the export of 5 million tons of coal annually, mostly to Asia.

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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.