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 Bill Walker's blog posts
25 March 2009, 1:45 PM
 

The Colorado Senate has passed a package of regulations on oil and gas drilling that increases protections for drinking water, wildlife and natural resources. The rules, which will be signed by Gov. Bill Ritter in the next few days, are the strongest, most comprehensive regulations in the nation.

A key provision—and the most contentious—will require oil and gas companies to disclose to the state the toxic chemicals used in drilling. Hundreds of chemicals, dozens of them harmful to human health, are routinely injected into wells to increase production.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
25 March 2009, 12:07 PM
 

A couple of weeks ago we jumped the gun and announced that Mineral King, a lovely high-elevation valley in the southern Sierra Nevada in California, would be added to the National Wilderness System along with around 170 other areas totalling about two million acres. Last minute parliamentary tricks in the House kept it from happening then.

Today, under new rules, the House passed this monumental bill -- the greatest single expansion of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 15 years. President Obama is expected to quickly sign it into law.

Mineral King is especially close to our hearts because it was a lawsuit in the late 1960s challenging plans for a huge ski resort in the valley that gave birth to modern environmental law and to Earthjustice itself.

The King Lives! Long Live the King!

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
24 March 2009, 3:55 PM
 

UPDATE: There was a lot of confusion and misinterpretation about Tuesday's announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that it was reviewing mountaintop removal mining permits to assess their potential impact on the waterways and people of Appalachia. Only two permits have been questioned. Dozens are under review. And the EPA is signalling that many of those may not be held up for environmental reasons.

This is nonetheless a first step towards what we have been petitioning -- and suing -- to have the federal government do. Just this month, nearly 25,000 Earthjustice supporters, along with many others across the nation, sent messages to the White House asking for a halt to this most-devastating method of coal mining.

View John McManus's blog posts
23 March 2009, 2:55 PM
 

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency took a giant step away from the path it was on under Bush by moving a step closer to finding that carbon dioxide from major global warming polluters threatens our health and well being.

The EPA proposal to the White House could result in national limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
19 March 2009, 12:40 PM
 

One year ago in this column, I called on Environmental Protection Agency chief Stephen Johnson to resign for letting politics, not science, guide his agency's decisions. Nor was I alone—10,000 EPA employees were in open revolt for the same reason. Johnson was defying the Supreme Court's ruling that his agency should move forward on climate change and was refusing to approve California's forward-looking controls on climate-altering pollution.

Today, I am calling on all Earthjustice supporters to join with me in thanking his successor, Lisa Jackson, for steering the EPA back on course with a string of good decisions, especially her action last week aimed at regulating one of the most toxic side effects of burning coal for power: coal ash.

33 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
19 March 2009, 10:59 AM
 

We knew the proposed Red Cliff coal mine in western Colorado had a lot of problems.  It's no secret that coal is a dirty fuel.  On top of the predictable global warming impacts from burning the mined coal, this mine each year will spew thousands of tons of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than CO2 - into the atmosphere without controls.   It will require bulldozing in the Hunter Canyon proposed wilderness.  And it will degrade important habitat for deer and elk.

The project will likely also bring another unwelcome impact to Colorado's West Slope: smog (AKA ozone).  If you couldn't figure that out by reading the BLM's 1,000+ page environmental impact statement, there's a reason for that:  BLM didn't analyze the mine's ozone impacts.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
18 March 2009, 11:18 AM
 

Apparently, the sight of toxic algae blooms spreading across South Florida's public waterways last year wasn't enough to convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do the right thing and toughen standards for nutrient pollution.

So on March 9, we filed suit in U.S. District Court to compel the EPA to set more protective pollution limits for Lake Okeechobee and its tributaries. Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake wholly within the continental United States, second only to Lake Michigan.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
17 March 2009, 11:53 AM
 

Quick—what country exports the most oil into the United States? Saudi Arabia? Venezuela? Iraq?

Nope. Canada. And the oil we get from our northern neighbor is about the most ridiculous energy bargain imaginable. Most of the stuff comes from vast deposits of tar sands in Alberta. Eventual emissions of CO2 are three times as much as from an equivalent amount of conventional crude oil. Mining the sands requires razing wide expanses of boreal forests and the peat soil beneath the trees, an inconvenient substance the industry sometimes calls "overburden." This is clearly disastrous for wildlife as well as for groundwater and air quality.

And now the capper—extraction of the tar sands and conversion to usable oil is so energy intensive that Canada is considering building nuclear plants to generate the electricity necessary to mine and refine the sands. This would be, according to a series of articles and links gathered by Grist magazine  (make sure to look at the photographs), the first time so-called "clean" nuclear electricity would be used to provide decidedly unclean fossil fuels to keep global warming rocketing along on track.

People really are nuts.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
13 March 2009, 11:52 AM
 

Earthjustice staff scientist Anna Cederstav gives children advice about how to become an environmental scientist at IndyKids.

"Anna makes sure the lawyers get their scientific facts straight!"

Indeed.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
13 March 2009, 10:11 AM
 

The New York Times reports via Greenwire that the Obama administration is making some legal maneuvers that could mean they are reconsidering health standards for smog pollution set by the Bush administration back in 2007. Earthjustice and the 60,000 of you who participated in our Adopt the Sky campaign told Bush that his approach ignored science and the law, setting a standard that fell short of what scientists recommended were safe levels to protect public health.

I know, I know, big surprise that the Bush administration let politics trump science and set a standard that did a terrible job of protecting public health and the environment, but that's why we sued them in court!

The Obama administration asked the court to "stall proceedings" on our lawsuit challenging the weak Bush standard in order to "determine whether to revise the controversial Bush-era standards," according to the Times story. Of course, we remain optimistic that the current EPA will listen to the recommendations of science and set a standard protective of public health.