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Inspiration abounds in America. Despite the problems and troubles of this expansive land, we have heroes, champions and everyday people who, day in and day out, rise above their circumstances to the inspire those around them and lead their communities toward change.

After all, that's the story of America, isn't it? At the heart of every great triumph in our nation's history is the story of everyday people who stood up and demanded better for themselves, for their neighbors, for their brothers and sisters, and for their fellow Americans.

Our long fight to get clear standards to control pollution from fertilizer, animal waste, and sewage hit a major milestone this week (Nov. 15), when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new, enforceable limits in Florida—the first ever in the U.S.

EPA scientists worked in conjunction with scientists at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to set these important limits on excess nutrients—phosphorus and nitrogen—which are wrecking waters in Florida and all over the U.S.

Reporters speak of a story having legs, meaning that it is likely to continue over an extended period. Spotted owls have legs.

The story began in the late '80s, when it became evident that out-of-control logging in ancient forests in the Northwest was about to extinguish the owls. Earthjustice sued, and managed to achieve Endangered Species Act protection for the owls.

End of story? Not quite.

Art imitated life on CBS's hit crime show CSI last night. The episode, titled "Fracked," delved into the water-polluting form of gas drilling in which millions of gallons of chemically-treated water are blasted into the earth to extract gas from underground deposits.

The episode summary goes like this:

Two men are murdered right before exposing a natural gas company for poisoning residents in a farming town, and the CSIs must discover who is responsible for their deaths.

It takes chutzpah to assert that there aren't enough skilled workers—during the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression—to comply with EPA regulations to reduce air pollution. But the power sector has done just that. For example, American Electric Power Co. has suggested that there are not enough specialized workers to comply with air pollution reduction regulations.

Thankfully, organized labor has forcefully rebutted these claims.

And here's yet another clue to the question of what happened to all that oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's blown well.

A Canadian toxicologist reports that dispersants did break up the oil and make it less visible—but in doing so, the oil was allowed to contaminate a volume of water up to 1,000 times greater than if the oil was left alone. As a result, the oil, along with the dispersant, was made much more readily available to living organisms, including micro-organisms and wiildlife.

What the heck are we doing to our animals? I read a startling piece on birds afflicted with “long-billed syndrome” – abnormally long beaks which inhibits preening and eating in some dire cases. Many of these birds end up starving and infested with feather lice. These incidents are appearing in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The cause: undetermined. But I can’t help but suspect there’s a chemical, human-induced reason behind all of this.


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.