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 Terry Winckler's blog posts
23 February 2009, 12:43 PM
 

A scientist with a cigarette lighter is providing the latest evidence of global warming's dramatic and swift impacts in the Arctic.

Four miles south of the Arctic Circle, Katey Walter has found that melting ice and permafrost are releasing vast amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas 21 times worse than CO2 as a contributor to climate change.

To prove the point, Walter stoops down to melting pools and flicks her lighter to ignite methane flame jets 20 feet high. It's a "time bomb" that even slightly warmer temperatures could set off, she told the Los Angeles Times.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
19 February 2009, 5:35 AM
 

Those oft-repeated words by Justice Louis Brandeis—referring to the importance of transparency and openness—took on a special meaning this week when Earthjustice sued Lysol-maker Reckitt-Benckiser and other household cleaners manufacturing giants for failing to disclose the chemical ingredients in their products and the health risks they pose.

The UK-based Reckitt-Benkiser is being targeted in the lawsuit (pdf) along with Proctor & Gamble (Mr. Clean and others), Colgate-Palmolive (Ajax and others), Church and Dwight (Brillo and others).

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
18 February 2009, 12:18 PM
 

The news on climate change is coming thick and fast these days. Over the weekend, news reports stated scientific studies showed global warming accelerating faster than predicted.  Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to take a second look at regulating CO2 from coal-fired power plants as a pollutant, signaling a 180 from the Bush administration's do-nothing approach. Here in Colorado, the big news was President Obama signing the nearly $800 billion stimulus legislation after touring the new solar panel installation on top of Denver's Museum of Nature and Science.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 February 2009, 11:30 AM
 

In less than a month, President Obama has tackled several items on a list of Six Easy Things that Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen set forth for the new administration last November.

1) Move towards reducing CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act

One of the most significant actions came this week when the EPA said it would reconsider the infamous "Johnson memo" issued just before Obama took office by Bush's EPA chief Stephen Johnson. The memo directed EPA staff to ignore regulation of CO2 even though the U.S. Supreme Court said EPA had the authority. Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson said she is reconsidering that memo and will seek public comment.

Bottom Line: The EPA appears headed towards regulating CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

19 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
17 February 2009, 6:35 PM
 

One of the last dirty coal power plants on tap in the Sunshine State could get cleaner, thanks to new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Lisa Jackson and her wise decision to take another look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 February 2009, 5:10 PM
 

The Clean Water Act, despite being one of our nation's most potent environmental protection laws for three decades, has an Achilles' heel—a one-word weakness that the U.S. Supreme Court has expanded into an enormous loophole.

In decisions handed down in 2001 and 2006, the Supreme Court seized on that word—"navigable"—to make rulings that neither friend nor foe of the Act could predict, and none of us can live with. Effectively, the Supreme Court broke the Clean Water Act by saying Congress meant that the Act's protections apply only to "navigable" waters when it passed the Act to eliminate water pollution back in 1972. Therefore, only an act of Congress can mend this potentially fatal injury.

35 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 February 2009, 6:06 AM
 

This column by Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen appeared in Alternet.

Americans who love to grumble about regulations now have some they can cheer about. The New England Journal of Medicine is reporting that we now live an extra five months, thanks to regulations that have cleaned up air pollution over the last few decades.

By breathing air cleansed of particulates, the federally-funded study said, Americans in 51 cities are enjoying those extra months—and people in the most-polluted cities are getting 10 months of bonus life.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
13 February 2009, 2:47 PM
 

In a devastating blow to the mountains, streams and people of Appalachia, today, federal judges ruled in favor of a mountaintop removal mining case.

As a result, mining companies can conduct mountaintop removal mining operations without minimizing stream destruction or conducting adequate environmental reviews. The Appalachian community will now—more than ever—be dependent on President Barack Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to stop this terrible practice. Earthjustice remains on the front lines of this struggle and will continue fighting to preserve our mountains and waters.

View Bill Walker's blog posts
13 February 2009, 8:21 AM
 

(UPDATE: Since this was posted, more than 21,000 Earthjustice supporters sent comments to the Minerals Management Service opposing expansion of oil and gas exploration in the "Polar Bear Seas.")

The Beaufort and Chukchi seas are home to one in five of the world's remaining polar bears. That's why these icy waters north and west of Alaska are often called the Polar Bear Seas.

They're also crucial feeding and migration zones for bowhead, beluga and other whales, as well as seals, walruses and migratory birds.

This is America's Arctic, already under assault from global warming—and now, threatened by a massive expansion of the oil and gas drilling that fuel climate change.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
12 February 2009, 3:53 PM
 

Lots of eyes rolled two years ago when San Francisco banned plastic grocery bags, but milllions of saved bags later, the experiment has swept across America, into many foreign countries and may soon take root in the nation's capital.

A Washington, D.C. councilmember has proposed legislation aimed at reducing the amount of trash that falls into the city’s Anacostia River, where an estimated 40 percent of trash pulled out of the river is plastic bags. The San Francisco bag-ban has translated to 5 million fewer bags a month. The bags are now outlawed in South Africa and Bangladesh. Ireland imposed a tax on plastic bags in 2003, leading the public to almost entirely use cloth totes.