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.


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.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
28 May 2008, 4:51 PM

Today Americans first learned that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has written a tell-all book about his years in the Bush Administration.

According to press accounts, the administration was less than candid with the American people. McClellan now believes he told numerous untruths on behalf of the administration. While the administration will certainly dispute McClellan's account, the whole issue begs the question.

If the Bush administration was not straight with the American people about war, the economy, etc... what untruths were told by Mr. McClellan with regard to the environment?

View Tom Turner's blog posts
27 May 2008, 12:07 PM

First we had the skeptics, the nay-sayers, who denied that the climate is heating up, or, if it is, it's natural and not our fault. Rush Limbaugh still spouts this line, as does Senator Jim Inhofe, but their ranks are dwindling, have in fact dwindled to insignificance.

So now the next wave, as in this piece on a New York Times blog, borrowed from a piece on the Wired magazine blog, which argues that much environmental orthodoxy must be turned on its head.

To wit:
LIVE IN CITIES: Urban Living Is Kinder to the Planet Than the Suburban Lifestyle
No problem here; we've known this for a long time.

A/C IS OK: Air-Conditioning Actually Emits Less C02 Than Heating
Just because something contributes less carbon than something else doesn't make it OK. The surge in demand for electricity on hot days puts enormous strain on the grid. Insulate!

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
27 May 2008, 9:53 AM

...by giving themselves an environmental award, of course! note that the Lafarge press release touting their environmental award came out, according to the article, 6 months after they received the award. during that time we held two press conferences pounding on Lafarge for their mercury pollution, and this Albany Times Union reporter did a great story about how that cement kiln is the biggest mercury polluter in the state.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
22 May 2008, 3:41 PM

I've never been quite sure what 'a perfect storm' means (didn't see the movie), but it seems to mean a situation where everything gangs up on you. If so, we seem to be already in perfect storm territory in the building competition between hungry people and thirsty vehicles for corn and other grains.

Just the other day Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B, which is just out in its third incarnation and gets more valuable with each iteration, was saying that the amount of corn necessary to make enough fuel to fill the tank of a good-sized SUV once could feed a person for a year. Putting aside the side that you'd get awfully tired of Fritos and polenta, I find this is a shocking statistic. And it's not only SUVs, of course, most of our vehicles are now in direct competition with people for nourishment and the price of food is going through the roof, especially in countries where people can't afford enough food anyway.

View Sarah Burt's blog posts
22 May 2008, 3:31 PM

The U.S.may lose its right to vote on international ship pollution standards because Congress has failed to implement a treaty setting limits on ship pollution. At risk is a vote in upcoming negotiations on stricter standards proposed by the U.S. delegation to the International Maritime Organization.

House and Senate lawmakers are trying to resolve differences on legislation to implement the treaty, known as Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The full Senate has not yet acted on it.

Margo Oge, director of EPA's Office of Transportation, says the treaty legislation is crucial because it would allow the EPA to implement new pollution standards for the largest and dirtiest of ocean-going ships. However, the EPA already has such authority under the Clean Air Act.

View Wayne Salazar's blog posts
21 May 2008, 5:37 PM

A new survey reveals that Americans place global warming LAST on a list of domestic priorities. I learned that from an article in ClimateWire.

About a week later, I read an opinion piece by Bill McKibben from the LA Times. Something he said explained to me why Americans are so blasé about global warming. "Americans are constitutionally convinced that there will always be a second act, and a third, and a do-over after that, and, if necessary, a little public repentance and forgiveness and a Brand New Start."

3 Comments   /  
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 May 2008, 10:55 AM

Hundreds of angry people, urged on by a right-wing talk show host, called Earthjustice recently to ask why we are challenging plans to drill in Alaska's Arctic Ocean.

Like many Americans, the callers are suffering from gasoline price increases and other costs, like food, that have gone up with the price of oil. They had been led to believe that drilling in Alaska would bring gas prices back down and restore America's place in the world.

But they are victims of yet another cynical attempt to use gas prices for political purposes. The oil industry and its political allies hope to manipulate consumer pain to rile up political support for drilling oil any place it can be found.

1 Comment   /  
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
20 May 2008, 2:45 PM

Aah, summer!  Time to hit the road and visit some our crown jewel national parks here in the West.  It's time to enjoy the trees, the canyons, the birds, bees, and bears, the ranger talks, the smog. 

The smog?  Yep, get ready for it.  Because if the EPA has its way, the tremendous views from Mesa Verde, Zion, and other national parks will become more obscured with haze.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
15 May 2008, 1:41 PM

As everyone knows by now, the administration has moved to give Endangered Species Act protection to the polar bear—sort of. The bear goes on the list, but there a big footnote that says that energy development can proceed unhindered. Interior Secretary Kempthorne proclaimed that the Endangered Species Act must not be used to combat global warming.

Various forces, including the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, pledged to contest the listing in court. To have any hope of success, they'll need some tame scientists on their side. Read on.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
12 May 2008, 2:50 PM

Drink? Or drive? That may sound like questions to ask a a prospective designated driver before a night on the town. It may soon be the stark choice faced by an entire region.

That's because Shell Oil is planning to build giant oil shale extraction plants in western Colorado. The dirty little secret of oil shale development is that it takes huge amounts of electricity to bake rocks to turn shale into oil. Huge amounts. So much that Shell may have to build ten or more new natural gas (or coal) fired power plants to assist in turning rock to oil.