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A fluorescent green toxic algae outbreak on St. Johns River on November 12, 2013.

A toxic algae outbreak that recently caused officials in Toledo, Ohio to ban citizens from drinking tainted city water for several days, grabbed headlines around the world. For those of us living here in sunny Florida, these noxious green slime outbreaks are now a year-round occurrence.

A water plant that is supposed to serve 30,000 people along Southwest Florida’s Caloosahatchee River, near Fort Myers, has been repeatedly shut down over the years because toxic algae makes the water unsafe.

A flock of birds fly past a smokestack of a coal-fired power plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently held hearings in four cities on its proposed carbon pollution standards for the nation's existing power plants. Hundreds of Americans from all walks of life showed up at each hearing to express their support for the EPA’s safeguards.

Here are remarks from the Pittsburgh hearing delivered by Earthjustice attorney Shannon Fisk.

The delete key.

In July, we detailed our attempts to access records pertaining to San Diego Gas & Electric’s procurement plan as the utility tried to secure hasty approval of the plan from the California Public Utilities Commission. The plan proposed to contract with a polluting fossil fuel power plant at the expense of clean energy resources in San Diego.

A cropduster sprays agricultural fields.

Farmworkers share stories from the frontlines, in this third installment of a weekly series:

Part 3: Living near toxic fields

"As a child, my family worked in the fields bordering the Denver area. Spraying with pesticides was done while we were working or the evening prior. On weekends, our father joined us and the earnings were used to stock up for the winter. Many of our neighbors, relatives and friends also worked in the fields until school started in the fall.

Atlantic trawler.

Scientists and fishermen agree that the industrial midwater trawl fleet is taking a toll on many species on the Atlantic Coast. The massive nets of these vessels kill millions of river herring and, increasingly, the juveniles of some commercially important groundfish such as haddock. Unfortunately, an important action to rein in this damage is facing a substantial delay.

Ana Corona (far left), with her family in California's Central Valley.

Ozone is considered the most widespread of air pollutants. As a result, it is increasingly linked to a host of awful symptoms like asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing, low birth weight in newborns, cardiovascular episodes, short-term memory loss, and increased visits to emergency rooms and hospitals as a result. It is our children, teenagers, seniors and those with lung diseases like asthma that are especially at risk.

A humpback whale with newborn calf.

Which of the following issues do you think is important for the environmental movement?

  1. Protecting marine species, such as whales, dolphins and sea turtles
  2. Investing in a clean energy future and reducing U.S. dependence on fossil fuels
  3. Avoiding unnecessary risk of oil spills in our world’s oceans

Any choice indicates that you may find troubling a recent announcement from the Obama administration. This one’s a doozy—read on.

A bag made by the child of a farmworker. The bag, embroidered with the words "Don't kill my family please," is adorned with skulls. It was presented to Sen. Charles Shumer's office by farmworkers and advocates, who had traveled to Washington, D.C. in July

Farmworkers share stories from the frontlines, in this second installment of a weekly series:

Part 2: When going organic isn’t possible

"I am a farm worker and only use organic methods. It is the only way to protect all.

"When I first heard about the illnesses that our farmworkers were having, I began to only buy organic produce. It was more expensive, but it was doable. Then when we began to farm, we knew the way we needed to proceed.

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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.