Bill Walker's Blog Posts

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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
28 September 2009, 12:32 PM
Three utilities bolt US Chamber over "Scopes trial" idea
The Chamber confronts its critics

The fallout—make that dropout—continues to build over the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's ridiculous call for a show trial on global warming.

You may recall that last month the Chamber, the nation's leading business lobby with 3 million members, challenged the EPA to conduct a public hearing examining the scientific evidence for man-made climate change. Chamber execs said it would be "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" -- a rather unfortunate analogy, as they later admitted, if the group was hoping to be seen as appealing to reason. The Chamber furiously backpedalled, denying they were global warming deniers, but the cat was out of the bag. (The chimp was out of the cage?)

Last week Pacific Gas & Electric Co. of San Francisco resigned from the Chamber, blasting its "extreme rhetoric and obstructionist tactics":

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22 September 2009, 10:51 AM
275,000 Americans urge administration to scrap Bush plans
Costumed demonstrators ask for a time out on Arctic drilling (AP)

More than 400 scientists from around the world have signed a letter urging the Obama administration to call a time out on offshore oil and gas drilling in America's Arctic until research can assess the risks to the region's oceans, wildlife and people.

The scientists urged Interior Sec. Ken Salazar to cancel Bush-era plans for selling oil and gas leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and for a sale in the Chukchi that failed to comply with federal environmental laws. The scientists say the decision was made without sufficient scientific understanding of the environmental consequences and lacked full consultation with indigenous residents:

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14 September 2009, 3:48 PM
GM objects to federal loan for futuristic 3-wheeler

This weekend, the kids and I were enjoying the Solano Stroll -- a community parade and street festival in our neck of Northern California -- when, right behind the mayor's convertible, the high school marching band and the stiltwalkers, came a procession of green vehicles: Priuses, Insights, Smart two-seaters, biodiesel buses . . . and then something that looked like a cross between a small airplane and a tricycle.

It's called the Aptera 2e, a three-wheeled, all-electric two-seater made by a SoCal startup company that claims the vehicle can go 100 miles on a single charge.

But is it a car? Jay Leno thinks so. That's the question at the center of a dispute among the Aptera folks, the Department of Energy and General Motors.

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03 September 2009, 2:43 PM
Pipeline would bring 450K barrels of dirty Canadian crude a day
www.dirtyoilsands.org

Native American and environmental groups filed suit Thursday in federal court in San Francisco challenging a proposed tar sands oil pipeline that would bring the dirtiest oil on Earth from Canada to the United States.

The U.S. State Department’s approval on Aug. 20 of Enbridge Energy's Alberta Clipper pipeline permits 450,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day to be pumped from northern Alberta to Superior, Wis., for refining.

Tar sands oil is dirtier and, over its lifecycle, emits more global warming pollution than any other type of oil. Tar sands development in Alberta is creating an environmental catastrophe, with toxic tailings ponds so large they can be seen from space, and plans to strip away forests and peat lands of an area the size of Florida.

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01 September 2009, 11:26 AM
House bill would allow old, dirty coal plants to keep polluting
Navajo Generating Station, Arizona

The attorneys general of five states are urging Senate leaders to strengthen the federal climate bill by requiring cleanup or closure of dirty coal-fired power plants, preserving state authority to set stricter clean air standards than in federal law and ensuring that citizens can sue to enforce the bill’s provisions.

The letter was sent even as Democratic leaders in the Senate announced they are postponing consideration of the bill until later this year because of the political logjam over national health care reform.

“We believe that passage of a [stronger] bill . . . will build upon the efforts of states to address climate change, and by demonstrating the nation’s commitment to achieving carbon reductions, will put the U.S. in a stronger position in negotiations on a new international climate accord in Copenhagen later this year,” said the letter, sent Aug. 31. 

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12 August 2009, 5:05 PM
New standards for soda machines save CO2 equal to 2M cars a year
Flickr: t-dawg

I'm outing myself as a old fogey, but I remember Coke machines like this one. They don't make 'em like that any more—which is a good thing, considering how much energy beverage vending machines use.

As part of its ongoing update of energy efficiency standards for home and commercial appliances, the Department of Energy has issued new rules that will reduce global warming pollution by almost 10 million metric tons over 30 years. That's an energy savings equal to what's used by more than 830,000 American households in a single year, and a carbon dioxide savings equal to that produced by 2 million cars a year.

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07 August 2009, 12:41 PM
People don't feel a sense of urgency, says report.
Source: Dan Wasserman, Tribune Media Services

Maybe what Jim Inhofe needs is a good therapist.

Inhofe, R-OK, is notoriously the Senate's global warming denier-in-chief. But why? Maybe because he gets big campaign contributions from oil companies. Or maybe he has deep-seated control issues, and the prospect of global warming makes him feel helpless.

That's one explanation suggested in a new report by the American Psychological Association (which of course doesn't specifically discuss Inhofe) on why, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, many Americans are skeptical or deny the existence of global warming.

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24 July 2009, 10:18 AM
Save the planet and billions of dollars with efficient appliances

Would you like to help the United States cut 158 million tons of global warming pollution a year? Thought so.

How about saving Americans $123 billion over the next 20 years?

Right again.

What if you could do both at the same time?

That's how much pollution we could cut and money we could save by adopting strong new national energy efficiency standards for common household and commercial appliances.

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21 July 2009, 10:00 AM
Retail giant is showing leadership with its green initiatives

When it comes to the environment and sustainability, Wal-Mart has a lot to answer for. The chain sells a lot of plastic and stuff that comes in too much packaging. The stores are full of items that carry a large carbon footprint from being shipped halfway around the world. In many small towns, its big-box stores have forced local shops out of business.

But you have to give the world's biggest retailer credit for its green initiatives. Wal-Mart has been working to make its stores more energy-efficient, and recently anounced a major solar power initiative. When consumer concern rose about the health risks of BPA, a plastics softener found in baby bottles and formula packaging, Wal-Mart pulled all BPA-tainted products from the shelves. And now the company has announced plans to create a product labelling system that will give customers about the environmental and social impact of every item it sells. The New York Times reports:

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04 June 2009, 1:06 PM
Homemade solar charger alters the equation

The 30 million Americans who bought an iPhone or iPod Touch last year know all too well how often they need recharging. One of them, Jerome Kelty, worried about the harm that's doing to the planet.

Kelty, 41, of Lafayette, Colo., calculated that charging those units every other day for a year would put more than 30 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, into the atmosphere. So he bought a portable charger kit and with a few simple tools, in less than an hour, modified it to run on solar power. The homemade device charges his iPod Touch in a few hours without batteries or plugging it in, and will work with most other devices with a USB port.

Now Kelty's invention has won a national contest for the best energy-saving idea.