David Henkin's Blog Posts

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

David Henkin's 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 David Henkin's blog posts
13 December 2013, 9:31 AM
Earthjustice uses the ESA to protect Hawai‘i’s many vulnerable species
The Oʻahu ʻelepaio, a native flycatcher, relies on the forests that ring Mākua Valley. (Eric VanderWerf)

Hawaiʻi has the dubious distinction as the endangered species capital of the world, with more imperiled species per square mile than any other place on the planet. While Hawaiʻi makes up less than 0.2% of the land area of the United States, it’s home to over 400 threatened or endangered species, nearly one of every three domestic species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Hawaiʻi’s native species are so vulnerable because they evolved in isolation. Due to Hawaiʻi’s remote location in the middle of the Pacific, before humans arrived, new species reached the islands only by wind, wave or wing. New plant species successfully colonized the islands only about every 100,000 years.

Once in Hawaiʻi, these pioneers encountered little competition and evolved into a multitude of new forms, filling empty ecological niches. Scientists believe a single seed, likely carried from North America stuck to a bird’s feather, evolved into a family of 28 entirely new plant species, occupying diverse habitats from wet to dry forests and from near sea level to alpine shrublands.

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17 February 2011, 10:15 AM
Years of legal efforts by Earthjustice bring Army concessions
Live-fire exercise on Makua in 2004. U.S. Army photo.

The Army’s announcement in January that it is abandoning plans to resume the most destructive type of live-fire training at Makua Military Reservation on O‘ahu represents a major step forward in Earthjustice’s longstanding effort to protect Makua’s unique biological and cultural treasures.

Makua, which means “parents” in Hawaiian, is home to more than 40 federally listed endangered species – some found nowhere else in the world – and more than 100 Native Hawaiian cultural sites, including heiau (Hawaiian temples), ahu (altars), burials and petroglyphs.  

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10 April 2009, 10:59 AM

A new scientific study (pdf) paints a bleak picture for Hawai'i's false killer whales.

For nearly a decade, the National Marine Fisheries Service's data(pdf) have shown the Hawai'i longline fishery is killing these rare marine mammals at rates far beyond what the population can sustain.

The latest data show the number of false killer whales in Hawai'i's nearshore waters—a genetically distinct population—has crashed over the last 20 years, with a single pod observed in 1989 containing almost four times as many whales as the current population for the entire main Hawaiian Islands (which now numbers only about 120 whales).

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