Jessica Knoblauch's Blog Posts

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Jessica Knoblauch'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.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

Jessica Knoblauch is Earthjustice's Content Producer / Associate Editor and creator of the unEARTHED blog, "Friday Finds," which highlights some of the most remarkable or ridiculous eco news tidbits of the week. Jessica enjoys writing about environmental health issues and believes that putting toxic chemicals into our bodies and into our environment is generally unwise. In her free time, Jessica can often be found at the other end of the leash of her two dogs, Emma and Charlie, messing around in her garden, and eating fine Midwestern cuisine like deep-dish pizza, pork tenderloin sandwiches and, of course, corn.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
05 November 2010, 1:49 PM
Compostable Canadians, childish owl snatchers, mainframe mind games
Owls are being targeted by Harry Potter fans in India. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

BP's negligence could prove to be explosive, again
Maintenance of BP's Alaska operations is woefully neglected, according to an internal maintenance document reported on by ProPublica. The document shows that almost 150 BP pipelines on Alaska's North Slope got an F from the company and that many of the pipes are "worn to within a few thousandths of an inch of bursting." Based on this most recent report, it's not hard to see why Earthjustice is working to keep BP and others from drilling even more in the Arctic.

FritoLay Canada bites back at complaining consumers
Last month, amid consumer backlash and 50,000 plus Facebook fans who couldn't hear anything over a noisy SunChips compostable bag, SunChips owner Frito Lay buried its compostable chip bag, replacing it with the original, everlasting bag. But Frito Lay Canada stood its ground, according to Grist, launching a consumer awareness program that includes an offer for free earplugs, which is good news for those who can't hear the environmental concerns of an unrecyclable bag over their own self-interest.

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29 October 2010, 9:14 AM
Poacher trackers, air pollution stink bombs, leaky fracking memos
Research has found that bees can be smarter than computers. Photo courtesy of Michaela Kobyakov, stock.xchng

Top enviro official deems NY gas drilling supervision a fracking mess
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is "ill-equipped" to regulate natural gas drilling, according to a leaked internal memo written by a former environmental official and reported on by ProPublica. Earthjustice is currently fighting to stop gas drilling in New York because pumping millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract gas isn't all that it's fracked up to be.

Cow power makes clean air advocates glower
Eco-friendly farmers eager to turn their cows' poop into power by burning the methane that's found in manure are finding themselves knee-deep in another environmental problem, according to NPR. Though burning manure for energy cuts down on methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, it releases other pollutants into the air that can contribute to smog. That stinks.

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21 October 2010, 12:57 PM
Great white turbine hype, ode to milk farmers, federal tax evasion
The Yes Men's latest victim is Chevron's "We Agree" ad campaign. Image courtesy of

Rag tag activists smear Chevron oil ad
The notorious Yes Men, a loose-knit association of activist imposters, have struck again, this time against Chevron in a mock campaign that spoofs the oil giant's own "We Agree" print and video ads, designed to highlight its efforts to be greener and cleaner, reports Reuters. One ad states that oil companies should clean up the messes they make. Earthjustice agrees.

Organic farmers milk the music scene
Unless you're a country music fan, it's not often that you see farmers in music videos. Yeehaw! But the farmers at Yeo Valley Organic are taking the organic farmer scene into uncharted fields with a new rap video that touts sustainable farming practices, complete with rhythmic owls and blinged out cows, reports Grist. A sample of the lyrics includes, "Yeo Valley's approach is common sense. Harmony and nature take precedence." Watch the entire video here. It's good to the last drop.

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15 October 2010, 12:39 PM
Bug warfare, cutting prostitution, BPA blues, civil servant car shares
It turns out airplane emissions will kill you before airplane crashes. Photo courtesy of Stock.Xchng

Humans won't fly high on airplane emissions

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08 October 2010, 9:28 AM
Cul-de-sac merry-go-rounds, chemical-free cow juice, classroom meddling
A strip of houses in southwest Florida. Image courtesy of Google and The Boston Globe.

BP greases the facts
As if writing California's environmental curriculum wasn't enough, BP is back to meddling in the school system, this time to "dispel myths" about oil and chemical dispersants, reports ProPublica. Among the myths being dispelled is the idea that the chemicals are mostly harmless to people and wildlife, a claim that Earthjustice is currently disputing in court.

Court ruling makes milky waves
Milk fans who don't like their cow juice coming from animals pumped with growth hormones and full of pus won a major victory earlier this week after an appeals court overturned an Ohio ban on labels that identify whether milk products were produced with or without growth hormones, reports Grist. The decision could have repercussions beyond the pasture by establishing a standard that altered foods (i.e. genetically engineered) can be labeled as such.

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30 September 2010, 1:57 PM
Sneezing salmon, farmers’ market fake-out, stinky CAFOs
Genetically engineering foods could make them more allergenic. Photo courtesy of evah, stock.xchng.

FDA's food policy makes people sneeze
On the heels of the FDA's decision to approve genetically engineered or GE salmon, a number of consumer and environmental advocacy groups are raising the alarm that genetically modified foods could be more allergenic due to the splicing and dicing of one food's genes into another, according to a recent Mother Jones' article. The concern is just one among many over GE foods, which is why Earthjustice is currently fighting to keep foods like genetically engineered sugar beets out of U.S. farms and off of Americans' plates.

Obama makes a stink over CAFOs
The Obama administration recently thumbed its nose at the Illinois EPA's oversight of confined animal feeding operations, aka CAFOs, which create mountains of manure equal to that of small cities and have fouled air and water supplies across the state. According to the Chicago Tribune, the agency has one month to clean up its mess. If it doesn't, the EPA will soon be wading knee-deep into the issue.

Farmers' market fakes out customers
Child-toting moms may soon start seeing "Farmers' Market" signs in the produce aisle of their favorite chain grocery store, according to the Washington Post. Stores like Safeway recently began posting the signs in an effort to cash in on the burgeoning local and organic foodie movement, but small farmers and their supporters are ready to throw tomatoes, arguing that the misleading tactic is unfair to customers and farmers alike.

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17 September 2010, 10:46 AM
Tracking treehuggers, sugarcoating the truth, greening the Mafia
High fructose corn syrup gets a makeover. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Corn industry sugarcoats syrupy sweetener
This week, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA to change the name of high fructose corn syrup, an ubiquitous sweetener that can be found in everything from whole wheat bread to canned vegetables, to simply "corn sugar." The association's move is an obvious ploy to trick consumers who aren't too sweet on HFCS's negative health impacts into unknowingly buying foods with high fructose corn syrup in them, inspiring a whole new term for such a bitter marketing technique, cornwashing.

Pennsylvania tracks treehuggers
Whale lovers and tree huggers may want to steer clear of Pennsylvania for awhile. ProPublica recently reported that the state was found to be using a consulting service that kept tabs on gas drilling opponents and labeled them as "environmental extremists." Though Pennsylvania's governor quickly apologized, gas drilling in the state, which has caused sinks to "spit methane and catch fire," continues despite widespread public opposition and Earthjustice's efforts to put a brake on the dangerous practice.

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10 September 2010, 4:12 PM
Rude practice, noxious Nike, Chicago the green, BP goes minor
Cruise ship docked in Washington

Washington cruise ships dump on Canadian waters
It turns out that cruise ships subject to ship pollution standards in Alaska and Washington State have found a way to cruise around the new rules by dumping their waste in nearby Canada, a practice that's currently legal thanks to a patchwork of inconsistent and lax international cruise pollution regulations. Earthjustice is working to curtail the rude and un-neighborly practice, which mucks up the ocean and harms marine life.

New Nike ad has enviro activists kicking and screaming
A new Nike promotional ad featuring a West Virginia University football player in front of a mountaintop removal mine has ticked off environmentalists, who argue that the ad is endorsing a destructive form of strip mining. The WVU athletic department disagrees, saying that the ad is meant to honor the victims of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in W. Virginia last April, yet that explosion occurred in an underground mine, while the ad denotes a surface mine. The devil's in the details.

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03 September 2010, 12:44 PM
Bedbug scourge, "eggregious" industry, greening Facebook and Obama

Bedbugs take Manhattan
Okay, so the tenaciously itchy pests haven't consumed Gotham City just yet, but bedbugs do seem to be quickly making their way across the country, wreaking havoc Arachnophobia-style. The pest problem is so bad that many a desperate home and apartment dweller have begun spraying toxic outdoor pesticides inside their homes—all in the name of a good night's sleep. But spraying pesticides indoors can cause major health problems, so the EPA has begun warning people to keep outdoor pesticides sprays where they belong. Of course, outdoor pesticides can also contaminate your groundwater and harm wildlife, which is why Earthjustice has asked the EPA to set safety standards for outdoor pesticides. Sweet dreams!

Egg industry cracks under latest recall, begins blaming consumers
Public outrage over the latest recall involving salmonella-tainted eggs has the egg industry fighting back. This week a spokesman for United Egg Producers blamed consumers for the outbreak, arguing that people should be cooking their eggs thoroughly or risk getting sick. But egg-over-easy fans aren't buying it.

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31 August 2010, 4:57 PM
Saving old bread crumbs used to be a patriotic act

As we get ready to gas up our grills in a final hoorah to summer this Labor Day, an exhibition highlighting war-era food posters at the National Agriculture Library reminds us that simple acts like growing our own food and conserving food supplies for those in need were once thought of as our patriotic duty, rather than small steps towards a socialist agenda.

During both world wars, the government asked people to use food efficiently so that there was more meat and potatoes left over for our soldiers to eat. Patriotic citizens responded in droves by planting victory gardens…

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