Jessica Knoblauch's Blog Posts

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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.

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05 August 2010, 3:57 PM
Bill McKibben calls for truth and a new movement to pass climate legislation cofounder Bill McKibben says it's time to change tactics in the global warming fight. Photo courtesy of

If you're ticked off about the Senate's failure to vote on, much less pass, climate legislation this summer, you're not alone. Climate activist Bill McKibben recently published a provocative op-ed on TomDispatch that reflects the anger and disappointment felt by many Americans eager to keep the planet from melting.

McKibben, like many others, has been sounding the alarm on global warming for decades, yet in many ways we're no closer to preventing a global climate catastrophe now than we were in 1988 when James Hansen first testified to Congress that global warming was already underway.

Now that climate change legislation has once again been shelved, where do we go from here? McKibben offers a few intriguing answers to this question in his latest article. He argues that the time to endlessly pander to the industries and legislators intent on weakening the climate bill just to get something passed is done, over, finito. That strategy obviously didn't work, so let's try a new one.

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27 July 2010, 1:43 PM
Earthjustice attorney saw it coming years ago
David Guest (right) in Florida Everglades

As managing attorney for the Earthjustice office in Tallahassee, David Guest has been knee-deep in Florida's water pollution and protection issues for more than 20 years. It's not surprising considering that Florida itself is mostly water, with more than 1,000 miles of coastline, almost 20,000 streams and rivers and the second biggest freshwater lake in U.S., Lake Okeechobee. Recently we sat down with David to talk about his latest water case, the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Read the full Q & A here.

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28 June 2010, 4:48 PM
Their message is clear: No more Gulf oil spill disasters

This past weekend I gathered with my neighbors at a nearby beach to attend a local Hands Across the Sand event, a worldwide effort to oppose offshore drilling and champion clean and renewable energy. The movement began, eerily enough, in Florida. Just a few months before the tragic BP oil spill, thousands of Floridians joined hands to protest the local and national governments' efforts to lift the ban on oil drilling off the shores of Florida.

Not surprisingly, today that movement has spread far and wide as people witness daily the threat that oil drilling presents to America's coastal economies and marine habitat. On Saturday, protestors around the world gathered at one of the more than 800 events held to clasp hands, drawing both a metaphorical and actual line in the sand against the threat of offshore drilling.

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11 June 2010, 4:32 PM
Hazardous waste exemption, oil dispersants, BP goes Orwellian

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

This week, Earthjustice scored a big victory for our lungs with the announcement that the EPA is finally abandoning a dangerous rule—granted by the Bush administration—that would permit the unregulated burning of hazardous waste.

BP's latest effort to clean up its soiled image took it into even murkier waters after the oil giant recently began buying search terms like "oil spill" on Google and Yahoo search engines so that the company's official web site would be the first link to appear on a search page.

Amidst a vote on Sen. Murkowski's (R-AK) resolution to bail out big polluters, Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen called on the Senate to put aside partisan politics and protect the American people by voting against this bill. Thankfully, the Senate has voted 53-47 against the bill.

Campaign manager Brian Smith reported on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's recent announcement of a memorandum of understanding to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, which has the goal of tapping into the estimated 1 million megawatts of potential wind power that exists off the east coast.

Earthjustice was curious to know just what's in all of those chemical dispersants that we're dropping into the Gulf of Mexico by the millions of gallons, so we filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get more information. Here's what we found (hint: it's not good).

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09 June 2010, 3:32 PM
Company makes it almost impossible to miss its oil spill spin

The company formerly known as "Beyond Petroleum" is at it again.

In its latest effort to lasso the messaging on the disaster in the Gulf, BP recently purchased several phrases like "oil spill" on Google and Yahoo search engines so that the first item people see when searching these terms is BP's official Web site.

"Learn more about how BP is helping," reads the text alongside the link to the BP site, positioned at the very top of a Google search page. After clicking on the link, users are drawn into BP's sanitized version of the spill, complete with inspiring images of cleanup workers and men and women looking appropriately concerned about the issue at hand.

According to a spokesperson for the oil giant, BP's motive for purchasing the search terms was completely innocent.

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02 April 2010, 10:27 AM
Pet pesticides, the Rosenfield, Obama’s mixed signals, two big enviro wins

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

It turns out that pesticides aren't just dangerous in agricultural use. Last week, the U.S. EPA called for clearer labels and tighter regulations for flea treatments after the agency noticed an increase in adverse reactions from pets treated with the pesticide-laden products.

The father of energy saving techniques, Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfield, may soon join the countless other people whose names have since been transformed into units of measurement. We think the term Rosenfield as the new unit for energy savings has a nice ring to it.

Campaign director Jared Saylor examines the Obama administration's mixed message decision to halt oil and gas leasing in Bristol Bay off Alaska's southwestern coast and to postpone future lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, while allowing exploration drilling to move forward in both seas starting as early as this summer.

This week, Earthjustice celebrated two big wins on the environmental front. First, the Department of Energy announced its adoption of strong water heater standards, which is set to cut both energy usage and energy bills. Not to be outdone, the EPA made its own announcement with its adoption of new guidelines designed to prevent continuing harmful environmental impacts caused by mountaintop removal mining.

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29 March 2010, 12:01 PM
Like farm crops, pets get poisoned

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mulls over the 42,000 letters sent from Earthjustice supporters and others who expressed support for safety standards protecting rural kids from pesticides, it's important to remember that pesticides aren't just limited to the fields.

Every spring, pet owners slick the backs of their dogs and cats with over-the-counter treatments designed to keep fleas and ticks at bay. The problem is that these treatments, which are also found stocked on shelves of pet stores nationwide in the spray, collar and shampoo form, contain toxic pesticides. Think of it as your very own bottle-o-poison.

The EPA has been keeping a watchdog's eye on these so-called spot-on treatments due to an increase in incident reports where pets have experienced adverse reactions that range from mild to downright serious.

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22 March 2010, 4:06 PM
Wolverine sighting, pesticide drifting, energy goes green, Hawaii blocks sun

Some top stories from the last week at Earthjustice…

While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides whether to grant endangered species protections to wolverines, California had its first sighting of the small, bear-like creature in nearly a decade. DNA analysis suggests that the lovelorn Buddy has Idaho roots, but the verdict's still out on how he got to the sunshine state in the first place.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has its hands full this week sifting through tens of thousands of letters from Earthjustice supporters and their counterparts asking the agency to support an Earthjustice petition that will protect children from pesticide drift—a toxic vapor that travels from nearby agricultural fields.

Earthjustice campaigner Liz Judge summoned up her parents' sage old advice to encourage St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts to go green in a different way by supporting strong energy efficiency standards.

The latest column from Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen concerning Hawaii's blatant attempt to keep homes and businesses from capitalizing on solar power generated a lot of thought-provoking comments. Enter the controversy here.

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12 March 2010, 1:10 AM
Pollution limits, bright lights, conservation titan remembered, tax break

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

Earthjustice lawyers took home a big win after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to review a case that eliminated industrial facilities' ability to ignore pollution limits whenever they start up, shut down or malfunction

Light pollution can mean lights out for many animals such as seabirds and sea turtles, who often make the fatal mistake of confusing artificial lights with natural cues like the horizon. Last week, Earthjustice shined the light on one particularly disturbing case—a brightly lit luxury Hawaiian resort that is the single greatest cause of deaths and injuries from artificial lights among endangered Newell's shearwater seabirds.

The environmental community mourned the loss of conservation titan Dr. Ed Wayburn, whose efforts inspired thousands of citizen activists, including many Earthjustice staff, board and supporters.

With a $2.8 billion budget shortfall and a generally bleak economic climate, there's a movement growing in Olympia, Wash. to repeal a generous tax break enjoyed by the state's largest polluter, the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia. Earthjustice is pushing for TransAlta to run a cleaner plant that protects public health.

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09 March 2010, 12:36 PM
Extinction of animals and plants is a global phenomenon
Palila, an endangered Hawaiian bird, perched on a Mamane tree.

It's hard to imagine that the earth is now experiencing a mass extinction like no other in human history.

Online news organization Mother Nature Network recently published an eye-opening graphic that maps out the top 20 countries with the most endangered species. Ecuador tops both the endangered animal and plant species lists, harboring 2,211 endangered animal species alone, while the U.S. comes in second with more than 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles.

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