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John McManus's blog

Earlier this week, Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine went to court to argue that the state of Montana was legally required to consider steps to minimize the consequences of burning more than a half-a-billion tons of coal before leasing it to St. Louis-based Arch Coal, Inc. Earthjustice is representing the Montana Environmental Information Center and the Sierra Club in a lawsuit asking the court to cancel the lease so that the state may study options for minimizing or avoiding the environmental consequences of this massive strip mine.

Next month, contractors will start removing two massive dams on the Elwha River which runs through Washington’s Olympic peninsula. It is expected to bring about the largest single increase of salmon habitat and population in the Northwest.

The dam removal caps efforts started more than 20 years ago by a local tribe and visionary activists with support from Earthjustice. The dams once provided power for a paper and pulp mill, but other sources will now provide the power.

An issue that has cropped up as the country moves towards more renewable energy generation is how best to store excess energy generated, say by wind mills during windy periods or solar panels during sunny periods. Energy storage in the form of industrial strength batteries and other technologies is coming, but such things aren’t yet installed where they’re needed.

It’s hard to view the recent actions of some big agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley as anything but hostile to the state’s wildlife. Some of the biggest growers are refusing to take an overflowing allotment of irrigation water as enough and are cluttering up the court system with lawsuits aimed at wringing every last drop of water for themselves, no matter what damage that causes native fish species. 

Let's face it, the U.S. is awash in pesticides and some are quite deadly to America's wildlife.

The Environmental Protection Agency is the government group responsible for signing off on pesticides before they are allowed for use and is supposed to stop the really bad ones. In going about this task, the EPA historically only looked at the pesticide's effects on people and have done a poor job.

They've also ignored each pesticide's effects on wildlife.

Since Earthjustice attorneys won a court decision in August ordering the federal government to once again extend Endangered Species Act protections to wolves in the northern Rockies, state governments have been busy trying to come up with ways to kill wolves anyway.

European homeowners, especially those in Germany and Spain, may be ahead of America when it comes to switching over to rooftop solar electric panels, but Hawaii is on its way to catching up.

That's because the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission just this week ordered the biggest utility company in the islands to start paying homeowners and businesses with rooftop solar panels that are feeding electricity into the grid. This is good news for everyone.

In September 2009 Earthjustice attorneys succeeded in winning a court case that forced the federal government to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

The bears lost federal protection in 2007 in spite of a rapid decline in one of their main food sources, the seeds of whitebark pine trees. Whitebark pines are in decline due to warming temperature in the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains where they grow.

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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.