Liz Judge's Blog Posts

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Liz Judge'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.

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.

Liz Judge is the Media Director. She is also creator of our Mountain Heroes campaign, which chronicles the stories of courageous and inspirational people who are standing up against the most extreme and destructive form of mining. Though she lives in California, Liz is a Cleveland native and will always feel a kinship to Midwesterners (and their indulgent casseroles). When not fighting for justice and a healthier, safer environment, she spends her down time running, biking, and swimming (and doing triathlons), listening to soul and motown, and catching live music wherever she can.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 April 2011, 10:27 AM
Attorney Tom Waldo explains why our National Forests are worth fighting for

(This is the second in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. Protecting our national forests, in particular, is essential for the future of our nation. The Obama administration recently proposed new planning rules that may leave our National Forests in peril. National forests are the single largest source of clean drinking water in the United States, serving 124 million Americans. Visit our Forests For Our Future campaign site to learn more. Tom Waldo joined Earthjustice in 1989 and is a staff attorney in the Juneau, Alaska office.)

EJ: Tell us about your work to protect national forests.

TW: In a couple dozen cases or more, I have represented a wide variety of clients in lawsuits and administrative appeals seeking to protect the old growth of the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska as well as pristine roadless areas in all the national forests. The main threat we have countered is clearcut logging and its associated road construction, though this work sometimes encompasses mining operations, proposed highways, and the like. Besides the litigation, we work closely with our clients in administrative and Congressional advocacy, ensuring that our legal and political strategies are integrated.

EJ: How did this work begin?

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05 April 2011, 1:44 PM
Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles speaks of her efforts to help national forests
Kristen's son, Henry, at Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Forest.

(This is the first in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. The Obama administration's recently proposed planning rule for our national forests may leave our waters and wildlife in peril. Kristen Boyles is a staff attorney in Earthjustice's Northwest office in Seattle.)

EJ: Tell us about your work to protect forested areas in the U.S.

KB: One of my first cases when I came to Earthjustice in 1993 (then called the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) focused on the six “salmon” national forests in Idaho—the Boise, Challis, Nez Perce, Payette, Salmon, and Sawtooth—and getting them to adopt consistent, protective standards for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. A large part of the wonder of learning about those fish and forests stays with me even today—that salmon, these salt-water, ocean-cruising sea creatures, swim upstream some 600 miles to return to their natal streams thousands of feet above sea level. Or that the young salmon fry are swept backwards toward the ocean with the spring currents, eyes locked on their inland past.

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30 March 2011, 11:12 AM
Senate votes tomorrow on whether to block EPA action on carbon pollution

The Senate votes tomorrow on four pieces of legislation that all aim to block or delay Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action to reduce the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters. These polluters have convinced their friends in Congress to author a wave of bills exempting them from strong air pollution limits—they are the Dirty Air Acts we've been warning you about for months.

These Dirty Air Acts will give polluters free rein to dump carbon dioxide pollution and other climate change pollutants into the air—at the expense of public health and the American quality of life. Please, call your senators and tell them to oppose these Dirty Air Acts!

The legislative measures up for a vote today are offered by Senators Rockefeller (S.AMDT.215), McConnell and Inhofe (S.AMDT.183), Baucus (S.AMDT.235), and Stabenow (S.AMDT.265) as amendments on an unrelated small business innovation bill (S.493).

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16 March 2011, 11:55 AM
House committee passes Dirty Air Act, while the Senate debates it
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.)

As I write this, the Senate is debating an amendment to a small business bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's biggest polluters.

We've been making a lot of noise about this effort to cripple the EPA and obstruct health- and science-based standards for climate change pollution, but in the last couple of days, things are reaching a boil in Congress.

The engineers of this push to protect dirty energy corporations, you will recall, are Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Both have introduced nearly identical companion bills in the House and Senate. But yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Rep. Upton sits as chair, passed his Dirty Air Act. This means it is bound for the House floor for a full chamber vote sometime in the next few weeks, likely before the House's Easter recess.

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11 March 2011, 3:24 PM
A roundup of the week's highlights and lowlights on climate change
Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

On Tuesday, in a hearing in the House, representatives wrestled over whether they should accept the volumes of science produced by every major U.S. scientific and research institution that say that climate change is happening and our industrial carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to it.

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) made strong cases for science and for limits on carbon dioxide pollution in this hearing. Four expert scientists provided testimony that climate change is hurting our agriculture harvests, food security, and economy; that climate change is increasing risk of wildfires in the western U.S.; that climate change is warming the Great Lakes; and that climate change is causing droughts and floods. Said Waxman this week, "I've never been in a Congress where there was such an overwhelming disconnect between science and public policy."

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03 March 2011, 2:45 PM
Reversing commonsense progress is the new favorite pastime of House leaders
Rep. Fred Upton

"Doh!" should be the motto of the new majority in the House, but here's one from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that might work as well: "The New Majority - Plasticware Is Back."

Boehner tweeted this, or should I say taunted this, on Monday, boasting about a move orchestrated by him and his GOP colleagues in the House to undo the efforts of his predecessor Rep. Nancy Pelosi to green the Capitol. As my colleague Tom Turner revealed today,  Pelosi transformed Capitol cafeterias by bringing in environmentally friendly foods and serving utensils. This week, Boehner and his buddies in Congress did away with the biodegradable dishware and brought back foam cups. The folks in Congress are now years behind most school districts and eateries in this country. Cue the applause for Mr. Boehner and his cohorts.

Another "Doh!" moment has been slowly playing out in the House for the last two months. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has been leading the charge in the House to stop the EPA from limiting the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters.

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18 February 2011, 4:15 PM
House lawmakers continue to slash essential protections for the American public

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

Once the amendments are voted on and settled, the whole House will cast a final vote on the entire bill package with all the passed amendments. Then the Senate takes its turn, crafting a spending bill of its own. The two chambers must then confer and agree on one bill that funds the federal government by March 4 -- or the government must shut down until its spending and funding sources are settled.

The amendments that the House is currently considering are wide-ranging. They aim to cut government spending by cutting the funding streams of hundreds of government programs. So, instead of ending those programs through legislation and appropriate voting, many members of the House are seeking to delete the programs by wiping out the funds that keep them going.

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11 February 2011, 12:09 PM
Obama's draft plan for forests is well-intentioned, lacks real protective measures

Anyone who likes to hike, camp, fish, hunt, or view wildlife in our national forests—or anyone who wishes to do any of this anytime in the future—should be aware of a proposal for managing our national forests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Forest Service, released yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell announced and released their new draft rule for protecting our national forests and grasslands, approximately 191 million acres of critical watersheds and wildlife habitat across the United States.

The importance of this rule can't be overstated.

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03 February 2011, 3:06 PM
Legislators who do and don't partner with polluters
Rep. Fred Upton

Early last evening, Reps. Fred Upton and Ed Whitfield, along with Sen. James Inhofe, released a draft of the latest bill in Congress taking aim at air pollution protections.

This wasn’t a surprise, as they’ve been talking to press about their toils on legislation that would reverse current limits on carbon dioxide pollution. They are targeting the first-ever restrictions on CO2 on behalf of major polluting industries that until now have been able to spew this air pollutant unrestrained and at quantities unmeasured.

Volumes of current science show us that carbon dioxide pollution threatens our health. In addition to contributing to deadly heat waves and extreme climate conditions, it exacerbates smog pollution and worsens asthma and lung diseases.

Rep. Upton and his collaborators on this bill seem determined to wipe away these air pollution protections. But why? Like we keep saying, follow the dirty energy money in Congress to see who supports letting big polluters off the hook time after time.

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28 January 2011, 5:50 PM
Senators introduce bills to weaken environmental protections
Sen. Barrasso, friend of big polluters

(A powerful faction in the new Congress has allied with industry to weaken our nation’s most basic environmental laws. Earthjustice will report on this expected barrage of legislative attacks as they occur.)

<<<Update 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 31: Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller has introduced his own “Dirty Air Act.” Like Sen. Barrasso's bill (see below), Sen. Rockefeller's bill blocks the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to limit carbon dioxide emissions for two more years.

In 2007, in its landmark Massachusetts v. EPA decision, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are covered by the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency is required to regulate them if found to endanger public health and welfare. The EPA made such a finding in 2009, relying on decades of evidence, research by hundreds of the world's leading scientists, and numerous other sources.>>>