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
02 September 2010, 2:32 PM
Senate must come back from recess and pass offshore oil reforms
An offshore oil plaftorm.

Today, an offshore oil production platform exploded into flames in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform that exploded is located just 50 miles west of the Deepwater Horizon site in what is considered shallow waters.

Fortunately, the 13 workers on the platform are alive—though one is reportedly injured. The workers, who went overboard to escape the flaming platform, were rescued in the water with special emergency flotation suits.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the early photos, which are far too similar to the images still fresh in our minds from the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

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20 August 2010, 1:01 PM
Roaring Fork Valley and Aspen residents turn out en force for documentary

Mountaintop removal mining is one of those things in life that you can't really understand until you've seen it. All the blog posts, articles, editorials, and columns in the world combined can't equal the impact of bearing direct witness to a mountain being razed by explosives, to streams buried in rubble, and to crystal mountain waters running black.

The eye of the actual beholder of this destructive mining practice feels something that words cannot convey. And the person who sees it destroying ancient mountains and forests, and the lives of people who live among them, has a knowledge and experience that can never be imparted by this blog alone.

That's why Earthjustice was eager to support filmmakers Mari-Lynn Evans and Phylis Geller as they made their moving and stunning documentary on mountaintop removal mining, Coal Country.

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03 August 2010, 2:07 PM
Army Corps and EPA to follow core legal requirements in MTR mine permitting

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have announced a major step to help prevent the destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining. In a rare joint guidance, the two agencies agreed to improve the process for permitting mountaintop removal mines.

Although it doesn't solve the problem of mountaintop removal mining, this new direction will make it much harder for coal mining companies to use Appalachian waterways as dumping grounds for their mining waste.

For 30 years, the Corps of Engineers allowed mining companies to completely bury streams with the rubble from their mountaintop mining explosions on the condition that they replace the stream with a manmade stream. In reality, this was a death sentence for healthy streams and entire ecosystems.

Here's how it happened: mining companies exploded the tops off of hundreds of mountains and dumped the waste into streams, burying more than 2,000 miles of vital Appalachian waterways. They claimed to replace the "structure" of those streams with drainage ditches as their permits required. Trouble is, science tell us that you can't just dig a ditch and create a living, healthy stream.

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29 July 2010, 4:09 PM
The science is clear - EPA action must move forward
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is trying to stop EPA from action on climate change

This afternoon (7/29), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) smacked down climate deniers in the most diplomatic and thoughtful way possible.

After careful re-review of decades of research and scientific findings by the world's foremost academic and government scientists, the EPA told 10 groups who challenged its scientific finding that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and endanger human health and welfare (in much gentler words):

You're wrong, you have no evidence, your claims against this sound and valid body of science are baseless, and your controversies are manufactured and out of context; and by standing in the way of federal action on climate change, you're endangering Americans' health and welfare.

In exact words, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said:

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22 July 2010, 4:20 PM
Let's not give up on a Senate climate change bill
Sen. John Kerry

<Today (Thur.), I attended a Town Hall meeting in a Senate office building on the need for climate change legislation. Accompanying me was our fantastic summer intern, Trevor Hill, who is here in DC sponging up the politics and legislative procedures within our fight to protect the people, places and wildlife on this planet for an entire summer before he returns to Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

After a huge news day on climate change, it is my pleasure to toss this blog post to Trevor, who writes quite compellingly on the range of emotions the day brought and why he is not ready to give up the fight for national action on climate change>:

Today was quite a rollercoaster ride for those of us following the conversation on comprehensive climate change legislation in the nation’s capital.

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22 July 2010, 9:00 AM
Regular updates from Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's press lunch

I'm live at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, where Massey Energy CEO and chairman Don Blankenship is speaking in a special press luncheon today. Outside are protestors who are calling Mr. Blankenship to task for his oversight of the non-union company whose safety law violations -- over 100 citations from the U.S.Mine Safety and Health Administration this year alone -- led to a fatal explosion this year that took 29 lives and whose mountaintop removal mining practices have racked up thousands of Clean Water Act violations. For more info on those environmental violations, see my blog yesterday, and for more information on how mountaintop removal mining is devastating the environment all across Appalachia, contaminating water supplies, sickening people, and tearing apart communities, see our campaign page on our work to Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining. Finally, for some more background on just how Mr. Blankenship became such a notorious national figure, read this New York Times story on his politics in West Virginia.

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21 July 2010, 1:40 PM
We're live blogging tomorrow as he speaks at the National Press Club

Tomorrow (July 22), Don Blankenship, the notorious chairman and CEO of Massey Energy, speaks at the National Press Club. We'll be live blogging to make sure you all get the play-by-play -- which promises to be interesting at the very least if Blankenship's previous speaking engagements are any indicator (we live-blogged at his public debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in January in Charleston, WV -- check it out here).

As you may know, an explosion April 5 at the Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 miners. It was the deadliest coal mine explosion in the United States in 40 years.

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16 July 2010, 2:05 PM
The one place a climate and clean energy bill should never go

Update (7/22): On 7/22 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the forthcoming energy bill will no longer include the section that would address climate change and limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate, he said, will address climate change in a separate bill in the fall after August recess.

In his statement to the press this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill. But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.  I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who again find themselves on the wrong side of history. But as we work through our differences on a comprehensive energy bill, Republicans have an immediate choice to make."

Senator John Kerry, the Senate's key negotiator of the draft climate language that was taken out of the bill package today, told press: "Harry Reid, today, has committed to giving us that opportunity, that open door, if you will, over the next days, weeks, months, whatever it takes, to find those 60 votes. So the work will continue every single day."

Sen. Kerry has said he will continue negotiatons with electric utilities, and before today, he indicated that those negotiations need more time. If these negotiations continue, he and other Senate leaders must take the polluter giveaways described below off the table.>

Back in May, when the Kerry-Lieberman draft climate bill came out, we told you about one deadly provision in it that needed to meet the chopping block fast, before it threatened American lives and decades of cleaner air in the United States. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen wrote about this in his Huffington Post column, "Giving a Free Pass to Soot, Smog, and Toxic Air Pollution is No Way to Pass a Climate Bill."

Well, this idea to use harmful air pollutants that have long been controlled through the Clean Air Act as bargaining chips in order to get industry on board is still ominously hanging around. And it needs to go away immediately. Take action now and tell your senators to step in and stop this now.

Here are some details on what exactly is happening:

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09 July 2010, 3:18 PM
Ploy by climate deniers to discredit science is revealed as misleading sham
Courtesy of Treehugger

Six months after the media hoopla known as "Climategate," we begin to see more clearly and fully how our news establishments, both here in the United States and abroad, have failed us on reporting scientific fact and doing what they were created to do: uncover the truth.

We see it everyday on TV, online and in print: News establishments ceding serious investigative reporting, foregoing real fact finding, relinquishing truth seeking, in favor of this new idea of "fair and balanced" reporting that just shows two sides of any story—or worse, just offers us some opposing opinions—and calls it a day.

The two sides of the story are represented all too often by extremes, and any little opportunity to amplify the arguments or set the stage of a "battle" are seized upon and fully capitalized by media today.

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07 July 2010, 1:03 PM
Some industry groups wage war against reasonable efficiency progress in WA
Photo: NREL

Late yesterday Earthjustice attorneys stepped in to defend a set of critical energy efficiency standards in the state of Washington.

These efficiency gains—which will save consumers millions of dollars, reduce harmful global warming pollution, and set a strong example for other states to follow—face an industry-group lawsuit aiming to dismantle them.

The baseless industry challenge to these energy efficiency standards would cost Washington residents money, and threatens to stand in the way of significant pollution cuts in Washington.

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