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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.

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16 September 2009, 1:19 PM
Development plans may boost carbon dioxide emissions of the glaciated island
Greenland's Sondrestrom Glacier. Photo: NASA/Roger Chao

As I noted in a previous post, the alarming pace of glacial retreats across the globe is an eye-opening indication that climate change is rapidly altering our planet. Look no further than the ironically named Greenland for evidence.

Because Greenland is an epicenter of climate change, some are decrying plans made by the country's new prime minister, Kuupik Kleist, to attract industry. It seems inconceivable that a country ravaged by climate change would fuel the scourge.

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14 September 2009, 5:06 PM
Time-lapse photography documents glacial retreat

Via the thought-provoking TED conference comes this video about an ambitious project called the Extreme Ice Survey, which documents climate change in powerful imagery. Lifelong nature photographer James Balog and his team captured the retreat of numerous glaciers through time-lapse photography. The results are astonishing.

The glaciated landscapes portrayed in Balog's photography are often without any recognizable frame of reference. One has the sense that they are witnessing something dramatic, but it is Balog's insightful commentary that provides the perspective required to appreciate the tremendous scale of the glacial recessions depicted.

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11 September 2009, 3:32 PM
Will confidence in geothermal energy disappear down a crack?
Photo: USGS

Many clean energy advocates include geothermal power—energy generated from the copious amounts of heat beneath the Earth's surface—in their recipes for a clean energy future. Manifestations of the awesome power swirling below the earth's crust are probably familiar: the relaxing soak provided by natural hot springs and the apocalyptic fury of a volcanic eruption both originate from below.

Geothermal energy production is far cleaner than burning coal, oil, or natural gas, a very good thing indeed. And unlike wind or solar power, the Earth's heat is always on. But drilling (literally) into the Earth's inherent energy potential isn't without risks. A series of recent earthquakes near operating geothermal projects has stoked concerns that the method, improperly sited, could yield a catastrophe.

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03 September 2009, 5:01 PM
Gifted composer transcribes "outsider" music
Atigun Gorge, in the foothills of Alaska's Brooks Range. Photo: USGS

John Luther Adams is at times a challenging composer. An unabashed admirer of avant-garde music, Adams has crafted pieces during his decades-long career that ask a great deal of the listener. But the rewards are commensurate with the challenge.

Adams' unique vision provides intrepid listeners with an opportunity to transcend the sounds he creates by inhabiting them fully, thereby connecting to something much larger than the notes and textures he selects. In many cases, the larger something that Adams seeks to conjure—often quite successfully in my humble opinion—is the great Alaskan wilderness. Listen to excerpts of his work. 

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21 August 2009, 10:34 AM
Clean coal wishful thinkers part ways with disgraced lobbying firm

Thanks, but no thanks. So said the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) to the black-sheep lobby shop Bonner & Associates, which was caught sending forged letters opposing the Waxman-Markey bill to three members of Congress. In the wake of this scandal, first reported by the Charlottesville Daily Progress back in late-July, it seems ACCCE is making the wise decision to relieve Bonner from its employ

But as others have noted, ACCCE is no innocent actor in this story. They were made aware of the forgeries on June 24, 2009 by the Hawthorn Group, an ACCCE client that hired Bonner & Associates on ACCCE's behalf to reach out to local groups in the districts of key members of Congress.

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18 August 2009, 4:17 PM
New fraudulent letters opposing the climate bill revealed

The scandal involving a D.C. lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates that sent forged letters opposing the climate bill to members of Congress continues to grow. A number of blogs are covering a press release from Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that states five new forged letters were uncovered as part of a congressional investigation launched shortly after reports of the first batch of forged letters surfaced.

The recently discovered letters, sent to three Democratic representatives—Tom Perriello (D-VA), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) and Christopher Carney (D-PA)—were purportedly from senior citizen centers and expressed concern that fixed-income seniors would be hurt by rate increases as a result of the climate bill. 

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31 July 2009, 2:43 PM
Congressman receives forged letters urging "no" vote on climate bill
Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA)

Like many of his colleagues, freshman Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) received thousands of letters, emails, and faxes about the American Climate and Energy Security Act (a.k.a. the Waxman-Markey climate bill). That's nothing unexpected in and of itself. But it turns out that some of those letters were appalling forgeries.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress, which broke the story, reports that an unnamed employee (now ex-employee, supposedly) of a D.C. lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates sent a letter to Rep. Perriello from a non-existent employee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit group that works with the Charlottesville, VA hispanic community. The letter, which included the nonprofit's logo, urged Perriello to vote "no" on the legislation.

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28 July 2009, 1:45 PM
Satellite images show alarming loss of Arctic summer sea ice
Arctic sea ice. Photo: USGS

On July 15th, the Department of Interior, at the urging of the National Academy of Sciences, released hundreds of satellite images that show the impact global warming is having on the Arctic. Though the images have been public for almost two weeks, the story they tell hasn't lost any of its potency. They are a strong indication that the Arctic—a true natural and international treasure—is changing rapidly, perhaps irrevocably.

The Guardian reports that more than one million square kilometers of Arctic sea ice were absent in 2007 compared to 2006. For scale, that's an area significantly larger than the entire state of Texas (a little less than one-and-a-half Texases, to be exact). One pair of images, taken above the town of Barrow, AK in July of 2006 and 2007, clearly shows this dramatic loss of summer sea ice.

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28 July 2009, 11:48 AM
CA officials rub elbows abroad with the polluters they regulate
The capitol building in Sacramento, CA.

The Sacramento Bee ran an eye-opening investigative report over the weekend. Bee journalists found that California officials tasked with regulating greenhouse gas polluters and crafting the state's policy responses to global warming have been taking all-expenses-paid trips with energy industry lobbyists and company executives.

Say what?!?

This revelation is utterly outrageous and seemingly illegal on its face. But industry, as it often manages to do, identified a loophole in the law and pulled through it.

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06 May 2009, 4:33 PM

As part of our campaign to clean up sources of toxic mercury pollution, we experimented with Google Earth to tell the story of how pollution from cement kilns is hurting local communities. Below is a video we produced that features two cement kilns right along the water in Seattle, WA.

Let's get a quick show of hands: How many of you have lost hours at work living out your flying fantasy in Google Earth? Well, me too.

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