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Terry Winckler's blog

Last February, after Canada banned mining and mineral development in its portion of the Flathead River Valley, Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso described the area as "a treasure more precious than coal or gold."

Today—thanks to a decision by ConocoPhillips—you can expand Preso's description to include oil and gas in Montana's portion of the Flathead Valley. Conoco announced that it was giving up its oil and gas leases on 169,000 acres near Glacier National Park.

(In 1970, Terry Winckler organized the first Earth Day in Orange County, CA. A true grassroots movement, it exploded out of nowhere, he recalls, giving his war-weary generation something positive to rally around. Here are some of his recollections)

It was a simpler, dirtier time, 40 years ago. Everybody littered and no one seemed to notice our trash-encrusted public places. Was recycling even a word in 1970?

In a victory for imperiled native trout and grizzly bears, a court has stopped a proposed silver and copper mine that would have tunneled beneath a remote wilderness in northwest Montana

The proposed Rock Creek Mine would have smothered bull trout spawning grounds under tons of sediment and disrupted thousands of acres of habitat for the region's small grizzly bear population, all while threatening to drain the water out of scenic alpine lakes in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.

This week, after seven months of dodging bullets, Idaho's wolves got a reprieve: the statewide hunt that left 188 of them dead is over.

The actual number of wolves killed since hunting was legalized last year is more than 500—including those shot during the Montana season and others killed by governmental agents protecting livestock.

One of the great environmental victories of our time—preserving the Flathead Valley from development—has quickly become a teachable moment for middle school students in British Columbia.

The naturally dazzling Flathead, with its abundance of wildlife and environmental splendors, will not be sacrificed to get at its plentiful oil, gas and coal deposits, the BC government decided last month. This is how the decision is being taught to students:

Former Earthjustice Executive Director Buck Parker offers these thoughts on Dr. Ed Wayburn:

Earthjustice notes with sadness the passing of Dr. Ed Wayburn at age 103 on Friday, March 5. We were privileged to work with Dr. Wayburn during his decades of leadership of the Sierra Club and of many national conservation campaigns to establish and protect national parks, wilderness areas, and the magnificent landscapes of Alaska.

He was also a key supporter for creating Earthjustice, originally the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, and maintained a life-long interest in the organization and its work. The efforts of Ed and his late wife Peggy inspired the work of thousands of citizen activists, including many Earthjustice staff, board and supporters, in protecting our public lands and resources.

For more information about Dr. Wayburn and his monumental contribution to the American conservation movement please visit the web site of the Sierra Club.

In a very clever riff on climate change deniers, author Bill McKibben compares their tactics to those used by defense lawyers to get O.J. Simpson off the hook: bury the smoking gun facts in a haystack of trivial facts and then focus on the trivia. After awhile, trivia becomes truth and the suspect walks free in blood-stained shoes.

Example: the brutal East Coast winter. For deniers, this proves their main point, that the earth isn't getting warmer, it's getting colder and flatter. As Americans shiver in their doubts, says McKibben, the deniers move in with an "enormously clever, and enormously effective" campaign against climate science.

You gotta read McKibben's full treatise on the denier movement. As he puts it, "It's worth trying to understand how they've done it."

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About the Earthjustice 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.