Terry Winckler's Blog Posts

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Terry Winckler'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.

Terry Winckler is Earthjustice's Editor and resident wordsmith who edits and produces our blog, online monthly newsletter and quarterly print magazine. His appreciation for all that is wild began as a child when he would spend countless hours outdoors, gazing at fireflies on soft summer nights, or listening to his father's tales of the vast primeval forest in Canada's North Woods. Terry's heroes include saints, do-gooders, champions of the underdog, free spirits and nature lovers. In his free time, he enjoys engaging with his spouse and children, eating fistfuls of peppermint stick ice cream and spinning a good yarn.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 February 2009, 11:56 AM
Sunflower massive expansion authorized

As expected, this morning, the Kansas House passed a bill authorizing massive expansion of the Sunflower coal-fired power plant - but the tally is still five votes short of being veto-proof....and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vowed to veto this bill as she did with three previous Sunflower bills.

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25 February 2009, 6:04 PM
 

Interior Dept. Sec. Ken Salazar is turning his nose up at another one of Bush's "midnight regulations." This one has to do with leases for oil shale research and development in Colorado and Utah.

Salazar halted the lease sale process because it had terms that didn't pass "the smell test," he announced this week. Instead, he will start a new leasing process that includes 90 days of public comment.

This is clearly a move in the right direction by Salazar, who -- unlike Bush -- at least is taking time to kick the idea around. It's an idea that's worth a good kick. One of the dirtiest ways of getting energy, oil shale extraction has never been commercially proven. In a word, it stinks.

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25 February 2009, 11:49 AM
"It's DOA with me"

On the heels of last night’s speech by President Obama, the governor of Kansas is more resolute than ever in her opposition to the proposed Sunflower coal-fired power plant expansion. She vetoed pro-Sunflower legislation three times last year and is poised to do the same with a new bill coming to a vote tomorrow in the Legislature.

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24 February 2009, 12:14 PM
 

Faith and labor community leaders are joining the chorus for clean energy in Kansas, even as that state’s legislators stubbornly stick to the dirty, coal-fired power of the past

The United Steelworkers recently announced their support of the Kansas Blue Green Alliance, made up of environmental and trade groups that endorse development of wind energy as a non-polluting way to achieve jobs and general economic growth.

Also on board the clean train are numerous faith groups united as the Kansas Interfaith Power and Light. They see clean, sustainable energy as a way of practicing environmental stewardship.

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23 February 2009, 12:43 PM
 

A scientist with a cigarette lighter is providing the latest evidence of global warming's dramatic and swift impacts in the Arctic.

Four miles south of the Arctic Circle, Katey Walter has found that melting ice and permafrost are releasing vast amounts of methane -- a greenhouse gas 21 times worse than CO2 as a contributor to climate change.

To prove the point, Walter stoops down to melting pools and flicks her lighter to ignite methane flame jets 20 feet high. It's a "time bomb" that even slightly warmer temperatures could set off, she told the Los Angeles Times.

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18 February 2009, 11:30 AM
 

In less than a month, President Obama has tackled several items on a list of Six Easy Things that Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen set forth for the new administration last November.

1) Move towards reducing CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act

One of the most significant actions came this week when the EPA said it would reconsider the infamous "Johnson memo" issued just before Obama took office by Bush's EPA chief Stephen Johnson. The memo directed EPA staff to ignore regulation of CO2 even though the U.S. Supreme Court said EPA had the authority. Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson said she is reconsidering that memo and will seek public comment.

Bottom Line: The EPA appears headed towards regulating CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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11 February 2009, 12:43 PM
1,500 megawatt dinosaur of a power plant to be resurrected?

At a time when this country is finally emerging from eight Jurassic years, many Kansas legislators are determined to resurrect a 1,500 megawatt dinosaur of a power plant that their governor -- supported by two-thirds of her constituents -- vetoed three times last year.

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09 February 2009, 4:23 PM
 

After cancelling oil and gas leases in Utah last week, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar is strongly hinting that he might do the same with a crown jewel of Colorado -- the Roan Plateau. The Roan is a rippling expanse of natural riches that rises dramatically 3,000 feet above a plain in the state's northwest quadrant.

The Roan was leased off for oil and gas exploitation last August despite massive public outcry from a remarkably diverse group of folks, including hunters and fishers, Republicans and Democrats, locals and people from across the country, and of course dedicated environmentalists. Salazar, then a U.S. senator from Colorado, was among those urging the Bureau of Land Management to not proceed with the lease sale.

Now, as boss of the BLM, Salazar is in position to put money where his mouth was last year -- $113 million in lease payments already divvied up between the state and feds. But it's a pittance compared to the priceless wilderness qualities that would be displaced by industrial drilling operations.

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06 February 2009, 4:53 PM
 

A bunch of utility operators are still trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to let them pour poisonous mercury into the air - but after today, they are standing alone. The Obama administration said it is withdrawing its support, and in fact, wants the court to drop the case.

Label this a victory for Earthjustice, its clients, and those thousands of citizens eating mercury-contaminated fish and forced to breathe in all the toxic fumes that the Bush administration would allow. Over eight years, that amounted to 700,000 pounds of mercury and other toxic stuff. We sued to stop this awful practice and won, but Bush's lawyers partnered up with the utilities and appealed to the Supreme Court so that it could continue.

Now, if the Court agrees, we can start breathing easier.

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06 February 2009, 2:30 PM
 

Obama has quickly switched from the bump to the boot. All week he's been kicking over Bush-era dominoes, and today's was a whopper. The Environmental Protection Agency is starting to review its 2007 refusal to let California regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The review affects 16 other states that also want to control emissions. It's a big deal that we've long been pushing for.

But, the biggest domino of all is still standing in the way of EPA really cracking down on greenhouse gases. We're talking about that shameful "Johnson memo" issued by the Bush-EPA administrator of the same name just before Obama took office. The memo told EPA employees to ignore CO2 - the single largest contributor to global warming. Without saying it, the memo also said: Ignore a Supreme Court ruling that authorizes EPA to control CO2.

What an irresistible target for a bump from Obama's boot.