Trip Van Noppen's Blog Posts

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Trip Van Noppen'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.

Trip Van Noppen is Earthjustice's President who leads the organization's staff, board and supporters to advance its mission of using the courts to protect our environment and people's health. Growing up near the Linville Gorge and the Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina, he developed both a love of the natural world and a passion for fighting economic and social injustices. He feels that doing this work at Earthjustice, with its national and international impact, is the opportunity of a lifetime. When he is not working at Earthjustice, he loves to hike, see great theatre and be with loved ones.
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20 January 2009, 7:42 AM
 

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen is blogging from Washington, D.C., where he is attending the inauguration of Barack Obama and events surrounding the inauguration.

This inauguration coincides with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's 80th birthday, and the connections between his work and vision and the election of Obama are everywhere: an opening ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial where the "I Have a Dream" speech was given in 1963; the "We are One" theme of the opening ceremony, people of all kinds from all over the country.

Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal wrote:

A long-oppressed people have raised up a president. It is moving and beautiful and speaks to the unending magic and sense of justice of our country.

Magic ... there is no better word for what is going on.

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19 January 2009, 3:44 PM
 

I am in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of Barack Obama and will be making blog reports once the ceremonies begin. This is an historic occasion for the nation and for anyone who cares about the environment, and it has special significance for me because of my early career in North Carolina, defending African-Americans against discrimination.

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30 December 2008, 3:16 PM
 

We congratulate Ed Lewis, chairman of our Board of Trustees, for being honored with the prestigious Wilburforce Foundation Leadership Award. We all know how well-deserved this award is, recognizing Ed's conservation leadership not only with Earthjustice, but as board chair of TREC, as a key player in land conservation in the Northern Rockies, and as a consultant and advisor to many organizations.

The Wilburforce Foundation protects wildlife and wildlands in Western North America by supporting organizations and leaders advancing conservation solutions. The leadership award is one of a series of grants honoring individuals for exceptional leadership in the conservation movement. Ed—who by the way gave Earthjustice a $5,000 gift that comes with the award—is only the second representative of Earthjustice to win the award. Some years ago, our Vice President of Litigation Patti Goldman also was honored.

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18 December 2008, 11:35 AM
 

Maybe it's a good thing that Bush has kept Earthjustice so busy these last eight years, fending off unrelenting assaults on the environment. The experience is proving invaluable as we face, in these final weeks of the administration, a frantic effort to roll back some of the nation's most significant protections. We also are encountering a barrage of last-minute attempts to convert America's wild, public treasures into private, commercial commodities.

Any day now, we expect Bush's Fish and Wildlife Service to once again remove endangered species protections from the northern gray wolf—protections we secured this year after Bush first de-listed the wolf.

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05 November 2008, 2:35 PM
 

With the election of Barack Obama, our nation's long, dark environmental night appears to be ending. By all early indications an era of opportunity will replace eight years of opposition in which Earthjustice was forced to play a mostly defensive role.

This is the moment we've been waiting for, and with your continued support, we are set to pursue ambitious goals on behalf of the environment.

Only a few weeks ago, we weren't so optimistic. Oil prices were soaring, and the mantra "Drill, baby, Drill!" had swept the nation, led by cheerleaders who sought to take the nation even deeper into dependence on the world's most polluting, non-renewable energy sources.

Today, the leaders of that chant are standing on the sidelines, quieted by a resounding vote of no confidence in ideas that ruined our economy—an economy based on oil and coal dependency, unrestrained consumption, and irrationally exuberant deregulation.

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24 October 2008, 3:52 AM
 

Energy conservation is the biggest, cheapest way to avoid building new power plants and significantly fight global warming. And it offers powerful economic benefits, as California has found through aggressive programs that have created 1.5 million jobs while cutting energy bills by $56 billion since 1972.

Moreover, energy conservation is something individuals can help with by simply turning off lights, driving less and wearing sweaters.

But, individual efforts, while important, can't achieve the enormous national potential of energy conservation. And, as California's experience shows, the marketplace is not a voluntary participant. That's why Earthjustice and other organizations are advocating strong efficiency standards covering a wide variety of household appliances and commercial products.

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30 September 2008, 10:33 AM
 

What's happened in Congress during the last two weeks on energy and drilling issues could send us several major steps backwards on the road to a clean and prosperous energy future.

As I write this, Congress—instead of passing measures to further increase fuel efficiency and reduce oil demand—is capitulating to the "drill, baby, drill" drumbeat. At midnight, two critical moratoriums will lapse: on offshore drilling and oil shale development in the West. At the same time, crucial tax incentives for wind and solar energy have yet to be renewed.

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18 September 2008, 11:38 AM
 

On Wednesday, Congressman John Shadegg (R-Arizona) attacked Earthjustice in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and called on Congress to prevent environmental organizations from suing to prevent expansive offshore oil drilling. Here is the response from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen.

Congressman Shadegg's misguided opinion of environmental laws is unfortunate, yet not entirely unexpected. His recent introduction last week of a bill that authorizes the President or his designee to "waive any legal requirements to a covered energy project" (H.R. 6887) is perhaps the biggest insult to the millions of American who depend on these laws to ensure clean air, clean water and protections for our lands, oceans and environment.

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22 August 2008, 1:00 AM
 

Bill Neukom is a seasoned attorney in a prominent Seattle firm. He served as Microsoft's general counsel and for the past year has been the President of the American Bar Association. His main project at the ABA is engaging leading lawyers, judges, politicians, and others around the world to promote the rule of law. He leads the World Justice Project and has developed the Rule of Law Index, measuring the strength of legal protections and the degree of corruption in the world's legal systems. Strengthening environmental law is one of the goals of this effort.

So Neukom's observations about the how environmental laws are faring here in the US carry particular weight. In a recent press conference, he talked about the failure of the Congress and the executive branch agencies to make sure that our environmental laws are enforced and are updated to address new problems and developing science. The critical task of putting teeth in our environmental laws, seeing that they are carried out to protect the public's health, wild places and wildlife, has instead fallen to public interest litigators. Because our political leadership has abdicated its job, Earthjustice and our allies have taken on the job as the front line of defense for environmental protection.

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31 July 2008, 4:06 PM
 

What do San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, and Chesapeake Bay have in common? They provide a distinctive signature to some of America's greatest cities, of course. Residents and visitors to San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore and Washington love to walk along, play beside, and boat across these waters. All three have storied histories and strong citizens' organizations fighting to protect and restore them.

But they have another, shameful thing in common. These waters all bear warnings about eating fish, because polluted waters have contaminated the fish. Extra restrictions are in effect for children and women of child-bearing age.

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