If you've ever suspected that Congress thinks of corporate polluters first and the polluted public last, the debacle unfolding in Washington, D.C. this week should leave you with little doubt—and a bitter taste. Many of our elected leaders have hijacked the process by which we fund government agencies to sack the environment like Odysseus did Troy.
Up and down the Rockies, in Texas, across much of the northeast, and perhaps soon in your community, engaged citizens are coming together to prevent the harms of rampant gas development.
Last week, I sat with just such a group in Gunnison County, Co., a beautiful place in the mountains that is confronting rapidly expanding drilling and fracking for gas. People took time away from work and family to gather and talk about what to do.
Follow along as I walk us up the steep learning curve about natural gas that Earthjustice, the environmental community and the nation are navigating. The curve suddenly steepened a few years ago when natural gas advocates started promoting their fuel as a refreshing alternative to coal and oil, and a bridge to a clean energy future.
Nobody gets through a day without breathing. Not executives in the coal-fired power and cement industries, which are polluting our air daily. Not the legion of lobbyists they hire to patrol the halls of Congress in defense of dirty air. And not the members of Congress who, hand-in-hand with these special interests, are marching the Clean Air Act off a cliff.
At the very same time that these women and men draw breath, they are working to derail and delay clean air protections with a vigor that suggests there isn't a set of functioning lungs between them.
One year ago, the BP oil spill had just started turning the Gulf of Mexico's blue waters to the color of rust. Triggered on April 20, 2010 by a well-rig explosion that killed 11 people, the spill would gush more than 200 million gallons of crude oil—the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
As the threat of a total federal government shutdown hangs over the country, leaders in Congress and the White House continue eleventh-hour emergency negotiations to reach a compromise before time runs out on keeping our government funded and averting a costly and potentially disastrous government shutdown.
It is with deep regret that we must announce that Earthjustice was forced to step down as the courtroom lawyer for wolves in the Northern Rockies in the two cases related to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s action to remove or reduce their Endangered Species Act protections. This action was not our choice, but a course of action compelled by our ethical responsibilities to our clients.
Despite obvious differences, the icy Arctic Ocean and the warm, deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico have an important commonality: we aren’t prepared to safely drill for oil in either place. Last year’s Gulf spill – which killed 11 rig workers and fouled waters that nourish ecosystems and economies alike – is a harsh illustration of that simple fact.
In this line of work, we are lucky to meet and work with a lot of heroes, people who stand up against all odds for the health of their communities, who sacrifice for the greater good of their brothers and sisters. Judy Bonds of Marfork, West Virginia was a hero among heroes, an extraordinary leader and an indomitable spirit.
Today marks the second anniversary of the nation’s largest toxic waste spill, when a billion-gallon wave of arsenic-filled coal ash carried away three houses and destroyed a riverfront community below the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant in rural Tennessee.