Posts tagged: The Right to Breathe

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

The Right to Breathe


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

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.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 February 2011, 4:15 PM
House lawmakers continue to slash essential protections for the American public

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

Once the amendments are voted on and settled, the whole House will cast a final vote on the entire bill package with all the passed amendments. Then the Senate takes its turn, crafting a spending bill of its own. The two chambers must then confer and agree on one bill that funds the federal government by March 4 -- or the government must shut down until its spending and funding sources are settled.

The amendments that the House is currently considering are wide-ranging. They aim to cut government spending by cutting the funding streams of hundreds of government programs. So, instead of ending those programs through legislation and appropriate voting, many members of the House are seeking to delete the programs by wiping out the funds that keep them going.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
18 February 2011, 1:52 PM
Raleigh News & Observer supportive of cement kiln rules
Cement kiln. Photo courtesy Sierra Club

This month, Earthjustice endured many attacks on clean air, including efforts to undo air protections that would slash mercury and other air pollution from cement kilns. In January Rep. John Carter (R-TX) began his protracted assault, starting with a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to kill these important safeguards.

Last night as the House continued its debate on their controversial budget plan, Rep. Carter successfully led the House GOP in a vote of 250 to 177 to dismantle the rules.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
18 February 2011, 12:17 PM
House majority environmental attacks continue today
The EPA is a main target of Republicans

Here is a quick update on the spending bill nonsense taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Last night, as House leaders continued their marathon vote of their budget bill, they voted to dismantle a crucial set of air rules that would save up to 2,500 lives and slash mercury and other air pollution from cement kilns. These EPA health protections are supposed to take effect in 2013, and would cut cement plants’ mercury emissions by 92 percent and yield up to $18 billion in health benefits. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) sponsored the amendment, which is a continued attack from the Texas congressman beginning last month, when he introduced the Congressional Review Act to disable these air protections.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
17 February 2011, 4:34 PM
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) leads 32 other reps in call for clean air

The U.S. House of Representatives is a dark place right now. Many of its Republican members are maniacally focused on dismantling scores of health and environmental protections, using a budget bill to stowaway anti-environmental amendments that would never get passed on their own.

As Earthjustice’s Patti Goldman quipped: “Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants.” Indeed, at risk is 40 years of environmental progress, including great strides in reducing harmful air pollution.

Thankfully, the House isn’t all dark. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)—along with 32 of his colleagues—sent a letter yesterday to EPA chief Lisa Jackson that calls for the strongest possible health protections against the toxic air pollution generated by industrial boilers. These boilers are used as on-site power plants at paper mills, chemical plants, oil refineries and other large industrial facilities. But they don’t just create heat and electricity to power the facilities’ operations… they also create air emissions full of mercury, lead, cancer-causing dioxins and soot.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
16 February 2011, 12:10 PM
Americans overwhelmingly want the clean air that Congress is trying to take away

Many of our elected representatives in Congress just aren’t working for the will of the people. Right now, in direct opposition to the opinion of a large majority of Americans, these members of our government are putting in overtime to roll back important limits on air pollution coming from some of the worst industrial polluters in the nation.

They seek to block implementation of health protections that will reduce emissions of mercury, lead, cancer-causing dioxins, soot and other harmful air pollutants, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars in the process. (And that’s not all they’re up to—these efforts to kill clean air protections are part of a widespread campaign in Congress to kneecap environmental protections generally. See here and here.)

Americans overwhelmingly want air pollution protections for their health and the health of their children. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. voters “feel that Congress should not stop the EPA from updating Clean Air Act standards.” This according to poll results released today by the American Lung Association, conducted collaboratively by Democratic and Republican polling firms. These bipartisan pollsters wrote:

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:09 PM
Join the campaign for clean air

Do you think that all Americans have the right to clean air? Then sign the Right to Breathe Declaration!

The Clean Air Act—signed in 1970 by Pres. Nixon and improved upon in 1990 by George H.W. Bush—has benefitted millions of Americans in its 40-year history. Just last year, for example, clean air health protections helped save the lives of more than 160,000 Americans.

More work remains to be done. Some of the dirtiest industrial polluters, such as coal-fired power plants, aren’t currently subject to any limits on their emissions of mercury, lead, soot and other dangerous air pollutants. Americans deserve health protections against this toxic pollution. Show your support by signing the declaration. Here’s a short video on the Right to Breathe.

5 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
14 February 2011, 5:30 PM
Five state AGs send letter urging support for cement plant health protections
Cement kiln near Midlothian, TX. Photo: Samantha Bornhorst

Attorneys general from five states—New York, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut—sent a letter today to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, urging a rejection of Rep. John Carter’s (R-TX) resolution to block health protections against cement plants’ toxic air pollution.

Led by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, the quintet—which for their action to defend Americans’ health should be considered as a worthy addition to the “Fab Five” list—correctly note that reducing cement plants’ emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants will save lives and lead to the creation of American jobs manufacturing, installing and maintaining pollution control equipment.

Most importantly, these health protections will save the lives of 2,500 Americans every year—by reducing emissions of particulate matter from the cement industry by 92 percent. Cement plants’ mercury emissions—the third largest of all U.S. industries—will also be reduced by 92 percent. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxicant that can impact a child’s ability to think and learn. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that more than 300,000 babies born every year may face a higher risk of developmental damage because of mercury exposure.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
11 February 2011, 4:45 PM
1,882 health pros demand clean air from Obama, House, Senate

This week, nearly 2,000 health and medical professionals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia told our elected representatives at the White House and in Congress to stand up for clean air. These professionals are intimately familiar with the impacts of air pollution on people—asthma, heart disease, stroke, cancer—especially such vulnerable groups as children and the elderly.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
10 February 2011, 3:30 PM
The Clean Air Act, that's what

(Clean air is a life saver, which is why Earthjustice is working to ensure that polluters don’t stand in the way of safeguards against air pollution. Here’s a round up of some recent news in the ongoing campaign to protect our Right to Breathe.)

Use the #right2breathe hashtag on Twitter to track campaign updates.

EPA chief Lisa Jackson talks health on Capitol Hill
Tapped to testify on a bill that would shackle her agency and prevent it from doing its job to protect the American people, Lisa Jackson took an important message to Congress: Clean air saves lives and improves our health.

“Last year alone,” she said, “EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act saved more than 160,000 lives,” avoided 100,000 hospital visits and millions of respiratory illness cases, and kept Americans in work and at school. Clean air keeps us safe and healthy. Pro-polluter factions in Congress apparently think that isn’t a big deal, but I bet the 160,000 people whose lives were saved last year disagree.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
09 February 2011, 2:20 PM
EPA chief in Congress to defend clean air protections

EPA chief Lisa Jackson was on Capitol Hill today to testify before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On topic was a bill from Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the committee, that would prevent the EPA from taking action on climate change.

Lisa Jackson rightfully acknowledged in her opening statements, however, that Upton’s bill is really just one piece of a “broader effort in this Congress to delay, weaken, or eliminate Clean Air Act protections of the American public.”

This broad effort includes Rep. John Carter’s anti-health resolution that would block the EPA’s limits on cement plants’ toxic air pollution. It also includes similar attempts to thwart health protections against industrial boilers' emissions of mercury, acid gases and other harmful pollutants. These and other safeguards will save lives and money and protect Americans’ right to breathe.