Posts tagged: Climate and Energy

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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.


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.

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View Maggie Caldwell's blog posts
07 April 2014, 12:36 PM
Showtime series explores links between climate change, drought and war
(Image courtesy of Years of Living Dangerously)

In a world where a forest the size of Germany is leveled and burned every year... where formerly fertile farmlands have been reduced to desert...where biblical-sized drought has caused communities to crumble and pushed nations into war... humankind must either join the fight to change the course of history or risk dooming the planet.

Now read that line again with the deep timber of the late great voice-over actor Don Lafontaine, bring in Titanic director James Cameron and actors Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jessica Alba, and it sounds like you've got the breakout blockbuster event of the year. While Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously features both the Governator AND Indiana Jones, this is no post-apocalyptic popcorn flick. The 9-part documentary series, which premieres this Sunday, April 13, covers the biggest story of our lives: how years of waste and profit-driven, destructive decision-making are leading to climate calamity around the world. 

2 Comments   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
28 March 2014, 11:41 AM
Concerned communities fight back
Vice Mayor Linda Maio, joined by Mayor Tom Bates and Council member Darryl Moore, speaks out in support of resident opposition to a proposed crude by rail project. (Mauricio Castillo / Earthjustice)

Is crude by rail coming to a town near me?

For weeks, I’ve been asking myself that question as I kept hearing about the skyrocketing number of trains that are transporting crude oil throughout the U.S. to east and west coast export facilities.

And I’m not alone.

This week, I attended a protest by my fellow neighbors in Berkeley, California, to stop crude by rail shipments coming through our town. The crude oil boom is brought on by fracking in North Dakota and drilling in Canada’s Alberta tar sands. Both forms of crude are hazardous—Bakken shale crude from North Dakota is highly flammable and tar sands oil is extremely corrosive and also difficult to clean up.

Not surprisingly, once people hear how explosive and dangerous this crude can be when spilled, they really don’t want it traveling through their main streets…or anywhere else. But travel it does. Hundreds of miles, in fact, through rural towns and along main streets, along densely populated areas like Chicago and Albany, and even inside windswept and vulnerable wild lands like Montana’s Glacier National Park.

2 Comments   /  
View Paul Cort's blog posts
25 March 2014, 11:00 AM
Calif. agency seeks to relax existing regulations on diesel trucks, buses

For as long as I have been working on air pollution issues in California, I can still be left speechless by agency decision-making—such as the recent proposal by the California Air Resources Board to relax regulations requiring the cleanup of diesel trucks and buses.

First let me say that CARB is to be commended for adopting these groundbreaking regulations in the first place. The rules, first adopted in 2008, will require owners and operators over the next 10 years to upgrade their old, dirty diesel trucks and buses operating in California. This rule is a central piece of the strategies to meet soot and smog standards in the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles.

View Keith Rushing's blog posts
24 March 2014, 8:57 AM
A NY activist says fracking must be fought on the local level
Deborah Cipolla-Dennis. (Photo by Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

This guest blog post was written by Deborah Cipolla-Dennis, a resident of Dryden, NY, and member of the Dryden Resources Awareness Coalition.

Along with her neighbors, she helped pass one of the first local fracking bans in New York State.

What does my 14,000-person rural town in upstate New York have in common with Los Angeles, one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas?

We’re both standing up to the oil and gas industry. And we’re winning.

2 Comments   /  
View Adrian Martinez's blog posts
20 March 2014, 2:20 PM
Lancaster citizens fear air pollutants will harm children's health
Ozone pollution causes premature death, asthma attacks and other breathing problems. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

A proposal for a large—570-megawatt—gas-fired power plant is pitting two Southern California cities against each other, and has aroused citizens worried about air quality and their children's health. Members of Desert Citizens Against Pollution are suing to challenge the plant’s approval.

The plant would be sited in Palmdale on the border of Lancaster.

Lancaster has generally opposed this project because of health concerns related to significant emissions that would go into its neighborhoods. The city also questions the need for this power plant, which it claims could thwart efforts to promote renewable energy like solar and wind developments. On the flip side, Palmdale has been really supportive of this project.

2 Comments   /  
View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
14 March 2014, 5:58 PM
Some of the quotable best from the Senate's #Up4Climate event
(USDA Photo)

The sound of the Senate call to action on climate change from Monday evening through Tuesday morning is still ringing through our ears.

In case you missed the big #Up4Climate all-night Senate floor takeover, or in case you are still finding inspiration from it, here are some of the highlights:

  • One of the event organizers, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), reminded his colleagues, and the nation, “When America leads the rest of the world follows."
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) sounded a similar refrain indicating that "The solution to climate change is American innovation ... Never bet against it."
  • And for those who may have forgotten what’s at stake in the climate fight, several Senators spelled it out, including Senator Mark Udall (D-CO): “We’ve seen megafloods and megafires, and [climate change is] threatening our way of life in Colorado. We don’t inherit this earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children. Lets act now,” he urged.
  • He was followed by his cousin, Tom Udall (D-NM), who focused on solutions: “When it comes to renewable energy, we [in New Mexico] are out there to make sure we orient ourselves toward renewables and act on climate change.”
  • And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also spoke eloquently about our potential. “I for one refuse to believe that harmful pollution is the only way to grow our economy," she said. "We have everything it takes, from sustainable sources, to manufacturing industry, to renewable know-how to power our country.”
  • Senators Whitehouse and Boxer also delivered powerful messages as the co-chairs of the Senate Climate Task Force and long-time agitators for action to combat climate change.
View Will Rostov's blog posts
14 March 2014, 8:25 AM
Groups challenge law restricting power plant review
New natural gas power plants are among the largest new stationary sources of air pollution in California. (CA DOJ)

Today we filed an appeal challenging a California law that severely restricts the public’s ability to dispute the California Energy Commission’s green-lighting of new power plants. As a general rule, the public may seek judicial review for most state agency decisions in the trial courts. This process serves as a critical tool in efforts to protect the environment from harmful state agency decision-making.

Under current law, however, once the California Energy Commission permits a natural gas power plant, the public’s only recourse is to appeal the Commission’s decision to the California Supreme Court, the state’s highest court. This avenue is fundamentally different from challenges the public may bring to nearly every other type of state agency decision-making, which are typically appealed to a trial court or in some instances to a court of appeal.

The problem with this procedure lies in the fact that the state’s highest court has the power to dismiss challenges to power plant location or “siting” approvals without hearing the cases at all, and without giving any explanation. In fact, since 2001, the state’s Supreme Court has rejected every challenge to a power plant siting decision under the law at issue. Put simply, the California high court refuses to hear these cases.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
13 March 2014, 1:53 PM
Communities nationwide are rejecting fossil fuel export facilities
A crowd protesting the proposed Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay.Photo courtesy of chesapeakeclimate (Flickr)

Last month, the people of Oakland, California, defeated a coal industry scheme to use export facilities to transport its dirty product to other countries. Public pressure and Earthjustice advocacy convinced port authorities to reject bids to construct a coal-and-fossil fuel export facility that could potentially transport more than five million tons of coal and petroleum coke per year. 
Oaklanders are not alone in their rejection of these export beasts. With the help of Earthjustice, communities across the U.S.—in places like New York, Washington and Maryland—are rejecting these facilities, which are being used not only by the coal industry, but also the oil and gas industry to sell as much of their product as possible. 

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
10 March 2014, 2:10 PM
Industry’s silent treatment has been wildly successful
Thanks to a silent industry, large-scale studies of gas drilling’s impacts on communities simply do not exist. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Barray)

Gagging doctors. Silencing children. Muzzling victims. These are among the tactics used within the oil and gas industry to hide the dangers of fracking. And according to a recent review of the latest fracking research, reported on by ProPublica, the industry’s efforts at keeping mouths shut, including its own, have been wildly successful.

That’s the conclusion of a study done by Environmental Science and Technology, which examined the growing body of research on fracking’s health and environmental effects. The researchers found that, though large segments of the public are concerned about fracking, big questions, concerns and uncertainties about the industrial drilling practice still remain.

19 Comments   /  
View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
06 March 2014, 6:13 PM
Passes wrongheaded bill to stop EPA action on climate change
(USDA Photo)

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Polluter Protection Act (H.R. 3826). This bill stops the EPA from setting modest, sensible limits for climate change pollution and allows big polluters to continue to freely dump unlimited carbon pollution at the expense of public health.

When the EPA proposed its new rule to bring the worst of the worst climate polluters in this country under control and for the first time hold them accountable, more than 4 million public comments were submitted in support of this move. Yet, in its 144th vote this Congress against public health, the House turned against those public comments and voted to handcuff the EPA. In an era of climate change, it can be hard to understand why our Congress would pass a bill that flies in the face of overwhelming science and reason.

3 Comments   /