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.

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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 Raviya Ismail's blog posts
19 November 2012, 10:51 AM
Clean air champions go to court on "fracking" and other drilling air rules
Heavy smoke caused by flaring operations at natural gas well located on state land near Pinedale, WY.  (William Belveal)

Last Wednesday, a group of clean air advocates intervened to protect crucial air safeguards that will curb pollution emitted during oil and gas drilling. Unfortunately the state of Texas and their allies with the American Petroleum Institute and a variety of other state alliances of oil and gas companies are pushing back against these necessary protections.

But here are the facts: industry and their allies are hyping natural gas as a miracle fuel, yet the gas drilling sector—which includes the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”—has worsened air quality around the country. In some parts of the country undergoing a gas drilling boom, air quality has fallen below levels the EPA determined to be safe. This is a growing problem that is wreaking havoc on our lungs.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 November 2012, 7:47 PM
It's back on Obama's agenda, along with "all of the above"
President Obama, on election night.  (Christopher Dilts)

Life doesn’t hand you many second chances to make good on promises.

But that’s what the American public, with an assist from superstorm Sandy, has given President Obama: another 4-year opportunity to tackle climate change—the critical environmental issue of our time. He’s now talking about the issue again, after two years of near-silence, and just a few days ago spoke of “an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth and make a serious dent in climate change.”

President Obama's words aren't quite as bold as those he made four years ago about attacking climate change, but they give us hope that climate change has become a politically viable issue—especially when seen in the context of the election.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 November 2012, 12:54 PM
Historic agreement signals beginning of end for tragic mining practice

Yesterday, one of the nation’s top coal companies, Patriot Coal, announced that it is getting out of the business of mountaintop removal mining. The decision comes out of a settlement with several Appalachian community groupsWest Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates—requiring Patriot to clean up toxic selenium pollution running off into streams and rivers from two mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia.

This news marks the beginning of the end of mountaintop removal mining. This is the first time a coal company is publicly acknowledging community impacts of this destructive and extreme form of mining. Now, it's up to all of us to finish the job and demand that our nation's leaders in the White House and in Congress end mountaintop removal before coal companies do more damage. They shouldn't be left to their own timelines: We need to work to end this sooner.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
15 November 2012, 4:27 PM
Drilling near Denver is adding to the area's worsening smog problem
Denver smog. Brought to you in part by fracking.

Last week, supporters of the controversial drilling practice know as fracking held a rally in Denver. According to media reports, one booster drew laughs from the crowd when he said that fracking’s economic benefits would eventually "trickle down to attorneys [and] doctors."

Colorado doctors are probably already seeing increased business because of fracking, but not in a humorous way.

Oil and gas drilling is a contributor to ozone—better known as smog—on Colorado’s Front Range.

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View Jonathan Wiener's blog posts
13 November 2012, 10:12 AM
Outgoing budget chief sings praises of efficiency standards OMB mothballed
"Regulatory Czar" Cass Sunstein. Half-a-dozen efficiency standards are still stuck at OMB.  (White House)

Either he has finally seen the light, or he just has a lot of nerve.

In a Sunday New York Times editorial about the impact of Hurricane Sandy and steps the U.S. should take to address climate change, former White House “regulatory czar” Cass Sunstein argues, quite rightly, that cost-benefit analysis frequently justifies aggressive steps to combat climate change and other environmental harms.

He will get no argument on that here. But the examples he chose to illustrate his point—fuel efficiency standards for cars and appliances—ought to raise a few eyebrows.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
12 November 2012, 9:26 AM
Without a clean energy future, more Sandys could be the future
Homes damaged by superstorm Sandy. (FEMA)

While for many in the country, thoughts of Hurricane Sandy are being replaced by thoughts of the election, football, or the Thanksgiving holiday, for the tens of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey, survival and their families' well-being are still the urgent thoughts.

Two weeks after the storm, more than 68,000 people in the path of superstorm Sandy were still without power. Eighty-five died during Sandy and many are still suffering from the total loss of their homes and belongings, lack of food, heat, clothes, gas and more. At the worst point, the Long Island Power Authority reported that 8.5 million homes and businesses in the region were powerless. Gas rationing took over in the New York city area, and a blustery, snowy nor’easter storm left many shivering to stay warm without heat.

The tremendous costs of Sandy are still growing. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo estimated that Sandy will cost the state of New York $33 billion. New Jersey’s best estimates approach $50 billion. All combined, Sandy was the second most costly storm in U.S. history, just behind Katrina. The area affected by Sandy produces fully one-fifth of our nation’s GDP, so the economic implications of this storm have yet to be fully realized. It’s clearly in our entire nation’s best interest to do everything we can to get this region up and running and back to business as quickly as possible.

To deny that Sandy was intensified because of climate change would be to deny science. Rising ocean temperatures and sea levels make storms like Sandy more powerful and disastrous.

An aerial view of Breezy Point and Long Beach, NY, Nov. 12, 2012. (U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley / Department of Defense)

An aerial view of Breezy Point and Long Beach, NY, Nov. 12, 2012.
(U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley / Department of Defense)
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
06 November 2012, 9:56 PM
President must unite America to secure prosperity and fight climate change
President Obama now has a second chance to put this nation on course to a prosperous future built on clean energy. (Scout Tufankjian)

The American people have reinvested their faith in a President who now has a second chance to put this nation on course to a prosperous future built on clean energy and with a far-reaching goal of ending mankind’s role in climate change.

In the wake of superstorm Sandy, voters saw—and many continue to experience—the impacts of climate change-induced weather. They are convinced and, like us, demand that President Obama take action to steer us away from the fossil fuels that feed climate change. This is the real path to energy independence.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
04 November 2012, 5:10 PM
Superstorm blows climate change onto national ballot
Lower Manhattan was without power for days.  (Eric Konon)

Hurricane Sandy delivered a lot of pain when it punched into the East Coast. As I write this, a week later, the sea has retreated but the suffering remains. Half of Manhattan is cold and dark. The New Jersey shore is in bits. Parts of Long Island are knocked out.

Having spent most of my life in hurricane country and having lived through many similar blows, I can’t stop thinking about what people are going through to find bottled water and a place to get gas and some sort of help for the elderly and infirm. My heart is with them.

But I’m also thinking about the other knock-out punch that Sandy delivered—to the climate deniers and the climate-avoiding politicians. Sandy is the kind of superstorm that climate scientists have been warning about for decades. They are the new heavyweight champs of the hurricane world, and will reign as long as we fail to challenge the causes of rising sea levels and warming ocean and atmospheric temperatures near coastal mega-cities.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
01 November 2012, 11:52 AM
The effects are clear, if not the cause, says LA Times
NOAA satellite photo of Sandy

Today, in an editorial, the Los Angeles Times took on a question that many of us have been pondering – did climate change cause super-storm Sandy? The newspaper didn’t try to answer the question, but instead made a strong case for how global warming made Sandy more intense:

In part, it's because Sandy involved a highly unusual confluence of weather events, some of which may have resulted from a widely documented rise in global ocean and surface temperatures…But more important than the exact causes of Sandy's fury is the fact that it was so predictable.

The newspaper observed how climate scientists have long warned about the side-effects of climate change – the increase in extreme weather events like Sandy, and rising sea levels that would allow storms to sweep into low-lying places such as Manahattan and erode coastal areas like the Jersey shoreline.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
19 October 2012, 3:27 PM
We file a lawsuit, state officials scramble to respond
Fracking rig.  (Bob Warhover)

Here’s what we know: Fracking is already happening in California. Based on the oil and gas industry’s own admission, there were 600 wells that were fracked in 2011 alone. Here’s what we don’t know: exactly where, when, or what chemicals the oil and gas industry is blasting into the ground during fracking.

What makes matters worse is that state regulators don’t seem to be in much hurry to tackle the problem. California, long thought of as an environmental leader, is now falling behind other states like New York, Colorado—even Wyoming—in regulating fracking. That’s why our attorneys went to court this week, filing a lawsuit to protect Californians from fracking.

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