Posts tagged: Climate and Energy

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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.

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.

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View Suma Peesapati's blog posts
31 December 2013, 10:03 AM
The journey towards a clean energy future in New Mexico
The Four Corners Power Plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for the past fifty years. (Photo courtesy of Ecoflight)

Arizona Public Service Company officially announced yesterday that it will retire Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Four Corners Power Plant by January 1, 2014 and install long-overdue pollution controls on the plant’s remaining two units by July 31, 2018.

Built before the Clean Air Act was enacted, this coal plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for the past fifty years. Uncontrolled pollution from this plant threatens the health of its Navajo neighbors and mars visibility in surrounding national parks, including the iconic Grand Canyon. Retirement of three of the plant’s units is an important step forward for environmental justice, protection of public lands, and our ongoing struggle against climate change.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
24 December 2013, 1:05 PM
Sharks and oil and honeybees, oh my!
How much of Yosemite Valley will you be able to see on your next visit? Read more in the #10 unEARTHED blog post of the year. (Chrissy Pepino / Earthjustice)

Looking back at the most popular blog posts from 2013 we find a wide variety of subjects generated substantial readership.

unEARTHED readers were all over the map this year. Your concerns are wide and varied.

And that should give us all hope.

So, counting down (just in case you missed one) here are the Top Ten Most Read unEARTHED blog posts of 2013.

View Shannon Fisk's blog posts
24 December 2013, 7:25 AM
Coal plants need to retire for the benefit of public health
The costliness of coal becomes more evident once you factor in the significant damage that it does to public health. (Photo by TVA)

This piece was originally published in EarthShare’s blog, one of Earthjustice’s partner groups working toward connecting people and workplaces with effective ways to support critical environmental causes. This featured Q&A reveals the answers about our reliance on coal.

Q: Why is coal such a dangerous source of energy?

A: For more than a century, coal has been used as a primary source of energy for electricity generation, steel production and cement manufacturing. But each step associated with energy generation from coal threatens our environment and our health.

Mining coal destroys entire ecosystems. In Appalachia, the practice of mountaintop removal mining is common, and entire mountaintops are blown apart to get at thin seams of coal. The rubble is dumped into nearby valleys, poisoning headwaters that provide drinking water for millions of Americans. As coal is burned in power plants, it produces mercury and arsenic as well as other chemicals that combine to form smog, soot, and acid rain, causing 13,200 premature deaths every year. This toxic air pollution can also impair development in children and cause cancer and other health problems.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
23 December 2013, 3:27 PM
Our litigation forces protections where political leaders fail us
Many environmental and public health safeguards still await approval, more than a year after the election. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House “systematically” delayed finalizing a host of environmental and public health safeguards for political reasons before the 2012 election, reported The Washington Post last February. With many of these rules still awaiting approvals more than a year after the election, the Post recently revisited its investigation into the politics of continued White House delays.

The latest article, by Juliet Eilperin, delves into the findings of a new independent report that concludes President Obama’s White House has injected new layers of White House intervention, politics, and control over basic federal agency duties and regulations. Among the hostages of this political slowdown are Environmental Protection Agency responsibilities to protect the public from toxic coal ash waste, cement factories and other industrial facilities, and smog.

While some in Washington, D.C., would see these environmental rules as opportunity for politicking and power play, elsewhere in the nation, communities and families are feeling the pain of delay.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
17 December 2013, 8:03 AM
Days before TVA spill 5-year anniversary, fight for clean water continues
The Missouri river floodplain adjacent to the Ameren power plant. (Photo courtesy of LEO)

Even though Patricia Schuba and I live nearly a thousand miles apart, we’ve been seeing a lot of each other lately. Patricia is the president of the Labadie Environmental Organization and the director of the coal ash program for Citizens Coal Council.

In May, she traveled to Washington, D.C. as a Clean Air Ambassador, representing her home state of Missouri. In July, she returned to Washington to testify at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing on power plant water pollution, and in October, she and I spoke on a panel about the impacts of coal ash at an environmental conference.

Patricia Schuba.

Patricia represents her community in the fight to clean up coal ash pollution. In the fifth part of our ongoing series leading up to the 5th anniversary of the coal ash spill in Kingston, TN, Patricia tells us about the Ameren power plant in Labadie, MO.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
09 December 2013, 2:13 PM
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would yield up to $280 billion in health benefits
A regional smog layer extends across central New York, western Lake Erie and Ohio, and further west. Winds bring ozone and chemicals that participate in its formation to areas downwind of emission sources. (NASA JSC)

Today, the highest court of the land will hear argument in a case that is important to anyone with lungs.

Here’s the issue in brief: after a court of appeals invalidated the U.S. EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), environmental groups, the EPA itself and various states, asked the Supreme Court to get involved.

A vital air safeguard, the 2011 rule would require power plants in more than two dozen states to clean up nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution that drifts across state borders and contributes to harmful soot (particles) and smog (ozone) pollution in downwind states. This cleanup would every year prevent 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency room visits, 19,000 episodes of acute bronchitis, 420,000 upper and lower respiratory symptoms, 400,000 episodes of aggravated asthma, and 1.8 million days of missed work or school. The EPA also projects that the rule’s pollution reductions will help protect not just people, but also the natural resources on which we depend, including national and state parks, and ecosystems including the Adirondack lakes and Appalachian streams, coastal waters and estuaries, and forests. Overall, the rule would provide up to $280 billion in health and environmental benefits.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
06 December 2013, 9:43 AM
Collapsed colonies spell disaster for our food system, and toxic pesticide is to blame
Honeybee visits a mountain mint blossom. (Photo courtesy of Penn State)

Want to know what else disappears if honeybee colonies continue their alarming rate of collapse? Our food.

According to Time Magazine, honeybees, which pollinate crops like apples, blueberries and cucumbers, are responsible for one-third of the food we eat.

Which is why a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice is so important. We're representing the Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith. In the opening brief just filed, groups argue that the EPA failed to measure exactly what risk a toxic pesticide, sulfoxaflor, poses to bees.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
05 December 2013, 11:59 AM
Many of Michigan's waters are poisoned by coal ash. Clean Water Action is spreading the word.
DTE River Rouge Plant in Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Clean Water Action)

“Pure Michigan.”

That’s the ad campaign Michigan is using to entice travelers to visit the Great Lakes state. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, boating or just lounging on the beach. Michigan wants us to know that it’s a great vacation spot.

But what our friends at Clean Water Action in Michigan are showing us is that many of Michigan’s waters aren’t as “pure” as we thought. Coal ash has contaminated many Michigan waters, a silent threat to Michiganders health.

Nic Clark.

In the fourth part of our series leading up to the anniversary of the TVA spill in Kingston, TN, we hear from Nic Clark, state director of Clean Water Action, Michigan. Nic is a native of Michigan and is committed to protecting his home state from toxic coal ash and other pollution.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
02 December 2013, 1:06 PM
Big-hearted fighter never gave up
Jan Nona in her kitchen, with tap water contaminated by coal ash. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Jaffe / Circle of Blue)

“You have the right to safe drinking water in this country. They took that right away from us.”

Jan Nona, 1939–2014

This Thanksgiving the world lost a great woman. With unequaled intelligence and tenacity, Jan Nona fought for clean water in her small Indiana town after toxic coal ash from the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) poisoned the town’s drinking water with deadly chemicals. NIPSCO and the local landfill owner tried to hide evidence of contamination, but Jan was there to uncover the truth.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
27 November 2013, 8:25 AM
How is coal ash dumped at one site hazardous, but beneficial at another?
A portion of the Little Blue Run coal ash impoundment. October 2011.
(© Bob Donnan)

One of the nation’s largest coal ash dumps spans two states (West Virginia and Pennsylvania) and borders a third (Ohio). It is 30 times larger than the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant which burst in 2008.

The Little Blue Run coal ash impoundment has poisoned nearby waters with arsenic, selenium, boron and more. Residents tell of murky sludge oozing from the ground around their homes.

Russ Maddox.

In the third installment of our series leading up to the 5-year anniversary of the coal ash spill in Kingston, TN, we travel to Pennsylvania to hear from Lisa Graves-Marcucci, a community outreach coordinator with the Environmental Integrity Project, and the work being done to clean up the pollution at Little Blue.