Posts tagged: Health and Toxics

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Health and Toxics


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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 Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
26 September 2012, 3:50 PM
Premieres December 2012

Here’s the trailer for Promised Land, a feature film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon that depicts the effects of the fracking boom on a small town.

It is definitely worth a watch:

Damon is cast as a likeable farmboy-turned-landman, earnestly persuading struggling farmers to lease their properties to oil and gas companies for drilling. John Krasinski (The Office) is a farmer who learns firsthand the dangerous toll of the gas drilling boom. The two square off over fracking while battling for the affections of schoolteacher Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men). Oscar-winner Francis McDormand plays Damon’s business sidekick.

The film was shot in Western Pennsylvania. We'd love to hear from any fractivists cast as extras. Were you on set? Drop us a line in the comments.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 September 2012, 2:59 PM
On way out of town, House votes industry a free pass to pollute

It's been a long two years with the 112th Congress. In that time, House leadership has often tried to "help the economy" by wiping away our basic public health and environmental protections—in the process putting thousands of Americans at risk of disease and death from exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens in our air and water.

And today, as a final departing gift before recessing for the fall, House leaders put through H.R. 3409—a toxic sell-out bill that decimates our fundamental public health protections with the pretext of addressing the "war on coal." The House passed the bill by a vote of 233 to 175.

To wit: H.R. 3409 includes provisions we believe will:

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View Joan Mulhern's blog posts
20 September 2012, 9:44 AM
Still ferocious in the fight against mountaintop removal mining after all these years
Ken Hechler, thank you and Happy Birthday!  (Photo courtesy of Ken Hechler)

On December 28, 2012, Earthjustice lost its original Mountain Hero, Senior Legislative Counsel Joan Mulhern, who passed away after a long illness. Joan will be greatly missed.
Read Marty Hayden's tribute and a memorial to Joan from the Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.

 

Ken Hechler is an American hero. He has worked in public service for his entire amazing career; he served in the military, as a White House aide and speechwriter, as a national and statewide elected official in West Virginia, as a member of the U.S. Congress for 20 years, and then as West Virginia Secretary of State. Today, as he turns 98, he is still a dedicated public citizen, especially in his efforts to stop mountaintop removal, the devastating coal mining practice that is destroying the mountains and streams of central Appalachia and threatening the health and lives of people who live in communities surrounded by mines.

No one who has met Ken will ever forget him.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
20 September 2012, 9:14 AM
H.R. 3409’s all-out assault on bedrock environmental protections
H.R. 3409 contains five of the most-anti-environmental bills previously passed by a House distinguished by its radical anti-health anti-science bias.

There’s no doubt that this House of Representatives has amassed the most anti-environmental record in history. According to the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House voted more than 300 times “to block environmental regulations, weaken environmental laws, and stop environmental research” since January 2011.

In a very, very bad year, the “single worst anti-environmental bill” introduced by the House hits the floor this Friday. Officially (but ironically) titled “Stop the War on Coal Act,” H.R. 3409 actually represents the House leadership’s own elaborate and well-funded war on longstanding protections of clean air and water enjoyed by all Americans. In the guise of saving King Coal, Rep. Upton (R-MI) leads a charge up Capitol Hill to shred the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, enthusiastically eviscerating health and environmental safeguards.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 September 2012, 8:39 PM
Your voice can help put the environment on the political agenda
Your voice is as important as your vote—there is a lot you can do. (Jason Langheine)

After the summer we have had, my mind is on climate change, what more Earthjustice can do about it, and what’s at stake in this election.

I experienced the effects of climate change this summer during a trip through Colorado. Heat, drought and fire set an almost apocalyptic tone for the trip. There was no snow on the peaks, stream flows were down, and smoke filled the air. Similar impacts afflicted 60 percent of our nation and spread over three continents; sea ice coverage in the Arctic was at a record low.

Earthjustice is working hard to slow and reverse these climate trends by bringing cases across the country to beat down coal, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expand the market for renewable energy and efficiency. And with your support we are doing more every day: hiring more attorneys and bringing more cases in more places. We are grateful not only for your support which makes this possible, but also for your advocacy which helps get better rules adopted and enforced.

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View David Guest's blog posts
14 September 2012, 12:35 PM
It's an old story, but 'Sugar Daddy' governor offers new hope
National Park Service Photo

For decades, U.S. sugar barons have been dumping their polluted runoff into the Florida Everglades. Day after day, these politically powerful corporations send chemical fertilizers and pesticides into the great marsh—wrecking America’s only subtropical wilderness in the process.

It’s clearly wrong for sugar plantations to use our public natural resources as their private dumping grounds, and we here at the Florida office of Earthjustice fight many legal battles to stop it.

Recently, we got some curious news. A sugar plantation pollution scheme which was supposedly shelved 24 years ago is now rearing its ugly head again.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
14 September 2012, 11:27 AM
Legislation would prevent EPA from protecting Americans

Seeking protection from unsafe dumping practices, more than 300 public interest groups from 43 states, representing millions across the nation, sent a letter this week to the U.S. Senate opposing S. 3512, the “Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act of 2012.”

The bill, introduced last July by Sens. Hoeven (R-SD), Conrad (D-SD) and Baucus (D- MT), prevents the EPA from finalizing its proposed coal ash rule—or ever issuing regulations for the nation’see second largest industrial waste stream. In its place, S. 3512 encourages inadequate state programs that preserve the status quo and extend the lives of hundreds of leaking toxic dumps.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
13 September 2012, 11:28 PM
Live updates from Washington, D.C.

Today's the day that we deliver our Mountain Heroes photo petition to the Obama administration! This massive photo petition is historic—it includes photos and personal messages and stories from more than 13,500 people across the country who wrote to President Obama and his administration for an end to mountaintop removal mining. It's the largest photo petition ever to be delivered to the president, and it's all about ending the nation's most destructive mining practice, protecting Appalachian families and communities, and standing up for clean water, healthy communities, environmental justice, and beautiful mountains and wildlife. (See a photo slideshow of the petition delivery event.)

I can't tell you all how honored I feel in delivering your inspiring and touching messages and images today to our nation's leaders. When I look at this petition and see all your photos and messages, I am moved to my very core. You all have created as powerful and beautiful of a solidarity display as I can imagine.

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View David Lawlor's blog posts
13 September 2012, 2:34 PM
Toxic chemical AZM to be pulled from the market this month
(Shutterstock)

We’re all familiar with those ubiquitous television commercials that implore us to “ask our doctor” about a new pill to cure depression or anxiety or to treat those unfortunate souls who find themselves depressively anxious. Slipped into nearly every such commercial is the reassuring voice of a narrator who inconspicuously mentions that this same magical pill has a few side effects. Oh, you know, nothing too serious—maybe you’ll go blind in one eye or lose control of your bowels, maybe your liver will cease functioning. Nothing worth fretting over.

In the same vein, pesticides are often promoted as the silver bullet panaceas of the agriculture industry. Sure, the industry seems to say, this or that pesticide might contain toxic chemicals that damage human health or negatively impact ecosystems, but these same pesticides make growing shiny apples and juicy blueberries so much easier! And besides, finding pesticide alternatives might cost the agriculture industry a few extra bucks.

Fortunately, Earthjustice is well-versed in using the law and the courts to hold accountable those who jeopardize the health and safety of the public and our environment. Case in point: azinphos-methyl, a dangerous pesticide commonly referred to as AZM.

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View Joan Mulhern's blog posts
10 September 2012, 3:43 PM
Larry Gibson fought to the end against abuse of people, mountains

On December 28, 2012, Earthjustice lost its original Mountain Hero, Senior Legislative Counsel Joan Mulhern, who passed away after a long illness. Joan will be greatly missed.
Read Marty Hayden's tribute and a memorial to Joan from the Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.

 

The fight to end mountaintop removal will not stop until mountaintop removal stops, but yesterday we lost one of the most beloved heroes and leaders of the movement. Larry Gibson, the Keeper of the Mountains, died on Kayford Mountain, a sacred place he fought for three decades to save. He recalled how, 30 years ago, some people told him that the destruction caused by mountaintop removal and strip mining would be “fixed” in six months.

I first met Larry in 1999 after just joining Earthjustice when Judge Haden in West Virginia ruled, for the first time ever by a federal court, that mountaintop removal was illegal. A huge political and Congressional fight ensued, especially over the Clean Water Act. Larry's effort in Appalachia and around the country—reaching out to young people, members of Congress, non-profit groups and others—was an inspiration. He never gave up.

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