Posts tagged: Health and Toxics

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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.

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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 November 2010, 4:04 PM
Buoyed by supporters, Earthjustice expands to meet the challenge
Roadless areas of the Tongass N.F. are among Earthjustice's top priorities for protection

Although the recent elections signal a return to more inhospitable times for environmental protection in Congress, we are sustained by two constants: the power of the law and the dedication of our supporters.

The law provides leverage for progress even when political winds shift, and our steadfast supporters have shown time and again that they trust in our ability to wield it for positive change, regardless of the prevailing politics.

That backing has helped us through difficult times. Like so many American families and businesses, we were impacted by the economic recession. Thankfully, as we prepared to tighten our belts, our supporters sent a clear message with their generous donations: don't cut back your work to protect our environment.

Fueled by that generosity, we expanded our litigation and advocacy to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities for advancing environmental issues that have existed over the past two years—and that still exist as we look at the next two. With Thanksgiving at hand, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress made that wouldn't have been possible without your support.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
17 November 2010, 11:15 AM
EPA taking comments on options to handle coal ash
Coal ash spill

Hurry up! Friday is the deadline for submitting comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its proposal to regulate coal ash, including one option that would keep things as they are (not good).

And if the December 2008 TVA coal ash disaster isn’t reason enough to regulate this substance as a hazardous waste, here are some stories that may change your mind.
 

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
17 November 2010, 10:24 AM
Stories from the frontlines of the fight to end mountaintop removal

Inspiration abounds in America. Despite the problems and troubles of this expansive land, we have heroes, champions and everyday people who, day in and day out, rise above their circumstances to the inspire those around them and lead their communities toward change.

After all, that's the story of America, isn't it? At the heart of every great triumph in our nation's history is the story of everyday people who stood up and demanded better for themselves, for their neighbors, for their brothers and sisters, and for their fellow Americans.

Since I began working on Earthjustice's campaign to stop mountaintop removal mining, I've met teenagers who feel driven by the dream of saving the mountains of Appalachia for future generations. I've met husbands and wives who want to fight for clean water for their unborn children, grandparents who dedicate their retired days to preserve what's left of the rare wild places on earth, and former Marines who have found a new purpose—to ensure that their fellow Americans have access to clean water.

I've met mothers made ill from toxic waters, and who won't be held down—fathers and daughters who sacrifice to fight for what's right, and folks at the end of their lives who get out of bed every morning, despite the odds, to keep the fight alive. I've heard poets who have found the words others were seeking, singers who give voice to whole communities that struggle to be heard, and so many, many more.

It has never been more clear that this work to stop the destruction of mountaintop removal mining -- though it is a fight to save the environment—was never just about the environment. It has always been about the people. It has always been about the right to clean water. It has always been about the preservation of a way of life for people who live among the oldest, most biodiverse mountains on this continent. And it remains, still, about the health and future of our fellow Americans in Appalachia.

Today we launch a new campaign that aims to tell just a few of these mountain heroes' stories, the true and very real stories of five people who are living among the destruction of mountaintop removal and among the Appalachian mountains and waters that we need to save.

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View David Guest's blog posts
16 November 2010, 2:33 PM
Rules aimed at fertilizer and waste flows ruining state waterways
Julington Creek Marina. 347 ug/l, M. aeruginosa. Photo taken on July 31, 2009. (Florida Water Coalition)

Our long fight to get clear standards to control pollution from fertilizer, animal waste, and sewage hit a major milestone this week (Nov. 15), when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new, enforceable limits in Florida—the first ever in the U.S.

EPA scientists worked in conjunction with scientists at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to set these important limits on excess nutrients—phosphorus and nitrogen—which are wrecking waters in Florida and all over the U.S.

This first set of new EPA standards governs nutrient discharges into Florida's freshwaters and lakes. The limits will be phased in so that industries have time to make needed changes to clean up dirty discharges.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
12 November 2010, 5:49 PM
Controversial gas drilling technique hits primetime television

Art imitated life on CBS's hit crime show CSI last night. The episode, titled "Fracked," delved into the water-polluting form of gas drilling in which millions of gallons of chemically-treated water are blasted into the earth to extract gas from underground deposits.

The episode summary goes like this:

Two men are murdered right before exposing a natural gas company for poisoning residents in a farming town, and the CSIs must discover who is responsible for their deaths.

It's fiction, of course. But parts of the plot line were lifted straight from the headlines: poisoned wells, flaming faucets, sick people, dying animals, silenced residents. The scriptwriters even took care to include expository dialogue explaining how hydraulic fracturing is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Very true. And very scary.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
11 November 2010, 2:08 PM
Strange bedfellows, cheesy marketing schemes, hot dog humans
Starving grizzly bears are increasingly clashing with humans over food. Image courtesy of stock.xchng

Enviros and drillers become fracking bedfellows in regulator debate
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is so ill-prepared to regulate gas drilling in the state that both the gas industry and environmental organizations agree that the department should be re-staffed, according to an investigation by the DC Bureau. That, in addition to a number of other environmental challenges that gas drilling presents, should make for quite a fracking mess for New York's next governor, Andrew Cuomo, when he arrives in the office on Jan. 1.

Department of Agriculture takes the cheese
Fast food chains like Domino's Pizza and Taco Bell are piling cheese onto their products to boost consumer sales, all at the urging of the USDA, according to a recent New York Times piece. The agency's marketing creation, Dairy Management, charged with "vigorously promoting" dairy products, has been working with businesses to increase American cheese consumption by creating cheese-strosities like the Domino's Wisconsin, a pizza that comes with six cheeses on top and two stuffed in the crust. Apparently the agency didn't get its own memo, which found that when it comes causing obesity and heart disease, the cheese stands alone.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
09 November 2010, 1:12 PM
EPA chief scolds reps for looking at only one half of the ledger

Clean air just isn't as popular as it should be. Though reducing air pollution saves lives and money, some lawmakers seem hell-bent on denying these benefits to the American public. They seem to believe that nothing should hinder polluters' ability to make a buck, not even the prevalence of asthma, birth defects, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments that results from dirty air emissions.

Take, for example, Texas reps Joe Barton and Michael Burgess. You may remember Barton as the man who called the $20 billion BP escrow fund a "shakedown." His ideology is apparently so extreme that he doesn't think the company responsible for the largest environmental disaster in a generation should set aside sufficient funds to help deal with the aftermath of the spill.

Last month, Barton and Burgess wrote to EPA chief Lisa Jackson with concerns that her agency's air pollution rules are all cost, which they outlined in an accompanying chart that pairs air pollution rules with their projected price tags. Thankfully, Jackson responded yesterday (subscription required) with a straightforward admonishment: you forgot to include the benefits.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
05 November 2010, 1:49 PM
Compostable Canadians, childish owl snatchers, mainframe mind games
Owls are being targeted by Harry Potter fans in India. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

BP's negligence could prove to be explosive, again
Maintenance of BP's Alaska operations is woefully neglected, according to an internal maintenance document reported on by ProPublica. The document shows that almost 150 BP pipelines on Alaska's North Slope got an F from the company and that many of the pipes are "worn to within a few thousandths of an inch of bursting." Based on this most recent report, it's not hard to see why Earthjustice is working to keep BP and others from drilling even more in the Arctic.

FritoLay Canada bites back at complaining consumers
Last month, amid consumer backlash and 50,000 plus Facebook fans who couldn't hear anything over a noisy SunChips compostable bag, SunChips owner Frito Lay buried its compostable chip bag, replacing it with the original, everlasting bag. But Frito Lay Canada stood its ground, according to Grist, launching a consumer awareness program that includes an offer for free earplugs, which is good news for those who can't hear the environmental concerns of an unrecyclable bag over their own self-interest.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
05 November 2010, 8:36 AM
Researchers find major die-off that may be caused by oil

Scientists have discovered damage to deep-sea coral that may be caused by BP's huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The findings, in connection with a university study on dispersants, are the first potential evidence of harm being caused to deepwater organisms.

Dead and dying coral formations  were found this week 7 miles from the blown-out well, covered with a brown substance similar to oil, say researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They were on a NOAA research cruise.

The suspicion is that the substance is oil spilled from the well, but tests must be conducted to make the connection. <Clarification: according to the New York Times, researchers believe the coral was killed by the oil spill but don't consider the brown substance to actually be oil>.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 November 2010, 11:06 AM
Today polluters learned: When it comes to clean energy, don't mess with CA

A day after the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers in the World Series, California voters showed up at polling places around the state and sent this message loud and clear: We're not going to let some Texas Big Oil corporations come in and try to take away our green jobs and clean energy economy!

Yesterday, Californians turned out to defeat California Ballot Proposition 23. And their rejection of this ugly petroleum-backed measure, which aimed to repeal California's climate and clean energy law, was huge—the proposition was defeated 61.2% to 38.8%. The power of the people in this state, and the potential of a thriving clean-energy economy that will provide long-lasting jobs for the people of California, defeated the deep pockets and big money of dirty out-of-state polluters, who spent $10 million to try to unravel the state's air pollution laws.

Meanwhile, Californians cast a second vote for their state's clean energy economy and green jobs by electing a candidate for governor, Jerry Brown, who has long been pushing for such innovation in his state. His opponent, former Ebay exec Meg Whitman, campaigned against the state's climate change initiatives and far outspent him, spending $141 million of her own money during the campaign. Brown beat Whitman 54%-41%.

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