Posts tagged: Wildlife and Places

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Wildlife and Places


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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 Ray Wan's blog posts
18 December 2012, 11:40 AM
'Culture war' killing ends storied life of alpha female
832F, leading the pack. (Courtesy of the Yellowstone Wolf Project)

She never had a real name. Scientists called her 832F. To her fans, she was known simply as ’06 after the year that she was born. But for anyone who had ever seen the large, sleek gray wolf roaming the Yellowstone plains, she was the epitome of all things free and wild.

Last week, ’06 was killed by an unknown hunter just outside of the park. She was still wearing her radio collar.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
14 December 2012, 4:00 PM
First-ever coastwide limits set on menhaden catch in the Atlantic
Menhaden catch from a purse-seine net are pumped into a carrier vessel. (NOAA)

On Friday, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission finally responded to sound science and a huge public outcry by imposing the first ever coastwide cap on the catch of a little fish known as the menhaden.

More than 100,000 Americans (including more than 13,000 Earthjustice activists) wrote to the commission demanding protection for a fish that is an essential food source for seabirds, whales, and game fish like the striped bass.

The commission also cut next year’s catch to 25 percent below the 2011 menhaden catch. This cut will end recent overfishing and begin long term recovery of a species that has been reduced by 90 percent over the last three decades. New scientific information due in 2014 will trigger a transition to more precautionary long term catch levels.

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View David Guest's blog posts
14 December 2012, 10:59 AM
EPA will step in to regulate 100,000 miles of Florida's waters
Visitors at spring-fed Santa Fe River near Gainesville, FL, for the 2012 Memorial Day weekend found a rude surprise—pollution from sewage, manure and fertilizer sparked an outbreak of nasty green slime. (John Moran)

We’re happy to report that our long fight to clean up the green slime that’s been plaguing Florida waterways for years hit a major turning point on Nov. 30. That’s the day the Environmental Protection Agency agreed to set numeric pollution limits for some 100,000 miles of Florida waterways and 4,000 square miles of estuaries.

We fought every polluting industry in Florida for four years to get this result. These slime outbreaks—caused by pollutants in inadequately treated sewage, manure and fertilizer—are a pestilence, contaminating water, killing fish, destroying property values and chasing off tourists. Now the EPA has to stop dragging its feet and deal with it.

Using extensive data it has been collecting and analyzing in concert with Florida Department of Environmental Protection scientists, the EPA will impose numeric limits on the allowable amount of phosphorus and nitrogen—so called “nutrient” pollution—in the state’s waterways.

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View Roger Fleming's blog posts
03 December 2012, 4:08 PM
Groundfish management protects fishery for the future
New England groundfish species, including cod, have been chronically overfished. (NOAA)

A recent federal appeals court decision protects the viability of depleted groundfish species like cod and flounder in New England.

The region’s two biggest fishing ports, New Bedford and Gloucester, along with a commercial fishery association, had challenged a set of sustainable fishery rules established in 2010. Attorneys for the ports argued that the new rules were unfairly enacted and should be overturned.

Earthjustice intervened in the case on the side of the government. We represented the fishermen who pioneered the new fishing system, called “sector management.” These fishermen, and an increasing number of others like them in New England, are committed to implementing scientifically based catch limits that protect fishing as an economic engine and food source for future generations.

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View John McManus's blog posts
28 November 2012, 2:58 PM
Earthjustice will act to protect them
L87, a southern resident orca, breaches at sunset with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background.  (Susan Berta / Orca Network)

A far right anti-environmental group based in Sacramento, California is trying to get federal Endangered Species Act protections removed from a small extended west coast family group of killer whales.

This group of killer whales, or orcas, is known as the southern residents because they spend much of their time residing in coastal waters between Washington and Canada’s Vancouver island. They feed almost exclusively on salmon, which is indirectly what’s got them in trouble with the anti-environmental Pacific Legal Foundation. They eat salmon not only in Washington waters, but as far south as California when salmon mass there in the spring.

Federal regulators curtailed fresh water diversions to large agricultural operations in the desert on the west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley, in part to save the salmon eaten by the whales—both for the sake of the threatened salmon, and for the whales. The Pacific Legal Foundation and other anti-environment groups (including one headed by a former Bush Administration wildlife official) found a few irrigators there who were willing to ignore the needs of the orcas in order to get more water diverted.

Because these groups and the irrigators live more than a thousand miles from where the killer whales spend most of their time, no one should be surprised they aren’t all that concerned about the whales.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
28 November 2012, 1:16 PM
Lawmakers are leading nation to environmental cliff
More than a hundred million gallons of coal ash slurry were released when a coal ash dam failed, flooding Buffalo Creek Valley in West Virginia.

In the aftermath of a major catastrophe, lawmakers and regulators should be held accountable to create new safety protocols to avert future disasters. Incidents like the Cuyahoga River catching fire and the Exxon Valdez oil spill prompted changes in how we protect our nation’s waters from industrial chemicals. The Buffalo Creek disaster in West Virginia in 1972 likewise prompted changes to the regulation of dams storing toxic materials. Similarly, we must demand changes to how coal ash is handled, following the largest toxic waste spill in our nation’s history—the spill in Kingston, Tennessee in December 2008, which will have its fourth anniversary in a few weeks.

Former Director of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy Jack Spadaro remembers the Buffalo Creek disaster and knows that its grim legacy still casts a shadow today.

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 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 Brian Smith's blog posts
29 October 2012, 1:34 PM
Fisheries commission needs to hear from you, today!
Menhaden are harvested by the millions. (NOAA)

Something very unusual happened at the November 2011 meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The audience broke into applause for what the commisioners did.

They stood up for a fish that H. Bruce Franklin at Rutgers University called “The Most Important Fish in the Sea”—the Atlantic menhaden.

The menhaden is not a lovable, or famous fish. As Franklin describes it:

Not one of these fish is destined for a supermarket, a canning factory, or restaurant. Menhaden are oily, foul smelling, and packed with tiny bones. No one eats them—not directly, anyhow. Hardly anyone has even heard of them except for those who fish or study our eastern and southern waters.

Yet menhaden are the principal fish caught along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, exceeding the tonnage of all other species combined.

Menhaden once spanned the entire Eastern Seaboard. Travelling in thick schools miles long, these small bony, oily, fish are central to the diet of whales, seabirds, and the larger fish that fed a growing nation. They also make great fertilizer as Native Americans taught hungry European settlers who were farming in depleted soil.

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View Shawn Eisele's blog posts
25 October 2012, 1:00 PM
State permit allowing log storage facility challenged
Dungeness crabs in a crab trap. (Debra Hamilton / DFG)

Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is as much ocean as land. It includes saltwater bays, fjords, canals, channels, and too many islands to count.

At this intersection of land and ocean, life flourishes where forest creeks and streams empty nutrients into shallow saltwater bays. Among other species, dungeness crabs flourish, fed seasonally by the carcasses of spawned out salmon.

One such estuary 20 miles south of Petersburg in Alexander Bay is a place called the Pothole. It’s named for the crab pots used by the commercial crab fishery that thrives there.

Although the Pothole is a great place for crab fishermen to pursue their livelihood, the state of Alaska recently granted the U.S. Forest Service a permit for a logging company to store recently-cut logs in the Pothole’s shallow waters. The permit was granted after the Forest Service claimed it had no alternative, a claim later found to be untrue.