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 Liz Judge's blog posts
19 October 2012, 11:14 AM
And how do your Congressional reps vote on clean water?

You know that creek in your backyard, or the river or lake near your town? Have any idea what kind of condition it is in, or how polluted it is?

Most people probably don't  -- up until now, it hasn't been very easy to get this information. But to help people find out about the condition of their local waterways, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a supercool new app for your computer or mobile device that allows you to learn about the quality of the waters near you.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
19 October 2012, 5:03 AM
Forests will die someday, why shouldn't coal companies help them along?
Bear claw marks on aspen in the Sunset Trail Roadless Area. (Ted Zukoski / Earthjustice)

Coal companies have been blasting mountains, dumping waste rock into streams, and undermining private and public lands for more than a century. It’s apparently lucrative to do so.

But a recent filing by a coal company shows just how far they have drunk their own Kool-Aid (or coal ash?) in justifying the damage mining can cause.

The filing concerned Earthjustice’s efforts to protect the Sunset Roadless Area on the GMUG National Forest in western Colorado. The Sunset area is a landscape of pine, fir, and aspen stands, dotted with wet meadows and beaver ponds.

It provides habitat for black bear and the imperiled lynx, elk and goshawk. And it’s darned pretty, with the peak of Mount Gunnison in the West Elk Wilderness looming to the east.

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View David Guest's blog posts
18 October 2012, 2:02 PM
Earthjustice sues to protect a 15-year-old victory in Florida
Fisheating Creek

As everyone involved in the environmental movement knows, we’ve got to stay vigilant with each passing year to make sure that that our victories don’t get undone.

So, on Oct. 2, the Florida office of Earthjustice filed suit to protect a landmark citizen’s victory that we won in a jury trial 15 years ago. Once again, we find ourselves sharpening swords to slay a dragon that we thought we’d already vanquished. And the newest move by the state has an Alice-in-Wonderland quality—the upside-down world.

In a nutshell, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection is ordering a plan to build roads through wetlands—which, of course, it is supposed to be protecting—then using several hundred dump trucks full of sand provided by a giant agribusiness corporation to block a waterway which unquestionably belongs to the public. The corporation—the Lykes Brothers—owns most of the land along the waterway in question, a wild and scenic subtropical jewel called Fisheating Creek. The creek is in the southwest part of the state near the Everglades, and it is a tributary of Lake Okeechobee.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 October 2012, 5:34 AM
On the Act's 40th anniversary, how it touches lives across the country

Growing up just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, my siblings and cousins and I spent our summers swimming in Lake Erie. The water looked clear enough, and though I remember hearing about the invasion of zebra mussels, our greatest worries were the imagined creatures in the deep. We didn't know that just a few years before, the lake was popularly deemed “dead" because of the pollution it received from surrounding industries.

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View Daniel Hubbell's blog posts
15 October 2012, 11:14 AM
Clean Water Act revived this polluted river and ones like it across America

After growing up in Massachusetts suburbia, I have fond memories of canoeing with my family on the town’s river, the Sudbury. Gliding along, we would keep our eyes peeled for turtles on the rocks or fish under the boat, and maybe if we were very lucky a heron drying off in the afternoon sun. Once or twice I even fell in, to the eternal frustration of my parents.

Just 20 miles outside of Boston it was possible to lose sight of the houses, forget about the cars, and assuming I wasn’t too busy yelling and splashing, it was possible to just relax. Outside of the odd swarm of mosquitoes, it’s hard to conjure up a more idyllic image; an impressive feat for what used to be considered a toxic nightmare.

Sudbury River. (Courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Club)

Sudbury River.  (Courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Club)

Once upon a time the Sudbury was labeled one of the 10 worst toxic cleanup sites in the nation, the product of decades of mill and later corporate dumping in the river, and a serious threat to not only the natural ecosystem but the health and water supply of everyone near the river.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
08 October 2012, 8:56 AM
State delists endangered gray wolf and the hunt begins
Wolves perform a valuable ecological role and stand as a living symbol of wilderness. (NPS)

In Wyoming, wolves that were federally protected on Sept. 30 became legal vermin overnight—subject to being shot on sight in approximately 90 percent of the state as of Oct. 1. In the remaining 10 percent of Wyoming, wolf hunting season opened for the first time since the gray wolf was eradicated from the state in the early 1900s. Fifty-two wolves are expected to be killed in the “trophy zone” hunting season and dozens more in the free-fire “predator zone” over the coming weeks.

All of this wolf-killing threatens to turn back the tide of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies and leave Yellowstone area wolves isolated from other wolf populations in the region. And it is all happening because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned wolf management in Wyoming over to state officials, despite the fact that Wyoming’s wolf management policies open the door to unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state and provide inadequate protection for wolves even where killing is regulated.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
04 October 2012, 3:41 PM
Plus: Cleaning up greenwashing, pesticide overdosing, toxic tuna
(flickr, tribp)

Climate change leaves CA wine lovers with fewer options
California’s popular wine varieties may soon be hard to find thanks to drier and hotter temperatures caused by climate change, reports the Center for Investigative Reporting. Though by now farmers are used to Mother Nature’s unpredictability, a slightly wetter or drier season is nothing compared to the extreme weather that the world has been experiencing over the past few years, which is wreaking havoc on California’s vineyards (and those who insure them). And, the situation is only expected to get worse. Recent research from Stanford University found that as little as two degrees of warming, predicted to happen by 2040, could reduce California’s prime wine-growing land by up to 50 percent. The situation is so dire, in fact, that wine breeders are recommending that vineyards switch to grapes that are well-adapted to higher temperatures, and soon, since vineyards have a shelf life of about 30 years. So far, wine growers are hesitant to make the switch given the public’s attachment to well-known wine varieties like pinot noir. But if our carbon-based economy continues as business-as-usual, consumers may have no choice but to drink outside of the wine box.
 
Federal consumer watchdog cleans up greenwashing
Ecofriendly. Biodegradable. All Natural. As green goes mainstream, consumers are finding it hard to determine which eco-friendly terms are legit, but the Federal Trade Commission’s revised guidelines for green marketing should help shed some light on all the fuzzy claims, reports the Christian Science Monitor. And it's about time. The revisions are long overdue (they were written in 1998), and since that time consumers have seen a dramatic increase in the number of products that tout supposedly green characteristics. Though the guides are not considered rules or regulations, the FTC has fined companies for using deceptive claims. Speaking of deceptive marketing, Earthjustice has been working to make green shopping easier by advocating for better verification testing for Energy Star, which points consumers to energy efficient appliances, but doesn’t do a great job in strengthening its testing requirements or updating labels. 
 

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
01 October 2012, 12:06 PM
Plus: Bacon blues, ocean critter jitters, burger smog and cattle candies
(flickr, cookbookman17)

Climate change may ruin BLTs and loaded baked potatoes
You know Americans may be a little food-obsessed when the only time we get concerned about climate change is when it affects our favorite meals. According to the USDA, this year’s drought is so bad that it’s expected to negatively impact next year’s pork production, reports Mother Jones, meaning that BLTs and pork chops may soon become a luxury item for many Americans. And forget about importing your bacon fix from Europe. Britain’s National Pig Association recently announced that a “world shortage of pork and bacon is now unavoidable” thanks to high pig-feed costs that are causing farmers to reduce their herd sizes. Though the association’s press release doesn’t specifically mention “climate change,” it does allude to “disastrous growing and harvesting weather,” which scientists only expect to get worse with increasing carbon emissions. In other words, if we don’t get our act together soon, it may mean good-bye, baconator®. Hello, tofu maker?
 
Consumers’ caffeine consumption gives ocean critters the jitters
Many people these days tend to be a little over-caffeinated, and it turns out that all of the sodas, coffee and energy drinks that people consume are having a similarly jittery effect on the world’s oceans, reports National Geographic. Conditions are especially amped up along the Pacific Northwest, home of Starbucks and many a caffeine-fiend, where researchers recently discovered caffeine pollution off of Oregon’s coast. Currently, caffeine’s impact on natural ecosystems is relatively unknown, though at least one researcher has found that the stimulant’s presence in water does tend to stress out mussels. Surely anyone who has knocked back too many cups of black gold can relate. But the problem isn’t just coming from the Pacific Northwest. Caffeine has also been detected in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay seawater. The presence of caffeine is the oceans isn’t all that surprising though considering that most water treatment facilities typically don’t screen or filter for many pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, detergents or estrogen-containing birth control pills. But given the growing evidence for elevated levels of human contaminants in the water, they may soon have to, or suffer the caffeinated consequences.
 

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
27 September 2012, 9:48 AM
Pollution is hurting their businesses and quality of life

In June, Earthjustice was dismayed when the Maryland Department of the Environment put out a proposal that failed to adequately reduce pollution from Baltimore Harbor. Tina Meyers of the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, who we work with on this issue, said:

The Baltimore City stormwater pollution permit is meant to regulate the pollution that is discharging directly from Baltimore City’s stormwater pipes into our rivers, streams and Harbor. Unfortunately, this permit lacks limits on the amount of pollution that is allowed to go into our waterways and also lacks enforceable deadlines by which these limits must be reached.

Well, it turns out we aren’t the only ones who are upset.
 

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
24 September 2012, 3:11 PM
Who is the Pacific fisher, and why does he want your socks?
The last, valiant moments of a bait-filled sock, doing his part for science. (Courtesy of SNAMP)

Deep in California’s Sierra Nevada, a field biologist is preparing a delicacy favored by one of the most elusive hunters of the forest. The meal is known—literally—as “Chicken-in-a-Sock.”

The connoisseur is the imperiled Pacific fisher (Martes pennanti). The fur trade devastated the species (the fisher’s coat, no less splendid than that of his close relations, the wolverine and mink, was highly coveted), as did logging. Denning in large trees and rocky crevices and hunting through a sprawling home range, this solitary carnivore depends on undisturbed landscapes of old growth forests. Few still exist, and those that do are often fragmented by roads and other development.

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