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.

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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 Shirley Hao's blog posts
11 January 2010, 7:04 PM
A quick primer on the Pacific fisher, and a photo mystery
Porcupines, beware. Photo: John Jacobson, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Question: What animal combines perseverance and tenacity with pro-wrestling moves to dine on porcupines?

Answer: Read on…

Last Thursday, we heard from Earthjustice’s California regional office on their success in protecting the rare Pacific fisher. Monday Reads was wondering, just what might be a Pacific fisher? Though its name may conjure up images of kingfishers and the like, this fisher doesn’t fish: it’s a close relative of the otter and the mink.

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View John McManus's blog posts
07 January 2010, 4:41 PM
Promises to emphasize science over 'categorical exemptions'

Interior Sec. Ken Salazar stepped up to the microphone this week and told the nation the days of drilling oil and gas everywhere on public lands are over. This is welcome news to Earthjustice attorneys who opposed many of the public lands oil and gas leases ramrodded through by the Bush/Cheney administration.

Salazar made clear that he, unlike his predecessors in the prior administration, understands some public lands, especially in the west, are special and should not be drilled.

Many of the new policies result from an Interior Department review of a 77-parcel Utah lease sale in December 2008. The review came after Earthjustice litigation stopped the sale and forced the cancellation of these leases. Salazar said the department will start requiring more detailed environmental reviews, provide increased opportunities for public input, and reduce a drilling fast track known as categorical exclusions.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
07 January 2010, 4:05 PM
Mountaintop removal, Copenhagen, PATH project, the Tongass

Some top stories from the last two weeks at Earthjustice...

A full blue moon brought us into this new year and decade.  

Perhaps a new year will mean new policy for mountaintop removal mining. Thus far, the Obama Administration has continued to allow companies to destroy mountains, streams, and communities. Could a new article in Science help change its position?

 Many still wonder what exactly happened at the Copenhagen climate conference. Attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal reviewed what went down, the role Earthjustice played in the negotiations, and the way forward for climate progress.

The way forward for the PATH (Potomac-Appalachia Transmission Highline) project was successfully blocked with help from Earthjustice. Turns out the massive Big Coal transmission line simply isn’t needed to the degree its proponents claimed.

 America’s largest temperate rainforest, the majestic Tongass of Alaska, is a resource we do need. Earthjustice filed a lawsuit last week to protect the National Forest under the Roadless Rule. The Bush Administration “temporarily” exempted it back in 2006.

 Dec. 22 marked one year since the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Power Plant flooded 300 acres of shoreline, and more than 25 homes, with toxic coal ash.

 Reflecting on the changing environmental movement, Patti Goldman reviewed some of Earthjustice’s efforts over the past year to help people most impacted by environmental degradation.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
07 January 2010, 1:00 PM
Coal plant pollutes parks and wilderness areas

The single biggest air polluter in the entire state of Washington is the state's one and only coal-fired power plant. The operating permit for the coal plant, which is in Centralia, was recently renewed without needed upgrades to protect the air and the people living nearby who breathe it. Earthjustice attorney Janette Brimmer has been working hard to get the permit pulled back and updated with better pollution standards to clean up the air.

Brimmer told a state board that the 40 year old coal burner has no controls for greenhouse gases and mercury and no additional controls for nitrogen oxide, the source of haze that limits visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. She said the permit should be revoked and reworked to address the air pollution spewing from the plant.

See how one TV station covered the hearing (video after the jump) or read what the Olympian newspaper had to say.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
22 December 2009, 5:48 PM
Six year "exemption" from Roadless Rule needs to go

The Tongass National Forest is a sight to behold. From a boat you can watch bears fishing at the mouths of streams and eagles flying through pristine old-growth forests. This natural beauty is what makes America's largest temperate rainforest such a draw. Ecotourism, hunting, and fishing trips, are building a new economy for the people of Southeast Alaska.

The Tongass has permanent economic value, if kept intact. But money losing clear-cut logging practices that have scarred this forest over the years. As Hanna Waterstrat, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association, explains, "Very few folks will pay to go see clearcuts and decaying logging roads."

Here's the hitch.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
21 December 2009, 5:47 PM
Northern white rhinos, running out of time, return home
Four rare rhinos return to Africa. Photo: NowPublic.

As many of us brave planes, trains and automobiles to travel home for the holidays, this weekend, a group of four African northern white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) were also (ancestrally) homeward bound—though under a more somber air than befits the holiday season.

In a last bid effort to save their subspecies, Najin, Fatu, Suni, and Sudan (two female and two male rhinos) left their home in Prague’s Dvur Kralove Zoo and flew to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a wildlife preserve in Kenya. The four rhinos represent fully half the population of their subspecies—only eight northern white rhinos are believed to exist (all are in captivity)—and these travelers are the only ones capable of breeding.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
17 December 2009, 3:19 PM
Coal-fired power plants, oil and gas drilling, sea turtles in peril

Some top stories from the last week at Earthjustice...

On this final day of the Copenhagen conference, our daily report and attending attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal will keep you apprised of the latest. Check for updates during the day at unEarthed.

The EPA's endangerment finding (now under assault by a GOP senator) was one of the biggest pieces of news from the conference. But Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen warned that existing coal-fired power plants (responsible for a third of U.S. global warming pollution) could escape regulation.

This week, Earthjustice also responded to the second Arctic drilling permit granted to Shell Oil over the span of the Copenhagen conference, this time to drill in the Beaufort sea.

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View John McManus's blog posts
17 December 2009, 6:31 AM
Earthjustice immediately steps in to defend imperiled creatures

Commercial fishing for swordfish can be deadly for sea turtles that get hooked and often killed in the process. Turtles aren't the only unintended victims. Albatross, dolphins, whales, and sharks are often hooked and killed, too. The giant leatherback sea turtles, which currently cling to existence with shrinking numbers in the Pacific, are among the victims of greatest concern.

A major swordfish longline fishing fleet operates out of Hawai'i and ranges far and wide throughout the central Pacific, fishing the same waters where turtles travel. Federal regulations passed in 2004 tightened rules on how much the fleet could fish in an effort to reduce the bycatch of turtles.

In a move hard to comprehend, the federal government loosened these restrictions earlier this month, unleashing the fleet from any restrictions on the amount of fishing it can do, and upping the number of turtles it can catch before triggering a fishery shut-down.

Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff didn't take long to respond. He knows the issue well, having won the 2004 rule-tightening restrictions in a court victory. Achitoff found various instances in the new rules that run counter to existing federal law and wrapped his findings up in a court challenge filed in Honolulu. Hopefully a court will step in and help us bring these great creatures back from the brink.
 

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
15 December 2009, 10:13 AM
But is a Colorado senator trying to breathe new life into a bad idea?

On November 5, 2009, something happened in Colorado that hasn't happened in a long, long time: the U.S. Forest Service rejected a proposal to turn a natural area into ski runs and a magnet for private land development.  The natural area is Snodgrass Mountain, which includes inventoried roadless lands, beautiful aspen stands, raptor habitat, and open space.  

Snodgrass rises just north of Mount Crested Butte, the company town whose reason for being is the Crested Butte ski resort to the south.  (The old mining-turned-tourist town of Crested Butte is a few miles further down the road.)  The resort has had its eye on Snodgrass for years. 

And for just as long, local conservationists have been trying to protect America's public lands on Snodgrass from being turned into a site for clearcut runs and lift towers.  Snodgrass is beloved as open space on the edge of development, as a place to hike, mountain bike and ride horses, and as wildlife habitat.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
14 December 2009, 5:11 PM
A tale of octopus and coconut shells
Octopus merrily scampering along with coconut shell. Photo: BBC.

While Copenhagen and climate change are crowding the headlines at the moment, Monday Reads is breaking ranks to bring you news of a lighter—but we hope just as interesting—variety. Tool-use was once thought to be the exclusive realm of humans, but one by one other species have been added to the club—and now we welcome the octopi.

Researchers from Australia’s Museum Victoria observed the veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) digging up coconut shells from the ocean floor, specifically to use as a protective cover. Not wanting to be left empty suckered when they needed to hide and there was not a shell to be found, the octopus jauntily scamper around with oversized shells in tow. See for yourself (fast forward to 0:50 for the goods; stay until 2:05 to experience the sensation of being enveloped by an octopus):

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