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 Kari Birdseye's blog posts
14 June 2013, 12:01 PM
Federal agency proposes handing protections to the states
The famed wolf OR-7.
(Richard Shinn / DFG)

If the Obama administration has its way, one of Oregon’s most popular travelers—OR-7—could be a goner. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed eliminating federal endangered species listing for wolves across nearly the entire continental U.S., handing protections to the states. This is bad news for wolves since many states are more interested in catering to powerful hunting and ranching interests than protecting this species that hasn’t yet recovered.

OR-7, a male gray wolf born in Oregon, left his pack in September 2011 to cross state lines, perhaps seeking a mate. He captured the imagination of school children and wildlife enthusiasts throughout the country as they followed his path—tracked by a radio collar. He’s traveled through ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests, shrublands and woodlands and even crossed agricultural lands. He’s been caught on cameras planted in the wilderness.

Not one public sighting or run-in with ranchers or livestock has been reported. Nonetheless, OR-7—and untold numbers of other wolves—could be shot on sight if the FWS lifts federal protections.

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View Chrissy Pepino's blog posts
04 June 2013, 11:44 AM
320 miles of smiles
Earthjustice team members enjoying the coastline.

A traditional road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway provides many “oohs” and “ahhs” along the majestic ocean, and for good reason. The turquoise water and rolling hills encourage exploration around every twist in the road. Yet, through a 320-mile bike journey, I’ve learned that all senses are heightened when on two wheels. Our dynamic team of four women joined Climate Ride, a charitable bike ride, in an effort to fight climate change. Every rider took on the rugged terrain of winding roads with one mission in our hearts: sustainability.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
16 May 2013, 10:00 AM
Lawsuit seeks to protect San Pedro River from huge development
The upper reaches of the San Pedro River.  (Melanie Kay / Earthjustice)

Earthjustice has worked with our partners for more than a decade to sustain the San Pedro River of southern Arizona. Our attorneys have taken legal action—a series of cases challenging inappropriate groundwater depletions by the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca—to keep water in the river until a balance can be struck between the needs of the river and the local communities. While we have had success through the years, the San Pedro is unfortunately one of those places where the effort to achieve a lasting solution has been difficult.

Champions of the San Pedro now have a great opportunity to change that tide and secure meaningful protection for the river into the future. A challenge was filed this week to a 7,000-unit suburban development planned for the upper San Pedro valley which had been given the go-ahead by the state of Arizona. This development would be fueled by groundwater pumped from the San Pedro watershed and will, if built, drain the remaining flows from the river. The challenge seeks to deny the planned groundwater pumping, force the state to acknowledge the authority of water rights granted to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and, by doing so, keep the river alive.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
10 May 2013, 1:34 PM
Richly forested lands in W. Colorado could become industrial zone
The Thompson Divide is clearly a keystone of the region, the state and the West.  (EcoFlight)

There is no dispute that the Thompson Divide—a 220,000-acre forested wildland in western Colorado—is a special place. It comprises some of the most valuable and diverse mid-elevation forested landscapes in Colorado and includes the headwaters of streams that sustain the Crystal, Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys. Thompson Divide is a prized destination for recreationists and tourists, and supports a long tradition of ranching. Perhaps most importantly, with no fewer than nine roadless areas, the Divide includes the largest complex of non-Wilderness roadless lands left in Colorado. The Thompson Divide is clearly a keystone of the region, the state and the West.

The debate over the Thompson Divide focuses on its future: should it remain intact, providing the extraordinary ecological and economic values that have benefited local communities and wildlife for generations, or should it be transformed into an industrial zone to produce natural gas for the highest bidder?

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View Daniel Hubbell's blog posts
29 April 2013, 1:16 PM
Three stories from around the world
The 2013 Goldman Prize recipients.  (Courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize)

It is easy sometimes to feel like the problems of the world are just too large for any one person to tackle. Whether it is a global issue like climate change or more local struggles against ancient coal plants polluting the neighborhood, it feels like there are always powerful interests standing in the way. That’s why I am thankful for the Goldman Environmental Prize because it shows us just how incredible a difference one caring person can make.

Founded in 1989 by Richard and Rhoda Goldman, the Goldman prize recognizes those environmental heroes who have worked tirelessly to safeguard the environment and improve the lives of everyone in their communities. It offers a chance for those who have gone unsung for years to get the support they need to take their grassroots vision of change further, as these problems are often far too common. I had the good fortune to hear three of this year’s winners speak recently, and all of their stories are incredible.

View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
26 April 2013, 3:10 PM
Natural riches at stake in Colorado plateau area
The Roan Plateau has been ranked as one of the four most biologically rich areas in Colorado.  (Michael Freeman)

The Roan Plateau stands proudly above the Colorado River, an island of refuge in the sea of energy development that threatens to industrialize much of western Colorado. The Plateau contains more than 30 square miles of pristine wildlands and is one of the most biologically rich landscapes in Colorado. The Roan is undoubtedly better suited to be a refuge for wildlife, rare plants and big game than a maze of natural gas wells, pipelines and roads. It is truly a place that is too special to drill.

Earthjustice and our clients have fought for nearly five years to keep the Roan Plateau a wild place. That fight culminated in victory last year when federal Judge Marcia Krieger struck down a Bush-era Bureau of Land Management plan for extensive development on the plateau. The court directed the BLM to consider more protective approaches for managing this biological hotspot. The BLM is complying with that order and began a new environmental review process earlier this year.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
24 April 2013, 9:48 AM
Unanimous panel of judges rule for EPA in coal industry lawsuit

Great news!

Yesterday, citizens in Appalachia celebrated a huge victory in their fight to protect their families and communities from harmful mountaintop removal mining. In a sharp 15-page ruling, a panel of three Republican-appointed judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously upheld the Environment Protection Agency’s veto of the permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine, the largest proposed mountaintop removal mine in West Virginia. Earthjustice, along with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, represented a handful of community and citizen groups in this case.

This court decision comes after 15 years of court challenges by community groups whose members were in fallout zone of the proposed mine. It’s a precedent-setting decision and historic: The Spruce Mine permit is the first mountaintop removal mining permit ever challenged in courts.

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View Grand Chief Ruth Massie's blog posts
24 April 2013, 7:34 AM
Grand Chief Ruth Massie shares eyewitness account of climate change
"We are witnessing the strangest of weather patterns." Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Our homelands—the Arctic wildlife and ecosystems that are the foundation of our culture and traditional ways of life—are fast changing. Arctic warming has made the weather, the condition of the ice, and the behaviors and location of fish and wildlife so unpredictable that our Elders no longer feel confident teaching younger people traditional ways. If we cannot effectively pass on our traditional ways to the younger generations, we fear for what will happen to our culture.

We know that a significant cause of these changes is black carbon, or soot, a short-lived climate pollutant which contributes significantly to the rapid warming and melting across northern Canada—our homelands. Black carbon pollution is also a health issue; soot emissions degrade the air quality in the North. Scientists believe reducing these emissions one of the best ways to slow warming and melting in the Arctic in the coming decades.

That’s why the Arctic Athabaskan Council is taking action today by filing a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
20 April 2013, 12:59 PM
Investment in biodiversity yields tourism riches
A three-toed sloth in Costa Rica's Cahuita National Park. (Nathan Dappen)

This month, I had the very good fortune to visit Costa Rica, home to some of greatest biodiversity in the world. In this tiny nation, plants and animals from temperate North America and from tropical South America mingle in habitats at different altitudes (including active volcanoes and rain forests at the beach)! I marveled at hundreds of leaping dolphins, huge rain forest trees with rich canopy life, miraculous birds, sloths and anteaters.

Not surprisingly, Costa Rica is an increasingly popular travel destination, especially for nature-oriented visitors. Of course, rampant tourism can ruin natural landscapes and in so doing, wreak havoc with local communities that depend on those landscapes, which is why early on many Costa Ricans made sustainability a primary focus. The country has been preparing itself for two generations, establishing and protecting national parks and other preserves, training young people as scientists and guides, and developing a sustainable travel ethic. It's a model that Mexico could follow, instead of proceeding on a path of destroying some of its most remarkable ecological treasures for short-term gain.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
19 April 2013, 12:24 PM
It took one tough attorney and many years to finally build tunnel solution
An aerial shot of the new tunnel bypass near Devil's Slide. (© 2010 California Department of Transportation)

The first responsibility of a physician is to do no harm. The first responsibility of an environmentalist is never to accept a dumb solution to a problem when a better solution is available.

Case in point: Devil’s Slide south of San Francisco, a stretch of Highway 1 that would crumble into the Pacific every 10 years or so during a big storm. Rebuilding was time-consuming and expensive. The state of California sought a more permanent solution—and seized on one that ignited two decades of opposition resolved only when a doughty Earthjustice attorney finally stepped in.

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