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 Tom Turner's blog posts
06 August 2009, 3:59 PM
Everyone wants credit for the roadless victory
Photo: John McCarthy/TWS

It's a given that when something momentous happens, something good, that is, that the group of people claiming credit for the outcome will be rather large. So it is with the recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finding the Bush Roadless Repeal Rule illegal and reinstating the original Roadless Rule nationwide. And, to be sure, there's plenty of credit to go around—to the Heritage Forests Campaign, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and many others.

Mostly, however, credit and praise go to the doughty band of Earthjustice attorneys who have fought to defend the rule for the past eight years, along with Marty Hayden, the VP for Policy and Legislation, who helped in the creation of the rule long before it got to court. The attorneys, who deserve a place in someone's hall of fame, are Kristen Boyles, Tim Preso, Jim Angell, Tom Waldo, Doug Honnold, Todd True, Greg Loarie, and Patti Goldman. Another, who worked for Earthjustice in the 1990s, is Claudia Polsky, who argued on behalf of the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico from her position in the California attorney general's office. Also Niel Lawrence of NRDC and Pat Parenteau of the Vermont Law School. Thanks and congratulations all around.

Oh wait. Never mind. Here's the guy who deserves all the credit.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
05 August 2009, 2:25 PM
Another (welcome) twist in the Roadless saga
Patrick’s Knob roadless area in Montana’s Coeur D’Alene Mountains. (Credit: © Terry Glase)

When we last visited this story, the original Roadless Rule, issued at the tail end of the Clinton administration, seemed to be in effect in some parts of the country, not in others, and the court ruling that reimposed it was still under legal challenge by the Forest Service.

The situation was clarified to a great degree today, with a unanimous ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a lower court ruling, which had found a substitute rule put forward by the Bush administration illegal and reinstated the original rule throughout the country except for Alaska and Idaho.

This is tremendous news, and should be a powerful encouragement to the new administration to do whatever is necessary to protect roadless areas throughout the land.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
04 August 2009, 11:11 AM
Water revolution is using locally available water

One of the grandest victories scored by environmental types in California has been the battle to save Mono Lake at the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada. Owens Lake, to the south, was obliterated by users in the Los Angeles basin, who simply appropriated virtually all the water that once flowed from the mountains into the lake (the easiest and most entertaining way to brush up on this story is to see the movie Chinatown).

The same thing was happening to Mono Lake, but a landmark lawsuit brought by the Audubon Society and a tenacious campaign by a tiny outfit known as the Mono Lake Committee stopped L.A. in its tracks, and Mono is more than holding its own.

The leader of the committee for most of the '80s and '90s was Martha Davis, energetic, tough-minded and tireless. Now, in a heartening twist, Davis has taken over as manager of water policy for the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, and is revolutionizing water management in the arid south.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
04 August 2009, 8:40 AM
Warfare training facility near Florida runs through right whale territory

 Right whales are called such because years ago whale hunters thought these particular whales were simply the "right" ones to hunt. Their distinct V-shaped blow of water alerted whalers, and their habit of swimming near the surface made them easy targets.

Now, decades later, these endangered whales are swimming into danger again because of their propensity to swim near the surface.

The latest obstacle: the U.S. Navy plans to construct a massive Undersea Warfare Training Range (often referred to by its cumbersome acronym, UWTR) directly in the calving grounds of right whales in a 644-square mile plot of ocean off the coast of Florida.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
28 July 2009, 1:45 PM
Satellite images show alarming loss of Arctic summer sea ice
Arctic sea ice. Photo: USGS

On July 15th, the Department of Interior, at the urging of the National Academy of Sciences, released hundreds of satellite images that show the impact global warming is having on the Arctic. Though the images have been public for almost two weeks, the story they tell hasn't lost any of its potency. They are a strong indication that the Arctic—a true natural and international treasure—is changing rapidly, perhaps irrevocably.

The Guardian reports that more than one million square kilometers of Arctic sea ice were absent in 2007 compared to 2006. For scale, that's an area significantly larger than the entire state of Texas (a little less than one-and-a-half Texases, to be exact). One pair of images, taken above the town of Barrow, AK in July of 2006 and 2007, clearly shows this dramatic loss of summer sea ice.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
28 July 2009, 1:19 PM
Imagine how drilling will alter the landscape of this special patch of earth
Photo: USGS New York Water Science Center

This piece from New York Times editorial writer Verlyn Klinkenborg on proposed gas drilling in the Catskill mountains of New York pulled at my heartstrings. To date, much of the criticism of the drilling proposals has centered on the risk to drinking water. And rightly so: while drilling for gas, companies inject millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the underground rock deposits to force the gas to the surface. The technique, known as hydraulic fracturing (or hydrofracking), can poison drinking water supplies as well as put a strain on water resources.

But Klinkenborg takes some time out to walk the riverbanks of the East Branch of the Delaware River and imagine how drilling will alter the landscape of this special patch of earth. How it will turn a small clearing in the woods into an industrial landing pad for drilling equipment. Or a simple gravel fishing path into a byway for heavy machinery.

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View John McManus's blog posts
22 July 2009, 3:55 PM
Agency favors dry land disposal method for mine tailings
Lower Slate Lake, after trees were stripped from around it for the mine

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to not immediately re-issue a permit for Kensington gold mine in Alaska, despite a Supreme Court ruling last month that upheld the now-expired permit.

In a letter to the Corps—and to the consternation of mine owner, Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation—the EPA argued that a dry lands disposal plan favored by environmental groups is feasible and better for the environment. EPA estimates it would take 8 months to review and approve the plan, whereas Coeur wants to immediately start working on the mine.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
10 July 2009, 3:30 PM
 

You'd think Colorado's two Democratic U.S. senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, would be in the forefront to protect one of Colorado's most valuable natural resources: our water. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether they will be.

As has been amply detailed by Earthjustice and in a recent op-ed in the Denver Post by Trout Unlimited's Melinda Kassen, the federal Clean Water Act turned America's water from a polluted (and sometimes burning) mess into much cleaner lakes, rivers and streams.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
08 July 2009, 3:41 PM
 

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to "uphold and defend" the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which set out to protect nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands across the country. Not long ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has responsibility for the Forest Service among many things, announced that he will personally review any projects proposed in roadless areas. This move was labelled a year-long "time out" for road building and logging by some in the media, but in fact, there's no guarantee.

With an eye toward nudging the president to a more bold and forthright act, five conservation organizations are launching a major ad campaign aimed directly at the president.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
08 July 2009, 1:38 PM
 

The pictures are not what you'd generally call beautiful, but they're stirring nonetheless: the early stages of the demolition of the Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River in Oregon, which has been killing salmon for decades.

The demolition is the result of yeoman (yeowoman too) efforts by a cast of hundreds, including Earthjustice's Mike Sherwood, who jumped through dozens of hoops, went to court, raised hell, and finally prevailed. Demolition will take some months yet—a celebration at the site is planned for October 10, though that could change a little. Go to Waterwatch for updates. Savage Rapids Dam Is Dead. Long Live Savage Rapids.