Posts tagged: Wildlife and Places

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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 Tom Turner's blog posts
26 June 2009, 4:54 PM
 

The Alabama-based environmental law firm Wildlaw has just announced the hiring of Mark Rey as a part-time lobbyist to work on national forest restoration projects in the Southeast and to help with land acquisition efforts.

Here's a little backstory. Wildlaw is headed by an attorney named Ray Vaughan, and it has done much good work in the Southeast defending national forests and scarce species and waterways and other resources. Mark Rey was the Under Secretary of Agriculture overseeing the national forests under George W. Bush, and a more reviled figure among environmental activists would be hard to find.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
25 June 2009, 4:39 PM
A thumping for environmental cases

Two long and thoughtful pieces today, one from the Daily Journal, the other from Greenwire, discuss in painful detail the thumping environmental cases suffered at the hands of the Supreme Court this term. In each case, the court overturned a pro-environment ruling from a court of appeals.

The first case involved whether the Navy must protect whales and dolphins from the effects of loud noises. The most recent case, an Earthjustice case as it happens, revolved around a permit the Corps of Engineers awarded to a mining company that allows the company to dispose of toxic mining wastes in an Alaskan lake. In between, the court found that environmental groups didn't have the right to challenge certain Forest Service regulations, that Shell Oil was not responsible for cleaning up a Superfund site in California, and that cost-benefit calculation at a New England powerplant was legal. The decision the court overturned in the last case, incidentally, was written by Sonia Sotomayor, who looks likely to become the next associate justice. In all five cases, the court upheld rules put forward by the Bush administration.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
25 June 2009, 4:29 PM
 

Dr. Margaret Palmer is a world renowned water biologist who works at the university of Maryland, but has a home in West Virginia and family from the Appalachia region. "Headwater streams are exponentially more important than their size would suggest," said Dr. Palmer in testimony before the Senate. She compared headwater streams to the small capillaries in our lungs that distribute the oxygen necessary for life to our bodies. Without those capillaries (and similarly, without the headwaters) we (and the surrounding environment) would not be able to live.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
25 June 2009, 4:27 PM
 

The first witness, an EPA official, was questioned extensively about the impacts both locally and globally of destroying entire forests, flattening mountains, and increasing flooding as a result of mountaintop removal mining.

In the second witness panel are: Paul Sloan, Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; Randy Huffman, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Margaret Palmer, Laboratory Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland; and Maria Gunnoe, coalfield activist and winner of the prestigious 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
25 June 2009, 4:16 PM
 

The hearing started promptly at 3:30 pm with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), a cosponsor of the Appalachia Restoration Act, stating that mountaintop removal mining "adversely effects the economies of the region."

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), also a cosponsor of the Appalachia Restoration Act, offered opening remarks including, "it's not necessary to destroy our mountaintops in order to have enough coal...saving our mountaintops is important to me."

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
25 June 2009, 11:31 AM
 

Last week the U.S. Senate moved forward on important legislation that ensures our streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands remain clean and safe. By a vote of 12-7, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced a compromise version of the Clean Water Restoration Act, important legislation that reinforces the scope of the Clean Water Act by guaranteeing that our nation's waterways are clean to swim and fish in and safe to drink.

While Earthjustice supports the original version of the bill—as introduced in April by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and 23 other Senators—we appreciate the work the Committee did to advance the legislation, and will continue to work with the Committee and the rest of Congress to pass the strongest possible bill.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
23 June 2009, 2:14 PM
High court clears way for mining company to destroy Alaskan lake

On June 22 the Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 decision that makes lakes and other waterways across the country vulnerable to being used as waste dumps for mining operations and other industrial processes. The case involved the Kensington mine, a gold mine north of Juneau, Alaska. The owner of the mine, Coeur Alaska, was awarded a permit by the Army Corps of Engineers that allows the company to deposit mine tailings into Lower Slate Lake as long as the mine operates, killing all aquatic life in the lake. The company promises to restore the lake to its former state, a process that would take several decades if it is possible at all.

Earthjustice sued to block the permit, arguing that it is in blatant violation of the Clean Water Act and that other methods are available for disposing of the tailings.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
17 June 2009, 1:25 PM
 

The saga of mountaintop removal continues, and this time it's headed to Congress. Two proposed bills—one in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives—could curtail mountaintop removal mining by banning certain activities related to this destructive mining practice.

The Appalachia Restoration Act, a bill in the U.S. Senate, would prohibit dumping "excess spoil" resulting from mountaintop removal into streams and headwaters. A similar bill in the House of Representatives—the Clean Water Protection Act—would put even tighter restrictions on dumping this pollution into Appalachian streams.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
17 June 2009, 12:33 PM
 

Earthjustice was thrilled this month when a strong new set of rules was issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect California’s endangered salmon species. We've working to protect California salmon since the 1980s and the new biological opinion is a huge step in the right direction.

But some people just hate good news about the environment.

The conservative, anti-environmental operation known as the Pacific Legal Foundation is pushing Governor Schwarzenegger to ask Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to remove protections of California's native fish species by calling out the "God Squad." The God Squad (officially the Endangered Species Committee) is a rarely used provision of the Endangered Species Act that allows species protections to be overridden by a government panel that would essentially play God and exterminate a species in the name of economic necessity.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
12 June 2009, 11:45 AM
 

Remember "Healthy Forests"? This was one of the euphonious program names hatched by Karl Rove or another of the Bush wordsmiths to mask a real purpose. There was also the Clear Skies Initiative, which actually aimed to weaken the Clean Air Act.

Healthy Forests argued that the best way to control wildlfire and protect rural communities was to thin the forests of dead brush and sick trees, such growth having accumulated to dangerous levels owing to decades of fire suppression.

Fair enough, but many scientists and environmental advocates argued that Healthy Forests was really a smoke screen (forgive me) aimed at obscuring the fact that much of the planned "thinning" would be far from human settlements and would in fact involve logging big, living, valuable trees.