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 Anna Cederstav's blog posts
08 June 2009, 2:11 PM
 

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Don Federico, a Panamanian fisherman who has spent more than 26 years at sea and has thousands of stories to share. He told us what it was like when he first began fishing:

"We saw dolphins, whales, sharks and turtles everywhere. Out of ignorance, the fishing boats would catch and kill upwards of 300 dolphins per day, and the children would play with turtle eggs on the beaches."

Now, less than three decades later, Don Federico explained that there is none of that.

Even in isolated areas, it's a huge event when tourists spot a whale or a dolphin. Turtles no longer come to nest on our beaches, and shark finning is decimating local populations. The fish you could previously catch in a couple of hours, now take weeks of time for a fishing boat to collect.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
04 June 2009, 10:50 PM
 

Back in my early days at Earthjustice I got into an argument with a colleage that has stuck with me ever since. She (no names) observed that if we—the movement in general—conceded that restoration of damaged ecosystems is possible that we'll never be able to protect forests, wetlands, parks and the like because developers could simply say they'll eventually restore the land to its former glory.

In fact, we have a case before the Supreme Court at this very moment, where a mining company says not to worry that its tailings will kill all life in Lower Slate Lake in Alaska—they'll put it all back together, better than ever, when the mine eventually closes.

Sure. And what's lost in the mean time?

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
02 June 2009, 2:23 PM
Obama administration goes along with Bush-era policy

Two months ago, the Obama administration stunned the environmental community by removing northern gray wolves from the Endangered Species list. In doing so, the administration went along with one of the more onerous acts of the Bush administration. It also was the first major departure by the administration from the pro-environment path it had been on since Obama took office.

Conservation groups took a while to catch their collective breath and pull together the right response. Today, with a strong legal case in hand, Earthjustice led the groups into court—for the second time in a year—with a lawsuit challenging the delisting decision.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
01 June 2009, 3:05 PM
 

The wonderful and valuable High Country News has published a very instructive buttal and rebuttal that arise from an article in the print version of the paper that analyzed the long-running struggle over four power dams built on the lower Snake River in the 1960s. Those dams and their reservoirs have long been criticized by scientists and conservationists as inimical to the survival and recovery of once-stupendous salmon runs in the Columbia basin.

(The dams have also been the subject of a long litigation campaign by Earthjustice and its allies, who would like to see the dams removed, or at least breached.)

The Bonneville Power Administration, which operates the dams, has fought vigorously to keep the dams, even arguing in court papers that the structures have been in place so long that they’ve become a permanent, all but natural, fixture in the river, like boulders or eddies.

BPS’s Gregory K. Delwiche wrote a long and fairly sober answer to Ken Olsen’s original piece, that makes good sense—until you read Olsen’s reply. It’s a fascinating exchange, worth taking the time to read. I pretend no particular expertise in this debate, but one of Delwiche’s assertions caught my eye: In response to the claim by Olsen that BPA’s practice is to use all the water in the river for power generation, Delwiche wrote,

The federal agencies operating the hydro system never put "every drop of water" through turbines. It is common practice to spill water around turbines for fish. In 2008, for example, BPA spent $275 million buying replacement power to make up for power not generated at the dams because water was being diverted for fish.

What he didn’t say, and what I know only because of where I work, is that the spilling of water to aid salmon downstream migration came only with a court order, issued by Judge James Redden. Take a look. It’s fascinating stuff.

Meanwhile, Judge Redden has just written to the BPA urging prompt and vigorous efforts to reform river management. One might guess that he’s closer to Olsen than [the BPA guy] in this matter.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
28 May 2009, 2:09 PM
 

A press release came across my screen Wednesday afternoon announcing that a judge had found that Glen Canyon dam's operating scheme is illegal, since it doesn't do enough to protect endangered fish in the river.

That's putting it mildly.

That dam destroyed the most beautiful, spectacular canyon country on the face of the earth. Or if not destroyed permanently, certainly ruined it for those of us living now and for many generations into the future. The gentle wilderness of Glen was simply unmatched anywhere, its sandstone grottoes and fern draped side canyons. Some of us were lucky enough to have seen it before the waters of what Ed Abbey called "Lake Foul" buried Glen under hundreds of feet of water and began filling it with silt.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
27 May 2009, 5:08 PM
 

Road construction in national forests can harm fish and wildlife habitats while polluting local lakes, rivers, and streams. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule—which was made on the basis of extensive citizen input—protects 58.5 million acres of national forest from such harmful building. I will be proud to support and defend it.

—Senator Barack Obama, 2008

Both as a senator and as a candidate for the White House, President Obama was forthright in his support for the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protects nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands.

The rule was established by President Bill Clinton in 2001, but severely undercut by the Bush administration—freezing its implementation, not defending it against industry court challenges, finally effectively repealing it by making it a state-by-state option that left roadless areas vulnerable to local political pressure.

View Jessica Lawrence's blog posts
27 May 2009, 1:53 PM
 

Wildlife Quiz: What river valley has the most important habitat for grizzlies, wolves, wolverines and lynx in the Rocky Mountains?

Hint: The river forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park, and straddles the Canadian/US border between British Columbia and Montana.

Answer: The Flathead River.

The Flathead was recently named British Columbia's most endangered river, and the fifth most endangered river in the United States.

Why? British Columbia's land use plan ensures that mining for coal and minerals can trump all other land uses in the Flathead valley.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
23 May 2009, 11:17 AM
 

The debate over climate change legislation is heating up. And as members of Congress grapple with which position to take, they'll be bombarded with opinions from many different sides of the debate.

But last week, as members of Congress arrived at work in the morning and left in the evening, they were greeted by the silent stares of one important (albeit non-voting) constituency: the plants and animals likely to be impacted by rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and other impacts of climate change.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
22 May 2009, 2:41 PM
 

It had to come, such things always do. We speak of a shrill attack on the very idea of green jobs, emanating this time from PERC, a collection of free-market economists and ideologues in Bozeman Montana, that was a source of some of the ideas that informed the Bush administration, especially those of Gale Norton, W's first interior secretary.

This feisty band has decided to challenge a pretty impressive array of pro-green-jobists: The U.S. Conference of Mayors, the American Solar Energy Society, the Center for American Progress, and the United Nations Environment Programme, all of which have produced detailed studies outlining how and why putting money and effort into new green initiatives (windmill farms, solar energy installations, mass transit, and so on) will create good jobs and reap many other benefits as well.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
21 May 2009, 11:09 AM
 

Appalachia's mountains never seem to get a break. First, back in 2007, a district court judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit we brought on behalf of some West Virginia groups that stopped five mountaintop removal mining permits from going forward because of the permanent destruction they would have done to Appalachian streams and headwaters. It was a short-lived victory: the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision and the permits were moving forward again.

But then, the Obama EPA said it was going to review a slew of pending mountaintop removal mining permits that were awaiting the outcome of the court decision, and all were optimistic that the agency would put a halt on them and help prevent further stream and mountaintop destruction from happening. Appalachian groups hailed this decision, but again, victory was short-lived: just this month, the EPA said that despite having reviewed the permits (and despite mountaintop removal mining completely flattening entire mountain ranges and completely burying streams and headwaters) it was going to let 42 mountaintop removal mining permits proceed.

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