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 Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 April 2013, 3:20 PM
Three years after Gulf oil spill, Big Oil remains absent from Arctic
Earth Day is observed on April 22 each year to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Perhaps you’ve already read the good news by our crackerjack Alaska attorney Holly Harris, who reported that ConocoPhillips is the latest Big Oil company to postpone drilling in the oft-treacherous waters of the Arctic Ocean. Shell previously announced it was abandoning plans to drill there this year.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
18 April 2013, 10:02 AM
Feds, locals don't always have wildlife's best interests at heart
The imperiled Gunnison sage grouse. (FWS)

It's hard to know, sometimes, who to trust with America’s wildlife.

For the most part, wildlife is managed by individual states, which do some good science and issue tags for hunting licenses. They are also, theoretically, on the front lines of ensuring that wildlife species don’t get into such trouble that the federal government needs to step in under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act.

There is a constant tug-of-war between the locals and the feds, and it might be tempting to say those who love vibrant wildlife populations should favor one over the other.

But it’s not always easy to pick.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
17 April 2013, 2:55 PM
Massive development could kill desert ribbon of life
Rich ecosystems flourish around the San Pedro River.  (Jeff Kennedy / USGS)

The upper San Pedro River valley in Arizona is the epitome of the Wild West. Open and arid, stretching north from Mexico and lying in the shadow of the rugged Huachuca Mountains, the valley looks much the same as it did more than a century ago when miners and settlers uneasily shared the land. It is a place where the long shadows at sunset bring visitors back to a long-past time.

Cutting across that mythic landscape is the treasure of the valley, the San Pedro River, last free-flowing river in the desert Southwest. A remnant of the formerly extensive network of desert riparian ecosystems, the river has dwindled in recent decades as development moved into the valley. And now the San Pedro may be drained to feed a proposed mega-development.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
17 April 2013, 12:20 PM
Unrestrained thirst puts Colorado atop American Rivers' threat list
Management of the Colorado River remains an engineering task that seeks to wring as much water as possible out of its banks. (David Morgan / iStockphoto)

The Colorado River has been called the lifeblood of the west; it defines our geography, sustains our fish and wildlife, feeds and powers our cities. Without it, our lives and heritage would be fundamentally different—which is why Earthjustice and the conservation community have fought for years to preserve and protect this great river.

But, the thirst for Colorado River water is proving too great.

Today, American Rivers, a national river conservation organization, named the Colorado its most endangered river for 2013. This dubious distinction was well earned as decades of damming, diversion and domestication have left the river that carves the Grand Canyon a ghost of its former self.

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View David Guest's blog posts
12 April 2013, 3:47 PM
Toxic algae, caused by runoff, found in mammals' stomachs
The manatees in the Indian River seem to be eating algae because a huge 2011 algae outbreak killed most of the sea grasses. (Shutterstock)

Florida tourism promoters are always looking to get stories in the newspaper to lure northern tourists—and their vacation cash—down here. But a recent story in the New York Times wasn’t what they had in mind.

“Florida Algae Bloom Leads to Record Manatee Deaths,” read the national headline on April 6, in the middle of prime winter tourist season.

Endangered manatees have been dying by the hundreds on both the east and west coasts. The tally is at 340 and rising. No one has pinpointed the precise cause, but the likeliest is toxic algae, the kind that’s fueled by sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
11 April 2013, 5:22 PM
The (at least) 62-year-old mother keeps calm and carries on
Wisdom, back for her shift of chick rearing duties, preens her chick while her mate feeds at sea. March 7, 2013. (J. Klavitter / USFWS)

Over the years, many a leg has flitted from one fashion trend to the next, from flaring bell bottoms to form-fitting skinny jeans. But for the past six decades, one mother has stuck to just one style of leg-wear: a bird band. And it’s helped to tell an incredible story.

When the Laysan albatross known affectionately as “Wisdom” returned to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge last winter, she gracefully flew right into the record books. Banded by a scientist on his first trip to Midway in 1956 as she was tending to her egg, Wisdom is at least 62 years old and far beyond what’s thought to be the average 12–40 year lifespan for a Laysan. In fact, Wisdom is the oldest documented living wild bird today.

And she’s not taking her golden years lying down: in February, she, once again, became the proud mother of a new chick. This 8-pound bird has been flying the Pacific and raising young for longer than many of the scientists observing her have been alive.

View Elijio Arreguin's blog posts
04 April 2013, 11:49 AM
Study predicts a decrease in the size of surf
Photo courtesy of Dunedin NZ (Flickr)

“Surf’s up!”

These two words have sparked countless scenes of surfers worldwide frantically gathering boards, leashes and friends in excited rushes to the ocean in the hopes of catching a few big waves. However, a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, "Projected changes in wave climate from a multi-model ensemble", indicates that climate change may threaten the frequency of such scenes.

Researchers’ findings project that while only 7.1 percent of the world’s ocean area will experience an increase in average wave heights, almost 26 percent will actually experience a decrease in the size of surf.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
03 April 2013, 2:46 PM
It's time to head in a clean energy direction
Fracking has been linked to both air and water contamination. (Courtesy of J.B. Pribanic)

Just as clean, renewable energy is lifting off and the impacts of climate disruption become ever more visible, fossil energy production is becoming dramatically more extreme. But extreme fossil energy production is exactly what we don’t need.

In just the last two years, I have seen the Louisiana coast’s oil-slicked marshes after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, met with Pennsylvanians and Coloradans whose homes are under assault in the fracking boom, toured the Alaskan Arctic with a caribou hunter whose way of life is threatened by onshore and offshore oil development, and shared the outrage of West Virginians whose schools and streams are under siege from mountaintop removal coal mining.

Though these extreme energy projects differ in their methods of extraction, they have two things in common: their massive industrial scale, and how little we know about their potential impacts to our air, water and climate.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 April 2013, 12:03 PM
Highlights from the EPA’s chief of water policy

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that 55 percent of U.S. streams and rivers are in “poor” condition, according to its most recent national rivers and streams assessment. Following the release of that grim report, the EPA held a live Twitter chat to answer questions about our clean water protections and the state of our waters in the United States.

This was a rare opportunity for the public to directly ask the EPA’s head of water policy, Nancy Stoner, about the agency’s plans to address our nation’s water quality problems. We got a chance to ask some questions, too.

The first question of the chat was ours. We wanted to know how the EPA plans to fix the situation we find our nation in today: The fact is that 27% of the nation’s rivers and streams have excessive levels of nitrogen and 40% have high levels of phosphorus. These nutrient pollutants, which come from factory farms and industrial agriculture, cause toxic green slime outbreaks that are harmful to public health.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
26 March 2013, 9:47 AM
Roadless Rule—and 50+ million forested acres—survive test of time
Spring blooms of fireweed in the Reservation Divide roadless area in Montana’s Coeur D’Alene Mountains. (© Terry Glase)

Time has run out for the enemies of roadless wilderness. They spent 12 years trying to kill the national law protecting our forests, and yesterday a federal district court said they couldn’t have a minute more—the statute of limitations had run out.

This means you better grab a compass when heading into a national forest because you can get lost amid all the trees saved by this law, known as the Roadless Rule.

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