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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 March 2013, 12:09 PM
Plus: Buzzing over bee deaths and clean energy power up
Photo courtesy of @cdharrison (Flickr)

Bloggers think chemicals in macaroni are cheesy
Two food bloggers are campaigning against the use of chemical additives in the popular Kraft macaroni and cheese packaged meals due to concerns that the chemicals could pose health risks, reports the UK Guardian. Though found in foods sold in the U.S., the two additives, Yellow#5 and Yellow#6, are banned elsewhere in places like the UK, Norway and Austria amid claims that they can cause cancer or hyperactivity in children. The bloggers claim that since Kraft was able to replace the additives with alternatives in other countries (without a noticeable difference in taste), it should do the same in the U.S. So far, the bloggers’ petition, which highlights the larger issue of how ingredients banned elsewhere in the world can be found in items sold in U.S. stores, has gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

Environmental groups abuzz over insecticides linked to bee deaths
Several bee keepers and environmental groups have sued the U.S. EPA for failing to protect honey bees from toxic insecticides, reports Reuters. Bee colony populations have been taking a nosedive for some time now, and the collapse has many people worried about the nation’s food supply since bees pollinate everything from almonds and cranberries to avocados and pears. Studies have linked the collapse to the use of a class of super-toxic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which plants absorb through their tissue, making them potentially toxic to insects. Though Europe has banned neonicotinoids, the toxic insecticides are used on more than 100 million acres of corn, soy and other food crops and even some home gardening products in the U.S. Currently, Earthjustice is working to stop or limit the use of the nation's most toxic pesticides, which often contaminate nearby waterways and negatively impact people's health.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
22 March 2013, 7:27 PM
And ConocoPhillips eager to drill in the Arctic Ocean

Earthjustice received some superb video today from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, of Shell’s beat up Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, as it was lifted onto a huge dry haul ship to be carried to Asia for repairs:

This comes on the heels of a report from the Department of Interior, which summarized  a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season and was highly critical of the oil giant’s operations.

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View Sean Helle's blog posts
21 March 2013, 11:47 AM
Earthjustice's David Baron to present on court's environmental influence

Update: On March 22, 2013, President Obama accepted Caitlin Halligan’s request to withdraw as a nominee to the D.C. Circuit. Senate Republicans had blocked a yes-or-no vote on Ms. Halligan’s nomination for more than two years. As the President emphasized in his statement, the D.C. Circuit “is considered the Nation’s second-highest court, but it now has more vacancies than any other circuit court. This is unacceptable.”

In cataloguing the casualties of Washington politics, it’s not something you’d be likely to list. There’s the climate, of course. And our nation’s waters. Human health might come to mind. But the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit? Its name alone inspires sleep, not action.

This shouldn’t be the case. As Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen recently wrote, the D.C. Circuit is our second highest court—one with the power to determine whether Americans across the country have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. And the circuit’s importance isn’t limited to environmental cases. “From food safety and workers’ rights to the integrity of our elections, the court wields extraordinary authority and influence.”

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 March 2013, 3:45 PM
Politics have kept key federal court judgeships vacant
Four of the D.C. Circuit Court's 11 seats have been left vacant due to congressional obstruction. (DOJ)

Over the past four years, the federal halls of justice have been left partially hollow as the number of judicial vacancies in the federal courts continues to mount—due to foot-dragging on nominations and partisan filibuster once nominations are made. These vacancies hobble the courts’ ability to do their core work, which includes determining the fate of our most important environmental protections.

Take, for example, President Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In 2010, the president nominated Halligan, praising her “excellence and unwavering integrity,” yet two years later the Senate has twice refused to confirm her to this environmentally critical court. Halligan, a distinguished litigator who has argued five cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, is well-qualified for a seat on the D.C. Circuit. Yet despite bipartisan support and several high profile endorsements from law enforcement organizations and leaders, last week Halligan was forced to suffer through a second politically motivated filibuster that Senate GOP’s justified by willfully misrepresenting her record.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
12 March 2013, 11:19 AM
Documentary outlines modern environmental history

A stunning, inspiring new documentary film, A Fierce Green Fire, The Battle for a Living Planet, had its theatrical premiere in New York on March 1, and was scheduled for screenings across the country in following weeks. (View the full schedule.)

The film is in five acts, each narrated by a different person. Robert Redford starts with the beginnings of the modern movement, highlighting David Brower and the Sierra Club’s successful campaign to block construction of power dams in the Grand Canyon. Ashley Judd tells the story of Love Canal in New York and a neighborhood that had to be abandoned when residents—children in particular—began to become ill, even die, from toxic wastes buried beneath their homes and yards years before. Van Jones recounts the struggles by Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Society to end commercial whaling. Isabel Allende tells the tale of the Brazilian rubber tappers’ crusade to save their forest home, led by the martyred Chico Mendez. Meryl Streep ends with a hopeful recounting of the effort to stem global climate change.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
26 February 2013, 10:23 AM
Not enough change since historic disaster
The Buffalo Creek disaster destroyed 4,000 homes in 16 towns.  (WV Div. of Culture & History)

Forty-one years ago, today, a dam holding 132 million gallons of toxic liquid coal waste ruptured high up in the mountains of West Virginia, loosing a tsunami-like death wave of coal waste and chemical sludge that destroyed 4,000 homes in 16 towns, injured more than 1,000 people, and killed 125. Seven bodies were never found. This remarkable Charleston Gazette series shares the stories of the people who were affected by this horrific tragedy.

The Buffalo Creek disaster was one of the deadliest floods in American history, but unlike natural floods, it was a man-made disaster caused by corporate negligence, regulatory agency corruption and failure, and an ill-begotten idea of industrial waste disposal. Today, many of the circumstances that led to that disaster still persist, but sludge dams are several times larger. 

View David Guest's blog posts
14 February 2013, 3:39 PM
Don't let agricultural pollutants kill magic waterways, they say
Algae outbreak on the Santa Fe River in May of 2012. (John Moran)

In a fantastic show of grassroots support for clean water, Floridians packed a Environmental Protection Agency meeting in Tampa on Jan. 16, saying they are fed up with repeated slimy algae outbreaks on the state’s beaches, rivers, spring and streams

More than 150 protested, and they wore fluorescent green T-shirts saying, “Ask me about slime.” They asked the EPA to stay strong and enforce pollution limits for sewage, manure and fertilizer—three culprits which are fueling algae outbreaks all over the state.

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View Jonathan Wiener's blog posts
08 February 2013, 3:47 PM
But Navy claims it might not be needed
North Atlantic right whale (#1612) with calf. (NOAA)

Would you build a $127 million training facility without first deciding whether to use it? That’s what the U.S. Navy claims it is doing in the waters off Jacksonville, Florida.

The Navy is pushing ahead with plans to build a massive submarine warfare training facility, consisting of 500 square miles of cables, nodes, buoys and other instruments, next to the only known nursery for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and on top of habitat for sea turtles and other endangered species.

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View John McManus's blog posts
05 February 2013, 12:34 PM
It took 12 years to finally win Endangered Species Act protections
Less than 300 wolverines are thought to remain in the lower 48. (USDA)

Last Friday, the federal government proposed to protect wolverines as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Wolverines are the biggest member of the weasel, mink, marten and otter family, but they don’t act like good family members—they are loners who cover huge ranges usually high in mountain ranges above tree line up in the rock, ice and snow.

No one knows how many wolverines still exist in the 48 contiguous states but their number is estimated to be less than 300, most living high in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho and the North Cascades of Washington. A few individual wolverines are scattered through California, Oregon and Colorado.

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View John McManus's blog posts
31 January 2013, 11:17 AM
Manufacturer refused to comply with measures protecting children, wildlife

There’s a dangerous type of mouse and rat poison on the market that when eaten by the rodents, causes them to bleed to death internally. Problems arise when the poison sometimes finds its way into the hands of kids or pets or moves up the food chain from rats and mice to foxes, bobcats, owls and the like that pounce on sickly rodents.

Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie sent a letter to the State of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation in December asking the state to order the stuff off the market. The state has yet to respond but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now says it will start the process to ban forms of the poison used in the home that lack tamper-resistant packaging. While EPA is taking a significant step in the right direction, more needs to be done to protect children and wildlife.

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