Posts tagged: air

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
28 March 2014, 11:41 AM
Concerned communities fight back
Vice Mayor Linda Maio, joined by Mayor Tom Bates and Council member Darryl Moore, speaks out in support of resident opposition to a proposed crude by rail project. (Mauricio Castillo / Earthjustice)

Is volatile crude oil coming by rail to a town near me? For weeks, I’ve been asking myself that question as I kept hearing about the skyrocketing number of trains that are transporting potentially explosive types of crude throughout the U.S. to East and West Coast export facilities.

And I’m not alone.

Recently, I attended a protest by my fellow neighbors in Berkeley, California, to stop crude-by-rail shipments coming through our town. The crude-oil boom is brought on by fracking in North Dakota and drilling in Canada’s Alberta tar sands. Both forms of crude are hazardous—Bakken shale crude from North Dakota is highly flammable and tar sands oil is extremely corrosive and also difficult to clean up.

Not surprisingly, once people hear how explosive and dangerous this crude can be when spilled, they really don’t want it traveling through their main streets…or anywhere else. But travel it does. Hundreds of miles, in fact, through rural towns and along main streets, along densely populated areas like Chicago and Albany, and even inside windswept and vulnerable wild lands like Montana’s Glacier National Park.

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View Paul Cort's blog posts
25 March 2014, 11:00 AM
Calif. agency seeks to relax existing regulations on diesel trucks, buses
(iStockphoto)

For as long as I have been working on air pollution issues in California, I can still be left speechless by agency decision-making—such as the recent proposal by the California Air Resources Board to relax regulations requiring the cleanup of diesel trucks and buses.

First let me say that CARB is to be commended for adopting these groundbreaking regulations in the first place. The rules, first adopted in 2008, will require owners and operators over the next 10 years to upgrade their old, dirty diesel trucks and buses operating in California. This rule is a central piece of the strategies to meet soot and smog standards in the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles.

View Adrian Martinez's blog posts
20 March 2014, 2:20 PM
Lancaster citizens fear air pollutants will harm children's health
Ozone pollution causes premature death, asthma attacks and other breathing problems. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

A proposal for a large—570-megawatt—gas-fired power plant is pitting two Southern California cities against each other, and has aroused citizens worried about air quality and their children's health. Members of Desert Citizens Against Pollution are suing to challenge the plant’s approval.

The plant would be sited in Palmdale on the border of Lancaster.

Lancaster has generally opposed this project because of health concerns related to significant emissions that would go into its neighborhoods. The city also questions the need for this power plant, which it claims could thwart efforts to promote renewable energy like solar and wind developments. On the flip side, Palmdale has been really supportive of this project.

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View Will Rostov's blog posts
14 March 2014, 8:25 AM
Groups challenge law restricting power plant review
New natural gas power plants are among the largest new stationary sources of air pollution in California. (CA DOJ)

Today we filed an appeal challenging a California law that severely restricts the public’s ability to dispute the California Energy Commission’s green-lighting of new power plants. As a general rule, the public may seek judicial review for most state agency decisions in the trial courts. This process serves as a critical tool in efforts to protect the environment from harmful state agency decision-making.

Under current law, however, once the California Energy Commission permits a natural gas power plant, the public’s only recourse is to appeal the Commission’s decision to the California Supreme Court, the state’s highest court. This avenue is fundamentally different from challenges the public may bring to nearly every other type of state agency decision-making, which are typically appealed to a trial court or in some instances to a court of appeal.

The problem with this procedure lies in the fact that the state’s highest court has the power to dismiss challenges to power plant location or “siting” approvals without hearing the cases at all, and without giving any explanation. In fact, since 2001, the state’s Supreme Court has rejected every challenge to a power plant siting decision under the law at issue. Put simply, the California high court refuses to hear these cases.

View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
05 March 2014, 12:26 PM
Louisianans take action to find out what's happening with their dirty neighbors
Flaring at the Shell's refinery in Norco, Louisiana. (Photo courtesy of iWitness Pollution Map)

This guest blog post was written by Molly Brackin, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade which works with communities overburdened by pollution.

Since 2000, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade has worked with communities throughout Louisiana that neighbor oil refineries and chemical plants.

Their mission is to support communities’ use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution. The Bucket Brigade model is to equip communities most impacted by pollution with easy-to-use tools to monitor their environment and hold industry accountable.

Molly Brackin.

Molly Brackin is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, where she serves as the Monitoring & Evaluation Associate. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, where she specialized in hazard mitigation and disaster.

View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
18 February 2014, 2:34 PM
"A Lethal Dose of Smoke And Mirrors: Going home for better or worse"
Kelley holds a picture of the air pollution in Port Arthur, TX. (Matt Roth / Earthjustice)

Taking his work to the next level, Clean Air Ambassador Hilton Kelley has completed a book, A Lethal Dose of Smoke And Mirrors: Going home for better or worse, that chronicles his decision to leave Hollywood and take on powerful industrial polluters in his hometown, Port Arthur, Texas. Hilton—the first African-American man to win the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize—tells how he single-handedly made great strides to improve the health and environment in Port Arthur.

A city of some 50,000 residents, Port Arthur is situated on Texas’ Gulf Coast and was once home to the largest network of oil refineries in the world. Residents are surrounded by oil refineries, chemical plants and a hazardous waste incinerator, and they suffer ill health effects from living with disproportionately high levels of toxic air, including cancer-causing chemical compounds.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
12 February 2014, 5:35 PM
This week, the public gets to speak out on their state's air quality
A hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," site in Colorado. (Ecoflight)

Colorado has emerged as a western ground zero in the fracking boom, with more than 50,000 active wells in the state and 3,000 wells permitted annually on average in recent years. The state is struggling to deal with this staggering growth as well as the changing nature of the industry as operations have moved into communities along the Front Range.

This week, Colorado is poised to take a big step forward on protecting public health as the state considers significant revisions to the rules controlling the air quality impacts of oil and gas industry operations. Earthjustice and our partners will be there, urging the state to stand strong against an industry campaign to water down the rules.

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View Adenike Adeyeye's blog posts
07 February 2014, 1:17 PM
Ships, trucks and trains to clean up their act under new plan
A meaningful transformation of the freight system would benefit everyone in California. (iStockphoto)

At Earthjustice, we are resolved to clean up the air in California. This, of course, is no small feat. A 2012 analysis by the California Air Resources Board found that the state will have to transform its transportation sector away from fossil fuels and toward zero-emission vehicles, among other steps, to meet federal clean air standards.

While identifying the need was an important step, the state has been slow to act. That is where we come in. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Earthjustice and its partners in the California Cleaner Freight Coalition and the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, CARB made a significant, though belated, New Year’s Resolution: it committed to developing a strategy to reduce emissions from freight by the end of this year.

View Adrian Martinez's blog posts
07 February 2014, 7:45 AM
At issue, investing in long range fossil fuel infrastructure
There has been a growing realization that in order to meet clean air standards, the South Coast Air Basin needs to transform how it powers the region. (EPA)

Today, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is having an important discussion about energy in the Los Angeles region at its Governing Board meeting. The vote centers around whether to initiate a process to expedite natural gas power infrastructure in one of the most polluted air basins in the nation.

This decision is exceptionally important because it will serve as a litmus test for whether this agency responsible for clean air is invested in advancing a clean power generation in the South Coast Air Basin.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
28 January 2014, 8:45 PM
President can't rely on fossil fuels to achieve climate change goals
President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union Address. (White House Photo)

(The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.)

We are encouraged that President Obama made climate change a centerpiece of his speech tonight. We applaud his commitment to facing this challenge, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

President Obama has taken courageous actions so far to back this commitment. His leadership in achieving strong clean car standards has been a huge accomplishment, and we are thrilled with his leadership in tackling carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source of climate change pollution. And tonight, the President went further and affirmed that we can’t allow destructive energy development on our pristine public lands.

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