Posts tagged: air

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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 Liz Judge's blog posts
03 February 2011, 3:06 PM
Legislators who do and don't partner with polluters
Rep. Fred Upton

Early last evening, Reps. Fred Upton and Ed Whitfield, along with Sen. James Inhofe, released a draft of the latest bill in Congress taking aim at air pollution protections.

This wasn’t a surprise, as they’ve been talking to press about their toils on legislation that would reverse current limits on carbon dioxide pollution. They are targeting the first-ever restrictions on CO2 on behalf of major polluting industries that until now have been able to spew this air pollutant unrestrained and at quantities unmeasured.

Volumes of current science show us that carbon dioxide pollution threatens our health. In addition to contributing to deadly heat waves and extreme climate conditions, it exacerbates smog pollution and worsens asthma and lung diseases.

Rep. Upton and his collaborators on this bill seem determined to wipe away these air pollution protections. But why? Like we keep saying, follow the dirty energy money in Congress to see who supports letting big polluters off the hook time after time.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
02 February 2011, 4:46 PM
New survey reaffirms that public wants clean air, health protections
President George H.W. Bush signs Clean Air Act Amendments into law on Nov. 15, 1990. (George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

Sixty-three percent of Americans want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water.” This according to a new survey conducted at the end of January by ORC International.

Rep. John Carter (D-TX)—fast becoming a household name around here—isn’t part of that 63 percent. In early January, Rep. Carter sponsored a resolution to effectively block EPA health protections that will limit emissions of mercury and other dangerous air toxics from cement plants. These protections could prevent the premature death of as many as 2,500 people every year when they take effect in 2013.

Notwithstanding the fact that Rep. Carter has seriously misrepresented the facts in his push to win support for his anti-health resolution, a large majority of Americans generally disagree with his approach. The ORC survey found that 77 percent of Americans—more than three out of every four—say “Congress (should) let the EPA do its job.”

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
01 February 2011, 2:43 PM
Also, congressman's dirty deeds and boilers' toxic air
Refinery photo by Pamela A. Miller.

(Clean air is a life saver, which is why Earthjustice is working to ensure that polluters don’t stand in the way of safeguards against air pollution. Here’s a round up of some recent news in the ongoing campaign to protect our Right to Breathe.)

Use the #right2breathe hashtag on Twitter to track campaign updates.

EPA Defends Hazardous Waste Loophole
Back in 2008, the Bush administration exempted oil refineries from safety requirements designed to protect the public from the storage, transport, and burning of hazardous waste. Citizen groups including Earthjustice asked the current EPA to close the loophole, but last week, the agency signaled its support for the Bush-era exemption. This is bad news for communities that live near oil refineries. Wilma Subra of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network said “Communities in the Gulf region already suffer enough from refineries’ toxic pollution. The last thing we need is uncontrolled burning of their hazardous wastes.” A public comment period will open shortly—we’ll keep you posted on what you can do to help close this egregious loophole.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
28 January 2011, 5:50 PM
Senators introduce bills to weaken environmental protections
Sen. Barrasso, friend of big polluters

(A powerful faction in the new Congress has allied with industry to weaken our nation’s most basic environmental laws. Earthjustice will report on this expected barrage of legislative attacks as they occur.)

<<<Update 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 31: Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller has introduced his own “Dirty Air Act.” Like Sen. Barrasso's bill (see below), Sen. Rockefeller's bill blocks the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to limit carbon dioxide emissions for two more years.

In 2007, in its landmark Massachusetts v. EPA decision, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are covered by the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency is required to regulate them if found to endanger public health and welfare. The EPA made such a finding in 2009, relying on decades of evidence, research by hundreds of the world's leading scientists, and numerous other sources.>>>

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
27 January 2011, 1:04 PM
Twelve bad men, Gasland spotlight, green spies
Polar bears use ice floes, which are rapidly melting due to climate change, to search for food. Photo courtesy of Florian Schulz.

Polar bear swims hundreds of miles in effort to survive
In a testament to the rapidly deteriorating conditions that polar bears face in a changing climate, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey recently discovered a polar bear that swam nonstop for more than 200 hours and 400 miles, reports the BBC. The epic journey in the Beaufort sea was most likely necessary due to an increase in melting sea ice, which polar bears travel on to hunt prey. In addition to losing 22 percent of her body fat during the journey, the mama polar bear also lost something that's truly irreplaceable, her baby cub. Check out Earthjustice's Irreplaceable campaign to find out how these Arctic symbols and others are being impacted by climate change.

Rolling Stone profiles the climate change dirty dozen
What do Sarah Palin, Bjørn Lomborg and Fred Upton (R-MI) have in common besides a penchant for making grandstanding remarks? They're also three of 12 people blocking progress on global warming, reports Rolling Stone. Some of the dozen's tactics include: attacking the EPA, giving reputable climate scientists the third degree, spreading disinformation about global warming and just plain lying to the American public. Unfortunately, their laughable efforts to mislead us are actually being taken seriously by some, and in the process risking all of our future.
 

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
26 January 2011, 10:44 AM
But is our idea of "clean energy" the same?

Last night in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama rightly spoke about the importance of growing a clean energy economy. Dedicating a chunk of his speech to the promise of the clean energy sector of the economy and the necessity for us as a nation to invest in this sector, the president issued a promise to America's scientists and engineers: If they innovate and come up with clean energy solutions, our government will invest in them and scale them up.

The president called this the "Sputnik moment" of our time. With that analogy, he hit it out of the ballpark. Our ability to invest in and dedicate ourselves to the clean energy economy of the future will guarantee our nation the global edge. It will make us world leaders, and it will guarantee Americans jobs and job security for decades to come. The president tackled this potential in his speech with inspiration and wisdom.

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
25 January 2011, 12:43 PM
Potty-training comes to CAFOs
For pig use only, please.
(Photo: raedunn)

As anyone who has been “lucky” enough to pass by a factory farm can attest, Confined Animal Factory Operations (or CAFOs) bring a certain...fragrance to the surrounding environs. It doesn’t matter if you’re downwind or up—the stench is inescapable.

The problem (of which there are many, when speaking of CAFOs), is poop. Lots of it. Large factory farms pack animals numbering in the thousands into very close quarters, all generating a lot of stinky waste, all around themselves. Day in, day out. All that accumulated waste doesn’t just smell bad; it’s literally toxic—to the animals’ health and to ours.

From southern Taiwan comes an approach every parent would nod their head knowingly to: potty training.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
06 January 2011, 5:02 PM
New reps waste no time in sticking up for big polluters at expense of Americans
A cement kiln in Midlothian, TX operates near a playground. Photo: Samantha Bornhorst

The Republican majority in the new Congress has named the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as its chief adversary and is now preparing to thwart by any means necessary the agency’s efforts to reduce pollution. Today, they took one of their first swipes at the agency.

Led by Rep. John Carter (R-TX), House Republicans are attempting to use an obscure procedure known as the Congressional Review Act to take down the EPA’s recently finalized standards to control toxic air emissions from cement plants—the third largest source of mercury pollution in the U.S.

But this crusade is far more than an attack on the EPA, which under Lisa Jackson’s leadership has become a whipping boy for the congressional allies of big polluters. It’s an attack on Americans and their right to breathe clean air.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 January 2011, 4:42 PM
Some in Congress care more about special interests than the public interest
Fred Upton (R-MI) is leading the charge against EPA's public health protections.

Only three days after Republicans took over the House of Representatives, Americans are at risk of losing critical, life-saving pollution protections. Since they took their seats in the 112th Congress, some elected representatives have made shooting down or slowing down these protective pollution controls their top priority.

Today, House Republicans announced a resolution that seeks to undo U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules to control toxic emissions from cement plants. EPA scientists have estimated the rules would prevent up to 2,500 premature deaths and thousands of heart and respiratory incidents, and save billions of dollars in health costs each year. Read more about this deadly proposal in Congress.

Also today, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced two separate bills to delay and block EPA action on global warming pollution, scientifically found to endanger human health and welfare.

And, yesterday, a group of House members, all Republicans with one exception, introduced a bill that also would block the EPA from being able to follow through on its global warming pollution controls, which were required by the Supreme Court in 2007.

It's shocking and bewildering to see members of Congress take their seats and immediately come out swinging at pollution protections that SAVE OUR LIVES and keep us safe and healthy.

View David Lawlor's blog posts
04 January 2011, 10:51 AM
Gold mining and its toxic byproducts proliferate in the Americas

Silver was the precious metal at the foundation of the Roman Empire’s economy and since silver is often embedded in lead ore, lead was an abundant byproduct available throughout the empire. As such, Romans used lead in everything from plumbing pipes to wine to women’s makeup. In a sense, it was the high fructose corn syrup of its day: it was found in a plethora of common items and caused negative health effects. Lead poisoning is well documented in the Roman era and forever linked with that society’s fascination with silver. Surely, centuries later, humanity has learned its lesson.

But, of course, humanity has not learned its lesson and, as an interesting article in the Yale Environment 360 blog illustrates, low-income parts of society are bearing the brunt of our collective folly.