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 Liz Judge's blog posts
04 January 2011, 10:44 AM
Rest in peace Judy Bonds, godmother of fight to stop mountaintop removal mining

Last night we lost a true hero, Judy Bonds of Marfork, West Virginia. Judy—the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, Goldman Prize recipient, and friend and partner of Earthjustice—was a courageous leader in the fight to protect Americans and future generations from the poisonous pollution and destruction of mountaintop removal mining.

She was an inspiration to many in this movement, a fearless voice for her fellow West Virginians, and a righteous fighter. She fought for the health of her neighbors and all Americans, she stood up against toxic pollution, for justice, and against the greed and destruction of rich and powerful corporations. Through her persistent fight, she opened many people's eyes to the environmental injustices of mountaintop removal mining. "I don't mind being poor, and I don't mind being made fun of, but I draw the line at being blasted and poisoned," she said. She had a way with words and was a powerful orator and organizer.

"Fight harder" was often her advice to others, and despite meeting obstacles, challenges and even threats, she kept up the fight and managed to fight yet harder. She inspired so many of us to join in the fight, and even more of a gift, she made us believe that if we join together, if we really try, we can make a difference and we can win.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
30 December 2010, 1:12 PM
Clean air protections saved more than 100,000 lives this year

As 2011 approaches, scores of online outlets are eulogizing the Hollywood stars, musicians, authors, and other icons who died this year. While it’s only natural to reflect on what was lost, there’s also a powerful story to be told about a huge group of people who didn’t die—though it may not get the attention won by familiar names and faces.

According to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 160,000 American lives were saved in 2010 by the Clean Air Act’s health protections. That tremendous number—roughly the population of U.S. cities such as Santa Rosa, CA, Sioux Falls, SD, and Springfield, MA—is the capstone in a year-end list of the eleven biggest clean air events of 2010, compiled by the American Lung Association.

ALA’s list highlights some of 2010’s monumental victories, including the first-ever toxic air emission standards for cement kilns—one of the largest sources of mercury pollution in the United States—and new limits on auto pollution.

View Sarah Jackson's blog posts
21 December 2010, 1:29 PM
Industry wields fear and money to stop health protections

It's always been amazing to me just how much money polluters are willing to spend to try to convince lawmakers and the American public that public health and safety regulations will cost them too much money.

Seat belts and airbags, now standard features in all cars and trucks, were fought tooth and nail by the auto industry, which claimed they would be too costly and unpopular. It took the federal government 20 years to stand up to industry pressure and finally require life-saving airbags.

Anyone remember when EPA was first going to require installation of catalytic converters to reduce harmful tailpipe emissions? GM cried catastrophe and Ford claimed it would be forced out of business altogether.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
17 December 2010, 1:58 PM
Holdren lays down the law
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

 The Hill, a beltway website, carried a piece Dec. 17, reporting on a memo issued by the White House science advisor, John Holdren, ordering all federal agencies, in no uncertain terms, to use science as the basis for decisions.

The White House memo in turn links to a directive from Holdren aimed at agency heads that spells out in some detail the principles under which they are expected to act. This is all a followup to another memo, issued by President Obama last spring, urging that scientific integrity be at the top of everyone's agenda.

This all may seem like wonkish arcanity, but it seems clear that the White House is steeling itself for the expected onslaught of attacks on--among many other things--the administration's attempts to address climate change, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency's upcoming regulations to reduce the impact of vehicles on the climate.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
17 December 2010, 1:35 PM
Action ails to protect public from cyanide, arsenic and other chemicals
It's pretty to look at, but not to mine

Amid all those delays on important air rules, the EPA is doing a few things right: today they issued standards for toxic pollution emitted by gold mining companies with ore processing facilities. This will mean steep reductions of mercury emissions.

But the EPA failed to provide communities living near these facilities any protection from cyanide, arsenic or other toxic chemicals. We represented the Sierra Club and obtained a court-ordered deadline for this rule and through this litigation we helped secure the 77 percent mercury reduction (from 2007 levels) that EPA just set in place.

Here’s what Jane Williams, chair of the Sierra Club National Air Toxics Taskforce, had to say about this rule: 

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
16 December 2010, 12:52 PM
Excellent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette series looks at dirty air in western PA
Madi Kiddey and her sister, Abi, play near the Bruce Mansfield power plant. Photo: Robin Rombach/Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is a little more than halfway through an amazing week-long series called "Mapping Mortality" that focuses on air pollution in western Pennsylvania. Reporters Don Hopey and David Templeton spent a year interviewing more than 100 people, including Lee Lasich, who uses all of her fingers to enumerate the deaths of friends and neighbors from brain and pancreatic cancers in her Clairton, PA neighborhood.

The reporting is stellar, the photos are jarring, and the takeaway, unlike western PA's air, is crystal clear: air pollution is killing people. Pennsylvanians who live in the shadow of the state's sundry sources of pollution—including 40 coal-fired power plants—often exhibit rates of heart and respiratory disease, lung cancers, and premature death that are significantly higher than national averages.

Hopey and Templeton concluded that 1,435 people in the 14-county region they studied die every year because of diseases linked to pollution exposure. Pennsylvania residents such as Ralph Hysong grasp the connections: "In Shippingport people don't die of old age," he said. "They die of cancer or heart attacks or lung disease."

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
14 December 2010, 5:19 PM
New, hostile Congress readies attack on clean air standards

What stands between Americans and clean air isn't science, technology, or the law. It's politics. Last month, I wrote that the incoming House leadership of the new Congress is already beating the war drum in anticipation of taking down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the critical health protections it is required by law to enact.

This is a defining moment.

Earthjustice and our supporters, allies, and clients have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to secure numerous important health standards, and we are now closer than ever to realizing their substantial benefits. The politics might be hazy, but the law and the science are on our side. We are standing on a mountain of good court decisions that confirm the EPA's responsibility to issue clean air standards that protect our health.

Over the past two years, the agency has been working diligently—for the first time in quite a while—to be a credible protector of the environment. In the long-term struggle to protect all Americans' right to breathe clean air, we cannot allow short-term political pressure to change that.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
10 December 2010, 2:14 PM
EPA timidity, climate change bullying, butter-flavored flame retardants
BPA was recently discovered in cash. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

BPA found in cash
BPA, that ubiquitous, hormone-disrupting chemical that's made its way into everything from baby bottles to can liners, can now also be found in money, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. A study released by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families found that 21 out of 22 $1 bills contained small amounts of BPA, which has been linked to cancer, diabetes and neurological problems. And since BPA is also found in cashier receipts, it might be time to cash in on the dollar.

EPA spooked by industrial polluter bogeymen
EPA suddenly is dragging its feet on implementing a whole host of new clean air rules, from regulations on soot and toxic emissions from industrial polluters to limitations on smog, reports Grist. The new rules, brought on by Earthjustice litigation, would cost pennies to implement compared to the billions in annual health benefits they're expected to deliver, but thanks to intense industry pressure it looks like for the time being clean air advocates will be left holding their breath.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
24 November 2010, 1:15 PM
Idling laws, inconvenient climate truths, radiating trees
Wi-Fi radiation may be making trees sick. Photo courtesy of sxc.hu, Auro Queiroz

California's chemicals law gets tangled in toxic debate
With toxic chemicals regulations set to go into effect in January, manufacturers and advocacy groups are going head to head over how California should implement the landmark law, according to the Washington Post.

Advocates of the law say the regulations are too weak, while industry claims otherwise—a similar predicament that's also found in New York, where Earthjustice litigation recently resulted in state legislators requiring household cleaner manufacturers to begin disclosing their products' chemical ingredients and health risks.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 November 2010, 4:04 PM
Buoyed by supporters, Earthjustice expands to meet the challenge
Roadless areas of the Tongass N.F. are among Earthjustice's top priorities for protection

Although the recent elections signal a return to more inhospitable times for environmental protection in Congress, we are sustained by two constants: the power of the law and the dedication of our supporters.

The law provides leverage for progress even when political winds shift, and our steadfast supporters have shown time and again that they trust in our ability to wield it for positive change, regardless of the prevailing politics.

That backing has helped us through difficult times. Like so many American families and businesses, we were impacted by the economic recession. Thankfully, as we prepared to tighten our belts, our supporters sent a clear message with their generous donations: don't cut back your work to protect our environment.

Fueled by that generosity, we expanded our litigation and advocacy to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities for advancing environmental issues that have existed over the past two years—and that still exist as we look at the next two. With Thanksgiving at hand, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress made that wouldn't have been possible without your support.

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