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First the bad news. Over the last decade, hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies from all over the world have clearly established a direct link between dirty air and increased risk of death from lung disease. In 2002, for example, California state scientists estimated that microscopic particles of airborne soot from auto exhaust cause more than 9,300 deaths in the state each year. That's more Californians than die from AIDS, homicide and traffic accidents combined.

With the election of Barack Obama, our nation's long, dark environmental night appears to be ending. By all early indications an era of opportunity will replace eight years of opposition in which Earthjustice was forced to play a mostly defensive role.

This is the moment we've been waiting for, and with your continued support, we are set to pursue ambitious goals on behalf of the environment.

We found it curious when the DC-based National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) sued a local air pollution board in California. Why would a big national trade association care about a local air pollution rule?

Well it turns out, NAHB had hoped to stop "Indirect Source Review" rules from spreading to other jurisdictions across the nation.

What do San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound, and Chesapeake Bay have in common? They provide a distinctive signature to some of America's greatest cities, of course. Residents and visitors to San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore and Washington love to walk along, play beside, and boat across these waters. All three have storied histories and strong citizens' organizations fighting to protect and restore them.

A few months ago, we told you about the Lafarge cement kiln in Ravena, NY giving itself an environmental award, despite being the largest mercury polluter in the state. Well, it looks like Lafarge may actually reduce mercury emissions according to new plans to update their plant. Construction, however, won't even start until 2013.

Unfortunately, Lafarge doesn't seem to be doing this to be a good neighbor; they claim the decision came from "a broad set of business considerations." We definitely encourage cleaning up this plant, but the proof is in the pudding. As our attorney Keri Powell said, we'll continue to "make sure the pollution controls they install will be sufficiently protective."

Stay tuned for more updates on this kiln and our work to clean up mercury pollution across the nation.

...by giving themselves an environmental award, of course! note that the Lafarge press release touting their environmental award came out, according to the article, 6 months after they received the award. during that time we held two press conferences pounding on Lafarge for their mercury pollution, and this Albany Times Union reporter did a great story about how that cement kiln is the biggest mercury polluter in the state.

The U.S.may lose its right to vote on international ship pollution standards because Congress has failed to implement a treaty setting limits on ship pollution. At risk is a vote in upcoming negotiations on stricter standards proposed by the U.S. delegation to the International Maritime Organization.

House and Senate lawmakers are trying to resolve differences on legislation to implement the treaty, known as Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The full Senate has not yet acted on it.

Aah, summer!  Time to hit the road and visit some our crown jewel national parks here in the West.  It's time to enjoy the trees, the canyons, the birds, bees, and bears, the ranger talks, the smog. 

The smog?  Yep, get ready for it.  Because if the EPA has its way, the tremendous views from Mesa Verde, Zion, and other national parks will become more obscured with haze.

As the Washington Post succinctly put it on May 16:

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About the Earthjustice 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. Learn more about Earthjustice.