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.

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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 September 2012, 8:39 PM
Your voice can help put the environment on the political agenda
Your voice is as important as your vote—there is a lot you can do. (Jason Langheine)

After the summer we have had, my mind is on climate change, what more Earthjustice can do about it, and what’s at stake in this election.

I experienced the effects of climate change this summer during a trip through Colorado. Heat, drought and fire set an almost apocalyptic tone for the trip. There was no snow on the peaks, stream flows were down, and smoke filled the air. Similar impacts afflicted 60 percent of our nation and spread over three continents; sea ice coverage in the Arctic was at a record low.

Earthjustice is working hard to slow and reverse these climate trends by bringing cases across the country to beat down coal, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expand the market for renewable energy and efficiency. And with your support we are doing more every day: hiring more attorneys and bringing more cases in more places. We are grateful not only for your support which makes this possible, but also for your advocacy which helps get better rules adopted and enforced.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
14 September 2012, 11:27 AM
Legislation would prevent EPA from protecting Americans

Seeking protection from unsafe dumping practices, more than 300 public interest groups from 43 states, representing millions across the nation, sent a letter this week to the U.S. Senate opposing S. 3512, the “Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act of 2012.”

The bill, introduced last July by Sens. Hoeven (R-SD), Conrad (D-SD) and Baucus (D- MT), prevents the EPA from finalizing its proposed coal ash rule—or ever issuing regulations for the nation’see second largest industrial waste stream. In its place, S. 3512 encourages inadequate state programs that preserve the status quo and extend the lives of hundreds of leaking toxic dumps.

View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
10 September 2012, 12:52 PM
Even though Larry is gone, his fight lives on

Imagine for a moment that you live in a beautiful forest. Your home is on the side of a big mountain. All around it are tall trees and elegant flowers. After a long day of work you come home. You are tired. Dinner smells delicious. You smile at your family. Everyone sits down at the dinner table. You are happy.

Suddenly there is a loud noise.

“What was that,” you wonder.

The noise rings out again. The walls begin to shake—a little at first, then a big shake. You grab your family and hold them close. The shaking continues. The cabinets open. The dishes start falling from their shelves. The sound of exploding glass and ceramics is deafening. You are terrified.

Then everything goes still and quiet.

Kayford Mountain

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
08 August 2012, 1:00 PM
Some love stories captured on video

She said, “Do you cheat on me?”
He said, “Sure I do.”

“Do I know her?"
“Sure you do.”

“Is she pretty?”
“Most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

“What’s her name?”
He said, “Kayford Mountain, prettiest lady I ever met.”

This is the story of a man who fell in love with a mountain and his struggle to keep it and all mountains from being destroyed by coal mining.

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View Maria Beloborodova's blog posts
06 August 2012, 2:37 PM
The law and the facts are on our side

Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg came out victorious in a recent Intelligence Squared debate over whether the natural gas boom in America is doing more harm than good. Arguing against the super intensive development of natural gas, she targeted the reckless, breakneck speed at which the industry is progressing.

She asked, “So, what characterizes a boom?" and answered her own question.

It's big. It's sudden. And it blows a lot of smoke. And the natural gas boom is doing all of that to an extreme. It's too much. It's too fast. And the hype is just over the top.

The boom is devastating the environment, wrecking communities and diverting the focus away from the much needed development of renewable energies, Goldberg said, adding:

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
27 July 2012, 1:18 AM
Plus: London smog, EPA’s petrified politics, grocery bill blues
Greenland's ice melt from July 8th (left image) to July 12 (right image). Photo courtesy of NASA

Greenland's record ice melt blows scientists’ beakers
The ice melt happening in Greenland right now is one for the record books, reports the UK Guardian. In fact, it’s so dramatic that even the scientists who have been staring at Greenland’s ice melt for decades were so surprised at just how fast the ice is melting that they thought they made a mistake in their data. They didn't. One group of researchers even had to rebuild their research camp after the snow and ice melted beneath their feet. Within a four-day period, the area of melting ice in Greenland increased from approximately 40 percent of the ice sheet surface to 97 percent. Typically, only about half of Greenland’s ice sheet melts during the summer. The unprecedented ice melt doesn’t bode well for those living near sea level, like, say, the almost four million Americans that live within just a few feet of high tide

London smog may send athletes sprinting for inhalers
As the Olympics in London heats up, the world’s best athletes are gearing up with top-notch running shoes, high-performance energy drinks...and their best inhalers, reports the UK Guardian. Health experts are warning that London’s forecast temperature of hot weather and easterly winds this week may result in a deadly combination that spikes smog pollution in the area, triggering breathing problems and scratchy throats. Also known as ground level ozone, smog is formed when sunlight reacts with oxygen and pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, which spews out of vehicle tailpipes and industry smokestacks. Though physicians often recommend that people reduce physical activity during really smoggy days, that’s not really an option for speedy, air-sucking Olympic athletes. Last fall, President Obama withdrew the EPA’s new smog standard, which would have tightened air toxics regulations and saved thousands of lives each year. Though the president cited economic concerns as the reason for his decision, it’s unclear whether he considered the economic impact of putting a smog-filled damper on the Olympics. As for the non-athletes attending the games this year who’d like to know when air pollution spikes, don’t worry. There’s an app for that.
 

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
24 July 2012, 11:01 AM
Star adds her face and message to stop mountaintop removal mining
Daryl Hannah speaks out against mountaintop removal mining. (Pake Salmon)

Daryl Hannah is best known as an actor in films such as Splash, Blade Runner, Roxanne, Wall Street, and Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2. But outside of the studio, she is a vocal environmental activist who dedicates herself to raising awareness of climate change, sustainable farming energy solutions, and of course, mountaintop removal.

For Earthjustice's Mountain Heroes photo petition, Daryl writes, “I believe if people in this country truly understood that we are allowing private companies to blow up our oldest mountain range and decimate our ecosystems, water and communities—it would not be legal.”

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
20 July 2012, 12:23 PM
Emotional testimony strikes a poignant chord
Parents, kids, doctors, community members and health advocates attended the EPA hearing in Sacramento, speaking in favor of strong limits on soot.
(Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

"This morning's testimony was so moving, I wish I'd had tissues with me," said one speaker. "It never occurred to me that I would need them at an EPA public hearing."

And yet, I saw more than a few tear-stained cheeks when Lydia Rojas recounted the heartbreaking story of how her 15-year-old daughter lost her life because of a severe asthma attack. Fighting back her own tears, Rojas asked the Environmental Protection Agency officials present to do everything in their power to ensure that strong limits are placed on the amount of fine particle pollution—a.k.a. soot—that's in our air.

The room was packed when I arrived at the public hearing in downtown Sacramento—the second of only two such events across the country focused on EPA's recent proposal to further limit emissions of deadly air pollution. The first hearing happened on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Over the course of the day, dozens of parents, kids, doctors, community members and health advocates spoke in favor of strong limits on soot. Jose Hernandez, a high-school football player and runner from Fresno, told the EPA panel how the winter-air gets thick with pollution, making practice difficult. In addition to his own shortness of breath, he notices difficulties related to dirty air in members of the youth soccer team that he coaches. "I want to make sure that when I have kids, they have every opportunity for a healthy future," he said. "We need to clean up the air so my child can live up to his or her fullest potential." (See a photo slideshow of the public hearing.)

Paul Cort speaks at the EPA hearing. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort: "The thing that sticks with you most about the hearing today are the stories from people who are describing how air pollution affects them personally." (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)
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View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 July 2012, 8:38 AM
Stand with this literary giant and become a Mountain Hero, too

Fighting against mountaintop removal, this week we’re proud to announce the support of an incredibly strong woman: writer and activist Terry Tempest Williams. We know our supporters care deeply about the welfare of animals in the wild, and saw this vividly on our Facebook page when we highlighted the animals of Appalachia in a photo album on Facebook.

The Appalachian Mountains contain some of the richest assortment of wildlife in the country, from white-tailed deer to great horned owls. When these mountains are blown up by coal mining, not only are we losing the beautiful landscape, we are also destroying the habitat of the wildlife that make their home in Appalachia.

Following her own passion for wildlife, Williams has written on the lives of a clan of endangered prairie dogs, showing how they are the creators of “the most sophisticated animal language decoded so far.” Respect for life in all its myriad forms is a topic she argues for with sensitivity and detail.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
13 July 2012, 1:56 AM
Plus: Toxic ships, seed wars and dirty produce

Extreme gas drilling fracks up ice cream ingredient
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may cause a worldwide ice-cream headache by eating up supplies of a food additive that’s used in everything from ice cream to cosmetics, drugs and explosives, reports the Houston Chronicle. It turns out that guar gum, a magical white flour-like substance that’s added to all kinds of foods for thickening, binding and volume enhancing, is also useful for forcing pockets out of gas out of deep fissures in the earth. Currently, purchasing guar gum accounts for about one-third of fracturing costs. A typical fracking job requires about 20,000 pounds of the stuff so it's unsurprising that the U.S.'s fracking boom has put a strain on guar gum availability over the past few years, causing prices to skyrocket. That’s bad news for ice cream lovers since guar gum is one of the main ingredients in the dairy dessert. So what does the fracking industry get for ruining our water, our air and now our ice cream? According to Grist, the industry gets a tax loophole that allow gas industries like Chesapeake Energy Corp. to pay just 1 percent in income tax over the last two decades. There’s got to be a better way to get our energy

Navy rekindles its love for dumping toxic ships into U.S. waterways
The U.S. Navy is going back to its old ship-dumping ways, reports the LA Times. After a nearly two-year moratorium spurred by both cost and environmental concerns, the Navy will soon dump three inactive warships into Hawaii’s waters as part of a series of naval exercises known as RIMPAC. In late 2011, Earthjustice sued the U.S. EPA for failing to adequately regulate the Navy’s ship sinking program, which pollutes the sea with a group of highly toxic chemicals called PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Though PCBs were banned by the EPA in 1979, they still linger in many of the Navy's old ships. Currently, the Navy is required to document the amount of toxic waste that’s left on the ships while removing as much as the material as possible. But, environmental groups believe that the Navy should clean up the vessels to higher standards before sinking them, especially because some of the toxics have been found to eventually work their way into the ecosystem.