Posts tagged: black carbon

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

black carbon


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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 Sam Edmondson's blog posts
15 June 2012, 2:40 PM
Final standards, due in December, must be strongest possible
Photo: Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice

Just two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency was dithering on a proposal to strengthen protections against an air pollutant that causes tens of thousands of avoidable deaths every year.

Enter Earthjustice attorney, Paul Cort, who on behalf of citizen groups asked a federal judge to order the EPA to get moving. So compelling was the case that the judge ruled in Earthjustice's favor directly from the bench, ordering the EPA to proceed without further delay. This motivated the EPA to settle the remainder of the suit and release a proposal. The agency also committed to release a final standard by Dec. 14, 2012.

Today, the agency released its proposal, and we have Cort's legal action to thank—a prime example of how citizen enforcement of our nation's environmental laws can produce real results for public health and the environment.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
31 May 2012, 3:43 PM
Federal court gives EPA a week to sign proposal, after Earthjustice suit

Nothing cuts baloney like a court order. Today, in response to a request made by Earthjustice, a federal judge gave the Environmental Protection Agency one week to sign a proposal for tightening standards on soot, an airborne mixture of tiny particles that causes tens of thousands of early deaths every year.

The court's action is most welcome: there's been so much foot-dragging at EPA on this issue, you have to wonder if everyone involved needs a new pair of shoes.

The order jumpstarts a process that will hopefully have significant public health ramifications. Last year, we released a report with the American Lung Association (ALA) and Clean Air Task Force called Sick of Soot that showed a strong soot standard could prevent nearly 36,000 premature deaths every year. That averages to a staggering 700 premature deaths just between now and June 7th, the deadline set by the court.

View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
16 February 2012, 3:22 PM
Controlling methane, soot and others can reduce warming by a third
Black soot on snow (NASA)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, announced a program, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, today to reduce methane, soot and other pollutants. The United States is jumpstarting the program by contributing $12 million over the next two years.

"By focusing on these pollutants, how to reduce them and, where possible, to use them for energy, people will see results," Clinton said at a news conference today in Washington D.C.

So-called short-lived pollutants like black carbon (soot), methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) account for more than one-third of global warming. They are key to reducing warming in the near term because they stay in the atmosphere for only weeks or a few years, compared to carbon dioxide which remains in the atmosphere for centuries.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
06 February 2012, 6:57 PM
All we know, to the best of our knowledge, is that we don’t yet know enough
A male polar bear patrols the pack ice edge in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

As portions of the contiguous United States find themselves (perhaps a bit uncomfortably) in winter’s chilly embrace, a recently published study in the scientific journal Marine Biology may shed new light on the wintry lifestyles of the Arctic regions of our country.

During this season, Arctic areas like the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, off the northern coast of Alaska, experience months of ‘polar nights’—times when the sun fails to make an appearance (making for a veritable vampire haven, one might say).

The extreme degree of coldness of these winter months is key to the survival of species like the polar bear and ringed seals, who depend on the restoration of thick sea ice (long since diminished during the warmer spring and summer months) in order to hunt and raise their young.

A polar night, in Longyearbyen, Norway.

A polar night, in Longyearbyen, Norway. (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen)
View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
12 December 2011, 4:53 PM
Despite dire planetary consequences, America shows weak leadership

(Earthjustice attorney Erika Rosenthal represented the organization at U.N. climate talks that wrapped up Sunday in Durban, South Africa.)

The first U.N. climate talks held on African soil ended in the wee hours of Sunday with important progress in several key areas – preserving the Kyoto Protocol, launching negotiations on a new more comprehensive accord, and advancing work on transparency, finance and technology transfer – but fell gravely short on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Of course, bringing together nations with wildly divergent visions of the future and views on responsibility for climate change to forge a deal is an extraordinary challenge. We have only to look at our own Congress’ inability to come to agreement.
 

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
15 November 2011, 5:10 PM
Nearly 36,000 deaths could be prevented every year by tighter soot standards

Sometimes, little things cause big problems. The tiny particles in soot pollution are 1/30th the width of a strand of your hair, and yet those tiny particles may be responsible for the premature deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year.

Earthjustice, Clean Air Task Force and the American Lung Association released a report today—titled Sick of Soot—that shows nearly 36,000 premature deaths could be prevented in the U.S. every year if the Environmental Protection Agency strengthens the health standards for soot pollution.

In 2009, following an Earthjustice lawsuit, a federal court found that the EPA's current standards are inadequate to protect public health and ordered the agency to update them. Nearly three years later, the EPA hasn't budged. So today, in addition to co-releasing Sick of Soot, Earthjustice went back to the same federal court—on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund and National Parks Conservation Association—and asked it to set a deadline for the EPA to issue stronger soot standards.

"The EPA needs to start moving in a different direction," said Earthjustice attorney David Baron. "Sick of Soot points the way."

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View Emily Enderle's blog posts
21 October 2011, 10:48 AM
Pals of polluters vote to let coal ash poison our water supplies
Clean-up operations in the aftermath of the 2008 Kingston coal ash spill. (TVA)

On Friday, in a 267–144 vote, a majority of House members voted to keep allowing coal ash to pollute our drinking water. The passage of the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273) lets states choose to adopt a disposal standard less protective than those for household garbage.

The bill fails to protect communities from drinking water polluted by arsenic, hexavalent chromium and other cancer-causing chemicals or disasters like the TVA spill. It doesn’t even take the most basic step of eliminating wet disposal ponds, which both EPA’s proposed options include. Further, it doesn’t create a federally enforceable baseline standard and serves solely to establish a toothless regime that treats this ash with fewer protections than household garbage.

Under the leadership of Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), the GOP-controlled House has taken aim at public health and transparency, undermining the efforts of the EPA to use the best available science to complete their public rulemaking addressing coal ash.

View John McManus's blog posts
30 September 2011, 11:39 AM
Earthjustice asks court to cancel lease of massive coal mine

Earlier this week, Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine went to court to argue that the state of Montana was legally required to consider steps to minimize the consequences of burning more than a half-a-billion tons of coal before leasing it to St. Louis-based Arch Coal, Inc. Earthjustice is representing the Montana Environmental Information Center and the Sierra Club in a lawsuit asking the court to cancel the lease so that the state may study options for minimizing or avoiding the environmental consequences of this massive strip mine.

Arch Coal also has leased coal on adjacent private lands, which combined with the state-leased coal, amount to 1.3 billion tons. If developed, the Otter Creek strip mine would be one of the largest coal mines in the country. Arch is making plans to ship at least a portion of this coal to Asia by way of west coast ports. Once burned, the coal will emit billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, not to mention mercury, lead and a host of other nasty byproducts.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
28 July 2011, 10:20 AM
Did you hear what they are up to?

Did you hear about the secret attacks being planned on public health and the environment of the United States?

Probably not. The news from Washington these days is focused on the fight over raising the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, the 2012 House Interior/EPA Appropriations (H.R.2584) bill is being considered, and it is larded with riders that will increase pollution, destroy protected wilderness, and harm the health of American families.

It’s frankly difficult to explain how bad some of these proposals are. They are so outrageous they seem almost surreal. But here are just a few that should give every American heartburn:

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View Ben Barron's blog posts
13 July 2011, 12:23 PM
Fracking invades rainforest havens of birds and natives who mimic them

Anyone who has seen the “Planet Earth” episode on jungles has witnessed the colorful plumes and remarkable displays of the Birds of Paradise.

But when you’re hiking (read: struggling) through the dense growth of Papua New Guinea’s rainforest, one of the world’s largest at over 100,000 square miles and home to 38 of the 43 Bird of Paradise species, it’s pretty difficult to catch a glimpse these magnificent birds.

You can’t help but hear them, though. Jungle life has a soundtrack, and the BOPs are the lead singers.

However, a new voice is about to join the New Guinea chorus, threatening to drown out the unique birds.

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