Posts tagged: Bush administration

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Bush administration


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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 Patti Goldman's blog posts
17 February 2011, 6:45 AM
Amendments target wildlife, water, air, public health, natural resources

Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal government running.

Unfortunately, that measure—called a continuing resolution—is loaded with amendments and provisions that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and seeks to override the rule of law at every turn.

These so-called  “riders” could not pass on their own merits, so their sponsors hope they will ride the coat-tails of this must-pass budget bill. Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants. They would overturn court decisions that we have obtained to stop illegal behavior and force federal agencies to comply with the law.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:53 PM
Legislative amendments target air, water, public lands and wildlife

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health. 

Not since the darkest days of the Bush administration have we seen such an onslaught on the environment—and the hits are still coming. By mid-day today (Tues., Feb. 15), the list has grown to include attacks on a number of endangered species, including wolves and salmon, and on the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep lethal pollutants out of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Some amendments are outright handouts to our nation’s worst polluters.

The spending bill will fund the government so that it can continue operating after March 4, but first the Senate must pass the bill. Today, Pres. Barack Obama warned that he would veto the bill as constructed.

The following is a list of the most harmful provisions and amendments proposed so far:

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
09 February 2011, 11:22 AM
Former EPA chief withheld vital conclusions on climate change

(UPDATE 2/10: For another take on the issue, check out this item posted on Grist from the Natural Resources Defense Council.)

Enemies of the Environmental Protection Agency are rallying today in Congress, but they may find their efforts blunted by an act of environmental weakness by Stephen L. Johnson, a former EPA administrator under President George W. Bush.

In 2008, we called for Johnson to resign because of his well-publicized attempts to gut the EPA's mission of protecting the environment. But, as we are just now learning, the EPA's mission was compromised more by what Johnson didn't do.

The evidence, in the form of a private letter by Johnson to Bush, was revealed last night just before today's hearing in Congress on whether the EPA should regulate greenhouse gases. Ironically, the letter is being used in defense of the EPA.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
24 January 2011, 12:45 PM
Arch enemy of the Roadless Rule working for anti-offroad groups. Go figure.

Thanks to an email from my old friend George Alderson, I nearly dropped my teeth the other day.

You may remember. In the gallery of baddies service in the G.W. Bush administration, the one most reviled by the environmental movement—or certainly one of the most reviled—was Mark Rey, Under Secretary of the Department of Agricuture, whose main job was to oversee the Forest Service. In that role, Mr. Rey guided the administration's efforts to thwart the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a rule put in place at the end of the Clinton administration to protect nearly 60 million acres of near-wilderness quality lands on the national forests.

Well, it turns out that Mr. Rey has been lobbying on behalf of the Idaho Conservation League, Trout Unlimited, and Wildlaw, the latter being a pro-wilderness organization headquartered in Alabama.

Mr. Rey's duties seem to focus on keeping certain national forest lands closed to off-road vehicles.

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View David Guest's blog posts
14 December 2010, 11:01 AM
Industry-fed politicians fight court order to cleanse the waters
"As Stoneman Douglas warned: we're not done." (Mark Wallheiser)

Many years ago, a friend of mine was just starting out in the environmental movement, and the late Florida environmental activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas (she authored the classic Everglades: River of Grass) offered some advice.

If you're going to do this kind of work, prepare to have your heart broken, because even when you win, you're never done.

So it is with our landmark lawsuit to get enforceable limits on the amount of sewage, fertilizer and animal waste that run into Florida's public waters. Even though we've had bright green slime covering rivers and lakes, even though health authorities had to close famed Florida beaches because of pollution, and even though drinking water has been fouled, polluters and misguided politicians continue to fight cleanup.

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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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View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 November 2010, 11:20 AM
Spotted owl habitat under threat in Oregon

Reporters speak of a story having legs, meaning that it is likely to continue over an extended period. Spotted owls have legs.

The story began in the late '80s, when it became evident that out-of-control logging in ancient forests in the Northwest was about to extinguish the owls. Earthjustice sued, and managed to achieve Endangered Species Act protection for the owls.

End of story? Not quite.
 

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
29 October 2010, 9:14 AM
Poacher trackers, air pollution stink bombs, leaky fracking memos
Research has found that bees can be smarter than computers. Photo courtesy of Michaela Kobyakov, stock.xchng

Top enviro official deems NY gas drilling supervision a fracking mess
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is "ill-equipped" to regulate natural gas drilling, according to a leaked internal memo written by a former environmental official and reported on by ProPublica. Earthjustice is currently fighting to stop gas drilling in New York because pumping millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract gas isn't all that it's fracked up to be.

Cow power makes clean air advocates glower
Eco-friendly farmers eager to turn their cows' poop into power by burning the methane that's found in manure are finding themselves knee-deep in another environmental problem, according to NPR. Though burning manure for energy cuts down on methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, it releases other pollutants into the air that can contribute to smog. That stinks.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
27 September 2010, 2:17 PM
The destructive mining practice cannot go on at the expense of Appalachians
Appalachians call for an end to watershed poisoning caused by mountaintop removal coal mining

On the campaign trail, President Obama shared his thoughts about mountaintop removal mining:

We have to find more environmentally sound ways of mining coal than simply blowing the tops off mountains. We're tearing up the Appalachian Mountains because of our dependence on fossil fuels ... Strip-mining is an environmental disaster ... What I want to do is work with experts here in West Virginia to find out what we need to do to protect the waterways here. That's going to be a primary task of the head of my Environmental Protection Agency.

This, if it happens, would be a sea change from the previous administration's EPA, which effectively wrote loopholes and exemptions into that law that allowed mining companies to evade longstanding regulations, sidestep basic Clean Water Act protections and dump their mountaintop removal mining waste directly into Appalachia's waters, contaminating drinking water supplies for communities and burying important streams.

Nearly two years into President Obama's term, we've seen small steps toward reducing the destruction of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, but the fact is: President Obama and his administration are still allowing this devastation to continue. The Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA are still permitting mountaintop removal mining permits in Appalachia, despite the regulations of the Clean Water Act.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
11 June 2010, 4:32 PM
Hazardous waste exemption, oil dispersants, BP goes Orwellian

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

This week, Earthjustice scored a big victory for our lungs with the announcement that the EPA is finally abandoning a dangerous rule—granted by the Bush administration—that would permit the unregulated burning of hazardous waste.

BP's latest effort to clean up its soiled image took it into even murkier waters after the oil giant recently began buying search terms like "oil spill" on Google and Yahoo search engines so that the company's official web site would be the first link to appear on a search page.

Amidst a vote on Sen. Murkowski's (R-AK) resolution to bail out big polluters, Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen called on the Senate to put aside partisan politics and protect the American people by voting against this bill. Thankfully, the Senate has voted 53-47 against the bill.

Campaign manager Brian Smith reported on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's recent announcement of a memorandum of understanding to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, which has the goal of tapping into the estimated 1 million megawatts of potential wind power that exists off the east coast.

Earthjustice was curious to know just what's in all of those chemical dispersants that we're dropping into the Gulf of Mexico by the millions of gallons, so we filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get more information. Here's what we found (hint: it's not good).