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.

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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 Terry Winckler's blog posts
24 May 2010, 2:55 PM
Polls, media show distaste for how spill is being handled

Most Americans (51 percent) disapprove of how President Obama is handling the Gulf oil spill, according to a just-released CNN poll, but that's nothing compared to how they feel British Petroleum has done (76 percent disapproval).

You have to wonder, though, whether the president would fare as well if the poll was taken now, after a weekend of media attacks on the administration for not taking a stronger leadership role in the Gulf spill. The critical drumbeat, led by Democratic strategist James Carville, challenged Obama for letting BP dictate clean-up efforts. Interior Sec. Ken Salazar promised to keep the government's "boot on the neck" of BP, but apparently BP wasn't cowed, because it defied EPA's demand that it use a less-toxic form of chemical dispersant. Today, EPA ordered BP to cut back on using the dispersants. Will BP ignore that order as well?

<Update: The EPA is launching an investigation into BP's refusal to follow last week's directive to use less-toxic dispersants.>

<Update: Today, as BP's CEO walked an oil-soaked Gulf coast beach—and promised to "clean up every drop of oil," the Coast Guard's admiral in charge said he believed the government should let BP stay in charge. The government isn't qualified to clean this spill up, he emphasized.>

And then there's the matter of the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency that Salazar is drastically reorganizing because of its too-cozy relationship with the oil industry. The New Yorker skewers the administration on two critical points:

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
02 April 2010, 12:07 PM
Earthjustice aims legal efforts at restoring ESA protections

This week, after seven months of dodging bullets, Idaho's wolves got a reprieve: the statewide hunt that left 188 of them dead is over.

The actual number of wolves killed since hunting was legalized last year is more than 500—including those shot during the Montana season and others killed by governmental agents protecting livestock.

Wolves became fair game in Idaho and Montana last year after losing the protection of the Endangered Species Act—a move initiated by the Bush administration and ultimately endorsed by the Obama administration. Almost immediately after Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar agreed to the delisting, the states of Idaho and Montana announced fall hunting seasons.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
31 March 2010, 3:48 PM
Obama administration sends mixed signals on drilling
The Chukchi Sea. Photo: Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com

Today, the Obama administration sent a mixed signal on offshore oil drilling, a move guaranteed to raise concerns from native groups, environmentalists, and communities living near some of the most sensitive and biologically diverse coastal areas. Obama and Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a plan to halt oil and gas leasing in Bristol Bay off Alaska's southwestern coast and to postpone future lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, off Alaska's northern coast, while needed missing information is gathered.

We agree that Salazar made the right move on Bristol Bay—home of the world’s largest salmon fishery—and on postponing future oil and gas lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, sensitive areas of America's Arctic Ocean that are undergoing dramatic shifts due to climate change and about which large gaps in basic scientific information remain. These proposals give the administration the chance to use sound science and smart planning in future decisions about new leasing in the Arctic.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
26 February 2010, 1:33 PM
PBS documentary looks at Obama administration’s handling of gray wolves

Update: You can learn more about Earthjustice's work to save wolves (including an interactive timeline) in our newly updated campaign page.

The wolf lifts its muzzle and—as its breath flows like smoke into the crisp air —you hear the sound of wilderness, crying out from the TV set.

This image alone is worth a visit to your local PBS channel, starting tonight (Feb. 26), to view a documentary examining how wolves in the northern Rockies have been affected by the Obama administration's relaxation of regulations protecting wolves. To see when the program can be viewed in your area, go here.

Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold, who has spent much of his career working to protect northern gray wolves and grizzly bears in the Rockies, figures prominently in the film. He carefully describes natural and man-made threats to both species, and makes clear his disappointment with Obama's Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar for signing off on a Bush administration decision to stop protecting wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
02 February 2010, 1:24 PM
Others stand up at EPA ozone hearing on behalf of victims

Imagine loving to garden but being unable to do so because the air outside your home is thick with ozone. Or a travel down the freeway literally taking your breath away because the pollution is just that unbearable.

Enter the life of Mary Theriault. The northern Virginia resident battles chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was supposed to testify at an EPA hearing today in Arlington on stronger ozone standards. But Mary was hospitalized due to a COPD flair-up.

Earthjustice's David Baron was among the first to testify, commending EPA for doing the right thing in proposing to strengthen clean air standards.

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View John McManus's blog posts
07 January 2010, 4:41 PM
Promises to emphasize science over 'categorical exemptions'

Interior Sec. Ken Salazar stepped up to the microphone this week and told the nation the days of drilling oil and gas everywhere on public lands are over. This is welcome news to Earthjustice attorneys who opposed many of the public lands oil and gas leases ramrodded through by the Bush/Cheney administration.

Salazar made clear that he, unlike his predecessors in the prior administration, understands some public lands, especially in the west, are special and should not be drilled.

Many of the new policies result from an Interior Department review of a 77-parcel Utah lease sale in December 2008. The review came after Earthjustice litigation stopped the sale and forced the cancellation of these leases. Salazar said the department will start requiring more detailed environmental reviews, provide increased opportunities for public input, and reduce a drilling fast track known as categorical exclusions.

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View John McManus's blog posts
16 December 2009, 12:07 PM
Administration settles Earthjustice suit over air pollution
Photo: BLM

The tens of thousands of new oil and gas wells that have popped up in the U.S. over the last decade—especially in the Rocky Mountain states—have created lots of air pollution. Much of it comes from the engines used to pump and compress the oil and gas or from leaks around the wells and pipelines. This air pollution makes skies smoggier, hazier, more toxic to breathe and alters the climate.

In New Mexico, some gas wells produce hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. At low levels, hydrogen sulfide can cause difficulty breathing and headaches. At high levels, it can be lethal.

In western Wyoming and metropolitan Denver, oil and gas drilling is linked to rising smog levels, haze in wilderness areas and national parks, and to climate change.

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the Bush administration to force it to update the air pollution regulations with modern, state of the art technology to minimize the pollution. The Obama administration inherited this lawsuit and quickly recognized that Earthjustice was right. So they settled the case and have promised to do a fresh review with an eye towards getting newer, cleaner technology into the field.
 

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
04 December 2009, 12:41 PM
Programs enacted this decade will lead to significant emissions cuts

The Bush years—a seemingly endless era in which those concerned about the planet's fate found themselves arguing with a table, to appropriate the words of a silver-tongued Massachusetts congressman—aren't typically remembered for good efforts to combat global warming.

But a new report by Environment America—"America on the Move"—contends those lost years, thanks to states (not the Bush administration), may actually prove themselves a critical period in our national efforts to lower carbon pollution. The report estimates that states like California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and many others initiated programs during those years that will lead to a reduction of more than 500 million tons of global warming pollution by 2020.

The projected amount, approximately 7 percent of total domestic emissions in 2007, is no small thing, roughly equivalent to the collective annual emissions of more than 100 million cars.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
03 December 2009, 9:14 AM
EPA dumps Bush-era rule that allowed unfettered hazardous waste burning

The Bush Years: Sounds like an afternoon special, right? Unfortunately it was a reality we remember all too well.

As President Bush prepared to leave office, his cronies at EPA pushed for a slew of bad rulemakings that favored polluters at the cost of public health and the environment. This came as no surprise back then, and Earthjustice and others did a wonderful job of fighting back and defeating many of these "midnight rulemakings," as they were often called.

One particularly egregious rule, known as the Emissions Comparable Fuels rule, allowed industries to burn up to 100,000 tons of hazardous waste without any federal hazardous waste protections.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 November 2009, 12:26 PM
An ocean continues to wait for change
The Chukchi Sea. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In the Arctic waters surrounding Alaska, George W. Bush is still president, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has the chance to inaugurate a new regime.

Shell Oil recently got the green light from the Department of Interior to drill next summer just off the shores of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in waters that are an important migratory route for endangered bowhead whales. With numerous decisions on offshore drilling in the Arctic still pending, the looming question is, will Sec. Salazar chart his own course—using science as a guide—or will he continue to make decisions as though Bush were still in charge?

Last summer, Salazar told the magazine American Cowboy, "The science is fundamental to decisions we make. Ignoring the science will imperil important priorities to the United States and our world. Unfortunately, the last administration often ignored the science to get to what it wanted to get to. We will not do that."

On the Arctic, science has spoken, and I hope Sec. Salazar meant what he said.

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