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 David Guest's blog posts
18 November 2009, 11:44 AM
EPA agreement on nutrient runoff has national impacts
Algae slimes Christopher Point Creek

Even though a large group of polluters tried to derail it, Earthjustice won this week a historic settlement—with nationwide implications—that requires the Environmental Protection Agency to set legal limits for the widespread nutrient poisoning that triggers harmful algae blooms in Florida waters.

Our settlement has been a long time coming, and its impact goes far beyond this state's borders. Currently, Florida and most other states have only vague limits regulating nutrients. The EPA will now begin the process of imposing quantifiable—and enforceable—water quality standards to tackle nutrient pollution, using data collected by the Florida DEP.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 October 2009, 3:28 PM
How much is Obama doing to reverse Bush's toxic tide?

Earthjustice has begun tracking the Obama administration's progress in rolling back eight years of environmental assault by the Bush administration. We've created a chart that grades President Barack Obama on how well he's done. After reading the chart, come back to this blog post and provide your own comments. We'll be updating the report card as actions warrant.

 

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
30 September 2009, 2:59 PM
Decision triggers environmental scrutiny of 79 mining permits

The Environmental Protection Agency has taken another positive step towards reining in the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
22 September 2009, 1:42 PM
Agreeing with Earthjustice, court restores Endangered Species protections

Yellowstone's grizzly bears are back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, thanks to a federal court decision overturning Bush-era directives.

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View Bill Walker's blog posts
22 September 2009, 10:51 AM
275,000 Americans urge administration to scrap Bush plans
Costumed demonstrators ask for a time out on Arctic drilling (AP)

More than 400 scientists from around the world have signed a letter urging the Obama administration to call a time out on offshore oil and gas drilling in America's Arctic until research can assess the risks to the region's oceans, wildlife and people.

The scientists urged Interior Sec. Ken Salazar to cancel Bush-era plans for selling oil and gas leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and for a sale in the Chukchi that failed to comply with federal environmental laws. The scientists say the decision was made without sufficient scientific understanding of the environmental consequences and lacked full consultation with indigenous residents:

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 September 2009, 5:46 PM
Agency puts hold on dozens of mining permits for environmental review

On most environmental matters, the Obama administration scores high marks from us, especially for revitalizing the role of science and respect for the law in the agency's decisions. The shift in ethos from eight years of ruinous Bush policies occurred almost immediately after Obama took office. We have seen dramatic positive changes in how some federal agencies deal with the key issues of climate change and clean energy, roadless protections, clean air, and hazardous waste regulations.

But, until last week, Obama's actions on mountaintop removal mining largely tracked the course set by Bush. As we previously noted  in April we hoped that the EPA was going to put the brakes on 48 mountaintop removal permits. We were taken aback in May when the agency instead let 42 of the permits go ahead without further scrutiny. This was a disheartening setback.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
16 September 2009, 9:13 PM
Justice Department investigates former Interior chief's oil shale leases
Recently cleared well pad on a Shell oil shale research lease in June 2009. Photo (c) Peter Hart.

It's no secret oil shale is one of the dirtiest fuels around, when considering its impacts on the climate, on air, on water, and on land. 

Now from the Los Angeles Times comes word that the Department of Justice is investigating some allegedly dirty dealing that helped foreign-owned Shell win the rights to half of all federal lands leased for oil shale research and development. The allegations are that Shell got a sweet deal in snagging three of six R&D leases when Gale Norton was Secretary of Interior. Not long after Interior awarded the leases to Shell, Ms. Norton resigned and got a job working for Shell on "unconventional fuels" including ... oil shale.  

View Tom Turner's blog posts
19 August 2009, 9:42 AM
Obama and the courts back roadless areas. Mostly.
Roadless area in Wyoming's Beartooth Plateau. Photo: Nelson Guda, 2009

We've seen considerable activity concerning national forest roadless areas in the past few weeks in case you missed it—most of it welcome.

Early this month, the federal appeals court upheld a district court ruling that found that the rule the Bush administration cooked up to replace the 2001 Roadless Rule was illegal, and therefore reinstated the 2001 rule. (The Bush rule invited governors to suggest how national forests in their states should be run. The 2001 rule forbids most road building and logging in roadless areas in national forests.)

Shortly thereafter, the Forest Service, under President Obama and Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, announced that it will appeal a ruling out of Wyoming, where a cantankerous federal judge found the 2001 rule illegal. Twice. Earthjustice has appealed that ruling, and now we're joined by the administration.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
17 August 2009, 2:04 PM
EPA and Obama can still stop destruction of lake
Photo: Pat Costello, courtesy of Lighthawk

Last Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers quietly gave Kensington gold mine permission to kill an Alaskan lake with mine tailings. It's disappointing for those of us who've been fighting for years to keep this lake—and the Clean Water Act—from being trashed.

Technically, the Corps had every right to grant the permit. So spoke the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year in a narrow ruling that said a Bush-era twist of the Clean Water Act allowed a slurry of toxic, chemically-processed mine tailings to be defined as "fill." Fill, such as rock, has long been legal to place in our waterways under permits issued by the Corps.

Earthjustice, which argued against the permit in court, was disappointed by the ruling, but had good reason to believe the dumping would not be allowed.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
05 August 2009, 2:25 PM
Another (welcome) twist in the Roadless saga
Patrick’s Knob roadless area in Montana’s Coeur D’Alene Mountains. (Credit: © Terry Glase)

When we last visited this story, the original Roadless Rule, issued at the tail end of the Clinton administration, seemed to be in effect in some parts of the country, not in others, and the court ruling that reimposed it was still under legal challenge by the Forest Service.

The situation was clarified to a great degree today, with a unanimous ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a lower court ruling, which had found a substitute rule put forward by the Bush administration illegal and reinstated the original rule throughout the country except for Alaska and Idaho.

This is tremendous news, and should be a powerful encouragement to the new administration to do whatever is necessary to protect roadless areas throughout the land.