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
06 March 2009, 1:59 PM
 

Interior Sec. Ken Salazar stunned the environmental world this morning by agreeing to remove northern gray wolves from protections of the Endangered Species Act. By doing so, Salazar has endorsed one of the more infamous actions taken by Bush on his way out of office.

Or, as Earthjustice Attorney Jenny Harbine put it: "The federal government is handing Idaho and Montana a loaded gun. The Fish and Wildlife Service says states may kill all but 300 of the current northern Rockies population of around 1,500 wolves. The population cannot stand this level of mortality."

View Tom Turner's blog posts
03 March 2009, 3:13 PM
 

The Obama administration signalled today that it is rescinding a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration that eliminated a requirement that executive agencies (the Forest Service, for example) must consult with scientific experts in the Fish and Wildlife Service or NOAA when a project may affect protected species. When Bush instituted the change last December, Earthjustice immediately challenged the rule change in federal court.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
25 February 2009, 6:04 PM
 

Interior Dept. Sec. Ken Salazar is turning his nose up at another one of Bush's "midnight regulations." This one has to do with leases for oil shale research and development in Colorado and Utah.

Salazar halted the lease sale process because it had terms that didn't pass "the smell test," he announced this week. Instead, he will start a new leasing process that includes 90 days of public comment.

This is clearly a move in the right direction by Salazar, who -- unlike Bush -- at least is taking time to kick the idea around. It's an idea that's worth a good kick. One of the dirtiest ways of getting energy, oil shale extraction has never been commercially proven. In a word, it stinks.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
24 February 2009, 5:41 PM
 

The lungs of America got two big breaks this week with court rulings that protect them from air pollution emitted by power plants, factories, and diesel trucks.

And there is a strong hint of more to come.

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case defending an ill-conceived cap and trade system for emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic and other pollutants from the nation's coal-fired power plants. Earthjustice and our clients had argued that such a system would create toxic hot spots in regions across the nation.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
23 February 2009, 3:12 PM
 

The U.S. Supreme Court ended years of legal battles today by declining to hear industry's appeal of a 2008 Earthjustice victory. In that case Earthjustice, joined by more than a dozen public health and environmental groups and 14 states, challenged a plan by the Bush administration that would have created mercury "hot spots" across the country. The lower court compared the logic to that of the dangerously irrational Queen of Hearts character in Alice in Wonderland.

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration withdrew government support of the appeal, but that didn't stop utility companies from pushing forward. Today's announcement denying the polluter's appeal hopefully clears the way for meaningful regulations that limit mercury from power plants and start cleaning up this toxic metal from our air and waters.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 February 2009, 11:30 AM
 

In less than a month, President Obama has tackled several items on a list of Six Easy Things that Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen set forth for the new administration last November.

1) Move towards reducing CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act

One of the most significant actions came this week when the EPA said it would reconsider the infamous "Johnson memo" issued just before Obama took office by Bush's EPA chief Stephen Johnson. The memo directed EPA staff to ignore regulation of CO2 even though the U.S. Supreme Court said EPA had the authority. Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson said she is reconsidering that memo and will seek public comment.

Bottom Line: The EPA appears headed towards regulating CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
09 February 2009, 4:23 PM
 

After cancelling oil and gas leases in Utah last week, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar is strongly hinting that he might do the same with a crown jewel of Colorado -- the Roan Plateau. The Roan is a rippling expanse of natural riches that rises dramatically 3,000 feet above a plain in the state's northwest quadrant.

The Roan was leased off for oil and gas exploitation last August despite massive public outcry from a remarkably diverse group of folks, including hunters and fishers, Republicans and Democrats, locals and people from across the country, and of course dedicated environmentalists. Salazar, then a U.S. senator from Colorado, was among those urging the Bureau of Land Management to not proceed with the lease sale.

Now, as boss of the BLM, Salazar is in position to put money where his mouth was last year -- $113 million in lease payments already divvied up between the state and feds. But it's a pittance compared to the priceless wilderness qualities that would be displaced by industrial drilling operations.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
06 February 2009, 4:53 PM
 

A bunch of utility operators are still trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to let them pour poisonous mercury into the air - but after today, they are standing alone. The Obama administration said it is withdrawing its support, and in fact, wants the court to drop the case.

Label this a victory for Earthjustice, its clients, and those thousands of citizens eating mercury-contaminated fish and forced to breathe in all the toxic fumes that the Bush administration would allow. Over eight years, that amounted to 700,000 pounds of mercury and other toxic stuff. We sued to stop this awful practice and won, but Bush's lawyers partnered up with the utilities and appealed to the Supreme Court so that it could continue.

Now, if the Court agrees, we can start breathing easier.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
06 February 2009, 2:30 PM
 

Obama has quickly switched from the bump to the boot. All week he's been kicking over Bush-era dominoes, and today's was a whopper. The Environmental Protection Agency is starting to review its 2007 refusal to let California regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The review affects 16 other states that also want to control emissions. It's a big deal that we've long been pushing for.

But, the biggest domino of all is still standing in the way of EPA really cracking down on greenhouse gases. We're talking about that shameful "Johnson memo" issued by the Bush-EPA administrator of the same name just before Obama took office. The memo told EPA employees to ignore CO2 - the single largest contributor to global warming. Without saying it, the memo also said: Ignore a Supreme Court ruling that authorizes EPA to control CO2.

What an irresistible target for a bump from Obama's boot.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
04 February 2009, 4:37 PM
 

In those cold days of last December -- as Bush feverishly tried to finish crippling the nation's environmental protections -- the new day promised by Obama seemed only a flicker at the end of an 8-year tunnel.

After today's news out of Utah, that flicker is looking more like a flare. Interior Sec. Ken Salazar announced the cancellation of oil and gas leases on 110,000 acres of public land abutting some of the West's purest wilderness. Aside from validating Earthjustice legal action challenging those leases, the cancellation could be interpreted as the first sign of Obama turning back the Bush tide.