Posts tagged: Clean Air Act

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Clean Air Act


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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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
30 September 2011, 12:17 AM
Clean air haters, Yellowstone meltdown, killer cantaloupe
Photo courtesy of sk8geek

Monsanto’s new broccoli designed to fight company’s own environmental pollution
Perhaps dismayed by the public’s outcry to genetically engineered (GE) crops and their environmental effects, last October America’s favorite biotech company, Monsanto, released a non-GE product that combines two different types of broccoli to create a sort of super broccoli that’s chock-full of nutrients, reports Grist. The problem, of course, is that broccoli is already considered a super food. According to the USDA, one medium stalk provides 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, 16 percent of recommended dietary fiber, and 10 percent of recommended vitamin A in the form of betacarotene. Broccoli also contains folate, potassium and several other minerals, providing 6 percent of daily calcium and 4 percent of daily iron needs. Heck, it can even prevent cancer. Talk about fixing something that ain't broken.

In addition to silly redundancy, Monsanto’s desire to provide a vegetable that helps “maintain your body’s defenses against the damage of environmental pollutants and free radicals,” is just plain ironic, as Grist cleverly points out, considering that the company’s cash cow—herbicides—have been shown to cause some of the very illnesses that eating broccoli can prevent. If selling a product that causes illness and then turning around and selling another product to prevent that illness seems, well, wrong, then it won’t be much of a surprise to find out the rest of Monsanto’s seedy past.

Climate change threatens Yellowstone National Park
Within the next century, Yellowstone National Park may be as hot as the LA suburbs thanks to climate change, reports Reuters. A recent study by Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Greater Yellowstone Coalition found that warming in Yellowstone, one of the world’s last largely intact ecosystems, is likely to increase wildfires, kill large swaths of trees and damage areas vital to grizzly bears and other threatened species. And, as a vacation hotspot for tourists, failing to reverse the warming trend could put a dent in the region $700 million annual tourism economy. Despite the dismal predictions, the good news is that there’s still time to make choices that will influence how climate change effects Yellowstone, like preserving wildlife corridors and increasing resilience to damaged habitats. Earthjustice is working hard on both of these fronts in the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land that encompasses some of the largest blocks of wilderness in the contiguous United States, including Yellowstone. See for yourself what we’re protecting
 

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
22 September 2011, 9:24 AM
Visits to National Park - By Smog - Increase
Can you tell which side shows the smoggy day at the Grand Canyon? NPS photo.

Our National Park system—the first in the world—has been dubbed "America's best idea." But that great idea, which offers millions a respite from our industrialized life, is now beseiged more than ever by a symptom of that life—smog.

The National Parks Conservation Association published a report last week showing that the number of bad ozone (smog) days in national parks has risen over the last three years. Flagship parks like Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Canyon, and Big Bend all had ozone violations over the last six months. Sequioa/Kings Canyon National Park suffered the worst—choking on smog for more than two months.

Smog is bad for the Parks—obscuring famous and magnificent views and depositing pollutants that foul lakes and streams.

But it's not so good for the visitors either, since its tied to all sorts of lung and heart disease. High enough ozone levels trigger recommendations for people to stay indoors and limit outdoor exercise, which kind of ruins the whole national park experience.

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View David Lawlor's blog posts
21 September 2011, 2:49 PM
Bills would eliminate pollution controls for boilers, cement plants
Cement kiln

Try this the next time you go camping at your favorite state or national park: dump into your campsite’s fire pit a few tires, a little plastic, a dash of chemical solvents and some random industrial waste—then strike a match and let the inferno begin.

Oh sure, you’ll be sending toxic pollutants into the air but, hey, when the ranger comes by and asks you if you’re crazy, just tell him that you’re taking your cue from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Today, that committee passed two bills that, if signed into law, would rewrite the Clean Air Act and threaten the health of the American people.

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View Ben Barron's blog posts
10 August 2011, 12:23 PM
Airlines can't fly past EU's "cap and trade" regulations
Courtesy Treehugger.com

Non-European airline carriers are up in arms over new EU regulations that would require all planes in the European airspace to either reduce their emissions or pay a carbon-offset fee after 2012. Backed by industry, the airlines are wielding the Revolutionary War cry -- “No taxation without representation” --  as their righteous slogan.

Only this time, it’s a very different Tea Party.

The new regulations, which form the “Aviation Amendment” to the EU Emission Trading Scheme, are not designed to oppress carriers from outside of the EU. They are a red flag warning to the U.S. and the rest of the world that Europe is moving to combat climate change, and we had better keep up.

 

View Emily Enderle's blog posts
29 July 2011, 7:07 AM
H.R. 2584 compromises public health, esp. in environmental justice communities
Millions of Americans are already suffering from asthma. (Chris Jordan / Earthjustice)

The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, FY 2012 (H.R. 2584) is chock-full of riders that protect polluters, not people. This bill makes excessive budget cuts and policy decisions that compromise public health, especially the health of environmental justice communities already disproportionately impacted by pollution. The outrageous cuts have brought together more than 70 groups on a letter to outright oppose H.R.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
26 July 2011, 2:48 PM
Powerful new commercial asks America to stand up for kids' health
Tommy Allred.

Meet Tommy Allred. He lives in Midlothian, TX, a town of fewer than 10,000 roughly 18,000 residents that also hosts three of the nation's most polluting cement plants.

Like millions of kids across the U.S., Tommy has asthma. He developed the condition after his family moved to Midlothian, when he was two years old. First it was pneumonia, then double pneumonia, bronchitis, fever, and inexplicable coughing followed by shortness of breath.

Upon examination at Children's Hospital in Dallas, a pediatrician remarked to Alex Allred, Tommy's mom, in a telling way, "Oh… you live in Midlothian."

A diagnosis of asthma followed, as did numerous trips to the emergency room. Alex said recently, "I honestly did not believe how bad asthma could be—and you don't—until your son or daughter falls to the ground, they turn purple and they stop breathing."

Tommy's condition spurred Alex to action. She has become a passionate, compelling voice for clean air protections. Most recently, she lent her voice to this powerful new commercial from the League of Women Voters.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
22 July 2011, 4:05 PM
Hijacking our democracy to attack our environment
Part of The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy (1773) by Domenico Tiepolo.

If you've ever suspected that Congress thinks of corporate polluters first and the polluted public last, the debacle unfolding in Washington, D.C. this week should leave you with little doubt—and a bitter taste. Many of our elected leaders have hijacked the process by which we fund government agencies to sack the environment like Odysseus did Troy.

The Trojan Horse that is the federal appropriations bill is filled with an unprecedented number of anti-environmental "riders"—provisions added to a piece of legislation that have little to no connection with the subject of the bill itself. And just as the Greeks sought to extinguish the fires of life in Troy, these riders are meant to run down the bedrock environmental protections that were created to keep our environment clean and our imperiled wildlife safe from extinction.

One egregious effort—dubbed the Extinction Rider—would paralyze the nation's ability to protect hundreds of species and turn the decision-making about endangered wildlife into a one-way street where protections can only be weakened, never strengthened.

This is an absolutely inappropriate way to set new policy. It demeans the democratic process and indicates that such extreme measures can't stand on their own—instead, they have to be slipped as stowaways into a must-pass bill.

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View Marty Hayden's blog posts
22 July 2011, 11:08 AM
Congress gives industry free ride on back of environmental protections

Perhaps inspired by the triple-digit heat afflicting Washington D.C., the House of Representatives is putting legislative flames to our important environmental and public health protections.

This week, the House will consider a spending bill for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and other federal agencies. The bill is stuffed with open attacks by House Republicans on protections for our air, water, wildlife and iconic places.
 
Laden with nearly 40 so-called anti-environmental “riders”— policy provisions added to a measure having little or nothing to do with the appropriating funds—the bill hasn’t even reached the House floor yet. One provision will lift a moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon--one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and the only one in the U.S.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
19 July 2011, 10:36 AM
More than 600,000 people say power plants should keep it clean
Supporters of strong mercury standards for power plants could fill up Fenway 17 times over. Photo: Jared Vincent/Flickr

How many Americans does it take to clean up dirty coal-fired power plants?

639,000.

A coalition of public health, environmental and social justice groups delivered that number of public comments to the Environmental Protection Agency today at an event in Boston. This is a historic amount of support for air pollution standards that are projected to reduce mercury, soot and other dangerous pollution from coal-fired power plants—saving up to 17,000 lives every year in the process. Earthjustice supporters contributed more than 45,000 of those public comments, and for that, we're very proud… and thankful.

Just how big is this outpouring of support? Well, that many people could fill Boston's historic Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, more than 17 times over. In fact, 639,000 people is greater than the population of Boston—and many other major American cities. A city of 639,000 would be the 21st largest city in America.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
14 July 2011, 10:28 AM
Cherise Udell, inspiring mom for clean air, defends right to breathe in Utah
Cherise Udell of Utah Moms for Clean Air. Photo: Chris Jordan / Earthjustice

I love my mother with all of my heart. But if for some strange reason I had to choose another, I'd probably go with Cherise Udell.

Cherise is the founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air—a group of hundreds of mothers who "use the power of moms to clean up Utah's dirty air." I had the pleasure of meeting Cherise when she participated in the 50 States United for Healthy Air project, which Earthjustice helped to coordinate. She is a tour de force and a great defender of the right to breathe, but don't take my word for it. Check out this inspiring piece she wrote for the Moms Clean Air Force, cross-posted at Joe Romm's great blog, Climate Progress.

A preview to whet your appetite:

Breathing Salt Lake City's dirty air during a winter inversion is like smoking cigarettes. Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment explained that air pollution acted much like involuntary smoking because it had virtually all of the same health consequences of smoking about a quarter pack a day…

The image of my baby with a cigarette dangling from her toothless mouth was enough to move me to action. Utah Moms for Clean Air was born that day.