Posts tagged: Clean Water Act

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Clean Water Act


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

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.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
14 September 2009, 4:54 PM
"Toxic Waters" series examines America's worsening water pollution

Clean water is necessary for anyone who drinks water, bathes in water, uses water in their everyday life. Ultimately, it's urgent for everyone.

Today the New York Times ran an article highlighting the hazards of contaminated water that focuses on the struggles faced by residents living near coal processing ponds in Charleston, West Virginia. This region is ground zero in our fight against mountaintop removal. Mining companies dump waste directly into streams and headwaters that make their way into aquifers and wells used by residents for drinking water. The Times story reveals the human impact of toxic chemicals leaching into waters: kidney and liver damage, cancer, skin lesions.

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.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View John McManus's blog posts
22 July 2009, 3:55 PM
Agency favors dry land disposal method for mine tailings
Lower Slate Lake, after trees were stripped from around it for the mine

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to not immediately re-issue a permit for Kensington gold mine in Alaska, despite a Supreme Court ruling last month that upheld the now-expired permit.

In a letter to the Corps—and to the consternation of mine owner, Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation—the EPA argued that a dry lands disposal plan favored by environmental groups is feasible and better for the environment. EPA estimates it would take 8 months to review and approve the plan, whereas Coeur wants to immediately start working on the mine.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
10 July 2009, 3:30 PM
 

You'd think Colorado's two Democratic U.S. senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, would be in the forefront to protect one of Colorado's most valuable natural resources: our water. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether they will be.

As has been amply detailed by Earthjustice and in a recent op-ed in the Denver Post by Trout Unlimited's Melinda Kassen, the federal Clean Water Act turned America's water from a polluted (and sometimes burning) mess into much cleaner lakes, rivers and streams.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
17 June 2009, 3:26 AM
 

A disappointing decision by the federal appeals court in Atlanta will legalize pollution in many American drinking water supplies, and we have the former Bush administration to thank for it.

The case goes back to 2002, when we sued, on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, to get the South Florida Water Management District to stop pumping contaminated drainage canal water into Lake Okeechobee, one of the biggest drinking water sources in Florida, and the second biggest lake in the United States. For years, the district has been disposing of contaminated runoff from urban areas and industrial-scale sugar and vegetable farms by "backpumping" its untreated waters from drainage canals into Lake Okeechobee.

Since the Clean Water Act doesn't allow anyone to add pollutants to lakes and rivers without a permit that limits pollutants to safe levels, we argued that the Water District needed a federal permit to pump filthy water into the public lake.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
22 April 2009, 10:28 AM
 

The first Earth Day, 39 years ago today, was a godsend for a country mired in war and riven by racial, political and cultural issues. Arriving suddenly—as a gift whose time had come—it offered folks something to unite around: the idea of an entire planet, our home, in peril.

It was a time when industrial pollutants made rivers burn and were killing the Great Lakes; smog and soot choked our cities; DDT—thanks to Rachel Carson—had become the national poster child for the abundant horrors of unregulated pesticide usage; old growth forests were devoured unchecked.

Images of environmental catastrophes—such as sea birds tarred by the 1969 Santa Barbara channel oil well blowout—helped drive home the point, and 20 million people rose as one on April 22, 1970 to seek change.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
03 April 2009, 9:45 AM
 

On February 17, Earthjustice called on Congress to introduce and pass legislation that would fix a glaring loophole punched in the Clean Water Act during the Bush years. The Supreme Court, with Bush administration backing, held that only "navigable" waterways could enjoy protections of this law.

Today, I am glad to report, the Clean Water Restoration Act has been introduced by Senators Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin and 20 other pro-clean water senators in the 111th Congress. The new bill would protect ALL waters of the United States, regardless of whether one could paddle a dinghy down the stream or not.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 February 2009, 5:10 PM
 

The Clean Water Act, despite being one of our nation's most potent environmental protection laws for three decades, has an Achilles' heel—a one-word weakness that the U.S. Supreme Court has expanded into an enormous loophole.

In decisions handed down in 2001 and 2006, the Supreme Court seized on that word—"navigable"—to make rulings that neither friend nor foe of the Act could predict, and none of us can live with. Effectively, the Supreme Court broke the Clean Water Act by saying Congress meant that the Act's protections apply only to "navigable" waters when it passed the Act to eliminate water pollution back in 1972. Therefore, only an act of Congress can mend this potentially fatal injury.

35 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
12 January 2009, 2:37 PM
Earthjustice attorney Tom Waldo argues to protect Lower Slate Lake

Earthjustice press secretary Raviya Ismail was at today’s (Jan. 12) U.S. Supreme Court hearing on whether the Clean Water Act allows Coeur Alaska’s Kensington Mine to fill Lower Slate Lake in Alaska with mining waste – killing all aquatic life. Earthjustice attorney Tom Waldo argued to protect the lake. The high court decision, expected by June, could determine whether waterways throughout the nation may be likewise filled and killed. Here is Raviya’s report:

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 December 2008, 11:35 AM
 

Maybe it's a good thing that Bush has kept Earthjustice so busy these last eight years, fending off unrelenting assaults on the environment. The experience is proving invaluable as we face, in these final weeks of the administration, a frantic effort to roll back some of the nation's most significant protections. We also are encountering a barrage of last-minute attempts to convert America's wild, public treasures into private, commercial commodities.

Any day now, we expect Bush's Fish and Wildlife Service to once again remove endangered species protections from the northern gray wolf—protections we secured this year after Bush first de-listed the wolf.

10 Comments   /   Read more >>