Posts tagged: Clean Water Act

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Clean Water 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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 October 2012, 5:57 PM
Congress abandons citizen interests for 'pollution prosperity'

Forty years ago today, against a backdrop of flaming rivers, dying lakes and sewage-choked beaches, our politicians reached across the aisle to pass the Clean Water Act—a law aptly described by the New York Times' Robert Semple as "a critical turning point" in rescuing the nation's waterways from "centuries of industrial, municipal and agricultural pollution." The primary goals of the law were simple and bold: to stop using our nation’s waters as open sewers and end the discharge of water pollution.

This wonderful, landmark law flourished under three decades of bipartisan support, reining in torrents of industrial and municipal discharges, and restoring health to waters great and small across the land.

But some 10 years ago, the clean water tide slowed as polluters gained traction in Congress; and two years ago, with political collaboration at an end, the tide turned. As a result, loopholes and lax enforcement led to the fouling of beaches and rivers with toxic slime, the filling thousands of miles of Appalachian streams with the rubble of mountaintop removal mining; and have allowed dozens of toxic coal ash ponds to exist unregulated among our communities.

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View Joan Mulhern's blog posts
17 October 2012, 12:02 PM
Should we still have waste, raw sewage in our water after 40 years?

On December 28, 2012, Earthjustice lost its original Mountain Hero, Senior Legislative Counsel Joan Mulhern, who passed away after a long illness. Joan will be greatly missed.
Read Marty Hayden's tribute and a memorial to Joan from the Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.

 

Clean water is one of Earth’s most precious resources. Life is not possible without clean water. Thursday is the 40th anniversary of our nation’s most important law to protect clean water and end water pollution: the Clean Water Act of 1972.

This is a great law whose goals include making all waters safe for fishing, swimming, and drinking, and to end the use of our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans as dumping grounds for pollution.

Yet some polluters are today trying to shred this fundamental law. Coal companies, paper mills, industrial facilities, gas and oil drillers, fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers and others have long been engaged in a campaign to roll back clean water safeguards.

Perhaps most outrageous of all are the efforts by sewage treatment plant operators and their lobbying arm—using public dollars—to tear down a basic building block of the Clean Water Act: the command to end the use of our waterways for the discharge of untreated human waste.

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View Daniel Hubbell's blog posts
15 October 2012, 11:14 AM
Clean Water Act revived this polluted river and ones like it across America

After growing up in Massachusetts suburbia, I have fond memories of canoeing with my family on the town’s river, the Sudbury. Gliding along, we would keep our eyes peeled for turtles on the rocks or fish under the boat, and maybe if we were very lucky a heron drying off in the afternoon sun. Once or twice I even fell in, to the eternal frustration of my parents.

Just 20 miles outside of Boston it was possible to lose sight of the houses, forget about the cars, and assuming I wasn’t too busy yelling and splashing, it was possible to just relax. Outside of the odd swarm of mosquitoes, it’s hard to conjure up a more idyllic image; an impressive feat for what used to be considered a toxic nightmare.

Sudbury River. (Courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Club)

Sudbury River.  (Courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Club)

Once upon a time the Sudbury was labeled one of the 10 worst toxic cleanup sites in the nation, the product of decades of mill and later corporate dumping in the river, and a serious threat to not only the natural ecosystem but the health and water supply of everyone near the river.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
27 September 2012, 9:48 AM
Pollution is hurting their businesses and quality of life

In June, Earthjustice was dismayed when the Maryland Department of the Environment put out a proposal that failed to adequately reduce pollution from Baltimore Harbor. Tina Meyers of the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, who we work with on this issue, said:

The Baltimore City stormwater pollution permit is meant to regulate the pollution that is discharging directly from Baltimore City’s stormwater pipes into our rivers, streams and Harbor. Unfortunately, this permit lacks limits on the amount of pollution that is allowed to go into our waterways and also lacks enforceable deadlines by which these limits must be reached.

Well, it turns out we aren’t the only ones who are upset.
 

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
20 September 2012, 9:14 AM
H.R. 3409’s all-out assault on bedrock environmental protections
H.R. 3409 contains five of the most-anti-environmental bills previously passed by a House distinguished by its radical anti-health anti-science bias.

There’s no doubt that this House of Representatives has amassed the most anti-environmental record in history. According to the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House voted more than 300 times “to block environmental regulations, weaken environmental laws, and stop environmental research” since January 2011.

In a very, very bad year, the “single worst anti-environmental bill” introduced by the House hits the floor this Friday. Officially (but ironically) titled “Stop the War on Coal Act,” H.R. 3409 actually represents the House leadership’s own elaborate and well-funded war on longstanding protections of clean air and water enjoyed by all Americans. In the guise of saving King Coal, Rep. Upton (R-MI) leads a charge up Capitol Hill to shred the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, enthusiastically eviscerating health and environmental safeguards.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 September 2012, 3:19 PM
His legacy flows through America's waterways
Russel Train -- Photo Courtesy The Heinz Awards

It’s not the passing of Russell Train – who died Monday at 92 – that we remember, but the life he led as a powerful, humble, principled warrior for the Earth.

Mr. Train was chairman of the newly created White House Council on Environmental Quality before President Nixon picked him to be the second head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a role that fully launched his career as a conservationist, recalls Joan Mulhern, a colleague of mine who worked with this remarkable man to protect the Clean Water Act.

A lifelong Republican, Mr. Train embodied what it meant to be a conservative conservationist, Joan said.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
13 September 2012, 11:28 PM
Live updates from Washington, D.C.

Today's the day that we deliver our Mountain Heroes photo petition to the Obama administration! This massive photo petition is historic—it includes photos and personal messages and stories from more than 13,500 people across the country who wrote to President Obama and his administration for an end to mountaintop removal mining. It's the largest photo petition ever to be delivered to the president, and it's all about ending the nation's most destructive mining practice, protecting Appalachian families and communities, and standing up for clean water, healthy communities, environmental justice, and beautiful mountains and wildlife. (See a photo slideshow of the petition delivery event.)

I can't tell you all how honored I feel in delivering your inspiring and touching messages and images today to our nation's leaders. When I look at this petition and see all your photos and messages, I am moved to my very core. You all have created as powerful and beautiful of a solidarity display as I can imagine.

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View Joan Mulhern's blog posts
10 September 2012, 3:43 PM
Larry Gibson fought to the end against abuse of people, mountains

On December 28, 2012, Earthjustice lost its original Mountain Hero, Senior Legislative Counsel Joan Mulhern, who passed away after a long illness. Joan will be greatly missed.
Read Marty Hayden's tribute and a memorial to Joan from the Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.

 

The fight to end mountaintop removal will not stop until mountaintop removal stops, but yesterday we lost one of the most beloved heroes and leaders of the movement. Larry Gibson, the Keeper of the Mountains, died on Kayford Mountain, a sacred place he fought for three decades to save. He recalled how, 30 years ago, some people told him that the destruction caused by mountaintop removal and strip mining would be “fixed” in six months.

I first met Larry in 1999 after just joining Earthjustice when Judge Haden in West Virginia ruled, for the first time ever by a federal court, that mountaintop removal was illegal. A huge political and Congressional fight ensued, especially over the Clean Water Act. Larry's effort in Appalachia and around the country—reaching out to young people, members of Congress, non-profit groups and others—was an inspiration. He never gave up.

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View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
10 September 2012, 12:52 PM
Even though Larry is gone, his fight lives on

Imagine for a moment that you live in a beautiful forest. Your home is on the side of a big mountain. All around it are tall trees and elegant flowers. After a long day of work you come home. You are tired. Dinner smells delicious. You smile at your family. Everyone sits down at the dinner table. You are happy.

Suddenly there is a loud noise.

“What was that,” you wonder.

The noise rings out again. The walls begin to shake—a little at first, then a big shake. You grab your family and hold them close. The shaking continues. The cabinets open. The dishes start falling from their shelves. The sound of exploding glass and ceramics is deafening. You are terrified.

Then everything goes still and quiet.

Kayford Mountain

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
24 August 2012, 1:30 PM
Warren Haynes, My Morning Jacket oppose mountaintop removal mining
Guitarist Warren Haynes has joined the Mountain Heroes campaign.

John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” is one song that immediately comes to mind when you think of how music and mountains just naturally go hand in hand. Musicians are been well known for their stances on environmental issues, and artists such as Pearl Jam, The Roots, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Guster, Sheryl Crow, and Moby are all outspoken advocates.

As part of Earthjustice’s Mountain Heroes campaign, two more prolific artists are joining us to stand up against mountaintop removal mining. The first is Rolling Stone’s 23rd greatest guitarist of all time: Warren Haynes. Warren has recorded with artists from every genre, and is best known for his work playing with The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh & Friends, and his own group, Gov’t Mule. Why has Warren joined us? “I want to save mountains because mountains are majestic!”

Mountain Heroes: Warren Hayes, My Morning Jacket.