Posts tagged: climate change

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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
28 January 2014, 8:45 PM
President can't rely on fossil fuels to achieve climate change goals
President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union Address. (White House Photo)

(The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.)

We are encouraged that President Obama made climate change a centerpiece of his speech tonight. We applaud his commitment to facing this challenge, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

President Obama has taken courageous actions so far to back this commitment. His leadership in achieving strong clean car standards has been a huge accomplishment, and we are thrilled with his leadership in tackling carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source of climate change pollution. And tonight, the President went further and affirmed that we can’t allow destructive energy development on our pristine public lands.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
24 January 2014, 11:17 AM
Drought, diversions threaten Colorado, San Pedro and other rivers
The now-dry Colorado River delta branches into the Baja / Sonoran Desert, only 5 miles north of the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. (Pete McBride / USGS)

We’re less than a month in, but 2014 is already shaping up to be a tough year for rivers. Across the nation, from West Virginia to California, the headlines have been bleak. In the Rocky Mountain region, we’re gearing up for a long year defending the Colorado and San Pedro rivers.

Following recognition as America’s most endangered river in 2013, the Colorado River has become known nationwide for the unsustainable balance that exists between increasing diversions and declining flows. Much of the West has been built on a foundation of Colorado River water and millions of people in communities throughout the region depend on it on a daily basis. On-going regional drought and continued growth are now finally forcing water supply managers to accept that business as usual is no longer tenable and changes are coming to the basin.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 January 2014, 12:17 PM
Pennsylvania Supreme Court latest to uphold municipal rights
A sign indicates the growing tension between agricultural communities and gas companies. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

In mid-December the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Act 13 is unconstitutional. This is a law that allowed state government to override local communities’ zoning decisions to limit hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The decision stems from a lawsuit by seven Pennsylvania municipalities, a doctor and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. Earthjustice submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, representing 22 organizations, including Marcellus Protest, Lehigh Valley Gas Truth and Berks Gas Truth.

Other state courts are facing this issue, too. Earlier in 2013, two New York state courts ruled in favor of towns that have limited industrial gas development through local zoning. Earthjustice is representing the Town of Dryden, one of the New York towns. The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a similar case, in which Earthjustice submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of health professionals.

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View Suma Peesapati's blog posts
31 December 2013, 10:03 AM
The journey towards a clean energy future in New Mexico
The Four Corners Power Plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for the past fifty years. (Photo courtesy of Ecoflight)

Arizona Public Service Company officially announced yesterday that it will retire Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Four Corners Power Plant by January 1, 2014 and install long-overdue pollution controls on the plant’s remaining two units by July 31, 2018.

Built before the Clean Air Act was enacted, this coal plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for the past fifty years. Uncontrolled pollution from this plant threatens the health of its Navajo neighbors and mars visibility in surrounding national parks, including the iconic Grand Canyon. Retirement of three of the plant’s units is an important step forward for environmental justice, protection of public lands, and our ongoing struggle against climate change.

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View Nailah Morgan's blog posts
23 December 2013, 1:41 PM
Key deer, loggerhead sea turtle among 233 federally protected species at risk
Nearly all of the Florida land area where the tiny Key deer live will be submerged by this century's predicted average 3–4 feet sea level rise. (Photo by U.S. FWS)

A recent report, Deadly Waters, details a new threat to endangered species: rising sea levels. After analyzing data from scientific literature, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity identified 233 federally protected species in 23 coastal states that risk habitat loss due to sea level rise.

And these species are not alone. Excessive flooding from rising sea levels combined with powerful Atlantic hurricanes, will lead to storm surges that thrust onto the coast, similar to the one that hit Atlantic City during Hurricane Sandy. Many coastal homes will be lost to rising seas. As climate change continues, coastal residents and wildlife will need to move further inland to survive threats from sea level rise.

The United States is home to more than 1,000 threatened and endangered species, and 1 out of 6 of those species rely on habitats like salt marshes and coastal forests that will be affected by rising sea levels. The state of Florida encompasses the fourth largest population of endangered species (120) and more than half are at risk from increasing sea levels, including Key deer and Loggerhead sea turtles which reside in different areas of the Florida coast.

View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
08 November 2013, 1:08 PM
Citizens give EPA an earful at carbon pollution listening sessions
Hundreds spoke during the public listening sessions on carbon pollution controls. (Photo courtesy of Moms Clean Air Force)

At the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's listening session regarding carbon pollution controls from existing power plants, I put myself in EPA’s shoes and did some real listening. It turns out the list of what may be lost and what must be protected by such a rule is not as short as we sometimes make it in the name of expediency.

Hundreds of people spoke in Washington, D.C., and thousands have spoken at the 10 other listening sessions the EPA is conducting across the country. Below are just 55 reasons*—one for every state and territory in our nation—for the EPA to take bold strides when it comes to limiting carbon pollution:

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
06 November 2013, 3:26 PM
New report talks trash about Michigan's ash
In Michigan, no regulations prohibit dangerous dumping of coal ash. (Clean Water Fund)

Clean Water Fund’s new report, Toxic Trash Exposed: Coal Ash Pollution in Michigan, reveals widespread damage from coal ash dumping in Michigan. The report discloses dozens of waterways and aquifers already poisoned and warns of statewide harm due to failure to impose reasonable safeguards on toxic dumping.

Clean Water Action released Toxic Trash Exposed on the second anniversary of the immense coal ash spill at the We Energies power plant in Oak Creek, WI, where 25,000 tons of coal ash spilled onto the lakeshore and into Lake Michigan. No one was hurt, but large boxcars tumbled like matchbox trucks in the melee. It could have killed anyone in its path.

View Michael Freeman's blog posts
06 November 2013, 3:00 PM
Strong support across the northern Front Range for halting fracking
Colorado residents have opposed the industrialization of their communities. (DOI)

TAKE ACTION, COLORADO! This week, the citizens of Longmont, Boulder, Fort Collins, Lafayette and Broomfield told the Governor to stand up to the oil & gas industry and protect our communities. Now, as state health officials are drafting new rules to regulate oil & gas emissions state-wide, you can join the call for stronger clean air rules.

Send a message to Governor Hickenlooper and tell him oil & gas emission rules should clamp down on leaks and keep smog-forming chemicals and methane—a powerful global warming pollutant—out of our air.


Residents of large and small communities across the northern Front Range area of Colorado voted Tuesday to halt fracking in their backyards.

These defeats for the oil and gas industry came after a campaign in which the industry outspent supporters of the measures by a 30–1 margin.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
01 November 2013, 2:48 PM
Moves ahead despite past failures, warnings and a wrecked rig
The conical drilling unit Kulluk sat aground 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, AK, on the shore of Sitkalidak Island in January 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Marsh.)

Shell Oil told investors this week that—after an embarrassing set of failures last year—it plans to go back into the icy Arctic waters in 2014. The announcement comes as a surprise given that CEOs of other Big Oil companies have been urging caution for month about returning to the area. And in fact, Shell has abandoned efforts to drill in the Beaufort Sea next summer.

At the same time, Shell says, it is seriously considering scrapping the drill rig Kulluk, which sits in a Singapore dry dock nursing battle wounds from a grounding off the coast of Alaska last year.

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View Nailah Morgan's blog posts
28 October 2013, 11:11 AM
Research in Antarctic loses precious time during short season
A sundog frames the silhouette of a U.S. Antarctic Program participant near McMurdo Station. (Carlie Reum / NSF)

The federal government has finally ended its 16-day shutdown, and as workers return to their desks and tourists parade back into national parks, science is picking up the pieces and—in some cases—starting from scratch.

The National Science Foundation’s summer U.S. Antarctic Program came to a destructive halt as D.C. juggled with the budget crisis. The foundation suspended all activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property, leaving our understanding of the earth’s past and future to be held hostage by congress’ inability to function.

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