Posts tagged: climate change

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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 Sam Edmondson's blog posts
07 April 2011, 4:21 PM
New report highlights prevalence, cost of asthma and the need for clean air
Photo: Chris Jordan/Earthjustice

People who suffer from asthma often say an attack feels like breathing through a pool of water or with a pillow covering their face. Unfortunately, millions of Americans know all too well what that's like.

In the United States, asthma is a bona fide public health epidemic: 17 million adults and 7 million children suffer from the disease. Every year, our society pays in excess of $53 billion to treat it. Millions of asthmatics, including hundreds of thousands of kids, make visits to the emergency room for medical attention. And in thousands of severe cases, people die.

The scope of this epidemic, broken down by state, is laid out in a report released yesterday by Health Care Without Harm, The National Association of School Nurses, and The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. The report notes that environmental triggers like air pollution can cause and exacerbate asthma, so it's critically important that we defend existing clean air protections and work for new ones.

No argument here, but many of our elected leaders in Congress apparently don't agree.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 April 2011, 3:14 PM
Squashes attempts to favor big corporate polluters over American citizens
Sen. James Inhofe

The Senate just voted to reject four—count 'em 1-2-3-4—bad amendments that would strangle and block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from being able to limit dangerous carbon dioxide pollution from the nation's biggest polluters.

These Dirty Air Acts went down in the upper chamber today because enough of the Senate still obviously believes that the well-being, future and health of Americans are more important than corporate special interests.

The amendments were offered on an unrelated small business innovation bill (S.493) by Sens. Rockefeller (S.AMDT.215), McConnell and Inhofe (S.AMDT.183), Baucus (S.AMDT.236), and Stabenow (S.AMDT.265).

Read Earthjustice's statement on today's Senate win for Americans, our health, and our future.

Now that the Senate has secured a victory for all Americans who breathe and whose businesses, families, and livelihood depend on a secure future for this country, eyes turn to the House, which is debating a Dirty Air Act of its own at this very moment.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
01 April 2011, 10:53 AM
Nuclear money, devilish diseases, superbug crisis
Californians are eyeballing human waste as a possible source of energy. Photo courtesy of Matt Seppings.

California flushes carbon emissions down the toilet
The California Energy Commission has its head in the toilet, but surprisingly, that's a good thing. Human waste is a huge pollution problem in the U.S. In fact, Californians alone produced 661,000 dry metric tons of biosolids in 2009. But instead of getting rid of the waste by fertilizing crops and filling up landfills—which both pose major environmental problems—the commission recently granted a Bay Area solid waste company almost $1 million to convert biosolids into a "hydrogen-rich gas that could be used in fuel cells to generate electricity," reports Grist. Though the process hasn’t been proven, it could go a long way in adding renewable power to California's alternative energy portfolio. 

BP's environmental hits keep on coming
A recent study by cetacean researchers estimates that the number of whales and dolphins killed by the BP spill last spring could be much higher than previously thought, reports Mother Jones. Though the original count of marine mammal mortalities was approximately 101 dead whales, dolphins and porpoises as of November 2010, that number is misleading since it doesn't factor in the number of deaths that never make it to shore. To come to a more precise number, the researchers unearthed a bunch of historical records to determine whether carcass counts have previously been good indicators of total numbers of cetacean mortality. Sadly, they found that the actual body count only represented about 0.4 percent of total deaths, which indicates that the BP spill's death toll for dolphins and other cetaceans could number in the thousands. That, of course, is in addition to all the other damage that BP has caused, which Earthjustice is currently working to rectify in a number of spill-related lawsuits.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
31 March 2011, 11:56 AM
Judge rules against fed's approach to Sunflower coal-fired power plant
Courtesy redgreenandblue.org

After four years of trying, Big Coal’s national ambitions have again bogged down at the Kansas state line. 

A federal judge this week agreed with Earthjustice that the federal government failed to consider  environmental impacts of the proposed Sunflower plant expansion. The government has a financial stake in the plant because of loan arrangements made with plant owners by the federal Rural Utilities Service. The ruling could force the government to conduct an environmental impact review process on the proposed plant.
 
This is great news for clean energy advocates, because – at least for the time being – the ruling takes Sunflower’s future out of the hands of state politicians and their industry pals, who used backroom tactics to approve this polluting and unneeded behemoth.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
30 March 2011, 11:12 AM
Senate votes tomorrow on whether to block EPA action on carbon pollution

The Senate votes tomorrow on four pieces of legislation that all aim to block or delay Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action to reduce the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters. These polluters have convinced their friends in Congress to author a wave of bills exempting them from strong air pollution limits—they are the Dirty Air Acts we've been warning you about for months.

These Dirty Air Acts will give polluters free rein to dump carbon dioxide pollution and other climate change pollutants into the air—at the expense of public health and the American quality of life. Please, call your senators and tell them to oppose these Dirty Air Acts!

The legislative measures up for a vote today are offered by Senators Rockefeller (S.AMDT.215), McConnell and Inhofe (S.AMDT.183), Baucus (S.AMDT.235), and Stabenow (S.AMDT.265) as amendments on an unrelated small business innovation bill (S.493).

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
28 March 2011, 4:16 PM
Human rights commission hears testimony on human impacts

When glaciers no longer provide drinking water to the communities that depend on them, what happens to those communities? For the indigenous people in the highlands of Bolivia, this is no longer a theoretical question.

Alivio Aruquipa, a farmer from Khapi, Bolivia explains:

My community and I rely on the Illimani glacier. Its waters irrigate our crops; we use it for drinking, cooking and bathing as our ancestors did. Every year the glacier melts more, so we are worried for our children-- they will no longer have water to drink, to irrigate our lands, or to sustain the animals that help us prepare our fields.

At the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C. this week, Earthjustice International Program managing attorney Martin Wagner joined Aruquipa and climate expert Kevin Trenberth to describe the impacts of freshwater loss caused by climate change.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 March 2011, 9:39 AM
Lead gardens, oil-covered lies, hot flash chemicals
Nuclear power has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. Photo courtesy of redjar.

Nuclear power industry experiences public fallout
As the nuclear crisis in Japan worsens, concerns about nuclear power's safety are spreading, prompting news agencies to take a second look at the inherently risky technology. As the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, last year U.S. nuclear plants had at least 14 “near misses” that occurred with “alarming frequency” and jeopardized human safety. In addition, Mother Jones recently created an eye-opening chart that lists the location of nuclear plants across the country and their proximity to nearby cities using data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Despite these concerns, many of the world's governments remain largely unphased, except Germany, which has stepped up to the plate by declaring its plans to stop using nuclear power. Sehr gut!

Senator Jeff Bingaman throws gas on oil-drilling lies, lights a match
While many politicians are busy peddling the false claim that the U.S. must drill more to bring down gas prices, last week Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) broke with the ranks by declaring that domestic policies like carbon and oil drilling regulations have little to no effect on the price at the pump, reports Grist. That's because oil prices are set on the global market, which is much more affected by things like, say, Middle East unrest. This indisputable fact has led Bingaman to the remarkably frank conclusion that to “ease the burden of high prices for U.S. consumers when oil prices are determined mostly outside our borders...[we need to] become less vulnerable by using less oil.”

View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 March 2011, 11:55 AM
House committee passes Dirty Air Act, while the Senate debates it
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.)

As I write this, the Senate is debating an amendment to a small business bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's biggest polluters.

We've been making a lot of noise about this effort to cripple the EPA and obstruct health- and science-based standards for climate change pollution, but in the last couple of days, things are reaching a boil in Congress.

The engineers of this push to protect dirty energy corporations, you will recall, are Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Both have introduced nearly identical companion bills in the House and Senate. But yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Rep. Upton sits as chair, passed his Dirty Air Act. This means it is bound for the House floor for a full chamber vote sometime in the next few weeks, likely before the House's Easter recess.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 July 2010, 4:20 PM
Let's not give up on a Senate climate change bill
Sen. John Kerry

<Today (Thur.), I attended a Town Hall meeting in a Senate office building on the need for climate change legislation. Accompanying me was our fantastic summer intern, Trevor Hill, who is here in DC sponging up the politics and legislative procedures within our fight to protect the people, places and wildlife on this planet for an entire summer before he returns to Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

After a huge news day on climate change, it is my pleasure to toss this blog post to Trevor, who writes quite compellingly on the range of emotions the day brought and why he is not ready to give up the fight for national action on climate change>:

Today was quite a rollercoaster ride for those of us following the conversation on comprehensive climate change legislation in the nation’s capital.

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