Posts tagged: coal ash

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

coal ash

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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.


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
19 September 2011, 2:52 PM
Earthjustice news clips for the week of September 12, 2011
Photo courtesy of laffy4k

Associated Press – “Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Second Lowest Level
Sept. 15, 2011 – Last week, scientists reported that Arctic sea ice melted to its second-lowest level since monitoring began more than 50 years ago. Earthjustice’s recent telepress conference on the issue brought together top scientists and NGOs to discuss the sea ice loss, ways that the loss of sea ice might relate to mid-latitude weather patterns, what the Arctic warming means for Greenland melt and rising sea levels, and the role that CO2 emissions and short-lived global warming pollutants like black carbon and methane play in causing ice melt; and where reductions of these pollutants can be made. Approximately 25 journalists called into the conference to hear such experts as Dr. Robert Dunbar, professor of Earth Sciences at Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions; James Overland, research oceanographer with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Dr. Walter Meier, Research Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Earthjustice attorney Erika Rosenthal says the rapid loss of Arctic sea ice “is a powerful indicator of the rapid warming occurring throughout the Arctic….[which is] causing the extraordinary increase in the melting of glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet that led scientists earlier this year to project a sea level rise of between 0.9 and 1.6 meters by the end of the century. For low-lying communities from the Pacific Islands to Bangladesh to Florida this would be calamitous.” The news story has been picked up by the Associated Press and USA Today, and continues to make headlines in several national and local publications, including NPR and the Vancouver Sun.
Additional coverage:
Related Earthjustice Resources
Press Release: Second Highest Loss of Arctic Ice on Record
UnEarthed: Arctic Ice Melt Second Highest in Recorded History

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
07 September 2011, 12:50 PM
Labadie, Missouri residents challenge new coal ash pond
Labadie, MO, coal-fired power plant

Last month, Missouri had the dubious distinction of being one of the 12 worst states when it comes to coal ash regulations. In a front-page article that has generated a lot of buzz, residents of Labadie, Missouri have justifiably come together to oppose a new 400-acre coal ash landfill at a site where an existing pond has been leaking – for nearly two decades.

In line with our report, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not even monitored groundwater contamination at the site, which is precisely the issue with residents – they are fearful that the lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium found in coal ash has made its way into their drinking water. But of course the Missouri DNR has no idea if it has, because it’s not required to keep tabs on whether coal ash has contaminated residents’ drinking water.

See why residents are so fearful of another coal ash pond?

4 Comments   /  
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
31 August 2011, 11:26 AM
Joliet residents protest outside congressman’s office
Residents protest outside Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger's office..

Illinois has the dubious distinction of being a state with one of the worst coal ash regulatory programs in the nation. But what is more outrageous is that no less than 11 Illinois congressmen are pushing to block the U.S. EPA from cleaning up coal ash in the state. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is among them. That’s why when the Prairie Rivers Network and Environmental Integrity Project released a report detailing the risk of coal ash contamination in Illinois,  and in Rep. Kinzinger’s district in particular, more than three dozen Joliet, Illinois residents and members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church protested outside of Rep. Kinzinger’s office. 

Illinois not only was profiled in the EIP/Prairie Rivers Network report, it also was featured in an Earthjustice report that listed the top 12 states with the poorest state coal ash regulations. With 68 operating coal ash ponds and 15 retired ponds that still pose a danger, Illinois ranks first in the nation in the number of coal ash ponds. Only about a third of these ponds are lined.  The ponds threaten the health of Illinois communities because at least 10 power plants with active ponds have “high” to “very high” potential to contaminate a drinking water source, according to a 2010 Illinois EPA assessment.  In fact, the Illinois EPA has found pollution— the same chemicals commonly found in coal ash-- in groundwater at all 22 coal ash ponds evaluated by the state agency.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 August 2011, 8:03 AM
Will it take an earthquake to get someone to inspect these coal ash dams?
Aftermath of coal-ash dam spill in Tennessee

The earthquake that yesterday rattled foundations along the eastern seaboard, shut down a nuclear power plant and cracked the Washington Monument also shook a great many dangerous coal ash dams, similar to the one that failed in Harriman, Tennessee almost three years ago.

Several large ash ponds are located near the epicenter of the quake, about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, including three significant-hazard earthen dams at Dominion’s Bremo Bluff and Chesterfield power stations. By definition, these dams will cause serious economic and/or environmental damage in the event of a break. The decades-old dams impound thousands of acre-feet of toxic waste from the two coal-fired plants. However, no one appears to be paying much attention.

But they should be.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
17 August 2011, 10:37 AM
Twelve states lack any regulation of coal ash toxic waste
Aerial view of the 2008 TVA Kingston coal ash spill. (EPA)

Yes, we’re still waiting. And while we wait for comprehensive federal standards that regulate toxic coal ash, we have some more bad news about the state of states' coal ash disposal.

16 Comments   /  
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.

1 Comment   /  
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.

4 Comments   /  
View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
21 July 2011, 2:40 PM
Paiutes point the way to a better future, beyond toxic coal ash

47 Comments   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
15 July 2011, 10:56 AM
Conservative face off, hot climate deniers, big coal’s big misstep
The hunting and fishing crowd is increasingly unhappy with GOP efforts to slash conservation spending. Photo courtesy of eadmund42

Republicans cutting enviro bills shoot themselves in the foot
Republican measures to cut environmental programs that keep the nation’s air and water clean may prove foolish if they continue to ruffle the feathers of outdoorsmen, reports Politico. The angler and hunter crowd may typically swing conservative, but that could change if House Republicans continue their attempts to pull the trigger on a number of programs that keep wildlife intact, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act or State Wildlife Grants. Last week, leaders from a handful of conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited met with top officials to make their case for restoring funding for environmental programs, arguing that the benefits of wildlife conservation go far beyond the duck pond, like cleaning up waterways and providing flood control for coastal communities. Though hunting and fishing types tend to be fiscally conservative, when it comes to slashing conservation programs that diminish the favorite pastimes of a large voting bloc, Republicans better think twice before going in for the kill.

View Ben Barron's blog posts
13 July 2011, 12:23 PM
Fracking invades rainforest havens of birds and natives who mimic them

Anyone who has seen the “Planet Earth” episode on jungles has witnessed the colorful plumes and remarkable displays of the Birds of Paradise.

But when you’re hiking (read: struggling) through the dense growth of Papua New Guinea’s rainforest, one of the world’s largest at over 100,000 square miles and home to 38 of the 43 Bird of Paradise species, it’s pretty difficult to catch a glimpse these magnificent birds.

You can’t help but hear them, though. Jungle life has a soundtrack, and the BOPs are the lead singers.

However, a new voice is about to join the New Guinea chorus, threatening to drown out the unique birds.

2 Comments   /