Posts tagged: coal

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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.

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.

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View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
21 December 2011, 12:02 PM
For many Americans, historic EPA protection is shining light
Marti Blake points out the window at her neighbor

"It's like hell. Living in hell," says Marti Blake, when asked about being neighbors with a coal-fired power plant. "It's filthy, it's dirty, it's noisy, it's unhealthy."

For the past 21 years, Blake has lived across the street from the Cheswick Generating Station in Springdale, PA. A family situation left her trying to find a place quickly, and a simple brick home in the small town only 20 minutes from Pittsburgh seemed fine.

"I've regretted that decision ever since, because I've felt sick for the last 20 years," says Blake, who is on medication for a slew of symptoms that include coughing, sinus infections and headaches. Blake attributes these symptoms to the dirty neighbor across the street. Who else in the neighborhood, after all, has a 750-foot tall smoke stack that is spewing out toxic smoke around the clock?

Marti Blake

A portrait of Marti Blake is paired with the reflection in her living room window.
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
21 December 2011, 10:31 AM
Protections to scrub coal plants' toxic emissions proposed after years of delay

To all who wondered what gift the Obama administration is giving the American public for the holidays: it's clean air.

The administration just announced the first-ever clean air protections against the nation's dirtiest polluters—coal-fired power plants. This is one of the most significant developments in the history of environmental protections and the 40-year old Clean Air Act.

Earthjustice has been a big part of this fight for more than a decade—our litigation helped cut through the politics and intense pressure from industry to scuttle these important protections. Today, we're proud that those years of work have resulted in a major victory for the health of the American public. We're also proud that nearly 50,000 Earthjustice supporters made their voices heard in a call for these protections and the right to breathe.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
12 December 2011, 12:06 PM
First-time rules for coal-power toxics are due Friday
How tough will President Obama be on coal plant pollution?

This Friday, the Obama administration has the historic opportunity to rein in a coal industry that has been allowed to pour toxic emissions like mercury, benzene and arsenic into our lives without limit.

There’s little question that the administration will set limits – the law requires it and the courts have ordered it. The question, and the opportunity facing Obama, is how strong those limits will be.

For more than two decades, the powerful coal industry has dodged stricter pollution limits while countless other industries have cleaned up their acts. They have operated without national restraints on the amount of mercury and other toxic air pollution released from power plant smokestacks. The court order ending this free pass is the result of relentless Earthjustice litigation.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
11 December 2011, 10:44 PM
But there’s still a chance for one big present under the tree
Aerial view of the Alton coal strip mine near Bryce Canyon. Photo (c) Ray Bloxham, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

As fall turns to winter, President Obama has continued his virtually unbroken streak of bending over backwards for the coal industry in the West.  For those who love Western public lands and could do without more subsidies to Big Coal, Mr. Obama has been more Grinch than Santa.

For example, the Forest Service recently consented to a coal lease in western Colorado that will result in more than two square miles of the beautiful Sunset Trail Roadless Area being chewed up with 48 well pads and 6.5 miles of road.  It’s a Christmas present to corporate goliath Arch Coal, and coal in the public’s stocking.

But wait, there’s more! BLM is moving ahead with plans to approve a strip mine on the doorstep of Bryce Canyon National Park.  Denuded habitat, truck trips that will disrupt tourism and the lives of local residents, and dust will all result.  Not everyone is wild about the idea - including the Salt Lake Tribune, which editorialized against the project.  (And if you're not wild about the strip mine either, go here to tell the BLM.) 

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View David Lawlor's blog posts
08 December 2011, 10:44 AM
Columbia Riverkeeper outlines risks of coal export terminals in the Northwest
Coal train spewing black dust from its open boxcars, in a new video from Columbia Riverkeeper.

Would you want to live next door to a coal export terminal?

Wait, maybe that’s too vague of a question. Instead, let me ask you this…

Would you want mile-long coal trains traveling through your community 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Would you want your children exposed to noxious coal dust as it drifts through the air? Would you want to sacrifice the health of your community so that filthy rich corporations can ship coal to China where it will be burned in poorly regulated power plants and generate filthy air pollution?

Now let me ask you again: would you want to live next door to a coal export terminal?

I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, for residents of Oregon and Washington, the question of living next door to a coal export terminal isn’t merely a rhetorical debate exercise.

View Wendy Lau's blog posts
05 December 2011, 1:52 PM
Study critics refuse to accept obvious connections
Aftermath of mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachians

Climate change skeptics, industries in denial, regulators avoiding environmental cleanup… They all sound alike when it comes to evidence of environmental harm. They argue there isn't enough data. They insist the data is skewed. They see no reason to take action on some of the most obvious negative impacts of industrial activity.  

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
02 December 2011, 12:40 PM
Turtle bones get brittle, fat rat dilemma
The supposedly "green" Bank of America has been lending billions to the coal industry. Photo courtesy of Alex E. Proimos.

Report finds allegedly “green” banks finance dirty coal
A recent investigation by a group of non-governmental organizations found that a number of supposedly “green” banks fall into the top 20 institutions to finance coal-mining and coal-fired energy generation, reports the UK Guardian. Taking the first three places is JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America, which together have provided at least $42 billion to the coal sector since 2005. Since coal is one of the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive energy sources out there, it’s fair to say that the new report puts the banks’ supposedly green credentials into question. No matter how many wind and solar projects they highlight in the public eye, at the end of the day lending money to an industry that’s literally burning up humanity's chances to avoid catastrophic climate change is neither a green nor smart investment choice.

PCBs stunt turtle bone growth
PCBs, those long-forgotten but deadly chemicals that were banned by the U.S. in 1979, are causing stunted growth and low bone-density in turtles, reports Discovery News. The chemicals, once used in pesticides and industrial fluids, have been linked to slower growth rates, tumors in mink jaws and deformed heads in zebrafish in previous studies. But a new study, that exposed diamondback terrapin turtle eggs to a PCB dose that's equivalent to what they would encounter in the environment, stunted the turtles growth and left their bones weak. Though the results are preliminary, the study may have implications for humans since our bones grow similarly to turtles and since we too are exposed to low amounts of lingering PCBs. Said Don Tillitt, an environmental toxicologist, “When we see effects like this, we know there are things that are maybe more insidious. It's a good reminder that we have to be on guard."

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View David Lawlor's blog posts
01 December 2011, 5:07 PM
Ambre Energy’s move points to a second round in Northwest coal export fight

“This is a good company from Australia who is well funded, well banked, and they have bought a mine in Montana and have every intention to ship it to Asia. It's a great story.”
- Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer

Yes, governor, it’s a great story. It’s a story of air pollution, global warming and ruined landscapes. It’s a story of hazardous waste, poisoned water and destroyed communities. It’s a story of a 19th century technology wearing out its welcome well into the 21st century.

It’s the story of coal.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
30 November 2011, 2:56 PM
A strong call for coal plants in Chicago, and everywhere, to clean up
Ian Viteri, a community organizer with LVEJO, at the 50 States United for Healthy Air event.

What's it like to live in the shadow of a smokestack?

Ask Kim Wasserman, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and a resident of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood—a culturally vibrant area on the city's west side that many, including Wasserman, refer to as the "Mexican capital of the Midwest."

Wasserman and her family live less than one mile from the Crawford coal-fired power plant, which is owned by Midwest Generation. The same company owns another plant in Chicago, the Fisk, which is in the Pilsen neighborhood in the northeast part of the city. Pollution from these two plants has galvanized strong calls from grassroots groups—LVEJO, PERRO and others—for the plants to clean up their dirty ways. Wasserman makes the call beautifully in an op-ed published today in the Chicago Tribune.

It begins:

I'm Peter's mom. He's that 6-year-old on those ads on the "L" trains or on billboards around town. You know, the one with the inhaler, the one he's been using since he was 3. That makes him luckier than his older brother Anthony, who developed his asthma at 3 months. When Anthony had his first asthma attack, I didn't know much about it. When he was struggling to breathe you could see his little rib cage. I learned that that was a telltale sign.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 November 2011, 4:16 PM
So this is what you mean by EPA's "War on coal" and EPA's "job-killing regulations"?
The jig is up: New data shows coal mining regulations are creating jobs, not killing them.

A little-covered news item from Nov. 18 bears much more attention. The Charleston Gazette's Ken Ward reported on some new data that blows the top off two years of coal industry lies and spin: Obama's so-called "job-killing regulations" and "war on coal" are not actually killing jobs, they are CREATING JOBS! We've been saying it all along, but here's the proof.

Since the Obama administration has taken initial steps to crack down on the coal industry's rampant pollution, which is contaminating waters and air across the nation, exposing families and communities to carcinogenic and poisonous toxic pollution, coal mining jobs have increased. By 10 percent! Since Obama's EPA began increasing mountaintop-removal-related protections on streams and waters!