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.

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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 Tom Turner's blog posts
07 June 2011, 3:04 PM
Fresno Board of Supervisors rejects a nuclear-power proposal

The Fresno, California, Board of Supervisors has decided not to endorse a proposal by the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group to build a “Clean Energy Park,” outside town. The park would boast two big, 1,600-megawatt, French-made reactors, a solar-thermal plant, and a water desalination facility.

The account in the Fresno Business Journal doesn’t mention Japan or Fukushima explicitly, but the shadow in the background is unmistakable. And it must send shivers down the backs of people promoting a nuclear renaissance as the cure for global warming—especially as Germany has recently decided to stop building new reactors and to retire existing plants as replacement power comes on-line. Japan is clearly rethinking its commitment to nuclear power as well.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
07 June 2011, 1:16 PM
44 senators urge Obama to back off coal ash regulation
Claire McCaskill is among 44 senators calling for coal ash to be treated as a non-hazardous waste.

Okay, so we’ve established the hazards of coal ash. There is no doubt that arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, selenium and other toxic metals have no business in our drinking water. So why are 44 of our elected leaders calling on the Obama administration to treat coal ash as a NON-hazardous waste?

Let’s back up a bit: the Obama administration announced a few weeks ago that the coal ash rule will not see the light of day until at least 2012. The EPA had considered regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste after the December 2008 toxic coal ash spill  in Tennessee, which sent 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry gushing into the Emory River and surrounding community. We realized there was continued industry pushback for the rule but were disheartened to learn that it would be delayed, given that there are at least 676 coal ash dams in 35 states, including 48 “high hazard” dams (similar to the Kingston TVA site) across the country. Failure of any of these likely would take human life. Another 136 “significant hazard” dams would cause substantial economic and environmental harm if they failed.

There is no refuting the fact that coal ash is toxic and should be kept away from communities.But some of our senators feel otherwise.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
04 June 2011, 8:20 AM
Mass Mobilization in WV, March on Blair Mountain Kicks Off Tomorrow
Appalachia is rising for justice, protection of the law, and an end to mountaintop removal mining.

This week more than 600 concerned citizens will participate in the largest mass mobilization against mountaintop removal mining that this country has ever seen, Appalachia Rising: The March on Blair Mountain.

Led by many of our dedicated friends and partners in Appalachia, hundreds of people from all across the country, from all stripes and walks of life and backgrounds -- students, scholars, artists, scientists, labor leaders, union workers, historians, environmentalists, and concerned citizens -- will walk shoulder to shoulder in a peaceful and permitted demonstration for 50 miles across the rugged Appalachian Mountain terrain, all joined by this conviction: The people of Appalachia deserve protection of the law and a prosperous and just future that does not include the devastation and destruction of mountaintop removal mining. Mountaintop removal mining must end, and justice must be brought to the people and communities of this region.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
02 June 2011, 2:49 PM
"The Last Mountain" opens this weekend in DC and NYC
"The Last Mountain" movie poster

The buzz is heightening. The Sundance official selection documentary The Last Mountain is arriving at theaters across America beginning this weekend in Washington, DC, and New York City. Throughout June, it will open in 18 other cities, bringing this film -- on the frightening effects of destructive mountaintop removal mining-- to the biggest metropolitan markets in the nation.

The film is a powerful glimpse into the bombing and razing of mountains in West Virginia for coal, the corrupt politics that enable that destruction, and the people and communities at the foot of the exploded mountains who are paying the real price, and suffering the real costs, of one of America's greatest and most enduring environmental tragedies.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
24 May 2011, 12:31 PM
Community members in Philly and Chicago speak out for health protections

Environmental Protection Agency hearings today in Philadelphia and Chicago drew crowds of clean air advocates—including a man who described the "smell of death" from a coal-fired power plant in his town.

The hearings are focused on a proposal to clean up mercury and other toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants, our nation's worst polluters. While these citizens are on hand delivering messages to the EPA in person, you can add your voice by sending a public comment via email.

Earthjustice staff are at the Philadelphia hearing to testify and hear citizens who want cleaner air and healthier communities. One such citizen is Sarah Bucic of the Delaware Nurses Association, who was also a Clean Air Ambassador at the 50 States United for Healthy Air event held in Washington, D.C. this month. Sarah expressed concern about the impact of toxic air pollution on children's health: "Mothers should not have to worry if their air and water is safe or if their own breast milk contains toxicants," she said.

Ed, a fisherman from St. College, PA, told the EPA staff on hand that his favorite stream in the state is the Susquehanna, but he can't eat the fish he catches because mercury levels are too high. It pains him to explain this to his young nephew when they go fishing.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
23 May 2011, 12:16 PM
New report on coal plant pollution underscores national problem

Jamestown, VA is a fixture of American history. Founded more than 400 years ago, it was the first permanent English settlement in what became the United States. Today, not far from there, The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative is looking to make history of a different kind. It wants to build what would be the largest coal-fired power plant in all of Virginia. But if built, something new will settle in the region: a large cloud of harmful air pollution.

And indeed, a report released today by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation shows that if this chapter of history is written, it will have a profound and negative impact on the region's future. Pollution from the plant will lead to dozens of deaths, hundreds of asthma attacks and more than $200 million in regional health care costs every year. Moreover, the Chesapeake Bay, a suffering icon of the eastern seaboard, would be further polluted with mercury as well as nitrogen oxides.

The story in Virginia told by the CBF is a microcosm of the rest of the country, where coal plant pollution is claiming lives, polluting waters and costing the public billions of dollars. The Environmental Protection Agency is holding its first public hearings tomorrow, in Philadelphia and Chicago, on a recent proposal to cut toxic air pollution from the nation's coal-fired power plants.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
19 May 2011, 9:31 AM
Obama’s proposed Rule + natural gas, coal threaten millions of acres
Sunset Trail roadless area, Colorado.

Colorado is the most populous, developed state in the Rocky Mountain West. Despite all the cities and towns, highways, oil rigs and second homes, about 4.4 million acres of roadless national forest remain. And that’s in addition to the 3 million-plus acres of existing wilderness.

These roadless lands - which safeguard clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation - are currently protected across the West (except Idaho - long story) by President Clinton’s 2001 “Roadless Rule.”   That Rule bars commercial logging, road construction and most mining. The Rule does have carefully narrow provisions that allow some logging where needed to reduce fire risks in some forest types.  But Clinton's Rule remains the gold standard for protecting roadless lands.
 
President Obama's Forest Service, however, is working to undermine the Rule in Colorado. 

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
13 May 2011, 2:19 AM
Banning the bag, fracking's flammable water, biting back against palm oil
Coal industry-sponsored materials are making their way into school classrooms. Photo courtesy of Steve and Jemma Copley.

Coal company tries to brainwash school kids
Scholastic Inc., whose books and educational materials dominate the American classroom, is distributing fourth-grade curriculum materials paid for by the American Coal Foundation, reports the New York Times. Not surprisingly, the industry-funded class materials have drawn the ire of groups such as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Friends of the Earth, who argue that the one-sided curriculum conveniently leaves out coal’s environmental and human health impacts while failing to mention other useful, less polluting energy sources, like wind and solar. No word yet on whether the kids received a free inhaler to pair with their coal-friendly books and pamphlets.

Bagging bags becomes worldwide phenomenon
The U.S. may have been unable to pass meaningful climate legislation, but at least some communities have been successful in reducing their carbon footprint in other ways, like cutting down on plastic bags, reports National Geographic. Coast-to-coast and even internationally, cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. and entire countries like Italy have either banned plastic bags altogether or imposed taxes on the ubiquitous single-use sacks. The bans have resulted in a major drop in bag use, a big win for the environment since plastic bags clog storm drains, landfills and marine creatures’ bellies.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
13 May 2011, 12:33 AM
IPPC report offers hopeful vision of one possible future

What can be done about our dismal energy future?

Every day, headlines scream about the price of oil, the climate disruption caused by coal, the dangers of natural gas “fracking,” and uncontrollable nuclear accidents.

Is another future even possible, or are we stuck in a permanent crisis?

On May 9, 2011, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation authored by more than 120 scientists, technologists, and economists who dug deeply into this question.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
04 May 2011, 1:27 PM
House subcommittee on water sets stage, but does America buy the act?
Rep. Bob Gibbs

On Thursday morning, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, will begin a two-part hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policies on mountaintop removal mining. The committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) is calling the hearings “EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs – Part I and Part II.

Judging from the name, do you think this hearing by the representative body of our democratic government will be fair and balanced? Reasoned and informed? Democratic?

Just in case you think a fair and informed hearing is an outside possibility, I present to you:

Exhibit A: The Witness List:

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