Posts tagged: coal

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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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.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Sarah Burt's blog posts
30 September 2013, 8:15 AM
"As a nurse, I see the first-hand impacts of coal dust and air pollution ..."
Lorraine Ortega lives near the Lamberts Point coal export facility in Norfolk. (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)

We're making progress in ending America's dependence on coal thanks to the work of Earthjustice and others to prevent the construction of new coal plants and hold existing coal plants to more stringent environmental standards. Now, hoping to shore up its bottom line, Big Coal is increasingly looking to ships millions of tons of U.S. coal to Asia instead.

Earthjustice is challenging this alarming trend. In July, we filed a lawsuit opposing the federal government’s financing of the export of Appalachian coal to Asia. The U.S. Export-Import Bank approved this financial support for coal exports without considering the increased toxic air and water pollution that could affect communities near the mines and ports, and along the railways that connect them.

In this first installment of a four-part series, we meet Lorraine Ortega who is a member of one such community, living near the Lamberts Point coal export facility in Norfolk, Virginia.

This is Lorraine's story:

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 September 2013, 8:49 AM
U.N. report asserts that humans are responsible for global warming
Superstorm Sandy batters the East Coast, on Oct. 29, 2012. (NASA GOES Project)

The good news in today's U.N. report on global warming is that I'll be dead before the predicted ocean rise floods my island home in San Francisco Bay. But here's what I—and you and every other human on Earth—won't escape, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Responsibility.

It is almost 100 percent certain that humankind's use of fossil fuels like oil and coal is warming and acidifying the oceans, melting glaciers and causing sea levels to rise around the planet, the IPCC says. With scientific certainty, the report warns us to throttle back on carbon consumption or move to high ground—unless of course you live in Appalachia where the high ground is being blown up to get at the coal.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
18 September 2013, 11:51 AM
EPA and DOE officials point to science as House officials stay in denial
The Capitol Building, observer of many a false debate. (Architect of the Capitol)

They say denial is not just a river in Egypt. Such is true for many House leaders at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee today on the Obama administration’s climate change agenda. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz had to endure the political grandstanding of the House's climate deniers, most of whom have accepted huge political donations from the oil and gas industry.

Here is how EPA Administrator McCarthy opened up her testimony:

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Based on the evidence, more than 97 percent of climate scientists are convinced that human caused climate change is occurring. If our changing climate goes unchecked, it will have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet. Reducing carbon pollution is critically important to the protection of Americans’ health and the environment upon which our economy depends.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
11 September 2013, 11:52 AM
Power plants dump pollution into our water, but that could soon change
Patricia Schuba of Missouri. (Matt Roth)

Earlier this summer, I was talking to a colleague and friend in Missouri, Patricia Schuba. She lives only a few miles from the Show Me State’s biggest coal-fired power plant, Ameren Corporation’s Labadie Power Station.

She was preparing to come to Washington to testify before the EPA on a proposal to clean up toxic water pollution from power plants. But before she got on the plane, she had a meeting to attend in St. Louis where Ameren was proposing to build another 1,100-acre coal ash pond directly in the floodplain of the Missouri River.

“It never ends here in Missouri,” she said. “If they try and build another coal ash dump, we’re going to fight back. That’s something they don’t seem to understand. We’re never going to give up.”

Nearly 50,000 of you aren’t giving up either.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
27 August 2013, 1:39 PM
Save Appalachia's streams from mountaintop removal mining
Activists march by the White House in September 2012. (Chris Jordan-Bloch)

We are sorry to hear that the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining lost 18,000 Earthjustice supporter letters. Our supporters wrote these letters during the Bush administration to urge OSM not to eliminate critical stream protections, especially the “stream buffer zone rule,” from mountaintop removal mining—which it did anyway.

We appreciate the Department of Interior’s apology and explanation for the unfortunate loss of these documents, which were misplaced possibly years ago in an agency move. We want to give reassurance that though the agency may have lost these letters, the Earthjustice supporters who wrote them have not gone anywhere. In fact, they have multiplied and are growing stronger in their commitment to this cause.

Earthjustice is proud to represent some of the most dedicated citizens and community members in the country, and we will not stop until justice and a safe, healthy environment for all is achieved. That’s why, when President Obama took office, more than 20,000 Earthjustice supporters immediately took action again to urge the administration and new leadership at the Office of Surface Mining to bring back these protections and restore the stream buffer zone rule.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
13 August 2013, 3:48 PM
Earthjustice challenges industry plans to increase world market
Companies are eyeing overseas markets for America's coal. (Aleksey Stemmer / Shutterstock)

The use of coal in the U.S. has declined over the past few years, and orders for new plants are being cancelled at an increasing rate, owing to pressure from Earthjustice and others and competition from cheaper natural gas. Meanwhile, President Obama has made increasingly stern pronouncements about moving toward a renewable energy regime.

Big coal, hoping to shore up its bottom line, has turned its attention abroad: Exports of coal from the U.S. to the Far East have increased, subsidized by the U.S. Export-Import Bank (a federal institution), and there are proposals pending to establish coal-export facilities in the Pacific Northwest. China and the other importers have far laxer pollution laws than ours; that too is another story. The impact of burning the coal affects us all.

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View Allie Eisen's blog posts
09 August 2013, 1:54 PM
Regulators get an earful from a roomful of citizens about coal plant pollution
Power plant water discharges are filled with toxic pollution.  (EPA)

Gathered on a grassy knoll outside the Environmental Protection Agency, an unlikely group of advocates came together to support a basic human necessity. These campaigners, representing organizations ranging from the National Hispanic Medical Association to the Catawba Riverkeepers, found a common denominator in the importance of appealing for a strong ELG standard—making a statement that clean water is essential for everyone.

The proposed updates to the ELG (effluent limitation guideline) have the power to regulate toxic pollution from the steam electric power generating category of power plants.

Earthjustice, along with partner organizations including Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and Waterkeeper Alliance, organized a rally of clean water advocates to testify before the EPA, telling their personal stories about how coal-fired power plant pollution has affected their homes and communities. Each of these groups had a vested interest in petitioning the EPA to clean up water pollution from more than 1,000 of these steam plants, supporting options 4 or 5 of the current proposed options.

View Marty Hayden's blog posts
19 July 2013, 2:59 PM
Gina McCarthy chosen to protect our air, land, water
Gina McCarthy is our nation's new EPA Administrator. (EPA)

The partisan antics of a few in the Senate finally halted to allow confirmation of a new and well-qualified Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.

This Senate confirmation means that, finally, after months of political obstruction by the Congressional friends of big polluters, we have a new administrator to deliver the public health and environmental protections that we all deserve. And, boy, does she have her work cut out.

Thank you for the phone calls you made to push for this confirmation and the letters you wrote to back these polluter cronies down off their agenda to block any and all progress in cleaning up our nation’s energy landscape, our waters, our air, and combating climate change.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
19 July 2013, 11:54 AM
Only a great leap forward can succeed against this critical issue
Last year was the warmest year on record for the continental United States. (Boris Ryaposov / Shutterstock)

It took a super-storm, record-breaking heat, rampant wildfires and increasingly dire predictions for the planet, but four-and-a-half years into his tenure, President Obama issued a plan to combat climate change. It’s an important step forward – but, frankly, we need a leap.

Announced on June 25, the president’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) has three aims: cut domestic carbon pollution; prepare the country to face the now-unavoidable impacts of climate change; and enhance U.S. leadership in international negotiations to reduce global carbon pollution. Broadly, these are the right aims, but the details, which have not been disclosed yet, will determine the extent of CAP’s positive impact.

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View Abigail Dillen's blog posts
25 June 2013, 3:05 PM
It's long past time for coal fleet to clean up
Coal-fired power plants are our nation's biggest carbon polluters.  (iStockphoto)

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan promises, at last, a meaningful step toward controlling our carbon pollution. Today’s announcement comes as wildfires rage in Colorado, as emergency drought conditions continue in Texas for a third straight year, and as children and parents around the country contend with spiking asthma rates that are linked with rising temperatures and increased ozone smog. Last year alone, Hurricane Sandy and ten other climate disasters caused an estimated $110 billion in damage in the United States. We can’t afford to ignore the climate threat any longer, which the President has recognized along with a majority of Americans.

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