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.


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 Lisa Evans's blog posts
30 July 2012, 9:09 AM
Are the fires dying down or is the season just starting?
Coal ash spill into Lake Michigan from legacy site at We Energy, Oak Creek, WI (Oct 2011).

Summer on Capitol Hill has been a hot one—especially for coal ash. The 11th hour removal of a devastating coal ash provision tacked onto the federal transportation bill  gave hope to thousands of communities that Congress would not turn its on public health and the environment. When the smoke cleared and President Obama signed a transportation bill without the coal ash provision, those threatened by contaminated air and water breathed a sigh of relief—among them the Moapa Tribe of Paiutes in Nevada; ranchers and residents in Colstrip, Montana; communities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania; and residents along the floodplains of the Missouri River.

The transportation bill was a near fatal blow to EPA’s authority to regulate coal ash, and those who launched the fight vowed to return. In fact, Rep. David McKinley vowed defiantly, “We’re not finished.” Undoubtedly, Rep. McKinley will be back to push his bill for his friends in the coal industry. But who else is included in this ominous “we”? Following the transportation bill negotiations, rumors suggest a Senate bill is currently circulating that picks up where McKinley left off. With only days to the end of the summer legislative session, we may see the new bill as early as this week.

2 Comments   /  
View Tom Turner's blog posts
24 July 2012, 12:05 PM
Bill McKibben takes us to school—and nominates Public Enemy #1
Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben,  who first alerted the non-scientific world to global climate change two decades ago with The End of Nature  has a new piece in Rolling Stone that he says is the most important thing he’s written in the past 20 years, and he’s written hundreds of articles and books during that period.

It’s titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” and it’s long but worth reading. More than worth reading.

2 Comments   /  
View David Lawlor's blog posts
24 July 2012, 3:23 AM
Portland General Electric opposes proposed coal terminal in Oregon
Coal dust drifts through downtown Seward, Alaska, which is home to a coal export terminal. (Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance)

(Editor's Note: This is the third blog in an ongoing series about proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Upcoming blogs will examine the potential impact coal export terminals could have on the region's health and environment.)

Portland General Electric—a utility that operates power plants and supplies about half of Oregon’s electricity—thinks a coal export terminal proposed for construction at Port of St. Helens would generate too much pollution.

Um, can someone get the devil on the horn and check to see if hell officially froze over?

View David Lawlor's blog posts
20 July 2012, 12:21 PM
Physicians’ group recommends health assessment of proposed coal export projects
Coos Bay, Oregon, where a coal export facility has been proposed. (Photo: Brian Burger)

Listening to your doctor’s orders is usually a good idea. If your doctor prescribes you a medication and tells you to attend physical therapy, then you take the medication and you go to physical therapy. Now, imagine if 130 doctors all told you to do the same thing. You’d probably follow their orders, right?

Well, this week in Oregon, 130 doctors from Physicians for Social Responsibility called on the state to conduct a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of proposed coal export projects.

Currently, three coal export projects have been proposed in Oregon including a facility at Coos Bay, the Kinder Morgan terminal at Port of St. Helens, and the Ambre Energy project with facilities at the Port of Morrow and the Port of St. Helens. Physicians for Social Responsibility joins Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and a group of physicians in Washington, Whatcom Docs, in calling for a HIA to assess the health risks associated with coal export.

1 Comment   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 July 2012, 8:38 AM
Stand with this literary giant and become a Mountain Hero, too

Fighting against mountaintop removal, this week we’re proud to announce the support of an incredibly strong woman: writer and activist Terry Tempest Williams. We know our supporters care deeply about the welfare of animals in the wild, and saw this vividly on our Facebook page when we highlighted the animals of Appalachia in a photo album on Facebook.

The Appalachian Mountains contain some of the richest assortment of wildlife in the country, from white-tailed deer to great horned owls. When these mountains are blown up by coal mining, not only are we losing the beautiful landscape, we are also destroying the habitat of the wildlife that make their home in Appalachia.

Following her own passion for wildlife, Williams has written on the lives of a clan of endangered prairie dogs, showing how they are the creators of “the most sophisticated animal language decoded so far.” Respect for life in all its myriad forms is a topic she argues for with sensitivity and detail.

View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
13 July 2012, 11:01 AM
News report investigates coal ash pollution in Moapa
A cloud of coal ash looms in Moapa, NV. Photo: Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice

For years, white ash has been blowing across the desert from the Reid Gardner Power Plant right into the homes on the Moapa Paiute Indian Reservation. The Paiutes claim that this ashthe waste from the power plant—is making them sick. The power plant claims that the Paiutes are wrong. This week, a 3-part investigative series from KSNV, the NBC station in Las Vegas, examines the situation in Moapa from three sides. The Paiutes and the power plant each get their sayas does science.

8 Comments   /  
View David Lawlor's blog posts
13 July 2012, 10:50 AM
Shifting economic realities push drive for West Coast coal export terminals
Longview, Washington.

(Editor's Note: This is the second blog in an ongoing series about proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Upcoming blogs will examine the potential impact coal export terminals could have on the region's health and environment.)

There are a whole lot of coal companies mining a whole lot of coal in Wyoming and Montana’s Powder River Basin. Although U.S. demand for coal is shrinking—thanks in part to Earthjustice’s successful campaign to shutter polluting coal-fired power plants—there are a whole lot of coal-fired power plants in Asia and a whole lot more planned for future construction.

You can probably see where this is going.

Considering the circumstances, it doesn’t take a trained economist to deduce that Powder River Basin mining companies are keen on selling Asia as much coal as possible. The only problem, from industry’s perspective, is how to transport the coal to the continent. Obviously, American coal will sit on a big boat during the last leg of the trip, but it’s the process leading up to the voyage across the Pacific that’s proving to be the sticky wicket.

5 Comments   /  
View David Lawlor's blog posts
05 July 2012, 3:18 PM
Accidents are an ominous harbinger for the Pacific Northwest

On Monday, a coal train derailed in Washington on its way to Spokane, spilling tons of coal and coal dust alongside the tracks. Then, on Wednesday afternoon, a coal train near Chicago derailed bringing a bridge down with it and killing a passenger in a car below. Finally, on Wednesday night, a train near the small town of Pendleton, Texas derailed, spewing coal from 43 rail cars.

In other words, it’s been a bad week for coal trains.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
05 July 2012, 11:58 AM
Josh Galperin on growing threat of toxic waste
Devastation following the Kingston coal ash disaster

(Note from Lisa Evans: Last week, we nearly lost the battle for Environmental Protection Agency regulations. However, thanks to the chorus of voices from affected communities and public interest groups across the nation and to the amazing work of our champions in the House and Senate, a provision blocking an EPA coal ash rule was removed from the federal transportation bill.  Here is a wrap-up of the close fight by Josh Galperin, Policy Analyst and Research Attorney for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Josh reminds us that -- contrary to what the coal industry would have us believe -- more (coal ash dumps) cannot equal less (regulation).)

Last week brought a lot of news about coal ash in national media, some good, some bad. On one side we learned of new information from the EPA to add to the growing mountain of evidence about the risks of unregulated coal ash (that’s bad). On the other side we pulled out a narrow victory in Washington, DC by keeping dangerous coal ash language out of the federal Transportation Bill (phew, that’s good!).

1 Comment   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
27 June 2012, 2:03 PM
Mountain Hero continues the work of her celebrated mother, Judy Bonds

Could there be a love more unconditional and more powerful than the love of a mother for her child? Most mothers I know would say, "No, not even possible." But if you've ever observed the adoring eyes of a child looking up to his or her mother, you might think twice.

Lisa Henderson's story is a remarkable tribute to this love and bond between mother and child.

Through our Mountain Heroes campaign, Lisa tells the story of watching her mother, renowned anti-mountaintop removal mining activist and Goldman Prize winner Judy Bonds, grow into a leader of the movement to save mountains, communities and people.

Lisa Henderson. (Chris Jordan-Bloch)