Posts tagged: congress

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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 Jared Saylor's blog posts
05 April 2011, 12:55 PM
New ads in the D.C. region target attacks on Clean Air Act protections

House GOP members have been attacking clean air standards by pumping the stalled budget bill up with “riders” that remove the agency’s ability to clean up mercury, dioxins, arsenic and a host of other toxic chemicals from power plants, cement kilns, incinerators and the like.

But last week, a group called American Family Voices ran some compelling ads in the Washington, D.C. region targeting the value of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts and the benefits of the Clean Air Act to get this pollution out of our lungs and out of the lungs of our children.

Here’s the ad:

View Liz Judge's blog posts
30 March 2011, 11:12 AM
Senate votes tomorrow on whether to block EPA action on carbon pollution

The Senate votes tomorrow on four pieces of legislation that all aim to block or delay Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action to reduce the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters. These polluters have convinced their friends in Congress to author a wave of bills exempting them from strong air pollution limits—they are the Dirty Air Acts we've been warning you about for months.

These Dirty Air Acts will give polluters free rein to dump carbon dioxide pollution and other climate change pollutants into the air—at the expense of public health and the American quality of life. Please, call your senators and tell them to oppose these Dirty Air Acts!

The legislative measures up for a vote today are offered by Senators Rockefeller (S.AMDT.215), McConnell and Inhofe (S.AMDT.183), Baucus (S.AMDT.235), and Stabenow (S.AMDT.265) as amendments on an unrelated small business innovation bill (S.493).

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 March 2011, 9:39 AM
Lead gardens, oil-covered lies, hot flash chemicals
Nuclear power has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. Photo courtesy of redjar.

Nuclear power industry experiences public fallout
As the nuclear crisis in Japan worsens, concerns about nuclear power's safety are spreading, prompting news agencies to take a second look at the inherently risky technology. As the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, last year U.S. nuclear plants had at least 14 “near misses” that occurred with “alarming frequency” and jeopardized human safety. In addition, Mother Jones recently created an eye-opening chart that lists the location of nuclear plants across the country and their proximity to nearby cities using data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Despite these concerns, many of the world's governments remain largely unphased, except Germany, which has stepped up to the plate by declaring its plans to stop using nuclear power. Sehr gut!

Senator Jeff Bingaman throws gas on oil-drilling lies, lights a match
While many politicians are busy peddling the false claim that the U.S. must drill more to bring down gas prices, last week Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) broke with the ranks by declaring that domestic policies like carbon and oil drilling regulations have little to no effect on the price at the pump, reports Grist. That's because oil prices are set on the global market, which is much more affected by things like, say, Middle East unrest. This indisputable fact has led Bingaman to the remarkably frank conclusion that to “ease the burden of high prices for U.S. consumers when oil prices are determined mostly outside our borders...[we need to] become less vulnerable by using less oil.”

View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 March 2011, 11:55 AM
House committee passes Dirty Air Act, while the Senate debates it
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.)

As I write this, the Senate is debating an amendment to a small business bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's biggest polluters.

We've been making a lot of noise about this effort to cripple the EPA and obstruct health- and science-based standards for climate change pollution, but in the last couple of days, things are reaching a boil in Congress.

The engineers of this push to protect dirty energy corporations, you will recall, are Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Both have introduced nearly identical companion bills in the House and Senate. But yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Rep. Upton sits as chair, passed his Dirty Air Act. This means it is bound for the House floor for a full chamber vote sometime in the next few weeks, likely before the House's Easter recess.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
11 March 2011, 1:16 PM
Tsunami-sized warnings, bullet train shout-outs, NJ fracking ban
Would you like a bag for that? Del Monte now sells single-serve bananas wrapped in plastic. Photo courtesy of viZZZual.com

Del Monte sells individually wrapped bananas
Last week, processed food giant Del Monte unveiled its latest product invention, a single banana wrapped in plastic, reports the Globe and Mail. The move, not surprisingly, drew ire from many who point out that the banana already has its own, biodegradable wrapping, the peel. Ironically, Del Monte told reporters that the new product is being marketed as a green initiative due to the plastic’s “controlled ripening technology” which will up the banana’s shelf life and reduce landfill waste—albeit not the biodegradable kind. On The Daily Show, Comedian Jon Stewart recently pointed out the absurdity of the idea by hawking his own equally absurb mock invention, the coconut-protected coconut case.
 
New Jersey lawmakers ban hydraulic fracturing
This week, New Jersey lawmakers approved a bill that bans hydraulic fracturing, a widely controversial gas drilling practice that's contaminated water supplies to the point where residents near gas wells are able to set their faucet water on fire, reports NJ Spotlight. Though no drilling is currently happening in the Garden State, the move sends a clear message that state lawmakers have "grave concerns" about the process, said Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Bergen), the bill's sponsor. Currently, Earthjustice is working to keep hydraulic fracturing out of New York where oil and gas companies are hungrily eyeing the geologic formation known as the Marcellus Shale.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
11 March 2011, 1:07 PM
Time to think twice about our priorities?

On a day when every resident of the Pacific Rim is grateful for advanced warning systems, we are reminded of the essential services that government agencies provide. Certainly, fishermen in California who got their boats out of the water this morning as the Japanese tsunami approached are grateful for those who work around-the-clock to protect lives and property.

But essential services now face the chopping block in Washington, DC.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
04 March 2011, 9:49 AM
LA biking bonanza, radioactive water supplies, Republican foam parties
Walmart recently put the kibosh on allowing flame retardants in any of its products. Photo courtesy of samantha celera.

Walmart blazes trail in banning flame retardants
Fed up with feds dragging their heals on banning a controversial flame retardant, retail giant Walmart recently enacted its own ban, reports the Washington Post. Known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, this class of chemicals is found in everything from pet supplies to furniture and electronics, and has been linked to liver, thyroid and reproductive problems. Though the Environmental Protection Agency has listed PBDEs as a "chemical of concern," it has yet to ban them. Walmart may not be the greenest of companies, but its latest move is testament that it plans to uphold the second half of its motto, "Save Money. Live Better."

Bike lanes to take over Los Angeles
Spurned by an incident last year where a cab driver's rude behavior caused him to fall off of his bike and break his elbow, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently signed legislation to implement a bicycle master plan that calls for the creation of 1,680 miles of interconnected bike lanes, reports Grist. The plan, which will start with the addition of 100 miles of new lanes per year over the next five years, will be funded in part from a half-cent sales tax increase. The move is sure to help green LA's notoriousl image as a city full of bumper-to-bumper traffic and smoggy air.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 March 2011, 2:45 PM
Reversing commonsense progress is the new favorite pastime of House leaders
Rep. Fred Upton

"Doh!" should be the motto of the new majority in the House, but here's one from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that might work as well: "The New Majority - Plasticware Is Back."

Boehner tweeted this, or should I say taunted this, on Monday, boasting about a move orchestrated by him and his GOP colleagues in the House to undo the efforts of his predecessor Rep. Nancy Pelosi to green the Capitol. As my colleague Tom Turner revealed today,  Pelosi transformed Capitol cafeterias by bringing in environmentally friendly foods and serving utensils. This week, Boehner and his buddies in Congress did away with the biodegradable dishware and brought back foam cups. The folks in Congress are now years behind most school districts and eateries in this country. Cue the applause for Mr. Boehner and his cohorts.

Another "Doh!" moment has been slowly playing out in the House for the last two months. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has been leading the charge in the House to stop the EPA from limiting the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
22 February 2011, 3:00 AM
Animals' taste in music revealed (Creed doesn't make the cut)
(Photo: drhstars01 / Photobucket)

News headlines last week prominently featured both music (the Grammy Awards rolled out their red carpet) and the environment (the GOP’s proposed spending legislation steamrolled through the House, nearly crushed under the weight of riders and amendments seeking to rollback many environmental and public health gains of the past several years).

What readers may not be aware of is that in two smaller stories, the environment weighed in on music:

EXHIBIT A: Wolves give Creed a chance. (And then leave.)

A few weeks ago in southern Norway, 13-year-old Walter Eikrem was on his way home from school, listening to Creed (“heavy-metal music,” according to Spiegel International), when he (distressingly) crossed paths with four wolves. His mother had given him strict instructions on what to do in just such a circumstance: Don’t Run. (Walter’s Mom: "You can even get a little poodle to run after you if you run away.”)

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View Marty Hayden's blog posts
19 February 2011, 9:40 AM
House leaders give industry handouts and cut public health protections

 It’s a shame that it took the House days and many late night and early morning hours to come up with a budget plan like this. And during the wee hours of 4:35 a.m. the final roll call counted a vote of 235 to 189. And just like that our elected leaders eliminated safeguards for our air, water and wildlife.

The House voted to turn Florida’s once-clear waters into poisonous blooms of green slime. It also gave polluters the green light to continue choking our air with mercury pollution from cement kilns, to dump toxic coal ash in communities nationwide, to blow up the mountains of Appalachia and to endanger salmon and slaughter our wolves. Our elected leaders also took aim at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, limiting them from curbing the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters, which they are lawfully required to do.

 In more detail, some of the most harmful amendments adopted: