Posts tagged: congress

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

congress


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

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 Sam Edmondson's blog posts
09 February 2011, 2:20 PM
EPA chief in Congress to defend clean air protections

EPA chief Lisa Jackson was on Capitol Hill today to testify before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On topic was a bill from Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the committee, that would prevent the EPA from taking action on climate change.

Lisa Jackson rightfully acknowledged in her opening statements, however, that Upton’s bill is really just one piece of a “broader effort in this Congress to delay, weaken, or eliminate Clean Air Act protections of the American public.”

This broad effort includes Rep. John Carter’s anti-health resolution that would block the EPA’s limits on cement plants’ toxic air pollution. It also includes similar attempts to thwart health protections against industrial boilers' emissions of mercury, acid gases and other harmful pollutants. These and other safeguards will save lives and money and protect Americans’ right to breathe.

View Emily Enderle's blog posts
08 February 2011, 12:56 PM
Is this convenience too good to be true?
Emily at work.

(Editor's note: This is a cross post from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.)

In this fast-paced world, who has time for ironing?

Not me. Between educating policy-makers on the need to protect Americans from toxic chemicals during the week and playing sports on the weekends, I barely have time to wash my clothes let alone iron them.

Not only is ironing time consuming, it somehow manages to be both futile and really scary at the same time. By the time I finish navigating that chrome-coated burn machine around the buttons, cuffs, and collars on my work shirts, about all I have to show for my efforts is a moderately less wrinkled shirt and a scalded forearm or two. Seriously, the bounce cycle on my dryer produces more consistent results.

Which is why when I discovered wrinkle-free (!) shirts, I thanked my lucky stars and quickly stocked my work wardrobe with multiple colors and styles of these perpetually pressed wonders.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
07 February 2011, 2:56 PM
Editorial pages make strong defense of clean air health protections

Over the weekend, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times both ran editorials in defense of clean air. Set against the increasing number of congressional maneuvers to stymie the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its popular programs for clean air, it is refreshing to see two of the nation’s largest newspapers take a strong position in support of Americans’ right to breathe.

Among the EPA’s many important efforts to protect public health are limits on mercury and other toxic air pollutants from cement plants, industrial boilers and incinerators, and the worst of all mercury polluters, power plants. These health protections will save lives and money by making our air safer to breathe.

From the New York Times editorial:

The agency does have a heavy regulatory agenda. It will issue proposals not only on greenhouse gases but also ozone, sulfur dioxide and mercury, which poisons lakes and fish. These regulations are fully consistent with the Clean Air Act. Some of them should have been completed during the Bush years; all are essential to protect the environment. The agency’s administrator, Lisa Jackson, has moved cautiously, making clear that she will target only the largest polluters and not, as the Republicans claim, mom-and-pop businesses.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
04 February 2011, 1:50 PM
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson refutes colleague's attacks
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Let’s hear it for the champions of clean air!

We at Earthjustice have spent the past several weeks countering one clean air attack after another as several elected leaders have aligned themselves with dirty polluters. But there are some in Congress who are not thinking of lining industry’s pockets and instead thinking of protecting their constituents’ right to breathe.

Among them: Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) who in an editorial today takes on colleague Rep. John Carter (R-TX) for his attack on important air rules that would drastically cut the amount of mercury in the air.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
04 February 2011, 1:04 PM
Powerful op-ed from Alex Allred, mother of three, takes Rep. Carter to task
Alex Allred.

Alex Allred is a wife, mother of three, author, former Olympic bobsledder (!), and passionate advocate for clean air. Years ago, she and her family moved to Midlothian, Texas. Said Allred, “We moved here partly because we thought it would be a great place to raise our three kids.”

Shortly after the move, however, Alex’s son got sick with flu-like symptoms, pneumonia, and then double pneumonia. “He’d collapse on the floor. I’d pick him up and drive like a maniac to the emergency room.” It happened six times. The diagnosis given was environmental asthma.

The catalyst for her son’s sudden respiratory ailment rested in one of Midlothian’s distinguishing features: a large number of nearby cement plants. Allred ultimately got involved with Downwinders at Risk, a Dallas-based education and advocacy group on whose board she currently serves, and took her concerns over the unregulated toxic pollution from cement plants to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
03 February 2011, 4:41 PM
Recent reports detail sky-high mercury emissions of the worst toxic polluters

When it comes to mercury pollution, coal-fired power plants are king. Two recent reports—one from the Environmental Integrity Project, the other from Environment America—take a look at the scope of the problem.

EIP has meticulously tracked mercury pollution from power plants for years in their Dirty Kilowatts reports. But this year is an especially important time to focus on this unresolved pollution problem, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently on a court-ordered deadline won by Earthjustice and a broad coalition of environmental and public health groups to issue the first-ever health protections against emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants. The draft health protections are due March 16, 2011.

According to EIP’s report—“America’s Power Plant Mercury Polluters: The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty”—the 50 worst mercury polluters generated nearly half of the power plant industry’s total mercury emissions. These 50 dirty plants emitted 33,280 pounds of mercury—a shocking number when you consider it takes only 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury to pollute a 20-acre lake to the point where fish are unsafe to eat.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
02 February 2011, 4:46 PM
New survey reaffirms that public wants clean air, health protections
President George H.W. Bush signs Clean Air Act Amendments into law on Nov. 15, 1990. (George Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

Sixty-three percent of Americans want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water.” This according to a new survey conducted at the end of January by ORC International.

Rep. John Carter (D-TX)—fast becoming a household name around here—isn’t part of that 63 percent. In early January, Rep. Carter sponsored a resolution to effectively block EPA health protections that will limit emissions of mercury and other dangerous air toxics from cement plants. These protections could prevent the premature death of as many as 2,500 people every year when they take effect in 2013.

Notwithstanding the fact that Rep. Carter has seriously misrepresented the facts in his push to win support for his anti-health resolution, a large majority of Americans generally disagree with his approach. The ORC survey found that 77 percent of Americans—more than three out of every four—say “Congress (should) let the EPA do its job.”

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
01 February 2011, 2:43 PM
Also, congressman's dirty deeds and boilers' toxic air
Refinery photo by Pamela A. Miller.

(Clean air is a life saver, which is why Earthjustice is working to ensure that polluters don’t stand in the way of safeguards against air pollution. Here’s a round up of some recent news in the ongoing campaign to protect our Right to Breathe.)

Use the #right2breathe hashtag on Twitter to track campaign updates.

EPA Defends Hazardous Waste Loophole
Back in 2008, the Bush administration exempted oil refineries from safety requirements designed to protect the public from the storage, transport, and burning of hazardous waste. Citizen groups including Earthjustice asked the current EPA to close the loophole, but last week, the agency signaled its support for the Bush-era exemption. This is bad news for communities that live near oil refineries. Wilma Subra of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network said “Communities in the Gulf region already suffer enough from refineries’ toxic pollution. The last thing we need is uncontrolled burning of their hazardous wastes.” A public comment period will open shortly—we’ll keep you posted on what you can do to help close this egregious loophole.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
28 January 2011, 5:50 PM
Senators introduce bills to weaken environmental protections
Sen. Barrasso, friend of big polluters

(A powerful faction in the new Congress has allied with industry to weaken our nation’s most basic environmental laws. Earthjustice will report on this expected barrage of legislative attacks as they occur.)

<<<Update 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 31: Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller has introduced his own “Dirty Air Act.” Like Sen. Barrasso's bill (see below), Sen. Rockefeller's bill blocks the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to limit carbon dioxide emissions for two more years.

In 2007, in its landmark Massachusetts v. EPA decision, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are covered by the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency is required to regulate them if found to endanger public health and welfare. The EPA made such a finding in 2009, relying on decades of evidence, research by hundreds of the world's leading scientists, and numerous other sources.>>>

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
27 January 2011, 1:04 PM
Twelve bad men, Gasland spotlight, green spies
Polar bears use ice floes, which are rapidly melting due to climate change, to search for food. Photo courtesy of Florian Schulz.

Polar bear swims hundreds of miles in effort to survive
In a testament to the rapidly deteriorating conditions that polar bears face in a changing climate, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey recently discovered a polar bear that swam nonstop for more than 200 hours and 400 miles, reports the BBC. The epic journey in the Beaufort sea was most likely necessary due to an increase in melting sea ice, which polar bears travel on to hunt prey. In addition to losing 22 percent of her body fat during the journey, the mama polar bear also lost something that's truly irreplaceable, her baby cub. Check out Earthjustice's Irreplaceable campaign to find out how these Arctic symbols and others are being impacted by climate change.

Rolling Stone profiles the climate change dirty dozen
What do Sarah Palin, Bjørn Lomborg and Fred Upton (R-MI) have in common besides a penchant for making grandstanding remarks? They're also three of 12 people blocking progress on global warming, reports Rolling Stone. Some of the dozen's tactics include: attacking the EPA, giving reputable climate scientists the third degree, spreading disinformation about global warming and just plain lying to the American public. Unfortunately, their laughable efforts to mislead us are actually being taken seriously by some, and in the process risking all of our future.
 

5 Comments   /   Read more >>