Posts tagged: congress

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.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
07 September 2010, 10:48 AM
McKibben & 350.org have a wonderful plan

About 30 years ago, after some prodding from environmental groups, Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. He gave a ringing speech at the time, hoping that this gesture would help build a solar revolution. He established a Solar Energy Research Institute and put Denis Hayes, the director of the first and subsequent Earth Days in charge.

Several years later, Ronald Reagan ordered the panels taken down, having belittled Carter for worrying so much about the energy crisis. He replaced Hayes with a dentist, and SERI was soon abolished. If Carter's bold move had succeeded who knows how much better off we'd be now, but there's no point bemoaning the failures of the past.

Turns out the panels were donated to Unity College in Maine where they've been doing their bit to help the climate problem for most of three decades. Now Bill McKibben and his colleagues at the wonderful 350.org are returning a symbolic panel to where it started. They put one of the panels on a biodiesel-powered truck the day after Labor Day and will deliver it to the White House on Friday, September 10, after stopping for rallies in Boston and New York.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
31 August 2010, 4:31 PM
New poll shows majority of voters support EPA action

In 2011, the EPA is expected to propose the first-ever limits on global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants—good news, considering these pollution giants are responsible for a third of CO2 emissions in the United States. To the industry lobbyists and their mouthpieces in Congress who are resorting to all sorts of fear-mongering to smother these critical efforts: take heed—the American public isn't on your side.

A new poll from the Benenson Strategy Group, commissioned by NRDC, polled 1,401 registered voters and found that 60 percent support the regulation of global-warming gases from power plants and refineries, another significant source of such pollution. And in a vote of confidence for the EPA, 54 percent expressed confidence in the agency's ability to control the emissions.

Along with a suite of other pollution control rules the EPA is and will be pursuing, the forthcoming rules to limit global warming pollution from coal plants provide a tremendous opportunity to protect our health and planet while building a clean energy future. Those on the payroll of big polluters will try to keep us stuck in the past, but a vocal American public that demands strong action on global warming from the EPA and the Obama administration can help carry us forward.
 

View Emily Enderle's blog posts
10 August 2010, 10:33 AM
Hormone-disrupting BPA free with purchase

I've got a chronic habit of holding onto receipts for the items I buy. Just in case a moment of clarity strikes and I realize I don't need that time-saving gadget or extraneous accessory after all.

But it turns out that as a woman of child-bearing age, this practice poses a greater danger to me than just encouraging indecisive shopping. New evidence suggests that these slips of paper we handle so often are coated in the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA)—putting each of us and our children, even those unborn, at risk. BPA is widely recognized as an endocrine disruptor (a substance that can alter how our hormones are regulated in our bodies). Reports from across the globe have stated that BPA can cause cancer, erectile dysfunction, and child development problems.

Flipping through the Global Times on a flight to Tibet from the Yunnan Province in China the other day, I came across an article reporting that pregnant women and many other people in Shanghai are no longer taking receipts from places like grocery stores and ATMs because of concerns about BPA. Women in the United States are doing the same.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
30 July 2010, 2:25 PM
Under our current chemical law, it’s kind of unavoidable
Is this family an unwitting research subject in a chemical industry experiment?

I don't ever remember checking a box giving anyone permission to pollute my body with mysterious chemicals. I'm guessing you don't either.

But because of our weak chemical safety law, you and I are being exposed to toxic chemicals without our consent. The law that should be protecting us—the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA)—doesn't require chemical makers to prove the 80,000 chemicals made in the U.S. are safe before they end up in the everyday things that make up our lives—from the receipts in your wallet to the food packaging in your cupboard, from the jewelry around your neck to the sofa in your living room.

That's why this week Earthjustice and the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition launched a series of ads to remind members of Congress that it's up to them to pull the plug on this unregulated experiment and get to work fixing our nation's chemical law.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 July 2010, 4:20 PM
Let's not give up on a Senate climate change bill
Sen. John Kerry

<Today (Thur.), I attended a Town Hall meeting in a Senate office building on the need for climate change legislation. Accompanying me was our fantastic summer intern, Trevor Hill, who is here in DC sponging up the politics and legislative procedures within our fight to protect the people, places and wildlife on this planet for an entire summer before he returns to Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

After a huge news day on climate change, it is my pleasure to toss this blog post to Trevor, who writes quite compellingly on the range of emotions the day brought and why he is not ready to give up the fight for national action on climate change>:

Today was quite a rollercoaster ride for those of us following the conversation on comprehensive climate change legislation in the nation’s capital.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
21 July 2010, 1:40 PM
We're live blogging tomorrow as he speaks at the National Press Club

Tomorrow (July 22), Don Blankenship, the notorious chairman and CEO of Massey Energy, speaks at the National Press Club. We'll be live blogging to make sure you all get the play-by-play -- which promises to be interesting at the very least if Blankenship's previous speaking engagements are any indicator (we live-blogged at his public debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in January in Charleston, WV -- check it out here).

As you may know, an explosion April 5 at the Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 miners. It was the deadliest coal mine explosion in the United States in 40 years.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 July 2010, 2:05 PM
The one place a climate and clean energy bill should never go

Update (7/22): On 7/22 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the forthcoming energy bill will no longer include the section that would address climate change and limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate, he said, will address climate change in a separate bill in the fall after August recess.

In his statement to the press this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill. But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.  I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who again find themselves on the wrong side of history. But as we work through our differences on a comprehensive energy bill, Republicans have an immediate choice to make."

Senator John Kerry, the Senate's key negotiator of the draft climate language that was taken out of the bill package today, told press: "Harry Reid, today, has committed to giving us that opportunity, that open door, if you will, over the next days, weeks, months, whatever it takes, to find those 60 votes. So the work will continue every single day."

Sen. Kerry has said he will continue negotiatons with electric utilities, and before today, he indicated that those negotiations need more time. If these negotiations continue, he and other Senate leaders must take the polluter giveaways described below off the table.>

Back in May, when the Kerry-Lieberman draft climate bill came out, we told you about one deadly provision in it that needed to meet the chopping block fast, before it threatened American lives and decades of cleaner air in the United States. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen wrote about this in his Huffington Post column, "Giving a Free Pass to Soot, Smog, and Toxic Air Pollution is No Way to Pass a Climate Bill."

Well, this idea to use harmful air pollutants that have long been controlled through the Clean Air Act as bargaining chips in order to get industry on board is still ominously hanging around. And it needs to go away immediately. Take action now and tell your senators to step in and stop this now.

Here are some details on what exactly is happening:

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
29 June 2010, 2:55 PM
A sad state of affairs or a rallying call for the Senate?

This morning, the president met with a bipartisan group of 23 key Senate leaders on the state of climate change and energy legislation in the Senate.

The meeting, originally scheduled for last Thursday, was delayed because of the Rolling Stone drama surrounding Gen. Stanley McChrystal last week and the resulting political fallout. To many of us who have watched our national climate and energy policy take a back seat for weeks, months, years, administrations and decades, the delay may have hit a sore spot. Maybe it seemed like the umpteenth delay in a process that is so sorely delayed already.

So when the White House announced that meeting would take place today, many of us watched with bated breath. We know the sands are falling through the hour glass on this opportunity to guarantee a clean-energy future for our nation. We feel the pressure; we see the midterm elections approaching. We see Republican senators who used to be champions of clean energy and climate change legislation (McCain and Graham, anyone?) turn their backs on this issue for political positioning. And we see an oil crisis in the Gulf every day that oh-so-painfully highlights our need for a new, clean energy policy.

All of this indicates the need for even stronger leadership from the Obama Administration and Senate leaders to get us where we need to be as a nation.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 June 2010, 10:46 AM
President Obama must turn words into action on clean energy

"The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now."

President Obama's words, delivered from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, read like a clear call for national unity as we gather strength to turn the corner to a new, better America. But at this point, they are only words. What we need is action.

Americans are clamoring for it: 71 percent think President Obama and Congress should make the development of clean energy sources a high priority. Based on his speech—"The one approach I will not accept is inaction"—the president appears to be among those numbers. But ultimately, Obama needs to follow his own decree.

The president must outline in far greater detail the clean energy future he says we must embrace, and then he needs to demand that Congress implement. Saying we need that future "even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like" and "even if we don't yet know precisely how we're going to get there" is merely mincing words.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
11 June 2010, 4:32 PM
Hazardous waste exemption, oil dispersants, BP goes Orwellian

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

This week, Earthjustice scored a big victory for our lungs with the announcement that the EPA is finally abandoning a dangerous rule—granted by the Bush administration—that would permit the unregulated burning of hazardous waste.

BP's latest effort to clean up its soiled image took it into even murkier waters after the oil giant recently began buying search terms like "oil spill" on Google and Yahoo search engines so that the company's official web site would be the first link to appear on a search page.

Amidst a vote on Sen. Murkowski's (R-AK) resolution to bail out big polluters, Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen called on the Senate to put aside partisan politics and protect the American people by voting against this bill. Thankfully, the Senate has voted 53-47 against the bill.

Campaign manager Brian Smith reported on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's recent announcement of a memorandum of understanding to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, which has the goal of tapping into the estimated 1 million megawatts of potential wind power that exists off the east coast.

Earthjustice was curious to know just what's in all of those chemical dispersants that we're dropping into the Gulf of Mexico by the millions of gallons, so we filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get more information. Here's what we found (hint: it's not good).