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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 Bill Walker's blog posts
07 August 2009, 12:41 PM
People don't feel a sense of urgency, says report.
Source: Dan Wasserman, Tribune Media Services

Maybe what Jim Inhofe needs is a good therapist.

Inhofe, R-OK, is notoriously the Senate's global warming denier-in-chief. But why? Maybe because he gets big campaign contributions from oil companies. Or maybe he has deep-seated control issues, and the prospect of global warming makes him feel helpless.

That's one explanation suggested in a new report by the American Psychological Association (which of course doesn't specifically discuss Inhofe) on why, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, many Americans are skeptical or deny the existence of global warming.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
31 July 2009, 2:43 PM
Congressman receives forged letters urging "no" vote on climate bill
Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA)

Like many of his colleagues, freshman Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) received thousands of letters, emails, and faxes about the American Climate and Energy Security Act (a.k.a. the Waxman-Markey climate bill). That's nothing unexpected in and of itself. But it turns out that some of those letters were appalling forgeries.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress, which broke the story, reports that an unnamed employee (now ex-employee, supposedly) of a D.C. lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates sent a letter to Rep. Perriello from a non-existent employee of Creciendo Juntos, a nonprofit group that works with the Charlottesville, VA hispanic community. The letter, which included the nonprofit's logo, urged Perriello to vote "no" on the legislation.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
22 July 2009, 10:38 AM
Editorial backs up Earthjustice call to defend bill against coal lobby

The New York Times, in an editorial today, zeroed in on a coal loophole that must be fixed in the House version of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill.

Echoing comments by Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen, the Times called on the Senate to impose greenhouse gas emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants, which were deliberately excluded from those standards in the House bill. Because of what the Times called "wheeling and dealing," those plants—which are the dirtiest coal polluters—would not be subject to the Clean Air Act.

Legislation aimed at controlling climate change can't work if it doesn't control the biggest contributors to climate change. We all need to get this common sense-message across to senators who even now are being wheeled and dealed by coal industry lobbyists. To speak out, go to the Earthjustice action alert page. It's a quick, easy, and effective way of joining the debate.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
16 July 2009, 3:35 PM
Massive coal lobby threatens nation's chance for a clean energy future

The Senate, perhaps inadvertently, has given the American public a chance to help counter a massive assault by the fossil fuel industry on our nation's best hope to fight climate change and forge a clean energy future—the American Climate and Energy Security Act.

The mission of ACES is historic and essential: drive the transition to a clean energy economy with millions of new jobs and dramatically reduce carbon emissions to avert the worst impacts of climate change. It could enable the United States to play a powerful leadership role in global climate negotiations later this year.

But, though well intentioned, the legislation suffered at the hands of fossil fuel lobbyists in its passage through the House of Representatives, and even its champions acknowledge that some of the concessions in the bill may hamper its effectiveness. Now, in the Senate, it faces even more attacks on its integrity from lobbyists led by coal.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
16 July 2009, 3:21 PM
While Washington debates climate change, coal mining in the West gets a pass

For the past month, the klieg lights have been squarely focused on attempts inside the Beltway to cobble together compromise legislation to address global climate change (AKA the Waxman-Markey bill), and President Obama's commitment at the G-8 summit to keep the planet from heating up more than two degrees celsius.

Meanwhile, out here in the West, it's CO2-emitting business as usual, with the federal Bureau of Land Management this month proposing to lock in long term federal coal leases to giant mining firms. And not small amounts of coal either.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
15 July 2009, 12:03 PM
 

American politics is a wonder. Let’s say you’re unhappy with the climate bill narrowly passed by the House of Representatives a while back. You think you might be able to influence the Senate and an eventual conference committee if you could get an opinion piece published in the Washington Post. Who would be your best messenger? A respected scientist to argue about the science? A Nobel prizewinning economist to attack the economics of the bill? Maybe a former government energy official from the not too distant past? How about Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin? The soon-to-be-former governor of Alaska and Tina Fey lookalike who ran for vice president on the McCain ticket? Why, yes. Sarah’s your choice.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
10 July 2009, 3:30 PM
 

You'd think Colorado's two Democratic U.S. senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, would be in the forefront to protect one of Colorado's most valuable natural resources: our water. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on whether they will be.

As has been amply detailed by Earthjustice and in a recent op-ed in the Denver Post by Trout Unlimited's Melinda Kassen, the federal Clean Water Act turned America's water from a polluted (and sometimes burning) mess into much cleaner lakes, rivers and streams.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
30 June 2009, 9:20 AM
 

A good case could be made that the most important U.S. federal environmental laws are the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. And what do they have in common? They were enacted (amended since in some cases) in the early 1970s and signed into law by Richard Nixon, a conservative republican.

Which makes the reaction of the Republican right wing to the recent House passage of a compromise climate bill so interesting.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
25 June 2009, 4:29 PM
 

Dr. Margaret Palmer is a world renowned water biologist who works at the university of Maryland, but has a home in West Virginia and family from the Appalachia region. "Headwater streams are exponentially more important than their size would suggest," said Dr. Palmer in testimony before the Senate. She compared headwater streams to the small capillaries in our lungs that distribute the oxygen necessary for life to our bodies. Without those capillaries (and similarly, without the headwaters) we (and the surrounding environment) would not be able to live.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
25 June 2009, 4:27 PM
 

The first witness, an EPA official, was questioned extensively about the impacts both locally and globally of destroying entire forests, flattening mountains, and increasing flooding as a result of mountaintop removal mining.

In the second witness panel are: Paul Sloan, Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; Randy Huffman, Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Margaret Palmer, Laboratory Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland; and Maria Gunnoe, coalfield activist and winner of the prestigious 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize.