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 Raviya Ismail's blog posts
25 June 2009, 11:31 AM
 

Last week the U.S. Senate moved forward on important legislation that ensures our streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands remain clean and safe. By a vote of 12-7, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced a compromise version of the Clean Water Restoration Act, important legislation that reinforces the scope of the Clean Water Act by guaranteeing that our nation's waterways are clean to swim and fish in and safe to drink.

While Earthjustice supports the original version of the bill—as introduced in April by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and 23 other Senators—we appreciate the work the Committee did to advance the legislation, and will continue to work with the Committee and the rest of Congress to pass the strongest possible bill.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
27 May 2009, 5:08 PM
 

Road construction in national forests can harm fish and wildlife habitats while polluting local lakes, rivers, and streams. The Roadless Area Conservation Rule—which was made on the basis of extensive citizen input—protects 58.5 million acres of national forest from such harmful building. I will be proud to support and defend it.

—Senator Barack Obama, 2008

Both as a senator and as a candidate for the White House, President Obama was forthright in his support for the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protects nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands.

The rule was established by President Bill Clinton in 2001, but severely undercut by the Bush administration—freezing its implementation, not defending it against industry court challenges, finally effectively repealing it by making it a state-by-state option that left roadless areas vulnerable to local political pressure.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
23 May 2009, 11:17 AM
 

The debate over climate change legislation is heating up. And as members of Congress grapple with which position to take, they'll be bombarded with opinions from many different sides of the debate.

But last week, as members of Congress arrived at work in the morning and left in the evening, they were greeted by the silent stares of one important (albeit non-voting) constituency: the plants and animals likely to be impacted by rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and other impacts of climate change.

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View Bill Walker's blog posts
22 April 2009, 1:20 AM
Join Earthjustice's campaign to call for strong efficiency standards

One of President Obama's first acts was to call for a revolution in energy efficiency. Simply by making our appliances and electronics use less energy, Americans can save money, create jobs and fight global warming. Efficiency is the fastest, cleanest and cheapest energy source.

It's not just about changing light bulbs. It's about setting benchmarks to make all the products we use more efficient. Adopting strong national energy efficiency standards could save consumers $16 billion a year in utility bills by 2030.

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View Sean Babington's blog posts
07 April 2009, 4:34 PM
 

Spring is in the air in Washington, DC and hope seems to permeate every corner of this storied city. Along with the promise of longer days and warmer weather, there's hope that the new congress and administration can help us return to a true participatory democracy. As a member of Earthjustice's legislative team, my biggest hope is that we're witnessing the dawn of a new era when it comes to environmental policy.

The promise of this new era was on full display in the East Room of the White House last week as President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 into law. This bill -- the most significant land-preservation legislation in a decade -- protects over two million acres of wilderness and is composed of dozens of wildly popular conservation measures.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
03 April 2009, 9:45 AM
 

On February 17, Earthjustice called on Congress to introduce and pass legislation that would fix a glaring loophole punched in the Clean Water Act during the Bush years. The Supreme Court, with Bush administration backing, held that only "navigable" waterways could enjoy protections of this law.

Today, I am glad to report, the Clean Water Restoration Act has been introduced by Senators Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin and 20 other pro-clean water senators in the 111th Congress. The new bill would protect ALL waters of the United States, regardless of whether one could paddle a dinghy down the stream or not.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
31 March 2009, 1:23 PM
 

After a break…the hearing resumed with testimony from Renee Victoria Hoyos, executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, and from Dr. Avner Vengosh, professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke University.

During questions from members of the committee (specifically Rep. Johnson), regarding particulate matter pollution, Dr. Vengosh said: "Inhalation of ash would definitely increase the health risk. Given the climate condition, and we had a lot of rainfall in the south until now, there hasn't been formation of particulate matter as of yet...For the current situation there hasn't been formation of dust that could affect health. However this could be changing very soon."

While breathing the coal ash dust might not pose an immediate threat, as the weather warms up and the rainfall dries out, coal ash dust could be a very serious problem.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
31 March 2009, 11:59 AM
 

Today's congressional hearing on the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash spill from last December in Harriman, TN, started out with opening remarks from Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) who said that it’s been "nearly a decade" since this committee held oversight hearings on the Tennessee Valley Authority. She also said the committee maybe plans to continue TVA oversight now every 30 to 60 days.

Minority committee leader Rep. John Boozman from Arkansas said, "New laws will not replace homes…and family treasures," but bet they will certainly do much to make sure that others who live near these coal ash sites don't have to lose their homes or valuable family treasures and heirlooms in another preventable spill.

Rep. Lincoln Davis, whose district is where the TVA spill happened, offered strong words for the committee, saying, "My constituents and the land they live on must be made whole again."

The Republicans seem to be pushing their talking points aggressively: while this particular spill is bad, this doesn't mean coal is bad and there shouldn't be talk of stopping coal burning. It seems like they're not quite able to see the forest for the trees, and despite the nature of this hearing (to find out what went wrong and how it can be prevented) some members just can't resist a small shot at those groups fighting for a cleaner environment.

Sarah McCoin, a Harriman, TN, resident said: "Harriman is now a toxic wasteland, and we urge that guidelines and laws are in place to make sure that this never happens again... residents are scared if they are being exposed... we are a community that hunts fishes and swims in the rivers and we need to be ensured that it is safe to be in the river... Harriman is home to people who rely on the fish for their meals... too many residents are experiencing respiratory problems... we desperately need to have testing for our community to find out if our children are being poisoned…we have been neglected. There are people who have been satisfied but there are many are not."

Strong words from someone who is living in and near this tragedy. Committee is on a break now for a floor vote. More to come later.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
31 March 2009, 9:31 AM
 

You can do a lot in 100 days. But apparently if you're the Tennessee Valley Authority and you spilled a billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory River and surrounding communities, cleaning up your mess isn't one of them.

You'll recall that just three days before Christmas in 2008, a coal ash dump broke, spilling out 1 billion gallons of toxic-laden coal ash over 300 acres, finding its way into nearby streams and creeks, damaging over a dozen homes and putting an entire community at risk.

Well, April 1 is the 100th day since that spill. And while much has been accomplished and the important issue of coal ash disposal reached the front pages of many newspapers, there's still much left to be done to control and regulate this toxic waste.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 September 2008, 11:38 AM
 

On Wednesday, Congressman John Shadegg (R-Arizona) attacked Earthjustice in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and called on Congress to prevent environmental organizations from suing to prevent expansive offshore oil drilling. Here is the response from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen.

Congressman Shadegg's misguided opinion of environmental laws is unfortunate, yet not entirely unexpected. His recent introduction last week of a bill that authorizes the President or his designee to "waive any legal requirements to a covered energy project" (H.R. 6887) is perhaps the biggest insult to the millions of American who depend on these laws to ensure clean air, clean water and protections for our lands, oceans and environment.

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