Posts tagged: Department of Interior

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Department of Interior


    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 Kari Birdseye's blog posts
24 March 2014, 8:10 AM
What we have learned (not much) since the Exxon Valdez oil spill
The Exxon Valdez off the coast of Alaska. (NASA Photo)

Tragedy struck Prince William Sound in Alaska 25 years ago today when the Exxon Valdez ran aground, rupturing its hull and pouring nearly 11 million gallons of oil into the sound’s pristine waters.

The effects of that oil spill haunt the remote region to this day. Oil remains trapped between and under the boulders on beaches in the Gulf of Alaska. And thousands of gallons of Exxon Valdez oil lurk in beach sediments—still toxic and harmful to marine life.

Some 250,000 seabirds, nearly 3,000 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles and up to 22 killer whales were killed in the aftermath of the spill. Less than half of the monitored wildlife populations in the region are considered recovered to their pre-oil poisoning numbers.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
24 January 2014, 11:17 AM
Drought, diversions threaten Colorado, San Pedro and other rivers
The now-dry Colorado River delta branches into the Baja / Sonoran Desert, only 5 miles north of the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. (Pete McBride / USGS)

We’re less than a month in, but 2014 is already shaping up to be a tough year for rivers. Across the nation, from West Virginia to California, the headlines have been bleak. In the Rocky Mountain region, we’re gearing up for a long year defending the Colorado and San Pedro rivers.

Following recognition as America’s most endangered river in 2013, the Colorado River has become known nationwide for the unsustainable balance that exists between increasing diversions and declining flows. Much of the West has been built on a foundation of Colorado River water and millions of people in communities throughout the region depend on it on a daily basis. On-going regional drought and continued growth are now finally forcing water supply managers to accept that business as usual is no longer tenable and changes are coming to the basin.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Erik Grafe's blog posts
22 January 2014, 5:52 PM
Court denies offshore oil lease in the Chukchi Sea for the second time
A beluga whale surfaces in the Chukchi Sea. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

A court gave the Arctic great news today. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Department of the Interior violated the law when it sold offshore oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska, including the leases on which Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill. This is the second time a court has ruled against the Department’s decision to open this remarkable sea to offshore drilling.

The Court said the Department made arbitrary assumptions about development that may have low-balled the potential environmental impacts of the sale in violation of a bedrock environmental law and sent the decision back for the agency to reconsider.

The agency must now revise its analysis, disclose the full potential impacts of oil development in this fragile but dangerous environment, and reassess whether to allow oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

This is once again an opportunity to send a loud and clear message to the Obama administration—going to extremes to extract fossil fuels from such a fragile, important habitat and culturally rich area just doesn’t make sense. The Chukchi Sea is part of America’s Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. It is home to iconic species such as polar bears, walrus, beluga whales, bowhead whales, and seals. It is also home to vibrant Alaska Native communities that have depended for millennia on the ocean for their subsistence way of life.

45 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
17 January 2014, 2:08 PM
Seven wolves dead as Earthjustice seeks restraining order
Two members of Idaho's Golden wolf pack, which is targeted for extermination. (Hobbit Hill Films LLC)

Despite enacting the world’s first and best endangered species law, our hatred toward the wolf continues to loom large in some parts of this country. Consider Idaho, where the wolf lost its endangered species listing in 2011 and faces hostile measures.

During the past two weeks, Earthjustice has been in court asking a federal judge to halt Idaho's unprecedented program to kill two wolf packs deep within the largest forested wilderness area in the lower-48 states. These wolves live on federal land, miles and miles away from ranches and civilization. As of Friday, seven had been killed by a hunter-trapper hired by the state.

74 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 January 2014, 12:17 PM
Pennsylvania Supreme Court latest to uphold municipal rights
A sign indicates the growing tension between agricultural communities and gas companies. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

In mid-December the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Act 13 is unconstitutional. This is a law that allowed state government to override local communities’ zoning decisions to limit hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The decision stems from a lawsuit by seven Pennsylvania municipalities, a doctor and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. Earthjustice submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, representing 22 organizations, including Marcellus Protest, Lehigh Valley Gas Truth and Berks Gas Truth.

Other state courts are facing this issue, too. Earlier in 2013, two New York state courts ruled in favor of towns that have limited industrial gas development through local zoning. Earthjustice is representing the Town of Dryden, one of the New York towns. The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a similar case, in which Earthjustice submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of health professionals.

7 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
18 October 2013, 1:37 PM
Action prevents development leases in Utah's red rock country
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah. The park is known for its impressive geological wonders. (Darren J. Bradley / Shutterstock)

It is rewarding to successfully wrap-up a case. This can be especially true when our work protects special places, preserving them for future generations. It is a pleasure to be able to point at a map and say, “Those are the places that were saved.”

149 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
03 October 2013, 9:39 AM
Brilliant lawyer, fierce defender of Earth, man of great wit

(UPDATE: A memorial for Phillip Berry will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at Shiloh Church, 3295 School St., Oakland, CA.)

The Earth has lost one of its greatest defenders, Phillip Berry, a founder of Earthjustice and former president of The Sierra Club. He died early Sunday.

Berry joined the club in 1950 when he was only 13 and the club had but 5,000 members. He came of age along with the environmental movement and played a guiding role as the club grew to its current membership of 2.3 million supporters.

It was Berry who saw the growing potential for using the law in environmental defense and helped start the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, which later became Earthjustice, recalled Fred Fisher, a co-founder of the defense fund and its chair for many years.

7 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Patti Goldman's blog posts
19 July 2013, 11:28 AM
The song and sights of nature evoke pride for the work of Earthjustice
Paddling down the Colorado River. (Richard Kirst)

This is my first day back in the office after a week rafting and hiking in the Grand Canyon, a week spent marveling at the canyon’s majesty and trying to grasp its lessons of the earth’s history. The canyon wren serenaded us each day, and cicadas and fluttering bats each night. We floated through layers of time, eventually reaching Pre-Cambrian schist and granite, the bowels of the earth. As we climbed out and heard a cacophony of languages spoken, it gave meaning to Ken Burns’ depiction of our national parks as our Louvre, our contribution to civilization.

The vistas are awe-inspiring. Helped by the monsoon rains and Grand Canyon winds, we could see rock layers on the opposite rim. Earthjustice is working to keep it that way.

The Grand Canyon is 1 mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. (Richard Kirst)

The Grand Canyon is 1 mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. (Richard Kirst)
View Holly Harris's blog posts
10 April 2013, 12:30 PM
Big Oil company won't drill in 2014, following Shell's lead
The Arctic is home to a rich variety of marine life, such as beluga whales. Chukchi Sea, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

The Arctic Ocean got a reprieve and Big Oil got its latest reality check, today, when ConocoPhillips admitted it's not ready to drill in the Arctic Ocean. After Shell’s summer of accidents and near-misses, a blistering report from the Department of Interior, and now ConocoPhillips’ admission, it is time for the Obama administration to recognize our country’s Arctic offshore oil and gas program was premature. The administration’s “all of the above” energy policy is ignoring the uniqueness of the Arctic region and failing to appreciate the harsh conditions Big Oil will have to be able to endure to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
22 March 2013, 7:27 PM
And ConocoPhillips eager to drill in the Arctic Ocean

Earthjustice received some superb video today from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, of Shell’s beat up Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, as it was lifted onto a huge dry haul ship to be carried to Asia for repairs:

This comes on the heels of a report from the Department of Interior, which summarized  a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season and was highly critical of the oil giant’s operations.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>