Posts tagged: Department of Interior

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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 Marty Hayden's blog posts
16 February 2011, 10:38 AM
Amendments to funding bill target everything from wolves to water to health
Wolves are on the congressional hit list

House Republicans are using the oft-repeated refrain of “fiscal restraint” as their excuse for gutting several environmental initiatives that will put the public in harm’s way. But there simply is no excuse for hacking away at health protections that will leave our air and water dirtier and our children and seniors at risk.  It’s not hard to see their real agenda. In many cases their proposals are clearly designed to make it easier for some of America’s biggest polluters to dump their pollution on us rather than pay to dispose of it responsibly. 

House GOP’s Public Enemy Number 1: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The spending legislation introduced this week slashes the EPA budget by $3 billion and blocks the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. And in a symbolic dig against the White House, the bill also stymies President Barack Obama from replacing departing lead White House climate and energy advisor Carol Browner.
 
The spending plan also tries to block the EPA from fully implementing the Clean Water Act, while effectively letting major polluters foul our water. This will jeopardize drinking water for 117 million Americans and could leave millions of  acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams and rivers without Clean Water Act protections from pollution. But it doesn’t stop there.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:53 PM
Legislative amendments target air, water, public lands and wildlife

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health. 

Not since the darkest days of the Bush administration have we seen such an onslaught on the environment—and the hits are still coming. By mid-day today (Tues., Feb. 15), the list has grown to include attacks on a number of endangered species, including wolves and salmon, and on the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep lethal pollutants out of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Some amendments are outright handouts to our nation’s worst polluters.

The spending bill will fund the government so that it can continue operating after March 4, but first the Senate must pass the bill. Today, Pres. Barack Obama warned that he would veto the bill as constructed.

The following is a list of the most harmful provisions and amendments proposed so far:

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
11 January 2011, 5:20 PM
It's time to bring science and public interest into offshore drilling

If you add up all the indicting statements, conclusions and recommendations in President Obama’s oil spill commission report—released today—you’d think outlaws are running the oil industry under charter from federal regulators. Which is no surprise to us at Earthjustice.

Much of what the commission says is what we’ve been saying (in court, in Congress and in our public messaging) for many years: offshore drilling is too risky to be conducted the way our government has allowed. The process rejects science, embraces politics, ignores environmental calamity, and lets private business interests trump public interests. We can only applaud the commission’s recommendations for top-to-bottom change in how the industry approaches drilling and how the government regulates the industry.

We are particularly appreciative of the commission’s cautions and advisories about oil exploration in the icy waters of the Arctic’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Although the commission didn’t come right out and call for a moratorium on drilling those areas, its recommendations add up to virtually the same conclusion. Observes Earthjustice Vice President for Litigation Patti Goldman:

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
06 January 2011, 2:57 PM
Discount parks, fishy trees, banned bags
Light pollution across the U.S. Photo courtesy of NASA.

 Americans see the light on night bright cities
Approximately 300 counties, cities and towns are beginning to see the light on excessive light pollution by enacting so-called dark-sky legislation that's supported by treehuggers and army brats alike, reports USA Today. Light pollution doesn't just keep you up past your bedtime. Over the years, studies have accused light pollution of causing everything from animal disturbances to bungled military drills and increased air pollution, not to mention all that energy that's being wasted by keeping the lights on when nobody's home.

Labor Department buries Massey Energy mine
This week the Department of Labor dug up a long-forgotten enforcement tool to use against Massey Energy, a repeat-offender of mine safety regulations that made headlines last April when an explosion at its Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia killed 29 people. According to NPR, the Labor Department used a section of federal mining law known as "injunctive relief" to force a settlement against Massey's Freedom Mine #1 in Kentucky that will require the company to observe enhanced safety precautions, among other things. Check out Earthjustice's Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining campaign to find out how you can eliminate the need for companies like coal-mining companies like Massey in the first place.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 November 2010, 11:20 AM
Spotted owl habitat under threat in Oregon

Reporters speak of a story having legs, meaning that it is likely to continue over an extended period. Spotted owls have legs.

The story began in the late '80s, when it became evident that out-of-control logging in ancient forests in the Northwest was about to extinguish the owls. Earthjustice sued, and managed to achieve Endangered Species Act protection for the owls.

End of story? Not quite.
 

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View David Lawlor's blog posts
22 October 2010, 1:50 PM
Project will extract minerals at 1,600 meters below the ocean's surface

Following the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the idea of continuing deep water drilling sounded more than dubious. But, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar apparently found the idea perfectly sensible when he lifted the deep water drilling moratorium earlier this month, just weeks after the gushing BP well was finally shut down.

So, it hardly comes as much of a surprise that the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) similarly gave the thumbs up this week to a plan to mine minerals from the ocean floor off the island nation’s coast.

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View Buck Parker's blog posts
20 October 2010, 2:35 PM
Did BOEMRE miss the memo about relying on science?

Here's the latest on the Obama administration's approach to oil drilling in the Arctic seas.

In July, a court agreed with Earthjustice lawyers that a hastily approved federal oil development plan for the Chukchi Sea is illegal. The court said the Interior Department simply ignored gaps in scientific data about the natural areas and wildlife about to be disturbed by drilling rigs without making any attempt to determine whether the missing information might be important or could be obtained from other sources.

Interior and its Minerals Management Service (renamed to escape the stigma of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and now called the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement) readily admit that they don't know much about almost every species of sea bird, migratory water fowl, seals and whales, not to mention polar bears, that would be affected by oil and gas development in the Chukchi.

Rather than take the hint, however, Interior now takes the position that oil drilling should go forward anyway because they would have approved it regardless of the scientific data. Interior Sec. Salazar's recent directive that the department's decisions be based on the best science available, rather than political pressure, seems not to have reached BOEMRE's Alaska office. We'll help get the word to them.
 

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
13 October 2010, 2:36 PM
We want to know. Preferably before the next oil spill
Third-generation shrimp fisherman Clint Guidry. Credit: Matthew Preusch/Gulf Restoration Network

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazer lifted the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling and declared the Gulf of Mexico "open for business."

We presume he was talking to the folks at BP, Exxon, and Shell—not so much to shrimp fishermen like Clint Guidry.

Like his father and grandfather before him, the 62-year-old Guidry has worked in Louisiana's shrimp industry for most of his adult life. But he simply doesn't know what the future holds for the family business.

A lot depends on the chemicals used as so-called dispersants in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill this summer. Did the 1.8 million gallons of chemicals dumped into the Gulf of Mexico send toxic-coated oil droplets tumbling from the water's surface and into the same areas of the ocean where Guidry's catch feed and spawn? Will it make the ocean creatures sick? What about the people who eat Gulf-caught fish?

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
30 September 2010, 11:36 AM
Tough, new U.S. drilling regs will have no effect over Cuba's plans

News out of Cuba and the U.S., today, combine to create an interesting dilemma over the future of deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prodded by the disastrous BP oil spill, our country's Department of Interior today issued new regulations designed to force oil companies to operate under much more stringent requirements than BP was operating under when it's well blew out last April, leading to the worst spill in U.S. history. BP, whose well was 40 miles off the U.S. coastline, had no workable plan to handle such a spill, and its blowout prevention device failed. 

But, no matter how strict the U.S. gets, it has no power over drilling plans just announced by Cuba - in deepwater only 50 miles off the Florida keys in Cuban waters.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
02 September 2010, 2:32 PM
Senate must come back from recess and pass offshore oil reforms
An offshore oil plaftorm.

Today, an offshore oil production platform exploded into flames in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform that exploded is located just 50 miles west of the Deepwater Horizon site in what is considered shallow waters.

Fortunately, the 13 workers on the platform are alive—though one is reportedly injured. The workers, who went overboard to escape the flaming platform, were rescued in the water with special emergency flotation suits.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the early photos, which are far too similar to the images still fresh in our minds from the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

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