Posts tagged: environmental justice

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

environmental justice


    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 Raviya Ismail's blog posts
19 June 2012, 2:38 AM
Edgar Mouton spent final years seeking health safeguards against PVC pollution
Edgar Mouton

Edgar Mouton lived much of his 76 years in Mossville, Louisiana, and for the past decade fought doggedly to obtain federal protections from the toxic pollution that pours into Mossville from the largest concentration of PVC and vinyl manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and a host of other hazardous industrial facilities. As a great-grandfather and leader of Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN), Mr. Mouton worked to prevent the rising rates of cancer, respiratory disease and other illnesses suffered by residents of the historic African American community in southwest Louisiana.

Sadly Mr. Mouton, passed away June 7 without the EPA fulfilling what it had once promised his community.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
04 June 2012, 11:28 AM
Stories and inspiration from the fight to end mountaintop removal mining

Over our years of working to stop mountaintop removal mining, we at Earthjustice have met so many brave and dedicated people fighting for their communities, mountains and waters. In 2010, Earthjustice launched our “Mountain Heroes” campaign to share their inspiring stories and show that this is not just a fight for the environment—it’s a fight for justice and a fight to save communities, families and Appalachian culture.

Through this campaign, we shared the stories of a few true heroes and created a public photo petition, asking the public to share their own stories—and tell us why they want to save mountains, protect clean water, and fight for justice in Appalachia.

What we got back was astounding and inspiring.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Lisa Evans's blog posts
20 April 2012, 10:54 AM
House panders to Big Coal, allowing risks of spills and poisoning
A cloud of highly toxic coal ash is seen blowing like a sandstorm straight at the homes on the Moapa River Reservation, one of many communities across the country at risk from unregulated coal ash dump sites. (Photo by Moapa Band of Paiutes)

The House’s embrace of David McKinley’s (R-WV) amendment and its attachment to the transportation bill is nothing short of a deadly betrayal of public health. This measure ensures that the nation’s dangerous and leaking coal ash ponds and landfills will continue to operate indefinitely without regulation or federal oversight. If it passes the Senate, it may be the most effective protection of Big Coal ever enacted by Congress.

Clearly such protection is at the expense of thousands of communities where toxic coal ash is dumped into drinking water, stacked high above towns, and blown into the lungs of children. The House has conveniently forgotten the largest toxic waste spill in U.S. history, which occurred in 2008 when a coal ash pond collapsed onto a riverside town in Kingston, TN, sweeping away houses and permanently destroying a community.

Instead of addressing the nationwide problem, the House amendment prevents the EPA from regulating coal ash and setting minimum standards for safe disposal. As a result, disposal of banana peels and other household trash would be more stringently regulated in the U.S. than the dumping of toxic ash.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
26 March 2012, 3:41 PM
Citizens vow to fight harder against mountaintop removal mining
Mountaintop removal mining

[Updated 4.6.12]   A federal district court judge overruled the Environmental Protection Agency's veto of the proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, a case in which Earthjustice and partners and clients in West Virginia were granted amicus curiae.

The court ruling came as heartbreaking news for our partners in West Virginia and across Appalachia, who have been fighting to protect their communities from this proposed mine (and mountaintop removal mining in general) in the courts for more than a decade. The Spruce No. 1 mine would be the largest mountaintop removal mine in West Virginia, and one the largest in all of Appalachia.

Like all mountaintop removal mines, it is likely to inflict a slew of health hazards on nearby communities, as well as shake their homes and cause costly property damage. The Spruce mine would also bury and destroy seven miles of vital streams and decimate more than 2,000 mountain acres, razing 3.5 square miles of mountaintop forests and dumping 110 million cubic yards of toxic mining waste into waters and valleys an area already suffering from the impacts of mountaintop removal mining.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 March 2012, 11:20 AM
Water is life, so let's keep our fight for clean water alive
One billion people around the world don't have access to clean, safe water. (Getty)

It’s World Water Day, a day that reminds us of our most valuable resource of all: clean water.

Some of us may not think twice about a glass of clean water, a swimmable lake, or a fishable river, but clean water is not an accident. All the world over, clean water is something that people and governments have to work hard to protect and deliver safely to populations. And it is a resource that much of the world’s population still does not have access to.

Here are some quick facts to put access to safe, clean water into perspective:

View Liz Judge's blog posts
28 February 2012, 10:19 AM
State may become first to ban high-altitude mountaintop removal mining
Tennessee mountains -- Image courtesy of EarthFirst

A bipartisan bill is coming up for a vote in the Tennessee state legislature tomorrow (Feb. 29) that would ban surface mining and mountaintop removal mining at altitudes above 2,000 feet in the state.

This legislation would ensure that the most scenic vistas are protected for residents and visitors instead of being razed.

The Tennessee Senate’s Energy and Environment Committee will vote on the bill, determining whether it makes its way to the whole state’s senate for full floor vote.If it passes, this will be the first and only mountaintop removal mining ban in any state in the U.S., setting a precedent for other Appalachian states and citizens who are coping with this abominable type of coal mining.

6 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
27 February 2012, 9:18 AM
Forty years after tragic sludge dam failure, the threat remains
Buffalo Creek dam failure aftermath

Yesterday, Feb. 26, was the 40th anniversary of the tragic Buffalo Creek coal sludge (also known as “slurry”) dam failure that killed 126 people and left thousands injured and homeless.

What is sludge? Before coal can be sold, it has to be processed. During the processing of coal, it’s washed in a chemical mixture to remove the dirt, rocks and clay. The resulting waste is a toxic brew of carcinogenic materials, chemicals and heavy metals that coal companies store in massive earthen dams near where they mine the coal. Coal companies dig out entire lakes to fill with this nasty stuff, and it just sits there either in perpetuity or until the dam breaks and explodes onto the communities below. Sludge dams pose a particularly looming danger in Appalachia, where they are built high up in the mountains, in perfect positioning to bring a black wave of death down to the towns and communities below them.

This is what happened in Buffalo Creek, West Virginia in 1972. Heavy rains came during that fateful week in late February, stressing the already weakly constructed sludge dams of the Pittston Coal Company.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
19 January 2012, 3:34 PM
The story of one woman's fight to save her homeland

To date, mountaintop removal coal mining has buried more than 2,500 miles of streams and leveled an area of Appalachia bigger than the state of Delaware. Perhaps even scarier than the outright wasteland it leaves are the health impacts it levels against the people of Appalachia. More than 19 peer-reviewed health studies detail these problems--from significantly higher rates of birth defects in areas of mountaintop removal mining to higher rates of major diseases like cancer and lung disease.

In spite of all of this, coal companies and their lobbyists are pushing for more than 100 new permits for mountaintop removal mine in Appalachia. President Obama and his administration showed a strong commitment to the law and science when the EPA vetoed one of the largest mountaintop removal mines ever proposed: Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia. But citizens throughout Appalachia are still left unprotected.

One of those residents is Donna Branham, of Mingo County, West Virginia. She’s already been through the nightmares of mountaintop removal mining, and now she could watch it happen to her daughter’s family as well.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 January 2012, 4:16 AM
The no-brainer decisions the president must make this year

President Obama won the White House on a platform of hope and change – promising an end to dirty corporate influence over our political system and a beginning to an era in which our energy choices lead us to a clean, sustainable future, or at least don’t kill us or make us sick.

So far, the president’s performance has been mixed – with some deliveries on the promise and some disappointments. His last year, whether in office or in his first term, will be crucial in righting his spotty record and making good on his campaign promises to the American people.

Leading up to his fourth year in office, and making sure the new year got off to a good start with supporters, he handed the country a solid. His EPA, led by Administrator Lisa Jackson, finalized a strong rule to protect Americans from mercury poisoning and toxic air pollution from power plants.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
21 December 2011, 12:02 PM
For many Americans, historic EPA protection is shining light
Marti Blake points out the window at her neighbor

"It's like hell. Living in hell," says Marti Blake, when asked about being neighbors with a coal-fired power plant. "It's filthy, it's dirty, it's noisy, it's unhealthy."

For the past 21 years, Blake has lived across the street from the Cheswick Generating Station in Springdale, PA. A family situation left her trying to find a place quickly, and a simple brick home in the small town only 20 minutes from Pittsburgh seemed fine.

"I've regretted that decision ever since, because I've felt sick for the last 20 years," says Blake, who is on medication for a slew of symptoms that include coughing, sinus infections and headaches. Blake attributes these symptoms to the dirty neighbor across the street. Who else in the neighborhood, after all, has a 750-foot tall smoke stack that is spewing out toxic smoke around the clock?

Marti Blake

A portrait of Marti Blake is paired with the reflection in her living room window.