Posts tagged: environmental justice

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environmental justice


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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 Liz Judge's blog posts
06 April 2011, 3:14 PM
Squashes attempts to favor big corporate polluters over American citizens
Sen. James Inhofe

The Senate just voted to reject four—count 'em 1-2-3-4—bad amendments that would strangle and block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from being able to limit dangerous carbon dioxide pollution from the nation's biggest polluters.

These Dirty Air Acts went down in the upper chamber today because enough of the Senate still obviously believes that the well-being, future and health of Americans are more important than corporate special interests.

The amendments were offered on an unrelated small business innovation bill (S.493) by Sens. Rockefeller (S.AMDT.215), McConnell and Inhofe (S.AMDT.183), Baucus (S.AMDT.236), and Stabenow (S.AMDT.265).

Read Earthjustice's statement on today's Senate win for Americans, our health, and our future.

Now that the Senate has secured a victory for all Americans who breathe and whose businesses, families, and livelihood depend on a secure future for this country, eyes turn to the House, which is debating a Dirty Air Act of its own at this very moment.

View Emily Greenlee's blog posts
05 April 2011, 3:17 PM
Coal ash dumps are mostly in low-income communities
Coal ash landfill in Tennessee

From South Carolina to Alabama and all across the country, coal ash—which can leach dangerous toxic chemicals like arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, and selenium into groundwater—is often stockpiled in low-income communities.

Coal ash presents risks of both catastrophic spills, like the 2008 TVA coal ash disaster, and more common dangers, like pollution of groundwater used for human consumption. Poor ash disposal practices can cause cancer, neurological damage and other ailments in people unfortunate enough to live near impoundments or unlined landfills.

Who are the unlucky Americans facing the threat of coal ash in their communities?

View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
29 March 2011, 2:06 PM
The Fisk Power Plant in Chicago is the focus of a local political battle
The Fisk Power Plant in Chicago : Photo by swanksalot/flickr

When combined, the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants are the largest source of pollution in Chicago, and local residents have been fighting for years for stronger health controls from these plants.

Recently, activists with the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO)made a huge step forward when they convinced a local politician to support stronger regulations on the plant. After nine months of constant pressure from the group, Alderman Daniel Solis decided to switch from backing coal to supporting Chicago's new Clean Power Ordinance. The law would regulate particulate and carbon dioxide emissions from all coal-fired power plants operating in Chicago. WGN TV in Chicago interviewed activists, politicians and power plant officials to produce this report on how the Fisk Power station is affecting both reisdent's health and an upcoming election.

Our kudos to PERRO for their pressure on Alderman Solis. Keep up the great work in the fight for the Right to Breathe.

View Sarah Jackson's blog posts
24 March 2011, 3:27 PM
Advocates and Earthjustice want more from EPA Administrator in Central Valley

When Bush II’s Head of EPA came to California’s Central Valley, he tried to hold secret meetings with industry and was met with a protest from clean air advocates angered by EPA’s long history of ignoring the Valley’s severe public health and environmental justice problems in favor of big business interests.

Yesterday, President Obama’s EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, came to the Valley to meet with the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, a coalition of environmental, public health, and environmental justice organizations and community members fighting to improve air quality and social justice in an area dubbed “the Appalachia of the West.”

And even though her visit was a historic step in the fight to elevate the Valley’s dire social and environmental woes to the national stage, Jackson, too, was met with protest.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Brian Smith's blog posts
16 March 2011, 11:23 AM
Great news on many fronts

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new air standard that will finally reduce mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollutants from power plants.

This is great news for every American who breathes, and I’ve yet to meet one who doesn’t.

This new standard came under a court-ordered deadline thanks to Earthjustice litigation after a Bush administration proposal to deal with the problem failed to meet legal muster.

A part of this story you may not have heard about is how many jobs will be produced in cleaning up mostly older power plants.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
16 March 2011, 10:52 AM
Protections will save 17,000 lives every year, protect children's health
Administrator Lisa Jackson and students this morning. Photo: EPA.gov

Two decades ago, Congress promised the American public major reductions of the most dangerous air pollutants—toxics such as mercury, arsenic and lead that cause major health problems and can lead even to premature death. Today, after a long struggle in which Earthjustice proudly participated, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took historic action to clean up the worst of all toxic air offenders: coal-fired power plants.

These unrivaled sources of toxic air pollution—which damage our lungs and hearts, threaten the health and well-being of children across the U.S., and contribute to the toxic burden shouldered by low-income and communities of color—have never been required to limit their emissions of toxic air. Until now.

At a press conference this morning, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced her agency’s new health protections against these dangerous pollution sources and signed the proposal flanked by kids from a local elementary school in S.W. Washington, D.C. Cleaning up coal-fired power plants will create a better, cleaner future for these and other kids across the country. One particularly notable example: when the health protections take effect in 2016, the EPA estimates that as many as 17,000 lives will be saved… every year.

11 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 February 2011, 4:15 PM
House lawmakers continue to slash essential protections for the American public

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

Once the amendments are voted on and settled, the whole House will cast a final vote on the entire bill package with all the passed amendments. Then the Senate takes its turn, crafting a spending bill of its own. The two chambers must then confer and agree on one bill that funds the federal government by March 4 -- or the government must shut down until its spending and funding sources are settled.

The amendments that the House is currently considering are wide-ranging. They aim to cut government spending by cutting the funding streams of hundreds of government programs. So, instead of ending those programs through legislation and appropriate voting, many members of the House are seeking to delete the programs by wiping out the funds that keep them going.

View Abby Rubinson's blog posts
18 February 2011, 11:02 AM
Earthjustice took part in 18-year battle for justice
Cofan Indian leader Emergildo Criollo whose Amazonian homeland was impacted by Chevron (Image courtesy of Greg Palast)

On Monday, a court in Ecuador told Chevron it owes $8 billion for environmental contamination in the Amazon.

This is Ecuador, where oil companies wield economic power and political influence. Yet, this didn’t cloud the court’s independent eye when faced with the facts of uncovered toxic waste pits in the pristine Amazon.

This is Chevron, a private, American corporation. Yet this didn’t stop the Ecuadorian court from making Chevron, a foreign company, pay for 26 years of environmental damage in Ecuador.

This is $8 billion dollars. And the court made it clear that Chevron was at fault, so Chevron must pay.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
18 February 2011, 5:00 AM
Breathing rights, Windy City soot, climate change meddling
Drop that soda! It may give you cancer. Photo courtesy of fimoculous.

Soft drinks' light hue may have a dark side
Soft drinks have been under heavy scrutiny lately for their use of aspartame, a fake sweetener that, though calorie-free, may just also give you cancer. Unfortunately, that's not the only carcinogen found in pop (or soda, if you're the coastal type). A recent Center for Science in the Public Interest report unveiled that achieving that caramel brown hue seen in most beverages involves heating a chemical soup of ingredients that creates a carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole, reports Grist. Add that to the fact that most pop is found in BPA-laden aluminum cans and you just may want to switch to water—the kind from the tap, of course

Americans confirm that they love breathing
Americans are having a love affair with breathing, according to a recent American Lung Association study. Despite Republicans' best efforts to prove otherwise, the public wants the EPA to clean up our air and also wants Congress to butt out of the process, reports Grist. And it's not just Democrats who feel this way. Independents and even a majority of Republicans support strengthening air quality standards. That's why Earthjustice is working hard to defend our clean air standards. Because everyone has a right to breathe

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
17 February 2011, 4:34 PM
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) leads 32 other reps in call for clean air

The U.S. House of Representatives is a dark place right now. Many of its Republican members are maniacally focused on dismantling scores of health and environmental protections, using a budget bill to stowaway anti-environmental amendments that would never get passed on their own.

As Earthjustice’s Patti Goldman quipped: “Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants.” Indeed, at risk is 40 years of environmental progress, including great strides in reducing harmful air pollution.

Thankfully, the House isn’t all dark. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)—along with 32 of his colleagues—sent a letter yesterday to EPA chief Lisa Jackson that calls for the strongest possible health protections against the toxic air pollution generated by industrial boilers. These boilers are used as on-site power plants at paper mills, chemical plants, oil refineries and other large industrial facilities. But they don’t just create heat and electricity to power the facilities’ operations… they also create air emissions full of mercury, lead, cancer-causing dioxins and soot.