Posts tagged: Environmental Protection Agency

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Environmental Protection Agency


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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 Tom Waldo's blog posts
10 April 2014, 5:14 PM
Unpopular Alaskan mine project meets obstacles
Sockeye salmon in a river in the Bristol Bay, Alaska watershed. (Ben Knight / Trout Unlimited)

International mining firm Rio Tinto yesterday became the second out of three remaining investors to pull its funding from a much-maligned and controversial proposed gold and copper mine in wild and scenic Alaska, the Pebble Mine. Last September, Anglo American, a London-based mining company, cited financial risks and pulled out of the project. This leaves only the small Canadian mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals still backing the giant project.

Local communities, commercial and recreational fishermen, Native tribes, recreation and tourism industry groups, and concerned citizens from around the world have vehemently opposed the Pebble Mine, an enormous mining project proposed for southwest Alaska in the headwaters of Bristol Bay and its world-class salmon runs. The Bristol Bay watershed is rich with salmon, wildlife and salmon-based Alaska Native cultures and is home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

Earthjustice has joined with this broad coalition in waging a powerful campaign against this mine, to protect this treasured wilderness and all the people who depend on it. Earthjustice supporters have sent approximately 50,000 letters to the EPA opposing the Pebble Mine.

View David Guest's blog posts
09 April 2014, 7:18 AM
Big-Ag backpumping allows pollutant-laden waters into drinking water sources
Backpumping into Lake Okeechobee has polluted drinking water supplies. (Photo courtesy of Ronald Woan)

For more than 30 years, the big lake that looks like a hole on the Florida map at the top of the Everglades—714-square-mile Lake Okeechobee—has been wrecked by government-sanctioned pollution.

But we won a decision in federal court March 28 that, we hope, will put a stop to it. Florida’s biggest newspaper, The Tampa Bay Times, called the ruling “long-awaited clarity and common sense” and “a victory for public health and the environment.”

We agree.

View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
06 March 2014, 6:13 PM
Passes wrongheaded bill to stop EPA action on climate change
(USDA Photo)

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Polluter Protection Act (H.R. 3826). This bill stops the EPA from setting modest, sensible limits for climate change pollution and allows big polluters to continue to freely dump unlimited carbon pollution at the expense of public health.

When the EPA proposed its new rule to bring the worst of the worst climate polluters in this country under control and for the first time hold them accountable, more than 4 million public comments were submitted in support of this move. Yet, in its 144th vote this Congress against public health, the House turned against those public comments and voted to handcuff the EPA. In an era of climate change, it can be hard to understand why our Congress would pass a bill that flies in the face of overwhelming science and reason.

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View Jessica Hodge's blog posts
05 March 2014, 12:26 PM
Louisianans take action to find out what's happening with their dirty neighbors
Flaring at the Shell's refinery in Norco, Louisiana. (Photo courtesy of iWitness Pollution Map)

This guest blog post was written by Molly Brackin, with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade which works with communities overburdened by pollution.

Since 2000, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade has worked with communities throughout Louisiana that neighbor oil refineries and chemical plants.

Their mission is to support communities’ use of grassroots action to create informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution. The Bucket Brigade model is to equip communities most impacted by pollution with easy-to-use tools to monitor their environment and hold industry accountable.

Molly Brackin.

Molly Brackin is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, where she serves as the Monitoring & Evaluation Associate. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, where she specialized in hazard mitigation and disaster.

View Andrea Delgado's blog posts
24 February 2014, 5:09 PM
When it comes to farmworker protection, EPA proposal is out of touch
Farmworkers picking strawberries in Wayne County, NY. (Photo courtesy of Alina Diaz / Alianza Nacional de Campesinas)

After more than two decades, the Environmental Protection Agency announced revisions to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, an outdated standard intended to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure.

While advocates welcomed signs of life in the Obama administration’s progress to provide stronger protections from pesticides for approximately 2 million farmworkers, the proposal raises questions about the EPA’s understanding of the population the WPS is meant to serve.

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 February 2014, 1:16 PM
Spills happen when there’s no incentive to comply with environmental rules
The toxic coal ash turned the Dan River gray for 20 miles east of the North Carolina border. (Photo courtesy of Waterkeeper Alliance)

Although the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources found Duke Energy in gross violation of the federal Clean Water Act, the state agency placed so little value on public health that they were willing to settle for a pittance—a penny per ton of toxic coal ash stored at Duke’s two illegally polluting plants. To rub ash into the wound, the agency didn’t even require Duke to stop the flow of arsenic, cadmium, chromium and other toxic metals from the millions of tons of coal ash at the plants, much less clean up the pollution. The state was willing to accept $99,000 in settlement with the utility giant.

Duke Energy can spare this chump change. The utility just announced a 50 percent increase in corporate profits in 2013, amounting to $2.6 billion per year for a company already valued at $50 billion. Duke’s $99,000 penalty was nothing—it’s like one of us, earning $50,000 a year, getting fined $1.90. Barely amounting to a library fine, this is no deterrent for the likes of Duke.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
20 February 2014, 11:00 AM
EPA announces rulemaking for Worker Protection Standard
Letitia Vargas, Mario Vargas and Myra Vargas (from left) walk to a meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building in July of 2013. Myra Vargas is speaking to Alexis Guild, Farmworker Justice's Migrant Health Policy Analyst. (Photo by Matt Roth / Earthjustice)

When Mario Vargas showed up at the Washington, D.C., offices of representatives from his home state of Ohio in July, he shared stories from farmworkers who are getting sick from pesticides. Joined by his daughter and girlfriend, they made the rounds talking about how it feels to inhale pesticides while pregnant, how farmworkers don’t know what their basic rights are, and how many workers are afraid to tell the truth about what is really going on in the fields.

Today Vargas, 44, and other farmworker advocates cheered the news that the weak and outdated Worker Protection Standard, which sets agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, will finally be updated. The Environmental Protection Agency announced that the new proposal will enter the Federal Register in early March, which is when public comment officially begins.

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View David Guest's blog posts
11 February 2014, 4:48 PM
Just helping another state's waterways get as polluted as his
A blue heron flies over the Chesapeake Bay watershed at sunset. (Lone Wolf Photos / Shutterstock)

Let’s put this news item in the Yet-Another-Crazy-Florida-Thing-We-Swear-We-Didn’t-Make-Up file.

Florida, the state with water pollution so severe that multitudes of fish, dolphins, seabirds and manatees are washing up dead, has now taken bold legal action.

But it isn’t action to clean up Florida waters. No, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott have filed legal action to block pollution cleanup of Chesapeake Bay.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
11 February 2014, 2:20 PM
Suit seeks to make Army help protect the river and its species
The upper reaches of the San Pedro River's ecosystem. (Melanie Kay / Earthjustice)

Two endangered species that call the San Pedro River in Southern Arizona home—the Huachuca water umbel and southwestern willow flycatcher –should have their long-term survival guaranteed under the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, those species have waited in vain for that help while two federal agencies have dragged their feet.

A suit filed at the end of January by Earthjustice attorneys Melanie Kay and McCrystie Adams seeks to end that wait and compel the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca to coexist with the San Pedro and the plants and animals that are the original inhabitants of the valley.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
06 February 2014, 11:20 AM
Duke Energy dumps 8,000 pounds of arsenic into the Dan River
Aerial view of contamination of the Dan River. (Photo courtesy of Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins)

The EPA doesn’t need yet another reason to require the safe closure of the nation’s 1,070 coal ash ponds. But the massive leak of 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash from Duke Energy’s Dan River Power Station this week should set off a siren to wake our sleeping regulators.

Duke closed this North Carolina power plant in 2012, leaving its 58-year old, unlined coal ash pond containing about 100 million gallons of toxic ash open to the elements. The catastrophic spill should have been no surprise. The news comes just days after the EPA settled a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice and 11 other groups to finalize the first-ever federal protections from coal ash.

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