Posts tagged: Environmental Protection Agency

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Environmental Protection Agency


    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 Sam Edmondson's blog posts
02 May 2012, 10:46 AM
As asthma awareness month begins, ozone season looms
Smog makes some kids sing the blues when "School's Out" (the memorable Alice Cooper tune)

“School’s out for summer!”

When I was growing up, Alice Cooper’s 1972 hit usually infiltrated my head sometime around the beginning of May, looped incessantly, and hit a feverish crescendo in the few minutes before the final bell released us to summer break. Now, many years later, a very different line completes the couplet in my head.

“Ozone is a bummer!”

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
30 April 2012, 2:31 PM
Communities living in toxic legacy of lead-emitting facilities
A lead smelter in Missouri.
(Kbh3rd / Wikimedia)

We all know the danger that resides in lead-laden paint chips peeling off the walls of old homes. It’s well understood that lead is poisonous and, even in small doses, can harm brain function and cause learning disabilities in children. Lead also is associated with impairment of the cardiovascular, reproductive, kidney and immune systems of adults.

That's why a USA Today investigation documenting the high amounts of lead children are exposed to in several communities across the nation is so alarming. But more on that later.

In early April, Earthjustice filed a legal action on behalf of five national and local environmental groups seeking to clean up toxic lead pollution from facilities known as secondary lead smelters. These facilities, also known as battery recyclers, extract and process lead from scrap material and old batteries, exposing communities to lead, cadmium, arsenic and other toxic air pollutants. The case involves the amount of toxic air pollution going into the air in more than a dozen communities around the U.S.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
24 April 2012, 11:22 AM
Join more than 600,000 opposing industrial coal plant pollution
680,000 comments, being hand-delivered to the EPA. Earthjustice Legislative Representative Sarah Saylor (left) carries more than 50,000 comments from Earthjustice supporters.

When you've got food poisoning, what's the last thing on earth you want? A heaping plate of the offending dish, right? Well—new, dirty coal plants are to the planet what shrimp scampi is to a roiling belly.

Industrial carbon pollution from coal plants is making us sick, driving climate change, and intensifying the smog-filled air that triggers asthma attacks in children and seniors. But in late March, the Environmental Protection Agency aimed to settle stomachs when it released clean air standards to curb this dangerous pollution from new plants.

Already, 680,000 people have submitted public comments in support of these precedent-setting protections. The comments were delivered directly to the EPA earlier today, but do not fear if you haven't weighed in yet. We're just getting started.

Comments being delivered to the EPA.

Representatives from many groups, including Earthjustice, carry public comments to the EPA's headquarters. Warmer temperatures intensify smog pollution and its health impacts on Americans, including more asthma attacks in children and seniors.
16 Comments   /   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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
16 April 2012, 12:09 PM
GMOs and BPA get a kiss, while green chemistry gets the boot
Photo courtesy of healthserviceglasses (flickr)

EPA disses green chemistry program
Recently, the EPA pulled the rug out from under a green chemistry grant program without any explanation and little notice, reports Environmental Health News. The program, which planned to bring together experts in many fields to design a new generation of green chemicals that are less toxic to people and the environment, would provide $20-million towards the research of green chemistry. It was nixed just weeks before the deadline for proposals, a move that no doubt annoyed the researchers who worked for months on the program. Though the EPA says it may pick back up the program in the future, the recently burned scientists are, not surprisingly, skeptical as to whether that will ever actually happen.

FDA says BPA is A-Okay
The Food and Drug Administration won’t ban bisphenol-A (BPA) anytime soon, despite several studies that have linked the chemical’s exposure to a wide range of ailments, from obesity to cancer and even to changes in behavior, reports Grist. According to the FDA, there’s still not enough evidence to deem BPA a threat. And the fact that the chemical, which is found in up to 90 percent of the human population, may be potentially harmful doesn’t mean we should ban it. After all, what would soup companies, baby bottle manufacturers and other industries do without their precious BPA? It’s not like there are other alternatives out there that are safer and cost-effective, right? Wrong.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
30 March 2012, 1:16 AM
Fracking gags, exploding urine, climate change truths
More droughts are just one of the things we can expect with a climate-changed world. (photo by jczart)

Climate scientists warn that Earth’s tipping points are at the tipping point
Recently, climate scientists announced that this is the last decade to cut carbon emissions significantly or there’s no going back on global warming, reports Reuters. And they’re not just talking about freak heat waves and threats to Cherry Blossom festivals. Though estimates differ, the world’s temperature is expected to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if we keep doing “business as usual” in terms of emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases. That increase, in turn, is expected to melt polar ice sheets, which greatly assist in keeping the climate livable. Other tipping points that we’re close to crossing include the loss of rainforests and melting of permafrost—which both store vast amounts of carbon and could change from carbon sinks to carbon emitters if humanity doesn’t get its act together, and soon. In other words, it’s the end of the world as we know it. There’s no way to feel fine about that.

Pennsylvania doctors with fracking info get gagged
Fracking uses millions of gallons of toxic chemicals that could harm human health, but doctors in Pennsylvania aren’t allowed to tell their patients about them, reports Mother Jones. According to a new law that’s been deemed a gag rule by its detractors, though doctors in Pennsylvania are allowed to see information about fracking chemicals—unlike the general public in the rest of the U.S.—they can’t share any of that information with their patients, even those who have been exposed to a hazardous chemical from fracking. The new provision, which was quietly slipped in near the end of the debate about the law, is just another in a long line of favors given to the oil and gas drilling industry over the past few years. Others include a fracking exemption from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory and another exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act. It seems that, at least when it comes to fracking, the more secrets you have to hide, the more exemptions you crave. Find out how Earthjustice is working to uncover those secrets.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
22 March 2012, 11:42 AM
Gas price lies, “safe” fracking water, BPA bans
Dirty air, not eating all those chips, may cause obesity, so munch on! (Photo courtesy of loop_oh)

Forget Fritos: Air pollution may be making people fat
Sure, it’s got nothing on the much-hyped “Paleo Diet,” but a new theory that air pollution may be making us fat could provide one more bullet in the never-ending arsenal of dieting ticks and trips that people can use to lose weight. According to Discovery News, just as the oceans are becoming more acidic as they sequester more carbon dioxide, studies show that our blood becomes more acidic when we breathe in CO2-laden air, even just for a few weeks. But though higher acidity in the ocean means weaker coral reefs and shell-covered creatures, a drop in pH in our brains acts much differently by making appetite-related neurons fire more frequently, which could result in us eating more, sleeping less and, eventually, gaining more weight. Though the theory hasn’t yet been heavily tested, previous studies have shown that the issue of obesity goes far beyond cutting calories and exercising more. And, even if the theory doesn’t pan out, clean air is definitely tied to a whole host of other great health benefits, like not dying early, so take a deep breath!

History shows that “drill, baby, drill” mentality doesn’t lower gas prices
The commonly held notion that more domestic drilling leads to lower U.S. gas prices is completely false, reports the Associated Press, which came to the conclusion after analyzing more than three decades’ of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production. Though both political parties are guilty of using the "drill, baby, drill" mentality to link higher gas prices to an "unfriendly" domestic drilling policy, the facts tell an entirely different tale. For example, since February 2009 we’ve increased oil production by 15 percent (yes, during the Obama presidency, which is supposedly extremely unfriendly to domestic energy production), yet between 2009 and 2012 prices at the pump spiked by more than a dollar during that time. The reason, much to Americans’ dismay, is that since oil is a global commodity, neither the U.S. nor our president has much say in determining the price of gasoline. We do, however, have a say in how much gas we use, which means that the only real way to decrease the amount that we pay at the pump is to, simply, use less gas by driving more gas-efficient cars and taking public transit, to name just a few examples.

4 Comments   /   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 Sam Edmondson's blog posts
21 March 2012, 3:26 PM
New public survey shows broad support for clean air standards

Breathing isn’t just a physiological necessity, relegated to the unconscious functioning of our reptilian brains. It’s actually quite popular. Darn popular!

I imagine that’s so because not all breathing is created equal. There’s the satisfying lungful of sweet, clean air (I hope we have all had that experience). And there’s the cough-inducing, eye-watering, lung-busting inhalation of dirty air. Sadly, far too many people are intimately familiar with this latter experience—which may help to explain why clean air is so popular. It’s in short supply in a lot of places where people live and breathe.

Sixty-six percent of voters nationally strongly support action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to curb smog, mercury and other dangerous air pollution, according to new public opinion research released today.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>