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
14 April 2011, 12:15 PM
Some House Republicans want to delay life-saving health protections
Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY)

Today, another indication comes that some members of Congress don't breathe the same air as their constituents. Politico is reporting (subs. req'd) that House Republicans will soon introduce legislation to delay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to reduce the amount of cancer-causing, asthma-inducing, premature death-dealing pollutants in the air we all breathe—some congresspersons excepted, apparently.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, was crystal clear about motives: "The objective is to delay the implementation of these regulations."

The health protections that House Republicans are trying to delay, which would finally clean up some of the nation's biggest toxic polluters—coal plants, industrial boilers and cement kilns—are already more than a decade late. In that time, unregulated pollution from these facilities has damaged our environment and made people sick. And what Whitfield didn't mention to reporters is that delaying these health protections further will lead to as many as 25,000 premature deaths… every year.

Here's a local yardstick: 25,000 people is nearly the number of students currently attending the University of Kentucky, Rep. Whitfield's alma mater.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
12 April 2011, 4:21 PM
Former Republican senator defends the Clean Air Act

Clean air isn't a partisan issue, although that's admittedly easy to forget if you're following the ongoing congressional clash over clean air protections (which sometimes seems as wide as the gap between the Grand Canyon's north and south rims). The American public certainly isn't so divided. A large majority—which includes citizens who identify as Republican, Democrat and independent voters—wants clean air health protections.

A recent op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune serves as a good reminder that clean air is important no matter which side of the political divide you happen to walk on. In the Star-Tribune piece, David Durenberger, a former Republican U.S. Senator who voted in 1990 along with 88 of his colleagues to pass strong amendments to the Clean Air Act, refers to the Act as "one of the great public-health achievements of American history—especially for kids."

Indeed, President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law in 1970 with strong bipartisan support. And the amendments to which Durenberger lent his support in 1990 were similarly popular. These cooperative efforts between our elected Democratic and Republican leaders exemplify good governing and an accomplishment that has made the lives of all Americans better.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
12 April 2011, 8:39 AM
Their message: delays on coal ash regulations are simply unacceptable!
Tennessee coal ash spill 2008. Photo courtesy United Mountain Defense.

Members of Congress are going to hear from coal ash activists this week. But it’s going to be more than just phone calls and emails; 45 citizens from nine states are flying to Washington D.C.  to tell their coal ash stories to elected representatives and administration officials.

It’s been nearly a year since the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the nation’s first federal standard for coal ash ponds and dumps. Their two-option plan would either regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste, ensuring strong protections and monitoring requirements, or regulate it as non-hazardous waste, leaving discretion up to the states and endangering the drinking water supplies for thousands of communities near these toxic dumps.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
11 April 2011, 3:10 PM
Decade-long effort to improve life in Port Arthur wins Kelley the "Green Nobel"
Hilton Kelley in Port Arthur, TX. Photo: Goldman Prize

Port Arthur, Texas is home to a high density of oil refineries, chemical plants and hazardous waste facilities that have made the Gulf Coast city one of the most polluted in America. Asthma and cancer rates in the largely African-American neighborhood known as West Side—which sits at the fenceline of Port Arthur's heavy industry—are among the highest in the state.

But thankfully, Port Arthur is also home to Hilton Kelley, a force-of-nature environmental justice advocate whose tireless efforts in his community have reduced the toxic burden that he and his neighbors bear. Kelley's inspirational work earned him a 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize, which every year goes to six outstanding grassroots environmental heroes (one from every inhabited continent). Mr. Kelley, alongside the five other recipients, will receive the North American award at a ceremony in San Francisco later today.

The 50-year-old Kelley was born in Port Arthur but left in 1979 to pursue a career as a stuntman and actor in television and film. On a visit home in 2000, Kelley was shocked by the decline his hometown was experiencing—though Port Arthur had faced poverty and air pollution in his youth, the prevalence of cancer and respiratory illness, crime and economic hardship he saw was devastating. Resolved to help his community, Kelley returned home and learned all he could about industrial air pollution—and how to stop it.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
08 April 2011, 3:09 PM
Affordable, effective technology exists to make our air safer to breathe

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed last month to clean up the toxic air emissions of coal-fired power plants, it wasn't a surprise. The date actually had been set for about a year, thanks to a court-ordered deadline won by Earthjustice and other groups. And for years prior to that deadline, a back-and-forth legal battle raged between a coalition of environmental and public health organizations—with Earthjustice in a leading role—and the coal-fired power industry's lobbyists and political cronies.

In fact, the effort to clean up power plants' emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxics could legally drink a beer if it were a person. The seed of that effort was planted by Congress 21 years ago in amendments to the Clean Air Act.

So, don't believe the protestations from some sectors of the power industry that they can't possibly comply with these important health protections in time. These health protections have been coming to town for many, many years and would've arrived much sooner had the intransigence of industry not delayed them time and again.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
08 April 2011, 1:22 PM
Tell Mr. Boehner and his House majority: "Hell No You Can't!"
House Speaker John Boehner

[Update: Amid hurried negotiations late Friday to avoid a government shutdown, House sources indicated that a possible deal has been reached to prevent weakening the government's regulation of mountaintop removal mining and climate change emissions. The uncertainty of this deal makes it all the more important for citizens to contact the White House and their congressional representatives to demand hands off of the Environmental Protection Agency.]

We've all seen the reports that say what is carrying our federal government quickly toward a total shutdown is not a difference over spending cuts but rather some costly ugly ideological demands by House leadership. First, we heard they were demanding blocks on clean air protections, and now we are hearing that a rider making mountaintop removal mining easier may be at the center of this political bargain.

If this is true, House leadership has managed to sink to an even lower level, by trying to use the innocent people, mountains and waters of Appalachia as their political bargaining chip -- just so the leadership can tell an extreme faction of the party that they secured a political "win."

Using this budget negotiations process as a way to help coal companies blow up mountains and dump their toxic waste into Appalachian streams and water supplies is an abomination. The White House and the Senate must not even consider sacrificing the people of Appalachia and their mountains and waterways for this political deal.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
07 April 2011, 4:21 PM
New report highlights prevalence, cost of asthma and the need for clean air
Photo: Chris Jordan/Earthjustice

People who suffer from asthma often say an attack feels like breathing through a pool of water or with a pillow covering their face. Unfortunately, millions of Americans know all too well what that's like.

In the United States, asthma is a bona fide public health epidemic: 17 million adults and 7 million children suffer from the disease. Every year, our society pays in excess of $53 billion to treat it. Millions of asthmatics, including hundreds of thousands of kids, make visits to the emergency room for medical attention. And in thousands of severe cases, people die.

The scope of this epidemic, broken down by state, is laid out in a report released yesterday by Health Care Without Harm, The National Association of School Nurses, and The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. The report notes that environmental triggers like air pollution can cause and exacerbate asthma, so it's critically important that we defend existing clean air protections and work for new ones.

No argument here, but many of our elected leaders in Congress apparently don't agree.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
07 April 2011, 11:04 AM
Steeped in Tea Bag politics, House leaders are willing to sacrifice clean air
House Speaker John Boehner

As the threat of a total federal government shutdown hangs over the country, leaders in Congress and the White House continue eleventh-hour emergency negotiations to reach a compromise before time runs out on keeping our government funded and averting a costly and potentially disastrous government shutdown.

According to press reports this morning, the thing holding up any deal—and what will cause a shutdown if it happens—is not the dollar figure of budget cuts but the forcefulness of Republicans to use this budget bill as a vehicle to carry two unrelated political demands: blocks on clean air protections and reproductive rights for women..

“The two main issues holding this matter up are the choice of women, reproductive rights, and clean air,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told The Hill this morning. “These matters have no place in a budget bill.”

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
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 Jared Saylor's blog posts
05 April 2011, 12:55 PM
New ads in the D.C. region target attacks on Clean Air Act protections

House GOP members have been attacking clean air standards by pumping the stalled budget bill up with “riders” that remove the agency’s ability to clean up mercury, dioxins, arsenic and a host of other toxic chemicals from power plants, cement kilns, incinerators and the like.

But last week, a group called American Family Voices ran some compelling ads in the Washington, D.C. region targeting the value of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts and the benefits of the Clean Air Act to get this pollution out of our lungs and out of the lungs of our children.

Here’s the ad: