Posts tagged: 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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
04 March 2011, 9:49 AM
LA biking bonanza, radioactive water supplies, Republican foam parties
Walmart recently put the kibosh on allowing flame retardants in any of its products. Photo courtesy of samantha celera.

Walmart blazes trail in banning flame retardants
Fed up with feds dragging their heals on banning a controversial flame retardant, retail giant Walmart recently enacted its own ban, reports the Washington Post. Known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, this class of chemicals is found in everything from pet supplies to furniture and electronics, and has been linked to liver, thyroid and reproductive problems. Though the Environmental Protection Agency has listed PBDEs as a "chemical of concern," it has yet to ban them. Walmart may not be the greenest of companies, but its latest move is testament that it plans to uphold the second half of its motto, "Save Money. Live Better."

Bike lanes to take over Los Angeles
Spurned by an incident last year where a cab driver's rude behavior caused him to fall off of his bike and break his elbow, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently signed legislation to implement a bicycle master plan that calls for the creation of 1,680 miles of interconnected bike lanes, reports Grist. The plan, which will start with the addition of 100 miles of new lanes per year over the next five years, will be funded in part from a half-cent sales tax increase. The move is sure to help green LA's notoriousl image as a city full of bumper-to-bumper traffic and smoggy air.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 March 2011, 2:45 PM
Reversing commonsense progress is the new favorite pastime of House leaders
Rep. Fred Upton

"Doh!" should be the motto of the new majority in the House, but here's one from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) that might work as well: "The New Majority - Plasticware Is Back."

Boehner tweeted this, or should I say taunted this, on Monday, boasting about a move orchestrated by him and his GOP colleagues in the House to undo the efforts of his predecessor Rep. Nancy Pelosi to green the Capitol. As my colleague Tom Turner revealed today,  Pelosi transformed Capitol cafeterias by bringing in environmentally friendly foods and serving utensils. This week, Boehner and his buddies in Congress did away with the biodegradable dishware and brought back foam cups. The folks in Congress are now years behind most school districts and eateries in this country. Cue the applause for Mr. Boehner and his cohorts.

Another "Doh!" moment has been slowly playing out in the House for the last two months. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has been leading the charge in the House to stop the EPA from limiting the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
02 March 2011, 1:02 PM
Now check out the details of the Republican rampage
Rep. John Boehner

You've probably read news stories, or seen reports on TV, or heard reports on the radio about how House Speaker Boehner has allowed dozens of amendments to come to the House floor to be voted on, congratulating himself on his transparency (is that his liver I see in there?) and openness. In response to this invitation, house members came forward with an astonishing variety of bills, one worse than the next.

To wit: Bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. Prevent the EPA from regulating cement kilns, a major source of mercury emissions. Prohibit the government from contributing money to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (winner of the Nobel prize). Stop the EPA from regulating coal ash. Stop the EPA from regulating mountaintop-removal coal mining. Eliminate the president's authority to create national monuments. Stop the Forest Service from regulating use of off-road vehicles in the national forests.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 February 2011, 3:17 AM
Nuclear dilemmas, thin mint massacre, airborne heart attacks
Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently said that in a worst case scenario BPA exposure may give women "little beards." Photo courtesy of anthonyturducken.

EU moves forward on chemical regs while U.S. gets bearded females
The European Union recently announced that it will ban six toxic substances under its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, reports Chemical & Engineering News. The landmark move, which includes phasing out three plastic softening chemicals and a flame retardant, stands in stark contrast to the U.S.'s chemical romance, particularly with the controversial chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive that messes with people's hormones and is found in levels twice as high in Americans than in Canadians. But not to worry, says Maine's Gov. Paul LePage. The worst that could happen is that BPA exposure might cause women to start growing "little beards." 

Breathing dirty air triggers more heart attacks than doing cocaine
This should perk you up. Researchers have found that breathing dirty air triggers more heart attacks than doing cocaine, reports Reuters, a scary notion considering that you can't exactly avoid air pollution unless you want to walk around all day in a gas mask. The U.S. EPA recently issued new rules that will limit air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators, but we still have a long way to go in cleaning up our air. Declare your right to breathe clean air today.

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View Marty Hayden's blog posts
19 February 2011, 9:40 AM
House leaders give industry handouts and cut public health protections

 It’s a shame that it took the House days and many late night and early morning hours to come up with a budget plan like this. And during the wee hours of 4:35 a.m. the final roll call counted a vote of 235 to 189. And just like that our elected leaders eliminated safeguards for our air, water and wildlife.

The House voted to turn Florida’s once-clear waters into poisonous blooms of green slime. It also gave polluters the green light to continue choking our air with mercury pollution from cement kilns, to dump toxic coal ash in communities nationwide, to blow up the mountains of Appalachia and to endanger salmon and slaughter our wolves. Our elected leaders also took aim at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, limiting them from curbing the carbon dioxide pollution of the nation's biggest polluters, which they are lawfully required to do.

 In more detail, some of the most harmful amendments adopted:

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 Raviya Ismail's blog posts
18 February 2011, 12:17 PM
House majority environmental attacks continue today
The EPA is a main target of Republicans

Here is a quick update on the spending bill nonsense taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Last night, as House leaders continued their marathon vote of their budget bill, they voted to dismantle a crucial set of air rules that would save up to 2,500 lives and slash mercury and other air pollution from cement kilns. These EPA health protections are supposed to take effect in 2013, and would cut cement plants’ mercury emissions by 92 percent and yield up to $18 billion in health benefits. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) sponsored the amendment, which is a continued attack from the Texas congressman beginning last month, when he introduced the Congressional Review Act to disable these air protections.

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.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
17 February 2011, 6:45 AM
Amendments target wildlife, water, air, public health, natural resources

Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal government running.

Unfortunately, that measure—called a continuing resolution—is loaded with amendments and provisions that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and seeks to override the rule of law at every turn.

These so-called  “riders” could not pass on their own merits, so their sponsors hope they will ride the coat-tails of this must-pass budget bill. Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants. They would overturn court decisions that we have obtained to stop illegal behavior and force federal agencies to comply with the law.

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