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.


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 Sam Edmondson's blog posts
09 November 2010, 1:12 PM
EPA chief scolds reps for looking at only one half of the ledger

Clean air just isn't as popular as it should be. Though reducing air pollution saves lives and money, some lawmakers seem hell-bent on denying these benefits to the American public. They seem to believe that nothing should hinder polluters' ability to make a buck, not even the prevalence of asthma, birth defects, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments that results from dirty air emissions.

Take, for example, Texas reps Joe Barton and Michael Burgess. You may remember Barton as the man who called the $20 billion BP escrow fund a "shakedown." His ideology is apparently so extreme that he doesn't think the company responsible for the largest environmental disaster in a generation should set aside sufficient funds to help deal with the aftermath of the spill.

Last month, Barton and Burgess wrote to EPA chief Lisa Jackson with concerns that her agency's air pollution rules are all cost, which they outlined in an accompanying chart that pairs air pollution rules with their projected price tags. Thankfully, Jackson responded yesterday (subscription required) with a straightforward admonishment: you forgot to include the benefits.

1 Comment   /  
View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
08 November 2010, 10:51 AM
Come Jan. 2, Texas vows to oppose EPA Clean Air Act regs
Martin Lakes, Texas coal-fired power plant

Oh, Texas. Why, oh why does Texas have to be the only state in the union refusing to comply with federal greenhouse gas regulations, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – following the law! – starts to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas pollution in January?

Given the fact that Texas is the nation’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, it’s really unfair to the rest of the country that the Lone Star remains so ... lone.

Last week, voters in California overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 23, a challenge to that state’s global warming law. And while California serves as the optimal role model for the rest of the country, Texas is the big-bad polluter vowing to undermine all federal regulations of clean air – while breaking the law to make its point. Texas has 21 operating coal plants and seven proposed coal plants (most in the nation), which will further threaten air quality for Texans. And it's a problem for residents in downwind and neighboring states.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
04 November 2010, 4:49 PM
A new and hostile congressional leadership is not new to Earthjustice

There is no reason to beat around the bush: Tuesday's election results are a setback in our progress towards a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable planet.

At a time when the world desperately needs leadership from the United States, voters have installed in the House of Representatives those who have vowed to do all they can to obstruct progress in cleaning up dirty coal-burning power plants, reducing health-destroying and climate-disrupting pollution, and protecting wild places and wildlife.

Yet, while the news is bad, we can take heart that the election was not a referendum on the environment. Voters still want clean water, healthy air, protected public lands, and action on transitioning from dirty power plants to a clean energy economy.

38 Comments   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 November 2010, 3:04 PM
Americans want jobs AND clean energy, clean air, clean water, green economy

There's been so much talk about the dirty words of "cap 'n trade" the last few weeks that one could really start to believe the spin. That is, the argument put forward by a few candidates and pundits, and some misguided reporters even (see this incorrect Politico report, which was refuted by this sensible TIME report), is that votes for the climate bill cost some House members their seats.

First of all, Americans cast their votes on the economy, jobs and government spending. Climate change, while a spicy talking point for some, was not on most voters' priority lists, according to a milieu of exit polls and surveys.

One survey found that when voters who chose the Republican candidate were asked in an open-ended question to name their biggest concern about the Democrat, only 1 percent cited something related to energy or cap and trade.

Bottom line: People who wanted change in '08 were upset that that change didn't come fast enough, or that the economy is still in rough shape.

5 Comments   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 November 2010, 11:06 AM
Today polluters learned: When it comes to clean energy, don't mess with CA

A day after the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers in the World Series, California voters showed up at polling places around the state and sent this message loud and clear: We're not going to let some Texas Big Oil corporations come in and try to take away our green jobs and clean energy economy!

Yesterday, Californians turned out to defeat California Ballot Proposition 23. And their rejection of this ugly petroleum-backed measure, which aimed to repeal California's climate and clean energy law, was huge—the proposition was defeated 61.2% to 38.8%. The power of the people in this state, and the potential of a thriving clean-energy economy that will provide long-lasting jobs for the people of California, defeated the deep pockets and big money of dirty out-of-state polluters, who spent $10 million to try to unravel the state's air pollution laws.

Meanwhile, Californians cast a second vote for their state's clean energy economy and green jobs by electing a candidate for governor, Jerry Brown, who has long been pushing for such innovation in his state. His opponent, former Ebay exec Meg Whitman, campaigned against the state's climate change initiatives and far outspent him, spending $141 million of her own money during the campaign. Brown beat Whitman 54%-41%.

2 Comments   /  
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
01 November 2010, 3:48 PM
Economists say industry-funded studies on air rules don’t make the grade

Thousands of lives and billions of dollars will be saved every year by new air pollution rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Polluting industries are lining up in opposition to these life-saving controls. In attempts to kill the rules, they've commissioned "economic studies" that forecast doom and gloom if the measures to reduce ozone, mercury, lead and other dangerous air pollution are implemented. Problem is, the industry-funded studies are polluted by nonsense.

That was the conclusion reached by economics professors from Dartmouth College, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Wyoming after reviewing the studies' methods.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
31 October 2010, 10:09 AM
Big Coal and Big Oil put big money on EPA bashers
An open pit coal mine on public land in Wyoming. Bureau of Land Management photo.

NPR recently ran a story reporting that most Republican candidates for U.S. Senate assert that human activities are not contributing to climate change.  One has even called climate change a "hoax." Never mind that the facts show otherwise.

And, armed with these beliefs, many in the GOP are preparing for an all-out assault on the EPA's proposals to protect our air and planet.

What's happening here?  Some see fundamentalism. But others point to political contributions from Big Coal, among others.  As Tim Rutten of the LA Times observed on Saturday, Big Coal and Big Oil appear to be stealing pages from Big Tobacco's playbook:

1 Comment   /  
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
28 October 2010, 12:26 PM
Earthjustice needs your vote to win Youtopia grant!

With the national election less than a week hence, we at Earthjustice are asking readers to practice their voting skills in advance—by voting now for our project idea at Free Range's Youtopia Contest.

Like many other groups trying to do life-changing work, Earthjustice is competing for a grant from Youtopia to underwrite a promotional idea in support of our mission. It's a contest to be decided by you and others who cast votes for the idea of their choice. And we're hoping you'll choose ours. Here's the concept:

Some of the worst air polluters have dodged controls for decades, pumping dirty air that makes playing outside a dangerous game for kids across the U.S. Though 2011 brings unprecedented opportunities to clean up these polluters, only public pressure can counteract the polluter lobby's influence. A humorous video can help: in a dodgeball game between kids and pollution, large men dressed as mercury, soot, and other pollutants hurl dodgeballs labeled with diseases (e.g. asthma ) while kids counter with balls marked "health" and "clean air". The message: join the kids' team to ensure dirty industries don't dodge clean air rules again.

Time is short—voting ends at midnight this Sunday—so please visit the Youtopia site now and follow directions. There are more than 150 world-changing ideas, but I think you'll agree with us that a vote for the Earthjustice proposal will go a long way towards supporting our role of using the law to protect the earth.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 October 2010, 11:27 AM
Nation's biggest oil spill remains a mixture of tragedy and mystery

Today, six months from the day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 42 miles off the Louisiana shore, much is still unknown about the effects of the nation's biggest oil spill, which gushed for 95 continuous days and spilled nearly 200 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (See a visual timeline of the oil spill.)

In early August, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report on the whereabouts of all the oil from the spill. Its report shows that half still remains in the Gulf, unable to be removed by burning or skimming—some of it in residual forms that are tough to extract or collect (tar balls, oil washing ashore, oil buried in sand or stuck in shore vegetation), some of it dispersed by chemicals, and some dispersed naturally.

No matter in what form, that oil still exists in the Gulf and still poses a grave threat to wildlife and the health of ecosystems. Most of the dispersed oil exists in microscopic droplets floating in the depths of the Gulf waters, which serve as a breeding grounds for much ocean life in an area scientists refer to as the "deep water column."

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View David Guest's blog posts
18 October 2010, 11:51 AM
They ask EPA to delay cleaning Florida waterways
Green slime caused by polluted waters

The EPA committed to set these new limits after Earthjustice, representing Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, and St. Johns Riverkeeper, sued in 2008.

It turns out that these former secretaries are at drastically at odds with public opinion. The EPA reports that it has received 22,000 public comments on the proposed new nutrient pollution standards, and 20,000 of those comments were in support of the standards.

People want clean water! Sadly, Florida is rock bottom in the U.S. in terms of protecting its waters from pollution. Across the United States, scientists report that 30 percent of bays and estuaries and 44 percent of streams have unsafe water. But in Florida, it is much worse—more than 98 percent of the state's bays and estuaries, and more than 54 percent of its streams, are unsafe to swim and/or fish in. The BP oil spill disaster this summer showed us that even the possibility of pollution can chase away Florida's number-one economic engine—tourism.