Posts tagged: Forest Service

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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 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 Marty Hayden's blog posts
16 February 2011, 10:38 AM
Amendments to funding bill target everything from wolves to water to health
Wolves are on the congressional hit list

House Republicans are using the oft-repeated refrain of “fiscal restraint” as their excuse for gutting several environmental initiatives that will put the public in harm’s way. But there simply is no excuse for hacking away at health protections that will leave our air and water dirtier and our children and seniors at risk.  It’s not hard to see their real agenda. In many cases their proposals are clearly designed to make it easier for some of America’s biggest polluters to dump their pollution on us rather than pay to dispose of it responsibly. 

House GOP’s Public Enemy Number 1: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The spending legislation introduced this week slashes the EPA budget by $3 billion and blocks the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. And in a symbolic dig against the White House, the bill also stymies President Barack Obama from replacing departing lead White House climate and energy advisor Carol Browner.
 
The spending plan also tries to block the EPA from fully implementing the Clean Water Act, while effectively letting major polluters foul our water. This will jeopardize drinking water for 117 million Americans and could leave millions of  acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams and rivers without Clean Water Act protections from pollution. But it doesn’t stop there.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:53 PM
Legislative amendments target air, water, public lands and wildlife

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health. 

Not since the darkest days of the Bush administration have we seen such an onslaught on the environment—and the hits are still coming. By mid-day today (Tues., Feb. 15), the list has grown to include attacks on a number of endangered species, including wolves and salmon, and on the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep lethal pollutants out of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Some amendments are outright handouts to our nation’s worst polluters.

The spending bill will fund the government so that it can continue operating after March 4, but first the Senate must pass the bill. Today, Pres. Barack Obama warned that he would veto the bill as constructed.

The following is a list of the most harmful provisions and amendments proposed so far:

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
11 February 2011, 12:09 PM
Obama's draft plan for forests is well-intentioned, lacks real protective measures

Anyone who likes to hike, camp, fish, hunt, or view wildlife in our national forests—or anyone who wishes to do any of this anytime in the future—should be aware of a proposal for managing our national forests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Forest Service, released yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell announced and released their new draft rule for protecting our national forests and grasslands, approximately 191 million acres of critical watersheds and wildlife habitat across the United States.

The importance of this rule can't be overstated.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
24 January 2011, 12:45 PM
Arch enemy of the Roadless Rule working for anti-offroad groups. Go figure.

Thanks to an email from my old friend George Alderson, I nearly dropped my teeth the other day.

You may remember. In the gallery of baddies service in the G.W. Bush administration, the one most reviled by the environmental movement—or certainly one of the most reviled—was Mark Rey, Under Secretary of the Department of Agricuture, whose main job was to oversee the Forest Service. In that role, Mr. Rey guided the administration's efforts to thwart the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a rule put in place at the end of the Clinton administration to protect nearly 60 million acres of near-wilderness quality lands on the national forests.

Well, it turns out that Mr. Rey has been lobbying on behalf of the Idaho Conservation League, Trout Unlimited, and Wildlaw, the latter being a pro-wilderness organization headquartered in Alabama.

Mr. Rey's duties seem to focus on keeping certain national forest lands closed to off-road vehicles.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 December 2010, 1:53 PM
What would a winter wonderland be without treetops glistening?
Photo: BLM

What do Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, turtle doves, geese a-laying, calling birds, partridges in pear trees, and holly trees all have in common? They all make their home in the forest, of course.

This holiday season a coalition of environmental groups including Earthjustice is asking President Obama to give America a gift that stands the test of time: a forestry plan that safeguards our nation's woodlands for the future and protects forest creatures great and small. Join us by sending President Obama this holiday wish for our forests!

As we venture over the river and through the woods this holiday season—or along I-90, I-70, I-95, I-5, and other crowded highways we must travel—many of us will pass by some of the 200 million acres of magnificent forests that constitute our National Forest system.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
14 September 2010, 12:01 PM
When disaster strikes, politicians pounce. And sometimes miss.
The Fourmile Fire in Boulder, CO. US Forest Service photo.

On taking a walk on Labor Day, I looked up and thought, "This can't be good."  A huge plume of smoke filled half the sky.  Boulder's Fourmile Fire was on a rampage, destroying more than 100 homes about 15 miles from my own. 

I knew the smoke cloud would be followed by selfless firefighters, low-flying slurry bombers and water-laden helicopters.  I didn't count on the fact that while the fire still raged, and as families waited anxiously to find out whether their homes had survived, politicians would use the tragedy to push their agendas.

But they did.  Some with more accuracy than others.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
24 June 2010, 12:03 PM
Coalition takes the fight to court

The state of Washington announced a deal with Canadian-based TransAlta Corp. last week to "clean up" pollution from mercury and oxides of nitrogen. But the plan is sorely lacking.

A coalition of faith, environmental and public health groups are working to see the TransAlta coal plant, the state's largest single pollution source, converted to cleaner fuels or shut down by 2015. Coalition members were not impressed by this sweetheart deal and have already taken their case to the courts.

TransAlta is by far Washington's largest emitter of neurotoxic mercury, and of the NOx pollution that contributes to haze over numerous national parks and wilderness areas in the Pacific Northwest.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
26 April 2010, 10:19 AM
Beetle-killed forests not the problem some officials think
Pine beetles killed these Colorado trees

In a hearing room on Capitol Hill last week, science met politics. And science appears to have come out on the short end.

The hearing heard testimony on a bill from Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) whose stated purpose is to lessen fire risk supposedly caused by millions of dead trees killed by pine beetles. The bill is intended to protect homes and watersheds in forested areas of the West. It would require the Forest Service to identify areas where beetle kill was causing a "current or future increased risk of catastrophic wildland fire," and would exempt logging in those areas from some environmental protection laws.

The problem, though, is that the science shows this bill is a solution in search of a problem.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
01 April 2010, 1:31 PM
New book explores the ecology of the Tongass National Forest

A lovely new book arrived recently at Earthjustice headquarters. Salmon in the Trees is a beautiful, coffee-table book from photographer Amy Gulick, featuring essays by several natural history writers. The book explores the interconnected ecology of America's largest temperate rainforest, the Tongass National Forest.

As many of you know, Earthjustice has been working to protect the Tongass for decades. Our latest effort is a lawsuit to end a Bush-era exemption for the forest from protection under the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. (Video after the jump.)

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