Posts tagged: forests

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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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.

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 Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
22 April 2011, 5:58 AM
A couple's fight to save the place they love

A few months ago, Earthjustice campaign manager Kathleen Sutcliffe came to me with an interesting request—she wanted to tell an uplifting story about fracking. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique that involves blasting chemically treated water into the earth to release oil and gas trapped in underground rock formations. Most of the stories about fracking involve stuff like gas well explosions, chemical spills, tap water catching on fire, rivers being polluted, and air quality being degraded. So needless to say, it's not the most obvious place to find a positive story.

For the most part, oil and gas companies are fracking as they please and raking in huge profits at the expense of small communities and their local environments. But maybe, just maybe, we thought, there are some people out there who have stood up and used their voices to battle the bank accounts of the gas industry.

So we started reading and researching. And what we found surprised us.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
21 April 2011, 6:56 AM
Climate change is the single biggest threat to wolverines.
Attorney Tim Preso has spearheaded Earthjustice's efforts to protect the wolverine

(This is the fourth in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Earthjustice is currently working to protect several wild creatures in the Crown like the wolverine. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

EJ: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently listed wolverines as endangered, but they're still not being protected, correct?

TP: That's right. The FWS determined that although the species qualifies for listing under the Endangered Species Act that they were basically going to put wolverines in administrative limbo and not actually list them. Obviously we're not satisfied with that result and we're continuing to examine ways to move the wolverine up to the top of the list. The Crown of the Continent is one of the largest undeveloped landscapes remaining in our country and it's really the stronghold for wolverines in the lower-48 states. The wolverine only persists in places that are really and truly wild, and the Crown is the last place that they're remaining in any significant numbers.

EJ: Why did Earthjustice decide to focus on wolverine protections?

TP: There are a number of reasons. One is just that the wolverine has a lot of amazing characteristics that make it a particularly cool animal to work on. Wolverines are extremely tough and they live in extremely harsh environments at high elevations. When grizzly bears, which we think of as a tough animal, are sleeping in their hibernation dens for the winter, the wolverine is out there on those snow-blasted slopes trying to eke out a living, covering 160 square miles over some of the most rugged country in the lower 48 states. It takes a tremendously large landscape for them to find enough food to stay alive, so these animals need extremely large home ranges.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
21 April 2011, 6:40 AM
Anti-wilderness bill is subject of scorn
Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-22).

Last week we wrote about an effort by three Republican members of the House of Representatives to repeal the Roadless Area Conservation Rule that protects nearly 60 million acres of unspoiled lands on the national forests and to deny the Bureau of Land Management's authority to declare its unspoiled areas "wilderness study areas" and protect them until Congress can decide whether to give them permanent protection.

Now the hometown paper of one of the congressmen—Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, CA—has lit into him, invoking the memory of that great Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, who would certainly deplore this foolish, not to say wicked, ploy. We thank and congratulate the editors of the Bakersfield Californian for their graceful and powerful editorial. We hope Mr. McCarthy will pay attention. Fat chance.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
21 April 2011, 12:41 AM
Celebrating the birthday and accomplishments of an American hero

Today is the 173rd birthday of John Muir. If the legacy of wildland preservation in this country were a river long with oxbows, falls and many notable tributaries, Muir's contributions would certainly be the headwaters.

Muir was the co-founder and first president of the Sierra Club and a steadfast advocate for the protection of wilderness. Through his essays and books—penned late in life after years of exploration—he has exposed millions to the wonders of the outdoors, and particularly the many rewards that await the California mountaineer. But Muir's greatest gift to me is the encouragement given to put the book down and go out and do: "Only those will ever know who give the freest and most buoyant portion of their lives to climbing and seeing for themselves," he wrote in The Mountains of California.

It was in the spring of 1868 that this wide-eyed son of a Scottish minister first came by wanderlust into California's Sierra Nevada mountains—or the Range of Light as he called it—to see for himself. As he climbed into the Yosemite Valley, Muir discovered the towering granite buttresses that would become the rocks of his own church.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
20 April 2011, 4:42 AM
How citizens came together to protect the Rocky Mountain Front
Gene Sentz

(This is the third in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Gene Sentz is co-founder of the Friends of the Rocky Mountain Front, one of the organizations whose activism resulted in the banning of oil and gas leasing in the Front. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature. You can also check out Gene's amazing pictures of the Crown.)

EJ: You've been working to protect and preserve the Rocky Mountain Front for more than three decades. How did you first get involved?

GS: In the summer of 1977, there was an outfitters' meeting and the U.S. Forest Service was showing the projects that they were going to be involved with that year. One of the main projects was to lease everything on National Forest lands in the Rocky Mountain Front to oil and gas companies. Up until that time, there had been very little drilling on National Forest land at all. I just couldn’t believe that they were going to lease everything to drilling. That fall after hunting season, a bunch of us locals got together and eventually we talked the Forest Service into backing off of leasing. That was the first step.

EJ: In 2006, President Bush signed bi-partisan legislation that expanded and made permanent a 1997 moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on public lands along the Front. That was a huge victory and your organization was a big part of that, correct?

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
20 April 2011, 1:09 AM
GOP plan would make national forests for loggers only
H.R. 1202 would put bald eagle nests on the chopping block

How should America's 190 million acres of national forest be managed?  Nine Republican congressmen, led by Rep. Stevan Pearce of New Mexico, have the answer in a bill introduced last month:  Forests are for logging. And to hell with everything else.

The bill, H.R. 1202, is short and not-so-sweet. The meat of the bill is a single sentence: 

Notwithstanding any other law, rule, or regulation … the Secretary of Agriculture shall permit any person who applies to carry out a timber activity on National Forest System land to carry out such activity. 

What does this mean?  It means the Forest Service MUST allow ANY logging proposal anyone brings to them.  It doesn’t matter what the impact of the logging is. It doesn’t matter if the logging proposal would otherwise violate laws meant to protect, say, community drinking water supplies.  It doesn’t matter if it would cost the U.S. Treasury millions.  The Forest Service has to approve the logging and the roads that go with it.  Period.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
19 April 2011, 4:39 AM
How climate change impacts the Crown of the Continent
Dan Fagre

(This is the second in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Dan Fagre is a research ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey who has spent 15 years working to understand how climate change will affect mountain ecosystems like those found in the Crown. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

EJ: What changes have you seen in Glacier National Park since you first started?

DF: I was hired to start the climate change research program here in 1991. One of the first things that we did is look at Glacier National Park, specifically Grinnell Glacier, to monitor the impacts of climate change through time. So I've sort of had an intimate relationship with Grinnell in particular, and I've seen just without pulling out photographs or maps each year the changes that occur there. When we go up to monitor the size of the glacier we walk across rocks and land that has not been exposed to the atmosphere for probably 500 years because the glacier is retreating. So, in a sense, we're kind of the first people to walk on that in many hundreds of years since it was covered by ice.

EJ: How is a warmer climate impacting native species of the Crown?

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
12 April 2011, 3:02 PM
"Once you love something, you are willing to fight for it," says Earthjustice's Preso
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso

(This is the fourth in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. Protecting our national forests, in particular, is essential for the future of our nation. The Obama administration recently proposed new planning rules that may leave our national forests in peril. National forests are the single largest source of clean drinking water in the United States, serving 124 million Americans. Visit our Forests For Our Future campaign site to learn more. Tim Preso is attorney based in Earthjustice's Northern Rockies office in Bozeman, Montana.)

EJ: How did your fight to protect our forests begin, Tim?

TP: I walked into the Earthjustice office in Bozeman, Montana for my first day of work in March of 2000 and immediately became involved in a controversy over the federal regulation protecting our last national forest roadless lands. That marked the beginning of an 11-year campaign during which I have worked as part of a team of Earthjustice lawyers to defend the Roadless Rule against a variety of challenges. But outside the legal context, protecting our national forest lands has been close to my heart since I developed a love for wild places and wild creatures amid the rugged mountains and canyons of northeast Oregon's Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, near where I was raised. I had the now-all-too-uncommon privilege of growing up near big, open wild country filled with impressive wildlife. I want to make sure that opportunity remains for future generations instead of becoming something that kids can only read about in history books.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
12 April 2011, 11:43 AM
Bill would repeal Roadless Rule and eliminate wilderness study areas

Three mad hatters--Steve Pearce (R-NM), Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are gathering--or trying to gather--cosponsors for what they're callling the Wilderness & Roadless Area Release Act, a law that would open national forest roadless areas and Bureau of Land Management wilderness study areas to development. This would put a bit more than 70 million of wild lands at risk.

Specifically, it would repeal the Roadless Area Conservation Rule and rescind Interior Secretarial Order 3310 issued by Secretary Ken Salazar last December that overturned a Bush era policy and reinstated BLM's wilderness study areas program.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
08 April 2011, 3:03 PM
Earthjustice legislative counsel explains why she's dedicated to the fight
Rebecca Judd and her beloved greyhound Shooter

(This is the third in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. Protecting our national forests, in particular, is essential for the future of our nation. The Obama administration recently proposed new planning rules that may leave our national forests in peril. National forests are the single largest source of clean drinking water in the United States, serving 124 million Americans. Visit our Forests For Our Future campaign site to learn more. Rebecca Judd is legislative counsel for Earthjustice, based in Washington, D.C.)

EJ: Were there any formative moments in national forests that set you about this path to fight for them?

RJ: In the summer of 2003, I clerked for Sierra Club after my first year of law school and assisted with a case challenging the logging and burning of over 5,000 acres of the Eldorado National Forest in California. A group of us was able to hike in an area slated for timber removal, and it was eerily disturbing to witness firsthand how many trees were marked for destruction. That experience motivated me to continue my work to advocate for the protection of our environment, our cherished landscapes and natural habitat, and the species that depend upon them.