Posts tagged: mountaintop removal

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

mountaintop removal


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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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
28 January 2014, 8:45 PM
President can't rely on fossil fuels to achieve climate change goals
President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union Address. (White House Photo)

(The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.)

We are encouraged that President Obama made climate change a centerpiece of his speech tonight. We applaud his commitment to facing this challenge, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

President Obama has taken courageous actions so far to back this commitment. His leadership in achieving strong clean car standards has been a huge accomplishment, and we are thrilled with his leadership in tackling carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source of climate change pollution. And tonight, the President went further and affirmed that we can’t allow destructive energy development on our pristine public lands.

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View Neil Gormley's blog posts
24 January 2014, 9:36 AM
Appeals court rejects company's request for premature mining
A West Virginia creek polluted by mining runoff. The Army Corps doesn’t dispute that mountaintop removal coal mining could be causing cancer, birth defects, and other serious diseases across Appalachia. (Mark Schmerling)

Earthjustice and its partners—Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Advocates, and the Appalachian Citizens Law Center—just won a small victory with potentially big implications.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction we won in September that saved miles of mountain streams from destruction at the proposed Stacy Branch mountaintop removal coal mine near Vicco, Kentucky. The corporation behind the mine, Leeco, Inc., asked the Sixth Circuit to let it start mining in the streams before the court issues a final decision on whether the mining is legal. That could have rendered the whole lawsuit moot. Yesterday, the court sided with us and said no.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
27 September 2013, 8:49 AM
U.N. report asserts that humans are responsible for global warming
Superstorm Sandy batters the East Coast, on Oct. 29, 2012. (NASA GOES Project)

The good news in today's U.N. report on global warming is that I'll be dead before the predicted ocean rise floods my island home in San Francisco Bay. But here's what I—and you and every other human on Earth—won't escape, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Responsibility.

It is almost 100 percent certain that humankind's use of fossil fuels like oil and coal is warming and acidifying the oceans, melting glaciers and causing sea levels to rise around the planet, the IPCC says. With scientific certainty, the report warns us to throttle back on carbon consumption or move to high ground—unless of course you live in Appalachia where the high ground is being blown up to get at the coal.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
11 September 2013, 12:19 PM
High above this great nation, you can see the struggles we face
An airplane passes over Desolation Canyon, UT. (Ecoflight)

“If you want to see the places we’ve helped protect, ask for a window seat.”

So reads my favorite Earthjustice message, decorating airports across the country. It’s true: 35,000 feet is a great vantage to see the forests, mountains and river canyons that are intact, unroaded and resilient thanks to our legal work with many allies.

But on a recent flight, I also saw a different, far more disturbing picture: the ravages of fossil fuel extraction and burning. I took off from San Francisco bound for D.C. As we climbed over California, one of my favorite sights, the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, was obscured by thick smoke—the result of massive fires brought on by drought and rising temperatures, increasingly common as fossil-fueled global warming settles in.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
27 August 2013, 1:39 PM
Save Appalachia's streams from mountaintop removal mining
Activists march by the White House in September 2012. (Chris Jordan-Bloch)

We are sorry to hear that the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining lost 18,000 Earthjustice supporter letters. Our supporters wrote these letters during the Bush administration to urge OSM not to eliminate critical stream protections, especially the “stream buffer zone rule,” from mountaintop removal mining—which it did anyway.

We appreciate the Department of Interior’s apology and explanation for the unfortunate loss of these documents, which were misplaced possibly years ago in an agency move. We want to give reassurance that though the agency may have lost these letters, the Earthjustice supporters who wrote them have not gone anywhere. In fact, they have multiplied and are growing stronger in their commitment to this cause.

Earthjustice is proud to represent some of the most dedicated citizens and community members in the country, and we will not stop until justice and a safe, healthy environment for all is achieved. That’s why, when President Obama took office, more than 20,000 Earthjustice supporters immediately took action again to urge the administration and new leadership at the Office of Surface Mining to bring back these protections and restore the stream buffer zone rule.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
11 June 2013, 10:11 AM
World's largest coal mining company is turning to solar energy
A solar array in Pondicherry, India. (ammusk)

You gotta love it when the world’s largest coal mining company turns to solar energy, as a way to cut costs and because it recognizes that fossil fuels are fast going away.

According to a published report, Coal India plans to install solar in its various operations around the country. A company document explains why:

India has an abundance of sunshine and the trend of depletion of fossil fuels is compelling energy planners to examine the feasibility of using renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and so on.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
24 April 2013, 9:48 AM
Unanimous panel of judges rule for EPA in coal industry lawsuit

Great news!

Yesterday, citizens in Appalachia celebrated a huge victory in their fight to protect their families and communities from harmful mountaintop removal mining. In a sharp 15-page ruling, a panel of three Republican-appointed judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously upheld the Environment Protection Agency’s veto of the permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine, the largest proposed mountaintop removal mine in West Virginia. Earthjustice, along with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, represented a handful of community and citizen groups in this case.

This court decision comes after 15 years of court challenges by community groups whose members were in fallout zone of the proposed mine. It’s a precedent-setting decision and historic: The Spruce Mine permit is the first mountaintop removal mining permit ever challenged in courts.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
03 April 2013, 2:46 PM
It's time to head in a clean energy direction
Fracking has been linked to both air and water contamination. (Courtesy of J.B. Pribanic)

Just as clean, renewable energy is lifting off and the impacts of climate disruption become ever more visible, fossil energy production is becoming dramatically more extreme. But extreme fossil energy production is exactly what we don’t need.

In just the last two years, I have seen the Louisiana coast’s oil-slicked marshes after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, met with Pennsylvanians and Coloradans whose homes are under assault in the fracking boom, toured the Alaskan Arctic with a caribou hunter whose way of life is threatened by onshore and offshore oil development, and shared the outrage of West Virginians whose schools and streams are under siege from mountaintop removal coal mining.

Though these extreme energy projects differ in their methods of extraction, they have two things in common: their massive industrial scale, and how little we know about their potential impacts to our air, water and climate.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 April 2013, 12:03 PM
Highlights from the EPA’s chief of water policy

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that 55 percent of U.S. streams and rivers are in “poor” condition, according to its most recent national rivers and streams assessment. Following the release of that grim report, the EPA held a live Twitter chat to answer questions about our clean water protections and the state of our waters in the United States.

This was a rare opportunity for the public to directly ask the EPA’s head of water policy, Nancy Stoner, about the agency’s plans to address our nation’s water quality problems. We got a chance to ask some questions, too.

The first question of the chat was ours. We wanted to know how the EPA plans to fix the situation we find our nation in today: The fact is that 27% of the nation’s rivers and streams have excessive levels of nitrogen and 40% have high levels of phosphorus. These nutrient pollutants, which come from factory farms and industrial agriculture, cause toxic green slime outbreaks that are harmful to public health.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 March 2013, 3:45 PM
Politics have kept key federal court judgeships vacant
Four of the D.C. Circuit Court's 11 seats have been left vacant due to congressional obstruction. (DOJ)

Over the past four years, the federal halls of justice have been left partially hollow as the number of judicial vacancies in the federal courts continues to mount—due to foot-dragging on nominations and partisan filibuster once nominations are made. These vacancies hobble the courts’ ability to do their core work, which includes determining the fate of our most important environmental protections.

Take, for example, President Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In 2010, the president nominated Halligan, praising her “excellence and unwavering integrity,” yet two years later the Senate has twice refused to confirm her to this environmentally critical court. Halligan, a distinguished litigator who has argued five cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, is well-qualified for a seat on the D.C. Circuit. Yet despite bipartisan support and several high profile endorsements from law enforcement organizations and leaders, last week Halligan was forced to suffer through a second politically motivated filibuster that Senate GOP’s justified by willfully misrepresenting her record.

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