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In Appalachia, moving mountains is easy. What's hard is keeping them where they are. Coal companies have used dynamite's muscle to blast hundreds of the earth's oldest summits into neighboring valleys, permanently altering the landscape. But two recent developments are shaking the foundations of mountaintop removal mining, signaling that perhaps, at long last, what's moving is the mountain of science and law that compels the end of this destructive practice.

A sad chapter in New York City history may finally be drawing to a close as city officials got to work this month cleaning up an abandoned toxic waste dump that for years had plagued the neighboring community on Staten Island.

Since a recent judicial order in Florida's efforts to restore the Everglades hit the news, many people are asking: What does it mean?

The short answer is that it creates both risks and opportunities.

The twists and turns of this case are pretty complex, so let me explain what Federal Judge Mareno's order does. The judge granted a motion to force the South Florida Water Management District to spend $700 million to build a reservoir in the southern Everglades Agricultural Area.

Some top stories from the last week at Earthjustice…

While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decides whether to grant endangered species protections to wolverines, California had its first sighting of the small, bear-like creature in nearly a decade. DNA analysis suggests that the lovelorn Buddy has Idaho roots, but the verdict's still out on how he got to the sunshine state in the first place.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has its hands full this week sifting through tens of thousands of letters from Earthjustice supporters and their counterparts asking the agency to support an Earthjustice petition that will protect children from pesticide drift—a toxic vapor that travels from nearby agricultural fields.

Earthjustice campaigner Liz Judge summoned up her parents' sage old advice to encourage St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts to go green in a different way by supporting strong energy efficiency standards.

The latest column from Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen concerning Hawaii's blatant attempt to keep homes and businesses from capitalizing on solar power generated a lot of thought-provoking comments. Enter the controversy here.

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

Earthjustice lawyers took home a big win after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to review a case that eliminated industrial facilities' ability to ignore pollution limits whenever they start up, shut down or malfunction

Light pollution can mean lights out for many animals such as seabirds and sea turtles, who often make the fatal mistake of confusing artificial lights with natural cues like the horizon. Last week, Earthjustice shined the light on one particularly disturbing case—a brightly lit luxury Hawaiian resort that is the single greatest cause of deaths and injuries from artificial lights among endangered Newell's shearwater seabirds.

The environmental community mourned the loss of conservation titan Dr. Ed Wayburn, whose efforts inspired thousands of citizen activists, including many Earthjustice staff, board and supporters.

With a $2.8 billion budget shortfall and a generally bleak economic climate, there's a movement growing in Olympia, Wash. to repeal a generous tax break enjoyed by the state's largest polluter, the TransAlta coal plant in Centralia. Earthjustice is pushing for TransAlta to run a cleaner plant that protects public health.
 

One of the great environmental victories of our time—preserving the Flathead Valley from development—has quickly become a teachable moment for middle school students in British Columbia.

The naturally dazzling Flathead, with its abundance of wildlife and environmental splendors, will not be sacrificed to get at its plentiful oil, gas and coal deposits, the BC government decided last month. This is how the decision is being taught to students:

Former Earthjustice Executive Director Buck Parker offers these thoughts on Dr. Ed Wayburn:

Earthjustice notes with sadness the passing of Dr. Ed Wayburn at age 103 on Friday, March 5. We were privileged to work with Dr. Wayburn during his decades of leadership of the Sierra Club and of many national conservation campaigns to establish and protect national parks, wilderness areas, and the magnificent landscapes of Alaska.

He was also a key supporter for creating Earthjustice, originally the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, and maintained a life-long interest in the organization and its work. The efforts of Ed and his late wife Peggy inspired the work of thousands of citizen activists, including many Earthjustice staff, board and supporters, in protecting our public lands and resources.

For more information about Dr. Wayburn and his monumental contribution to the American conservation movement please visit the web site of the Sierra Club.

In a very clever riff on climate change deniers, author Bill McKibben compares their tactics to those used by defense lawyers to get O.J. Simpson off the hook: bury the smoking gun facts in a haystack of trivial facts and then focus on the trivia. After awhile, trivia becomes truth and the suspect walks free in blood-stained shoes.

Example: the brutal East Coast winter. For deniers, this proves their main point, that the earth isn't getting warmer, it's getting colder and flatter. As Americans shiver in their doubts, says McKibben, the deniers move in with an "enormously clever, and enormously effective" campaign against climate science.

You gotta read McKibben's full treatise on the denier movement. As he puts it, "It's worth trying to understand how they've done it."

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About the Earthjustice 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.