Posts tagged: Obama administration

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Obama administration


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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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View Marty Hayden's blog posts
19 July 2013, 2:59 PM
Gina McCarthy chosen to protect our air, land, water
Gina McCarthy is our nation's new EPA Administrator. (EPA)

The partisan antics of a few in the Senate finally halted to allow confirmation of a new and well-qualified Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.

This Senate confirmation means that, finally, after months of political obstruction by the Congressional friends of big polluters, we have a new administrator to deliver the public health and environmental protections that we all deserve. And, boy, does she have her work cut out.

Thank you for the phone calls you made to push for this confirmation and the letters you wrote to back these polluter cronies down off their agenda to block any and all progress in cleaning up our nation’s energy landscape, our waters, our air, and combating climate change.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
19 July 2013, 11:54 AM
Only a great leap forward can succeed against this critical issue
Last year was the warmest year on record for the continental United States. (Boris Ryaposov / Shutterstock)

It took a super-storm, record-breaking heat, rampant wildfires and increasingly dire predictions for the planet, but four-and-a-half years into his tenure, President Obama issued a plan to combat climate change. It’s an important step forward – but, frankly, we need a leap.

Announced on June 25, the president’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) has three aims: cut domestic carbon pollution; prepare the country to face the now-unavoidable impacts of climate change; and enhance U.S. leadership in international negotiations to reduce global carbon pollution. Broadly, these are the right aims, but the details, which have not been disclosed yet, will determine the extent of CAP’s positive impact.

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View Abigail Dillen's blog posts
25 June 2013, 3:05 PM
It's long past time for coal fleet to clean up
Coal-fired power plants are our nation's biggest carbon polluters.  (iStockphoto)

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan promises, at last, a meaningful step toward controlling our carbon pollution. Today’s announcement comes as wildfires rage in Colorado, as emergency drought conditions continue in Texas for a third straight year, and as children and parents around the country contend with spiking asthma rates that are linked with rising temperatures and increased ozone smog. Last year alone, Hurricane Sandy and ten other climate disasters caused an estimated $110 billion in damage in the United States. We can’t afford to ignore the climate threat any longer, which the President has recognized along with a majority of Americans.

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View Tim Ballo's blog posts
25 June 2013, 12:31 PM
First step towards giving Earth a break is in president's hands
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli)

Tucked into the climate plan that President Obama unveiled today is an incomprehensibly large number that deserves some attention.

The president has set a goal that energy efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings set in his first and second terms combined will reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030. Three billion metric tons is equivalent to the entire world’s carbon emissions over 35 days (at humanity’s current rate of generating 1 million metric tons of carbon pollution about every 17 minutes). The president’s plan would effectively give the planet a month’s vacation from all carbon pollution.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
21 June 2013, 1:20 PM
Obama’s climate actions sometimes at odds with his rhetoric
Alberta tar sands refining. (NRDC)

President Obama is good at bold words, and he’s delivered quite a few of them on the need for action on climate change in the last nine months. There was his speech upon being re-elected; his 2013 State of the Union (in which he promised to act unilaterally on climate change if Congress wouldn’t); and most recently his speech at the Brandenburg Gate in which he rightly labeled climate change “the global threat of our time.”

And the hyped action on climate change is almost here, with the New York Times reporting that the president may announce as soon as next week a three-pronged plan to:

  1. Put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing and proposed power plants;
  2. Boost renewable energy development on public lands; and
  3. Mandate greater energy efficiency in buildings and equipment.

These three steps are overdue, but would have real benefits, and will require an expenditure of political capital from Mr. Obama. But he’s hardly gone all-in on climate change of late. On some very important climate issues, the president has instead displayed a penchant for ignoring the issue or dawdling on major decisions.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
14 June 2013, 3:47 PM
President Obama's energy mantra echoes the fossil fuel industry
Climate change increases the frequency of deadly wildfires. (U.S. Forest Service Region 5)

In recent weeks we have continued to experience extreme and destructive forest fires, droughts, and floods. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached new and dangerous levels.

Despite this, President Obama’s pledge to address climate change with meaningful actions has stalled. Since the stirring words of his Inauguration and State of the Union speeches, the EPA has missed its deadline for setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. Even simple, non-controversial actions like strengthening the efficiency standards for new refrigerators are marooned inside the White House. This failure to act is completely inconsistent with the president’s promise to lead on climate.

Equally troubling is the president’s continued support for expansive and extreme development of new fossil fuel sources. Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean, fracking across our public lands, expanding coal mines for export to Asia, and importing dirty, carbon-intensive oil from Canada’s tar sands will all drive climate change to even more destructive levels and will destroy ecosystems and damage people’s health in the meantime.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 May 2013, 9:35 AM
Ambassadors from every state arrive en masse to buttonhole congress reps
The grassroots campaign involved ambassadors from every state, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico.

A few days ago, a fierce army invaded Washington, D.C. to ask our representatives for something very simple: restore our right to breathe clean air.

This modest proposal came from more than 100 “clean air ambassadors” who know the cost of dirty air all too well. Take Hilton Kelley from Port Arthur, Texas, which is home to more than five large refineries, six chemical plants and an incinerator. In his community, one out of every five households has a child suffering from asthma and other contaminated-air-related illnesses. One day, after having moved away from his home town years ago, he looked in the mirror and asked himself, “If I’m not going to do anything about the conditions in Port Arthur, how can I expect anyone else to?”

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
24 April 2013, 9:48 AM
Climate change may ruin your next seafood night
Photo courtesy of quinn.anya

Seafood lovers hooked on $1 oyster nights may soon have to find a new source of comfort for the work week blues.

Thanks to an increase of carbon in both the atmosphere and our water bodies (which absorb about a third of all carbon emissions), carbon munching critters like crabs, lobsters and shrimp are getting bigger and hungrier, say scientists at the University of North Carolina’s Aquarium Research Center. After analyzing blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay in tanks pumped full of carbon, researchers found that the crabs grew nearly four times faster in high-carbon tanks versus low-carbon tanks.
 
Though bigger crabs sound like a delicious side effect of climate change, they’re not all that they’re cracked up to be, since crabs tend to put all their energy into building larger shells, not meatier flesh. Even worse, super-sized crabs with equally super-sized appetites could also affect the rest of the typical seafood platter, since bigger crabs will no doubt be eating bigger helpings of other seagoing creatures, like oysters.
 
Unfortunately, voracious crabs aren’t the only thing that oysters have to worry about. Because oceans are one of the world’s greatest carbon sinks, taking in 22 million tons of carbon dioxide every day, ocean chemistry is changing rapidly. This is putting a strain on shelled creatures like oysters, shellfish and corals that don't like acid baths because they depend on a pH-balanced lifestyle to build their calcium carbonate shells.
 

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 Raviya Ismail's blog posts
19 April 2013, 12:22 PM
DOE releases new distribution transformer standards
Although the electricity used by any one transformer is small, the losses add up on a national scale.  (iStockphoto)

In 2007, we filed a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's weak energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers, those gray boxes mounted on utility poles that power all our homes and businesses. The results of that lawsuit are new standards from the U.S. Department of Energy that were published in the Federal Register on Thursday. The standards were updated as part of an agreement settling that lawsuit. Along with Earthjustice, parties to the suit include the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and several states.

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