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 Tom Turner's blog posts
10 September 2010, 1:30 PM
Someone is not paying very close attention

The White House has reportedly said thanks but no thanks to the offer, reported here, by Bill McKibben and 350.org to return one of the solar panels installed on the White House roof during the Carter administration 35 years ago. No explanation was given (that I know of). One can think that it might be because McKibben was harshly critical of President Obama's role at the Copenhagen meeting last year, but that's only conjecture. It does seem to be a missed opportunity for some good press, which the administration needs just now.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
07 September 2010, 10:48 AM
McKibben & 350.org have a wonderful plan

About 30 years ago, after some prodding from environmental groups, Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. He gave a ringing speech at the time, hoping that this gesture would help build a solar revolution. He established a Solar Energy Research Institute and put Denis Hayes, the director of the first and subsequent Earth Days in charge.

Several years later, Ronald Reagan ordered the panels taken down, having belittled Carter for worrying so much about the energy crisis. He replaced Hayes with a dentist, and SERI was soon abolished. If Carter's bold move had succeeded who knows how much better off we'd be now, but there's no point bemoaning the failures of the past.

Turns out the panels were donated to Unity College in Maine where they've been doing their bit to help the climate problem for most of three decades. Now Bill McKibben and his colleagues at the wonderful 350.org are returning a symbolic panel to where it started. They put one of the panels on a biodiesel-powered truck the day after Labor Day and will deliver it to the White House on Friday, September 10, after stopping for rallies in Boston and New York.

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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
31 August 2010, 4:31 PM
New poll shows majority of voters support EPA action

In 2011, the EPA is expected to propose the first-ever limits on global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants—good news, considering these pollution giants are responsible for a third of CO2 emissions in the United States. To the industry lobbyists and their mouthpieces in Congress who are resorting to all sorts of fear-mongering to smother these critical efforts: take heed—the American public isn't on your side.

A new poll from the Benenson Strategy Group, commissioned by NRDC, polled 1,401 registered voters and found that 60 percent support the regulation of global-warming gases from power plants and refineries, another significant source of such pollution. And in a vote of confidence for the EPA, 54 percent expressed confidence in the agency's ability to control the emissions.

Along with a suite of other pollution control rules the EPA is and will be pursuing, the forthcoming rules to limit global warming pollution from coal plants provide a tremendous opportunity to protect our health and planet while building a clean energy future. Those on the payroll of big polluters will try to keep us stuck in the past, but a vocal American public that demands strong action on global warming from the EPA and the Obama administration can help carry us forward.
 

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
19 August 2010, 5:24 AM
No amount of PR can cleanse the oil spill's continuing reality

<Update 8/19: The chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment said today that BP gets a failing grade for its cleanup efforts in the Gulf. He also castigated federal authorities for grossly underestimating how much oil remains from the BP spill.>

<Update 8/19: Quoting Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researchers, The Washington Post reports that a 21-mile plume of oil stretches underwater from the BP oil spill site in the Gulf. A similar report was put out by The New York Times.>

<Update 8/19: An oceanographer, from the Florida university whose scientists report that most oil from the Gulf spill still remains in the Gulf, is expected to tell a House subcommittee today that the federal government has underestimated impacts of that oil.>

Although initially slow to rush into Gulf waters and lead the clean-up of BP's oil spill, President Obama and his agencies are showing no hesitancy in rushing to clean up the public relations image of what that oil is doing to Gulf fishing and recreation. In the last few days, we've seen:

* Obama swimming along the Florida shoreline with his daughter to show just how clean and fun it is.

* EPA announcing that ¾'s of the 200 million gallons of crude have evaporated into thin air or into the tummies of hungry microbes.

* Various government authorities insisting that Gulf seafood is safe to eat—an insistence that accompanies the opening of shrimp season off the Louisiana coast on Monday.

Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it—many scientists aren't jumping on the Happy-Days-Are-Here-Again bandwagon.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
18 August 2010, 9:48 AM
Even when it seems King Coal loses, does the environment win?
A coal mine methane well carved into national forest land, Colorado. Ted Zukoski photo.

Headlines in the last week trumpeted a decision by Xcel, Colorado's largest utility, to convert several old coal-fired power plants into natural gas plants.

The decision was hailed by some as a victory for the environment, since natural gas, when burned, results in fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases.  Some proclaimed the political power of coal on the wane in the West and natural gas ascendent.

That's the soundbite.  The real story is more complicated. First, before we all run to embrace natural gas as the savior for clean air and a less warm climate, let's remember what natural gas is doing to our lands.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 August 2010, 2:07 PM
Army Corps and EPA to follow core legal requirements in MTR mine permitting

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have announced a major step to help prevent the destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining. In a rare joint guidance, the two agencies agreed to improve the process for permitting mountaintop removal mines.

Although it doesn't solve the problem of mountaintop removal mining, this new direction will make it much harder for coal mining companies to use Appalachian waterways as dumping grounds for their mining waste.

For 30 years, the Corps of Engineers allowed mining companies to completely bury streams with the rubble from their mountaintop mining explosions on the condition that they replace the stream with a manmade stream. In reality, this was a death sentence for healthy streams and entire ecosystems.

Here's how it happened: mining companies exploded the tops off of hundreds of mountains and dumped the waste into streams, burying more than 2,000 miles of vital Appalachian waterways. They claimed to replace the "structure" of those streams with drainage ditches as their permits required. Trouble is, science tell us that you can't just dig a ditch and create a living, healthy stream.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
29 July 2010, 4:09 PM
The science is clear - EPA action must move forward
Sen. Lisa Murkowski is trying to stop EPA from action on climate change

This afternoon (7/29), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) smacked down climate deniers in the most diplomatic and thoughtful way possible.

After careful re-review of decades of research and scientific findings by the world's foremost academic and government scientists, the EPA told 10 groups who challenged its scientific finding that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and endanger human health and welfare (in much gentler words):

You're wrong, you have no evidence, your claims against this sound and valid body of science are baseless, and your controversies are manufactured and out of context; and by standing in the way of federal action on climate change, you're endangering Americans' health and welfare.

In exact words, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said:

View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 July 2010, 4:20 PM
Let's not give up on a Senate climate change bill
Sen. John Kerry

<Today (Thur.), I attended a Town Hall meeting in a Senate office building on the need for climate change legislation. Accompanying me was our fantastic summer intern, Trevor Hill, who is here in DC sponging up the politics and legislative procedures within our fight to protect the people, places and wildlife on this planet for an entire summer before he returns to Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

After a huge news day on climate change, it is my pleasure to toss this blog post to Trevor, who writes quite compellingly on the range of emotions the day brought and why he is not ready to give up the fight for national action on climate change>:

Today was quite a rollercoaster ride for those of us following the conversation on comprehensive climate change legislation in the nation’s capital.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
21 July 2010, 1:40 PM
We're live blogging tomorrow as he speaks at the National Press Club

Tomorrow (July 22), Don Blankenship, the notorious chairman and CEO of Massey Energy, speaks at the National Press Club. We'll be live blogging to make sure you all get the play-by-play -- which promises to be interesting at the very least if Blankenship's previous speaking engagements are any indicator (we live-blogged at his public debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in January in Charleston, WV -- check it out here).

As you may know, an explosion April 5 at the Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 miners. It was the deadliest coal mine explosion in the United States in 40 years.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 July 2010, 2:05 PM
The one place a climate and clean energy bill should never go

Update (7/22): On 7/22 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the forthcoming energy bill will no longer include the section that would address climate change and limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate, he said, will address climate change in a separate bill in the fall after August recess.

In his statement to the press this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill. But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.  I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who again find themselves on the wrong side of history. But as we work through our differences on a comprehensive energy bill, Republicans have an immediate choice to make."

Senator John Kerry, the Senate's key negotiator of the draft climate language that was taken out of the bill package today, told press: "Harry Reid, today, has committed to giving us that opportunity, that open door, if you will, over the next days, weeks, months, whatever it takes, to find those 60 votes. So the work will continue every single day."

Sen. Kerry has said he will continue negotiatons with electric utilities, and before today, he indicated that those negotiations need more time. If these negotiations continue, he and other Senate leaders must take the polluter giveaways described below off the table.>

Back in May, when the Kerry-Lieberman draft climate bill came out, we told you about one deadly provision in it that needed to meet the chopping block fast, before it threatened American lives and decades of cleaner air in the United States. Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen wrote about this in his Huffington Post column, "Giving a Free Pass to Soot, Smog, and Toxic Air Pollution is No Way to Pass a Climate Bill."

Well, this idea to use harmful air pollutants that have long been controlled through the Clean Air Act as bargaining chips in order to get industry on board is still ominously hanging around. And it needs to go away immediately. Take action now and tell your senators to step in and stop this now.

Here are some details on what exactly is happening:

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