Posts tagged: Obama administration

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Obama administration


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 November 2012, 7:47 PM
It's back on Obama's agenda, along with "all of the above"
President Obama, on election night.  (Christopher Dilts)

Life doesn’t hand you many second chances to make good on promises.

But that’s what the American public, with an assist from superstorm Sandy, has given President Obama: another 4-year opportunity to tackle climate change—the critical environmental issue of our time. He’s now talking about the issue again, after two years of near-silence, and just a few days ago spoke of “an agenda that says we can create jobs, advance growth and make a serious dent in climate change.”

President Obama's words aren't quite as bold as those he made four years ago about attacking climate change, but they give us hope that climate change has become a politically viable issue—especially when seen in the context of the election.

49 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jared Saylor's blog posts
16 November 2012, 1:09 PM
4 years after the Tennessee coal ash spill, problems continue to grow
Aerial view of the devastating 2008 coal ash disaster in Tennessee. (TVA)

Four years ago, a small Tennessee town woke up to a nightmare. A nearby coal ash pond that held back more than a billion gallons of toxic waste collapsed, sending a flood of ash and dirt right through their doors. In the weeks and months that followed, an entire nation began to see the magnitude of the coal ash threat.

Cleaning up the Clinch River near Kingston, TN, continues. Just last week, the Tennessee Valley Authority—the owners of the coal ash dam that burst—announced plans to let nature take its course in removing the remaining half a million tons of ash.  Coal ash activist, Watauga Riverkeeper and Earthjustice client Donna Lisenby summed it up best: "Five hundred cubic yards is enough coal ash to fill a football field almost 94 feet high from end zone to end zone. Coal ash contains arsenic, lead, chromium and many other toxic pollutants. Leaving that much ash in the river system to combine with all the other legacy pollutants just increases the total pollutant load."

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
16 November 2012, 12:54 PM
Historic agreement signals beginning of end for tragic mining practice

Yesterday, one of the nation’s top coal companies, Patriot Coal, announced that it is getting out of the business of mountaintop removal mining. The decision comes out of a settlement with several Appalachian community groupsWest Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates—requiring Patriot to clean up toxic selenium pollution running off into streams and rivers from two mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia.

This news marks the beginning of the end of mountaintop removal mining. This is the first time a coal company is publicly acknowledging community impacts of this destructive and extreme form of mining. Now, it's up to all of us to finish the job and demand that our nation's leaders in the White House and in Congress end mountaintop removal before coal companies do more damage. They shouldn't be left to their own timelines: We need to work to end this sooner.

5 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
06 November 2012, 9:56 PM
President must unite America to secure prosperity and fight climate change
President Obama now has a second chance to put this nation on course to a prosperous future built on clean energy. (Scout Tufankjian)

The American people have reinvested their faith in a President who now has a second chance to put this nation on course to a prosperous future built on clean energy and with a far-reaching goal of ending mankind’s role in climate change.

In the wake of superstorm Sandy, voters saw—and many continue to experience—the impacts of climate change-induced weather. They are convinced and, like us, demand that President Obama take action to steer us away from the fossil fuels that feed climate change. This is the real path to energy independence.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
19 October 2012, 2:54 PM
Shell’s drill ship off the coast of treasured wilderness
The Arctic Refuge is one of the most splendid stretches of wilderness left in America.  (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

Shell Oil has until the end of October to wrap up drilling operations in the Arctic.

This week, a great piece of photojournalism illustrates just how close their Kulluk drill rig is to the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Earthjustice fought for years to protect.

The photo below, shot by Gary Braasch, demonstrates that the fragile ecosystem of America’s Arctic waters is not the only treasure that would be devastated by an oil spill:

Shell's <i>Kulluk</i> oil rig offshore Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge. October 2012. (Gary Braasch / WorldViewOfGlobalWarming.org)

Shell's Kulluk oil rig offshore Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge. October 2012.
(© Gary Braasch / WorldViewOfGlobalWarming.org)
1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 October 2012, 5:34 AM
On the Act's 40th anniversary, how it touches lives across the country

Growing up just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, my siblings and cousins and I spent our summers swimming in Lake Erie. The water looked clear enough, and though I remember hearing about the invasion of zebra mussels, our greatest worries were the imagined creatures in the deep. We didn't know that just a few years before, the lake was popularly deemed “dead" because of the pollution it received from surrounding industries.

31 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 August 2012, 5:44 PM
U.S. lax about chemicals used in oil and gas operations
A U.S. Air Force chemical dispersing C-130 aircraft drops an oil dispersing chemical into the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Deepwater Horizon response effort. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Tech. Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

In April 2010, a national nightmare began with a blowout into the Gulf of Mexico. But the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill were just the beginning of the disaster. We are still learning about the real damage, which is much more insidious than tar balls and slicked beaches.

Recently, researchers found that the millions of gallons of chemical dispersants used to break up the oil may disrupt the Gulf of Mexico’s food chain by killing off plankton, the fuel on which marine ecosystems run. At the time of the spill, little was known about the dispersants’ health and environmental effects, but oil executives and government officials justified the risk by arguing that desperate times call for desperate measures.

Welcome to the age of extreme energy, which requires us to risk the health of our bodies and our environment just to keep the lights on. From oil dispersants to fracking fluid, the chemicals used in extreme energy all have one thing in common: We know little about them, and what we do know is worrisome.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
17 August 2012, 8:33 AM
Forest Service prefers protecting wildlands, chooses bulldozers anyway
The Sunset roadless area. Ted Zukoski photo (c).

The Forest Service finally admitted it.

It took the agency two environmental assessment drafts and a draft and final environmental impact statement, but they admitted it.

The agency finally admitted that it would be “environmentally preferred” to protect the wildest, most pristine part of the Sunset roadless area in western Colorado from bulldozing for road construction and for scraping well pads to benefit Arch Coal, the nation’s second largest coal company.

The construction of a spider-web of industrial facilities that will take decades to heal will devastate that part of the roadless area the Forest Service itself concluded meets all of the criteria for designation as wilderness—the most protective designation on public lands.

But while the Forest Service concluded it was “environmentally preferred” to protect this remote natural area of ponds and streams, elk and black bear habitat, with its huge spruce and large stands of aspen, the agency also decided on August 10 to approve the most aggressive coal mine expansion for Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine, paving the way for the roadless area’s destruction.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Liz Judge's blog posts
08 August 2012, 1:00 PM
Some love stories captured on video

She said, “Do you cheat on me?”
He said, “Sure I do.”

“Do I know her?"
“Sure you do.”

“Is she pretty?”
“Most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

“What’s her name?”
He said, “Kayford Mountain, prettiest lady I ever met.”

This is the story of a man who fell in love with a mountain and his struggle to keep it and all mountains from being destroyed by coal mining.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
27 July 2012, 1:18 AM
Plus: London smog, EPA’s petrified politics, grocery bill blues
Greenland's ice melt from July 8th (left image) to July 12 (right image). Photo courtesy of NASA

Greenland's record ice melt blows scientists’ beakers
The ice melt happening in Greenland right now is one for the record books, reports the UK Guardian. In fact, it’s so dramatic that even the scientists who have been staring at Greenland’s ice melt for decades were so surprised at just how fast the ice is melting that they thought they made a mistake in their data. They didn't. One group of researchers even had to rebuild their research camp after the snow and ice melted beneath their feet. Within a four-day period, the area of melting ice in Greenland increased from approximately 40 percent of the ice sheet surface to 97 percent. Typically, only about half of Greenland’s ice sheet melts during the summer. The unprecedented ice melt doesn’t bode well for those living near sea level, like, say, the almost four million Americans that live within just a few feet of high tide

London smog may send athletes sprinting for inhalers
As the Olympics in London heats up, the world’s best athletes are gearing up with top-notch running shoes, high-performance energy drinks...and their best inhalers, reports the UK Guardian. Health experts are warning that London’s forecast temperature of hot weather and easterly winds this week may result in a deadly combination that spikes smog pollution in the area, triggering breathing problems and scratchy throats. Also known as ground level ozone, smog is formed when sunlight reacts with oxygen and pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, which spews out of vehicle tailpipes and industry smokestacks. Though physicians often recommend that people reduce physical activity during really smoggy days, that’s not really an option for speedy, air-sucking Olympic athletes. Last fall, President Obama withdrew the EPA’s new smog standard, which would have tightened air toxics regulations and saved thousands of lives each year. Though the president cited economic concerns as the reason for his decision, it’s unclear whether he considered the economic impact of putting a smog-filled damper on the Olympics. As for the non-athletes attending the games this year who’d like to know when air pollution spikes, don’t worry. There’s an app for that.
 

1 Comment   /   Read more >>