Posts tagged: Obama administration

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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.

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.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
18 May 2012, 4:00 PM
Some of the above are fossil fuels -- and they aren't clean

Sometimes an all-in strategy can tarnish the entire package.

Take for example President Obama’s recent decision to tout an “all-of-the-above” approach to achieving energy independence and lowering gas prices. It’s a catchy, feel-good campaign slogan perfect for banners and sound bites, but it’s a hollow energy strategy. Worse yet, it opens America up for destructive practices by painting the administration into a fossil-fuel corner.

Recently, House Republicans seized on Obama’s vulnerable position by successfully insisting that the administration add “clean coal” to its energy policy website. Never mind that coal is dirty at every step of the process, from mining to burning to disposing of the waste. It’s also the source of 99 percent of mercury from the U.S. power sector and the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S.

Even the coal industry knows that coal is dirty, which is why it has tried desperately to rebrand its baby as “clean coal,” an oxymoron at its finest. The lynch-pin of “clean coal,” carbon sequestration, is wildly expensive and doesn’t address local pollution problems.

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
18 May 2012, 2:42 PM
Environmental groups urge Obama to attend Rio+20 summit

Twenty-two environmental organizations including Earthjustice, representing more than 5 million Americans, sent a letter to President Obama on Friday, urging him to lead the U.S. delegation at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June and be a strong advocate for action on clean energy, environmental rights and healthy oceans.

More than 130 heads of state and government leaders are expected to attend. Like the first Earth Summit in Rio 20 years ago, this gathering will help set the international agenda on environment and sustainability for the next 20 years.

The Earth Summit presents a rare opportunity for the global community to ratchet up action on issues like healthy oceans in the face of new challenges like ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is thought by many to be the greatest threat to marine ecology in this century, and is squarely on the agenda at Rio+20. Coral reefs—the nurseries of the sea—along with the shelled creatures that form the base of the marine food web are among the species and ecosystems most vulnerable to acidification.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
15 May 2012, 1:02 PM
Polar bears, walrus, sandpiper, 150 activists deliver comments to White House
Campaign Director Jared Saylor and Policy & Legislation intern Adriane Underwood carry letters from more than 50,000 Earthjustice supporters who support protecting the Arctic.

On a muggy Tuesday morning, two polar bears lumbered south on 17th Street in Washington D.C. A walrus waved at drivers honking their horns. A sandpiper flapped its wings as it passed food trucks and coffee shops. And, 40 representatives from more than a dozen environmental groups wore bright blue shirts emblazoned with the logo “SAVE THE ARCTIC.”

Paws, wings, shirts and all, they headed towards the White House with a few things to tell the president. Joined by a few hundred activists, they gathered to deliver more than one million comments from concerned citizens, asking President Obama to stop plans by Shell Oil to drill in the remote, fragile waters of the Arctic Ocean this summer.

Comments being delivered to the White House.

The waters of Alaska’s northern coast are home to threatened polar bears, endangered bowhead whales, walrus, seals, birds that range through every state in the Union. Drilling in these waters threatens these species and the vibrant indigenous Alaska Native culture that depends on a healthy Arctic Ocean, both already under stress from rapid climate change.
View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
02 May 2012, 10:46 AM
As asthma awareness month begins, ozone season looms
Smog makes some kids sing the blues when "School's Out" (the memorable Alice Cooper tune)

“School’s out for summer!”

When I was growing up, Alice Cooper’s 1972 hit usually infiltrated my head sometime around the beginning of May, looped incessantly, and hit a feverish crescendo in the few minutes before the final bell released us to summer break. Now, many years later, a very different line completes the couplet in my head.

“Ozone is a bummer!”

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
24 April 2012, 11:22 AM
Join more than 600,000 opposing industrial coal plant pollution
680,000 comments, being hand-delivered to the EPA. Earthjustice Legislative Representative Sarah Saylor (left) carries more than 50,000 comments from Earthjustice supporters.

When you've got food poisoning, what's the last thing on earth you want? A heaping plate of the offending dish, right? Well—new, dirty coal plants are to the planet what shrimp scampi is to a roiling belly.

Industrial carbon pollution from coal plants is making us sick, driving climate change, and intensifying the smog-filled air that triggers asthma attacks in children and seniors. But in late March, the Environmental Protection Agency aimed to settle stomachs when it released clean air standards to curb this dangerous pollution from new plants.

Already, 680,000 people have submitted public comments in support of these precedent-setting protections. The comments were delivered directly to the EPA earlier today, but do not fear if you haven't weighed in yet. We're just getting started.

Comments being delivered to the EPA.

Representatives from many groups, including Earthjustice, carry public comments to the EPA's headquarters. Warmer temperatures intensify smog pollution and its health impacts on Americans, including more asthma attacks in children and seniors.
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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
20 April 2012, 3:44 PM
Court lets Earthjustice argue for wildlife and waters near iconic park
The Grand Canyon.

We’re in!

Judge Martone of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona today granted our motion to intervene to defend the Department of the Interior’s decision to ban new uranium mining claims for 20 years across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

Today’s order – read it here – means we’ll have a seat in the courtroom to protect the life-giving waters and deer, elk, condors and other wildlife found adjacent to America’s iconic National Park from an ill-considered legal attack by a uranium prospector.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
16 April 2012, 12:09 PM
GMOs and BPA get a kiss, while green chemistry gets the boot
Photo courtesy of healthserviceglasses (flickr)

EPA disses green chemistry program
Recently, the EPA pulled the rug out from under a green chemistry grant program without any explanation and little notice, reports Environmental Health News. The program, which planned to bring together experts in many fields to design a new generation of green chemicals that are less toxic to people and the environment, would provide $20-million towards the research of green chemistry. It was nixed just weeks before the deadline for proposals, a move that no doubt annoyed the researchers who worked for months on the program. Though the EPA says it may pick back up the program in the future, the recently burned scientists are, not surprisingly, skeptical as to whether that will ever actually happen.

FDA says BPA is A-Okay
The Food and Drug Administration won’t ban bisphenol-A (BPA) anytime soon, despite several studies that have linked the chemical’s exposure to a wide range of ailments, from obesity to cancer and even to changes in behavior, reports Grist. According to the FDA, there’s still not enough evidence to deem BPA a threat. And the fact that the chemical, which is found in up to 90 percent of the human population, may be potentially harmful doesn’t mean we should ban it. After all, what would soup companies, baby bottle manufacturers and other industries do without their precious BPA? It’s not like there are other alternatives out there that are safer and cost-effective, right? Wrong.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
12 April 2012, 3:54 PM
Will Obama listen to the risk market makers?
Are you listening, Mr. President?

The Obama administration is all ears—deaf ones—when it comes to dire warnings about drilling in the Arctic made by scientists, policymakers, international figures and celebrities.

The latest caution came today from the world’s largest and oldest insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, which warned that offshore drilling in the Arctic would “constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk.” The agency urged companies to “think carefully about the consequences of action” before exploring for oil in the region.”

Also weighing in today was Dr. Jeffrey Short, the research chemist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 31 years, who as lead chemist for both the state of Alaska and federal government, witnessed firsthand the devastation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the Deepwater Horizon blowout two years ago.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
26 March 2012, 3:41 PM
Citizens vow to fight harder against mountaintop removal mining
Mountaintop removal mining

[Updated 4.6.12]   A federal district court judge overruled the Environmental Protection Agency's veto of the proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, a case in which Earthjustice and partners and clients in West Virginia were granted amicus curiae.

The court ruling came as heartbreaking news for our partners in West Virginia and across Appalachia, who have been fighting to protect their communities from this proposed mine (and mountaintop removal mining in general) in the courts for more than a decade. The Spruce No. 1 mine would be the largest mountaintop removal mine in West Virginia, and one the largest in all of Appalachia.

Like all mountaintop removal mines, it is likely to inflict a slew of health hazards on nearby communities, as well as shake their homes and cause costly property damage. The Spruce mine would also bury and destroy seven miles of vital streams and decimate more than 2,000 mountain acres, razing 3.5 square miles of mountaintop forests and dumping 110 million cubic yards of toxic mining waste into waters and valleys an area already suffering from the impacts of mountaintop removal mining.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
22 March 2012, 11:42 AM
Gas price lies, “safe” fracking water, BPA bans
Dirty air, not eating all those chips, may cause obesity, so munch on! (Photo courtesy of loop_oh)

Forget Fritos: Air pollution may be making people fat
Sure, it’s got nothing on the much-hyped “Paleo Diet,” but a new theory that air pollution may be making us fat could provide one more bullet in the never-ending arsenal of dieting ticks and trips that people can use to lose weight. According to Discovery News, just as the oceans are becoming more acidic as they sequester more carbon dioxide, studies show that our blood becomes more acidic when we breathe in CO2-laden air, even just for a few weeks. But though higher acidity in the ocean means weaker coral reefs and shell-covered creatures, a drop in pH in our brains acts much differently by making appetite-related neurons fire more frequently, which could result in us eating more, sleeping less and, eventually, gaining more weight. Though the theory hasn’t yet been heavily tested, previous studies have shown that the issue of obesity goes far beyond cutting calories and exercising more. And, even if the theory doesn’t pan out, clean air is definitely tied to a whole host of other great health benefits, like not dying early, so take a deep breath!

History shows that “drill, baby, drill” mentality doesn’t lower gas prices
The commonly held notion that more domestic drilling leads to lower U.S. gas prices is completely false, reports the Associated Press, which came to the conclusion after analyzing more than three decades’ of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production. Though both political parties are guilty of using the "drill, baby, drill" mentality to link higher gas prices to an "unfriendly" domestic drilling policy, the facts tell an entirely different tale. For example, since February 2009 we’ve increased oil production by 15 percent (yes, during the Obama presidency, which is supposedly extremely unfriendly to domestic energy production), yet between 2009 and 2012 prices at the pump spiked by more than a dollar during that time. The reason, much to Americans’ dismay, is that since oil is a global commodity, neither the U.S. nor our president has much say in determining the price of gasoline. We do, however, have a say in how much gas we use, which means that the only real way to decrease the amount that we pay at the pump is to, simply, use less gas by driving more gas-efficient cars and taking public transit, to name just a few examples.

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