Posts tagged: oceans

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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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
03 January 2013, 5:35 PM
Plus: Oregano immunity, recycling for couples, NorCal coastal protections
Photo courtesy of Scott Beale (flickr)

Climate change could flood Facebook, Google by 2050
Facebook can't be brought down by angry fans irritated with its privacy policy and data mining tendencies, but it could be swept away by climate change- induced sea level rise, reports Climate Wire. Though much of the California coastline is at risk, Silicon Valley is especially vulnerable since the land it sits on is between 3 and 10 feet below sea level. According to a draft study from the Army Corps of Engineers, an extreme storm coupled with higher seas could put the valley, along with nearby homes and businesses, under water. Despite the dire predictions, for now Silicon Valley inhabitants seem content with delaying any climate change action, a sentiment that world leaders are mimicking. Unfortunately, a recent study has found that delaying carbon cuts until 2020 will make dealing with climate change far more expensive than tackling it now, reports Reuters. And, delaying action also significantly reduces the chance of meeting an U.N. agreed-upon limit of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, which is the limit many scientists agree we must adhere to in order to avoid the most damaging effects of catastrophic climate change. So far, temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since we first started emitting carbon in massive quantities. While governments and industries dawdle, find out how Earthjustice is taking action to stop climate change, before it’s too late.

View Maria Beloborodova's blog posts
27 December 2012, 10:00 AM
Readers were most inspired by stories of the wild
Two of the first five calves born at Ft. Peck Indian reservation this year. (Bill Campbell)

Blog posts about Earth's magnificent places and creatures were the most popular themes for unEarthed readers in 2012. By far the most-read post concerned Arctic drilling, followed by reports of bison being restored and wolves losing protection. Not shown in our top 10 blog posts, below, are the delightful tales of curious critters painted in words by our own Shirley Hao. Posts written years ago by Shirley are still being discovered and read by thousands of people every year.

And, now, for your enjoyment, we present our most-read posts of 2012:

View Brian Smith's blog posts
14 December 2012, 4:00 PM
First-ever coastwide limits set on menhaden catch in the Atlantic
Menhaden catch from a purse-seine net are pumped into a carrier vessel. (NOAA)

On Friday, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission finally responded to sound science and a huge public outcry by imposing the first ever coastwide cap on the catch of a little fish known as the menhaden.

More than 100,000 Americans (including more than 13,000 Earthjustice activists) wrote to the commission demanding protection for a fish that is an essential food source for seabirds, whales, and game fish like the striped bass.

The commission also cut next year’s catch to 25 percent below the 2011 menhaden catch. This cut will end recent overfishing and begin long term recovery of a species that has been reduced by 90 percent over the last three decades. New scientific information due in 2014 will trigger a transition to more precautionary long term catch levels.

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View Roger Fleming's blog posts
03 December 2012, 4:08 PM
Groundfish management protects fishery for the future
New England groundfish species, including cod, have been chronically overfished. (NOAA)

A recent federal appeals court decision protects the viability of depleted groundfish species like cod and flounder in New England.

The region’s two biggest fishing ports, New Bedford and Gloucester, along with a commercial fishery association, had challenged a set of sustainable fishery rules established in 2010. Attorneys for the ports argued that the new rules were unfairly enacted and should be overturned.

Earthjustice intervened in the case on the side of the government. We represented the fishermen who pioneered the new fishing system, called “sector management.” These fishermen, and an increasing number of others like them in New England, are committed to implementing scientifically based catch limits that protect fishing as an economic engine and food source for future generations.

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View John McManus's blog posts
28 November 2012, 2:58 PM
Earthjustice will act to protect them
L87, a southern resident orca, breaches at sunset with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background.  (Susan Berta / Orca Network)

A far right anti-environmental group based in Sacramento, California is trying to get federal Endangered Species Act protections removed from a small extended west coast family group of killer whales.

This group of killer whales, or orcas, is known as the southern residents because they spend much of their time residing in coastal waters between Washington and Canada’s Vancouver island. They feed almost exclusively on salmon, which is indirectly what’s got them in trouble with the anti-environmental Pacific Legal Foundation. They eat salmon not only in Washington waters, but as far south as California when salmon mass there in the spring.

Federal regulators curtailed fresh water diversions to large agricultural operations in the desert on the west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley, in part to save the salmon eaten by the whales—both for the sake of the threatened salmon, and for the whales. The Pacific Legal Foundation and other anti-environment groups (including one headed by a former Bush Administration wildlife official) found a few irrigators there who were willing to ignore the needs of the orcas in order to get more water diverted.

Because these groups and the irrigators live more than a thousand miles from where the killer whales spend most of their time, no one should be surprised they aren’t all that concerned about the whales.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
29 October 2012, 1:34 PM
Fisheries commission needs to hear from you, today!
Menhaden are harvested by the millions. (NOAA)

Something very unusual happened at the November 2011 meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The audience broke into applause for what the commisioners did.

They stood up for a fish that H. Bruce Franklin at Rutgers University called “The Most Important Fish in the Sea”—the Atlantic menhaden.

The menhaden is not a lovable, or famous fish. As Franklin describes it:

Not one of these fish is destined for a supermarket, a canning factory, or restaurant. Menhaden are oily, foul smelling, and packed with tiny bones. No one eats them—not directly, anyhow. Hardly anyone has even heard of them except for those who fish or study our eastern and southern waters.

Yet menhaden are the principal fish caught along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, exceeding the tonnage of all other species combined.

Menhaden once spanned the entire Eastern Seaboard. Travelling in thick schools miles long, these small bony, oily, fish are central to the diet of whales, seabirds, and the larger fish that fed a growing nation. They also make great fertilizer as Native Americans taught hungry European settlers who were farming in depleted soil.

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View Shawn Eisele's blog posts
25 October 2012, 1:00 PM
State permit allowing log storage facility challenged
Dungeness crabs in a crab trap. (Debra Hamilton / DFG)

Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is as much ocean as land. It includes saltwater bays, fjords, canals, channels, and too many islands to count.

At this intersection of land and ocean, life flourishes where forest creeks and streams empty nutrients into shallow saltwater bays. Among other species, dungeness crabs flourish, fed seasonally by the carcasses of spawned out salmon.

One such estuary 20 miles south of Petersburg in Alexander Bay is a place called the Pothole. It’s named for the crab pots used by the commercial crab fishery that thrives there.

Although the Pothole is a great place for crab fishermen to pursue their livelihood, the state of Alaska recently granted the U.S. Forest Service a permit for a logging company to store recently-cut logs in the Pothole’s shallow waters. The permit was granted after the Forest Service claimed it had no alternative, a claim later found to be untrue.

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)
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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
01 October 2012, 12:06 PM
Plus: Bacon blues, ocean critter jitters, burger smog and cattle candies
(flickr, cookbookman17)

Climate change may ruin BLTs and loaded baked potatoes
You know Americans may be a little food-obsessed when the only time we get concerned about climate change is when it affects our favorite meals. According to the USDA, this year’s drought is so bad that it’s expected to negatively impact next year’s pork production, reports Mother Jones, meaning that BLTs and pork chops may soon become a luxury item for many Americans. And forget about importing your bacon fix from Europe. Britain’s National Pig Association recently announced that a “world shortage of pork and bacon is now unavoidable” thanks to high pig-feed costs that are causing farmers to reduce their herd sizes. Though the association’s press release doesn’t specifically mention “climate change,” it does allude to “disastrous growing and harvesting weather,” which scientists only expect to get worse with increasing carbon emissions. In other words, if we don’t get our act together soon, it may mean good-bye, baconator®. Hello, tofu maker?
 
Consumers’ caffeine consumption gives ocean critters the jitters
Many people these days tend to be a little over-caffeinated, and it turns out that all of the sodas, coffee and energy drinks that people consume are having a similarly jittery effect on the world’s oceans, reports National Geographic. Conditions are especially amped up along the Pacific Northwest, home of Starbucks and many a caffeine-fiend, where researchers recently discovered caffeine pollution off of Oregon’s coast. Currently, caffeine’s impact on natural ecosystems is relatively unknown, though at least one researcher has found that the stimulant’s presence in water does tend to stress out mussels. Surely anyone who has knocked back too many cups of black gold can relate. But the problem isn’t just coming from the Pacific Northwest. Caffeine has also been detected in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay seawater. The presence of caffeine is the oceans isn’t all that surprising though considering that most water treatment facilities typically don’t screen or filter for many pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, detergents or estrogen-containing birth control pills. But given the growing evidence for elevated levels of human contaminants in the water, they may soon have to, or suffer the caffeinated consequences.
 

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
27 September 2012, 1:44 PM
Drilling poses too many environmental risks, says Total CEO

The “Big Oil” companies are breaking ranks. The fourth largest oil company in the world told the Financial Times yesterday that drilling in the Arctic is too risky, a position held by the environmental community for the past seven years.

Total SA CEO Christophe de Margerie, said, “Oil on Greenland would be a disaster … A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company.” This is the man who runs one of the world's largest integrated oil companies, with operations in 130 countries. According to Hoover’s, Total “explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas; refines and markets oil; and trades and transports both crude and finished products.”

The outspoken Big Oil CEO isn’t the only leader expressing concern.

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