Posts tagged: pesticides

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pesticides


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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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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 Molly Woodward's blog posts
10 December 2009, 4:40 PM
Copenhagen, the Chukchi Sea, Clean Air, Trees

Some top stories from the last week at Earthjustice...

The Copenhagen conference started off with a bang of optimism when the EPA announced that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health. The cooperative spirit quickly fizzled after a draft agreement surfaced that apparently favors the interests of the U.S. and other wealthy nations. There’s more news by the hour: Be sure to check out our daily reports from Copenhagen, and analysis by two attending Earthjustice attorneys, Erika Rosenthal and Martin Wagner.

All the buzz from the conference nearly drowned out a disturbing, and related, piece of news: Shell Oil was granted conditional approval to drill exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea. Earthjustice attorney Erik Grafe warned that the approvals outpace the science of what we know about Arctic waters.

On the same day that the EPA released its endangerment finding, Earthjustice challenged the agency on a toxin polluting the air in Appalachia, to the point where kids can’t play outside. It’s coal dust, and we think the coal plants that produce it should do something about it. 

Farm workers and their families will get some long-awaited help to deal with toxic pesticides poisoning the air around their homes and schools, thanks to a new EPA policy. Going forward, the EPA will assess the health risks posed by pesticide drift with the same standards by which pesticides in food are assessed. 

And finally, this week Earthjustice saved taxpayers $1.5 million!and 4.3 million board-feet of old-growth forest in the Tongass to boot. This also means we kept a little C02 out of the atmosphere. Indeed, one of the least controversial ideas out of Copenhagen is also one of the simplest: don’t cut down trees.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
09 December 2009, 3:14 PM
New policy aims to correct decades of wrongdoings

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency put itself on a path to right several wrongs of the past decades done to this nation's farmworkers and their families.

EPA announced a new policy that will apply the same science in assessing risks to workers and their families as it uses to protect children generally from pesticides in our food. In 1996, Congress mandated that EPA protect children from the risks posed by the combined exposure to pesticides in our foods, drinking water and environment. Congress also directed EPA to account for children's special vulnerabilities to toxic pesticides and gaps in our knowledge about their full risks.

EPA reviewed thousands of pesticides under these standards, but it carved out exceptions for some of the most vulnerable children—children who go with their parents in the fields and children who are exposed to pesticides that drift into their homes, schools, day care centers, and playfields.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
02 December 2009, 3:57 PM
A different angle from the Center for Food Safety

I just received two copies of a newsletter called Cool Foods: Countdown to Copenhagen & Beyond from the Center for Food Safety. The purpose of the effort is to remind negotiators and the public that industrial agriculture accounts for between 13.5 percent and as much as 32 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. "Particularly alarming," they write, "is that industrial agriculture is responsible for 60 percent of total global nitrous oxide emissions, largely from nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrous oxide is the deadliest of the three major GHGs, approximately 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide." And on in the same vein. Scary but vital information.

Lester Brown's Earth Policy Institute has a somewhat different take on the subject, but also provides compelling evidence and argument that climate change and agriculture are intimately linked.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
18 November 2009, 12:29 PM
What we're doing to protect kids from pesticides

Luis Medellin and his three little sisters—aged 5, 9 and 12—live in the middle of an orange grove in Lindsay, CA—a small farming town in California's Central Valley. During the growing season, Luis and his sisters are awakened several times a week by the sickly smell of nighttime pesticide spraying. What follows is worse: searing headaches, nausea, vomiting.

The Medellin family's story is not unique. From apple orchards in Washington to potato fields in Florida, poisonous pesticide 'clouds' plague the people who live nearby—posing a particular risk to the young children of the nation's farm workers, many of whom live in industry housing at the field's edge.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
17 November 2009, 10:26 AM
Gene-spliced crops require extra chemicals, extra cost

 More than half of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the U.S. these days starts as genetically engineered seed. The best-known are produced by Monsanto and called "Roundup-Ready," Roundup being the name of an herbicide also produced by Monsanto. The idea is that the GE crops can be doused with Roundup to kill off weeds without damaging the crops themselves.

Well, someone forgot to tell Monsanto that nature is pretty slick about adapting to change: Weeds have evolved resistance to Roundup, requiring farmers to apply great quantities of different herbicides to kill them, which is expensive and dangerous.

All this and more is detailed in a new report from the Organic Center, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Food Safety, which goes on to reveal that not only must farmers shell out large sums to pay for extra chemicals—the price of the GE seeds has gone through the roof even as their effectiveness declines.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
03 November 2009, 4:13 PM
Not if we have anything to say about it
A crop duster at work spraying pesticides

Today Earthjustice lined up alongside family farmers, consumers, farmworkers, fishermen, anti-hunger groups and a host of others in opposing the administration's selection of a pesticide industry insider to serve as our country's chief agricultural trade negotiator.

Deciding to oppose a nominee is not a decision we take lightly. But in this case it was the right thing to do.

When it comes to pesticides and GMOs, Islam Siddiqui has been on the wrong side of the issues too many times. His current gig—as vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America—speaks volumes. CropLife America is the agribusiness trade association whose members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow. It's also shorthand for how far we've strayed from sustainable agriculture practices. Putting Siddiqui at the helm certainly won't get us back on course.

View David Guest's blog posts
02 October 2009, 12:05 PM
Uses tax dollars in resisting efforts to clean up waterways
Agricultural runoff creates toxic algae bloom in Florida waters

 It is shameful that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson is siding with the state’s worst polluters to fight against cleaning up algae-choked waters poisoned by agricultural runoff.

There are toxic algae blooms all over the state, water treatment plants are closing due to nutrient poisoning, and yet Bronson directs the state to work for the polluters and against the people. 

In August, in a historic move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a consent decree in which it agreed to set legal limits for the widespread nutrient poisoning that triggers harmful algae blooms, like the one above, in Florida waters.

But, instead of working to make the public's water cleaner and safer, Bronson is spending tax dollars to help special interests like the Florida Pulp and Paper Association and Big Agriculture block the clean water settlement. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services filed a motion to intervene in the case on the polluters' side.
 

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
22 August 2008, 1:00 AM
 

Bill Neukom is a seasoned attorney in a prominent Seattle firm. He served as Microsoft's general counsel and for the past year has been the President of the American Bar Association. His main project at the ABA is engaging leading lawyers, judges, politicians, and others around the world to promote the rule of law. He leads the World Justice Project and has developed the Rule of Law Index, measuring the strength of legal protections and the degree of corruption in the world's legal systems. Strengthening environmental law is one of the goals of this effort.

So Neukom's observations about the how environmental laws are faring here in the US carry particular weight. In a recent press conference, he talked about the failure of the Congress and the executive branch agencies to make sure that our environmental laws are enforced and are updated to address new problems and developing science. The critical task of putting teeth in our environmental laws, seeing that they are carried out to protect the public's health, wild places and wildlife, has instead fallen to public interest litigators. Because our political leadership has abdicated its job, Earthjustice and our allies have taken on the job as the front line of defense for environmental protection.