Posts tagged: public lands

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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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.


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
20 November 2011, 12:08 AM
Court ruling climaxes 13-year legal struggle
Young boy fishing in the West Fork Humptulips River by the Moonlight Dome Roadless Area in Washington’s Olympic National Forest. (© Thomas O’Keefe)

Last month, protection for nearly 50 million acres of wild lands was resoundingly affirmed in a court decision that will benefit future generations. After 13 years of legal battles by Earthjustice on behalf of our allies, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the Roadless Rule, a landmark preservation act that protects our nation’s wild forests and grasslands from new road building, logging and development.

The conviction behind the Roadless Rule, that we should protect pristine wild lands not only for the well-being of the last survivors of our wild heritage, but also for our own well-being, is one held by most Americans. The public outpouring of support for the Roadless Rule has been unprecedented. The Roadless Rule victory is living proof that the desire to protect America’s natural heritage lives on in us all.

But despite overwhelming public support for the Rule, the fight to uphold it has been far from easy and is still not over. Since the Clinton administration first began considering the idea of protecting the last undeveloped lands on our national forests, the Roadless Rule has been subjected to relentless attacks by loggers, miners and supporting politicians.

16 Comments   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
26 October 2011, 3:09 PM
Office of Surface Mining merged into Bureau of Land Management
OSMRE's accomplishment to date

Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a major agency reshuffling that will affect how the government enforces laws on mountaintop removal and surface coal mining.  He will fold the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) into another Department of Interior subdivision, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

OSMRE is the agency that oversees the enforcement of the nation's surface coal mining laws, and BLM is the agency that oversees the federal government's management of public lands. Most mountaintop removal mining happens on private lands, not public lands, in Appalachia.

Press coverage of the agency reshuffle managed to ask an important question: Will this make a difference in the enforcement of coal mining laws? Will this change the landscape at all? 

2 Comments   /  
View Tom Turner's blog posts
21 October 2011, 5:28 PM
Decision climaxes 13-year legal struggle by Earthjustice
Meadows and ponds abound in a roadless area in Wyoming’s Beartooth Plateau. (© Nelson Guda, 2009 /

<In a major victory for Earthjustice and its supporters, today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated The Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of National Forest lands against exploitation. Tom Turner, who literally wrote the book ("Roadless Rules") on the case, provides some background here.>

Toward the end of the Clinton administration, the Forest Service declared that most logging and road building no longer would be permitted on nearly 60 million acres of wild, unprotected national forest lands.

The so-called Roadless Area Conservation Rule was immediately challenged in nine separate lawsuits filed by states (Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, North Dakota), a few counties, and several timber industry interests.

Earthjustice immediately moved to defend the rule in all those cases, eventually devoting thousands of hours by many attorneys to the effort. Many major national groups became involved, along with statewide groups. The Natural Resources Defense Council was a key ally in Alaska.

192 Comments   /  
View Stephanie Maddin's blog posts
20 October 2011, 10:02 AM
Sick citizens and ravaged environment equal healthy economy?
Rep. Eric Cantor (VA-7)

This week, President Obama has conducted a bus tour through my home state of Virginia and North Carolina. The tour focused on job creation and the state of our economy.

Unfortunately, Republican leadership in Congress thinks weakening our clean air and water protections is the foundation of economic renewal.

Since returning from August recess, the House of Representatives has passed some of the most anti-environmental and anti-public health legislation in its history. These bills—which indefinitely delay air pollution standards for power plants, industrial boilers/incinerators and cement plants—passed as key provisions in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s “Jobs Agenda.”

2 Comments   /  
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
18 October 2011, 9:29 AM
Give Oil/Gas Industry 90% of Public Lands And They Want More
Vermillion Basin, Colorado. One of the few places off-limits to drilling. Photo © Mark Pearson

Let’s say you have three kids, and one big piece of cake to divide amongst them. One kicks and cries and whines. "I want it ALL," the baby screams. "I want it all NOW!" The other two say, "We want our fair share."

To keep the decibel level in the house at acceptable levels, and because you’re a whimp, you give the crybaby 90 percent of the cake. But even that doesn’t work. The baby still whines and cries and kicks and screams, "I want it ALL. I don’t care what brother and sister get."

Meet the oil and gas industry in Colorado, the crybaby of the West's public lands debate.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
22 September 2011, 9:24 AM
Visits to National Park - By Smog - Increase
Can you tell which side shows the smoggy day at the Grand Canyon? NPS photo.

Our National Park system—the first in the world—has been dubbed "America's best idea." But that great idea, which offers millions a respite from our industrialized life, is now beseiged more than ever by a symptom of that life—smog.

The National Parks Conservation Association published a report last week showing that the number of bad ozone (smog) days in national parks has risen over the last three years. Flagship parks like Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Canyon, and Big Bend all had ozone violations over the last six months. Sequioa/Kings Canyon National Park suffered the worst—choking on smog for more than two months.

Smog is bad for the Parks—obscuring famous and magnificent views and depositing pollutants that foul lakes and streams.

But it's not so good for the visitors either, since its tied to all sorts of lung and heart disease. High enough ozone levels trigger recommendations for people to stay indoors and limit outdoor exercise, which kind of ruins the whole national park experience.

2 Comments   /  
View David Lawlor's blog posts
16 September 2011, 12:15 PM
Global event encourages turning parking spots into temporary public spaces
S'more Park created in a parking space by PGA Design, a landscape architecture firm based in Oakland, Calif. The temporary park was constructed as part of the 7th Annual PARK(ing) Day.

Cars sure are important. I mean, we design our towns and cities—heck, our whole civilization—around their ubiquitous presence. We construct massive parking structures where cars live for temporary periods, have a whole dining subculture based on the automobile, and dot the sides of our city streets with parking spaces deemed so valuable as to demand a fee for their use.

That’s why what I saw when I strolled into work today was so refreshing.

Outside the front door of Earthjustice’s office in downtown Oakland, Calif., a bucolic camp site scene was occupying a space next to the curb and between two white lines painted on the street where I would normally spy a pickup truck or late-model sedan. There was a collection of tree stumps to sit down on, there were board games resting on a small table, and there was an actual campfire complete with s’more-preparation paraphernalia.

Happy PARK(ing) Day!

2 Comments   /  
View David Lawlor's blog posts
24 August 2011, 11:53 AM
The view from 3,000 miles above the earth
Death Valley National Park. (Photo: NASA)

Remember the “Star Gate” sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey when Bowman takes his far-out, psychedelic-twinged trip through deep space? Well, a new series of aerial photos of national parks at Wired offers you a similarly mind-blowing experience all from the comfort of your desk chair.

The NASA-sourced images of Death Valley National Park, Hawai'i’s Volcanoes National Park, and other national parks present a kaleidoscopic mosaic of colors, textures and beauty. From above, the natural treasures appear as abstract works of art. The perspective belies interesting natural features as well. Who knew the Northern California coastline near Redwood National Park was so, well, straight? Or that Crater Lake in Oregon was so, well, strikingly blue?

View Marty Hayden's blog posts
22 July 2011, 11:08 AM
Congress gives industry free ride on back of environmental protections

Perhaps inspired by the triple-digit heat afflicting Washington D.C., the House of Representatives is putting legislative flames to our important environmental and public health protections.

This week, the House will consider a spending bill for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and other federal agencies. The bill is stuffed with open attacks by House Republicans on protections for our air, water, wildlife and iconic places.
Laden with nearly 40 so-called anti-environmental “riders”— policy provisions added to a measure having little or nothing to do with the appropriating funds—the bill hasn’t even reached the House floor yet. One provision will lift a moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon--one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and the only one in the U.S.

11 Comments   /  
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
21 July 2011, 9:56 AM
President needs change of heart to protect national monuments
Grand Wash, in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Photo (c) Kim Crumbo.

Late in his administration, Bill Clinton attempted to build a conservation legacy worthy of Teddy Roosevelt by designating more than a dozen national monuments across the West.

George W. Bush tried to undo that legacy.

And President Barack Obama, to his dis-credit, has allowed the Bush-adopted, monument-undercutting status quo to remain, despite being the "hope-y, change-y" candidate in 2008.

But a little more background.

8 Comments   /