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.

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 Liz Judge's blog posts
06 July 2011, 9:03 AM
House comes out swinging in its newly revealed 2012 spending bill

The 112th Session of the House of Representatives is at it again, doing what they do best: writing legislation to strike and block the clean air and clean water laws that keep us alive and healthy.

This morning, the House majority released its spending bill for the year 2012, and not to disappoint those who wish to live in a world with big corporations enjoying full freedom to foul our air and water without restriction, penalty or accountability, the bill manages to take direct aim at a handful of landmark environmental safeguards and a slew of major public health protections.

Legislating through appropriations is a back-door, manipulative move in its own right. It essentially means that instead of having to muster the votes required to pass new laws or take our current environmental and health safeguards off the books, House leadership is using a spending bill to simply stop and block all funding for these protections. The laws still stand as they are, they just can't be enforced. The way this House sees it, if the agencies can't get the money to enforce our current laws, there's no need to worry about what the laws actually mandate.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
22 June 2011, 2:49 PM
Brilliant mid-summer flowers in the Rockies waning due to climate change
Hummingbird at larkspur. David Inouye photo.

One of the great joys of living in the Rockies is taking a summer stroll in a high meadow, surrounded by wildflowers - violet lupines, deep red skyrockets, purple larkspur, penstemons, 6-foot gentians, and many others.

Some of these diplays may be changing, however, according to a scientific article written up recently in the LA Times.  The study shows that the previous "peak" of flowers in the mid-summer is being stretched out.  As the biology geeks put it in the article:

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
08 June 2011, 1:21 PM
Says Obama, Congress not doing enough for wildlands
Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt

Bruce Babbitt, Bill Clinton's Interior Secretary for eight years, gave a speech  attacking the current GOP Congress for its anti-environmental jihad.  That's not news.

But he also told the Obama administration it wasn't doing enough to protect western wildlands, and laid out a blueprint for positive steps the president could take to be an environmental champion.  That's news.  And it's welcome news.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
03 June 2011, 5:49 AM
Obama backtracks on broad environmental fronts
What happens when you get thrown under the bus.

Since the GOP won a majority in the House in 2010, the Obama administration has gone into "go-slow" mode - or even has taken a U-turn on presidential initiatives on air pollution and climate change.  The Los Angeles Times took aim at this in a tough May 20 editorial headlined: "In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don't matter."  It opens:

Shortly after his party's "shellacking" in the midterm election, President Obama ordered government agencies to ensure that new regulations took economic growth into consideration and that old ones be revoked if they "stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive." Five months later, it's becoming pretty clear what he meant: The environment and public health will be thrown under a bus for the sake of his reelection in 2012.

Ouch! 

And this hurts all the more because Earthjustice is feeling the tire marks.  Many of the issues on which the administration is attempting to appease polluters and House radicals are those we've worked on for years, including:

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
19 May 2011, 9:31 AM
Obama’s proposed Rule + natural gas, coal threaten millions of acres
Sunset Trail roadless area, Colorado.

Colorado is the most populous, developed state in the Rocky Mountain West. Despite all the cities and towns, highways, oil rigs and second homes, about 4.4 million acres of roadless national forest remain. And that’s in addition to the 3 million-plus acres of existing wilderness.

These roadless lands - which safeguard clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation - are currently protected across the West (except Idaho - long story) by President Clinton’s 2001 “Roadless Rule.”   That Rule bars commercial logging, road construction and most mining. The Rule does have carefully narrow provisions that allow some logging where needed to reduce fire risks in some forest types.  But Clinton's Rule remains the gold standard for protecting roadless lands.
 
President Obama's Forest Service, however, is working to undermine the Rule in Colorado. 

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
21 April 2011, 6:56 AM
Climate change is the single biggest threat to wolverines.
Attorney Tim Preso has spearheaded Earthjustice's efforts to protect the wolverine

(This is the fourth in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Earthjustice is currently working to protect several wild creatures in the Crown like the wolverine. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

EJ: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently listed wolverines as endangered, but they're still not being protected, correct?

TP: That's right. The FWS determined that although the species qualifies for listing under the Endangered Species Act that they were basically going to put wolverines in administrative limbo and not actually list them. Obviously we're not satisfied with that result and we're continuing to examine ways to move the wolverine up to the top of the list. The Crown of the Continent is one of the largest undeveloped landscapes remaining in our country and it's really the stronghold for wolverines in the lower-48 states. The wolverine only persists in places that are really and truly wild, and the Crown is the last place that they're remaining in any significant numbers.

EJ: Why did Earthjustice decide to focus on wolverine protections?

TP: There are a number of reasons. One is just that the wolverine has a lot of amazing characteristics that make it a particularly cool animal to work on. Wolverines are extremely tough and they live in extremely harsh environments at high elevations. When grizzly bears, which we think of as a tough animal, are sleeping in their hibernation dens for the winter, the wolverine is out there on those snow-blasted slopes trying to eke out a living, covering 160 square miles over some of the most rugged country in the lower 48 states. It takes a tremendously large landscape for them to find enough food to stay alive, so these animals need extremely large home ranges.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
21 April 2011, 6:40 AM
Anti-wilderness bill is subject of scorn
Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-22).

Last week we wrote about an effort by three Republican members of the House of Representatives to repeal the Roadless Area Conservation Rule that protects nearly 60 million acres of unspoiled lands on the national forests and to deny the Bureau of Land Management's authority to declare its unspoiled areas "wilderness study areas" and protect them until Congress can decide whether to give them permanent protection.

Now the hometown paper of one of the congressmen—Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, CA—has lit into him, invoking the memory of that great Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, who would certainly deplore this foolish, not to say wicked, ploy. We thank and congratulate the editors of the Bakersfield Californian for their graceful and powerful editorial. We hope Mr. McCarthy will pay attention. Fat chance.

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
21 April 2011, 12:41 AM
Celebrating the birthday and accomplishments of an American hero

Today is the 173rd birthday of John Muir. If the legacy of wildland preservation in this country were a river long with oxbows, falls and many notable tributaries, Muir's contributions would certainly be the headwaters.

Muir was the co-founder and first president of the Sierra Club and a steadfast advocate for the protection of wilderness. Through his essays and books—penned late in life after years of exploration—he has exposed millions to the wonders of the outdoors, and particularly the many rewards that await the California mountaineer. But Muir's greatest gift to me is the encouragement given to put the book down and go out and do: "Only those will ever know who give the freest and most buoyant portion of their lives to climbing and seeing for themselves," he wrote in The Mountains of California.

It was in the spring of 1868 that this wide-eyed son of a Scottish minister first came by wanderlust into California's Sierra Nevada mountains—or the Range of Light as he called it—to see for himself. As he climbed into the Yosemite Valley, Muir discovered the towering granite buttresses that would become the rocks of his own church.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
12 April 2011, 12:20 PM
Federal budget targets gray wolves and wild lands

It’s been a harrowing past few weeks (to say the least). The first jolt came Feb. 19, when House leaders approved a spending plan that slashed an array of environmental safeguards and pretty much gave polluter industries a free pass to continue using our air and water as their dumping grounds.

Amid the back and forth over the final spending legislation, the government came this close to a disastrous shut-down, with rumors that women’s reproductive rights and the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions were on the bargaining table, but in the end, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were able to stave off clean air and water attacks. The final budget will be voted on by congressional leaders in the next few days and cuts $38 billion.

But not all was won. In the 11th hour, House Speaker John Boehner and his Tea Party flank were able to slip a few anti-environmental attacks in there, among them one that will remove ESA protections for gray wolves.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
12 April 2011, 11:43 AM
Bill would repeal Roadless Rule and eliminate wilderness study areas

Three mad hatters--Steve Pearce (R-NM), Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are gathering--or trying to gather--cosponsors for what they're callling the Wilderness & Roadless Area Release Act, a law that would open national forest roadless areas and Bureau of Land Management wilderness study areas to development. This would put a bit more than 70 million of wild lands at risk.

Specifically, it would repeal the Roadless Area Conservation Rule and rescind Interior Secretarial Order 3310 issued by Secretary Ken Salazar last December that overturned a Bush era policy and reinstated BLM's wilderness study areas program.

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