Posts tagged: Roadless Rule

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Roadless Rule


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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 Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 November 2010, 4:04 PM
Buoyed by supporters, Earthjustice expands to meet the challenge
Roadless areas of the Tongass N.F. are among Earthjustice's top priorities for protection

Although the recent elections signal a return to more inhospitable times for environmental protection in Congress, we are sustained by two constants: the power of the law and the dedication of our supporters.

The law provides leverage for progress even when political winds shift, and our steadfast supporters have shown time and again that they trust in our ability to wield it for positive change, regardless of the prevailing politics.

That backing has helped us through difficult times. Like so many American families and businesses, we were impacted by the economic recession. Thankfully, as we prepared to tighten our belts, our supporters sent a clear message with their generous donations: don't cut back your work to protect our environment.

Fueled by that generosity, we expanded our litigation and advocacy to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities for advancing environmental issues that have existed over the past two years—and that still exist as we look at the next two. With Thanksgiving at hand, we want to take this opportunity to reflect on the progress made that wouldn't have been possible without your support.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
04 November 2010, 4:49 PM
A new and hostile congressional leadership is not new to Earthjustice

There is no reason to beat around the bush: Tuesday's election results are a setback in our progress towards a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable planet.

At a time when the world desperately needs leadership from the United States, voters have installed in the House of Representatives those who have vowed to do all they can to obstruct progress in cleaning up dirty coal-burning power plants, reducing health-destroying and climate-disrupting pollution, and protecting wild places and wildlife.

Yet, while the news is bad, we can take heart that the election was not a referendum on the environment. Voters still want clean water, healthy air, protected public lands, and action on transitioning from dirty power plants to a clean energy economy.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 April 2010, 9:41 AM
Thanks for all you've done

“The battle to restore a proper relationship between man and his environment, and between man and other living creatures, will require a long sustained political, moral, ethical, and financial commitment far beyond any commitment ever made by any society in the history of man. Are we able? Yes. Are we willing? That’s the unanswered question.” – Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day.

When Earth Day was born 40 years ago, there were “spumes of pollution pouring out of smokestacks, people spraying children in parking lots and at picnics with DDT, air pollution in major cities that was basically unbreathable, rivers catching on fire, lakes dying,” says one of Earth Day’s original organizers, Denis Hayes, in this Washington Post video. “It was just deteriorating very rapidly, but what addressed those problems was a wave of legislation immediately after Earth Day.” (For more on Earth Day’s storied history, read this.)

As we celebrate 40 years of Earth Day, we’re also celebrating 40 years of Earthjustice victories – check out 40 of our favorite victories along with stunning photos in this new slideshow made for Earth Day 2010.

We're also celebrating our army of supporters, activist members, and concerned citizens. We have you to thank for each of these major victories, and the many victories and wins in between.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
01 April 2010, 1:31 PM
New book explores the ecology of the Tongass National Forest

A lovely new book arrived recently at Earthjustice headquarters. Salmon in the Trees is a beautiful, coffee-table book from photographer Amy Gulick, featuring essays by several natural history writers. The book explores the interconnected ecology of America's largest temperate rainforest, the Tongass National Forest.

As many of you know, Earthjustice has been working to protect the Tongass for decades. Our latest effort is a lawsuit to end a Bush-era exemption for the forest from protection under the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. (Video after the jump.)

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
21 February 2010, 3:09 PM
March brings Roadless Rule's day in court, but threats loom
Dome Peak Roadless Area, Colorado - Photo (c) Ted Zukoski

More than a decade ago, dedicated conservationists within and without the Forest Service began clamoring for a nation-wide policy to protect the last remnants of roadless lands across the National Forests. The rationales were many: providing solitude for wildlife, preventing wildfires (which occur most often near roads), protecting water supplies for cities and towns, and leaving the last scraps of land unharmed by the buldozer after a century of pressure from loggers, miners, and other development.

And after the most comprehensive public input process in the history of American government—more than a million comments from members of the public, hundreds of hearings and open houses, a comprehensive environmental review—President Bill Clinton signed the "Roadless Rule" into law with just a week remaining in his term. The rule proteced 58 million acres of America's last unroaded lands from auction, bulldozing and commercial logging.

But the Roadless Rule immediately came under assault. George W. Bush and the logging lobbyists he hired to run forest policy promptly set about dismantling the rule. And even before the rule had been signed, anti-environmental interests had filed the first of a barrage of lawsuits aimed at taking down the rule.

The rule had its defenders, however. Conservation groups, represented by my Earthjustice colleagues Jim Angell, Kristen Boyles, Tim Preso, Tom Waldo and others, fought off the attacks in court. And, for the most part, they won. Thanks to them, when the Bush Administration finally packed its bags, the Roadless Rule was bloodied but very much alive.

And now, nearly a decade after it was adopted, the Roadless Rule will celebrate another red letter day.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 January 2010, 12:25 PM
Focus is on clean energy, natural heritage, and health

Last year, the U.S. government started taking environmental protection seriously again, but as 2010 dawns, we continue to see political and economic interests preventing or stalling critical environmental solutions.

In the face of this opposition, this year Earthjustice is targeting key issues with our legal and advocacy work. Our focus is on three core priorities: building a clean energy future, protecting our natural heritage, and safeguarding our health.

To avoid global warming's worst impacts, we must build a clean energy future. Reducing demand through efficiency and increasing supply from renewable sources of power are cornerstones of the foundation. But these steps are obstructed by the political stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry. Earthjustice is using the law to help break our national reliance on fossil fuels, which we continue to extract, burn, and subsidize heavily with taxpayer money, despite the destructive impact on people and the planet.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
07 January 2010, 4:05 PM
Mountaintop removal, Copenhagen, PATH project, the Tongass

Some top stories from the last two weeks at Earthjustice...

A full blue moon brought us into this new year and decade.  

Perhaps a new year will mean new policy for mountaintop removal mining. Thus far, the Obama Administration has continued to allow companies to destroy mountains, streams, and communities. Could a new article in Science help change its position?

 Many still wonder what exactly happened at the Copenhagen climate conference. Attorneys Martin Wagner and Erika Rosenthal reviewed what went down, the role Earthjustice played in the negotiations, and the way forward for climate progress.

The way forward for the PATH (Potomac-Appalachia Transmission Highline) project was successfully blocked with help from Earthjustice. Turns out the massive Big Coal transmission line simply isn’t needed to the degree its proponents claimed.

 America’s largest temperate rainforest, the majestic Tongass of Alaska, is a resource we do need. Earthjustice filed a lawsuit last week to protect the National Forest under the Roadless Rule. The Bush Administration “temporarily” exempted it back in 2006.

 Dec. 22 marked one year since the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Power Plant flooded 300 acres of shoreline, and more than 25 homes, with toxic coal ash.

 Reflecting on the changing environmental movement, Patti Goldman reviewed some of Earthjustice’s efforts over the past year to help people most impacted by environmental degradation.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
04 January 2010, 3:37 PM
Big Coal abandons its PATH to power

 "The problem is, of course, that not only is economics bankrupt but it has always been nothing more than politics in disguise ... economics is a form of brain damage."—Hazel Henderson

This lively little snippet came to mind the other day when we got news that the PATH project—that's Potomac-Appalachia Transmission Highline—a massive boondoggle that would have served Big Coal to the detriment of the burgeoning green-power industry (and to the detriment of the places it would have passed through) had gone off the rails.

The project's undoing, at least for now, were demand projections. The promoters of the plan had wildly overestimated the need for the line in the future, and experts rounded up by PATH opponents (Abbie Dillen of Earthjustice is their lawyer) pointed out the fact. PATH folded its tent.

A similar scenario recently played out in Florida, where promoters of a huge new coal plant also caved in when their projections were shown to be, shall we say, optimistic (that plant now will be solar instead of coal-fired). David Guest and Monica Reimer of Earthjustice were the lawyers on that one.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
22 December 2009, 5:48 PM
Six year "exemption" from Roadless Rule needs to go

The Tongass National Forest is a sight to behold. From a boat you can watch bears fishing at the mouths of streams and eagles flying through pristine old-growth forests. This natural beauty is what makes America's largest temperate rainforest such a draw. Ecotourism, hunting, and fishing trips, are building a new economy for the people of Southeast Alaska.

The Tongass has permanent economic value, if kept intact. But money losing clear-cut logging practices that have scarred this forest over the years. As Hanna Waterstrat, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association, explains, "Very few folks will pay to go see clearcuts and decaying logging roads."

Here's the hitch.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
15 December 2009, 10:13 AM
But is a Colorado senator trying to breathe new life into a bad idea?

On November 5, 2009, something happened in Colorado that hasn't happened in a long, long time: the U.S. Forest Service rejected a proposal to turn a natural area into ski runs and a magnet for private land development.  The natural area is Snodgrass Mountain, which includes inventoried roadless lands, beautiful aspen stands, raptor habitat, and open space.  

Snodgrass rises just north of Mount Crested Butte, the company town whose reason for being is the Crested Butte ski resort to the south.  (The old mining-turned-tourist town of Crested Butte is a few miles further down the road.)  The resort has had its eye on Snodgrass for years. 

And for just as long, local conservationists have been trying to protect America's public lands on Snodgrass from being turned into a site for clearcut runs and lift towers.  Snodgrass is beloved as open space on the edge of development, as a place to hike, mountain bike and ride horses, and as wildlife habitat.

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