Posts tagged: salmon

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 Patti Goldman's blog posts
03 December 2012, 5:53 PM
Supreme Court considers two citizen enforcement cases
The U.S. Supreme Court. (Mark Fischer)

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a pair of cases that could cut back on the ability of citizens to enforce the Clean Water Act. Although different, at their core, both afford the court opportunities either to preserve or weaken the power of citizens to hold polluters accountable for harming our nation’s waters.

The Clean Water Act, enacted four decades ago, aimed to make the nation’s waters drinkable, fishable, and swimmable. To make good on this promise, it prohibits discharges of pollution into U.S. waters without a permit and holds polluters to the limits imposed in such permits. Congress gave citizens the power to enforce the Clean Water Act, for Congress recognized that the government often lacks the financial resources and political will to enforce environmental laws against violators. In this way, the Act enlists people who use treasured waters or live near facilities that expose their communities to untenable pollution to stand in the shoes of the government to enforce the law against wrongdoers.

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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 John McManus's blog posts
15 June 2012, 3:13 PM
FDA must stop dawdling on genetically modified salmon and other food

Californian voters will vote in the fall on a proposal to require most food products to label known genetically modified organism ingredients.

Not surprisingly, big food manufacturers, many who use plenty of genetically engineered corn and soy products, don’t like the idea of the public knowing if their food includes genetically engineered products. They have started their attack on the measure, hoping to see it voted down.

Meanwhile, the FDA is sitting on an application to approve a genetically engineered GE salmon as a “drug” even though the salmon are intended for human consumption. If approved, these unnatural salmon would be the first-ever GE fish intended for human consumption in the U.S. No doubt the makers of the GE salmon would love to keep the GE part secret to their eventual customers if they ever win approval to grow the fish.

View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
15 June 2012, 1:01 PM
Fish-friendly project on Sacramento nears completion
Chinook salmon

One of the most significant measures undertaken to protect California’s iconic Sacramento River salmon runs and improve fish passage will enter its final stage this summer.

Workers are completing a new, more fish-friendly pumping station at the former Red Bluff Diversion Dam, a river-spanning structure operated by the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority. The dam’s seasonal operations had provided water for 150,000 agricultural acres for decades, but also prevented threatened and endangered salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon and other fish from migrating to and from their spawning grounds.

The win-win project is the result of trailbreaking efforts by Earthjustice attorneys to help struggling Sacramento salmon populations. Those efforts started way back in 1988, when scientists realized that the river’s once-mighty winter-run Chinook salmon population was headed for extinction.

View John McManus's blog posts
26 April 2012, 12:15 PM
Says dam removal an easy fix with big rewards
The four lower Snake River dams keep salmon from prime habitat in the snowmelt waters of Idaho.

In a recent video interview, federal judge James A. Redden said four dams on the lower Snake River should go. As he explained, it’s easier to take the dams out than it was to put them in and the change is needed for salmon to survive. This is the same judge who rejected three different weak federal plans which were supposed to protect endangered Snake and Columbia River salmon from the extensive harm caused by hydroelectric dams.

Although Judge Redden stepped down last year as the judge handling the long-running salmon and dams litigation, his views carry considerable weight. Over the past decade he has read more, heard more, and weighed the alternatives and consequences of this controversy more than anyone in the region. Earthjustice has represented the fishing and conservation interests in court before Judge Redden since the mid-1990s.

Judge Redden told Idaho Public Television reporter Aaron Kunz, “I think we need to take those dams down … And I’ve never ordered them you know—or tried to order them that you’ve gotta take those dams down. But I have urged them to do some work on those dams … and they have.”

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View Nick Oliver's blog posts
11 April 2012, 2:46 PM
Swinomish tribe fights against misguided scheme
Skagit River (USGS)

Washington state’s Swinomish tribe faces a water rights battle in the Skagit River basin, the likes of which we have seen before. It’s reminiscent of the dispute that broke out around a decade ago in the Klamath River basin in California and Oregon. That dispute led to a fish kill of about 70,000 salmon after federal intervention severely reduced water flows in the Klamath and its tributaries.

The Swinomish tribe’s fight, however, is uniquely theirs. The tribe is currently arguing before the Washington State Court of Appeals that the Washington Department of Ecology acted illegally in exercising a rarely invoked “overriding consideration of public interest” (OCPI) state water law loophole.

Using OCPI, the Department of Ecology could designate large quantities of water from the Skagit River and its tributaries for domestic, municipal, commercial, industrial, agricultural and livestock watering uses despite the fact that the river consistently fails to meet the basic flow requirements to sustain its health. This broadening and misuse of OCPI is also the topic of a recent amicus brief filed in support of the Swinomish tribe jointly by Earthjustice and the Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

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View Tim Preso's blog posts
16 February 2012, 5:15 PM
Last, best wild national forest lands shielded from development
A grizzly bear taking a stroll in Yellowstone National Park.
(Terry Tollesfbol / USFWS)

Nearly 50 million acres of America’s most pristine public forest lands remain protected today, thanks to a decision this afternoon by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denying a last-ditch effort by the State of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association to overturn the U.S. Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation Rule, more commonly known as the Roadless Rule.

Earthjustice has been in the courts for the past 13 years fighting to protect the Roadless Rule, a landmark conservation measure that protects wild national forests and grasslands from new road building and logging. Protection of these forests secures vital habitat for some of our nation’s most sensitive wildlife. From condors of the southern California mountains, to grizzly bears and wolves near Yellowstone National Park, to migratory songbirds among the Appalachian hardwoods, many species would no longer exist—or would be severely depleted—but for the forest lands protected by the Roadless Rule.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 January 2012, 4:16 AM
The no-brainer decisions the president must make this year

President Obama won the White House on a platform of hope and change – promising an end to dirty corporate influence over our political system and a beginning to an era in which our energy choices lead us to a clean, sustainable future, or at least don’t kill us or make us sick.

So far, the president’s performance has been mixed – with some deliveries on the promise and some disappointments. His last year, whether in office or in his first term, will be crucial in righting his spotty record and making good on his campaign promises to the American people.

Leading up to his fourth year in office, and making sure the new year got off to a good start with supporters, he handed the country a solid. His EPA, led by Administrator Lisa Jackson, finalized a strong rule to protect Americans from mercury poisoning and toxic air pollution from power plants.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
21 November 2011, 7:33 AM
“The orcas are just so magical. They’re very much a part of the region.”

This is the second in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing as well as reduce the impacts of climate change on the ocean. In early 2000, Patti Goldman, Earthjustice’s VP of Litigation, spearheaded efforts to protect the Puget Sound’s threatened orca whale population. Learn more at earthjustice.org/oceans

Jessica Knoblauch: Earthjustice has been working to protect a unique population of orcas in Washington State’s Puget Sound for almost a decade. Why?
 
Patti Goldman: Well, the orca whales in this region are hugely important to the people. They are so much part of the fabric here. There are three pods and each year when they come back to the Haro Straits in July, they do a ritual where they line up by pods and welcome each other. It’s just so magical. And there are no other orcas that really concentrate here in the same way, so they are unique and really special to this region.
 
The problem is that these orcas are further south than a lot of other orcas, so they are more accessible to where people are. In the 1960s and 1970s, about a third of the population was targeted for live capture by Sea World. Live capture ended when one of our clients, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro, was out on a boat with his wife and they found themselves in the middle of a live capture operation where they could hear the babies squealing as their mothers were captured. That was a very pivotal moment because he was then a member of the state legislature and was the lead proponent of banning live capture in Washington waters.

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.

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