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.

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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 Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
30 September 2010, 1:57 PM
Sneezing salmon, farmers’ market fake-out, stinky CAFOs
Genetically engineering foods could make them more allergenic. Photo courtesy of evah, stock.xchng.

FDA's food policy makes people sneeze
On the heels of the FDA's decision to approve genetically engineered or GE salmon, a number of consumer and environmental advocacy groups are raising the alarm that genetically modified foods could be more allergenic due to the splicing and dicing of one food's genes into another, according to a recent Mother Jones' article. The concern is just one among many over GE foods, which is why Earthjustice is currently fighting to keep foods like genetically engineered sugar beets out of U.S. farms and off of Americans' plates.

Obama makes a stink over CAFOs
The Obama administration recently thumbed its nose at the Illinois EPA's oversight of confined animal feeding operations, aka CAFOs, which create mountains of manure equal to that of small cities and have fouled air and water supplies across the state. According to the Chicago Tribune, the agency has one month to clean up its mess. If it doesn't, the EPA will soon be wading knee-deep into the issue.

Farmers' market fakes out customers
Child-toting moms may soon start seeing "Farmers' Market" signs in the produce aisle of their favorite chain grocery store, according to the Washington Post. Stores like Safeway recently began posting the signs in an effort to cash in on the burgeoning local and organic foodie movement, but small farmers and their supporters are ready to throw tomatoes, arguing that the misleading tactic is unfair to customers and farmers alike.

View John McManus's blog posts
30 September 2010, 10:14 AM
Too little is known to allow unleashing of test-tube species
Gene-altered salmon

Last week the federal Food and Drug Administration held hearings to consider approval of a genetically engineered salmon containing unnaturally high levels of growth hormones. This creature has become widely known as the Frankenfish.

Creators of the Frankenfish, which grows much faster than natural fish, hope they'll get rich selling them for human consumption. But, what happens to those fish that escape the fork? Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that 60 of these fish released into a population of 60,000 wild salmon could "lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations."

On the heels of the Frankenfish hearing comes a court ruling regarding the legality of planting and growing genetically modified sugar beets.

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View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
23 July 2010, 10:29 AM
Water must be restored to avoid major damage to fish, wildlife
Sacramento River salmon

California's delta is being sucked into oblivion by big agriculture and Southern California, and its fish and wildlife will suffer permanent harm if water diversions aren't reduced, a new report warns <Read the full report here>.

Yesterday, the staff of California's State Water Control Resources Board released their recommendations identifying the freshwater flows needed to support wildlife and ecosystems in the West Coast's most important estuary. The Stockton Record immediately seized on the report in a columnist's scathing attack on the state itself:

This is big. This is not some environmental group saying Delta fish need more water. This is not a scientific panel easy to ignore. This is the state of California itself. The very state that brutally exploited the Delta, from its dam-it-up mentality of the 20th Century to the send-it-south policy persisting to this day.

The recommendations -- to dramatically increase flows to the delta - mirror calls for more water by fish biologists and other scientists who have studied the problem for years. The report also supports the findings of two recent court-ordered federal plans - won by Earthjustice attorneys - calling for increased flows to prevent the extinction of protected fish species. Indeed, some of the state recommendations exceed those required in the federal plans.

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View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
04 June 2010, 12:10 PM
Earthjustice fights back in court
Bone dry stretch of the Scott River. Photo: Klamath Riverkeeper

Northern California's Shasta River was once the most productive salmon stream for its size in the Golden State. But just nine Shasta coho salmon made it home last year to spawn. Even worse, all of the returning fish were male. Talk about a tough dating pool.

There wasn't much water in the river to greet the few fish that showed up. Local ranchers had withdrawn so much water that stretches of the river went completely dry.

Scientists now believe that two out of the three year-classes of Shasta coho have become functionally extinct. Next door in the Scott River, only eighty-one coho returned last year. Illegal dams, water withdrawals, and unchecked livestock grazing in streambeds are destroying these rivers.

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View John McManus's blog posts
19 April 2010, 11:27 AM
This is the critical time of year for the future of salmon populations

This time of year is when young salmon in California hitch a ride on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers out to the ocean—if they escape the massive pumps in the Delta. These pumps redirect the water and send it south to huge agricultural operations in the San Joaquin Valley - in the process the sucking in and killing salmon.

Earthjustice attorneys successfully challenged this practice and water managers were forced to limit water deliveries in order to reduce the destruction of salmon runs. The junior water rights holders in the valley filed lawsuits seeking to block the salmon protections.

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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 Jim McCarthy's blog posts
19 March 2010, 3:16 PM
Will Big Agribusiness Listen?

A National Academy of Sciences review panel today announced findings that federal protections for salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are scientifically justified. The determination by the panel comes after months of controversy sparked by the plan’s modest restrictions on massive pumps in the Delta. These huge pumps export water to farms and cities south of the Delta, but also cause Delta rivers to run backwards, pulling large numbers of baby salmon and other fish to their deaths.

The new federal plan, won by Earthjustice attorneys, requires the pumps to run below maximum capacity from January to June when baby salmon migrate through the Delta to the sea. Before the plan was put in place, unrestricted pumping not only contributed to the collapse of threatened Central Valley salmon runs, but helped drive the population of non-threatened, commercially-valuable Sacramento River king salmon to such low levels that ocean salmon fishing along one thousand miles of coastline was completely closed for the first time in history during 2008 and 2009. Sacramento king salmon have traditionally formed the backbone of sport and commercial salmon fishing in California and Oregon, and the closure cost thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of lost economic activity in both states.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
05 February 2010, 11:05 AM
Ozone, salmon, household cleaners
Ozone-caused smog in Los Angeles

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

This week found Earthjustice attorneys in courtrooms addressing a variety of issues, from protecting wildlife to public health.

On Monday, David Baron was in Arlington, Virginia, testifying in support of stronger standards for ozone pollution. Ozone is the main ingredient in the gray-brown haze commonly known as smog that blankets cities across the U.S. Each year it sends thousands of people to emergency rooms. Its long-term effects actually prevented a witness from testifying. The good news is that the EPA might finally reign it in.

On Tuesday, George Torgun, Mike Sherwood, Erin Tobin, and Trent Orr were all in Fresno, California, defending salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. California's largest water district has asked a judge to temporarily suspend protections for the fish from February through May, when baby salmon migrate from the Sacramento River to the ocean.

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View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
03 February 2010, 4:43 PM
Agribusiness in court to seize Sacramento water from fish and fishermen

Yesterday (Feb. 2), Westlands Water District—California's largest and most politically powerful agribusiness group—asked a federal judge to block a federal salmon restoration plan that protects salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Earthjustice attorneys, who won a court order in 2008 putting the restoration plan in place, were there to defend it. Westland's move could put the survival of the river's salmon—and California and Oregon's multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational salmon fishing industry—on the line. The judge will announce his decision next week.

Westlands wants to end restrictions on the operation of huge delta water pumps and canals from February through May, when baby salmon migrate from the Sacramento River to the ocean.

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View Molly Woodward's blog posts
21 January 2010, 5:04 PM
Salmon, false killer whales, mercury, water pollution
Scene from the San Francisco Bay Delta

Some top stories from the past week at Earthjustice…

It’s a rainy week here in Oakland, as a storm system bestows California with some much-needed H2O. Our short supply of water has meant trouble for salmon. A new video by Salmon Water Now illuminates startling alliances between big agribusiness and the political interests controlling water and the fate of salmon in the San Francisco Bay Delta.

A wholly different marine creature in peril will get some help at last. The NMFS announced it will take measures to protect false killer whales from the commercial longline fishing industry, following years of Earthjustice litigation. Rarely seen by humans, false killer whales are close relations of dolphins.

Mercury pollution is a big problem for aquatic life (and people who eat fish), and a lot of it comes from medical waste incinerators. In September, the EPA set groundbreaking rules that significantly reduce air pollution from this source, but now these rules are being challenged in court. Earthjustice has intervened in the lawsuit.

And, the toxic green slime clogging Florida’s waterways might finally loosen its hold, thanks to a historic first step by the EPA to limit fertilizer, animal waste and sewage pollution in the state. While the proposed limits aren’t as stringent as they could be, they’re a big improvement.