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Though the Senate may be standing still, America's roads are moving fast toward a clean-energy future.Today the Obama administration announced its goals for its next set of clean cars standards, picking up where the first clean cars program left off and stepping up gas mileage standards and tailpipe emissions controls.

Joe Barton (R-TX) is proving that he has better things to do than apologize to Tony Hayward and BP. Now, he is trying to repeal energy efficiency standards that save American citizens billions of dollars every year. These standards, ironically, are among the few environmental policies made in eight years of Bush leadership. 

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency celebrated the 40th anniversary of one of our nation's most successful and most protective laws, the Clean Air Act.

Commemorating the milestone anniversary with a full day of speakers, keynotes and panel discussions, the agency was joined by a host of industry leaders, business CEOs, clean air advocates and environmental champions to discuss just how far we've come in cleaning up our air and protecting people's lungs and lives from toxic and dangerous air pollution.

For proof on how far we've come, here's some of the pudding:

The White House has reportedly said thanks but no thanks to the offer, reported here, by Bill McKibben and 350.org to return one of the solar panels installed on the White House roof during the Carter administration 35 years ago. No explanation was given (that I know of). One can think that it might be because McKibben was harshly critical of President Obama's role at the Copenhagen meeting last year, but that's only conjecture. It does seem to be a missed opportunity for some good press, which the administration needs just now.

About 30 years ago, after some prodding from environmental groups, Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the White House. He gave a ringing speech at the time, hoping that this gesture would help build a solar revolution. He established a Solar Energy Research Institute and put Denis Hayes, the director of the first and subsequent Earth Days in charge.

The indispensable Earth Policy Institute reports that emissions of carbon dioxide by wealthy countries including the United States fell a tiny fraction in the last year, which is welcome news. While China passed the U.S. as the biggest emitter of CO2 a couple of years ago, a recent study out of Stanford calculated that if you take into account the fraction of China's emissions that are the result of manufacturing various items for export to the U.S.

The Obama administration, having been thwarted in its attempts to declare a six-month moratorium on new deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday issued a new moratorium order, citing new information on the causes of the recent well blowout and other matters. According to a question-and-answer news release from the department:

"What are the differences between the May 28 deepwater drilling moratorium and the new deepwater drilling suspension?

Most people have heard of Facebook and Twitter, but what about Foursquare? I'm not talking about the playground game that involves bouncing a big ball from one square to the next. Foursquare is a new social networking tool that allows users to check in at specific locations using their mobile phones and broadcast their whereabouts to friends via Facebook or Twitter. Earthjustice is using this tool to engage the public and enlist their help in protecting our environment.

Most uses of Foursquare have centered around its gaming aspect—users compete for the title of "mayor" for the most check-ins at a location and earn little virtual badges of honor—but Earthjustice is turning heads by using Foursquare to help raise money for our legal work.

Every time a user checks in at a designated Earthjustice ad in one of San Francisco's BART train stations, a major donor will donate $10 to help our attorneys protect the environment. It's a simple way to engage with the public using social networking tools, while allowing them to do their part to help our environment.

So far, we've gotten great traction from social media sites and blogs, including several articles on the popular social media site Mashable. See what the buzz is all about by taking a look at our ads!

The Department of Energy today released a proposal to require that all new and renovated federal buildings across America meet a host of sustainable design, siting, and construction requirements. These standards will ensure that when a new post office goes up in your town, or when your local courthouse gets a building makeover, or when your military base builds a new facility, it will be green.

If we have any hope of reversing global warming and breaking our addiction to fossil fuels, we will need to find and pay attention to geniuses who can discard traditional thinking and biases and find a way through the current mess to a future energy economy based on efficiency and renewables.

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About the Earthjustice 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. Learn more about Earthjustice.