Posts tagged: U.S. Supreme Court

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U.S. Supreme Court


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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 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 Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 September 2012, 3:19 PM
His legacy flows through America's waterways
Russel Train -- Photo Courtesy The Heinz Awards

It’s not the passing of Russell Train – who died Monday at 92 – that we remember, but the life he led as a powerful, humble, principled warrior for the Earth.

Mr. Train was chairman of the newly created White House Council on Environmental Quality before President Nixon picked him to be the second head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a role that fully launched his career as a conservationist, recalls Joan Mulhern, a colleague of mine who worked with this remarkable man to protect the Clean Water Act.

A lifelong Republican, Mr. Train embodied what it meant to be a conservative conservationist, Joan said.

View Sarah Burt's blog posts
28 June 2012, 3:20 PM
Vessels must avoid dirtier fuels off state coast

Twenty seven million Californians—80 percent of the state’s population—are exposed to emissions from ocean-going vessels, resulting in serious health impacts such as cancer, respiratory illnesses like asthma, as well as increasing the risk of heart disease. California estimates that the ships’ direct particulate emissions cause 300 premature deaths across the state every single year, even after excluding cancer effects.

The Ninth Circuit’s 2011 decision in Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn. v. Goldstene involved a shipping industry challenge to the Vessel Fuel Rule. The Ninth Circuit rejected industry’s claims that the ARB regulation is preempted by the federal Submerged Lands Act and contravenes dormant Commerce Clause principles. By denying certiorari, the Supreme Court has decided to let the Ninth Circuit’s decision stand.

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
26 June 2012, 11:09 AM
Federal appeals court sides with clean air

Today has turned into a better day for our planet—and our lungs. In a landmark decision, the D.C. federal appeals court upheld every single one of the EPA’s carbon pollution limits. These EPA protections are in response to the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, and are important parts of the agency’s efforts to curb such pollution under the Clean Air Act.

The rules went to oral argument in February after more than 60 lawsuits by companies including Massey Energy Co.; business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and states such as Texas and Virginia pushed the court to overthrow the “arbitrary” and “capricious” standards.

However, today the three-judge panel of the D.C. court of appeals ruled that the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act was “unambiguously correct.” The court also concluded that opponents don’t have the legal right to challenge the timing and tailoring rules.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
17 March 2012, 8:23 AM
Yet another toxic mining threat
A uranium mine near the Grand Canyon's North Rim. Photo: Don Bills, USGS.

At the beginning of the last century, Ralph H. Cameron was a booster of the Grand Canyon. He wanted to promote – and cash in on - the Canyon as a tourist destination. He helped expand Bright Angel Trail, now one of the most popular trails into the Canyon from the South Rim.  But at a price; he charged a toll to visitors.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
12 December 2011, 12:06 PM
First-time rules for coal-power toxics are due Friday
How tough will President Obama be on coal plant pollution?

This Friday, the Obama administration has the historic opportunity to rein in a coal industry that has been allowed to pour toxic emissions like mercury, benzene and arsenic into our lives without limit.

There’s little question that the administration will set limits – the law requires it and the courts have ordered it. The question, and the opportunity facing Obama, is how strong those limits will be.

For more than two decades, the powerful coal industry has dodged stricter pollution limits while countless other industries have cleaned up their acts. They have operated without national restraints on the amount of mercury and other toxic air pollution released from power plant smokestacks. The court order ending this free pass is the result of relentless Earthjustice litigation.

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View John McManus's blog posts
04 November 2011, 4:39 PM
Court refuses to denude smelt of ESA protections
The Delta

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed conservationists a victory and some good news for endangered wildlife. The court denied a request by an anti-wildlife right-wing group to strip federal Endangered Species Act protections from a rare species – a California fish called the delta smelt.

The right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation, has tried repeatedly to get any federal court to rule that the federal government has no power to extend ESA protection to species that exist only in a single state and have no current commercial value. The smelt just happens to be a species of convenience that fit those terms. PLF has been rebuffed by five different federal courts of appeals and now the Supreme Court.

Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr was involved in the big rebuff of PLF, pointing out to the courts that the anti-wildlife group simply didn’t understand established law. The Supreme Court hardly needed to hear it, having upheld the ESA by rejecting review of five earlier challenges from other corners of the nation.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
21 October 2011, 5:28 PM
Decision climaxes 13-year legal struggle by Earthjustice
Meadows and ponds abound in a roadless area in Wyoming’s Beartooth Plateau. (© Nelson Guda, 2009 / nelsonguda.com)

<In a major victory for Earthjustice and its supporters, today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated The Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of National Forest lands against exploitation. Tom Turner, who literally wrote the book ("Roadless Rules") on the case, provides some background here.>

Toward the end of the Clinton administration, the Forest Service declared that most logging and road building no longer would be permitted on nearly 60 million acres of wild, unprotected national forest lands.

The so-called Roadless Area Conservation Rule was immediately challenged in nine separate lawsuits filed by states (Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, North Dakota), a few counties, and several timber industry interests.

Earthjustice immediately moved to defend the rule in all those cases, eventually devoting thousands of hours by many attorneys to the effort. Many major national groups became involved, along with statewide groups. The Natural Resources Defense Council was a key ally in Alaska.

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View John McManus's blog posts
04 October 2011, 2:37 PM
Court refuses to hear challenge to rule brought by homebuilders group
Air pollution

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld a unique air pollution rule that requires developers in California’s polluted San Joaquin Valley to mitigate for the added air pollution their new development brings.The rule was created by the San Joaquin Valley air district in a desperate move to do something about the out-of-control air pollution in the region.

The rule requires developers to mitigate for the pollution created by both the construction equipment used to build the project as well as the new automobile traffic generated by the development. The National Association of Homebuilders fought the rule hard, seeing that if the rule stood here, other heavily polluted jurisdictions around California and across the nation might adopt similar measures. Earthjustice attorney Paul Cort, representing the Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club, intervened in the Homebuilders’ legal challenge to defend the rule.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 June 2011, 4:55 PM
High court affirms EPA authority

Today, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling once again affirmed the Environmental Protection Agency as the most rightful and authorized regulator of climate change pollution in the land.

While some in Congress have been trying to take this power away from the EPA, and have been attempting to block EPA controls on climate change pollution, the Supreme Court today ruled that the EPA -- not the Supreme Court, not states and not Congress -- is "best suited to serve as primary regulator of greenhouse gas emissions."

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