Posts tagged: water

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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 Tom Waldo's blog posts
10 April 2014, 5:14 PM
Unpopular Alaskan mine project meets obstacles
Sockeye salmon in a river in the Bristol Bay, Alaska watershed. (Ben Knight / Trout Unlimited)

International mining firm Rio Tinto yesterday became the second out of three remaining investors to pull its funding from a much-maligned and controversial proposed gold and copper mine in wild and scenic Alaska, the Pebble Mine. Last September, Anglo American, a London-based mining company, cited financial risks and pulled out of the project. This leaves only the small Canadian mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals still backing the giant project.

Local communities, commercial and recreational fishermen, Native tribes, recreation and tourism industry groups, and concerned citizens from around the world have vehemently opposed the Pebble Mine, an enormous mining project proposed for southwest Alaska in the headwaters of Bristol Bay and its world-class salmon runs. The Bristol Bay watershed is rich with salmon, wildlife and salmon-based Alaska Native cultures and is home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

Earthjustice has joined with this broad coalition in waging a powerful campaign against this mine, to protect this treasured wilderness and all the people who depend on it. Earthjustice supporters have sent approximately 50,000 letters to the EPA opposing the Pebble Mine.

View David Guest's blog posts
09 April 2014, 7:18 AM
Big-Ag backpumping allows pollutant-laden waters into drinking water sources
Backpumping into Lake Okeechobee has polluted drinking water supplies. (Photo courtesy of Ronald Woan)

For more than 30 years, the big lake that looks like a hole on the Florida map at the top of the Everglades—714-square-mile Lake Okeechobee—has been wrecked by government-sanctioned pollution.

But we won a decision in federal court March 28 that, we hope, will put a stop to it. Florida’s biggest newspaper, The Tampa Bay Times, called the ruling “long-awaited clarity and common sense” and “a victory for public health and the environment.”

We agree.

View Abby Rubinson's blog posts
04 April 2014, 3:45 PM
Indigenous people had no voice in losing their land to dam
Ngöbe indigenous people are protesting a dam that will displace their homes. (Earthjustice Photo)

“It’s been two months,” Ngöbe indigenous leader Weni Bagama told me this week, describing the Ngöbe indigenous community members who are camping alongside the banks of the Tabasará River. They are there in protest of the Barro Blanco dam, which will flood indigenous Ngöbe families—including Ms. Bagama’s—from their land. Aside from homes, a school, and cultural sites, this land of lush, leafy vegetation provides their primary source of food.

These families are concerned about their future if the dam is built. Yet they never had a chance to raise these concerns to their government, even though international law prohibits forced relocation of indigenous peoples without their consent. The Panamanian government approved the Barro Blanco project without consulting these Ngöbe communities.

View Isaac Moriwake's blog posts
02 April 2014, 8:27 AM
Hawaii court decision confirms burden is on diverter to justify water diversions
Taro fields on Kauaʻi. (Sarah Fields Photography / Shutterstock)

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court recently issued another landmark decision on water resources and the public trust. The case, Kauai Springs v. Kauai Planning Commission, involved a company bottling and selling spring water on the island of Kauaʻi.

The court’s opinion strongly reinforced principles that water is a public trust, and that private companies profiting off these resources bear the burden of justifying their diversions and showing the resources will not be jeopardized.

View David Guest's blog posts
13 March 2014, 9:40 AM
Grassroots movement demands an end to slimy, toxic waterways
A toxic algae outbreak pollutes the Santa Fe River during the Memorial Day holiday in 2012. (John Moran)

Hundreds of citizens came from all over Florida to the state Capitol in Tallahassee on Feb. 18 with a strong message for the state’s leaders: we have a fundamental right to clean water, and we want our leaders to preserve that right.

The Clean Water Tally Rally also drew some forward-thinking legislators who stood with the demonstrators and said they are concerned about the water quality decline in the Sunshine State. All the leaders signed our grassroots movement’s Clean Water Declaration, which says:

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
05 March 2014, 3:51 PM
New Ken Brower book re-stirs old controvery of Yosemite dam
Hetch Hetchy Valley, near Yosemite National Park's western border, (Photo courtesy of Nate Hill)

The number one story in California these days is the drought, which has revived water wars that never really go away here.

Which makes even more timely Ken Brower’s new book, Hetch Hetchy: Undoing a Great American Mistake. Hetch Hetchy is a valley in Yosemite National Park that was inundated by a reservoir in the 1920s to create a water source for San Francisco. At the time, it was the biggest environmental battle ever fought in the United States, filling the Congressional Record for weeks.

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View Isaac Moriwake's blog posts
03 March 2014, 5:24 PM
Earthjustice seeks to finalize amount of flow needed for restoration
A diversion on Waiheʻe River.

Next week—almost 10 years after Earthjustice started its campaign to restore instream flows to “The Four Great Waters” on Maui—we are again going into legal battle to determine exactly how much more water will be restored.

Under modern Hawaiʻi law, the rivers and streams in question (collectively known as Nā Wai ʻEhā—“The Four Great Waters” of Waihe‘e, ʻĪao (traditionally Wailuku), Waiehu, and Waikapū) are a public trust; but since the sugar plantation era, two companies drained them dry for private profit.

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View Maggie Caldwell's blog posts
24 February 2014, 12:28 PM
Notes from a trip to the San Francisco Bay Delta

 “The virgin California Delta was so vast wild and confusing—its sloughs meandered everywhere and led nowhere—that John C. Fremont lost a whole regiment in there for several days and some who ventured in just disappeared.A Dangerous Place, by Marc Reisner

At the Bay Delta's Steamboat Slough. (Brad Zweerink / Earthjustice)At the Bay Delta's Steamboat Slough.
(Photo by Brad Zweerink / Earthjustice)

My photographer and I ventured into the Delta region to go to the heart of the fight over who can claim rights to water in California during the worst drought in the state’s history.

The river towns we passed through—Courtland, Isleton, Rio Vista—don’t much resemble the labyrinthine delta that nearly devoured explorer John C. Fremont’s men in the mid-19th Century. The Bay Delta’s source waters—the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers—are dammed and diverted, its sloughs crisscrossed with drawbridges, and its marshes drained and planted with orchards and vineyards. Yet the Bay Delta, the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas, still retains a wildness to its character, serving as home to hundreds of species of plants and animals; some, like the Delta smelt, found nowhere else on Earth.

View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
12 February 2014, 5:35 PM
This week, the public gets to speak out on their state's air quality
A hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," site in Colorado. (Ecoflight)

Colorado has emerged as a western ground zero in the fracking boom, with more than 50,000 active wells in the state and 3,000 wells permitted annually on average in recent years. The state is struggling to deal with this staggering growth as well as the changing nature of the industry as operations have moved into communities along the Front Range.

This week, Colorado is poised to take a big step forward on protecting public health as the state considers significant revisions to the rules controlling the air quality impacts of oil and gas industry operations. Earthjustice and our partners will be there, urging the state to stand strong against an industry campaign to water down the rules.

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View Lisa Evans's blog posts
10 February 2014, 3:03 PM
Hellish coal ash mess in North Carolina is Virginia’s problem, too
Coal ash-contaminated water in the Dan River. (Photo courtesy of Waterkeeper Alliance)

The Feb. 2 coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Plant in Eden, NC is now a big problem for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The public drinking water intake for Danville, VA is only six miles downstream of the spill in the Dan River, where the plant released 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash and 27 million gallons of tainted water.

Duke’s coal ash turned the river gray for 20 miles east of the North Carolina border. About 7,200 pounds of arsenic entered the river, as well as other deadly metals. Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring promised that he would hold Duke responsible for the cleanup.

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