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 Doug Pflugh's blog posts
21 May 2012, 2:00 PM
Water pipeline permit denied, Endangered river spared for now
The Green River has been listed as one of the "most endangered rivers" in the country. (NPS)

It’s been a tough spring for rivers in the Rocky Mountain West. After a winter that never really got started, the snow pack—our primary source for water in our rivers—is historically low in Colorado and throughout the region. Runoff from snow melt is sparse and came early, leaving behind disappointing river peak flows. The last time we were in this situation the river life suffered and it looks like we’re heading that way again.

Despite this dark outlook, we received some great news (along with some refreshing heavy spring rains) here in Denver last week—news that gives us hope for one of our favorite rivers, the Green.

View John McManus's blog posts
17 May 2012, 12:57 PM
Coastal training kills, injures more than thought
A Navy vessel with research ship and orca pod, in the foreground. (Center for Whale Research)

Last week, the U.S. Navy came out with a shocking confession. They now admit that their coastal training exercises kill or harm more marine mammals than previously acknowledged. Apparently, new data led to a recalculation about how many whales, dolphins and seals are hurt by the mid-frequency sonar and explosions the Navy routinely use in training off our coasts.

Earthjustice is challenging a permit by the National Marine Fisheries Service allowing the Navy to train in the Pacific Northwest, off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and northern California. The challenge aims to get the Navy to move its training a short distance to deeper waters off the continental shelf where marine mammal populations quickly thin out, and away from other areas where marine wildlife congregate.

Note of clarification: We agree that warfare is more sophisticated than ever before, meaning the Navy has to use more sophisticated measures to make sure enemy subs and the like don’t get close enough to the U.S. to harm us. Unfortunately, they choose to train in the same coastal waters where ocean food production is high and are thick with marine mammals.

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View Emily Enderle's blog posts
17 May 2012, 11:12 AM
Rep. McKinley's constituents call him out for standing with corporate interests
Little Blue Run Dam and reservoir, as viewed from the International Space Station, is the largest coal ash pond in the country. Materials suspended in the water give it a striking, turquoise color. (April 2002, NASA)

It’s inspiring to see the commitment of Rep. David McKinley’s constituents living in the shadow of First Energy’s behemoth 1,000-acre Little Blue Run waste dump continuing to speak the truth amid the lies flaunted by corporate interests. Steve and Annette Rhodes, life-long residents of West Virginia, describe the stark and unfortunate reality of living near a toxic coal ash dump and debunk the many falsehoods spouted by Rep. McKinley in their recent piece in The Hill, Rep McKinley We Live Here with the Coal Ash. They are also quite clear that the coal ash amendment (Title V of HR 4348) pushed by Rep. McKinley is an overzealous attempt to jam a controversial public health loophole into an unrelated transportation bill.

Rep. McKinley is a broken record when it comes to citing flawed industry reports and ignoring the public health and environmental impacts of his dangerous provision. He consistently turns a blind eye to repeated private and public requests for relief from his constituents who live in the shadows of the largest toxic coal ash pond in the U.S. His constituents have testified before Congress, been quoted in the WV press, national press and elsewhere complaining of contaminated water flowing onto their properties, noxious odors and tainted soil.

Chester, WV, where the Rhodes live, borders Little Blue Run. The dump holds approximately 20 billion gallons of toxic sludge and is held back by a 400-foot earthen dam—the tallest of its kind in the U.S. It straddles the border between West Virginia and Pennsylvania and looms over Ohio. It’s rated a high hazard dam by EPA and is expected to kill upwards of 50,000 people in Ohio if it were to fail. According to the EPA, contaminated water from Little Blue Run has been dousing properties at a volume equal to seven fire hoses and arsenic has been migrating into Marks Run, a local stream.

Little Blue Run straddles the border between West Virginia and Pennsylvania and looms over Ohio. The coal ash dump holds approximately 20 billion gallons of toxic sludge and is held back by a 400-foot earthen dam—the tallest of its kind in the U.S.

Little Blue Run is the largest coal ash pond in the US. It straddles the border between West Virginia and Pennsylvania and looms over Ohio. The coal ash dump is 1000 acres, holds approximately 20 billion gallons of toxic sludge and is held back by a 400-foot earthen dam—the tallest of its kind in the U.S.
View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
20 April 2012, 3:44 PM
Court lets Earthjustice argue for wildlife and waters near iconic park
The Grand Canyon.

We’re in!

Judge Martone of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona today granted our motion to intervene to defend the Department of the Interior’s decision to ban new uranium mining claims for 20 years across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

Today’s order – read it here – means we’ll have a seat in the courtroom to protect the life-giving waters and deer, elk, condors and other wildlife found adjacent to America’s iconic National Park from an ill-considered legal attack by a uranium prospector.

View David Guest's blog posts
13 April 2012, 2:37 PM
New algae bloom flourishes amid weak state rules
Algae bloom in Florida

As I write this, a new toxic algae bloom has broken out on southwest Florida’s Caloosahatchee River, filling the air with a sickening stench.

We are so infuriated at seeing this heartbreaking pollution disaster wreck our beautiful Florida so early in the toxic algae season. As you’ve read in this blog before, these outbreaks of toxic green slime are triggered by the excess phosphorus and nitrogen from sewage, manure and fertilizer.

During the past three months, our whole office of five lawyers have been working over 12 hours seven days a week reading documents, and getting ready for a trial challenging the legality of the state’s new pollution rules.

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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 Doug Pflugh's blog posts
06 April 2012, 9:37 AM
Flaming Gorge Pipeline would suck billions of gallons from Green River
Flaming Gorge Reservoir

How many times does Aaron Million need to hear the word, no?

The president of Wyco development corporation has twice been rejected by federal agencies in his attempt to build Flaming Gorge Pipeline—a massive trans-basin water supply project that would annually take approximately 81 billion gallons of water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River and pipe it more than 500 miles over the Continental Divide to Colorado’s Front Range.

Now, Million is back at it again, asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider his application for a preliminary permit. Million’s request comes on the heels of FERC’s dismissal of his preliminary permit. You may remember that Million turned to FERC after an earlier attempt to permit this project was terminated by the Army Corps of Engineers last summer. That’s two no's in less than one year. Will a third do the trick?

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
05 April 2012, 5:07 PM
Matt Damon to star in new feature film about fracking

I'm not going to even try to hide my excitement at the news that Matt Damon co-wrote and is starring in a feature film, titled Promised Land, about the controversial gas development technique known as fracking. The actor has made his concerns known about fracking's link to water pollution in this two-minute spot by Working Families Party so I am extremely eager to see what kind of message a full-length feature film will deliver.

Matt Damon is also a co-founder of Water.org, and earlier this year on World Water Day, spoke about the plight of millions who lack clean water:

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
26 March 2012, 3:41 PM
Citizens vow to fight harder against mountaintop removal mining
Mountaintop removal mining

[Updated 4.6.12]   A federal district court judge overruled the Environmental Protection Agency's veto of the proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, a case in which Earthjustice and partners and clients in West Virginia were granted amicus curiae.

The court ruling came as heartbreaking news for our partners in West Virginia and across Appalachia, who have been fighting to protect their communities from this proposed mine (and mountaintop removal mining in general) in the courts for more than a decade. The Spruce No. 1 mine would be the largest mountaintop removal mine in West Virginia, and one the largest in all of Appalachia.

Like all mountaintop removal mines, it is likely to inflict a slew of health hazards on nearby communities, as well as shake their homes and cause costly property damage. The Spruce mine would also bury and destroy seven miles of vital streams and decimate more than 2,000 mountain acres, razing 3.5 square miles of mountaintop forests and dumping 110 million cubic yards of toxic mining waste into waters and valleys an area already suffering from the impacts of mountaintop removal mining.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
22 March 2012, 11:42 AM
Gas price lies, “safe” fracking water, BPA bans
Dirty air, not eating all those chips, may cause obesity, so munch on! (Photo courtesy of loop_oh)

Forget Fritos: Air pollution may be making people fat
Sure, it’s got nothing on the much-hyped “Paleo Diet,” but a new theory that air pollution may be making us fat could provide one more bullet in the never-ending arsenal of dieting ticks and trips that people can use to lose weight. According to Discovery News, just as the oceans are becoming more acidic as they sequester more carbon dioxide, studies show that our blood becomes more acidic when we breathe in CO2-laden air, even just for a few weeks. But though higher acidity in the ocean means weaker coral reefs and shell-covered creatures, a drop in pH in our brains acts much differently by making appetite-related neurons fire more frequently, which could result in us eating more, sleeping less and, eventually, gaining more weight. Though the theory hasn’t yet been heavily tested, previous studies have shown that the issue of obesity goes far beyond cutting calories and exercising more. And, even if the theory doesn’t pan out, clean air is definitely tied to a whole host of other great health benefits, like not dying early, so take a deep breath!

History shows that “drill, baby, drill” mentality doesn’t lower gas prices
The commonly held notion that more domestic drilling leads to lower U.S. gas prices is completely false, reports the Associated Press, which came to the conclusion after analyzing more than three decades’ of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production. Though both political parties are guilty of using the "drill, baby, drill" mentality to link higher gas prices to an "unfriendly" domestic drilling policy, the facts tell an entirely different tale. For example, since February 2009 we’ve increased oil production by 15 percent (yes, during the Obama presidency, which is supposedly extremely unfriendly to domestic energy production), yet between 2009 and 2012 prices at the pump spiked by more than a dollar during that time. The reason, much to Americans’ dismay, is that since oil is a global commodity, neither the U.S. nor our president has much say in determining the price of gasoline. We do, however, have a say in how much gas we use, which means that the only real way to decrease the amount that we pay at the pump is to, simply, use less gas by driving more gas-efficient cars and taking public transit, to name just a few examples.

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