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.


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 Marty Hayden's blog posts
22 July 2011, 11:08 AM
Congress gives industry free ride on back of environmental protections

Perhaps inspired by the triple-digit heat afflicting Washington D.C., the House of Representatives is putting legislative flames to our important environmental and public health protections.

This week, the House will consider a spending bill for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and other federal agencies. The bill is stuffed with open attacks by House Republicans on protections for our air, water, wildlife and iconic places.
Laden with nearly 40 so-called anti-environmental “riders”— policy provisions added to a measure having little or nothing to do with the appropriating funds—the bill hasn’t even reached the House floor yet. One provision will lift a moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon--one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and the only one in the U.S.

11 Comments   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
15 July 2011, 10:56 AM
Conservative face off, hot climate deniers, big coal’s big misstep
The hunting and fishing crowd is increasingly unhappy with GOP efforts to slash conservation spending. Photo courtesy of eadmund42

Republicans cutting enviro bills shoot themselves in the foot
Republican measures to cut environmental programs that keep the nation’s air and water clean may prove foolish if they continue to ruffle the feathers of outdoorsmen, reports Politico. The angler and hunter crowd may typically swing conservative, but that could change if House Republicans continue their attempts to pull the trigger on a number of programs that keep wildlife intact, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act or State Wildlife Grants. Last week, leaders from a handful of conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited met with top officials to make their case for restoring funding for environmental programs, arguing that the benefits of wildlife conservation go far beyond the duck pond, like cleaning up waterways and providing flood control for coastal communities. Though hunting and fishing types tend to be fiscally conservative, when it comes to slashing conservation programs that diminish the favorite pastimes of a large voting bloc, Republicans better think twice before going in for the kill.

View Terry Winckler's blog posts
14 July 2011, 11:26 AM
Anti-Clean Water Act bill endorses toxic slime in Florida
Dead Mojarra/Sand Bream and Jack, west of Franklin Lock, on the Caloosahatchee River. Photo taken on June 13, 2011. (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation)

The U.S. House of Representatives was a in a cruel mood, yesterday, when it passed H.R. 2018, a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting our nation's waterways and drinking supplies—and give that power to the states.

But, don't take my word for why this legislation is so potentially devastating. Just check out these recent pictures of the toxic green algae epidemic in Florida's waterways. The slime—caused by unregulated nutrient runoff from agricultural operations and other sources—is choking the life out of such major rivers as the St. Johns and Caloosahatchee. You can't swim in them, drink from them, or eat fish from them. And, if H.R. 2018 becomes law, you can bet that state legislators will try to keep them that way.

Water in the Caloosahatchee River during the most recent algae outbreak. Photo taken near the bridge at Alva, Florida, June 13, 2011. (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation)

Water in the Caloosahatchee River during the most recent algae outbreak. Photo taken near the bridge at Alva, Florida, June 13, 2011. Photo by Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.
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View Liz Judge's blog posts
14 July 2011, 9:18 AM
Legislation goes against the fiber of the Clean Water Act
Clean Water Champion: Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA)

Yesterday evening, July 13, the full House of Representatives passed the Toxic-and-Dirty Water Bill that I warned about a couple weeks ago -- HR 2018, along with a number of amendments.

The House passed this legislation 239-184, despite a vow from the White House promising a veto if the bill makes it through the Senate.

This legislation is the most offensive in a fresh spate of clean water attacks waged by the majority of the 112th House. The bill undoes the basis of the Clean Water Act, the 40-year-old cornerstone of all drinkable, swimmable and fishable waters in this country. Without this landmark law, and the system it set up for federal oversight of waters across all states, we wouldn't have the clean waters that we have today.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
12 July 2011, 3:52 PM
Study links birth defects to MTR, but coal industry lawyers blame inbreeding

A major new scientific study shows significantly higher rates of birth defects in areas of heavy mountaintop removal mining, even after controlling for a range of other contributing factors. The study found that living near a mountaintop removal site poses a much greater risk to unborn babies than smoking during pregnancy. More than double the risk!

Says the study: "For babies born specifically with defects of the circulatory or respiratory system, smoking increased risk by 17 percent, and living in a mountaintop mining area increased risk by 181 percent. Living in a mountaintop mining area was a bigger risk for birth defects than smoking."

At this point, there have been numerous scientific studies on the environmental destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining. Mountains are torn down and destroyed, biodiverse forests are cut down and cleared out, streams are obliterated, waters across Appalachia are contaminated, and drinking water supplies are poisoned. But even more upsetting than the barren moonscapes is the fact that the people are being poisoned.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
06 July 2011, 9:03 AM
House comes out swinging in its newly revealed 2012 spending bill

The 112th Session of the House of Representatives is at it again, doing what they do best: writing legislation to strike and block the clean air and clean water laws that keep us alive and healthy.

This morning, the House majority released its spending bill for the year 2012, and not to disappoint those who wish to live in a world with big corporations enjoying full freedom to foul our air and water without restriction, penalty or accountability, the bill manages to take direct aim at a handful of landmark environmental safeguards and a slew of major public health protections.

Legislating through appropriations is a back-door, manipulative move in its own right. It essentially means that instead of having to muster the votes required to pass new laws or take our current environmental and health safeguards off the books, House leadership is using a spending bill to simply stop and block all funding for these protections. The laws still stand as they are, they just can't be enforced. The way this House sees it, if the agencies can't get the money to enforce our current laws, there's no need to worry about what the laws actually mandate.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
06 July 2011, 2:11 AM
"We’re talking huge quantities of waste going into very pristine habitats."
Gershon Cohen is Project Director at the Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters, a client on Earthjustice's case regarding wastewater discharge by cruise ships in Alaska.

Recently, Earthjustice staffer Jessica Knoblauch spoke with Gershon Cohen, project director of the Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters. In June, Earthjustice successfully defended an Alaskan ballot initiative that Cohen co-authored, which called for cruise ships to stop discharging waste into Alaska’s pristine waters.

JK: How did you first learn about cruise ship pollution? 

GC: Back in 1999, I read about how Royal Caribbean had just been convicted for dumping waste into the water. One of the places they dumped it was right near my home in Alaska. I immediately called the Environmental Protection Agency to find out if I could get a copy of their permits to see what they were supposed to be able to discharge. A few hours later, I got a call back from a very sheepish EPA person who said “Gee. They don’t have permits.” I said, “What do you mean they don’t have permits? How could you be discharging millions of gallons of wastewater and not have a permit?” He said, “Well, it looks like they’re exempt. I was like, “No kidding. I wonder how they worked that?” That’s where it all started for me. 

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View David Guest's blog posts
24 June 2011, 3:32 PM
Algae season peaks with warm sun and abundant nutrients
Arlington Boat Ramp off of University Blvd. in Jacksonville during 2005 St. Johns River Bloom Event. (Photo: Neil Armingeon / St. Johns Riverkeeper)

As I write this, half of the 75-mile long Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida is covered by nauseating green slime. It’s a heartbreaking sight – dead fish wash up along the banks, and waterfront homes have a pricey view of a stinking mess.

One dismayed homeowner told me he plans to petition local government to lower his property valuation because his waterfront lifestyle is now so gross that no one would ever want to live there.

It is so bad that local health authorities are warning people not to even touch the water, fish or let their pets near it because it is toxic. This toxic algae outbreak is a direct result of too much phosphorus and nitrogen that comes from fertilizer, sewage and manure pollution.

1 Comment   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
24 June 2011, 12:25 PM
Oceanic catastrophe, mythological creatures, oil baron payback
Haul from a dumpster dive in Sweden. Photo courtesy of sigurdas.

Dumpster diver documentary details discard diet
Americans need to stop tossing out more of half of their food and start donating it, reports dumpster diver Jeremy Seifert in Grist. Seifert, who’s been diving into dumpsters and pulling out edible food for several years, recently created a documentary detailing our wasteful society and the dumpster diving culture. In the article, he also calls on the progressive grocery store chain Trader Joes to end food waste by donating soon-to-expire foods to homeless shelters rather than tossing them. Making sustainable food choices not only helps feed the more than one-in-eight Americans dependent on food stamps, it also helps the environment by cutting down on water use and methane emitted by rotting food. So, dive in!

Report finds oceans under attack
The world may be on the verge of the sixth mass extinction with the oceans serving as ground zero, reports Reuters. According to the International Programme on the State of the Ocean, coral reefs are dying, low-oxygen dead zones are spreading and fish populations are collapsing worldwide thanks to climate change, over-fishing, pollution and habitat destruction. Though many of these issues are all too familiar to the scientific community, the magnitude and direness of the situation managed to shock even the ocean experts who created the report. In the report, the authors issue a dire warning: "Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing ….the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean.” Find out how Earthjustice is working in the courts to protect our vital oceans.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
22 June 2011, 3:02 PM
Many House reps put up a good fight to save their water, but lose
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)

It was a dark day in the House of Representatives, today, as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed a bill that would flush away decades of water safeguards and protections, along with our powerful federal system for ensuring that any waters in this country are safe to drink, fish, and swim in.

The legislation, HR 2018, takes one of our country's most important laws -- the 40-year-old Clean Water Act -- turns it on its head, shakes out its whole intent and purpose, and leaves it powerless to protect the people of this nation. Instead, the bill gives that power to the states, who proved long ago that they were unfit for the job. Without federal oversight, states let their rivers burn, lakes die, and streams become toxic industrial dumping grounds, while their citizens paid the price with their health. State protection sometimes amounted to just a warning: don't go near or swim in the water.

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