Posts tagged: water

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

water


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

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.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
08 October 2010, 9:28 AM
Cul-de-sac merry-go-rounds, chemical-free cow juice, classroom meddling
A strip of houses in southwest Florida. Image courtesy of Google and The Boston Globe.

BP greases the facts
As if writing California's environmental curriculum wasn't enough, BP is back to meddling in the school system, this time to "dispel myths" about oil and chemical dispersants, reports ProPublica. Among the myths being dispelled is the idea that the chemicals are mostly harmless to people and wildlife, a claim that Earthjustice is currently disputing in court.

Court ruling makes milky waves
Milk fans who don't like their cow juice coming from animals pumped with growth hormones and full of pus won a major victory earlier this week after an appeals court overturned an Ohio ban on labels that identify whether milk products were produced with or without growth hormones, reports Grist. The decision could have repercussions beyond the pasture by establishing a standard that altered foods (i.e. genetically engineered) can be labeled as such.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
30 September 2010, 1:57 PM
Sneezing salmon, farmers’ market fake-out, stinky CAFOs
Genetically engineering foods could make them more allergenic. Photo courtesy of evah, stock.xchng.

FDA's food policy makes people sneeze
On the heels of the FDA's decision to approve genetically engineered or GE salmon, a number of consumer and environmental advocacy groups are raising the alarm that genetically modified foods could be more allergenic due to the splicing and dicing of one food's genes into another, according to a recent Mother Jones' article. The concern is just one among many over GE foods, which is why Earthjustice is currently fighting to keep foods like genetically engineered sugar beets out of U.S. farms and off of Americans' plates.

Obama makes a stink over CAFOs
The Obama administration recently thumbed its nose at the Illinois EPA's oversight of confined animal feeding operations, aka CAFOs, which create mountains of manure equal to that of small cities and have fouled air and water supplies across the state. According to the Chicago Tribune, the agency has one month to clean up its mess. If it doesn't, the EPA will soon be wading knee-deep into the issue.

Farmers' market fakes out customers
Child-toting moms may soon start seeing "Farmers' Market" signs in the produce aisle of their favorite chain grocery store, according to the Washington Post. Stores like Safeway recently began posting the signs in an effort to cash in on the burgeoning local and organic foodie movement, but small farmers and their supporters are ready to throw tomatoes, arguing that the misleading tactic is unfair to customers and farmers alike.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
28 September 2010, 4:04 PM
Recycling of life, one shark bite at a time
Great white shark, ready for a meal. Photo: Fedorenko Gennady.

It turns out you really can get a free lunch—at least, if you're a great white shark.

A group (or, a shiver, if you prefer a more alliterative group name) of sharks found themselves presented with just such an unexpected buffet earlier this month, when a 36-foot Brydes whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was found drifting off the coast of South Africa.

Likely the tragic result of a ship strike—a major cause of injury and death to large whales, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale we're working to protect—the massive 10-ton remains was on a steady course for the shoreline, presenting a serious problem for local authorities. The recently departed whale would attract hungry sharks, which would in turn increase the likelihood of awkward shark/human encounters.

In a brilliant solution, the South African navy made the best of the whale's unfortunate death, towing it out to a remote area where the sharks could dine undisturbed—and under the close eye of scientists. Alison Kock, project leader at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre, characterized the nine-day marathon feast as "an unparalleled opportunity to document white shark behaviour." (Click on the image to advance to the next photo. Viewer discretion advised, if you're presently in the midst of your own meal.)

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
27 September 2010, 12:40 PM
Canyon’s imperiled fish left high and dry by Obama
The Grand Canyon - home of the humpback chub. National Park Service photo.

First impressions can be deceiving.

In 1861, as America entered its first year of civil war, the Government Printing Office published the report of Lieutenant Joseph Ives on his expedition up the Colorado River from the Gulf of California.

Chapter VIII of his report describes an area he called "Big Canyon." While he proclaimed the scene from the Canyon’s south rim "marvellous," he wrote off the area as a worthless wasteland, unlikely to be visited again except by the Indians who lived there:

The region last explored is, of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and after entering it there is nothing to do but to leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado river, along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed… Excepting when the melting snows send their annual torrents through the avenues to the Colorado, conveying with them sound and motion, these dismal abysses, and the arid table-lands that enclose them, are left, as they have been for ages, in unbroken solitude and silence.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
20 September 2010, 1:43 PM
Extensive expansion of piers and other facilities is derailed
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe.

"I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole world affords."

Thus spake Mark Twain of Lake Tahoe, the magnificent high-altitude lake nestled in an alpine cup between Nevada and California.

But, as with so many other places, Tahoe's fatal beauty has led to too much development—too many homes, too many casinos, too many cars, too many piers, and too many boats. The clarity of the water has suffered, as has the purity of the air.

7 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jared Saylor's blog posts
16 September 2010, 1:30 AM
Coal's waste is poisoning communities in 34 states
Flood of coal ash in Tennessee

Water and air in 34 states are being poisoned by the waste of coal-fired power plants—creating major health risks for children and adults—according to a report released today by Earthjustice and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The ground-breaking study connects the contamination occurring at hundreds of coal ash dumps and waste ponds across the country to health threats such as cancer, nerve damage and impairment of a child's ability to write, read and learn.

Contaminants leaking or being emitted from these sites include arsenic, which causes skin, bladder and lung cancer; lead, which damages the nervous system; boron, which attacks the testes, kidney and brain; and mercury, a neurotoxicant particularly harmful to a child's development.

Today's report, "Coal Ash: The Toxic Threat to Our Health and Environment" follows a report issued last month, by Earthjustice and other environmental groups, that revealed 39 contaminated coal ash sites in 21 states. Together, the two studies confirm that at least 137 sites in 34 states are leaking a variety of toxic contaminants into nearby air and drinking water supplies, posing significant health threats to those who drink the water or breath in fugitive coal dust.

6 Comments   /   Read more >>
View John McManus's blog posts
18 August 2010, 11:18 AM
Delta needs twice the fresh water that now flows through it
Central Valley Water Project canal transports water away from Delta

It's official, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which feeds into the West Coast's most important estuary, the San Francisco Bay, needs twice as much water as it's getting if the wetlands and wildlife are to survive.

The state's Water Resources Control Board staff recently issued a report confirming that water diversions are killing the Delta. They found that to restore balance, twice as much water needs to flow through the Delta and out to sea as currently happens in an average year.

The place was in great shape until politicians serving development and big agriculture interests decided to divert much of the Delta's water with giant pumps that send it to desert parts of the state. Now the delta is in a state of free fall ecological collapse.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
18 August 2010, 10:34 AM
They ask Congress to keep the toxic good times flowing
St. John's River algae infestation - Courtesy Jacksonville University

Florida's St. John's River is fouled this summer with green slime, and dead fish are washing up on its shores. Every time it rains, nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen poison this river and others all over Florida. The poison comes from sewage, animal manure and fertilizer.

It is a crisis big enough that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed in November 2009 to set the first-ever legal limits for nutrient poisoning.

But, now, polluters are trying to derail efforts to clean up Florida's waters. They arrived enmasse recently at Congress, where they met with numerous federal lawmakers to try getting a rider put on the federal appropriations bill. The rider would, unbelievably, prevent EPA from setting important new limits on nutrient pollution. The rider may be introduced in a few weeks.

6 Comments   /   Read more >>
View John McManus's blog posts
16 August 2010, 10:22 AM
Some water diverted to plantations put back in native streams
Waiehu stream

After years of essentially being drained dry and left for dead, two legendary streams on the Hawaiian island of Maui came back to life this week, thanks to the work of Earthjustice.

The streams were diverted over a hundred years ago to irrigate sugar cane and pineapple plantations. Over time sugar and pineapple have faded in the islands, succumbing to cheaper foreign competition. This freed up the water to restore the streams.

But the old plantation companies have other ideas. They want to develop the farmlands and bank and sell the diverted stream water. To them the water is the key to cashing in with McMansions, condos, resorts, and shopping centers, all fueled by "free" stream water.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jared Saylor's blog posts
06 August 2010, 12:51 PM
Industry lobby group pushes their members to pressure EPA
Photo: jerrygreerphotography.com.

In just over three weeks, the EPA will hold the first of five public hearings on its plan to finally regulate coal ash, the nasty, hazardous remains leftover from coal-fired power plants. On August 30, right here in Washington DC, the EPA will hear from hundreds of victims, advocates, community members, environmentalists, activists and everyday citizens about the need to clean up these dangerous dumps and waste ponds filled with decades of contaminated coal ash.

The EPA will also hear from lobby groups like the American Coal Ash Association. Just recently, the ACAA sent out an email to its supporters (which include Duke Energy, American Electric Power, and dozens of other utilities and industry groups) to attend the public hearings in Washington DC, Denver, CO (Sept. 2), Dallas, TX (Sept. 8); Charlotte, NC (Sept. 14) and Chicago, IL (Sept. 16). This confirms what we expected: that industry is going to be out in full force at these public hearings making false claims about the EPA's approach to regulate coal ash waste dumps and landfills. The EPA has offered two options: one that sets strong, federally enforeable safeguards for coal ash, and another that does nothing to mitigate the threat to our drinking water and health. Guess which one the industry supports?

1 Comment   /   Read more >>