Posts tagged: water

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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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 Terry Winckler's blog posts
23 August 2013, 1:54 PM
Corporate giants lose court battle over Klamath/Trinity rivers water
A chinook salmon. (Spappy Jones / Creative Commons)

There are few victories sweeter and more dramatic than the one just wrested by Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman and his tribal allies in a Fresno, California courtroom this week. They prevented a corporate grab of water needed by an entire run of chinook salmon for their spawning run up the Klamath/Trinity rivers system.

The drama—and believe me, it was a mix of theater, unexpected turnarounds and life-or-death arguments—climaxed late yesterday when a judge agreed that these salmon need the water more than the mega-farms that sought it as a hedge against next year's bottom line.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
16 August 2013, 12:05 PM
Court hearings this week may decide fate of Klamath/Trinity River salmon
Local fishing communities depend on healthy salmon runs. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

This is the time of year when Chinook salmon head back up the Klamath/Trinity River system to spawn—if they have abundant, cold water.

But this year—this week—powerful business interests are in court trying to seize that water, putting tens of thousands of salmon, and an entire generation of their offspring, in peril.

Here’s why:

Because California faces drought this year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) has developed a plan to release extra water from dams along the Trinity River (a tributary of the Klamath) to prevent another disaster like the ‘Fish Kill of 2002.’ Also a drought year, 2002 saw the Klamath running low, slow and with high temperatures. The Bush administration prevented water from being released, leading to a massive die-off of adult Chinook salmon, one of the worst fish kills in U.S. history. Coastal communities dependent on those salmon suffered $200 million losses.

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View Debra Mayfield's blog posts
15 August 2013, 12:19 PM
Citizen soldiers talk, unite ... and triumph

With some members of Congress doing less to protect the health and welfare of their constituents and more for the interests of industry, it’s easy for us ordinary folks to get disillusioned and throw in the towel. But then we turn towards the faces of our children, neighbors, parents and friends struggling with asthma from industrial pollution and tail pipe emissions. We see the lakes and rivers we swam and fished in as kids decimated and our drinking water supplies poisoned by poorly regulated and inadequately maintained coal ash disposal sites.

View Allie Eisen's blog posts
09 August 2013, 1:54 PM
Regulators get an earful from a roomful of citizens about coal plant pollution
Power plant water discharges are filled with toxic pollution.  (EPA)

Gathered on a grassy knoll outside the Environmental Protection Agency, an unlikely group of advocates came together to support a basic human necessity. These campaigners, representing organizations ranging from the National Hispanic Medical Association to the Catawba Riverkeepers, found a common denominator in the importance of appealing for a strong ELG standard—making a statement that clean water is essential for everyone.

The proposed updates to the ELG (effluent limitation guideline) have the power to regulate toxic pollution from the steam electric power generating category of power plants.

Earthjustice, along with partner organizations including Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and Waterkeeper Alliance, organized a rally of clean water advocates to testify before the EPA, telling their personal stories about how coal-fired power plant pollution has affected their homes and communities. Each of these groups had a vested interest in petitioning the EPA to clean up water pollution from more than 1,000 of these steam plants, supporting options 4 or 5 of the current proposed options.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
08 August 2013, 5:43 PM
The oil and gas industry's worst nightmare, apparently
A Pennsylvania family's spring became flammable after a Marcellus well was drilled on their property. (© J.B.Pribanic)

A while back, I was invited to a D.C. elementary school to watch 5th graders deliver a presentation about drinking water.

These students were proposing a “Water Bill of Rights” stating that people have the right to know what’s in their groundwater and that it’s safe to drink. Sounds like a good idea to me.

One group of students had done a special project—on fracking. After considering both sides of the issue, and learning that the chemicals used in fracking are often secret, many of the students decided it wasn’t a good idea. Afterwards, I asked them to tell me—in their own words—why they felt that way.

Here’s what they said:

I was reminded of that day when news of the fracking industry’s attempt to silence a 7- and 10-year-old sister and brother with a gag order went worldwide.

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View David Guest's blog posts
08 August 2013, 10:58 AM
EPA turns back on stopping killer goo that chokes waterways, coastline
Thousands of residents gathered in Stuart, FL to protest the government's coddling of polluters. (Justin Parsons)

Right now, in the prime-time of summer fishing, surfing, and swimming season, health officials in one of the prettiest places in southeast Florida are warning people not to touch the water because it poses a dangerous health risk.

A massive toxic algae outbreak along the Atlantic coast, north of Palm Beach, is turning the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie Rivers sci-fi green. This is one of the most biologically productive parts of South Florida, and one of the most popular for water sports.

It’s also the same place where hundreds of manatees, birds, fish and dolphins have been washing up dead since last winter and spring. A New York Times article today dealt with many of these same issues. Thousands of fed-up local residents are taking to the streets in protest. On man carried a sign which said it all:

“No One Wants Sewer Front Property.”

As this crisis unfolds, what is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doing? Fighting us in federal court!

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
01 August 2013, 9:20 AM
Oil giant takes out self-pitying ads, plays the victim

Recently the oil giant BP placed full-page ads* in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal pitying itself as the real victim in the aftermath of the Gulf Spill. BP claims it is being targeted by “unscrupulous trial lawyers” representing “thousands of claimants that suffered no losses” that “smell big bucks and want a piece of the action.”

It’s no surprise that the fifth largest company in the world, which raked in $388 billion in 2012 alone, is so out of touch with Gulf residents. Here’s the people’s side of the story since they don’t have millions of dollars to buy full page ads.*

View Lisa Evans's blog posts
24 July 2013, 9:26 AM
McKinley's shameless coal ash bill is worse than ever
Residents of Asheville, NC have seen their waterways polluted by coal ash. (Watch video »)

This week the House will vote on the “Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013” (HR 2218) sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). The bill ruthlessly guts longstanding public health and environmental protections of the nation’s decades-old statute protecting communities from solid and hazardous waste disposal. This shameless industry giveaway creates a giant loophole for the toxic waste generated by coal-fired power plants.

This is the fifth time since 2011 the House will vote on a McKinley abomination that allows the nation’s second largest industrial waste stream to escape federal safeguards. Enough toxic coal ash is produced each year to fill a freight train that would stretch from the North to the South Poles—waste that is filled with toxic chemicals like arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury.

This latest iteration is the most deadly. Among other atrocities, it allows leaking coal ash impoundments to operate indefinitely—even if they are gushing toxic chemicals into aquifers; it limits EPA authority to take over state programs—even if those programs are failing to protect human health; and it potentially blocks all future EPA rules concerning coal ash—including EPA’s recently proposed Clean Water Act rule addressing toxic wastewater from coal plants.

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View Marty Hayden's blog posts
19 July 2013, 2:59 PM
Gina McCarthy chosen to protect our air, land, water
Gina McCarthy is our nation's new EPA Administrator. (EPA)

The partisan antics of a few in the Senate finally halted to allow confirmation of a new and well-qualified Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.

This Senate confirmation means that, finally, after months of political obstruction by the Congressional friends of big polluters, we have a new administrator to deliver the public health and environmental protections that we all deserve. And, boy, does she have her work cut out.

Thank you for the phone calls you made to push for this confirmation and the letters you wrote to back these polluter cronies down off their agenda to block any and all progress in cleaning up our nation’s energy landscape, our waters, our air, and combating climate change.

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View Audrey Carson's blog posts
19 July 2013, 9:53 AM
Millions lose their fins and lives to the sharkfin soup market
Hammerhead sharks are common targets of the finning industry. (Ian Scott / Shutterstock)

Every year, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week concludes its program with a familiar saying: “Sharks have more reason to fear us than we have to fear them.” This comforting thought – more people are killed each year by falling coconuts than by sharks – has never been so true. Sharks are being brutally slaughtered for their fins by the millions, and at this rate sharks soon will be functionally extinct.

The butchery takes place at sea where fishermen haul sharks aboard to saw off their fins and then dump the still-living creatures back into the ocean. The finless sharks writhe to the ocean floor, where they die of suffocation or are eaten by other predators. This hack-and-run strategy known as “finning” allows fisherman to ditch relatively unprofitable meat and sail to port with their cargos filled only with shark’s fins, which can sell for up to $400 a pound as the key ingredient in shark fin soup. More than 80 countries participate in the global market for shark fins, but few outlaw finning; and most of the slaughter occurs in international waters, where the industry is entirely unregulated.

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