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.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
23 April 2013, 7:56 AM
One option protects waters from toxic pollution; other options fall far short
Power plant water discharges are filled with toxic pollution.  (EPA)

Coal-fired power plant pollution is contaminating our water, not just our air. Here’s how: when plants install scrubbers and other emission control devices onto smokestacks to capture air pollution, the chemical waste they pull from the air is then discharged into our waterways.

Not good.

This discharge contains mercury, arsenic, selenium and other toxic chemicals that can cause neurological and developmental damage, harm unborn fetuses in utero, damage internal organs, and cause cancer. Coal plants are the number one toxic discharger into our country’s waterways, yet the Environmental Protection Agrency has not reviewed clean water regulations for this industry in more than 30 years.

Until now.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
20 April 2013, 12:59 PM
Investment in biodiversity yields tourism riches
A three-toed sloth in Costa Rica's Cahuita National Park. (Nathan Dappen)

This month, I had the very good fortune to visit Costa Rica, home to some of greatest biodiversity in the world. In this tiny nation, plants and animals from temperate North America and from tropical South America mingle in habitats at different altitudes (including active volcanoes and rain forests at the beach)! I marveled at hundreds of leaping dolphins, huge rain forest trees with rich canopy life, miraculous birds, sloths and anteaters.

Not surprisingly, Costa Rica is an increasingly popular travel destination, especially for nature-oriented visitors. Of course, rampant tourism can ruin natural landscapes and in so doing, wreak havoc with local communities that depend on those landscapes, which is why early on many Costa Ricans made sustainability a primary focus. The country has been preparing itself for two generations, establishing and protecting national parks and other preserves, training young people as scientists and guides, and developing a sustainable travel ethic. It's a model that Mexico could follow, instead of proceeding on a path of destroying some of its most remarkable ecological treasures for short-term gain.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
17 April 2013, 2:55 PM
Massive development could kill desert ribbon of life
Rich ecosystems flourish around the San Pedro River.  (Jeff Kennedy / USGS)

The upper San Pedro River valley in Arizona is the epitome of the Wild West. Open and arid, stretching north from Mexico and lying in the shadow of the rugged Huachuca Mountains, the valley looks much the same as it did more than a century ago when miners and settlers uneasily shared the land. It is a place where the long shadows at sunset bring visitors back to a long-past time.

Cutting across that mythic landscape is the treasure of the valley, the San Pedro River, last free-flowing river in the desert Southwest. A remnant of the formerly extensive network of desert riparian ecosystems, the river has dwindled in recent decades as development moved into the valley. And now the San Pedro may be drained to feed a proposed mega-development.

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View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
17 April 2013, 12:20 PM
Unrestrained thirst puts Colorado atop American Rivers' threat list
Management of the Colorado River remains an engineering task that seeks to wring as much water as possible out of its banks. (David Morgan / iStockphoto)

The Colorado River has been called the lifeblood of the west; it defines our geography, sustains our fish and wildlife, feeds and powers our cities. Without it, our lives and heritage would be fundamentally different—which is why Earthjustice and the conservation community have fought for years to preserve and protect this great river.

But, the thirst for Colorado River water is proving too great.

Today, American Rivers, a national river conservation organization, named the Colorado its most endangered river for 2013. This dubious distinction was well earned as decades of damming, diversion and domestication have left the river that carves the Grand Canyon a ghost of its former self.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 April 2013, 6:05 PM
Under pressure from Earthjustice and others, senators seek to rein practice in
An almond farmer watches oil wells that have sprouted near almond orchards in the Central Valley town of Shafter, CA. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)
See photo essay »

As reported in the current issue of Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine, oil fracking has become big news in California, where the practice is conducted in the shadows and is essentially unregulated—the Wild Wild West, if you will. (See: Extreme Energy: Out of Control Out West)

That may be about to change.

At least 10 bills have been introduced in the state legislature since the Magazine came out; three would impose moratoriums to halt fracking until regulations can be put in effect. Others would require disclosure of the chemicals being used, mandate groundwater monitoring before and after fracking operations, and classify wastewater from the fracking process as hazardous waste. A state-court lawsuit by Earthjustice is working its way through the system, and a federal court just ruled that failure by the Bureau of Land Management to study the environmental impact of fracking is illegal—but the judge declined to rescind the permits, so the practice continues.

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View David Guest's blog posts
12 April 2013, 3:47 PM
Toxic algae, caused by runoff, found in mammals' stomachs
The manatees in the Indian River seem to be eating algae because a huge 2011 algae outbreak killed most of the sea grasses. (Shutterstock)

Florida tourism promoters are always looking to get stories in the newspaper to lure northern tourists—and their vacation cash—down here. But a recent story in the New York Times wasn’t what they had in mind.

“Florida Algae Bloom Leads to Record Manatee Deaths,” read the national headline on April 6, in the middle of prime winter tourist season.

Endangered manatees have been dying by the hundreds on both the east and west coasts. The tally is at 340 and rising. No one has pinpointed the precise cause, but the likeliest is toxic algae, the kind that’s fueled by sewage, manure and fertilizer pollution.

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View Elijio Arreguin's blog posts
04 April 2013, 11:49 AM
Study predicts a decrease in the size of surf
Photo courtesy of Dunedin NZ (Flickr)

“Surf’s up!”

These two words have sparked countless scenes of surfers worldwide frantically gathering boards, leashes and friends in excited rushes to the ocean in the hopes of catching a few big waves. However, a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, "Projected changes in wave climate from a multi-model ensemble", indicates that climate change may threaten the frequency of such scenes.

Researchers’ findings project that while only 7.1 percent of the world’s ocean area will experience an increase in average wave heights, almost 26 percent will actually experience a decrease in the size of surf.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
03 April 2013, 12:03 PM
Highlights from the EPA’s chief of water policy

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that 55 percent of U.S. streams and rivers are in “poor” condition, according to its most recent national rivers and streams assessment. Following the release of that grim report, the EPA held a live Twitter chat to answer questions about our clean water protections and the state of our waters in the United States.

This was a rare opportunity for the public to directly ask the EPA’s head of water policy, Nancy Stoner, about the agency’s plans to address our nation’s water quality problems. We got a chance to ask some questions, too.

The first question of the chat was ours. We wanted to know how the EPA plans to fix the situation we find our nation in today: The fact is that 27% of the nation’s rivers and streams have excessive levels of nitrogen and 40% have high levels of phosphorus. These nutrient pollutants, which come from factory farms and industrial agriculture, cause toxic green slime outbreaks that are harmful to public health.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
26 March 2013, 9:47 AM
Roadless Rule—and 50+ million forested acres—survive test of time
Spring blooms of fireweed in the Reservation Divide roadless area in Montana’s Coeur D’Alene Mountains. (© Terry Glase)

Time has run out for the enemies of roadless wilderness. They spent 12 years trying to kill the national law protecting our forests, and yesterday a federal district court said they couldn’t have a minute more—the statute of limitations had run out.

This means you better grab a compass when heading into a national forest because you can get lost amid all the trees saved by this law, known as the Roadless Rule.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
22 March 2013, 7:27 PM
And ConocoPhillips eager to drill in the Arctic Ocean

Earthjustice received some superb video today from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, of Shell’s beat up Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, as it was lifted onto a huge dry haul ship to be carried to Asia for repairs:

This comes on the heels of a report from the Department of Interior, which summarized  a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season and was highly critical of the oil giant’s operations.

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