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 Daniel Hubbell's blog posts
13 December 2012, 10:39 AM
Moapa Band of Paiutes blaze a trail to clean energy and better health
Vickie Simmons, a tribal member, stands in front of Reid Gardner Power Station.  (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

In his address at the Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama spoke with his usual eloquence about invigorating growth on tribal lands, and the perfect example of this new growth is the Moapa solar project on the Moapa River Indian Reservation. Situated just 30 miles north of Las Vegas, the site will generate up to 350 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. It highlights in many ways the future of the nation’s energy supply, and unfortunately the Paiute Indians themselves know the industry’s cloudy past.

Just next to the reservation is the Reid Gardner Power Station. This coal-fired power plant generates more than just electricity; it produces more than 4,000 tons of toxic, arsenic-laden coal ash every year. This waste is stored in landfills near the power station, but often it does not stay there. On bad days, the wind sends the ash sweeping into the reservation, a condition some tribal members compare to a sandstorm. Locking the doors and staying inside is the only recourse on these bad days, and even that has not protected the Moapa Band of Paiutes. The locals have plenty to say about their health, ranging from headaches and dizziness to asthma and even serious heart conditions. The almost-50-year-old belching coal plant has plenty to answer for.

Still, the Moapa Paiutes are determined to show the world that there is a better way forward.

View John McManus's blog posts
11 December 2012, 12:06 PM
Earthjustice and allies fight back
Chicken manure and other pollutants end up in protected creeks, rivers and streams. (USDA)

Recently the EPA ordered an industrial animal factory in West Virginia to clean up massive amounts of chicken manure and other pollution lying around the ground, lest they end up in local streams after it rains. The farm refused to get a permit to address the pollution, so the EPA is in court—with Earthjustice on its side—to force the issue.

Arrayed with the farm against the EPA are the American Farm Bureau Federation and West Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. They know that that EPA’s permit stance here could translate into similar permit requirements for thousands of other industrial animal factories that similarly pollute creeks, rivers and streams coast to coast.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
04 December 2012, 3:36 PM
Disproportionate burden of coal plant emissions placed on such communities

The results of a comprehensive study investigating the impacts of living near 378 coal plants in the United States have found that people of color and low-income communities are disproportionately more burdened by this pollution than any other segment of the population. Coal Blooded was pulled together by the NAACP, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) and the Indigenous Environmental Network.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
03 December 2012, 5:53 PM
Supreme Court considers two citizen enforcement cases
The U.S. Supreme Court. (Mark Fischer)

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a pair of cases that could cut back on the ability of citizens to enforce the Clean Water Act. Although different, at their core, both afford the court opportunities either to preserve or weaken the power of citizens to hold polluters accountable for harming our nation’s waters.

The Clean Water Act, enacted four decades ago, aimed to make the nation’s waters drinkable, fishable, and swimmable. To make good on this promise, it prohibits discharges of pollution into U.S. waters without a permit and holds polluters to the limits imposed in such permits. Congress gave citizens the power to enforce the Clean Water Act, for Congress recognized that the government often lacks the financial resources and political will to enforce environmental laws against violators. In this way, the Act enlists people who use treasured waters or live near facilities that expose their communities to untenable pollution to stand in the shoes of the government to enforce the law against wrongdoers.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
30 November 2012, 12:14 PM
Defends DoD Bill against unrelated Hoeven Coal Ash Amendment
Sen. Boxer takes a stand against false rider tactics.

Some members of the Senate believe it’s acceptable to write up legislation to prevent the EPA from regulating toxic coal ash—and then attach it to a completely unrelated bill.

They tried unsuccessfully earlier this summer to put it into must-pass legislation that would help maintain and improve our nation’s highway infrastructure. They’re considering including it as a “rider” on the pending “fiscal cliff” bill. They even talked about putting it on a spending bill for the Department of Defense.

It seems some senators know no bounds on allowing polluters to continue dumping this waste—filled with arsenic, lead, mercury and more—into unlined and unmonitored ponds and landfills next to coal-fired power plants. Already, coal ash has polluted lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers at nearly 200 sites across the country.

But yesterday, one senator made clear that she’s not willing to allow dangerous environmental riders onto unrelated legislation.

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View John McManus's blog posts
28 November 2012, 2:58 PM
Earthjustice will act to protect them
L87, a southern resident orca, breaches at sunset with Whidbey Island and Mt. Baker in the background.  (Susan Berta / Orca Network)

A far right anti-environmental group based in Sacramento, California is trying to get federal Endangered Species Act protections removed from a small extended west coast family group of killer whales.

This group of killer whales, or orcas, is known as the southern residents because they spend much of their time residing in coastal waters between Washington and Canada’s Vancouver island. They feed almost exclusively on salmon, which is indirectly what’s got them in trouble with the anti-environmental Pacific Legal Foundation. They eat salmon not only in Washington waters, but as far south as California when salmon mass there in the spring.

Federal regulators curtailed fresh water diversions to large agricultural operations in the desert on the west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley, in part to save the salmon eaten by the whales—both for the sake of the threatened salmon, and for the whales. The Pacific Legal Foundation and other anti-environment groups (including one headed by a former Bush Administration wildlife official) found a few irrigators there who were willing to ignore the needs of the orcas in order to get more water diverted.

Because these groups and the irrigators live more than a thousand miles from where the killer whales spend most of their time, no one should be surprised they aren’t all that concerned about the whales.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
06 November 2012, 9:56 PM
President must unite America to secure prosperity and fight climate change
President Obama now has a second chance to put this nation on course to a prosperous future built on clean energy. (Scout Tufankjian)

The American people have reinvested their faith in a President who now has a second chance to put this nation on course to a prosperous future built on clean energy and with a far-reaching goal of ending mankind’s role in climate change.

In the wake of superstorm Sandy, voters saw—and many continue to experience—the impacts of climate change-induced weather. They are convinced and, like us, demand that President Obama take action to steer us away from the fossil fuels that feed climate change. This is the real path to energy independence.

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View Shawn Eisele's blog posts
25 October 2012, 1:00 PM
State permit allowing log storage facility challenged
Dungeness crabs in a crab trap. (Debra Hamilton / DFG)

Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is as much ocean as land. It includes saltwater bays, fjords, canals, channels, and too many islands to count.

At this intersection of land and ocean, life flourishes where forest creeks and streams empty nutrients into shallow saltwater bays. Among other species, dungeness crabs flourish, fed seasonally by the carcasses of spawned out salmon.

One such estuary 20 miles south of Petersburg in Alexander Bay is a place called the Pothole. It’s named for the crab pots used by the commercial crab fishery that thrives there.

Although the Pothole is a great place for crab fishermen to pursue their livelihood, the state of Alaska recently granted the U.S. Forest Service a permit for a logging company to store recently-cut logs in the Pothole’s shallow waters. The permit was granted after the Forest Service claimed it had no alternative, a claim later found to be untrue.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
19 October 2012, 11:14 AM
And how do your Congressional reps vote on clean water?

You know that creek in your backyard, or the river or lake near your town? Have any idea what kind of condition it is in, or how polluted it is?

Most people probably don't  -- up until now, it hasn't been very easy to get this information. But to help people find out about the condition of their local waterways, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a supercool new app for your computer or mobile device that allows you to learn about the quality of the waters near you.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 October 2012, 5:34 AM
On the Act's 40th anniversary, how it touches lives across the country

Growing up just outside of Cleveland, Ohio, my siblings and cousins and I spent our summers swimming in Lake Erie. The water looked clear enough, and though I remember hearing about the invasion of zebra mussels, our greatest worries were the imagined creatures in the deep. We didn't know that just a few years before, the lake was popularly deemed “dead" because of the pollution it received from surrounding industries.

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