The serene beauty of a mountain lake is undeniably special, and in all the mountain wilds outside our doors, no two lakes are quite the same.
But even these refuges are suffering—from development, from wind-drifted pollution that settles invisibly in what we thought was a pristine place, from climate change. These impacts are a sign that a resource of paramount importance—fresh water—is on the line.
In 1972, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Clean Water Act to end the use of lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands as waste dumps, which had caused many water bodies to become unfit for drinking, swimming and fishing. But in 2002, America's waters took a hard hit when the Bush administration presented a new definition for "fill material," opening the floodgates for Appalachia's coal mines to fill streams with the toxic waste created by blowing up mountains.
The wildness of Alaska's Teshekpuk Lake is an increasingly scarce resource in America's Arctic, as both federal and state governments press to develop every acre that has any oil and gas potential. The wetlands around Teshekpuk Lake are among the most important in the circumpolar Arctic, and the area is incredibly rich in birdlife. Earthjustice has worked hard to protect the unique wildlife and other resources of the Western Arctic from oil and gas development.
Situated between Nevada and California, near the crest of the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest and clearest lakes in the world. Today, Lake Tahoe's famed clarity has become clouded by increased human activity and urban development that has degraded the lake's air and water quality. Earthjustice and its clients are working to restore and protect the lake.
As part of our campaign to restore the Everglades, Earthjustice's Florida regional office has worked to clean up Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake wholly within the United States. The lake, which once supplied clean water to the Everglades, is polluted by runoff from cattle ranches and dairy farms.
Earthjustice is challenging a water permit that allows the Tennessee Valley Authority to dump more than 20 million gallons of contaminated coal ash wastewater into Kentucky Lake every day. According to the EPA, wastewater discharged from coal ash ponds is high in dissolved metals such as arsenic, mercury, hexavalent chromium and selenium. TVA has never invested in effective pollution controls to prevent water pollution at its Johnsonville Fossil Plant, which was constructed in 1948.
… And More: Visit our website to learn about the diversity and breadth of Earthjustice's work to protect lakes across the country: earthjustice.org