The Latest On: Climate and Energy
United Nations Working Group Concludes U.S. Visit Exploring Human Rights Cost of Mountaintop Removal Mining
The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights has concluded a visit to communities in West Virginia to explore the human rights cost of mountaintop removal mining.
The Arctic Athabaskan Council has filed a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights declaring that Canada’s failure to adequately regulate black carbon emissions is infringing on the rights of indigenous people. Black carbon releases fine particulate matter, or soot, into the atmosphere that absorbs heat and accelerates Arctic warming. The ensuing climate changes significantly hinder indigenous lifestyles, and the petition requests a review and report with recommendations for regulation to the Canadian government.
A federal court overturned a lower court decision that had denied the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to reject a permit for the Spruce Mine in West Virginia. The decision upholds the agency’s veto power on permits for projects that pose a severe environmental threat and prevents that mine from aggravating Appalachian mountaintop removal. "Today's decision is a total vindication of the Clean Water Act and EPA's vital authority to protect all American communities from all kinds of environmental harm," said Earthjustice attorney Emma Cheuse.
A federal court rejected a challenge from a power industry group to establish new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on power plant discharges by May 2014. The forthcoming air and water pollution regulations will update the nearly thirty year-old rules.
It is easy sometimes to feel like the problems of the world are just too large for any one person to tackle. Whether it is a global issue like climate change or more local struggles against ancient coal plants polluting the neighborhood, it feels like there are always powerful interests standing in the way. That’s why I am thankful for the Goldman Environmental Prize because it shows us just how incredible a difference one caring person can make.