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Clean Air

Drilling in the Uinta Basin near the town of Ouray.

The people living in the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah are the unwitting participants in a massive scientific experiment.  What happens when you put more than 11,000 oil and gas wells in a geologic basin and then seal off the air for days or weeks on end?  And the initial results are alarming—smog pollution that exceeds the federal standard set to protect public health by a whopping 89 percent.

polling station

I’m happy to report that we got a major, slam-dunk win for the environment down here in Florida in the mid-term elections.

A grassroots environmental initiative was the biggest winner on the statewide ballot, more popular than any other candidate or issue. By a whopping 75 percent majority, Floridians voted to add the Land and Water Conservation Amendment to our state Constitution. Florida now has what is believed to be the largest state-based conservation initiative in U.S. history.

The 2010 explosion and fire at the 'Pick Your Part' junkyard in Wilmington, CA took more than 30 hours to extinguish, releasing particulate matter, dioxins and heavy metals across neighboring communities.

Last month, I toured a scrap recycling facility as part of a weeklong conference put on by the Society of Environmental Journalists in New Orleans, Louisiana. As an Earthjustice employee who has written before about recycling’s dark side, I was curious to hear the industry’s take on the health impact of scrap recycling.

Child suffering from asthma.

There’s something in the air, and Kevin Hamilton knows it all too well. A respiratory therapist in the San Joaquin Valley, Hamilton has watched his patients and his family struggle with the effects of fine particle and ozone pollution for decades.

“They are convinced the air quality is affecting their health and so am I,” he said. “Their asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are acting up more.”

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