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Climate Change

A zero emissions truck at the Port of Long Beach, California.

For decades, environmental and community groups have pushed back against harmful pollution from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. The neighborhoods near these ports contain some of the most toxic air in the region, with port emissions a primary culprit. Ports are also one of the leading producers of smog-forming pollution in the most ozone-polluted region in the nation. 

The Cheswick coal fire power plant in Springdale, PA.

Last month, we celebrated EPA's announcement that it is proposing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, the nation's biggest contributors to climate change.  After years of paralysis in Washington, there is a real prospect of national action on climate that will shrink the U.S. carbon footprint and set the stage for more productive international negotiations in Paris, where the president may now arrive with new leverage and even some moral authority for a change.

A car sits in dried and cracked earth of what was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir in early 2014 in San Jose, CA.

(This is the first in a weekly series of blog posts discussing the U.S. EPA’s recent efforts to limit industrial carbon pollution from existing power plants. Earthjustice is advocating that the agency honor the commitments that President Obama made in his Climate Action Plan by setting strong standards that cut emissions from power plants by at least 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.)

Wind turbines in a Kansas wheat field.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has given Sunflower Electric the green light to build a massive, dirty coal fired power plant. Just last year, the Kansas Supreme Court found the permit for this plant to be illegal because it failed to meet the most basic protections for clean air. Despite that ruling, KDHE recently reissued the permit virtually unchanged, once again failing to protect the citizens of Kansas from harmful air pollution. 

The U.S. Supreme Court.

For the third time since 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.

In announcing the court's opinion Monday, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “It bears mention that EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case.”

Trains carrying coal.

On Monday, the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Long Beach approved two agreements that locked in exports of coal and petroleum coke for the next 15 years.

Petcoke is a coal byproduct so dirty that the Environmental Protection Agency banned future permits for its use in the U.S. While disallowed here, petcoke is viewed in other countries as a cheap fuel, and these countries will buy it from American companies like Oxbow Corporation, founded and headed up by William Koch.

In a world where a forest the size of Germany is leveled and burned every year... where formerly fertile farmlands have been reduced to desert...where biblical-sized drought has caused communities to crumble and pushed nations into war... humankind must either join the fight to change the course of history or risk dooming the planet.

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