Forty-seven people, including a four-year-old child, died in July 2013 when a train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac Mégantic, Quebec. Sixty-three tank cars derailed and of these, 59 punctured or ripped open and spilled oil, which ignited, exploded and destroyed the downtown. This catastrophe awoke the public to a 4,000 percent increase in the amount of crude oil shipped by rail and the incredible dangers posed by these crude oil trains to communities.
On Aug. 29, in a small step towards greater transparency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released agency response letters confirming 243 cases in which drinking water supplies were contaminated by oil and gas drilling since 2008.
Throughout the U.S. oil and gas boom, frackers have countered public concerns about water contamination with the assurance that drilling operations target deposits that sit much deeper than drinking-water aquifers. This picture is not entirely accurate, according to recent research.
Last month, the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, New York, represented by Earthjustice, triumphed over the fracking industry after the state’s highest court ruled that the towns can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry within their borders.
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.
One year ago this week, on July 6, 2013, a train carrying crude oil derailed in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, causing a fiery explosion that decimated the town and killed 47 people. Today, a large portion of the town is still in rubble and the ground remains too polluted for reconstruction.
At Earthjustice, we are not waging academic battles. While our cases play out in the courts, our work is firmly rooted in the real world. Behind the motions, arguments and decisions are people, wildlife and places whose fate depends on the outcome of our litigation.
Success in our work increasingly requires that we turn to a powerful tool—Geographic Information Systems, or GIS—to understand the where, when, what and who of our issues.