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Air

The Latest On: Air

April 30, 2009 | Article

Still Gasping for Clean Air in San Joaquin Valley

Growing up in California's San Joaquin Valley, we spent our summer days at the community swimming pool and on the soccer field. Playing outside was one of the joys of growing up in a region where the days are warm, the grass is green and the sky is clear.

These days, elementary schools in the valley fly color-coded flags to alert parents of "bad air days" when their children should be kept indoors. Childhood fun in the valley is not what it used to be.

April 22, 2009 | Article

Oil Shale Proponents Going Nuclear?

One of the many dirty little secrets about oil shale is that it will take huge amounts of energy to turn rock into a product we can put in our cars and trucks.  That's because the currently proposed technology for producing oil shale involves using what amounts to glorified curling irons underground, heating them up to hundreds of degrees and melting the "kerogen" into something that can be sucked out of the ground and could be refined into a useable product.

April 16, 2009 | Article

Stopping Soot Will Buy Time in Global Warming Fight

On the front page of The New York Times today, Elisabeth Rosenthal takes an in-depth look at a global warming problem you may not know much about: black carbon, commonly known as soot. Carbon dioxide is the main culprit in global warming, but recently scientists have found that soot may be responsible for up to 25 percent of global warming, particularly in the Arctic.

April 8, 2009 | Article

Cleaning Up Your Dry Cleaning

Question: When is dry cleaning actually dry?
Answer: Never. 

When you send your dry-clean-only clothes to the local dry cleaner (and believe me, I'm the first to admit I'm a stickler for nicely pressed shirts and pants) they use special machines and a toxic solvent called perchloroethylene to get your clothes clean.

March 19, 2009 | Article

Time to Applaud the "New" EPA

One year ago in this column, I called on Environmental Protection Agency chief Stephen Johnson to resign for letting politics, not science, guide his agency's decisions. Nor was I alone—10,000 EPA employees were in open revolt for the same reason. Johnson was defying the Supreme Court's ruling that his agency should move forward on climate change and was refusing to approve California's forward-looking controls on climate-altering pollution.

March 19, 2009 | Article

Red Cliff Mine: A Hazy Future?

We knew the proposed Red Cliff coal mine in western Colorado had a lot of problems.  It's no secret that coal is a dirty fuel.  On top of the predictable global warming impacts from burning the mined coal, this mine each year will spew thousands of tons of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than CO2 - into the atmosphere witho

March 13, 2009 | Article

Feel Free to Breathe Deeply

The New York Times reports via Greenwire that the Obama administration is making some legal maneuvers that could mean they are reconsidering health standards for smog pollution set by the Bush administration back in 2007. Earthjustice and the 60,000 of you who participated in our Adopt the Sky campaign told Bush that his approach ignored science and the law, setting a standard that fell short of what scientists recommended were safe levels to protect public health.

I know, I know, big surprise that the Bush administration let politics trump science and set a standard that did a terrible job of protecting public health and the environment, but that's why we sued them in court!

The Obama administration asked the court to "stall proceedings" on our lawsuit challenging the weak Bush standard in order to "determine whether to revise the controversial Bush-era standards," according to the Times story. Of course, we remain optimistic that the current EPA will listen to the recommendations of science and set a standard protective of public health.

February 24, 2009 | Article

Breathe Easier, America

The lungs of America got two big breaks this week with court rulings that protect them from air pollution emitted by power plants, factories, and diesel trucks.

And there is a strong hint of more to come.

February 18, 2009 | Article

Update: Obama's Six Easy Things

In less than a month, President Obama has tackled several items on a list of Six Easy Things that Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen set forth for the new administration last November.

1) Move towards reducing CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act

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