Tag Archives: Earthjustice

Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

“Louisiana has failed to protect fenceline communities, including St. John residents, from the harms of highly polluting facilities,” said one local advocate.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 1-20-2022 by Common Dreams

A pair of local advocacy groups in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, submitted a civil rights complaint to the U.S. EPA on Thursday, accusing two state agencies of failing to protect residents of the low-income and predominantly Black jurisdiction from toxic air.

According to the complaint—filed by Earthjustice and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of Concerned Citizens of St. John (CCSJ) and the Sierra Club—the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) have violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits entities receiving federal financial assistance from engaging in activities that subject individuals to discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Continue reading

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Climate Coalition Demands Biden Halt ‘Outrageous’ Offshore Drilling Auction—Largest in US History

The proposed lease sale, said over 250 groups in a joint letter, “shockingly offers more area than the Trump administration initially proposed.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-10-2021 by Common Dreams.

Offshore oil rig off Catalina Island. Ohoto: arbyreed/flickr/CC

As the Biden administration prepares to auction off more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel extraction, over 250 advocacy groups published an open letter on Wednesday imploring U.S. President Joe Biden to cancel the sale and fulfill his promises of bold climate action.

At least 267 organizations, including 36 representing Gulf of Mexico communities, sent the letter to Biden, who just last week promised the world at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland—also known as COP26—that the United States will be “leading by the power of our example” in the fight against the planetary emergency. Continue reading

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‘Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm’ to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

“We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy,” said one conservation expert.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-22-2021

A family of gray wolves tends to their pups. After 45 years, gray wolves were delisted from the Endangered Species Act by the Trump administration on January 4, 2021. (Photo: Chad Horwedel/Flickr/cc)

In what wildlife defenders called “the biggest news so far for wolf protection in the United States in 2021,” a Wisconsin court on Friday sided with conservation groups and canceled this year’s wolf trophy hunt season just 15 days before it was set to begin.

In an oral bench ruling expected to be appealed, Dane County Circuit Judge Jacob Frost issued a temporary injunction halting the hunting season—which would have started on November 6—by reducing a 300-wolf kill quota to zero until the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) complies with its own rules, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. Continue reading

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‘Long Overdue’: EPA Bans All Food Uses of Neurotoxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

“Finally, our fields are made safer for farmworkers and our fruits and vegetables are safer for our children.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-18-2021

Photo: ConsumerNotice

Public health experts and labor rights advocates celebrated Wednesday after the Biden administration announced that it “will stop the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food to better protect human health, particularly that of children and farmworkers,” following decades of demands for government intervention spurred by safety concerns.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule on chlorpyrifos days before a court-ordered deadline stemming from legal action by advocacy groups that have long sought a ban on the pesticide, which is tied to permanent brain damage in children. Continue reading

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In ‘Critical Step’ for Climate, Biden to Restore Protections for Tongass National Forest

“The Tongass is not only one of the few truly wild places left on the planet, it is vital to our path forward as we deal with climate change,” said the Alaska-based group SalmonState.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2021

Hikers walk through the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. (Photo: U.S. Forest Service/Flickr/cc)

Conservation and climate action groups on Thursday applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement of far-reaching new protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest as well as a restoration of a key rule that former President Donald Trump rescinded three months before leaving office in a bid to open millions of acres to industrial logging.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the administration would put back in place the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, also known as the Roadless Rule, which Trump exempted Alaska from in a move that outraged Indigenous communities in the region as well as environmental advocates. Continue reading

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‘Horrible and Unconscionable Betrayal’: Biden DOJ Backs Trump Line 3 Approval

“You are siding with a handful of corrupt corporate elites over honoring treaty rights, climate, water, and the future of life on Earth.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-24-2021

Photo: MN350/Facebook

Indigenous and environmental activists fighting against the Line 3 tar sands pipeline were outraged Thursday after the Biden administration filed a legal brief backing the federal government’s 2020 approval of the project under former President Donald Trump.

Critics of the project—which Canadian energy giant Enbridge has undertaken to replace an aging oil pipeline—blasted the U.S. Department of Justice’s late Wednesday filing (pdf) as a betrayal of President Joe Biden’s pledges to address the climate emergency and respect tribal rights. Continue reading

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Conservationists Applaud Biden Plan to Reverse Trump Attack on Tongass National Forest

“Even if you live thousands of miles from the Tongass National Forest, you still benefit from its unique ability to fight climate change,” said Earthjustice.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-11-2021

Tongass National Forest. Photo: Jeff’s Canon/flickr/CC

Indigenous rights and climate action groups on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s announcement that the Department of Agriculture will “repeal or replace” former President Donald Trump’s assault on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, in which a 20-year-old rule protecting wild lands was revoked three months before Trump left office.

Trump’s rollback of the 2001 Roadless Rule was made final last October and sparked fury among conservation groups including Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which noted that the protection of the Tongass National Forest is vital for biodiversity as well as absorbing carbon emissions. Continue reading

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‘Huge Victory’: Federal Appeals Court Orders EPA to Ban All Food Uses of Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

“EPA’s time is now up,” said the environmental law firm Earthjustice, which sued the agency on behalf of labor and public health groups.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-29-2021

Agricultural workers in a filel outside La Conner, Washington. Photo: Library of Congress

The environmental law organization Earthjustice celebrated a “huge victory” for farmworkers and children on Thursday after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban all food uses of a toxic pesticide linked to memory loss and developmental harms.

The EPA was given 60 days (pdf) to revoke all food uses of chlorpyrifos and retain only those that are found to have no effects on people’s health. Continue reading

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Federal Court Ends Trump Effort to Open 128 Million Acres of Atlantic, Arctic Oceans to Drilling

“As the Biden administration considers its next steps, it should build on these foundations, end fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters, and embrace a clean energy future.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-14-2021

A Shell drilling vessel drifted aground off Sitkalidak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. (Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis/U.S. Coast Guard)

A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt the final blow to former President Donald Trump’s attempt to open nearly 130 million acres of territory in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to oil and gas drilling.

In April of 2017, Trump signed an executive order aiming to undo an Obama-era ban on fossil fuel exploration in that territory, but a federal judge in Alaska ruled the move unlawful in 2019. Continue reading

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As Biden Ramps Up Detention Capacity, Group Warns Contaminated Military Bases ‘Are No Place’ for Kids

“Immigrant children under the care of the federal government should not be in cages, let alone toxic sites in military bases,” an Earthjustice attorney said.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-2-2021

Photo: Jerry Dunleavy/Twitter

In a move that was condemned by environmental justice advocates on Friday, President Joe Biden’s administration earlier this week sent 500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors to Fort Bliss—a highly contaminated and potentially hazardous military base in El Paso, Texas—and is reportedly considering using additional toxic military sites as detention centers for migrant children in U.S. custody.

“We are extremely concerned to hear of plans to detain immigrant children in Fort Bliss. Military bases filled with contaminated sites are no place for the healthy development of any child,” Melissa Legge, an attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement. Continue reading

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