Jeff Sessions stood behind a podium—the welcoming blue of the Pacific glittering behind him, a gentle breeze ruffling his hair—and vowed to separate children from their parents. Directing his words to families immigrating across the southern border of the United States, he said, “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you.” Separating children from their parents—unless absolutely necessary as in the case of abuse—is an immoral act.
In East Porterville, Tomas Garcia and his family haul water to their home to use for showers, toilets, and dishes. Only bottled water is safe to drink. The stress of the situation strained Mr. Garcia’s high blood pressure and diabetes; others in his community had suicidal thoughts. In Seville, Rebecca Quintana and her family relied on costly bottled water to replace the tap water contaminated by a high level of nitrates until a new well could be installed. The lack of access to clean water takes its daily toll on communities like East Porterville and Seville across the San Joaquin Valley.
For the Native Americans, the presence of a waste dump was deeply violating on a cultural level. They had lived on the land since time immemorial and believed that Ward Valley was the pathway traveled by newly deceased souls to their sacred mountain, Avi, Kwa Ame. Finally, it was home to the sacred desert tortoise.
Over the last 4 years, staff from the Disability Law Center of Utah (DLC) have, under their federal authority, visited individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) living in private institutions, called intermediate care facilities (ICFs). The message was clear: People desperately wanted out.
The new environmental analysis gave the department free rein to spray 79 pesticides anywhere in the state, indefinitely, with no analysis of local health and environmental impacts of the chemical. It also allowed no voice for affected communities regarding treatments that would be carried out in their yards, at public parks and schools, on organic farms, and anywhere else the state deemed necessary. The pesticides to be used are known to cause cancer, birth defects, and neurological damage and to be deadly to bees, fish, and birds.
It is a fact that studies elsewhere have demonstrated these same chemicals can cause an increase in birth defects and neurobehavioral problems. We need to know if these chemicals are making their way into our drinking water, into our bodies, into our unborn babies and into our mother’s breastmilk...
Just imagine what it would be like if you or someone close to you suffers a catastrophic personal injury. Tragic accidents do not discriminate - they can happen to anyone. You’ve been blindsided, and your world may be upside down right now. You’ve filed a lawsuit, but it could be months, sometimes even years, before you see any justice.On top of everything else you are dealing with, you have to find a way to continue providing for yourself and your family during this time.
“People won’t have to beat the odds if we change the odds,” said George A. Jones, CEO of Bread for the City. “Ebony isn’t an isolated case, More than 100,000 D.C. residents live at or below the poverty line. While we have some measure of success providing primary medical care, there is a gap between what we have the capacity to offer now and what we could offer [with access to the surplus].”Through various legal maneuverings, the company has managed to avoid spending a dime.
When I returned to civilian life in 1969, I found Lufkin, Texas, to be much the same. The “White Only” signs might have been gone, but segregation was not.Lufkin Industries was the best paying employer around. It was understood the job assignments were segregated - blacks got mostly unskilled labor assignments under the worst conditions – but it was our best opportunity to support our families. The contrast with the integration efforts in the Marines was difficult to accept. It was rough. After a few months, I was temporarily blinded in a welding accident. My boss didn’t offer any medical attention or even a ride...
The reality is that Big Island Dairy produces local pollution: lots and lots of it. The cows at Big Island Dairy produce a lot more than milk. Due to its size and confinement of animals, the Dairy generates millions of gallons of animal urine and feces that, if not properly handled and treated, become a significant public health and environmental risk.
No one knows those risks better than the community of Ookala, whose residents reside just downhill from the Dairy’s operations.
You need full access to the courts to hold the wealthy and the powerful accountable. That right is being eroded before your very eyes. It must remain available to all of us if we are to continue challenging discrimination in our country and ensuring that ordinary people are not forced into a black box, privatized, justice system designed by and to serve corporate America.
The AAP and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) wrote last month to Scott Pruitt, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describing the dangers of pesticides, and of chlorpyrifos specifically. They stated that they were “deeply alarmed” that Scott Pruitt had overridden the EPA’s own recommendation to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on all food crops. They said that Pruitt’s decision “contradicts the agency’s own science and puts developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women at risk.”
At Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, we've had our share of uphill battles. Fair Shake uses a sliding scale to charge for its services, so many of our clients are of modest means, and they're often facing corporations with a phalanx of lawyers.
It's so easy—clichéd—to lump such matters into another David v. Goliath story. But that reduces these cases to…well, to something other than people. We represent people, not cases. Besides, neither David nor Goliath had to live next to a waste incinerator plant. Others—specifically people in East Liverpool, Ohio—were not so lucky.
One leaves the Garden Island wondering why the people of this breathtakingly beautiful island need to play Russian roulette and hope they don’t become a statistic in a cancer cluster when people in the countries where these companies are headquartered live by the precautionary principle. Switzerland, home of Syngenta, has banned the use of the very chemicals that continue to drench the soil of the Garden island.
President Trump may have stated from his federal perch that the United States has withdrawn from the Paris Accords, but on the domestic stage, our efforts to uphold these goals and regulations are far from undone. It appears that by withdrawing from the Paris Accords, President Trump strengthened the resolve of climate leaders within the United States and weakened his own ability to participate in one of the largest opportunities to create jobs, strengthen the U.S. economy, and ensure the existence of a viable environment.
When Exxon takes state legislators to dinner to lobby against climate change laws, should taxpayers pay for the entrée? When the NRA invites politicians to attend its annual clay pigeon shoot so it can lobby against an assault weapons ban, or when Reynolds Tobacco pays for the attendance of politicians at its Cigar Reception to convince them that tobacco is benign, should the rest of us pay for the ammo, cigars, and resort accommodations?
Moving oil by train means that hazardous oil train routes would cross through eight of the state’s ten largest cities and through the downtowns of many smaller cities and towns. Increased oil train traffic is a threat to all Californians but brings the greatest risk to environmental justice communities: low income communities of color that already live with a disproportionate and elevated health and safety risk from industrial spills, fires and explosions, as well as, chronic, daily air and water pollution.
Anna Jennings, mother of two, was promised that the Essure birth control device was a safe, quick, and easy option for family planning. Sadly, it turned out to be anything but. Thousands of women are now suffering from severe side effects and complications they allege were caused by Essure. These include allergic reactions (to the nickel contained in the Essure coil), chronic pain, excessive bleeding, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a million dollars (or even one-tenth that) to devote to suing anybody. Right now there is no line item in my family’s budget for “lawsuits.” So basically, in a no-class-action future scenario, if I get screwed over by a company or the government, there will be absolutely nothing I can do about it. This would be a huge win for anyone itching to start their own Ponzi scheme, but a terrifying disaster for the rest of us.
Sam Wolson, a photojournalist who was on assignment by the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper at the protest, was clubbed on the head as he knelt to take a photo. Wolson remarked afterward that, “If you can’t have media safely holding all parties accountable, the whole system breaks down.”