Discharges from irrigated agriculture are the largest source of pollutionin California’s Central Valley. Water diversions for irrigated agriculture pose significant environmental challenges by diminishing instream flows and depleting aquifers throughout the state. Agricultural operations also pose a significant threat to water quality when nitrates, pesticides, sediment, pathogens, heavy metals, and salts run off fields into surface and groundwater. Farming right up to the riverbank by intensive farming operations has also led to the destruction of natural riparian zones through increased erosion, nutrient and sediment pollution, higher water temperatures, and degraded aquatic habitats.
Despite native corn’s enormous importance, in 2009 the Mexican government began granting permits to multinational corporations to cultivate genetically modified corn. Environmental, health, and social justice advocates denounced the move. In 2013, a diverse coalition made up of fifty-three individuals and non-governmental organizations representing scientists, small farmers, beekeepers, consumers, and human rights activists banded together to file an innovative class action lawsuit to halt further genetically modified corn cultivation.
The Impact Fund is thrilled to announce that the application process for grants for strategic litigation under our Clean Water Projectis now open!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
The people of Grassy Narrows have sustained themselves for thousands of years on their traditional territory – 2,500 square miles of forest, lakes and rivers. These indigenous people are no strangers to environmental injustice. Between 1962 and 1970 the rivers and lakes they depend on for their sustenance and livelihood were poisoned by the Reed International Paper Mill. In spite of assurances that the logging and associated activities were safe, twenty tons of mercury was dumped into the river. So, when the people of Grassy Narrows learned that the Ontario government was planning to give the go ahead to resume clear cut logging, there was astonishment...
Flint, Baltimore, Philadelphia ... Churchrock? The list of communities facing drinking water crises is ever growing, but some communities don’t get mentioned in the media or the halls of power. When the Flint water crisis made national headlines, Americans were shocked that any community's drinking water could be sacrificed just to save a few bucks. But contaminated water is a fact of life for many communities impacted by this nation's fetishistic fascination with atomic power.
The Navajo (or "Diné" in their native language) village of Churchrock straddles a dusty arroyo called the Puerco River in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. This inauspicious village is ground zero in the fight to prevent uranium mining from doing further damage to the land and its people. To fully understand the current fight, one must look to history first.
Have you been infuriated by your State’s failure to limit toxic pollution from mines and other industries? If so, here’s how you can have your say and stand up for environmental justice.
Current federal regulations have a huge loophole right in the middle of the Clean Water Act permitting program.
Matheny Tract residents first received notice in 2006 that their drinking water, provided to them by Pratt Mutual Water Company, was contaminated with an excessive amount of arsenic. Pratt Mutual’s distribution system was deteriorating, and residents were clearly paying the price. Matheny Tract is a small, unincorporated community made up of 1,200 residents. The majority of the population is Latino, and almost a third of the residents live below the federal poverty line. Since the community is unincorporated, residents can’t vote in city elections and don’t have access to municipal services.
A coalition of environmental advocates and community members join together to protect green space and support a long-ignored urban community.
Like so much public interest litigation, this is a case that never should have ended up in court.