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Phosphate Mining Should Report Its Toxic Releases

By Bonnie Gestring

October 11, 2011

Good news. The EPA is considering adding phosphate mines to the list of industries that must report the amount of toxic pollution they release into air, water and land. What? They don’t do this already? No. And, they should.

Phosphate mines are responsible for large releases of selenium, which is harmful to wildlife, livestock, fisheries, and public health.

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Tagged with: epa, toxic release inventory, phosphate mining, idaho, selenium


Senator Tom Udall explores legacy uranium mining on Navajo lands

By Aaron Mintzes

October 7, 2011

Yesterday I attended a hearing of the Senate's Environment and Public Works subcommittee on Children's Health and Environmental Responsibility. The topic concerned the federal government's work cleaning up the contamination from legacy uranium mining and milling operations. The uranium legacy sites are a lasting reminder of our nation's Cold War efforts to build atomic weapons stockpiles in our arms race against the Soviet Union.

Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM) recalled during his opening statement the tragedy from the Church Rock uranium mill spill in 1979 when a tailings pond breached its dam spilling 1100 tons of radioactive mill waste and 93 million gallons of mine effluent in to the Puerco River. I had never heard of this event. I knew about Three Mile Island that happened the same year. I even remember Chernobyl. But Church Rock, second only to Chernobyl in terms of magnitude, occurred on Navajo lands and has never received the publicity of those other events.

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Tagged with: uranium, navajo, in situ leaching, environment and public works, tom udall, uranium resources stewardship act


Coalition Calls for End to $122 billion in Handouts to Fossil Fuels

By Jennifer Krill

October 5, 2011

Leaders of 52 national and state organizations, including Earthworks, are demanding that the so-called Super Congress make elimination of government handouts to the oil, coal and gas industries a central part of the deficit reduction plan the panel is to present to the full Congress next month.

Eliminating subsidies to the fossil fuels industry could reduce the national debt by $122 billion over ten years while bettering the environment and public health for America’s families, the groups asserted:

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Tagged with: subsidies, dirty energy, fossil fuels


Setting the Wall Street Journal straight about mining around the Grand Canyon

By Lauren Pagel

October 5, 2011

Last month, the Wall Street Journal editorialized in favor of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon, criticizing the Obama administration for favoring a 20-year withdrawal that would put some of the forests around the Canyon off limits to mineral development.

The editors fell blindly into the false choice of jobs versus the environment, and grossly understated the potential impacts 30 uranium mines could have on such a sensitive ecosystem.

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Tagged with: uranium mining, grand canyon, interior department, ken salazar, withdrawal, wall street journal


Earthworks comments at EPA’s fracking air pollution public hearing in Denver

By Bruce Baizel

September 28, 2011

NOTE: these comments were submitted before the EPA public hearing on hydraulic fracturing air pollution regulation in Denver on September 28th

My name is Bruce Baizel. I am Staff Attorney for Earthworks, a nonprofit organization that works with communities to reduce the impacts from mining and energy extraction. Our organization has worked on oil and gas issues for more than two decades and specifically on the issue of hydraulic fracturing for more than a decade.

I appreciate the opportunity to provide oral comment to you this morning. We have thousands of members throughout the Rocky Mountain states, in Texas and in the Marcellus shale region.

Many of our members are impacted by the currently unregulated emissions from oil and gas operations throughout those states.

So this proposed regulation providing a new source performance standard for Volatile Organic Compounds; a new source performance standard for sulfur dioxide; an air toxics standard for oil and natural gas production; and an air toxics standard for natural gas transmission and storage is of great importance to our members.

Overall, we strongly support the draft rule as a significant first step in addressing emissions from upstream oil and gas operations.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, hydraulic fracturing, regulation, air pollution, denver


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