By Gwen Lachelt
July 1, 2011
Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) cheers the activists who spoke out yesterday challenging the STRONGER review of Colorado s hydraulic fracturing rules. Citizen engagement of all types will only improve the process.
STRONGER (State Review of Oil and Gas Environmental Regulations) was created by federal agencies to review and validate state regulations as a means to fill the void left by oil & gas industry-won loopholes in federal environmental law. It should not exist. For decades, we have worked to close the loopholes that created it. And, in the absence of strong federal oversight, we continue to work diligently at state and local levels to enact strong safeguards because federal regulations continue to fall short.
Earthworks participates Wilma Subra, our board member and Bruce Baizel, our senior staff attorney in STRONGER because we work through all available avenues to protect communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mining, digging and drilling. STRONGER is an imperfect process in need of improvement. But it will exist with our participation or not. Without our presence, communities would have little or no voice at all.
Earthworks OGAP believes that hydraulic fracturing should only be permitted if it can be done safely. Whether that is possible remains an open question and will remain so as long as industry and its allies stonewall those who wish to answer it.
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By Nick Magel
June 30, 2011
Costco's public face on Facebook is taking a beating this week. Customers are fed up with Costco's inability to sign on to the No Dirty Gold Campaign s Golden Rules .
Why isn't Costco supporting clean gold? We don't know. We assume it isn't because they don't care about children working in mines or cyanide spills poisoning communities' drinking water. Maybe it is because they think their customers don't care. Well they are showing them this week that that is the furthest from the truth.
By Nick Magel
June 29, 2011
8pm Monday, as every Monday, saw Channel 4 broadcast its programme Dispatches . Only this week, it was called The Real Price of Gold and looked at where the gold for jewellery comes from.
Presenter and businesswoman Deidre Bounds was shown visiting a number of high street jewellery retailers encountering a storm of confusing and inaccurate sales patter from staff at high street jewellery stores about where their gold comes from.
Next we saw her travel to Honduras and Senegal to witness the process of how gold is mined. Footage showed a 14 year old boy in Senegal, working in an illegal mine, and handling toxic mercury with his bare hands. Then we saw children suffering health effects, which villagers near the Goldcorps mine in the Siria Valley in Honduras, link to mining. Here, a 14 year old boy was shown with headaches, sores on his skin, and hair loss. Tests found that he had more than double the safe limit of lead in his blood.
So what about the solutions? The programme highlighted Fairtade and Fairmined Gold where workers have safer working conditions and are guaranteed a fair wage. But at present just some 20 designer makers have access to this gold.
By Alan Septoff
June 24, 2011
Earthworks is part of the Clean Water Not Dirty Drilling coalition that works to protect New York's water from irresponsible drilling.
Recently, a few famous New Yorkers got together to help out.
Zo Saldana, Nadia Dajani, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Charles, Ethan Hawke and Amy Ryan made this spot to encourage New Yorkers to speak out against dirty drilling -- and for the water upon which tens of millions of people rely.
After you watch the video, head on over to Clean Water Not Dirty Drilling to spread the word.
By Lauren Pagel
June 22, 2011
Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a bill that would shift regulatory powers over water and wetlands from U.S. EPA to the states. Among the legislation's provisions is a clause to limit EPA's ability to veto Clean Water Act permits for mining proposals that would have unacceptable adverse effect on water. States would have to approve the move before any such veto could take effect.
HR 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, could have a serious impact on water quality throughout this country. Nowhere would that impact be felt more than in Alaska s Bristol Bay, where the proposed Pebble Mine threatens to destroy the world s largest sockeye salmon fishery. And with it, the livelihoods of the commercial fisherman, sport fisherman and native communities who rely on area waters to live.