By Bruce Baizel
September 9, 2014
On the day of the harvest moon, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper late yesterday evening released the names and the general mandate for his “blue ribbon” commission on oil and gas drilling. Formed to avoid ballot issues this fall that would have allowed communities to determine if, and how, they would host oil and gas operations, the commission is formally tasked with addressing the siting of oil and gas facilities so as “to ensure that Colorado’s economy and environment remain healthy and robust.” Hardly a mandate to inspire, it represents the continuation of the state and fossil fuel industry collaboration that has brought us to the current state of political affairs.
September 2, 2014
It took a reporter’s tenacious investigation, a public outcry, and continual requests by Earthworks, our partners, and many others, but the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finally revealed the magic number. Late last week, the agency released a list of 248 cases of private water well contamination confirmed to be the result of oil and gas drilling since 2007. Pat Klotz from Bradford County isn’t on the list. But as Earthworks’ latest case study reveals, there’s reason to think she should have been.
August 27, 2014
Mexico has been hit hard these past few weeks with two separate mine waste spills. One was a toxic mine spill that occurred two weeks ago in the state of Sonora, which I blogged about previously. Here, 10 million gallons of sulfuric acid spilled from the Buenavista copper mine, contaminating two rivers and leaving thousands of people without access to water. Reports also found fish kills and cattle who drank the water dead. Just a week after, a tailings spill contaminated a river in Durango.
August 25, 2014
Last week I travelled to Albuquerque to attend an EPA-hosted national technical conference on “Mining Influenced Waters” – a toned-down phrase that describes water pollution caused by mining. The cases laid out were all severe enough to warrant multi-million dollar remedial actions and treatment operations, and at most of these sites, someone will be footing the bill forever.
That’s right. A growing number of mine sites discharge such severely polluted water that they will require water treatment for hundreds to thousands of years, or “in perpetuity” to meet water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life. Earthworks released a report in 2013 that documents this escalating national dilemma.
August 25, 2014