August 26, 2011
Lately, those of us who are news and political junkies have been preoccupied with the debate in Washington, D.C. over raising the debt ceiling.
After all the hue and cry, legislators agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for the creation of a super committee that is tasked with reviewing mandatory and discretionary spending as well as potential revenue sources with an eye toward solving our long term debt and deficit problems.
To this end, our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Heartland Institute, Friends of the Earth, and Public Citizen today issued their annual Green Scissors report. Turns out, marrying environmental sustainability and fiscal responsibility is remarkably easy.
I just joined Earthworks a couple weeks ago and I was blown away with all the hand outs, subsidies, tax expenditures, tax breaks, federal loan guarantees, and other mechanisms funded by the public to support polluting industries. Among the worst offenders is the 1872 Mining Law that allows extraction companies to mine our precious metals on public lands for free.
By Nick Magel
August 20, 2011
Today, August 20, groups in Brazil are staging a massive day of action against the proposed Belo Monte Dam in over 20 cities across Brazil. Groups such as Amazon Watch and others around the world are coordinating an international solidarity day of action on August 22 outside Brazilian embassies around the world. If built, the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River would be the 3rd largest dam in the world. The project would flood 668 km2 of forest and arable land, and displace over 20,000 people. Another, less talked about piece of this project is its connection to massive mining projects in the Amazon region.
By Nick Magel
August 12, 2011
Last week the International Financial Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, updated its Sustainability Framework and the Performance Standards within that framework.
The IFC is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity financing for private sector projects in the developing world. The Sustainability Framework sets forth a number of baseline performance standards that projects they fund (oil, gas, mining, etc) must adhere to in able to receive funding.
Now, these 8 standards leave a lot to be desired, they:
- are weak in environmental and biodiversity protection,
- lack comprehensive safeguards of human rights, and
- are written with an ambiguity that is often exploitable by companies looking to cut corners.
You can go to the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman website to see a long list of officially disputed IFC backed projects.
By Lauren Pagel
August 11, 2011
Frankly, it s better than we expected. Given the lack of community representation amongst the panel, we were concerned that the panel would ignore the obvious negative impacts of natural gas in favor of industry rhetoric.
Instead, the panel recognized the serious impacts that shale gas production has on water, air and public health.
We hope that this report is a wake up call to the Obama administration, and that they begin to pay attention to both the panel recommendations and the recent history of inadequate state attempts to regulate natural gas production. This report should serve as a blueprint for responsible oversight of shale gas drilling.
Three of the most important recommendations of the interim report:
By Nick Magel
August 9, 2011
Four new jewelry retailers have announced their decision to shun irresponsibly mined gold and seek cleaner sources of gold and precious metals.
Brilliance Jewelry, Since1910.com, Jon R. Fox Jewellers, and Do Amore Jewelery, joined the other 77 jewelry companies and retailers in signing the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules for responsible sourcing of precious metals.
The list of Golden Rules signatories now includes more than 80 jewelry retailers representing over $14 billion in annual US jewelry sales, or nearly a quarter of total sales.
"The world is a different place then it was when we were founded in 1910. It is the responsibility of all of us to see that it remains a clean and humane environment for future generations." -- Michael Gross, President of Since1910.com.