By Nick Magel
July 27, 2011
You may or may not know Tim DeChristopher s story, but you should, whether you agree with it or not.
Yesterday Tim DeChristopher was sentenced 2 years in federal prison for taking action that protected some of America s great wild places and made the oil and gas industry furious. Unfortunately this act came at a great personal sacrifice for Tim. See, Tim didn t accomplish this by lobbying his congressional representatives or posting on his Facebook. There wasn t time for that. Tim saw a critical moment that demanded action and took it.
This blog isn t about civil disobedience, its value as a tactic, or its place in any movement. It s about, once again, how one person s action sheds light on the countless individuals standing up for healthy communities, clean environments, and untrampled wilderness. (If you are more interested in the tactics, Bill McKibben wrote a great Op-Ed this past week looking at Tim s tactic of civil disobedience.)
While sitting in class at university Tim caught wind of a massive land auction; one of the last major give-a-ways from the departing Bush Administration. After hearing about it he turned up at the Bush administration's oil and gas leasing auction in Salt Lake. In the moment, while standing at the registration table and feeling the need to do something to shake up the public lands bonanza, he decided to register as a bidder, Bidder #70.
July 26, 2011
After months of meetings, hearings, and fanfare, the issuance of recommendations by Pennsylvania s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission was underwhelming in its predictability. There was hardly any doubt that the industry-packed Commission would seek to boost drilling s prospects and quell calls for greater protection of health and the environment.
Yet it s hard to not be disappointed anyway, as the Campaign for Clean Water expressed clearly in a press release and press conference yesterday outside Governor Corbett s office. While some improvements on the regulatory front were made, the Commission s ideas pale in comparison to the truly protective recommendations put forth last week by the coalition.
July 25, 2011
It s a victory for Montana s Rock Creek and threatened native bull trout. Last week, the State District Court blocked a permit for the proposed Rock Creek mine, a copper silver mine which plans to tunnel under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana.
Earthworks and our co-plaintiffs, the Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance and Trout Unlimited, challenged the permit because it ignored the huge amount of sediment the mine would dump into Rock Creek, an important stronghold for threatened bull trout. Permitting studies for the mine showed the construction would cause a 38% increase in sediment pollution to Rock Creek, where existing sediment levels are already so high that any increase would impair bull trout spawning.
Biologists for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have identified Rock Creek as a crucial tributary for the recovery of bull trout in the lower Clark Fork River. We re heartened that the judge recognized Rock Creek as an area of "unique ecological significance" under Montana law.
Here s the story in the Missoulian
By Alan Septoff
July 25, 2011
energyNOW!, a news service focusing on energy, has put out a good, balanced piece titled "The Promise and Problems of Shale Gas".
One of the key quotes from Professor Tony Ingraffea indicates why drilling is simply not safe:
"The studies haven't been done to allow a potential landowner who wants to lease his land to answer the following question: am I hurting my family's health or my neighbor's health by doing this? They don't know how to answer that question. They can't answer that question."
July 24, 2011
I drove to the Haynesville Shale last Tuesday, to the Church of the Living God where the EPA was holding a community meeting. The residents in this area on the Texas-Louisiana border are still, after more than two decades, trying to get one simple thing: safe drinking water.
I first met David Hudson in 2006, not long after, "What Lies Beneath," a story by Rusty Middleton about water contamination in DeBerry, Texas from oil field disposal wells appeared in the Texas Observer. Hudson was already a veteran in dealing with contaminated water.