By Lauren Pagel
August 5, 2011
This week, Congress adjourned for their month long August recess without voting on the Interior and Environment appropriations bill that included dozens of anti-environmental amendments. These amendments threatened wild lands, clean air, clean water and public health. Many of you spoke out against this unprecedented assault, and for that I thank you.
Unfortunately, the fight is not over. When Congress returns in the fall, they will once again turn to the appropriations process and the anti-environmental riders that now seem to always go along with that process.
August 3, 2011
Although Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll has repeatedly promised that the company wouldn't go forward with the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay if local communities don't support the mine, the company is suing to prevent local Alaskans from voting on a ballot initiative in October about whether they want the mine. (See the ad from Alaska natives urging her to keep her promise.)
The ballot measure, if approved, would prevent the planning commission from issuing a development permit to any large resource extraction activity that would have a significant adverse impact on salmon-producing streams. Ironically, Cynthia Carroll has also promised that the mine wouldn't go forward if it would harm salmon.
The issue is of international significance. The massive mine is proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in the Bristol Bay Fishery Reserve - home to the world's largest and most valuable wild salmon fishery, which produces roughly 50% of the world's commercial supply of wild salmon. A recent peer reviewed risk assessment found concluded that the risks to wild salmon populations from such mining are very high, and that it is cause for significant concern regarding the long- term abundance and sustainability of salmon in the region.
August 3, 2011
Yesterday, just before I left to speak at the Dallas Drilling Task Force public meeting, I received an email from the ABCAlliance. The contents of that email changed what I planned to say to the task force.
Here's what I said: I am Sharon Wilson. I live at XXX. I lived for sixteen years in Wise County where fracking the Barnett Shale was born. I worked in the oil and gas industry for twelve years. I now work for EARTHWORKS' Oil and Gas Accountability Project. I work with the people who are impacted by natural gas extraction.
How many of you have read Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety? [Shockingly, not many hands went up and my question was met with looks of bewilderment.] I hope all of you will read it because it documents what has happened to families and communities in the Barnett Shale. It includes letters of concern from scientists, doctors and toxicologists.
I planned to tell you some stories from Flowback. But just I received an email that changed my plan. I receive emails like this all the time. Here is What Happened Today in Argyle, Texas.
From the email:
August 3, 2011
American Rivers has designated the Susquehanna River the nation s most endangered river, primarily because of water withdrawals and pollution from gas development. In July, water levels in the river dropped so low that the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) had to suspend all withdrawal permits.
Yet the SRBC continues to move in the wrong direction, continually making it easier for gas companies to get permits and opening the door to more drilling despite all the pollution and violations caused by the gas industry. The Commission s recently proposed rules on water use, re-use, and well permits are unfortunately no different.
Now residents and concerned citizens (especially in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, across which the Susquehanna flows) have a chance to tell the commissioners that their job is to protect the Susquehanna and the millions of people who rely on the river for drinking water, farming, tourism, and recreation not to make things more convenient for the gas industry.
By Gwen Lachelt
August 2, 2011
Yellowstone River disaster: Montana groups call for greater oversight of oil pipelines
One month after the ExxonMobil pipeline disaster, which spilled over 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, the Billings Oil Spill Conservation Community (see list of organizations below) released a joint statement calling for greater oversight of oil pipelines and urging citizens to hold ExxonMobil accountable for the cleanup.
Please take a moment to add your voice to this important effort:
From the joint statement:
Call on ExxonMobil (888.382.0043) to clean up their pollution and cover all damages and clean up expenses, including those incurred by the State of Montana and the Environmental Protection Agency.
We also want all existing pipelines in the state re-examined for safety issues. And, of course, we are especially adamant that a State Department decision on TransCanada s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline across eastern Montana not be rushed, as Congress is attempting to do. This pipeline, which will carry 20 times as much oil as the Exxon Silvertip, must not put at risk Montana land and rivers. - Mary Fitzpatrick, community leader, Billings, Montana.