By Alan Septoff
June 20, 2011
Wrongheaded interpretations of two confusing U.S. Supreme Court cases have put more than 20 million acres of wetlands and almost 60 percent of our streams at risk of losing Clean Water Act protections.
The EPA estimates that more than 117 million Americans' drinking water is supplied in whole or part by waters vulnerable to pollution thanks to the current confusion.
To fix things, the Environmental Protection Agency is clarifying which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act.
The new guidelines would reaffirm protection for critical waters -- including wetlands, and smaller streams, including those that flow part of the year.
Protecting wetlands and small streams is important for fish and wildlife habitat, reducing the frequency and intensity of floods, filtering pollutants, as well as supplying drinking waters to American families.
By Nick Magel
June 16, 2011
Sad and sobering news out of El Salvador today. Juan Francisco Duran Ayala a student activist involved in anti-mining campaigns in his community was found dead, having been shot twice execution style in the head. Ayala had been missing since June 3rd. Friends and neighbors said the last time he was seen was while he was posting up anti-mining posters in opposition of Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Corporation s El Dorado gold mine in Caba as.
Pacific Rim has been embattled in a legal fight with the El Salvadorian government over the necessary environmental permits to continue their El Dorado mining operations. In fact, Pacific Rim has sued the country for $77 million dollars, claiming their rights under CAFTA have been broken. It s no wonder Pacific Rim is putting up such a fight with local communities and the federal government. Pacific Rim stands to make over $191 million in just 6 years.
By Lauren Pagel
June 16, 2011
Last month, seven individuals affected by past and present uranium mining came to Washington, DC to talk to House Representatives and Senators about the major issues affecting their communities. The group was made up of individuals from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
Forty-five meetings with staffers, Congressmen, and Senators were arranged to discuss uranium mining issues and specifically HR 1452, The Uranium Resources Stewardship Act (URSA).
June 16, 2011
With Pennsylvania s Marcellus Shale train rushing down the tracks nearly 3,100 wells drilled, two-thirds just since 2010 the present seems like a good time to adopt measures to protect health and the environment.
Yet as legislators drag their feet on regulatory change, another measure is gaining traction: adoption of a severance tax or impact fee. This is critical to ensure that the companies profiting from drilling also pay for the pollution, infrastructure damage, and safety risks that result, rather than continuing to make taxpayers foot the bill. (According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the lack of a severance tax has already cost the state $190 million since late 2009.)
June 14, 2011
Despite my dislike of predawn hours, I met Calvin Tillman, former mayor of Dish, TX, in the parking lot Friday morning and we were loaded and rolling by 6:30 AM, south bound, on the "Dark Side of the Boom" Eagle Ford Shale (EFS) tour. Unfortunately, Tim Ruggiero had to cancel at the last minute.
Just south of Waco the air seemed clearer and air flowed in and out my nose for a change. But that feeling didn't last long. We saw the first man-camps and flares just south of San Antonio and the familiar layer of ground level ozone obscured the far horizon.
Dozens of man-camps dot the sides of the roads. Many of the man-camps use of the same type FEMA trailers that were used after Katrina. What's a little formaldehyde to roughnecks who work with dangerous chemicals all day long?
We rolled into Laredo about 2:30 PM and thanks to Trisha Cortez, Safe Fracking Coalition, found a wonderful place to eat some fresh Tex-Mex. I can't remember the name but the restaurant sits right on the intersection after you take exit 2. It's a fast food place but they make everything fresh including the corn tortillas right there. YUM!
The Town Hall meeting was held at the beautiful UTHSC-SA Laredo extension campus. Featured speakers were Robert Mace, Deputy Executive Administrator, Texas Water Development Board; Gil Bujano, Assistant Director, Railroad Commission of Texas, Calvin Tillman, former Mayor of Dish, and me.