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PBS reminds us: the price of hydraulic fracturing [VIDEO]

By Alan Septoff

February 22, 2011

PBS updates the report they published last year with ProPublica:

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, pbs


Hollywood comes to Washington to talk fracking

By Lauren Pagel

February 18, 2011

Today, Oscar nominees Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo were on Capitol Hill to talk to members of Congress about the destructive impacts of natural gas drilling.

Mark Ruffalo, Josh Fox, Maurice Hinchey speaking before the Capitol dome

Both live in the Catskills region of New York/Pennsylvania, where gas drilling in the Marcellus shale has sparked a huge controversy and left some communities, like Dimock, PA, permanently scarred.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, gasland, hinchey, holt, polis, josh fox, mark ruffalo


First ever federal oversight of mercury air pollution from gold mining

By Bonnie Gestring

February 18, 2011

Today, at long last, the first ever federal regulations go into effect that create emission limits for mercury air pollution from gold mining.

Bass FishingWe became aware of the need for these regulations thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory, which requires large polluters to publicly and annually report their pollution.

When the issue was initially identified in 1998, gold mining was the 2nd largest mercury air polluter after coal power plants. (Metal mining was and still is the largest total mercury polluter -- by far -- when you count land and water releases in addition to air.)

This is an important issue because mercury air pollution is very toxic. Children of women exposed to relatively high levels of methylmercury during pregnancy show delayed onset of walking and talking, reduced neurological test scores, and delays and deficits in learning ability.

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Tagged with: epa, regulation, mercury, tri, donlin creek


Obama administration aims to end sweetheart deal for mining industry

By Lauren Pagel

February 14, 2011

Released today, the FY 2012 Obama administration budget endeavors to end the taxpayer boondoggle known as federal hardrock mining policy. On behalf of Earthworks and all of the communities we work with in hardrock mining country, I d like to thank the President Obama for taking on this industry that has taken advantage of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law for far too long. The 1872 Mining Law, which lacks both royalties and protections for communities and precious western water resources, has left this country with at least $50 billion dollars in unreclaimed mine sites with no industry contribution to help deal with the problem.

The Obama administration proposes two things that would change the way that mining operates on public lands. Both of these changes would move us a step closer to cleaning up the mess that has been created by the current mining law.

First, the administration proposes a reclamation fee on the production of hardrock minerals based on the volume of material mined. This money would then be distributed through a competitive grant program to states where remediation is needed. This $200 million a year would go a long way in addressing the serious safety and water quality issues at many abandoned mine sites throughout the West.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, obama, royalties, leasing, president obama, department of interior, hardrock minerals


Certified "Fairtrade" gold -- what is it really?

By Scott Cardiff

February 11, 2011

On Wednesday, UK jewelers announced the launch of "Fairtrade" gold jewelry.  Some jewelers have already been using gold from these same Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) mines, but two of the mines have recently been certified "Fairtrade."  What are these mines, and what does "Fairtrade gold" mean?

The mines, one in Colombia and one in Bolivia, demonstrate both the potential benefits and the problems of the Alliance for Responsible Mining/Fairtrade Labeling Organization certification standards for "Fairtrade" and "Fairmined."  The mining and certification may well benefit the communities on the short-term, and the Colombian Oro Verde mine does not use mercury or cyanide. On the other hand, reclamation and restoration standards are poorly defined at both mines, and the Bolivian mine allows mercury use and is located in a National Park. The Colombian mine is in the Choc , a department that has experienced significant armed conflict.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, mercury, colombia, asm, fairtrade, arm, bolivia


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@FrenkilEnergy Including external costs? I haven't looked at them, but today's true marginal cost of any carbon based fuel is astronomical
@FrenkilEnergy Like, say, transmission capacity for wind in the Dakotas.

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