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Indigenous communities fight to save Lake Titicaca from silver mine.

By Nick Magel

June 1, 2011

Costco

UPDATE 2: The Government of Peru announced today that Bear Creek's proposed Santa Ana silver mine, 40 km from the shores of Lake Titicaca, will be postponed for 1 year. This serves as a promising development for the communities fighting the mine. However, the postponement falls far short of their demands for a complete cancellation of the mine.

UPDATE: Yesterday communities in and around Puno have agreed to a truce, lifting blockades, in order to allow Presidential voting in the region. Peruvians are heading to the polls this Sunday to vote in a run-off election between Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala. The Puno region is seen as a Humala stronghold. The pause in the strike is set to expire Tuesday June 7th. Thereafter, according to leader of the protests Walter Aduviri, farmers associations from Cusco and Arequipa regions will be joining in the call for a permanent end to mining in the fragile region.

Reports of over 10,000 people taking to the streets of Puno chanting "Mina no, agro si", as Indigenous communities block the Peru-Bolivia boarder, has caught the international media s attention today. For weeks protests, led by Aymara communities, have grown in fierce opposition to a newly approved silver mine near Lake Titicaca. The mining company, Bear Creek of Canada, is poised to begin construction of a silver mine near the shores of Lake Titicaca within months. Local communities say the silver mine threatens their farms, their children, and their water. With Peru s history of mining pollution the concerns are no doubt substantiated. 

Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America, is a booming tourist region that has developed into a prime example of community-supported tourism. The region is a model for developing a sustainable economy rather than a temporary economy promised by oil and mining projects. Puno s main industry is tourism. A silver mine in the backyard of this community, and on the shores of one of Peru s natural wonders, is sure to be a blow to the region s tourism economy. It sounds eerily familiar to a proposed uranium mine outside of the Grand Canyon, and paints a grim picture to mining companies inability to respect nature and communities alike.

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Tagged with: mining, peru, indigenous, protest, latin america, silver


Frac Out of Focus: Industry and the slippery slope of voluntary disclosure

By Gwen Lachelt

May 26, 2011

The oil and gas industry s latest attempt to dodge the disclosure bullet is through a website named Frac Focus. The website, launched last month, states that already 42 companies are participating in an effort to provide the public with objective information on hydraulic fracturing, the chemicals used, the purposes they serve and the means by which groundwater is protected. While there is plenty of information on fracturing, the website falls short on the very issue of disclosure, of all things.

Frac Focus is voluntary, not mandatory, and simply maintains the status quo: companies can hide the chemicals used in their proprietary blends or secret fracking recipes under Trade Secret provisions.

In December 2003, a few months before the first, and highly controversial, EPA study on fracking was released, three companies signed a voluntary agreement with the EPA to stop using diesel fuel in coalbed methane gas wells. A Congressional investigation released this February has revealed that 32 million gallons of diesel fuel were used to frack wells in 19 states between 2005 and 2009.

That voluntary agreement was simply an attempt to throw the public a bone before the 2004 EPA study was released stating that fracking posed little to no risk to the environment. Today, we get a new version of an old trick. Frac Focus is another attempt to sidestep full disclosure and thwart passage of the federal FRAC Act which proposes to repeal the exemption of hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require the full public disclosure of the chemical constituents used drilling operations.

Full disclosure, no exemptions.

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Tagged with: fracking, drilling, natural gas, disclosure, clean water not dirty drilling


No Dirty Gold activists hammer Costco s Facebook page

By Nick Magel

May 25, 2011

Costco

On May 16, Change.org, in support of EARTHWORKS No Dirty Gold Campaign, released a multipronged social media action against Costco. Change.org redeveloped an online petition calling for Costco to sign onto the Golden Rules principles that has since garnered over 27,000 signatures. Accompanying the morning s petition blitz was a creative bomb of Costco s Facebook page, where responsible gold mining activists changed their profile pictures in order to spell out No Dirty Gold on Costco s Facebook homepage.

 

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No Dirty Gold activists hammer Costco s Facebook page

By Nick Magel

May 25, 2011

On May 16, Change.org, in support of EARTHWORKS No Dirty Gold Campaign, released a multipronged social media action against Costco. Change.org redeveloped an online petition calling for Costco to sign onto the Golden Rules principles that has since garnered over 27,000 signatures. Accompanying the morning s petition blitz was a creative bomb of Costco s Facebook page, where responsible gold mining activists changed their profile pictures in order to spell out No Dirty Gold on Costco s Facebook homepage.

 

Costco often uses social media like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with its customers. This social medium is one of Costo s most public faces. Likewise, Costco customers actively use Costco s Facebook page to interact with the company they shop with. As Costco s customers visited the company s Facebook page that morning, many began to ask questions about all the No Dirty Gold messages that kept popping up. What s with all these gold posts? and why is Costco buying dirty gold? were some of the common questions that everyday shoppers began to ask the company. We hope Costco will answer their customers questions by signing on to the Golden Rules.

 

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Investors Take Action for Oil and Gas Accountability

By Jennifer Krill

May 23, 2011

The activists' rite of spring has arrived, this year with a new crop of shareholder resolutions looking to reform the oil and gas industry. In 2011 investor-owned oil and gas companies are considering a series of proposals calling for greater transparency and disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

Shareholders have filed resolutions to address fracking at 9 companies total: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Ultra Petroleum, El Paso, Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwestern Energy, Energen, Anadarko and Carrizo Oil & Gas. "Oil and gas firms are being too vague about how they will manage the environmental challenges resulting from fracking," said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a January press release. DiNapoli's office filed a resolution with Cabot Oil & Gas asking for a specific plan to reduce or eliminate hazards from fracking. This week, shareholder advocacy group As You Sow will be moving resolutions at ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Ultra Petroleum.

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Tagged with: fracking, drilling, natural gas, activism, investor


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