EARTHWORKS

EARTHblog

State of the Union reaction: natural gas is not clean energy

By Lauren Pagel

January 26, 2011

I was heartened by the President s desire to end the massive subsidies we currently dole out to the oil industry, and invest in renewable energy. While we attempt to wean ourselves from all dirty energy sources, we need to end the subsidies, close the loopholes and institute policies that regulates fossil fuels in a way that best protects our communities and water resources.  

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Tagged with: natural gas, climate change, obama, greenhouse gas emissions, subsidies, president obama, state of the union, renewable energy, sotu


Montana Disclosure: Common sense safeguard and critical next step for the Treasure State

By Jennifer Goldman

January 25, 2011

Montanans deserve simply to know what chemicals the oil and gas industry are injecting underground and storing on the surface near our homes and water wells. That is why our Montana lawmakers should move forward to require the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids.

Montana s Senate Bill 86 sponsored by Senator Bob Hawks does just that and will be heard by our Senate Natural Resources Committee on January 21st.

The oil and gas industry often relies on silly technicalities to claim that we have nothing to worry about in regards to fracturing and that toxic chemicals used in the process needn t be disclosed or tracked by the public.

To say that fracturing is not to blame for incidents of water contamination is to rely on distinctions that don t make a difference. Distinctions like: it wasn t the fracturing that poisoned a landowner s water well it was weak gas well casing. Montanans and anyone working on farms or ranches know that almost everything is interrelated and connected. The well casing in an oil or gas well must withstand drilling and high-pressured frack jobs in order to keep the toxics in the pipe. Fracturing fluids are important part of the overall picture when considering the fate of all the toxics used and disposed of during the life of an oil or gas well.

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Tagged with: hydraulic fracturing, disclosure, montana


Budget cuts for everyone: except for mining industry subsidies?

By Lauren Pagel

January 25, 2011

Today, Senator Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Elimination of Double Subsidies for the Hardrock Mining Industry Act, which would save U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating an outrageous tax deduction for the mining industry. In an era of budget cuts and calls for increased fiscal responsibility to reduce the federal deficit, giving double subsidies to exceedingly profitable industries is a move in the wrong direction and Senator Shaheen s legislation would finally end this ridiculous corporate tax break.

When you think of mining in the United States, the last thing you probably think of is the tax code. But, a provision in the tax code accounts for one of the largest subsidies received by the mining industry each year. This subsidy has a name that only the IRS could come up with the Percentage Depletion Allowance.

The Percentage Depletion Allowance, or PDA, permits a mining company to deduct a set percentage amount of its gross annual income when calculating its federal income tax, based on the fact that the value of its assets (the minerals in the ground) decline as mineral production progresses.

The PDA applies nationwide to mining operations on private and public lands, and constitutes an exceptional tax break for U.S. mineral producers beyond those granted to other private industries.

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Tagged with: mining, hardrock mining, subsidies, percentage depletion allowance, senate, pda


GASLAND (now an Oscar nominee), 'proof' and the need for responsible oversight

By Alan Septoff

January 25, 2011

This morning, GASLAND received a much-deserved nomination for Oscar for best documentary.

More than any other single effort, Josh Fox's GASLAND has helped puncture the myth that natural gas is "clean".  This movie makes abundantly clear the human costs of irresponsible drilling by telling the stories of real people who have been harmed by it.

When a multibillion dollar industry has its dirty laundry hung out for everyone to see, it fights back.  And so it has tried to discredit GASLAND as unfounded environmental hysteria. With this Oscar nomination, we can expect these attacks to increase.

Although you can read a blow-by-blow refutation of these attacks by Josh Fox and a panel of experts, one of industry's main claims is [paraphrasing] "we can't know those people were hurt by drilling -- there's no proof that drilling/hydraulic fracturing harmed their, or anyone's, drinking water".

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Tagged with: regulation, gasland, proof


Tell Walmart to stop the greenwash and drop 'Love, Earth' jewelry.

By Alan Septoff

January 21, 2011

We put out an action alert today, urging people to tell Walmart that its 'Love, Earth' is jewelry greenwash

Join EARTHWORKS, Great Basin Resource Watch, and the Western Shoshone Defense Project in calling upon Walmart to suspend its 'Love, Earth' brand of jewelry.

We've taken these steps only after a good piece of investigative journalism confirmed fears that EARTHWORKS and others have had for years:  without independent oversight -- ala FSC-certified wood -- a company's claim of responsibility simply can't be trusted.  Or to phrase it more gently (and famously): "trust but verify".

So, please write a letter to Walmart CEO Mike Duke, and let him know that 'Love, Earth" jewelry is loving of neither the earth nor its workers.

 

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Tagged with: dirty gold, love earth, walmart


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