EARTHWORKS

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All of America's waters are threatened by oil and gas development

By Gwen Lachelt

May 28, 2010

As the BP oil slick grows in the Gulf of Mexico, and it becomes increasingly likely that the disaster could irreversibly devastate the economy and environment of the Gulf Coast, consider that the oversight of onshore drilling is not appreciably better than offshore if at all.

President Obama has (at least temporarily) reinstated the ban on new offshore drilling.  But he needs to protect our waters onshore as well, and support the FRAC Act.

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Tagged with: hydraulic fracturing, gulf oil spill


Your chance to rein in mining's toxic mercury is coming soon

By Alan Septoff

May 27, 2010

Earlier this week, EPA announced that it will allow the public until June 28th to comment on its proposed rules to reduce toxic mercury emissions from gold mining.

These rules are sorely needed because gold mining is one of the largest polluters of mercury to air -- which ultimately ends up in our rivers and lakes, and the fish we eat. The state of Nevada -- home to the nation's largest concentration of gold mines -- issued its own rules in 1996.  But there are no regulations that apply to mines in other states.  Under the new regulations, the proposed Donlin Mine in Alaska would be able release up to 3,000 pounds of mercury into the air -- an unacceptably high amount.

EARTHWORKS will soon submit our own comments on EPA's proposed rule. We'll also be sending an action alert asking everyone to comment -- and providing guidance on how best to make your voice heard (although you needn't wait for us).

With all the bad environmental news going on in the Gulf, this is good news. Gold mining mercury air pollution has been a big problem for years. At last EPA is taking concrete steps to do something about it.  But the new mercury regulations need to be much more stringent for new mines.

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Tagged with: regulation, mercury, environmental protection agency, donlin mine


Fracking and the Safe Drinking Water Act reauthorization

By Lauren Pagel

May 26, 2010

The issue of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells is at the forefront of the Safe Drinking Water Act reauthorization bill, which is being debated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this morning. EARTHWORKS, along with our partners, is urging members of the Committee to support an amendment that may be offered by Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) that would require natural gas producers to disclose the chemicals used in during the process of hydraulic fracturing.

Disclosure of chemicals used in this process is the first step on the road to protecting public health and drinking water in the 34 states that are impacted by oil and gas drilling. EARTHWORKS also supports the passage of the FRAC Act (S. 1215 and H.R. 2677), which would close the current loophole that exempts hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

Stay tuned.

For more information:

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, disclosure, safe drinking water act, diana degette, amendment


Uranium-impacted citizens fly to D.C.

By Lauren Pagel

May 18, 2010

This week fifteen residents and experts from uranium-impacted communities flew into DC to discuss the hot-topic issues affecting the places where uranium is mined.

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Tagged with: mining reform, uranium


Another birthday for the 1872 Mining Law

By Lauren Pagel

May 12, 2010

Over the 20+ year EARTHWORKS history, we ve celebrated a lot of 1872 Mining Law birthdays. Every year on the 10th of May, our thoughts turn to the law that should have gone the way of the dodo long ago.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, stewart udall


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