EARTHblog » Lauren Pagel
By Lauren Pagel
February 10, 2012
Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on legislation that would transfer 2,400+ acres of land to foreign mining companies to facilitate a huge copper mine in Arizona. If built, the mine would take a campground and sites sacred to area tribes out of public hands and turn it over foreign-owned mining companies.
A subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP - Billiton is proposing to mine a rich copper vein on public and private lands east of Superior, Arizona. Because the proposed mine would most likely destroy the area in question, the company, called Resolution Copper, is pushing for legislation to privatize the Oak Flat Campground, which has been withdrawn from mining since the 1950’s, and surrounding public lands in the Tonto National Forest.
By Lauren Pagel
February 1, 2012
Today, I attended a hearing of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee on the topic of quality science at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, I’ll get in to the substance of the hearing, but clearly the highlight was watching Academy award nominated director and anti-fracking celebrity Josh Fox, handcuffed and escorted out of the hearing room by Capitol Police. House rules don’t allow members of the media to take video during hearings. Josh is filming a sequel to his popular anti-fracking documentary Gasland for HBO due for release this summer. Ranking member Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) twice made formal motions to allow Josh to continue taping arguing that a properly credentialed ABC film crew also requested permission to video tape the hearing. Both attempts were rebuffed.
The hearing considered the efficacy of an EPA report describing water contamination attributed to hydraulic fracturing activities in Pavillion, Wyoming. In reality, this hearing served as another opportunity for the House majority to rail against the EPA. Referring to the EPA’s work as “scientific innuendo” and “regulatory straight jacketing”, the Republicans criticized the report as lacking transparency, peer review, or sufficient consultation with relevant state authorities.