Published: December 28, 2009
By: Alan Septoff
2009: Not all bad. No, really!
2010: Looking to be even better
The price of gold is at record highs, and drilling has expanded beyond the Rocky Mountain gas patch to much of the rest of the country thanks to the exploitation of shale gas deposits. So despite the recession, mining, digging, and drilling continues apace. And irresponsible miners, diggers, and drillers are still out there.
However, some excellent things have occurred this year when it comes to protecting communities and the environment. As 2009 draws to a close, we thought we'd share some reasons for holiday cheer... if you live in a community, or an environment.
And as you read through this list of accomplishments, kind reader, know that as an EARTHWORKS supporter, you helped make them happen.
Slowly but surely, resource extraction is getting cleaner
|Photo: Tim Ruggiero|
- Abandoned mines are getting cleaned up: EARTHWORKS worked to ensure that abandoned mine clean-up was part of the economic stimulus package. As a result, an unprecedented $100 million was allotted to help clean up hundreds of thousands of abandoned hardrock mines in the U.S.
- New U.S. hardrock mines are poised to be cleaner: Along with our partners, EARTHWORKS helped push 1872 mining law reform closer to reality than it's been in a generation. Meaningful reform bills passed in the House and are being pushed by the Energy Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman in the Senate; 2009 has set the stage for what looks to be a 2010 to remember.
- Gold jewelry will be getting cleaner too: The 60th jewelry retailer signed the No Dirty Gold Campaign's Golden Rules for responsible sourcing of precious metals. Golden Rules signatories now represent about a quarter of the U.S. jewelry market.
- Texas is taking gas drilling air toxics seriously: In response to pressure in the form of an EARTHWORKS health survey -- the state of Texas implemented an important new gas emissions policy in the Barnett Shale. Texas will now respond to emission complaints within 12 hours and take notarized citizen affidavits on emission, odor and health impacts to support enforcement actions.
- Drilling in Colorado is finally being taken seriously too: EARTHWORKS was integrally involved in the overhaul of Colorado state rules on oil and gas development. New rules ratified this year incorporate strong public health and environmental protections including one of the nation's first chemical disclosure requirements for the oil and gas industry
People are becoming more aware of the consequences of irresponsible mining, digging, and drilling
- Man bites dog! Community goes to mining company shareholder meeting: We coordinated a successful trip of Bristol Bay, Alaska residents to Anglo American's annual shareholder meeting in London. The Alaskan contingent made quite an impression at the meeting and in the British press as they explained how Anglo's Pebble Mine proposal would devastate their community.
- Jewelers pledge not to buy gold from the Pebble Mine: In conjunction with the London trip, we announced the addition of six prominent U.K. jewelry retailers representing 260 stores to the Bristol Bay Protection Pledge.
- The Sundance Channel's features EARTHWORKS: Eco Trip: the Real Cost of Living made plain the environmental costs of gold mining and made our own Bonnie Gestring a TV sensation.
- National Geographic and TIME Magazine features No Dirty Gold: Our award-winning campaign was featured in the cover story of the January issue of National Geographic, The Real Price of Gold, and a feature in TIME magazine in April.
America's greatest natural treasure is protected
|Photo: National Park Service|
Along with our partners, EARTHWORKS helped Congress pass an emergency withdrawal of lands around Grand Canyon National Park. This is crucial because the number of mining claims within 5 miles of the park boundary increased 100 fold over the past 5 years.
In July 2009, newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar finally acted on this resolution and established a moratorium on claim staking around the Park to allow for more environmental review.
We are optimistic that 2010 will see greater progress in protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of irresponsible mining, digging, and drilling. Working together we'll make it happen.
Please support EARTHWORKS in our fight to protect communities and the environment. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution. You know your money will be well spent: you know our track record, plus we're BBB-accredited, and 4-star certified by Charity Navigator.
Happy holidays from all of us at EARTHWORKS,
Alan, Bonnie, Bruce, Cathy, Gwen, Jennifer, Jim, Kim, Lauren, Morey, Payal and Scott