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In the News

New York fracking ban reverberates nationally

Al Jazeera | Peter Moskowitz

December 17, 2014
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The news took even the most seasoned environmental activists by surprise: after years of review, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York State would ban hydraulic fracturing.

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New York plans to prohibit fracking

USA Today | Jon Campbell and Rick Jervis

December 17, 2014
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Fracking is out in New York.

New York's health and environmental commissioners Wednesday rejected the prospect for "high-volume hydraulic fracturing" in New York -- better known as "fracking" -- saying that health risks, the potential of local bans and limited available land would outweigh the benefits of the controversial drilling technique.

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Mining proposal threatens Arizona town’s water supply

High Country News | Sarah Tory

December 5, 2014
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Just eighteen miles north of the Mexican border, the town of Patagonia, Arizona sits cradled by 4,000 foot high mountains– a high desert oasis of oak and piñon pines, home to the rare ocelot and jaguar. But scattered throughout those mountains are abandoned mine shafts and tailings from the town’s not-too-distant past.

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Tagged with: mining, arizona, patagonia


Federal land deals full of thorny trade-offs

LA Times | Lisa Mascaro

December 4, 2014
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Oe of the most ambitious public lands packages in years is speeding through Congress after being quietly attached to a must-pass bipartisan defense bill that cleared the House on Thursday.

The measure includes about 70 public lands projects, including the first national monument status for ice age fossil beds in Nevada, protection for about 275,000 acres of Montana's rugged Rocky Mountain Front and a land swap that clears the way for a controversial southeastern Arizona copper mine.

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Tagged with: mining, oak flat, arizona


Fracking ban goes into effect in its birthplace

RT

December 3, 2014
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An unprecedented ban on fracking went into effect Tuesday in Denton, Texas, a town of 123,000 located on top of the natural-gas goldmine that is the Barnett shale formation, the birthplace of the much-maligned oil and gas extraction method.

Denton voters approved the ban last month, making it the first city or county to do so in the energy-rich, fracking-heavy state of Texas.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Conservationists: Cabinet Mountains Wilderness values threatened by mining

Missoulian | Mitch Landers

November 27, 2014
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Hiking the four-mile trail into Rock Lake from the Noxon area weighed heavy on Jim Costello, especially after he met a budding family from Spokane.

The couple was packing a toddler along the soothing rumble of Rock Creek for his first wilderness experience.

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Tagged with: mining, cabinet mountains, cabinet mountain wilderness


Small quake shakes Dallas area, stirring fracking critics

Reuters | Jim Forsyth

November 23, 2014
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A light earthquake shook the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of North Texas on Saturday night, leaving no known damage or casualties but stirring concern about the potential of the area's oil and gas fracking industry to generate seismic activity.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, earthquakes, frackquakes


Not-so-wild wilderness: Mining proposals threaten Cabinet Mountains streams, lakes and grizzlies

Spokesman | Rich Landers

November 23, 2014
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Hiking the 4-mile trail into Rock Lake from the Noxon, Montana, area weighed heavy on Jim Costello, especially after he met a budding family from Spokane. The couple were packing their toddler along the soothing rumble of Rock Creek for his first wilderness experience.

He asked Jim and JoJo Lindenfelser if they’d heard of the Rock Creek Mine. They said no. He suggested they check into it.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, cabinet mountains, cabinet mountain wilderness


Hazards of Open Pits for Storing Wastewater From Fracking Is Focus of New Study

InsideClimate News | David Hasemyer

November 20, 2014
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Unlined open-air wastewater pits brimming with the toxic leftovers of fracking and other types of oil and gas development are threatening California's air and water quality, according to a study by two national environmental organizations.

A visit to a series of wastewater pits in California's Central Valley that sickened researchers prompted the study, according to the authors. Oil and gas drilling has been generating vast amounts of waste in the region for decades.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, california, pits


Forest Service OKs Fracking in Forest Near Nation’s Capital

US News and World Report | Alan Neuhauser

November 19, 2014
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Oil rigs could one day join the treetops in George Washington National Forest south of the nation’s capital.

Despite protests from Virginia’s Democratic governor and environmental groups, the U.S. Forest Service announced this week it would make 177,000 acres – or about 17 percent – of the forest in Virginia available for leasing for horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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Tagged with: fracking, forest service, george washington national forest


U.S. to limit energy development in George Washington forest in Virginia

LA Times | Neela Banerjee

November 19, 2014
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Oil and gas development will be limited in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia, the U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday in a long-awaited decision over an area that’s home to the headwaters of rivers that provide drinking water for the 4 million people in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

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Tagged with: fracking, forest service, george washington national forest, virginia


A town — in Texas, of all places — bans fracking

Washington Post | Lindsey Bever

November 6, 2014
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Across the country, hydraulic fracturing — pumping water, sand and chemicals into shale to release oil and gas, also known as “fracking” — has been both highly lucrative and highly criticized. Opponents claim it is an environmental disaster that pollutes the air, contaminates the groundwater and can trigger earthquakes. Its boosters argue it’s the key to energy independence for America and creates jobs, millions of them.

Now, fracking is under fire in a state where it began: Texas.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Texas College Town Fracking Ban a Bad Sign for U.S. Boom

Businessweek | Bradley Olson and Jim Polson

November 5, 2014
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A small college town near the birthplace of the U.S. fracking boom voted yesterday to ban the practice in a day of mixed results across the country for an industry already reeling from falling oil prices.

The 59 percent of voters in Denton, Texas, who rejected the controversial drilling technique yesterday sent a message to the energy world every bit as powerful as the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate: when it comes to the U.S. energy boom, all politics is local. And so far at the ballot box, the industry has lost more than it’s won.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Texas oil town makes history as residents say no to fracking

The Guardian | Suzanne Goldenberg

November 5, 2014
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The Texas town where America’s oil and natural gas boom began has voted to ban fracking, in a stunning rebuke to the industry.

Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Texas city bans fracking in its birthplace, court battles loom

Reuters | Marcie Richter

November 5, 2014
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Voters approved a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the north Texas town of Denton on Tuesday, making it the first city in the Lone Star State to outlaw the oil and gas extraction technique behind the U.S. energy boom.

The vote in the city of 123,000 was highly symbolic because hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is widely used in Texas, the top crude producer in the United States.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


These Towns and Counties Across America Just Banned Oil and Gas Fracking

Vice News | Laura Dattaro

November 5, 2014
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Voters in Denton, Texas approved on Tuesday a ban on horizontal, hydraulic fracturing, sending a message to the fossil fuel sector that concerns about air and water quality in some areas of the country may be trumping concerns about the economy — even in the region where fracking was pioneered.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Public Trust in Pennsylvania Regulators Erodes Further Over Flawed Fracking Study

InsideClimate News | Lisa Song

October 23, 2014
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Pennsylvania regulators used flawed methodology to conclude that air pollution from natural gas development doesn't cause health problems. The revelation has further eroded trust in an embattled state agency.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, pennsylvania


Supporters of Fracking Ban Face New Wave of McCarthyism in Denton, Texas

DeSmogBlog | Julie Dermansky

October 22, 2014
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Santa Fe, NM—(ENEWSPF)—October 20, 2014. A broad coalition of local and national conservation groups announced plans to sue the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), if the agency proceeds with the sale of 13 parcels (almost 20,000 acres of public lands) in the Santa Fe National Forest for oil and gas fracking. BLM received more than a hundred letters protesting the sale and challenging the agency’s failure to consider potentially serious impacts to the area’s air, water, wildlife, and surrounding communities.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Acid-draining rock poisons water across Montana

The State | Sammy Fretwell

October 14, 2014
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BUTTE, MONT. — Tourism promoters charge people $2 apiece to look at the most notoriously polluted mining site in Montana, an old copper pit filled with toxic water that will likely never be cleaned up.

The Berkeley Pit, which dominates the landscape of Butte, is 1,780 feet deep and holds 42 billion gallons of water tainted by metals and acid. The contamination is so severe that site managers operate equipment to scare birds away from almost certain death.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, acid mine drainage, berkeley pit


Cómo las petroleras hacen negocio con el agua que sacan de sus pozos en California

BBC Mundo | Jaime González

October 3, 2014
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Los embalses están en mínimos históricos, los acuíferos subterráneos se están agotando y las previsiones meteorológicas indican que en los próximos meses podría seguir sin llover.

Esta es la situación a la que tienen que hacer frente las más de 80.000 explotaciones agrícolas que hay en California, que están buscando desesperadamente nuevos tipos de suministro de agua con los que hacer frente a la grave sequía que afecta al estado desde hace tres años.

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Tagged with: fracking, california, spanish, drought


The myth of ethical gold

New Internationalist | Stephanie Boyd

September 16, 2014
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Modern goldmining has developed a Midas touch, turning low-grade deposits into vast wealth but with devastating consequences: over 900 farmers poisoned by a mercury spill in the mountains of Peru; Akyim indigenous people from Ghana forced from their forest homeland; an Indonesian bay and fishing community contaminated by arsenic and mercury; the Western Shoshone nation in Nevada deprived of their treaty rights and ancestral land.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, responsible jewellery council


Lachelt leads diverse group looking into well rules

Durango Herald | Peter Marcus

September 9, 2014
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La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt is readying to juggle multiple personalities after the governor announced the 19 members of a gas and oil task force.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, blue ribbon commission


Oil and gas task force expected to find middle ground in Colorado local control issue

Denver Business Journal | Cathy Proctor

September 9, 2014
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Gov. John Hickenlooper said Tuesday that he expects the newly named 21-memberoil and gas task force to find areas of compromise on one of the state’s most important issues.

In a meeting with reporters in his office, the governor also thanked the members of the task force for their willingness to step into one of the state’s most controversial issues, and the organizations who submitted nearly 300 names for consideration.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, blue ribbon commission


RJC Revealed

Rappaport | Brian Bossetta

September 1, 2014
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Across the many links in the jewelry supply chain, there are significant issues regarding human rights and the environment with which the industry must grapple, especially in light of increasing demand among consumers for ethically sourced products. And while there is no easy panacea for human rights abuses or harmful environmental practices, the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), a not-for-profit organization based out of London, promotes a climate of social responsibility that works to mitigate and eliminate harmful, negative practices within the industry.

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Tagged with: mining, jewelry, rjc


Inside Energy: Fracking and health, part 1

Prairie Public | Jordan Wirfs-Brock and Leigh Paterson

August 25, 2014
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The oil and gas boom of the 21st century has been fueled - largely -  by a technique called hydraulic fracturing.  Its given access to massive shale gas and oil formations in states like Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. But what’s different about this boom, is that drilling is bumping right up against communities. And people are worried about the health impacts.

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Tagged with: fracking, health, north dakota


Watch Six Months of Fracking Fires Blaze Across the Country

National Journal | Clare Foran and Stephanie Stamm

August 22, 2014
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Massive fires light up the sky in U.S. states at the center of a fracking boom.

The fires—known as flaring—are a symptom of the rapid spread of the controversial drilling technique. Cities and towns across the country are scrambling to keep up with a newfound surplus of natural gas, and towering flames arise when excess gas is burned off at drill sites. 

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, north dakota, flaring


The long shadow of a decade of loose enforcement

Boulder Weekly | Elizabeth Miller

August 14, 2014
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Pennsylvania and Colorado may be a nation apart, but they’re side-by-side when it comes to having recently seen explosive increases in oil and gas development, specifically through the use of hydraulic fracturing in shale formations that are often drilled horizontally. Findings from a report from Earthworks — a nonprofit working to protect communities and the environment from the adverse effects of oil and gas development — that examined the oversight and the operational record of wells in Pennsylvania sheds light on the concerns people in Colorado express when it comes to oil and gas development.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, enforcement, ballot intiative


Black Butte Mine aquifer tests move ahead

Bozeman Daily Chronicle | Laura Lundquist

August 7, 2014
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The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has given Tintina Resources the go-ahead to dig four new deep wells to test the aquifer near the proposed Black Butte Copper Mine but has added one safety requirement for the project.

Tintina will be drilling to depths of between 200 and 400 feet through mineral deposits that could cause chemicals in the upwelling water to exceed safety limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In particular, samples from other wells have exceeded EPA limits for arsenic.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, tintina


Imperial’s Mount Polley mine shuttered after tailings discharge

Mining Weekly | Henry Lazenby

August 6, 2014

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – After a tailings dam broke at the Mount Polley mine, discharging about five-million cubic metres of mine waste in the early hours of Monday, operator Imperial Metals on Tuesday said the copper/gold mine had been placed on care and maintenance pending a full investigation.

The TSX-listed firm said the water and tailings discharge had by Tuesday stabilised, with no persons reported missing or injured.

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Tagged with: mining, tailings, canada, tailings dam


Hickenlooper seeks to halt oil-gas initiatives

The Coloradoan | Ryan Maye Handy

August 5, 2014
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Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday created a task force to address oil and gas development in Colorado, in an eleventh-hour attempt to foster compromise over the highly divisive topic before it hits the polls in November.

With Congressman Jared Polis by his side, Hickenlooper announced a "blue ribbon" commission of 18 people will be tasked with studying oil and gas development in the state. The plan is for the group to make recommendations to the state Legislature in 2015.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, vote, ballot intiative


Colorado Fracking Opponents Losing Local Control Fight

Bloomberg | Bradley Olson and Jennifer Oldham

August 5, 2014
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Colorado’s compromise with drilling opponents has dealt a blow to environmentalists’ expanding battle to give local communities more control to limit fracking.

Governor John Hickenlooper and Representative Jared Polis agreed to a deal that weakened the prospects for two proposed ballot initiatives aimed at restricting oil and gas activity, the two men said at a news conference in Denver yesterday. Polis, who was expected to help finance the campaign for the measures, agreed to withdraw his support after Hickenlooper promised to create a task force to study the industry’s impact on local communities.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, vote, ballot intiative


Fracking ban court decision pushes conversation toward constitutional rights

Boulder Weekly | Elizabeth Miller

July 31, 2014

The lawsuit to defend Longmont’s voterapproved fracking ban is moving on from the district court, where a judge issued a summary judgment against it, but a stay against fracking in Longmont while the case is appealed to a higher court. It may become increasingly clear as the case advances that the question at stake pits the oil and gas resources under the town against the basic constitutional rights of those who live in the town to determine their exposure to a risk to human health and environment more than half of the town’s voters have said they don’t want in their back yards. The environmental organizations that have signed on as intervenors aren’t going to be shy about framing the debate in terms of whether the state will really choose profits over people.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, ban, longmont


Longmont’s Fracking Ban Tossed as Colorado Vote Looms

Bloomberg | Joel Rosenblatt and Jennifer Oldham

July 25, 2014

A fracking ban in the city of Longmont, Colorado, was thrown out by a judge amid petition drives to hold a statewide vote in November on restricting oil and gas drilling that generate $30 billion a year.

The debate over fracking, in which water, chemicals and sand are injected below ground to extract oil and gas from sand and shale formations, has escalated in Colorado as drilling moves closer to suburbs, raising concerns about water and air contamination. Five communities in the state have voted to ban or put a moratorium on such activity.

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, lawsuit, ban, longmont


Colo. court strikes down city’s fracking ban

E&E News | Ellen M. Gilmer and Mike Lee

July 25, 2014

A Colorado court yesterday ruled against the city of Longmont in a fight with state and industry officials over whether the city could ban hydraulic fracturing.

The decision could weigh heavily on voters considering potential anti-fracking ballot initiatives in Colorado in November. And the outcome swings the local control pendulum in favor of industry after a series of wins for municipalities in Pennsylvania and New York over the past year (EnergyWire, July 1).

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Tagged with: fracking, colorado, lawsuit, ban, longmont


Pennsylvania’s Auditor General Faults Oversight of Natural Gas Industry

New York Times | Jon Hurdle

July 23, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA — Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have failed to adequately regulate the state’s booming natural gas industry, a state report said, reflecting what critics say is weak oversight of the oil and gas industry at a time when drilling is spreading across the United States.

Pennsylvania’s auditor general, Eugene DePasquale, said Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has been unable to keep up with the workload placed on it by a proliferation of shale gas wells in the last five years, and has failed to respond adequately to many public complaints about water and air contamination resulting from gas development.

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Tagged with: fracking, pennsylvania, pennsylvania department of environmental protection, water contamination


Hundreds comment on Black Butte mine proposal

Bozeman Daily Chronicle | Laura Lundquist

July 22, 2014
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For a relatively small project, a mining company's proposal to dig a few test wells generated a significant number of public comments.

By the end of the public comment period on Monday, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality received almost 940 comments on Tintina Resources' proposal to dig deep test wells in advance of a possible underground mining operation north of White Sulphur Springs.

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Tagged with: mining, montana, tintina


Texas fracking ban voted down by city council despite residents’ support

AlJazeera America | Renee Lewis

July 16, 2014
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Officials in Denton, Texas, voted Wednesday against a bid to make their natural gas-rich city the first in its state to ban fracking, despite more than 100 residents speaking out in favor of the ban at a public hearing that ran long into Tuesday night.

Some locals said the city council’s 5-2 decision against enacting the ban — instead passing it to a November ballot for a city-wide vote — was influenced by industry pressure.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Denton City Council Rejects Fracking Ban

NBC DFW | Emily Schmalll

July 16, 2014
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The council governing a North Texas city that sits atop a large natural gas reserve rejected a bid early Wednesday morning to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing in the community after eight hours of public testimony.

Denton City Council members voted down the petition 5-2 at a 3 a.m., sending the proposal to a public ballot in November.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Breaking: Denton City Council Rejects Fracking Ban: Referendum Will Be on November Ballot

DeSmogBlog | Julie Dermansky

July 16, 2014
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The failure of the Denton city council to pass a fracking ban in Denton, Texas, after a meeting that went on for over eight hours last night, was no surprise to Cathy McMullen, Denton resident and president of Denton Drilling Awareness Group.

“The vote was theater,” McMullen told DeSmogBlog.

Councilman Kevin Roden was the only one to call for ban. His motion was not seconded. A motion to deny the ban was approved 5 to 2, followed by an unanimous vote to put the ban initiative on the next ballot.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Denton City Council Leaves Fracking Ban Decision to Voters

Texas Observer | Priscila Mosqueda

July 15, 2014
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Update 7:45am: Denton voters will decide the fate of fracking in their city come November after the City Council voted against the fracking ban this morning shortly before 3 a.m.

The Council seemed partial to the ban supporters during the hearing, which lasted eight hours, but in the end no one seconded Councilman Kevin Roden’s motion to pass the ban. The members voted 5-2 for a motion to deny passing the ban, so the initiative will now be on the November ballot. Activists had predicted their City Council would not adopt the citizen-led initiative, but the news was still disappointing and folks took to Twitter to say that industry won once again in Texas. We’ll be watching this come November, so stay tuned.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Council rejects partial fracking ban

Denton Record Chronicle | Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

July 15, 2014
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The Denton City Council, after hearing more than eight hours of public testimony that lasted until early this morning,  rejected a bid that would have made it the first city in the state to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing in the community.

Council members voted down the petition 5-2, sending the proposal to a public ballot in November.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


Texas town’s fracturing ban appears headed for ballot

Houston Chronicle | Rhiannon Meyers

July 14, 2014
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Denton voters, and not the seven-member City Council, probably will decide whether to ban hydraulic fracturing in the North Texas city, officials said Monday.

The issue is scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday in the gas-rich city about 40 miles northwest of downtown Dallas, where some wells are less than 200 feet from residential areas.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton


No Dirty Gold campaign draws another major convert

Mineweb | Dorothy Kosich

July 3, 2014
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BJ’s Wholesale Club, with 202 locations in 15 eastern U.S. states has endorsed Washington D.C.-based environmental NGO Earthworks No Dirty Gold’s Golden Rules.

The No Dirty Gold campaign asks jewelry retailers to pledge to source only from mines who meet the Golden Rules criteria.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, bristol bay pledge


Sitting On a Gold Mine: How Fairtrade Gold Mining in Tanzania Is Set to Change the Jewelry Sector

CSR Newswire | Marc Choyt

June 25, 2014
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In early May, I visited small-scale gold miners in Tanzania who are seeking fair trade certification.

On site, I met with colleagues in from England and Fair Trade Africa, who have been working hard over the past two years to build an understanding of fairtrade* standards and principals with the miners on site. The purpose of the visit was also to bring jewelers and miners together to discuss what was needed to bring fairtrade African gold to market.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelry, fairtrade, tanzania


Proof

Ft. Worth Weekly | Peter Gorman

June 25, 2014
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A geologist who has spent years studying the effects of natural gas drilling on water sources said last week that he has “no doubt” that Range Resources gas drilling activity has contaminated the Trinity Aquifer, ruining several water wells in Parker County — but not due to leaks from the gas wells themselves.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, water contamination


Scientists: Fracking Linked to Groundwater Contamination

EcoWatch

June 9, 2014
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Last week a Texas TV station broke the news that new independent scientific analysis refutes the claim by the oil and gas industry that “there’s never been a confirmed case of fracking polluting drinking water.”

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, water contamination


Jewelry gets eco-friendly

Poughkeepsie Journal | Karen Shan

June 8, 2014
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David Walton buys goods made in America. He bicycles to destinations when possible and eats a vegetarian diet.

Plus, Walton, a designer and crafter of fine jewelry and owner/goldsmith of Hudson Valley Goldsmith in New Paltz, uses recycled precious metals, reclaimed stones and conflict-free gems in the design and fabrication of his bracelets, necklaces and rings.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry, fairtrade


Cracks in the Frack Wall

Ft. Worth Weekly | Sharon Wilson and Cathy McMullen

May 28, 2014
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If it’s a blessing to live in interesting times, those of us affected by the fracking debate — that is, all Texans — are well and truly blessed right about now.

Within the past month, North Texas has seen:

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, parr, ban, denton


California Oil Deposit Is Far Smaller Than Predicted

Wall Street Journal | Russel Gold

May 21, 2014
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The U.S. government slashed its estimate of how much crude oil could be extracted from California's Monterey Shale, confirming widespread industry suspicion that developing the massive resource would be difficult.

The Energy Information Administration said there are 600 million barrels of technically recoverable oil, down 96% from its estimate a year ago of 13.7 billion barrels.

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Tagged with: fracking, california, oil, monterey shale, sb1132


Illegal Dumping of Texas Frack Waste Caught on Video

InsideClimate News | David Hasemyer

May 19, 2014
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Under the cover of early-morning darkness in South Texas last March, a tanker truck ferrying fluids from an oil and gas drilling site rumbled down a country road spewing its toxic load all over the place.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, waste, dumping


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