May 19, 2015
Washington, D.C., May 18 -- Today Representatives Grijalva (D-AZ-3) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) sent a letter to the directors of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) urging them to act on the lessons of the Mount Polley mine waste disaster, and take immediate action to investigate threats posed by mine waste dams and impoundments in the United States.
Earthworks | Denton Drilling Awareness Group | Earthjustice | Natural Resources Defense Council
May 18, 2015
Austin, TX - Today Texas Governor Abbott signed HB 40 into law. Written by former ExxonMobil lawyer Shannon Ratliff, the statute forces every Texas municipality wanting common sense limits on oil and gas development to demonstrate its rules are “commercially reasonable”. It effectively overturns a Denton ballot initiative banning fracking that passed last November.
“HB 40 was written by the oil and gas industry, for the oil and gas industry, to prevent voters from holding the oil and gas industry accountable for its impacts,” said Earthworks’ Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. Wilson, who played a key role in the Denton ballot initiative, continued, “It was the oil and gas industry’s contempt for impacted residents that pushed Denton voters to ban fracking in the first place. And now the oil and gas industry, through state lawmakers, has doubled down by showing every city in Texas that same contempt.”
April 30, 2015
“The oil and gas industry claims that western states regulation of hydraulic fracturing is more than adequate and therefore the proposed BLM fracking rule is duplicative. This is unfortunately not true."
Health professionals elected officials and impacted residents urge Governor Cuomo and state agencies to evaluate cumulative health impacts of shale gas development
Earthwork et al
April 27, 2015
Peruvian community leaders challenge largest U.S. gold mining company to stop human rights violation
Earthworks et al
April 22, 2015
April 22, Wilmington, DE -- At Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM)’s annual general meeting today, shareholders and civil society groups joined a community leader from Cajamarca, Peru in calling on the Denver-based mining giant to live up to its human rights commitments and stop harassing indigenous Cajamarca residents who have blocked Newmont’s proposed Conga gold mine.
In a David v Goliath battle, Newmont has responded to community opposition to its mine by using police and private security to harass and intimidate local residents and landowners, including the families of Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and Elmer Campos.
April 21, 2015
"Industry's own literature, the US Geological Survey, and now SMU all declare that fracking waste injection causes earthquakes. It is only Texas state regulators and lawmakers who are living in denial.
If HB40 becomes law, the state will make cities' attempts to protect their residents from fracking-related earthquakes illegal. HB40's author, Drew Darby, refused an amendment that would allow cities to ban fracking wastewater disposal wells.
Cities across the state should be very very worried for another reason. Hundreds of thousands of concrete oil and gas well casings are what stands between Texas communities and well leaks. Quakes that can crack foundations as they did in Azle can also crack concrete oil and gas well casings, active and abandoned, that go deep into the earth."
April 17, 2015
"Today’s passage of CSHB40 makes clear that, even when it comes at the expense of democracy, the Texas Legislature works for the oil and gas industry and not ordinary Texans.
Legislators who voted for this bill just voted against democracy. Texas has a proud history of citizens determining their own fate. It’s called local control, and the Texas House just voted to end it. If this becomes law, Texans will be forced to live with whatever the oil and gas industry considers “commercially reasonable”. It imposes state authority where cities should have the right to decide. And Texas regulators’ track record of ignoring community impacts is as long as it is shameful.
CSHB40 is big government at its worst."
Arlington fracking blowout shows CSHB40/SB1165 would force Texans to remain unsafe in their own home
April 13, 2015
Arlington, TX, Apr 13 -- Saturday a gas well in the heart of West Arlington blew out while being fracked, forcing the evacuation of the surrounding neighborhood. Owned by Vantage Energy anddirectly adjacent to homes and ball fields, the blowout spilled flowback fluid that can contain hazardous chemicals, radioactivity and salts.
April 2, 2015
Washington, D.C., April 2nd -- A new report shows that states ignore the risks of sometimes hazardous oil and gas waste despite EPA’s exemption of such waste from federal oversight based on “adequate” state management. Wasting Away: Four states’ failure to manage oil and gas waste in the Marcellus and Utica Shale examines how Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and New York neither regulate oil and gas development wastes as hazardous, nor can assure the public that they are protected from exposure to hazardous waste.
March 30, 2015
Austin, TX – Today the Texas State House Energy Resources Committee approved a controversial measure that guts the rights of communities to protect themselves from impacts of oil and gas operations within their borders. Ignoring objections from cities around the state, Committee members approved the Committee Substitute for HB40. Rep Anchia voted against, Rep Wu voted present, all others members attending voted for.
13-Year Old Battling Leukemia Helps Deliver 60,000+ Petitions from Across the U.S. Urging Protection of Nation's Most Popular Wilderness
Earthworks et al
March 25, 2015
Washington, DC (March 25, 2015) –The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, and its lead group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, today held a press conference at Environment America to deliver more than 60,000 petitions calling for the protection of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is currently threatened by sulfide-ore copper mining proposals on national forest lands adjacent to the Wilderness and along waterways that flow into the Wilderness.
March 23, 2015
March 23, Austin -- Today Earthworks’ Texas Organizer Sharon Wilson testified at the Texas House Energy Resources Committee public hearing on HB40 and HB539. The bills are part of a legislative suite introduced by oil and gas industry supporters in response to Denton’s successful ballot initiative to ban fracking.
HB40 would eliminate Texas municipalities’ authority to regulate all oil and gas production, replacing it with the industry-friendly state Railroad Commission. It would also vacate existing regulations except those found to be “commercially reasonable”.
March 20, 2015
Statement of Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel
In response to over 1 million comments asking the Administration to protect our public lands, air and water from fracking, the White House responded with some concrete steps that will curb some problems with fracking on public lands, but still falls short of the protections Americans deserve. The Bureau of Land Management is the largest manager of mineral rights in the US.
Earthworks, et al
March 19, 2015
March 19 - A coalition of more than 40 environmental and community groups today sent letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) urging they take immediate action to investigate threats posed by mine waste dams and impoundments in the United States.
In the wake of the August 2014 Mount Polley mine waste disaster in Canada which released roughly 24.4 million cubic meters of mine waste into the Fraser River watershed, a government-commissioned independent investigative panel determined that current global standard practice for mine waste disposal is fundamentally flawed and that future failures at other mines are simply a matter of time. To date, U.S. regulators have taken no action to assess the risks posed by mines in the U.S.
March 18, 2015
Washington, D.C., March 17 -- Today Representatives Cartwright, DeGette, Polis, and Schakowsky introduced a suite of bills that would close existing oil and gas industry loopholes in several major federal environmental laws.
Groups Petition for Endangered Species Review of Rock Creek Mine Threats to Bull Trout, Grizzly Bears
Earthjustice, Earthworks, Rock Creek Alliance, Idaho Council of Trout Unlimited
March 17, 2015
HELENA, MT—Conservation groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a new look at the harmful effects that the proposed Rock Creek Mine would inflict on imperiled bull trout and grizzly bears in light of recently disclosed information revealing threats to these species that the agency has never considered.
The Rock Creek Mine proposed by Revett Minerals (NYSE MKT: RVM) would extract 10,000 tons of copper and silver ore every day for up to 35 years, affecting over 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat in and adjacent to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area in northwest Montana. When it analyzed the mine’s effects on protected species in 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service assumed that the mine would not reduce flows in streams that are critical to bull trout and relied on promised mitigation measures to conclude that the mine will not jeopardize bull trout and grizzly bear populations in the Cabinet Mountains.
Since then, federal and state agencies have developed new data that reveal threats to these species that the Service has not considered. As the conservation groups’ petition demonstrates, the Rock Creek Mine will reduce flows in Rock Creek and the East Fork of the Bull River, which are vital to bull trout survival. The petition also documents that strategies the Service believed would protect the vulnerable grizzly bear population from increased risks of poaching and lethal conflict with humans have not succeeded in preventing the killing of grizzly bears over the past eight years, despite the fact that mining activities have not even commenced. In 2014, the Service estimated that only 21 grizzlies remain in the Cabinet Mountains, and transplanting bears from other regions is the only thing that has prevented outright extirpation of grizzlies from the ecosystem.
Conservationists Object to "Needlessly Destructive" Mining Activities in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness
Earthworks et al
March 16, 2015
Boise, ID – A mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dumptrucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is needlessly destructive to this nationally treasured landscape, charge conservation groups.
The stated goal of AIMMCO’s proposal is to conduct additional mineral sampling to determine if the claims in question are in fact valid mining claims. Validating these claims is a necessary step for the mining company to proceed with any exploration, development, or production plans.
New Mexico legislature debates legalizing mines that pollute for thousands of years, shifting billions in mine cleanup financial liability to state taxpayers
Earthworks et al
March 6, 2015
Texas communities travel to Austin to tell legislators: Put private property rights before the oil and gas industry
March 2, 2015
Denton/Fort Worth/Austin, Mar 2nd - Today dozens of citizens from fracking-threatened communities in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, College Station and San Antonio areas are getting on a bus to Austin to protect Texans’ homes and property by urging state legislators to vote down bills that threaten cities’ long standing authority to regulate oil and gas development within their boundaries
February 27, 2015
"Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s task force was formed only because hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are outraged that communities cannot protect their homes or control fracking and oil and gas development within their boundaries. Because the task force’s recommendations don’t address these two issues, it must be judged a failure. And now we will see what hundreds of thousands outraged Coloradans will accomplish."
February 13, 2015
February 13, Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3) today introduced the Hardrock Mining Reform and Reclamation Act of 2015 that would rewrite the 19th century law governing the mining of gold, copper, uranium and other hardrock minerals on federally managed lands.
IndustriALL, Earthworks, London Mining Network, LabourStart
February 5, 2015
London/Geneva/Washington, D.C., Feb 5th – This Valentine’s Day, IndustriALL Global Union, London Mining Network, Earthworks, and LabourStart are challenging the world’s biggest jewellery retailer Signet to demand that its major diamond and gold supplier, multinational mining company Rio Tinto, clean up its mining practices so that they respect worker rights, indigenous peoples and the environment.
With global sales of US $6 billion annually, Signet’s 1,400 Kay and Jared jewellery shops are in every US State, 1,600 Zales stores are throughout the US and Canada, and 500 H. Samuel and Ernest Jones shops are visible on UK high streets. The National Retail Federation anticipates that twenty-one per cent of US shoppers will gift jewellery to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day this year, fuelling US jewellery sales of nearly $5 billion.
The coalition is calling on Signet to abide both by its own Responsible Sourcing Policy, and its 2006 public endorsement of the No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules for more responsible mining. Signet’s Responsible Sourcing Policy declares the company “committed to the responsible sourcing of our products and the respect of human rights, and we expect the same from our suppliers around the world.” Endorsement of the Golden Rules, endorsed by over 100 jewellery retailers around the world, commits signers to pressure their suppliers to come into compliance with the Rules -- which are drawn from broadly accepted international human rights laws and basic principles of sustainable development.
But Rio Tinto is a notorious violator of labour rights, communities, and the environment.
February 4, 2015
Washington, D.C., Dillingham, AK -- In response to the findings of an investigation of the Mount Polley tailings dam failure in British Columbia, Canada, a coalition of environmental and community groups today called upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to investigate threats posed by similar mine waste dams in the U.S. and around the world, and to reassess existing mine proposals.
January 28, 2015
Earthworks applauds Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to give a silver lining to the Keystone XL dirty oil stormcloud by working to close the Halliburton loophole for fracking in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Earthworks et. al.
January 26, 2015
CASPER, WYO.— Under a settlement agreement approved today, the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission must adopt more rigorous policies for scrutinizing industry requests to keep the identities of fracking chemicals secret.
Under the agreement, the Oil & Gas Commission must require substantially greater factual support for oil and gas industry claims that the identities of fracking chemicals used in Wyoming qualify as trade secrets or confidential commercial information and are therefore exempt from state public disclosure requirements.
January 22, 2015
Jan 22, Kern County, CA - Today a coalition of citizens and environmental groups released California’s first analysis of air pollution from oil and gas pollution using infrared video analysis in combination with air sampling and health surveys of impacted communities. Making visible normally invisible pollution, the study revealed that the communities of Lost Hills and Upper Ojai are exposed to at least 15 distinct toxics released by oil and gas development.
January 20, 2015
“When it comes to fracking, the President has a hard time facing facts.
President Obama promised we wouldn’t frack unless we did it safely. But, after a long investigation of the state of fracking science, the New York State Health Commissioner found it so unsafe he wouldn’t want his children to live, play or study near it.
January 14, 2015
Today, the Obama administration announced plans to regulate methane pollution from oil and gas production for the first time.
January 6, 2015
“The increased penalties finalized by the COGCC are a significant step in the right direction. Because of these new rules, Coloradans can hope that when oil and gas companies are caught violating the law, they’ll actually be punished. And hope that the punishment will be consistent and significant enough to deter other potential violators.
Earthworks et. al.
December 17, 2014
Today New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens, and Department of Health Commissioner (DOH) Howard Zucker announced that the state of New York would prohibit high-volume horizontal fracturing of shale after announcing the results of a state-commissioned scientific review of the health impacts of oil and gas development.
Mexican/International Coalition Urges Mexico’s Environment Ministry to Block Los Cardones Mine Proposal Within UNESCO Global Biosphere Reserve
Earthworks et. al.
December 16, 2014
La Paz, Mexico and Washington, D.C. –An international coalition of 34 civil society groups has urged Mexico’s central environment authority SEMARNAT to deny permits for the Los Cardones mine proposed by Mexican corporation Invecture. The groups demanded that SEMARNAT protect the Sierra la Laguna Mountains UNESCO Global Biosphere Reserve, its limited water resources, and the communities that depend on them. The coalition comprises of community organizations, and environmental and human rights groups based in Baja California Sur and around the world.
Earthworks et. al.
December 15, 2014
DENVER, CO -- Today Conservation Colorado, Earthworks, Sierra Club and Western Resource Advocates called on the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to strengthen their staff’s proposed rules to implement HB 1356, bipartisan legislation Governor Hickenlooper signed into law in May to increase Colorado’s oil and gas fines and penalties for the first time in several decades. The COGCC considers finalizing the rules today and tomorrow.
Earthworks et. al.
December 4, 2014
Denton, TX, Dec. 4 -- The Denton Drilling Awareness Group (DAG) and Earthworks today filed intervention papers in two lawsuits seeking to overturn the Denton, Texas ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that went into effect on Tuesday, December 2. DAG’s Frack Free Denton campaign, with Earthworks’ help, successfully secured passage of a ballot initiative making Denton the first Texas city to ban fracking. The groups are represented by the Texas local government law firm Brown & Hofmeister, and attorneys from national environmental organizations, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are seeking court permission to participate as co-counsel.
Obama administration's 'all of the above' fracking decision for George Washington National Forest ignores water/climate concerns
November 18, 2014
Statement of Earthworks energy program director Bruce Baizel
"Unfortunately, allowing the use of fracking within a part of the George Washington National Forest is part of the Obama Administration’s embrace of oil and gas drilling, despite the water, air and climate pollution that is proven to come along with it.
November 12, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC—A report released today identifies significant risks associated with the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) mine proposed by Seabridge Gold in northwest British Columbia near the border with Alaska and upstream of Misty Fjords National Monument. It details a growing list of operational, legal, economic and political challenges facing the controversial project, which some analysts have compared to the proposed Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska.
November 5, 2014
"The passage of a fracking ban in Denton Texas is first and foremost a victory for Denton residents. It’s a victory for their families’ health, for their economy, and for their future.
But it’s also a victory for communities across the country.
October 28, 2014
Patagonia – The Hermosa silver mine proposed inside Patagonia, Arizona’s Municipal Supply Watershed could deplete the town’s drinking water and perpetually contaminate area groundwater with acid mine drainage, according to a new peer-reviewed report. Reviewed by a USGS scientist and released by the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance and Earthworks, the study also concludes that drinking water wells of surrounding residents are also threatened.
October 21, 2014
Oct 21st, Denton, TX -- Newly released infrared videos taken over the past three months show that oil and gas air pollution is ongoing, chronic, and unaddressed in Denton, Texas despite assurances of safety by industry. The videos make visible normally invisible volatile organic compounds emissions (VOCs) -- such as carcinogens like benzene.
Earthworks et al
October 20, 2014
Santa Fe, NM - 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
Earthworks et. al.
October 16, 2014
Washington, DC – Today, 130 local, state and national organizations representing millions of Americans sent a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately begin a rulemaking process to curb methane pollution from oil and gas development, the nation’s second largest industrial climate polluter after power plants. Methane, the principal component of natural gas, is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year time period.
September 25, 2014
Statement of Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project Director Bruce Baizel
Earthworks and Nunamta Aulukestai
September 22, 2014
Dillingham, AK/Washington D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received 700,000 comments in support of its plan to use its Clean Water Act authority to restrict mine waste disposal from the Pebble Mine proposed in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. When combined with previous public input, over 1.5 million comments have been submitted in favor of Bristol Bay protection, including broad and diverse support from Alaska Native Tribes, commercial fishermen, hunters and anglers, businesses like CREDO Mobile, churches, conservation groups, restaurants, jewelers and investors.
Earthworks, et al
September 10, 2014
Denver, CO - A coalition filed an appeal on Wednesday to uphold the democratically-enacted ban on fracking passed by Longmont voters in 2012. Represented by the University of Denver Law Clinic, the groups Our Longmont, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club and Earthworks filed the appeal to overturn a district court decision that places the interests of the oil and gas industry over the health and safety of local citizens.
Earthworks et. al.
August 28, 2014
Harrisburg, PA – Environmental and citizen organizations sent Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary, Chris Abruzzo a letter today challenging the agency’s response to issues raised in Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s DEP Performance Audit, released on July 22nd. The audit identified serious flaws in the DEP’s oil and gas monitoring and enforcement programs.
Dallas Morning News | Marissa Barnett
August 25, 2014
Read this article on the publishing site
AUSTIN — Lawmakers said Monday that they’re looking for money to add seismic monitors in areas with oil and gas production, following concerns about a series of earthquakes that rattled North Texas last winter.
For now, at least, it’s just a pipe dream. The Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas production, doesn’t have any plans in the works for more monitors or for permit surcharges to oil and gas operators.
State oversight allows flaring in North Dakota and Texas to emit greenhouse gases equal to 1.5 million cars
August 22, 2014
Aug 22 -- Today Earthworks released a new report showing that eliminating natural gas waste in two shale plays would have the same effect as taking 1.5 million cars off the road. The report is accompanied by an interactive map developed by SkyTruth showing flaring activity in the U.S. and around the world based on nightly, infrared satellite data.
Earthjustice, Earthworks, et al
August 11, 2014
Washington, D.C. — Earthjustice on behalf of Idaho Conservation League, Earthworks, Sierra Club, Amigos Bravos, Great Basin Resource Watch, and Communities for a Better Environment filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to issue key rules mandated by the Superfund Act (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA)
August 7, 2014
Washington, DC - The environmental and health impacts of gas development have been connected for the first time with a lack of state oversight on a site-by-site basis in a new report released by Earthworks. A year in the making, Blackout in the Gas Patch: How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement documents and analyzes the permitting, oversight, and operational record of 135 wells and facilities in seven counties--and identifies the associated threats to water and air that are harming the health of nearby residents.
August 5, 2014
This week’s devastating tailings dam failure at the Mount Polley copper mine in British Columbia, which released vast amounts of mine waste into streams, rivers and lakes, raised alarms with Alaska Native communities and conservation groups concerned about the proposed Pebble Mine. The groups are urging the EPA to finalize proposed mine waste restrictions in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed.
August 5, 2014
Portland OR – Today over 15,000 petition signatures were delivered to the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to support a mineral withdrawal for public lands in critical watersheds in southwest Oregon, including the North Fork Smith River, Baldface Creek, Rough & Ready Creek, and Hunter Creek.
These signatures build upon the request of a broad coalition of local and national conservation groups to withdraw these public lands from mining in response to proposals for nickel strip mining in the area.