EARTHWORKS

Media Releases

Conservation Organizations Question Legality of SRBC Actions

American Rivers | Earthworks | Sierra Club PA

December 22, 2011

Seven conservation and environmental groups have sent a letter to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), asking the Commissioners to reconvene for the purposes of completing its meeting held on December 15 and pointing out that the Commission’s approval of 26 water withdrawal permits for shale gas development projects is not legal because it occurred after the meeting was adjourned.

Last week, the Commission hastily adjourned its meeting in Wilkes- Barre, after a group of citizens disrupted the meeting. The complete text of the letter follows at the bottom of this release.
The SRBC held its December 15 meeting to consider a series of natural gas drilling water withdrawal applications. In response to some outspoken members of the public, the meeting was adjourned; then, after adjourning, theCommissioners proceeded to vote off the record to approve the water withdrawal applications.

By adjourning the meeting prematurely, the SRBC prevented the testimony of non-protesting members of the public who wished to testify on the individual water withdrawals. Effectively, the SRBC’s action penalized the entire public for the actions of a few individuals and violated the SRBC’s own rules.

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Tagged with: fracking, hydraulic fracturing, regulations, susquehanna river basin commission, water withdrawal, permitting


Human Rights Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas Raises Liability Concerns for New York

Earthworks

December 12, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 – A new human rights report details for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation specific ways in which hydraulic fracturing threatens to compromise international human rights norms. Commissioned by Earthworks' Oil and Gas Accountability Project, the report evaluates the production process known as hydraulic fracturing in relation to widely accepted international human rights norms.

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Tagged with: hydraulic fracturing, oil and gas, human rights, new york, environmental and human rights advisry


What’s in Macy’s Stocking? A Lump of Dirty Gold

Earthworks

December 1, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1  – This holiday season, Macy’s could give its customers a gift: the assurance that the jewelry they buy comes from responsible gold mining. Instead, Macy’s remains one of the last major retailers that has yet to sign the No Dirty Gold Campaign’s Golden Rules, a set of social, human rights and environmental criteria for mining gold and other precious metals.

The No Dirty Gold Campaign, led by Earthworks, an international mining reform group, says Macy’s is turning a blind eye toward the abuses associated with irresponsible gold mining, while potentially selling gold tainted with those abuses. The department store chain, which includes Bloomingdale’s, is the eighth-largest retailer of gold jewelry in the United States, and one of the last major jewelry retailers to fail to sign the Golden Rules. Thus far, 80 retailers, including Target, Tiffany, Sears and Helzberg, have committed to these criteria.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, golden rules, jewelry, macys


Statement by Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks, regarding Newmont Mining’s Suspension of the Conga Mine development in Peru:

Earthworks

December 1, 2011

“Earthworks welcomes this week's decision by Newmont Mining Co. to suspend the development of its controversial Conga mine in northern Peru at the request of President Ollanta Humala. The Minas Conga development has been at the center of many weeks of protests by community members and elected officials who are concerned about the project’s impacts on the environment, water supplies, health and livelihoods. The project is a partnership between Newmont, Peruvian company Buenaventura, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

We urge the company, government and communities to open up a meaningful dialogue process that is undertaken in good faith. We also encourage all parties at the table to take the necessary time to build trust and address concerns.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, newmont, peru, fpic, conga


Carlson, Hawthorn and Ingraffea Join Board of Earthworks

Earthworks

November 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 – Earthworks, an international organization that campaigns to protect communities from the impacts of mining and oil and gas extraction, announces the addition of three distinguished experts to its Board of Directors: Cathy Carlson, Paula Hawthorn, Ph.D., and Anthony Ingraffea, Ph.D., P.E.

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Tagged with: mining, oil and gas, cathy carlson, earthworks board, paula hawthorn, tony ingraffea


As Mining Profits Soar, Time for Mining Companies to Pay Royalties and Curb Pollution

Earthworks

November 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 – Prices for precious metals are soaring, but the hardrock mining industry remains exempt from paying royalties for the riches it extracts from U.S. public lands, and from paying to cleanup the pollution from abandoned mines. Legislation to make the mining industry pay its share and clean up its messes was welcomed today by Western communities who live daily with the impacts of mining.

"With record-high metals prices and skyrocketing industry profits, it’s time for mining companies to pay their fair share,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director for Earthworks. “Reform of America’s antiquated mining laws to protect water resources, fund cleanup of abandoned mines, put special places off-limits to mining and make the industry pay taxpayers what we are owed is long overdue.”

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced a large package of bills today to make sure the oil, gas and mining industries pay their fare share. A key component of this comprehensive legislation would overhaul the General Mining Law of 1872, which allows mining of gold, copper, uranium and other metals virtually anywhere on Western public lands, with few environmental safeguards and no return to the taxpayers. Hardrock mining is the only industry that extracts resources from public lands that does not pay federal royalties.

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Tagged with: regulation, 1872 mining law, subsidies, abandoned mine cleanup, abandoned mine fee, rep. ed markey


Alaskans: Why Won’t Kay and Jared Jewelers Pledge to Shun Anglo’s Dirty Gold?

Earthworks

November 14, 2011

DILLINGHAM, Alaska, Nov. 14 -- In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, Alaskans are asking Signet, the world's largest jewelry corporation, to promise not to use gold from the proposed Pebble Mine -- a massive copper gold mine that threatens the world's most valuable wild salmon fishery.

Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, and mining reform group Earthworks have turned the spotlight on to the world's largest jeweler: Signet, parent company of the retail chains Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria, with a full-page ad (PDF) in the Western edition of The New York Times.

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Tagged with: pebble, our bristol bay, bristol bay pledge, signet jewelers, kay jewelers, jared jewelers


EPA: Oil & Gas Industry Must Report Emissions of Air Toxin From Drilling and Refining

Earthworks

November 4, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 -- Earthworks welcomed the news that after 17 years, the EPA ordered oil and gas companies to resume publicly disclosing releases of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas often emitted from drilling rigs and refineries.

Beginning next year, hydrogen sulfide emissions must again be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory, a federal database that allows Americans to find out what hazardous chemicals are being released in their communities, Nationwide, communities have not only used the TRI to learn about chemical releases in their neighborhoods, but to campaign for tighter regulations and health protections.

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Tagged with: epa, drilling, toxics release inventory, hydrogen sulfide


Envelope Please: Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold Wins Top Honor at the BENNY Awards

Earthworks

October 20, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 20 – No Dirty Gold, a campaign by Earthworks to get jewelry retailers  to reject irresponsibly mined precious metals, took top honors at the 2011 BENNY Awards, given for outstanding achievement in advancing corporate ethics.

The awards were announced this week by the Business Ethics Network, which since 1995 has honored victories in corporate campaigns by non-profit activist groups. No Dirty Gold not only won the 2011 BENNY from Business Ethics Network’s judges, but also the People’s Choice Award, determined by popular vote conducted online.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry, target, business ethics network


Alaskans say no to Pebble Mine—but don’t expect Anglo American to tell you about it

Earthworks

October 20, 2011

DILLINGHAM, Alaska, Oct. 20 -- This week, voters in the Bristol Bay region said no to Anglo American plc's plans to dig a massive open-pit gold and copper mine at the headwaters of the world's richest salmon fishery. But if you're a Anglo American investor, don't expect the company to tell you about the risk to your share value by growing opposition to the mine or the chance that it might not be built at all.

According to a formal complaint filed by Alaskan Native villages with the UK's financial reporting watchdog, Anglo American has failed to obey the law requiring disclosure to shareholders the environmental, regulatory and liability risks of the proposed Pebble Mine near the salmon-rich waters of Bristol Bay.

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Tagged with: bristol bay, anglo american, pebble, investors, polls


Gov Cuomo & DEC Fracking Policy Omits Costs to Communities, Health & Environment

September 28, 2011

ALBANY, NY (09/28/2011)(readMedia)-- In response to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) release today of regulations for industrial gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale by means of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," if such drilling is permitted, several environmental groups criticized Governor Cuomo and the DEC for not looking at the true costs of industrial gas drilling, particularly costs related to infrastructure, public health, and the environment that will be borne by communities. The groups are calling this omission Governor Cuomo and the DEC's "Don't Know, Don't Care" policy.

The New York Water Rangers also criticized the Governor for fast-tracking the state's fracking plans by releasing the regulations while the state's environmental review is incomplete.

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Tagged with: regulation, new york, clean water not dirty drilling, new york water rangers, andrew cuomo


Hundreds Rally for Clean Air in Pittsburgh

Earthworks

September 27, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA, September 27th -- Today, hundreds of families and concerned citizens gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh for the first of only three public hearings held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a proposed safeguard to reduce harmful air pollution from the extraction, transmission, and storage of oil and gas. These are also the first-ever federally proposed safeguards aimed at cutting harmful air pollution from hydraulic fracturing.

Such federal laws are critical because they provide consistent standards that -- through oversight and enforcement by the EPA and other agencies -- can help to ensure that all Americans nationwide have basic protection from significant risks to their health and environment. As the oil and gas industry rapidly expands into new areas and uses new technologies to develop unconventional sources of fossil fuels, current standards and practices haven't kept pace and revision is necessary.

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Tagged with: epa, hydraulic fracturing, regulation, air pollution, pennsylvania


Former DOE, NCAR Air Chemist Joins Earthworks as Science and Policy Advisor

Earthworks

September 20, 2011

Earthworks welcomes Cherelle Blazer, an atmospheric chemist, to their Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).

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Tagged with: ogap, air pollution, texas ogap, media, cherelle blazer


Turning Up the Heat on Costco: National Call-In Campaign to Reject Dirty Gold

Earthworks

September 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 -- In recent weeks, hundreds of Costco customers have flooded Costco's Facebook page to urge them to reject "dirty" or irresponsibly mined gold and to commit to switching to more ethically produced metals. The wholesale chain -- one of the nation's leading jewelry retailers-- has failed to respond, and environmental and human rights campaigners are turning up the heat.

This week, Earthworks' No Dirty Gold Campaign and change.org are urging Costco customers to call the company's headquarters in Issiquah, WA, to tell CEO James Sinegal it's time to sign the Golden Rules, principles for more responsible mining that respect human rights, adopt fair labor standards, and minimize harm to the environment. To date, more than 80 leading jewelry retailers including Sears/Kmart, Target, and Tiffany & Co. have signed on to the Golden Rules principles. Customers are asking why Costco is lagging behind other major retailers in ensuring that the gold it sells is not tainted with human rights abuses or pollution.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, costco


Tests Find Banned Carcinogen in Air Near Fracking Sites

Earthworks

August 23, 2011

DENTON, TX, Aug. 23 - State air tests in two communities in the Barnett Shale gas patch found strong evidence that a cancer-causing chemical -- banned for most uses for more than 25 years -- was used in hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, according to a newspaper investigation. But despite the test results and the drilling company's admission that it used a banned biocide, state regulators have recanted their own findings and refuse to take action.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reported Sunday that air tests by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found levels of 1,2-dibromoethane, or EDB, at least six times since December 2010 near natural gas facilities in the towns of Argyle and Bartonville. EDB, formerly used as a fumigant pesticide, was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1983 for all but minor uses after it was found to cause cancer and reproductive damage. Four of the six detections were over TCEQ's safe level for long-term exposure.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, texas ogap, barnett shale, tceq


DOE Panel Takes a Stand: Action Needed to Protect Communities From Risks of Natural Gas Drilling and Fracking

August 11, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 -- An Energy Department advisory panel today called for swift action to protect air, drinking water and public health from the impacts of the shale gas boom. Earthworks applauded the recommendations, but said loopholes in key environmental laws must still be closed to shield communities in America's gas patch from the risks of drilling and fracking.

President Obama called on Secretary Chu to examine the health and environmental impacts that have plagued the nation's gas fields for decades. After three months of study and public hearings, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board's Subcommittee on Natural Gas released its recommendations. The subcommittee identified four areas of concern from shale gas production: possible pollution of drinking water from methane and chemicals; air pollution; disruption of communities; and cumulative impacts on communities and the environment.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, natural gas, disclosure, obama


Environmental Groups Respond to Corbett Marcellus Commission

July 25, 2011

(Harrisburg) - A number of environmental and community organizations gathered outside Governor Corbett's office in the state capitol today to respond to the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. Groups universally criticized the Commission's final report, issued last Friday, as a product of its industry make-up and decried the secrecy employed to generate the final product.

"The Commission recognized the need for regulatory improvements, but in effect gave barely a nod to the serious and accelerating health and environmental problems in Pennsylvania's gas patch," said Nadia Steinzor, Marcellus Regional Organizer with Earthworks. "With strong incentives for the expansion of drilling, limited protections, and a willingness to violate the rights of landowners through forced pooling and municipalities by overriding zoning rights, the recommendations are yet another way to favor industry over citizens."

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, marcellus shale, pennsylvania


Montana State Court Blocks Construction of Rock Creek Mine

July 22, 2011

July 22nd -- On Thursday, a Montana state court blocked construction of Revett Mineral's proposed Rock Creek Mine beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwestern Montana, ruling that the state improperly relied on a permitting shortcut under the Montana Water Quality Act.

The ruling was the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the controversial copper and silver mine. The courts have repeatedly found the mine plan to be in violation of state and federal laws that protect clean water, fish and wildlife, and public health, resulting in the loss of several key state and federal permits.

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Tagged with: gold, drinking water, montana, rock creek mine


Groups Call on Corbett Marcellus Commission to Issue Moratorium and Protections for Pennsylvania residents

July 15, 2011

(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean Water released today a letter to Gov. Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, sent earlier this week, calling for a moratorium on further drilling pending study of the cumulative impact of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. The letter also listed recommendations to the Commission regarding what protections need to be implemented immediately to address the numerous problems with drilling identified thus far. 22 organizations from across the state signed the letter, which is available at: http://www.pacleanwatercampaign.org/.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, pennsylvania, marcellus, marcellus shale advisory commission


Hundreds of Customers Flood Costco's Facebook Page Demanding Cleaner Gold

July 1, 2011

June 30 -- Hundreds of people flooded Costco's Facebook page on Thursday, calling for the company to sign on to the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules criteria for more responsible metals sourcing. The online outburst grew from 50 posts on Tuesday to over 600 as of Thursday afternoon, and still continues to build. Since late March this year, more than 25,000 people have written letters urging Costco to sign on to the Golden Rules and to take a stand against irresponsible mining practices.

Costco is one of only two top 10 US gold retailers that has not yet signed the Golden Rules principles for more responsible mining mining practices that respect human rights, adopt fair labor standards, and minimize harm to the environment. Costco, which made $1.3 billion in profits last year, has thus far remained silent on the matter.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, golden rules, costco


In Wake of Dispatches Expos , Jewellery Customers Want to Avoid Dirty Gold

June 28, 2011

LONDON, 28 June -- Monday night, Channel 4's Dispatches exposed the truth about the international gold trade: despite a growing movement for more responsible mining, the use of child labor, dangerous working conditions and environmental destruction remain widespread. The programme also revealed that some UK jewellers who tell customers their gold or other precious metals were mined responsibly are either unclear about the details of their supply chains, or just plain wrong.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, international, golden rules


Nuclear Power's Other Tragedy: Stories from the Frontlines of Uranium Mining

Earthworks

June 23, 2011

WASHINGTON, June 23 -- The past and future of uranium mining threaten communities across America, which an antiquated federal law fails to protect from the hazards of abandoned mines, toxic waste dumps and contaminated water, according to a new report from Earthworks.

The recent decision by the Obama administration to advocate for the withdrawal from mining of one million acres around the Grand Canyon demonstrates the serious threat that uranium mining poses to water resources.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, grand canyon, uranium, nuclear power


Grand Canyon and Colorado River Temporarily Protected from Uranium Mining

June 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, June 20 -- The Obama administration today took an emergency measure to bar new mining claims around the Grand Canyon until December. At that time, administration officials indicated they hope to come up with a more comprehensive solution to protect one million acres around Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims for the next 20 years.

The million-acre area has been off limits to mining for the past two years. That moratorium, issued by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is set to expire July 20.

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Tagged with: mining, congress, grand canyon, obama, uranium


At Federal Fracking Hearing, Citizens Face Off Against Industry

June 13, 2011

WASHINGTON, PA, June 13 -- Tonight a federal task force on hydraulic fracturing holds a hearing in Pennsylvania's gas patch, and citizens will testify to water contamination, air pollution, and other health and community hazards of industrial gas development. But the panel will also hear from fracking supporters -- some of them drawn to the event by the natural gas industry's offers of airfare, hotel rooms, and meals.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, pennsylvania, department of energy, federal reforms


Conflict at the Canyon

June 13, 2011

Washington, D.C., June 13 -- The Obama administration s imminent decision on the future of uranium mining near the Grand Canyon could be swayed by the analysis of a mining industry consultant who stands to reap hundreds of thousands of dollars if the moratorium on new uranium claims is lifted, according to a new report from Earthworks and the Environmental Working Group.

In February, the Bureau of Land Management released a study of the options for lifting the moratorium on new uranium mining claims on 1 million acres surrounding the Canyon. The study gave short shrift to the risk that radioactive mine waste could contaminate the Colorado River, which flows through the Canyon. That analysis relied heavily on a paper by the consultant, Karen Wenrich, of Golden, Colo.

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Tagged with: mining, grand canyon, obama, uranium


Fracking Disclosure Bill Advances in California State Legislature

June 7, 2011

Sacramento, Calif. -- The California State Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by Environmental Working Group and Earthworks to require oil and natural gas drillers to make public a complete list of chemicals they use in oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ) operations. The fracking issue has raised alarms in communities nationwide because some chemicals injected into the earth to break up rock formations and free oil and gas are known human carcinogens such as benzene, xylene, toluene and diesel fuel.

The bill, known as AB 591 and authored by Assembly member Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), now goes to the California State Senate, where a committee that considers water quality issues is expected to hear it before the end of June.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, disclosure, california


Colorado River Agencies Urge Caution on Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

June 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, June 3 -- Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon could have health impacts and erode trust in the safety of drinking water supplies for 26 million residents of Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, the region's water suppliers warn.

In a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Lower Colorado River Water Partnership expressed concern that the draft environmental study for a plan that could allow uranium mining near the Canyon does not address worst-case scenarios should safeguards fail to prevent radioactive material from flowing downstream. The Partnership also said it had "substantial concerns" that uranium mining could deplete water supplies in the drought-prone region.

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Tagged with: mining, grand canyon, uranium


Earthworks to DOE Panel: To Protect Americans' Drinking Water, U.S. Must Close 'Halliburton Loophole' on Natural Gas Drilling and Fracking

June 1, 2011

WASHINGTON, June 1 -- The health and safety crisis in America's gasland states calls not for another panel, but for striking the oil & gas industry's exemptions from federal environmental laws, Earthworks told a Department of Energy task force today.

Last month, at President Obama's direction, Energy Secretary Steven Chu appointed a Natural Gas Subcommittee to address mounting concerns over the risks of drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in communities caught up in the natural gas boom. Today the subcommittee -- many of whose members have ties to the natural gas industry -- met with environmental groups including Earthworks, which has worked for decades with communities impacted by gas drilling and fracking.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, public health, obama


Coalition calls on elected officials and the DEC to focus on public health risks of gas drilling as NY Assembly considers issue

May 26, 2011

Albany, May 26, 2011 -- Today representatives of health, environmental, and citizens organizations called on the New York State legislature, Governor Cuomo, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to give priority to public health when determining the future of natural gas drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ) in the state.

Along with residents from the gas fields of New York and Pennsylvania, they gathered at a public hearing on the links between natural gas development using hydraulic fracturing and public health risks. The hearing was called by New York Assembly members Robert Sweeney, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, and Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Committee on Health. For the first time, legislative members had the opportunity to hear testimony from medical professionals, scientists, and health experts on the pathways of toxic contamination and subsequent health effects.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, public health, new york


Texas Fracking Bill Protects Oil and Gas Industry's Chemical Secrets, Not Citizens' Health

May 19, 2011

AUSTIN, May 19 -- Today the Texas Senate heard testimony on legislation touted as a national precedent on public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. But Texans should not be fooled: The bill allows the oil and gas industry to hide details about its use of fracking chemicals, denying citizens the important information that would help them protect their drinking water.

The bill in question, HB 3328, was introduced by Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland).

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, texas ogap, disclosure


Missing From U.S. Fracking 'Experts' Panel: Voices From Communities at Risk

May 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, May 10 - EARTHWORKS and citizens from shale gas deposits around the country are sending a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu requesting that impacted citizens be represented on the federal advisory panel on the safety of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas drilling. The panel includes academics, ex-regulators and analysts, some of whom have professional ties to the oil and gas industry. But the panel does not have a single citizen from communities directly impacted by drilling and fracking.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, public health


Leading oil and gas reform organization expands presence in Gulf Region

May 2, 2011

Durango, CO, May 2nd --"We are very pleased to announce Texas Sharon as our Gulf Region Organizer, said Gwen Lachelt, Director and Founder of EARTHWORKS' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. Beginning today, Sharon Wilson, aka "Texas Sharon," the prolific and much-respected Bluedaze blogger, becomes a full-time organizer for the nation's leading oil and gas reform organization.

Ms. Wilson will lead the organization's campaign work in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. "The Gulf Region Organizer position represents a milestone for us and we are honored to be adding our voice and expertise to the citizens' movement to reform gas drilling practices in this region", Lachelt stated.

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Tagged with: ogap, texas ogap


Newmont Urged to Drop Plans for Gold Mine in Cerro Quilish, Peru

April 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, April 19 -- As Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) holds its annual general meeting today, environmental and human rights groups are demanding the company drop plans for a gold mine gold mine at Cerro Quilish, where strong community opposition blocked previous plans seven years ago.
Mass protest in 2004, the last time Newmont proposed expanding its Yanacocha mine into Cerro Quilish. Credit: GRUFIDES

" Developing Cerro Quilish is an untenable proposal, both in terms of the financial risks represented as well as the damage to Newmont's reputation and social license", said a letter to Newmont President and CEO Richard T. O'Brien from EARTHWORKS and Oxfam America.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, newmont, international, indigenous


The Dark Side of the Boom: How Natural Gas Drilling in Texas Threatens Public Health and Safety

April 14, 2011

AUSTIN, TX, APRIL 14 -- State, local and federal officials and regulatory agencies are failing to protect Texans from the health and safety risks of the natural gas boom, according to a report released today by the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).

State Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth joined OGAP, other state advocacy organizations and community groups in releasing Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety. The report finds that authorities either lack the resources to deal with the air pollution, water contamination and other problems that accompany natural gas production; are limited in their response by inadequate laws and regulations, or continue the long Texas tradition of favoring the oil and gas industry at the expense of citizens.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, public health, texas, texas ogap


URANIUM: Bill Would Scrap 139-Year-Old Law, Protect Water and Public Lands

April 8, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8 -- -- Today, Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced legislation to shift the regulation of uranium mining from the antiquated 1872 Mining Law to the Mineral Leasing Act. This change would allow uranium mining on federal lands to be managed through a competitive leasing program, as opposed to an industry-initiated claim and patent system.

Because of an increased interest in nuclear power, the price of uranium is six times what it was 10 years ago. This price increase, as well as the speculation that new nuclear power plants will come online in the US and abroad has led to an increase

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, congress, grand canyon, uranium


Natural gas discovered underneath U.S. Capitol

April 1, 2011

Washington D.C. - Earlier today, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers announced that natural gas deposits were discovered on U.S. Capitol grounds during the construction of the underground Capitol Visitor center. The discovery -- made prior to the visitor center's opening in 2008 -- was announced today after mineral rights and jurisdictional issues were resolved allowing leasing to proceed and gas production oversight to be implemented.

An unsuspected natural gas bearing shale formation -- similar to the Marcellus Shale underlying middle Appalachian states, the Barnett Shale in north-central Texas, and other shale gas plays around the country -- was uncovered as the pit was dug for the several stories deep undergound Capitol visitor center. The new visitor center was deemed necessary in the wake of 9/11 to mitigate the possibility of terrorist attack on the Capitol Building.

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Target Says 'No' to Dirty Gold

March 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24 -- Target, the third-largest retail chain in the U.S., has joined 72 other jewelry retailers worldwide in pledging to shun gold from irresponsible mining and seek cleaner sources of gold and precious metals.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) becomes the 73rd signer of the Golden Rules, a set of social, human rights, and environmental criteria for more responsible mining of precious metals from the No Dirty Gold campaign. Target ranks No. 10 among U.S. jewelry retailers with 2009 sales of about $450 million. The Golden Rules have now been signed by eight of the top 10 jewelry sellers in the country, with combined annual sales of more than $13.5 billion, about a quarter of the total U.S. jewelry market.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, target


FRACKING CRACKDOWN: Senate, House Bills Would Protect Drinking Water from Toxic Gas Drilling Chemicals

March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, March 15 -- With growing national alarm over the health and environmental threat of toxic chemicals natural gas drilling, five members of Congress are reintroducing bills to repeal the exemption of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require public disclosure of chemicals used in the controversial process.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, drinking water, toxics, safe drinking water act, loopholes


First Nations and Greens Urge Credit Suisse: No Funds for Taseko's Prosperity Mine

March 7, 2011

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C., March 7 -- First Nations and environmentalists are urging a major international financial institution to say "no" if Taseko Mines Ltd seeks funding for its revised proposal for the open-pit Prosperity Mine, which would threaten the traditional way of life of the Tsilhqot'in people and a celebrated trout lake high in the Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia.

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Tagged with: mining, international, indigenous, canada


Showdown in Court Over Oil & Gas Waste As Legislators Wage Stealth Attacks on Pit Rule

February 22, 2011

SANTA FE, Feb. 22 -- The battle over New Mexico's landmark Pit Rule -- the nation's most protective measure to safeguard citizens, water and land from hazardous oil and gas drilling wastes -- is building to a showdown in the courthouse and the Roundhouse.

District Judge Barbara Vigil will hear arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit to stop the rollback of the Pit Rule, even as anti-environmental lawmakers in the Legislature mount a backdoor assault on it and other important conservation rules.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, new mexico, pit rule


Obama Administration: Grand Canyon Should Be Off-Limits to Mines

February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 -- The U.S. Interior Department's draft plan for addressing uranium and other mining near the Grand Canyon includes a proposal to ban new mine claims on 1 million acres. Mining reform advocates applauded the proposal, noting it is the third move forward by the Obama Administration this week to protect public lands from destructive hardrock mining.

The Grand Canyon is our most iconic national treasure, and it's critical that the Canyon and important ecological areas around it be protected from uranium mining, said Lauren Pagel, policy director for EARTHWORKS, an international mining reform group. There are many other special places and Western waterways that need protection from the devastation of uranium mining, but the Grand Canyon is a no-brainer.

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Tagged with: mining, grand canyon, uranium, interior department


This Valentine's Day, 54 Jewelers Say NO to Gold From Bristol Bay, Alaska

February 9, 2011

BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA, Feb. 9 -- Valentine's Day is the biggest holiday for sales of gold jewelry in the U.S., and these days, many love-struck sweethearts want to know where their gold comes from. This year leading jewelers, commercial fishermen and Alaska Natives all want to make sure it doesn't come from a monster open-pit mine that would threaten the world's largest wild salmon fishery.

Fifty-four jewelers, representing more than $5.75 billion in annual sales, have pledged not to use gold from the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska. The mine, a project of Anglo American PLC of London and Northern Dynasty Minerals of Vancouver, B.C., would be the largest open-pit mine in North America, and generate up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste that would be disposed in the Bristol Bay watershed.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, bristol bay, alaska, jewelry retailers


Walmart's 'Love, Earth' Jewelry is Dirty Gold

January 12, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 12 -- Walmart's Love, Earth jewelry line, marketed as the product of eco-friendly mines and worker-friendly factories, in fact uses gold from polluting mines in the U.S. and Bolivian sweatshops where employees work in brutal and unsafe conditions for a few dollars a day, according to an investigation by a journalist for TIME and ABC News.

The investigation by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky in the Jan. 6 issue of Miami New Times confirms concerns raised by environmental and indigenous peoples' groups since Walmart, the world's largest jewelry retailer, launched the Love, Earth line two years ago.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules


CLEAN AIR ACT: U.S. Issues First-Ever Limits on Mercury Pollution From Gold Mines

December 17, 2010

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Tagged with: mining, gold, regulation, mercury, clean air act


United States changes position to support UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

December 16, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16 -- "EARTHWORKS congratulates President Obama on the decision today to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  This represents a historic moment for Indigenous Peoples and for the United States, and an important step for Indigenous communities threatened by the impacts of mining, and oil and gas drilling.

“The Declaration states that Indigenous Peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent is required if they are to be moved from their lands or to have hazardous materials stored or disposed of on their lands.  Free, prior and informed consent is also required for approval of projects, including mining, oil, and gas projects, that affect their lands.  The Declaration includes the right for Indigenous Peoples to protect their religious and cultural sites and the right to the conservation and protection of the environment.

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Tagged with: indigenous, obama, un


GOV PATERSON SETS NATIONAL PRECEDENT, CALLS FOR A TIMEOUT ON FRACKING

December 11, 2010

(Albany, NY) -- Governor David Paterson today helped protect the health of New Yorkers and their drinking water by issuing an Executive Order that calls for a temporary timeout on high volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for natural gas. In doing so he signaled his understanding that high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, threatens both public health and the environment.

The Executive Order places a timeout on horizontal wells for fracking for natural gas through July 1, 2011. The Executive Order also creates a loophole that oil and gas corporations can exploit according to environmental, good government, community and public health organizations.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, public health, drinking water, new york


Groups Applaud New York State Assembly for Passing a *Timeout* on Fracking for Natural Gas

November 30, 2010

(ALBANY, NY) -- Environmental, good government, community and public health organizations applauded the State Assembly today for voting to protect New York's drinking water by passing legislation that will enact a timeout on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. By passing the bill, A. 11443B, sponsored by Assembly Member Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), the Assembly demonstrated that it recognizes the potential dangers of the environmentally dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing, often called "fracking." In states such as Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wyoming gas development using fracking has contaminated drinking and groundwater sources.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, new york


Statement of EARTHWORKS Executive Director Jennifer Krill in response to the Interior Department's forum on natural gas development on public lands

November 30, 2010

Washington, D.C. -- "We are pleased to see the Secretary of the Interior and the Department take the initiative to modernize our federal oil and gas policy to protect communities and federal resources impacted by gas development. We urge Interior go further to require best management practices for natural gas drilling on public lands.

The federal government has a responsibility to ensure drilling on our public lands occurs responsibly. And disclosure, although necessary, is only the first and most basic step necessary to protect communities and their groundwater from irresponsible drilling.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, public lands, obama, interior department


Indigenous Peoples in Latin America call for an end to destructive mining

November 26, 2010

Lima, Peru -- On Tuesday, Nov 23, Indigenous Peoples from across Latin America released The Lima Declaration , a unified position calling for an end to large-scale surface mining by transnational companies on Indigenous Peoples' lands. Indigenous representatives from the Andes, the Amazon, and Central America drafted the Declaration after a three-day Indigenous Peoples' Forum on Mining, Climate Change, and Well-being. EARTHWORKS, a US-based organization that works to protect communities and the environment from destructive mining impacts, attended the meeting at the invitation of an Indigenous Peoples' coordinating group in Latin America.

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Tagged with: mining, international, indigenous


Native Alaskans Respond to UK Mining Giant's Greenwashing Campaign With Ad in CityAM

November 4, 2010

LONDON, 4 November -- For weeks, Anglo American PLC have been running ads in the Guardian, the Economist and at Heathrow Airport, touting the benefits their mines bring to communities. Alaska Natives from Bristol Bay, where Anglo American proposes to dig the largest open-pit mine in North America, have today replied to this greenwashing by taking out a full page ad in CityAM with a blunt message to the company.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, bristol bay, alaska, anglo american


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