Media Releases

Wyoming communities worry that state drilling oversight is another MMS/gulf spill in the making

June 28, 2010

Wyoming, 6/28 With the Gulf oil spill disaster continuing to play out, Wyoming landowners and community groups are equating the behavior of BP and federal regulators that led to the disaster to the behavior of industry and regulators in Wyoming. Landowners insist that whether it is drinking water contamination in Pavillion, inadequate response to blowouts in Clark, or oil spills in Deaver, state officials' relationship to industry devalues landowners' property and puts human health at risk.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, drilling, regulation, wyoming

CORRECTED HEADLINE: Coalition forms to address risks of Marcellus shale gas drilling in New York

June 22, 2010

June 22. On June 19, nearly 140 individuals and representatives from 60 grassroots, regional, and national organizations in four states gathered in Binghamton to share information on legal, scientific, economic, policy, health, and family issues related to hydraulic fracturing for methane gas, or "fracking."

Participants in the Coalition to Protect New York are unified by knowledge of the extensive evidence that gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with toxic chemicals harm water supplies, property values, community infrastructure, the environment, and human health.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, oil and gas, ogap, marcellus shale, frac act, new york

Statement of Jennifer Krill, EARTHWORKS Executive Director, on the Gulf oil spill and protecting America's waters from further pollution

June 4, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4 -- "As BP's oil slick grows in the Gulf of Mexico, it's time to take action to protect all of America's waters -- offshore and onshore -- from future catastrophe.

"President Obama must permanently ban new offshore drilling to take our coastal communities, economies and the environment out of harm's way. Now is the time for Obama to lead us to a new energy economy by ending our dangerous dependence on oil, and implementing a transition to fossil-fuel free technology to meet our energy and transportation needs.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, oil spill, offshore

Coalition calls on New York state legislature to enact moratorium on natural gas development

May 25, 2010

Albany, May 25, 2010 -- Yesterday representatives of more than 20 local and regional organizations called on members of the New York State Assembly and Senate to enact an immediate moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF, or hydrofracking), the technology required to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. They were joined by State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (District 4), who together with Senator Joseph P. Addabbo (District 15) has introduced moratorium legislation supported by the coalition (bills A10490 and S7592).

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, new york, moratorium

Climate bill ignores nuclear power's hidden costs on communities and the environment

May 14, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14 -- This week, Senators Kerry and Lieberman moved the debate forward on ways to meet our Nation's energy needs and address the global problem of climate change. Regrettably, the proposal includes new incentives for nuclear power and erodes safeguards for development of nuclear energy. The impact on communities across the Rocky Mountain region will be immediate and potentially destructive.

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Tagged with: mining, congress, uranium, nuclear power

EARTHWORKS' Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project hosts pre-HBO Forth Worth premiere of GASLAND

May 10, 2010

Fort Worth -- On May 12th, 2010, the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) of EARTHWORKS will host a special Fort Worth screening of Josh Fox's award-winning documentary GASLAND at an exclusive engagement at the Museum of Modern Art of Forth Worth prior to its June 21st HBO broadcast premiere. The event is co-hosted by community members who, along with Mr. Fox, Texas State Representative Lon Burnam, and Oil & Gas Accountability Program Director Gwen Lachelt will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice to audience members who are confronting natural gas drilling in their communities.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, texas, texas ogap, gasland

Uranium-Impacted Communities Urge Washington to Consider the Human Impacts of Nuclear Power

May 7, 2010

Washington, D.C. -- As the Nation debates our energy future and the role of nuclear power in meeting our energy needs, uranium experts and people from communities impacted by uranium are arriving in Washington DC on May 10th to educate Members of Congress and the Obama Administration about the impact of uranium development on their communities.  Citizens from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming are telling our government that we cannot ignore the adverse effect that nuclear power as a fuel source has on public health, water supplies and the environment in areas where uranium is extracted. 

Currently, uranium mining is governed by a patchwork of federal and state laws, including partial regulation under the 1872 Mining Law, an archaic statute that considers mining to be the highest and best use of the federal land.  In these modern times, demands for nuclear fuel need to be balanced with other values from our federal lands, and reforms in our Nation’s mineral policy are long overdue.

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

Four more jewelers sign on to provide responsible jewelry

May 6, 2010

Washington, D.C, 6 May 2010 -- Four jewelry companies today announced their concern over destructive gold mining, and their support for cleaner sources of gold and precious metals. Just in time for Mother's Day, Robbins Brothers, Meghan Connolly Haupt, D.NEA, and Bario Neal have joined the nation's leading jewelry companies in signing the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules for responsible sourcing of precious metals.

The list of Golden Rules signatories now includes 70 jewelry companies representing over $14 billion in annual US jewelry sales, or nearly a quarter of total U.S. jewelry sales.

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

Natural Gas Drilling Toxics Exceed State Standards

May 4, 2010

DISH, TX, 5/4 -- Final results released today indicate that the gas drilling industry is polluting the air of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region with toxic emissions in excess of state limits. A team of environmental scientists who conducted independent air quality tests in March 2010 released the results. Preliminary results released immediately after the March tests, now corroborated, showed alarming levels of toxic chemical and greenhouse gas emissions that threaten human health and the environment.

"These definitive results not only show extreme methane emissions from gas well sites but also startling levels of chemicals that pose public health risks," said Wilma Subra, EARTHWORKS board member, environmental scientist and MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, toxics, texas ogap

EARTHWORKS announces Nadia Steinzor as Marcellus Regional Organizer

April 14, 2010

Durango, CO, April 14th --"We are very pleased to welcome Nadia Steinzor to our staff team, said Gwen Lachelt, Director of EARTHWORKS Oil & Gas Accountability Project. Beginning April 14, Ms. Steinzor will lead the organization's campaign work in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. "The Marcellus Regional Organizer position represents a milestone for us and we are honored to be adding our voice and expertise to the great effort to reform gas drilling practices in the eastern United States, Lachelt stated.

Nadia Steinzor has worked for over 15 years in communications, writing and editing, and research on environmental and social issues. She has experience as a consultant for progressive non-profit organizations and has held positions at Zero Population Growth, the International Center for Research on Women, and most recently as Director of Communications at the Mohonk Preserve.

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Jewelry Retail Giant Zale Corp. Pledges to Protect Alaska's Bristol Bay

April 13, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska -- A wave of new jewelry retailers, including the nation's 2nd largest jewelry retailer, Zale Corporation (NYSE: ZLC), pledged support today for permanently protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale metal mining, including the controversial proposed Pebble Mine proposed by Canadian company Northern Dynasty and UK-based Anglo American.

"The 1,850 Bristol Bay commercial fishing permit holders that we represent want to thank the jewelers who have vowed not to buy gold from the Pebble Mine," said Bob Waldrop, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. This landslide of new jeweler support is a tremendous boost to our efforts to protect this irreplaceable fishery."

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

Jewelry giant Zales, 12 others, pledge to protect Bristol Bay

April 13, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska -- A wave of new jewelry retailers, including the nation's 2nd largest jewelry retailer, Zale Corporation (NYSE: ZLC), pledged support today for permanently protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale metal mining, including the controversial proposed Pebble Mine.

"The 1,850 Bristol Bay commercial fishing permit holders that we represent want to thank the jewelers who have vowed not to buy gold from the Pebble Mine," said Bob Waldrop, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. This landslide of new jeweler support is a tremendous boost to our efforts to protect this irreplaceable fishery."

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

EPA launches study of hydraulic fracturing threats to drinking water

April 8, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8th -- Yesterday, EARTHWORKS provided comments to the EPA's Science Advisory Board charged with studying the public health and drinking water impacts of hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as "fracking"). Highlights of EARTHWORKS' recommendations included:

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, oil and gas, ogap

No Fooling: Obama's gifts to extractive industries continue with defense of Bush mining policy

April 1, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 1st, 2010 -- In addition to opening up vast areas of our coastline to offshore oil drilling, the Obama administration yesterday elected to defend a Bush-era policy that allows unlimited amounts of our nation's treasured public lands to be used as toxic waste dumps for the multinational hardrock mining industry. This decision -- in the form of a response to federal litigation filed by a coalition of conservation and Native American groups -- is completely inconsistent with earlier remarks by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on the importance of updating our federal mineral policies to protect public lands.

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Tagged with: mining, oil and gas, public lands, obama, waste, offshore

'Stealth' Measurements of Air Quality Contradict Shale Gas Industry Claims of Safe Air

March 4, 2010

DISH, TX, 3/4 Yesterday a team of environmental scientists presented findings from a novel two day emissions gas detection project showing methane levels as much as 20 times above normal background levels in the air around several counties in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

"These findings raise troubling questions about shale gas industry pollution not only in Texas but for states nationwide where shale gas drilling and production is planned or underway," said Wilma Subra, EARTHWORKS board member, environmental chemist and MacArthur grant recipient.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, texas ogap, barnett shale, shale gas, methane

A New Watchdog for Texas' Shale Gas Drilling Industry

February 24, 2010

Fort Worth, 2/23 -- Today EARTHWORKS formally launched the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP), a new citizens' group that will work to ensure that Texas' burgeoning Barnett shale gas industry operates while respecting the environment and the rights of its neighbors. Simultaneously, the new watchdog group released its best practices platform: DRILL-RIGHT TEXAS: Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, texas, texas ogap, barnett shale, drill right texas

New Group to Watchdog Texas Drilling Industry

February 19, 2010

EARTHWORKS will formally launch its Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) via telephone conference on Wednesday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. At the launch, Texas OGAP will release its campaign platform, DRILL-RIGHT TEXAS: Best Oil & Gas Development Practices for Texas. We will also introduce the lead Texas OGAP Organizer, Sharon Wilson, along with other key experts on the impacts of oil and gas development on health, communities and the environment. The new EARTHWORKS campaign will work throughout Texas to prevent and minimize the impacts caused by energy development.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, texas, texas ogap, drill right texas

Leading Jewelry Retailers Act on Pledge To Shun Dirty Gold

February 10, 2010

Washington D.C.-- Dozens of the nation's leading jewelry retailers are taking innovative steps to provide consumers with gold jewelry made in a more environmentally and socially responsible way, according to a report released today by the Washington, DC-based environmental group EARTHWORKS.

The report, Tarnished Gold: Assessing the Jewelry Industry's Progress on Ethical Sourcing of Metals, evaluates progress jewelers have made in pursuit of cleaner sources of precious metals -- and finds signs of hope as well as shortfalls.

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

Denver-based Newmont Mining Co. fined millions for cyanide spill at Ghanaian mine

January 21, 2010

Accra and Washington, 01/21: Ghanaian authorities are fining Denver-based Newmont Mining millions of dollars for negligently spilling cyanide at its Ahafo gold mine in October 2009, resulting in water contamination and fish kills. A Ghanaian Ministerial Panel that evaluated the spill and its aftermath recommended that the company be fined US$ 4.9 million for failing to prevent the spill or to properly report on and investigate the spill.

For the past three months, community members and Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) have raised concerns about the accident and its aftermath. “The incident brings home the fact that Ghana needs very strong laws to regulate mining operations,” said Daniel Owusu-Koranteng.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, newmont, international, cyanide, spill

EARTHWORKS announces Jennifer Krill as new Executive Director

January 13, 2010

Washington D.C., January 13th-- "EARTHWORKS is very pleased to welcome Jennifer Krill as its new Executive Director. Starting February 1st, Ms. Krill will lead EARTHWORKS in its third decade of achievement as the only national environmental advocacy organization focused exclusively on the environmental and social issues surrounding mineral extraction.

"I am thrilled to join EARTHWORKS and proud to lend my voice to the movement to protect people and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral, oil and gas extraction," said Ms. Krill. "EARTHWORKS is a nimble, effective organization with a proven track record of success through its tough stands against irresponsible actors in extractive industries, its strong commitment to protecting communities and its innovative partnerships with market leaders."

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Mining and jewelry industry self-certification system falls short, groups say


December 21, 2009

London, Washington, DC, Elko, Ottawa and Melbourne, December 21, 2009: As the jewelry and mining industry trade association, the Responsible Jewelry Council, launched its certification scheme this week, NGOs, technical experts and community representatives cautioned about the limits and shortcomings of the industry-run system.

"Given the considerable impacts of gold mining and consumer concerns about 'dirty' gold, there is clearly a need for independent, third-party monitoring of the gold supply chain," said Payal Sampat of Washington, DC-based EARTHWORKS and the No Dirty Gold campaign. "Unfortunately, the RJC is a process led and governed entirely by the very industries that are to be monitored, and does not meet this need."

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Tagged with: mining, international, jewelry retailers

Texas state government responds to results of DISH health survey

December 18, 2009

DISH, Texas, 12/18 -- In response to recently revealed health impacts in the DISH area, today, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) acknowledged the need for new protections for citizens living in and around the Barnett Shale gas deposit. TCEQ stated it is now issuing an important change in odor response procedures. New policies will require TCEQ to respond to odor complaints on the same day as the complaint, or within 12-hours from receiving a complaint. The new procedure will enable citizens to document both odor and health symptom information by affidavit. These changes represent an important step-forward for the local governments and citizens working to mitigate irresponsible shale gas drilling.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, drilling, public health, texas, barnett shale, tceq, odor

Community Health Survey Shows Shale Gas Threatens Human Health

December 16, 2009

DISH, Texas, 12/17 -- Today, public interest groups and the Town of DISH released the final results of a health survey of area residents focused on the impacts of Barnett Shale gas infrastructure. The results show that more than half of surveyed maladies can be attributed to toxics first revealed in September in a DISH-commissioned study of area air quality. Based on the results, EARTHWORKS, the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project and the Town of DISH are calling on state regulators to immediately perform an in-depth health investigation, implement continuous 24-hour emissions monitoring, and establish a same-day community odor and symptom tracking system.

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

$140 billion giveaway? Senate Committee to Vote on Arizona Land Exchange

December 15, 2009

Washington,DC -- On Wednesday December 16th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to mark up S. 409, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009. The current version of the legislation, as well as an amended version of the legislation being presented as a substitute, would fleece the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars.

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Tagged with: mining, mining reform, rio tinto, arizona, bhp billiton, legislature, senate, tax payers

ASARCO Bankruptcy Shows Need for 1872 Mining Law Reform: Updated Mining Law Will Prevent Future Bankruptcies

December 11, 2009

Washington D.C., December 11-- Yesterday, the mining company ASARCO, a subsidiary of the Mexican corporation Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V, paid the United States government $1.79 billion to help clean up hazardous waste pollution at ASARCO-owned mines and smelters in 19 states. This payment, the nation's largest environmental bankruptcy settlement, highlights the pressing need to reform the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, the law that governed many of ASARCO's mining properties.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, abandoned mines, bankruptcy, hazardous waste

Sears/Kmart join other jewelers in pledging to avoid *dirty* gold

November 18, 2009

Washington, D.C, 11/18 -- Three major jewelry retailers today announced their decision to shun irresponsible gold mining and seek cleaner sources of gold and precious metals.  Sears Holdings (parent company of Sears and Kmart), Ultra Stores, and Blue Nile all signed the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules for responsible sourcing of precious metals, bringing the total number of jewelry retail signatories up to 60. These jewelry retailers include 7 of the top 10 jewelry retail firms in the United States, and represent over $14 billion in annual US jewelry sales, or nearly a quarter of total sales.

"The No Dirty Gold campaign is a great initiative that pushes for sustainability and ethnical sourcing on gold. We are proud to be a part of it and to offer our customers gold that was obtained in a responsible manner", said Michelle Pearlman, Senior Vice President and President of Jewelry at Sears Holdings. "Sears strives to be a green company and we will continue to work to build lifetime relationships with our customers starting from the mines up."

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

Chesapeake Energy Concedes...

November 2, 2009

Durango, CO -- "Last week, Chesapeake Energy Corporation stated that it will not drill for natural gas within the New York City watershed, a small area within the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve which underlies some of the Appalachian regions of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia. The watershed, which supplies untreated, clean water to nine million people, is under increasing pressure to drill.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, natural gas, marcellus shale, chesapeake

Anglo American's Alaska Mine Poses High Risks for Investors

October 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, October 29-- A new investor advisory - released today raises significant questions about the risks associated with Anglo American plc's Pebble Mine Project in southwest Alaska. The advisory details the growing list of regulatory, legal, engineering and political challenges facing the London-based mining giant as its struggles to secure permits for the controversial gold-copper mine.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, anglo american, pebble, copper

Clark, Wyoming

October 21, 2009

Clark, Wyoming is a small community just outside Yellowstone National Park, on the east side of the Beartooth Mountains. It overlies natural gas reserves that the natural gas drilling industry has exploited since the 1960's

Clark, and the spectacular Beartooth Front that surrounds it, are home to outstanding wildlife and recreational opportunities, productive ranch land, and Wyoming's only "Wild and Scenic" river, the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, wyoming, yellowstone

Conservation and Native American Groups Challenge Bush-Era Mining Giveaways

October 20, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 20-- A coalition of conservation and Native American organizations today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C. challenging two regulations issued by the Bush Administration that weakened the requirements for environmental and taxpayer protections on federal public land involved in mining operations.

The Bush regulations overturned previous regulations and policies that had limited the dumping of mine waste to what was strictly allowed by federal mining and public land laws. These Bush-era policies allow multinational mining companies unlimited amounts of public land to dump toxic mine waste and tailings from large-scale industrial mining operations. The challenged regulation, first issued in 2003, reinterpreted what is known as the "millsite provision" of the 1872 Mining Law.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, indigenous, taxpayers, bush

EARTHWORKS Supports Abandoned Mine Initiative Introduced in the U.S. Senate

October 14, 2009

Washington D.C., October 14-- "EARTHWORKS welcomes the step forward for abandoned mine restoration in the U.S. Senate represented by the introduction of Good Samaritan abandoned mine legislation [S. 1777, the Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act]. The attention on this pervasive source of water pollution from our legacy of abandoned mines is long overdue. Senator Mark Udall deserves praise for leading this effort to bring common sense to the management of abandoned mine clean up efforts, and allow communities, companies, non-profit organizations and individuals to help restore our polluted waters without liability under the Clean Water Act. We look forward to working with the Senate Environment and Public Works in the need to act on this proposal to protect our streams, fisheries and western communities from the pollution that comes from abandoned mines. Coupled with this important step forward to restore abandoned mines, we hope the Senate will consider comprehensive mining reform legislation to provide a revenue source for these restoration efforts.

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Tagged with: mining, congress, good samaritan, legislature

City reports toxic results of study of natural gas complex

October 13, 2009

DISH, Texas -- The Town of DISH, TX has announced that its air quality study found seven locations where carcinogenic and neurotoxic emissions violated limits set by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The town commissioned the study - which cost 15% of its total budget - to assess the mega-complex of compressors, condensate tanks, and major pipelines that process and transport natural gas extracted from the Barnett Shale underlying the area. .

"Frankly, I didn't think the results would come back as bad as the did, " said Mayor Calvin Tillman. " TCEQ needs to shut these compressors down immediately and until we can get emission controls that protect the residents living right up against this infrastructure."

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, natural gas, texas, toxics, texas ogap

City to Report Toxic Results of Gas Complex Study at Local Meeting

October 8, 2009

The results of a DISH, Texas municipal Ambient Air Quality Study recently revealed high concentrations of toxic air emissions, including neurotoxins and carcinogens, near and on residential properties in the small town of DISH, Texas. Local officials will formally discuss the results of the study and provide information about a community-based Health Assessment at a public meeting in DISH, Texas on October 12th at 7p.m. on Monday, October 12th.

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

Drilling Contamination Spreads as Polluter's Bankruptcy Looms

October 1, 2009

Clark, WY, 10/01 -- Clark Resource Council has learned that Windsor Energy Group, LLC recently put its assets up for bid. At a public meeting in September Windsor representatives explained that benzene is also above regulatory levels east of Line Creek- where Windsor had guaranteed it would not go. Assuming no buyer is found, the logical next step is bankruptcy: leaving the community's groundwater, and cleanup of the pollution, in doubt.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, ogap, frac act, water contamination

Jewelry Retailers' Opposition to Pebble Mine Gains Momentum

September 30, 2009

Anchorage, Alaska, 09/30 -- As commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay, Alaska, celebrate a record-breaking season, a wave of new jewelry retailers representing nearly $1 billion in sales today pledged support for permanently protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale metal mining, including the controversial proposed Pebble Mine.

"I want to thank all the jewelers who have vowed never to buy gold from the Pebble Mine," said Everett Thompson, a Bristol Bay commercial fisherman. "I am always amazed at the yearly return of Bristol Bay salmon and after having my best commercial fishing season in 26 years, I know first-hand what a shame it would be to put this irreplaceable fishery at risk," he said.

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

EARTHWORKS Supports Rahall Plan To Make Uranium Leasable

September 17, 2009

Washington, D.C.- EARTHWORKS applauds Chairman Rahall for his continuing efforts to address the most egregious abuses under the Mining Law of 1872. Section 511 of the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009 would convert uranium from a locatable mineral under the General Mining Law of 1872 to a leasable mineral under the Mineral Leasing Act.

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

Efforts to Reform Natural Gas Development Gain Momentum

September 16, 2009

Washington, DC, Sep 16 - As the House Natural Resources Committee holds hearings on reforms to the nation's oil and gas program, more than 160 community and national organizations across the country signed on to a letter of support for passage of legislation that would protect drinking water from the growing impacts of hydraulic fracturing, a process used in most natural gas drilling projects.

"When it comes to the public's health, it is not unreasonable to require the oil and gas industry to disclose the toxic chemicals they use in our local communities," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). "The oil and gas industry has one of the only exceptions under the Safe Drinking Water Act that frees them from federal oversight and disclosure. With people getting sick from contaminated water sources potentially due to frac'ing, the public's safety is paramount." Rep. DeGette introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (or "FRAC Act") in the House with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the bill in the Senate.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, frac act, congress

Snowbird Owner Threatens Own Resort, All Skiing, With Alaska Coal Mine Proposal

August 18, 2009

Salt Lake City, UT August 17, 2009- A huge coal strip-mining operation proposed on Alaska's Chuitna River by the owner of the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah has drawn the ire of groups concerned about the mine's contribution to global warming.

Richard Bass, who owns the prominent Utah resort, has partnered with William H. Hunt to form PacRim Coal LLC, which has submitted permit applications to build a coal mine directly on top of 11 miles of prime salmon fisheries feeding the Cook Inlet. Nearly all the coal excavated from the mine, located about 45 miles from Anchorage, would be exported to coal markets in China and other Pacific Rim countries. The Chuitna mine would produce more than 12 million tons of coal annually, which when burned, would emit more than 27 million tons of carbon dioxide.

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Tagged with: alaska, coal mining

EPA Confirms Drinking Water Contamination by Toxics Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

August 14, 2009

Pavillion, WY, August 14, 2009 - This week U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told a group of over 70 that initial investigations found 11 of 39 tested drinking water wells were contaminated. Among the contaminants are toxics used in oil and gas production.

As part of a Superfund investigation, EPA began sampling in March 2009 in the Pavillion, WY area in response to multiple landowners concerns about changes in water quality and quantity following EnCana's increased gas development in the area. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) and EnCana had continually assured Pavillion residents that there was no evidence of hydrocarbons or toxic chemicals in their drinking water wells.

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Tagged with: epa, oil and gas, frac act, wyoming, encana

Repeal of mining double subsidy would fund clean up of America's rivers, streams

August 6, 2009

Washington, D.C., August 6th -- S 1570, The Elimination of Double Subsidies for Hardrock Mining Industry Act, is legislation, like 1872 mining law reform, that is long overdue. We applaud Senators Feingold, Cantwell, Feinstein and Sanders for introducing it earlier this week.

Passage would generate $50 million per year, half of which would fund abandoned mine reclamation. This money is sorely needed. The EPA estimates that 40% of the headwaters of western watersheds are polluted by mining, and they also estimate that abandoned mine reclamation will cost $50 billion.

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Tagged with: epa, 1872 mining law, congress, hardrock mining

Statement of Payal Sampat, EARTHWORKS, on Supreme Court ruling on mining waste disposal in water bodies

June 26, 2009

Washington, D.C., 6/26 - 6/26/2009 US and global waterways are at greater risk of industrial contamination following the US Supreme Court s ruling this week allowing a mining company to dump millions of gallons of toxic waste into an Alaskan lake. The Court's decision was based on a 2002 Bush-era policy that allows solid waste and contaminated materials to be dumped directly into lakes, streams and other water bodies. As Justice Ginsburg wrote in her dissent, the ruling contravenes the "core command" of the Clean Water Act. EARTHWORKS is deeply disappointed by the ruling and its negative implications for clean water.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, alaska, clean water act, waste

Senators, Representatives act to close Halliburton Loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act

June 9, 2009

(Washington, D.C., June 9) - Today Senators Casey (D-PA) and Schumer (D-NY), and Representatives DeGette (D-CO), Polis (D-CO) and Hinchey (D-NY) introduced bills in the Senate and House to close the so-called "Halliburton Loophole" in the Safe Drinking Water Act that exempts hydraulic fracturing, and to require the public disclosure of hydraulic fracturing chemicals. The Halliburton loophole authorizes oil and gas drillers, exclusively, to inject known hazardous materials -- unchecked -- directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies. It passed as part of the Bush Administration's Energy Policy Act of 2005.

"Energy development needn't threaten our drinking water and public health -- but under the Halliburton loophole, it does," said John Fenton, a rancher negatively impacted by drilling activity, and member of the Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens in Wyoming.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, safe drinking water act, congress, halliburton loophole, loopholes, bush

Leading UK Jewelers Say *No* to Dirty Gold from Alaska Mine

April 14, 2009

London, England -- Six prestigious UK jewelry retailers and designers representing 260 stores today pledged their support for Bristol Bay, Alaska, by announcing that they will not buy gold from Anglo American's proposed "Pebble" mine, a massive open-pit operation being considered in the bay's headwaters. The Bristol Bay watershed supports the world's most productive wild sockeye salmon fishery, which is critical to the state's economy and to the livelihoods of many Alaska Native communities. The UK is the largest consumer of Bristol Bay canned sockeye salmon.

UK jewelers Goldsmiths, Beaverbrooks, Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland, Fifi Bijoux and April Doubleday took this step at the invitation of local Alaskans who seek to protect wild salmon, clean water and their traditional ways of life from the damaging effects of industrial metal mines.

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Tagged with: gold, bristol bay, alaska, international, jewelry retailers

New Bingaman Mining Legislation Would Bring Tens of Thousands of Jobs to Rural Communities

April 2, 2009

Washington, D.C., 04/02 -- Today, for the first time in over a decade, the Senate is moving forward with reform of one of the most archaic policies governing our public lands. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has introduced S. 796, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009, to regulate the mining of hardrock minerals -- like gold, copper and uranium -- on public lands. This bill will create jobs and provide economic opportunities for rural communities while cleaning up a massive legacy of toxic mining pollution.

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Tagged with: public lands, congress, hardrock mining

New Mexico's land and water face challenge from the oil and gas industry

March 31, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, March 31st - Three organizations announced today their opposition to a state plan to weaken a hard-fought water and land protection rule. On February 18, Governor Richardson announced he was directing the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to work with industry to develop amendments that would save them the cost of compliance to the recently amended Pit Rule.

The Pit Rule improved regulation of waste from oil and gas operations, and is one of the nation's better rules protecting water, soil, plants, wildlife and public health from toxic levels of salt and other chemicals in oil and gas waste pits. The state officially adopted the new rule last May, but due to the Governor's urging, the Oil Conservation Division (OCD), a division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, filed a petition on February 27th to amend the rule.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, public health, new mexico, water, landowners

Newest Toxics Release Inventory Conceals Toxic Threat to Drinking Water

March 19, 2009

Mar 19, Washington, D.C. -- Today the Environmental Protection Agency published the most recent Toxics Release Inventory. Once again the nation's largest polluter is the metal mining industry: of 4.09 billion pounds of toxics reported, 1.15 billion pounds were released by mining -- more than 28% by just one industry.

Unfortunately, one of the most serious threats to our nation's drinking water supply is left unknown. Oil & gas producers do not have to report under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Know Act (EPCRA), the legislation authorizing TRI.

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Tagged with: mining, drinking water, toxics, mercury, tri

EARTHWORKS Calls on Newmont to Respect Community Rights

March 11, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Newmont Mining, the second largest gold producer in the world, recognized in a new report that it has failed to properly engage with affected communities at five of its principal mine sites around the world. The company's Community Relations Review (CRR), mandated by a shareholder resolution passed two years ago, found that there has been "a consistent lack of accountability in the implementation of Newmont's community relations objectives."

"For too long, Newmont's relationship with local communities at its mining operations has been fraught with tension and absence of dialogue," said Payal Sampat, International Campaign Director at EARTHWORKS in Washington, DC. "This review provides Newmont with an unprecedented opportunity to rethink, and overhaul, its relationship with communities at existing and future projects."

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Tagged with: mining, gold, newmont, indigenous, community consent

Economic Recovery Bill Creates Jobs Through Mine Cleanup

February 14, 2009

Feb 14 -- Late last night, the U.S. Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, including as much as $1.5 billion for abandoned mine clean up on public lands. The $1.5 billion dollars will be given to the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for construction, capital improvement, maintenance and other land management activities, including remediating abandoned mines. The Senate-passed version of the bill had specifically allocated $105 million for abandoned mine cleanup.

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Tagged with: mining, public lands, abandoned mines, congress, legislature

Groups Urge Obama to Stand Strong on Clean Energy in First International Visit

February 12, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Today, an international network of environmental groups is launching a cross-border campaign urging President Barack Obama to stand strong on his new energy economy agenda and reject entreaties from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to shelter the dirtiest oil on earth from global warming regulation.

"Tar sands oil is the dirtiest form of energy in the world. It has no place in President Obama's plans for a clean energy economy," said Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign Coordinator Pat Gallagher. "Tar sands oil accelerates global warming. It destroys forests. It endangers public health. Instead of importing this expensive, dirty oil, we can invest in clean energy that will create millions of much-needed, sustainable jobs."

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Tagged with: international, tar sands, obama, canada

No Dirty Gold celebrates 5th anniversary by signing up 50th jewelry retailer

February 5, 2009

Washington D.C. -- Just days before its 5th anniversary on Valentine's Day, the No Dirty Gold campaign is announcing its 50th signatory to the "Golden Rules" for more responsible sourcing of precious metals.

These retailers and manufacturers, representing some 23% of the US jewelry market, have pledged to source metals that were produced more responsibly, meeting the human rights, social, and environmental criteria of the Golden Rules.

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

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