Media Releases

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

Senate Economic Recovery Bill Promotes Jobs and Mine Cleanup

January 30, 2009

Jan 30th -- The Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a broad package of economic recovery proposals for the Nation this week, including $650 million to restore our National Forests damaged by abandoned mines. This would create 15 to 42 thousand jobs to reduce water pollution, eliminate public safety threats, and restore fish and wildlife habitat in rural communities across the country and here in Montana.

"We applaud the efforts of Senator Tester and Governor Schweitzer to promote new economic opportunities in Montana's rural areas," declared Bonnie Gestring from the EARTHWORKS Northern Rockies office. "Old mines like the Beal Mountain project and other sites along the Clark Fork and Big Blackfoot River may finally get cleaned up."

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Tagged with: mining, abandoned mines, montana, congress

1872 Mining Law reform reintroduced

January 22, 2009

1/27/2009 -- "Today the U.S. Congress takes an important step towards reforming one of the last remaining public-resource giveaways, the 1872 Mining Law. This bill, introduced by Chairman Nick Rahall, (D-WV), along with 21 co-sponsors from around the country, will promote economic development in rural communities throughout the West by creating jobs for abandoned mine clean up while protecting communities and water quality from the damage caused by modern mining.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, abandoned mines, congress

EARTHWORKS applauds the nomination of Senator Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior

December 18, 2008

"EARTHWORKS congratulates Senator Ken Salazar on his nomination to be Secretary of Interior. We know Senator Salazar to be a solution-oriented bridge builder whose intimate knowledge of public lands issues gives hope for a new day in the management of public lands -- and the valuable cultural, environmental, and natural resources they contain.

This year, Senator Salazar has pledged his support for long overdue reforms to the 1872 Mining Law, the law that governs metal mining, like gold, copper and uranium, on public lands. EARTHWORKS is confident that the Senator will continue to work for real and meaningful reform of this outdated law in his new role as Secretary.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, public lands

EPA Initiates Enforcement Action over Hazardous Waste Problems at Nevada Gold Mines

December 18, 2008

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated enforcement action at the Gold Quarry and Jerritt Canyon Mines after investigations found serious problems with the handling and disposal of hazardous waste. The notices of violation went to mine owners Newmont and Queenstake (now Yukon-Nevada Gold Corp.). According to the EPA's investigation, the mines:

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Tagged with: mining, epa, gold, toxics, mercury

A New Generation of Regulation

December 12, 2008

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, colorado, new mexico, colorado legislature

POLL: Protect Montana from obsolete mining law

October 28, 2008

MISSOULA - Montana voters strongly support protecting our land, water and wildlife from the obsolete 1872 Mining Law, according to a statewide survey released today.

Sportsmen and conservation groups released findings of a poll today that show overwhelming support for updating the federal 1872 Mining Law that governs hardrock mining on national forests and other federal public land.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, montana

Protecting Our Drinking Water from Oil & Gas

October 17, 2008

Durango, Colorado, October 17 - Today EARTHWORKS' Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) announced its strong support for H. R. 7231, a bill to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The legislation was recently introduced by Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Congressman John Salazar (D-CO), and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. H.R. 7231 repeals this exemption while allowing flexibility and ensuring a federal minimum standard to prohibit endangerment of underground sources of drinking water.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, drinking water, colorado, congress

EARTHWORKS announces leadership transition and Executive Director search

September 25, 2008

Washington, DC -- On September 30, Stephen D'Esposito will step down as President and CEO of EARTHWORKS, a position he has held for ten years. Steve has accepted a new appointment as President of RESOLVE, where he will launch a new initiative, the Earth-Solutions Center. EARTHWORKS will continue to build on its 20-year track record of protecting communities and the environment by reforming the mining and energy industries through legislative, markets and corporate campaigns.

Under Steve's leadership, EARTHWORKS, formerly called the Mineral Policy Center, promoted reform of the 1872 Mining Law and assisted communities across the West, and around the world, in dealing with the environmental, economic, and social effects of mining. During this time, EARTHWORKS established the "No Dirty Gold" campaign, expanded its mission to address international issues, and merged with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project. Recently, the organization launched its "No Dirty Energy" campaign to further increase its reach and impact. A special hallmark of EARTHWORKS' activities during Steve's tenure was engagement with corporate leaders to advance responsible mining and oil and gas development practices.

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Proposed Gold Mine Threatens Ghana Forest Reserve

August 13, 2008

Accra, Cologne and Washington, DC, 14 August 2008-- Environmental and human rights organizations from 3 continents have criticized plans by Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation to develop an open-pit gold mine in a Forest Reserve in Ghana. The groups today released expert reviews of the technical aspects of the mine project that document deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The expert reviews point to major gaps in the EIS regarding reclamation plans, the potential for acid drainage, risks of water contamination with heavy metals and cyanide, as well as impacts on biodiversity.

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

No Dirty Gold Campaign Statement on Wal-Mart’s Love, Earth Initiative

No Dirty Gold campaign

July 21, 2008

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, love earth, walmart

House Protects Grand Canyon from mining ... for now

June 25, 2008

Today, the House Natural Resources Committee took an important step to protect the Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of our National Park system. Over the past five years, the threat of uranium development outside its borders has increased more than a hundredfold. In response, the Committee passed an emergency resolution to temporarily withdraw over 1 million acres adjacent to the Park from new mining claim staking. We applaud the champion of this initiative, Congressman Grijalva, for his leadership on this issue.

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Tagged with: mining, congress, grand canyon, uranium

Conservation Groups Sue to Protect Native Fishery from Rock Creek Mine

June 10, 2008

Four conservation groups filed suit Monday to protect a critical native fishery from impacts associated with the proposed Rock Creek Mine, a controversial copper and silver mine at the edge of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in the lower Clark Fork River watershed near Idaho.

The suit, filed in state district court by the Rock Creek Alliance, the Clark Fork Coalition, Earthworks, and Trout Unlimited, alleges that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and mine owner Revett Minerals, Inc. are permitting the mine in a way that violates state water quality laws, harms a key fishery, and shuts the public out of the permitting process.

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Tagged with: mining, rock creek mine

New No Dirty Energy campaign calls upon API to spend money on clean energy alternatives, not PR

May 14, 2008

May 14, 2008 -- In a letter to the American Petroleum Institute (API), the environmental organization EARTHWORKS today called upon the API to stop its multi-million dollar, multi-year self-promotion campaign aimed at polishing its image during a time of record high energy prices. The letter calls upon API to aid American consumers by instead investing the PR campaign money in clean energy alternatives.

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Tagged with: tar sands, no dirty energy

Don't Buy It; Tar Sands Oil is still dirty

April 29, 2008

WASHINGTON (April 29, 2008) - Deputy Premier of Alberta Ron Stevens is in Washington this week, meeting with Bush Administration officials and members of Congress to promote the importation of dirty tar sands oil to the United States. Stevens is expected to advocate that tar sands oil should be exempted under Section 526 in the newly enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Section 526 prohibits the Federal purchase of unconventional or synthetic fuels whose lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are higher than conventional fuels.

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Tagged with: international, tar sands, canada, oil, dirty oil, nokxl

Don't tarnish the Oscars with dirty gold

February 22, 2008

Washington, D.C. -- In the lead-up to the Oscar awards ceremonies in Los Angeles on Sunday, more than 2,000 activists have sent letters and faxes to the celebrity jeweler Harry Winston, urging the company to commit to human rights and environmental standards for sourcing gold and precious metals. Concerns about "dirty" or irresponsible mining practices have already prompted 29 leading jewelry retailers, including Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Piaget Gold to sign on to these standards, which are known as the "Golden Rules." However, Harry Winston, jeweler to the stars, still lags behind in this regard.

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

Jewelry Retailers Urge Protection for Alaska's Bristol Bay

February 12, 2008

Washington, DC, February 12, 2008 - As shoppers rush to buy last-minute Valentine's gifts, five of the nation's leading jewelry retailers -- Tiffany & Co., Ben Bridge Jeweler, Helzberg Diamonds, Fortunoff, and Leber Jeweler, Inc. -- today pledged their support to permanently protect Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale metal mining, including the massive proposed Pebble gold mine. The retailers, who had $2.2 billion in sales in 2006, took this step at the invitation of local Alaskans, who seek to protect wild salmon, clean water, and traditional Alaskan ways of life from the damaging effects of industrial metal mines.

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

1872 Mining Law Reform Proposal Falls Short

January 25, 2008

Washington, D.C., 1/25: Yesterday, the ranking member of the Senate and Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM), laid out an agenda for "reform" of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law that would not adequately protect taxpayers, communities and the environment from the potentially destructive impacts of hardrock mining.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, new mexico, taxpayers, senate, legislature

House Natural Resources Committee Overhauls Outdated 1872 Mining Law

October 23, 2007

October 23, Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee today approved a major rewrite of the badly outdated 1872 Mining Law, setting the stage for a House floor vote later this year. The House is expected to pass the reform bill, H.R. 2262.

A dinosaur among the nation's public lands statutes, the 19th century mining law is one of the most destructive still on the books. It applies to hundreds of millions of acres of federal public lands. Although it has left a legacy of poisoned streams and abandoned mines across the West, HR 2262 would be the Mining Law's first substantial overhaul in 135 years. The 1872 Mining Law, originally intended to spur the nation's westward expansion, makes mining the "highest and best use" of public lands, allows the sale of claimed lands for $5 an acre, imposes zero federal royalties, and contains no environmental standards.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, public lands, congress

Citizens' groups, ranchers, landowners urge state to protect water, public health and taxpayers with strong pit rule

October 19, 2007

October 19, 2007 - New Mexico citizens' groups, ranching groups and landowners are urging state officials to prohibit pits on most oil and gas drilling sites and to require operators to dispose of contaminated pit waste at permitted waste facilities, rather than burying the waste on-site.

"It's time that the oil and gas industry takes responsibility to prevent pit pollution and dispose of their waste properly like everyone else," said Bruce Baizel, staff attorney for the Oil & Gas Accountability Project and Pit Rule Task Force member - a stakeholder group charged with developing a proposal for new oil and gas pit regulations.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, new mexico, disclosure

Road To Ethically Sourced Jewelry Gets Shorter

October 9, 2007

Oct 9, 2007 - The Madison Dialogue has published its second White Paper, entitled Getting to Fair Trade Gold and Jewellery, by Cristina Echavarria, Secretary General of the Association for Responsible Mining (ARM), a global NGO based in Colombia. It describes the Standard Zero process, which will certify gold that comes from artisanal and small-scale mines as meeting social, environmental and human rights standards and providing added economic benefit to local communities.

This project seeks to link an emerging grassroots movement in ethically produced metals and gems with the global "fair trade" movement. The result, for the first time, would be the presence in jewelry stores of jewelry sourced from gold that meets standards of environmental accountability, economic justice, and local sustainability.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, jewelry retailers

New Research Reveals that Industry-Backed Royalty Scheme Fails Taxpayers and the Environment

October 2, 2007

October 2, Washington, D.C. -- New research released today finds that the mining royalty methodology used by Nevada and Alaska, if adopted by the federal government, would neither pay taxpayers a fair return nor adequately fund the $50 billion abandoned mine cleanup bill facing all Americans. Published by the mining and energy watchdog group EARTHWORKS, A Hardrock Royalty: case studies and industry norms, is being released the same day the Energy and Minerals Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee hears testimony regarding the royalty provisions of 1872 Mining Law reform.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, alaska, nevada, taxpayers

Growing Coalition Calls on Shell: Don't Drill in Canadian Sacred Headwaters!

September 11, 2007

September 11 -- Following continued efforts by Royal Dutch Shell to push its plans to explore for coal bed methane in British Columbia's Sacred Headwaters, a growing international coalition published an ad in the Financial Times calling upon the world's second largest corporation to abandon the risky project. The coalition, which includes the Dogwood Initiative, EARTHWORKS, ForestEthics, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and Sierra Club of Canada, is part of a diverse and growing opposition to Shell's attempt to develop one of the largest, intact predator-prey ecosystems in North America.

The ad follows a joint letter from the coalition members to Shell's Board Chair Jorma Ollila, and CEO Jeroen van der Veer, in which the groups requested that Royal Dutch Shell refrain from activity in the headwaters of the Stikine, Skeena and Nass Rivers.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, shell

Costa Rican Gold Mine Suspended Due to Pollution Risks

September 11, 2007

San Jose and Washington, DC, 11 September, 2007: A multinational coalition of environmental and human rights organizations are calling on Canadian mining company Glencairn Gold Corporation to disclose information about suspected cyanide and metals pollution from the Bellavista gold mine in Costa Rica. Glencairn shut down the mine in late July, following heavy rains that caused substantial earth movements, and has reported in financial statements that the mine "may remain closed indefinitely," but has not made available any information about the extent of current or potential damage. The groups also demand proper cleanup and remediation of any current or future contamination.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, toxics, international, pollution

Groups Urge World Bank to Strengthen Guidelines for Controversial Mining Projects

September 6, 2007

Washington DC: A coalition of anti-poverty and environmental organizations today called on the private sector arm of the World Bank to re-write and improve its new environmental and safety guidelines for large-scale mining projects. The coalition, comprised of WWF, Oxfam, EARTHWORKS, the Bank Information Center and the Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2) released a 20-page analysis that found serious shortcomings in the draft guidelines.

The guidelines lack measurable standards for critical issues, such as preventing water contamination - a major concern with large scale mining - and disposal of toxic wastes. The new rules also do not ensure that mines will be closed down properly to avoid long-term pollution problems.

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Tagged with: mining, mining reform, world bank

Statement of Stephen D'Esposito, EARTHWORKS President, on 1872 Mining Law Reform Hearings

July 26, 2007

7/26/07 - "Today the U.S. Congress takes an important step towards reforming one of the last remaining public-resource giveaways.

The House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals hearing on HR 2262, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, addresses the need to update a law that is long past due for reform -- the 1872 Mining Law.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, congress

New Mexico Passes Precedent-Setting Landowner Protection Act

June 28, 2007

(Raton, June 27) - Members of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association (NMCGA) will celebrate the enactment of the nation's strongest landowner law at its Annual Mid-Year Meeting in Raton June 29. They will also release the Oil & Gas Accountability Project's "Landowner's Guide to the New Mexico Surface Owners' Protection Act" - a step-by-step handbook detailing what the law does for surface owners.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, new mexico, landowners guide

New Evidence Shows Gold Mine Releasing Massive Unreported Mercury Air Pollution

June 11, 2007

Reno, NV (06/11) - New information reveals that the Queenstake's Jerritt Canyon Mine in northern Nevada is releasing massive unreported amounts of mercury air pollution. The new emissions data, obtained from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP), indicates that the mine may have released as much as 6,000-8,000 pounds of mercury air pollution in 2005 and 2006, yet it reported only 300-400 pounds to state and federal agencies for those years.

"It's a staggering amount of mercury, and a tremendous threat to the health and wellbeing of Nevada families," said Dan Randolph of Great Basin Mine Watch.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, nevada, mercury

National Precedent Set by New Landowner Protection Law

May 29, 2007

(Glenwood Springs, May 29) -- Today Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will sign House Bill 1252, precedent-setting legislation that is one of the most powerful state laws in the nation in terms of protecting landowners right and the environment.

"This is a brilliant piece of legislation that gives landowners a powerful tool to negotiate with companies and it requires industry to use state-of-the-art technologies to prevent and reduce damages," said Oil & Gas Accountability Project member Jim Fitzgerald, a rancher from Bayfield, CO. "There is no other law in the nation that balances the rights of landowners to protect their land with the rights of industry to develop their oil and gas."

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, congress, landowner protection

Local Officials, Native Americans, Conservationists Support New Federal Mining Reform Bill

May 10, 2007

Washington, D.C. -- Local elected officials, Native Americans, and conservationists welcomed the introduction today of a new bill in Congress to protect clean water and western public lands from the impacts of metal mining. Championed by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV), the bill would overhaul the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, which allows mining of metals (like gold, copper and uranium) virtually anywhere on western public lands with few environmental safeguards and no return to the U.S. Treasury on the value of metals taken from those lands.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, 1872 mining law, indigenous, clean water

Groups Urge Newmont to Address Shareholder and Community Concerns

April 23, 2007

Washington, DC -- In advance of tomorrow's annual meeting of  Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation, community groups from around the world urged the company to address human rights and environmental concerns at its gold mining operations and investments in Indonesia, Ghana, Peru, the United States, and Romania. The company's projects have been beset by protests, lawsuits, and controversies, prompting shareholders this year to file two resolutions calling on the company to review its policies on community engagement and waste disposal.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, international

New University Research Reveals Startlingly High Mercury Concentrations Near Northern Nevada Mines

February 14, 2007

Feb 14, Reno, NV -- A new University of Nevada report entitled Mercury Air Concentrations in Northern Nevada documents startlingly high mercury concentrations in the air around a number of northern Nevada gold mines.

The highest mercury concentrations in the air were measured at three mines: the Marigold Mine (3120 ng/m3), the Coeur Rochester Mine (2326 ng/m3), and the Twin Creeks Mine (694 ng/m3) -- mercury concentrations that were over 600, 400 and 100 times that of normal background conditions (5 ng/m3), respectively. According to the report, "These concentrations were much higher than expected and approach concentrations where impacts to worker health and safety, particularly to women of child bearing age, should be assessed." In two cases (Coeur and Marigold), the highest concentrations were measured in the employee parking lots.

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Tagged with: mining, nevada, mercury

Leading Retailers Pledge Their Gold Jewelry Will Sparkle Responsibly


February 8, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC --- This Valentine's season, 11 jewelry retailers are announcing their support for the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules criteria for more socially and environmentally responsible mining, bringing the total number of jewelry retailers supporting the Golden Rules up to 19. The list includes 7 of the 10 largest U.S. retailers of jewelry, and represents about 22 percent of the country's total jewelry market. The companies added to the list this year are: Fred Meyer and Littman Jewelers, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Wal-Mart, QVC, Birks & Mayors, Commemorative Brands (parent company of Balfour, ArtCarved, and Keystone class rings brands), Brilliant Earth, Leber Jeweler, TurningPoint, Boscov's and Michaels Jewelers.

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

Birks & Mayors Endorses Boreal Forest Conservation


February 8, 2007

MONTREAL, Feb 8 --- Birks & Mayors Inc. (Amex: BMJ), a leading operator of luxury jewellery stores, today announced its support for the protection of Canada's Boreal Forest, the largest unspoiled ecosystem left on the planet and one of the last lines of defence against global warming, from expanding industrial development. With this announcement, Birks became the first Canadian jeweller to call for more socially and environmentally responsible production of gold and diamonds.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, birks & mayors, canadian boreal initiative, boreal forest

Billboard Highlights Mercury Health Threat

January 29, 2007

Jan 29, Reno, Nevada -- "Exposure to mercury causes learning disabilities and memory loss. Not to mention memory loss," warns a new Reno billboard unveiled today by a coalition of conservation and native community groups concerned that mercury pollution from gold and silver mines is a public health risk. The groups, Great Basin Mine Watch, Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Earthworks, last month urged the State of Nevada to determine the need for fish consumption advisories for northeastern Nevada waterways due to mercury from Nevada's mines.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, gold mining, nevada, mercury

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