In the United States and around the world, Earthworks works with partner organizations and communities negatively impacted by resource extraction. We help protect their communities, and we help tell their stories.
If you would like to tell (or have us help you tell) your story here, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Citizens Empowerment Project is a powerful new tool that enables communities to use the best available technology to expose toxic fracking air pollution.
Thanks to generous Earthworks supporters, we were able to purchase a FLIR Gasfinder camera, the same kind used by industry and government agencies to detect leaks and chronic pollution.
But instead of hiding this technology it in the halls of power, we’re putting it in the hands of people.
United States | Montana
Two weeks ago I wrapped up installation on a medium sized off-grid solar system on my remote property in south-central Montana. I felt my story is worth telling, because it was easier and cheaper than I thought it would be, and because small scale solar and energy storage will solve a lot of problems in the long run.
United States | Minnesota : Twin Metals
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a unique wilderness area that covers over one million acres within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. It contains over a thousand lakes and attracts more than a quarter million visitors each year, making it the most visited wilderness area in the United States. Visitors come to experience its remote wilderness character – its untouched forests and spectacular chain of freshwater lakes – through canoeing, camping, and fishing. It is even one of National Geographic’s 50 “Destinations of a Lifetime.”
United States | Texas | Dallas
Dr. Richard Homan had a vision. At a time when others were building McMansions, he sought to build a house whose environmental impact was small, where efficiency could be matched with beauty, and energy and resources were used wisely.
His wife Katherine shared this vision for building such a dream house. By building and living in an environmentally responsible house, they could lead by example and demonstrate how to live healthier more sustainable lives.
United States | Texas | Denton
Denton is a city of over 120,000 in North Texas, near Ft. Worth. There are more than 270 active gas wells within the city limits, some less than 200 feet from homes.
In 2011, local residents formed The Denton Drilling Awareness Group (Denton DAG) to protect their community from drilling. DAG is dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of gas well drilling and its related processes to public health, the environment, and property values.
United States | Minnesota : PolyMet
Minnesota is known as the land of ten thousand lakes. The Northeastern part of the state contains the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Superior National Forest, and Voyageurs National Park- pristine areas with extremely high quality waters hydrologically interconnected in an expansive web of streams, rivers, wetlands, and aquifers. It is this interconnectedness, that makes the series of open pit mines proposed for the region especially dangerous for the ecosystem.
United States | Montana : Tintina Resources
A small Canadian company, Tintina Resources, is proposing to dig a nearly mile long tunnel, called the Black Butte Project, to explore for copper along Sheep Creek at the headwaters of the Smith River in central Montana.
The Smith River is renowned for its blue ribbon trout fishery and spectacular scenery. The Sheep Creek drainage is responsible for 55% of the tributary spawning. Due to enormous public demand, the Smith River is the only river in the state managed by Fish Wildlife and Parks through a permit system. The annual revenue generated for the state economy from fishing and recreation on the Smith in 2011 was $1.7 million.
United States | South Dakota | Deadwood Standard Project
A cyanide leach gold mine, called the Deadwood Standard Project, has been proposed for development on the rim of Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The mine would be located, in part, on lands designated by the State of South Dakota as Special, Exceptional, Unique or Critical.
United States | Arizona | Senoita: Augusta Resources
Canadian-backed mine proceeds despite overwhelming local opposition.
The proposed Rosemont Mine sits near the northern crest of the Santa Rita Mountains in southeastern Arizona. The open pit copper mine would have a general mine footprint of roughly 10 square miles. The mine pit, tailings dump, waste rock dump, and buildings alone account for 4,500 acres of National Forest lands subject to the 1872 mining law, which asserts that mining is the most important use of public lands.
United States | Oregon : Red Flat Nickel
Rough and Ready Creek and Baldface Creek are nationally outstanding and “eligible” to be added to the National Wild and Scenic River System. The US Department of Agriculture recommended Congress designate 34,000 acres of their watersheds as Wilderness in 2004. They remain unprotected today. In 2013, Rough and Ready Creek, Baldface Creek and the Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River were added to American Rivers' 10 most endangered rivers list.
United States | Arizona : Wildcat Silver
Not to be confused with its similarly named mountains on the border of Argentina and Chile, the other Patagonia Mountains sit in southern Arizona about 15 miles from the Mexican border. The mountains – which ascend to over 7,000 feet – provide the scenic backdrop for the quiet town of Patagonia, as well as a major portion of the town’s water supply.
Ghana| Western Wassa : Gold Fields Ghana
On October 16, 2001, a tailings dam burst at the Tarkwa gold mine in the Wassa West District of Ghana sending thousands of cubic meters of mine waste into the Asuman River and contaminating it with cyanide and heavy metals. The Tarkwa mine is operated by Gold Fields Ghana, a South African gold mining company. The disaster left more than one thousand people without access to drinking water. Virtually all life forms in the river and its tributary were killed. Hundreds of dead fish, crabs, and birds lay on the banks of the river and floated to the surface.
Tagged with: ghana
Peru | Cajamarca : Newmont
Just 24 kilometers from Yanacocha, the Conga mine is Newmont's latest effort to expand its gold mining operations in Peru.
Having seemingly failed to learn from the controversy it faced in Yanacocha, Newmont initially developed the mine without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the local community. Despite repeated, sometimes violent protests, the Conga mine has been approved.
Alaska | Bristol Bay: Northern Dynasty Minerals
United States | Virginia and West Virginia
Local governments, major D.C. area water providers, and conservation organizations have warned that a U.S. Forest Service decision to allow fracking in the George Washington National Forest could threaten a range of resources -- including the D.C. area’s water supply. The Forest Service release their decision to allow fracking in parts of the forest in November 2014.
United States | Montana | Montanore Mine
The Montanore Mine is an underground copper/silver project proposed adjacent to and underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana. Similar to the proposed Rock Creek Mine -- Montanore would blast miles of tunnels beneath the mountains, meadows, and alpine lakes of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area.
United States | Pennsylvania | Carmichaels
My name is Pam Judy. I live in Carmichaels in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
In 2006, we built a new home on property originally belonging to my great grandparents and a part of the family farm. For three years, my family enjoyed the peace and quiet of living in the country.
But that quiet way of life abruptly came to an end when a compressor station was built 780 feet from our home on an adjoining landowner’s property.
United States | New Mexico | Grants : General Atomics Corp.
A sacred place, threatened by uranium mining
Located in the southwestern corner of New Mexico’s San Mateo Mountains, Mount Taylor is a pilgrimage site for at least 30 Native American tribes. It is sacred to many tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the Hopi, the Zuni, and the nearby Laguna and Acoma Pueblos. Mount Taylor is rooted in the history and traditions of many of these tribes.
Mount Taylor has been listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America's eleven most endangered historic places.
The Mount Taylor Mine
The mountain sits atop one of the richest known reserves (Grants Uranium Belt) of uranium ore in the country.
United States | New Mexico | Crownpoint : Hydro Resources
Poisoned once, uranium mining threatens the Navajo again
The Church Rock mine, located in New Mexico is the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters.
On July 16, 1979, the dam at Church Rock burst, sending eleven hundred tons of radioactive mill wastes and ninety million gallons of contaminated liquid toward Arizona. The spill left no casualties, but contaminated the Rio Puerco as a water source and contaminated water 70 miles downstream from the site.
Today, nearby residents continue to suffer the consequences of this toxic spill.
Proposed Mine vs. Navajo Nation
New mine proposals at Church Rock and Crownpoint are in situ leaching operations (ISL) owned by Hydro Resources Inc (HRI).
United States | Arizona | Superior : Rio Tinto/BHPBilliton
World's two biggest mining companies want to mine sacred lands and a public campground
A subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHPBilliton (the two biggest metal mining companies in the world, by annual revenue and market capitalization) is proposing to mine a rich copper vein on public and private lands east of Superior, Arizona.
Because the copper lies partially under a public campground that has been withdrawn from mining, the company, called Resolution Copper, hopes to pass a land exchange bill in Congress to obtain title to the campground.
United States | Alaska | Naknek : Pebble Partnership
Driftnetter, Business Owner, Father
Everett Thompson is a lifelong resident of Naknek, Alaska, and a driftnet fisherman who fishes all five districts in Bristol Bay.
He also subsistence fishes and hunts in the wilderness between Naknek to Iliamna. Everett is married with a daughter and son, Lakota and Viktor.
"I've fished this area for 25 years, every season, all season since I was 7 years old," Everett said. He began by set netting, but has been a drift fisherman since the age of 21. Everett is now 34 and about to begin his 27th year fishing Bristol Bay. His fishing boat, Chulyen, which means Raven in Athabascan, is one of the oldest aluminum boats in Bristol Bay.
United States | Alaska | Dillingham : Pebble Partnership
All his life, Bobby Andrew has been a subsistence hunter and fisherman. He lives in Dillingham and is a member and spokesman for Nunamta Aulukestai, an association of nine Alaska Native village corporations in Bristol Bay. In Yupik, Nunamta Aulukestai means "Caretakers of our Lands." Nunamta Aulukestai is opposing the proposed Pebble Mine because of the risks to the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery, which is the lifeblood of the region.
United States | Montana-Idaho | Sandpoint : Rock Creek Mine
The Rock Creek Mine Proposal
Mining company Revett Silver is proposing to develop an enormous copper/silver mine beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Kootenai National Forest of western Montana -- one of the original ten ares protected by Congress under the Wilderness Act of 1964.
Despite the fact that the mine would tunnel beneath one of the first designated wilderness areas in the United States, the Forest Service claims that the General Mining Law of 1872 leaves them no choice but to permit the mine.
United States | Montana | Zortman-Landusky : Pegaus Gold
The Zortman Landusky gold and silver mine is located in the Little Rocky Mountains of north central Montana, just south of the Fort Belknap Reservation -- home to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes.
Cyanide Spill Contaminates Drinking Water
The mine, which operated from 1979 – 1998, has caused extensive surface and groundwater contamination. Over the course of operations, the mine has experienced over a dozen cyanide spills, including one spill that released 50,000 gallons of cyanide solution and contaminated a community drinking water supply.
United States | Oregon | Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Mining Threatens World Class Salmon and Steelhead Stream
The legendary Chetco River, which supports a world-class salmon and steelhead stream, is at risk from a Seattle developer who is planning a resort for hobby miners along more than half of the 44.5-mile National Wild and Scenic segment of the river, including six miles within the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.
Costa Rica | Puntarenas | Miramar : Glencairn Gold
Glencairn Gold Corporation began operating at the Bellavista site near Miramar in Costa Rica in 2003 in spite of concerns by locals, warnings by scientists of the riskiness of the area for large-scale open-pit mining, and an impending ban on open-pit mining in the country.
Canadian mining corporation Glencairn (now Central Sun Mining Inc headquartered in Toronto) established its gold mine in an unstable area with heavy rainfall and provided insufficient funds for mine closure and cleanup.
The mine had a leach pad rupture and probably contaminated waterways with cyanide and other chemicals.
Peru | Cajamarca : Newmont
The sheer scale of the Yanacocha gold mine in Cajamarca, Peru, is staggering. It is the largest gold mine in Latin America, and the second largest in the world, covering 535 square miles.
The Minera Yanacocha company runs the mine, which is owned by Newmont Mining Corporation from Colorado, a Peruvian mining company, and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC). Majority-owner Newmont refers to Yanacocha as its "crown jewel" and the mine generates a large portion of Newmont's profits.
But ever since its launch in 1993, the mine has also generated controversy and damaging social and environmental impacts.
Argentina | Esquel : Meridian
In this town in resource-rich Patagonia, the government passed a law in 2006 that would imposed a three-year moratorium on mining activity in the region, forcing Meridian Gold Inc. (and subsequently Yamana Gold, headquartered in Toronto) to halt a proposed open-pit gold mine 7 kilometers upstream from Esquel (population approximately 30,000) Today, the natural beauty of the Esquel region attracts tourists, fishermen, and biologists from around the world.
Indonesia | Weda Bay : Weda Bay Nickel
Weda Bay Nickel plans to mine nickel and copper from open pits in protected forest areas on Halmahera Island, North Maluku, Indonesia.
The project threatens the lands and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other communities.
Costa Rica | Cerro Crucitas : Infinito Gold
Cerro Crucitas in northern Costa Rica is an area covered mostly in forest that is part of the Pay y Agua Biosphere Reserve created in 2007. The region is home to farmers and a number of protected and Endangered species. These includes species like the Great Green Macaw and Geoffrey's spider monkey.
Canadian mining company Infinito Gold (Vannessa Ventures) is planning to destroy Cerro Crucitas and its forests. The Canadian company wants to put an open-pit gold mine in the area. Located in a region with heavy rainfall, the mine would also threaten to contaminate waterways with cyanide and heavy metals that could flow to the San Juan River on the nearby border with Nicaragua. The company was so intent on imposing the project on Costa Ricans that it inappropriately started cutting the forest down until a legal injunction stopped them. Infinito has also sued the Costa Rican government for halting development of the mine.
Ghana | Sansu : Anglogold Ashanti
The farming community of Sansu in the Ashanti region of Ghana is located in the heart of the Obuasi mining concession operated by the Anglogold Ashanti (AGA), formerly the Ashanti Goldfields Company (AGC). Sansu has a long history of artisanal mining, which served as an economic activity for youth in the community long before AGC began large-scale, open-pit mining in the area in the early 1980s.
Peru | Tambogrande : Manhattan Minerals
One of the most controversial mining projects in South America has yet to break ground, and the people living near the proposed mine hope it never will.
In the department of Piura, in northern Peru near the border with Ecuador, the government granted three blocs of land to Manhattan Minerals of Canada. The most desirable is under the town of Tambogrande, in the middle of a productive fruit growing region in the San Lorenzo valley fed by a World Bank-funded irrigation system. Most of the limes and mangoes grown in Peru originate here. These and other crops create about $2 billion in revenue annually and permanently employ roughly 15,000 people, more during the harvest.
Indonesia | Buyat Bay : Newmont
In 2004, the Newmont Minahasa Raya (NMR) gold mine began closing down its operations in North Sulawesi, leaving local communities in Buyat Bay and Ratatatok with a destructive legacy: long-lasting environmental damage, economic decline, and a host of health problems. Affected communities have appealed to NMR, a subsidiary of Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation (94 percent ownership of NMR), and the Indonesian government to address their concerns.
Kyrgyzstan | Issyk Kul : Centerra Gold
The Kumtor gold mine, operated by Centerra Gold, is located 4,000 meters above sea-level in the permafrost and glaciers of the Tien-Shan Mountains. The mine has endangered the welfare of nearby communities and the environment. In May of 1998, a truck crashed through a bridge near the village of Barskaun and dumped over 1.7 tons of sodium cyanide (and 935 kg of cyanide) into the Barskaun River. The company did not notify residents of Barskaun, who use the water for drinking and irrigation, until 5 hours after the accident. As a result, over 2,500 people were poisoned, 850 people were hospitalized and at least four of those patients died.
Ghana | Wassa District : Newmont
The Ahafo gold mine, Newmont's first mine in Ghana, has been implicated in human rights abuses and irresponsible practices since before it began operating in 2006. The mine is located in a farming region northwest of the country's capital Accra and has caused major displacement and social impacts.
In October, 2009, a cyanide spill occurred at the Ahafo mine that killed a large number of fish and threatened the water of local communities. A Ghanaian Ministerial Panel that evaluated the spill and its aftermath recommended that the company be fined $4.9 million for failing to prevent the spill or to properly report on and investigate the spill.
Romania | Rosia Montana Valley : Gabriel Resources
Located in the Apuseni mountains of west central Romania, the Rosia Montana project would have become Europe's largest open-pit gold mine operation if constructed by Toronto-based Gabriel Resources. But thanks to widespread opposition and court challenges by Alburnus Maior, a local community group, the Romanian government halted the approval process for the project in 2007, forcing Gabriel Resources to reconsider its mine plans and scale back its activities. The government of Romania, and the European Parliament, have also considered measures to ban cyanide mining, which would probably shut down the project for good.
United States | Nevada : Barrick Gold
The story of the Western Shoshone is a long lesson in the ways that law can fail indigenous people threatened by mineral interests. The ancestral territory of this native American people encompasses an area stretching from southern Idaho, through eastern Nevada, to the Mojave Desert of California. Underneath this swath of over 240 thousand square kilometers (over 60 million acres) lie billions of dollars worth of gold. Nearly 10 percent of the world's gold production -- and 64 percent of US production -- comes from Western Shoshone land.
Papua New Guinea | Goilala : DRD Gold
Every year in Papua New Guinea, South African mining company Durban Roodepoort Deep Ltd (DRD Gold) dumps more than 160,000 tons of contaminated mine waste directly into the Auga-Angabanga river system.
Even worse, DRD Gold transports everything to and from the Tolukuma Gold Mine (TGM) by helicopter, including cyanide which is used for ore extraction. This risky transportation system failed in 2000 when one ton of cyanide was dropped from a helicopter over the Yaloge River Valley on the way to the mine. Community members attribute up to six deaths to the cyanide spill.
Ghana | Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve : Newmont
Despite heated opposition from local communities, Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation began production in an open pit gold mine in the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve in the Birim North District in the Eastern region of Ghana.
The mine occupies an area 1.65 miles long (2.6 km) and a half mile across (.8 km), and would create waste piles 60-100 m high. The mine would destroy an estimated 183 acres (74 ha) of forest in the reserve, threatening the Reserve's noted diverse wildlife and plant species, including several rare species of birds, amphibians, and mammals, and displacing the farming communities that live around the forest.
Chile | Espolon Valley : Kinross Gold Corp.
Residents of Chilean Patagonia's Espolon Valley fear that a gold, copper and silver mining project backed by Canadian company Kinross Gold Corporation and US company Geocom Resources Inc. could destroy much of the area's renowned wilderness and harm it's flourishing eco-tourism and fishing industry.
Kinross and Geocom have acquired a total of 14 square miles (3,800 hectares) of mining claims in the Espolon Valley in Provincia de Palena in Chile's Region de Los Lagos. The Espolon mining claim was explored in 2005 and 2006 by Geocom, and the companies then elevated the the claim to formal venture status in September 2007.
Ecuador | Intag : Ascendent Copper
The northwest slope of the Ecuadorian Andes is known as the Intag. Since the 1990s, the Ecuadorian government, with the support of the World Bank, has promoted large scale metal mining in the area.
Mitsubishi arrived to Intag in 1993 and began exploring a deposit of copper, molybdenum, and gold. It left four years later -- after local communities burned the company's mining camp (after removing, inventorying, and later returning its contents).
United States | Texas | Town of DISH
A struggle with toxics in the Barnett Shale
By Megan Collins
A house in the country
I had always hoped for a nice, quiet, country setting where we could raise our children. Little did I know it would be the cause of unexplained illnesses and heartache.
In 2004, my husband Mike and I found this quiet little cul de sac in the small town of Clarke, Texas now known as DISH. At the time there were only two homes built, so we met with the builder and picked what we thought was the perfect lot. Just beyond the back fence there stood a single natural gas compressor station.
United States | Texas | Fort Worth
Deborah lives in Fort Worth where industry claims the gas is dry so the emissions are less harmful.
Chesapeake began drilling near Deborah's home in April 2010. She reported egregious odors to the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) hotline but the response time was unsatisfactory.
The following compounds were detected on Deborah Rogers' property:
United States | Texas | Arlington : UTA/Carrizo
Sandra DenBraber lives in Arlington 600 feet from University of Texas, Arlington's Carrizo natural gas extraction operations. She has the following chemicals in her blood:
United States | Wyoming | Clark : Windsor Wyoming LLC
Wyoming Landowners Face Condemnation or Loss of Homeowners' Insurance
Under the current laws of the State of Wyoming, landowners who own their surface but not the minerals lying underneath (commonly referred to as split estate) face a desperate decision:
Either agree to allow a seismic company to place explosives on your property and detonate them, or be condemned under eminent domain.
But wait, there's more...Should the landowner agree to allow the explosive seismic testing to take place in order to avoid condemnation, they may lose their homeowners' insurance. So, what do you do? You call the Governor, right?
United States | Colorado | Silt : Encana
A family's water well was contaminated after hydraulic fracturing near their home
By Laura Amos
My husband Larry, our daughter Lauren and I live south of Silt in the heart of what we call Encana's Industrial Wasteland.
We were among the first in our area to have natural gas drilling on our property.We are among the unfortunate who do not own the mineral rights under our property.
United States | Texas | Allison : Aruba Petroleum
Bob, Lisa and Emma Parr live in Wise County Texas surrounded by 21 gas wells.
Shortly after moving to the area, Lisa's excellent health began to deteriorate. She began having breathing difficulties, nausea and headaches. She had violent rashes from the top of her head to the bottoms of her feet that have left her body scarred with pockmarks.
United States | Colorado | Bayfield
The Long Road - lessons learned from more than two decades dealing with the oil and gas industry
When the "landman comes-a-callin", landowners embark on an unsolicited, long and contentious experience.
Private property rights, the meaning of privacy, and just compensation swirl around us. We ask and debate continually questions such as:
- Why was my property chosen to be a sacrifice area?
- Why is it that the public agencies of my county, state and national government see me at best as a nuisance and at worst, an enemy?
- How does a very small group have the right to change entirely our environment (sounds, water, sight, air)?
- Why do I feel so alone in these negotiations with a multinational industry?
United States | Texas | Wise County : Aruba Petroleum
On September 16, 2009, Aruba Petroleum began drilling two wells on Tim and Christine Ruggiero's property (the Parr's neighbors).
They have experienced several spills, what appears to be a methane seep where the bubbles ignite and constant emissions from various stages of the extraction process.
Since drilling began, their property has been devalued by 75%.
Mining exploration is on the upswing in Baja California Sur, whose residents mostly farm or engage in the tourism industry. One project in particular faces heated community opposition -- the Los Cardones project, which received initial approval from the central government in August 2014. But with continued local opposition, Invecture still may not succeed in opening the mine.