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Fiscal Fiasco in Pennsylvania

By Nadia Steinzor

December 15, 2015

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is being downright subversive. Not in the sense of resisting injustice or speaking truth to power, but by subverting the democratic process. 

Late last week, the Senate voted 48-2 to pass the latest version of the fiscal code, the bill that implements the state budget. The House could vote to pass the same bill this week. Legislators have packed the fiscal code with provisions that would never survive as stand-alone bills, avoiding debate and public scrutiny. While the tactic isn’t new, it’s a blatant example of “backdoor” governance and an attempt to usurp the authority of government agencies. It may even be unconstitutional. 

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House Committee Grills Secretary Jewell on Gold King Mine Spill

By Aaron Mintzes

December 14, 2015

On Wednesday, Congress held its fifth hearing on the August 5 spill of 3 million gallons of toxic mine drainage in to Colorado’s Animas River. On this occasion, the House Natural Resources Committee invited Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell to testify about her agency’s technical report on the causes of the spill.

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Sage Grouse to Gain from Mineral Withdrawal

By Bonnie Gestring

December 9, 2015

The greater sage grouse is an umbrella species, emblematic of the health of the sagebrush habitat it shares with more than 350 other kinds of wildlife, including world-class populations of mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and golden eagles.

Sage grouse once occupied nearly half a million square miles and numbered in the millions. Now, this iconic Western bird, with its flamboyant dance, occupies a little more than half of its historic range, and its numbers have declined to several hundred thousand.

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Senators Introduce Sweeping Mining Reform Bill

By Aaron Mintzes

November 17, 2015

Last week, Senators Udall, Bennet, Heinrich, Markey, and Wyden introduced the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015 (1872 reform). Pegged as the solution to preventing future Animas River disasters, this legislation will reform the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872 and bring the hardrock mining industry in to the 21st century.

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Brazil Mine Spill: Enough is Enough

By Shreema Mehta

November 10, 2015

Yet another mine failure has caused yet another spill — this time with fatalities.

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