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US Senate Passes Critical Minerals and Public Lands Amendments in Pentagon Spending Bill

By Aaron Mintzes

December 5, 2012

Amid much discord in the United States Congress related to all matters fiscal, occasionally there emerge rare moments of cooperation. The Department of Defense (DOD) budget requires reauthorization during the lame duck session providing an opportunity for the Senate to attach policy proposals that would not likely pass were they stand alone pieces of legislation. On the one hand, the Pentagon seems like an awkward place to advance social or environmental policy. But, because its budget is so large, some policy ideas get their first trial at DOD. The United States Senate unanimously passed a number of amendments to the DOD reauthorization bill related to critical minerals and public lands. Among them was a proposal by Senators Kyl, Risch, and Heller that urges the President to coordinate opportunities within a number of agencies to develop a sustainable supply of critical minerals. Helping ensure this supply is an amendment by Senators Casey and Begich that encourages DOD to recycle the rare earth elements found in the Department’s fluorescent light bulbs. Along the same lines, a number of Senators offered additional amendments concerning various forms of alternative and renewable energies the military should exploit.

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Superstition over science: NY’s latest fracking steps

By Nadia Steinzor

December 4, 2012

Every year, I take what’s left of my family’s Thanksgiving turkey and make soup. The wishbone always floats to the top of the pot—and I superstitiously save it for when I have an important wish to make. Lately it seems like the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) might be using wishbones to determine next steps on gas development.

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SRBC Agrees to Comprehensive Study of Fracking

By Aaron Mintzes

November 30, 2012

Over the last year or so we’ve worked with our friends at the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Clean Water Action, Penn Environment, Sierra Club’s PA and MD chapters and other groups to urge the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) to amend its Comprehensive Plan to include a genuine cumulative impact study of hydraulic fracturing. It appears now that they will. While this is good news, no one is yet celebrating because we have a lot of details to iron out related to what the study should contain. The SRBC last amended their Plan in 2008. Back then, few folks anticipated the unprecedented spread of natural gas wells throughout Pennsylvania. The Keystone state has a very long history of drilling for oil and digging for coal. Yet the new technologies developed for high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing all over the region have left regulators without the tools they need to protect public health and water quality. It is for this reason that neighboring states Maryland and New York have chosen a much more deliberate approach.

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Vote for Earthworks in 2012

By Hilary Lewis

November 19, 2012

Earthworks is on the Credo Donation Ballot in 2012!

Each year, Credo asks its members to vote for their favorite charities, and they make donations based on every vote cast.

Credo is many things to many people. For some it is a credit card, others a mobile phone service, and for many a way to take action on important progressive issues throughout the year.

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We Stand with the People of El Salvador

By Hilary Lewis

November 13, 2012

Yesterday I helped deliver a letter to the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, DC, about the lawsuit against the Central American country of El Salvador, by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. The letter was coordinated by the Institute for Policy Studies and signed by Friends of the Earth, Center for International Environmental Law, Public Citizen, Sierra Club Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute and Foundation Earth (along with Earthworks).

Pacific Rim is a Canadian mining company exploring for gold in the mineral rich mountains of El Salvador. It is no surprise to geologists that Pacific Rim believes they can strike it rich there. Billions of dollars rich.

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