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No reason to exempt mines from review

By Glenn Miller

July 23, 2012

If you think things could get any more troubling in Congress, think again.

The House approved a bill (H.R. 4402) last week to exempt the mining industry from environmental review. Cloaked as a bill about increasing production of strategic minerals, this legislation is actually about ignoring the serious impacts that mining can have on public health, clean water and taxpayers.

It will exclude mines from one of our most important environmental laws that requires a thorough environmental impact study.

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Conga No Va: A Ground-Level View of the Mining Conflict in Northern Peru

By EARTHWORKS

July 10, 2012

CAJAMARCA, PERU –– “Um, I think we have to find another place to meet,” I shouted into the phone on the morning of the Fourth of July.  I was supposed to meet a local professor in the downtown Plaza de Armas here in Cajamarca, Peru, but at our designated meeting time, police were throwing tear gas into the plaza, and I saw them kicking and beating people who were slow (or too defiant) to move out of the way.

I’m here researching mining conflicts – reading, observing, and interviewing protestors, government officials, NGO staff, community members, and other stakeholders. On Tuesday night, July 3, a State of Emergency was declared here in the city of Cajamarca and two neighboring provinces of Celendín and Bambamarca after clashes between police and anti-mining protestors turned fatal.  In Peru, a State of Emergency suspends certain constitutional rights such as freedom of assembly, gives police power to arrest without warrant, and gives the armed forces a frighteningly broad mandate to help the police maintain order.  That evening, tear gas and violence swept through downtown Cajamarca, as described by OnEarth Magazine’s George Black.  Many activists interpret the crackdown as a piece of a bigger puzzle: the criminalization of social protest in Peru.

 

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Environmental activist arrested and brutalized for opposing Newmont’s Conga gold mine

By Payal Sampat

July 5, 2012

What is going on in Peru?

On July 4, riot police in Peru surrounded Father Marco Arana, a Catholic priest and human rights and environmental activist, as he sat peacefully on a bench Cajamarca’s town square.  The police officers proceeded to kick, punch and beat Father Marco,  forcing him to the ground and surrounding him – all of which was captured on cell phone video cameras and immediately posted online. He was then arrested and forcibly taken to the police station, where we learned through his Twitter feed, he continued to be beaten and brutalized.
 

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Earthworks Joins Groups Calling Electronics Companies to Break from US Chamber on Conflict Minerals

By Nick Magel

June 28, 2012

Today Earthworks joined Global Witness, Enough Project, and a group of other organizations calling for electronics companies to break from the US Chamber of Commerce for its stance of conflict minerals. The Chamber continues to pressure decision makers to overturn a key section of the Dodd-Frank Act designed to curb the deadly trade of conflict minerals from eastern Congo. The minerals covered under the 1502 provision of the Dodd-Frank Act are commonplace in most all electronics, and increasingly in the automotive industry.

Recently, electronics giants Microsoft, General Electric, and Motorola Solutions rebuked the Chamber’s opposition of 1502 by announcing they do not support its stance against the conflict mineral provision. These companies have come to realize the role they can play in breaking the link between the global trade in minerals and violence in eastern DRC. It’s time for the rest of the electronics industry to follow suit; not to mention the jewelry and automotive industry that have yet to distance themselves from The Chambers opposition to the conflict mineral rule in the Dodd-Frank Act.

You can read the entire press release after the jump

 

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Time to Ban Diesel in Fracking

By Aaron Mintzes

June 27, 2012

In 2005, the newly re-elected Bush/Cheney Administration settled in to a second term eager to drastically reshape our nation’s energy policy. Vice President Cheney held a series of closed-door meetings with energy companies, forging a direction so favorable to drillers that the exemptions from our bedrock environmental laws crafted therein became known as the Halliburton loopholes. One of those exemptions (there are a total of seven) declared that the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) would not apply to hydraulic fracturing. Originally passed by Congress in 1974, the SDWA is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water, especially underground sources of drinking water.

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