The Critical Minerals Debate: Silencing Community Voices to Ease International Markets

By Aaron Mintzes

September 14, 2012

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is set to consider rare earth mineral legislation possibly as soon as this month. The bill, S. 1113, the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2012, resulted from careful negotiations between the committee’s chairman and ranking member incorporating many ideas offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). Bipartisanship is at a premium in this town and the value of producing sensible and balanced policy is worth more than the minerals this bill intends to promote.

S. 1113 directs the Secretary of Interior to designate 10 critical minerals and develop and implement a series of studies and comprehensive regulatory reviews related to every aspect of the public input and environmental permitting process. This includes requiring the Secretary to create specific performance metrics designed to measure reductions in permit times for each stage of critical mineral mining operations. Studies are good. And government efficiency is too. The problem is that heavy-handed mandated reductions in permit approval times will reduce the ability of communities impacted by mining to voice their concerns.

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The President has lost his way on natural gas

By Alan Septoff

September 7, 2012

Whatever the overall merits of President Obama's speech last night, it made one thing clear: the President has lost his way on natural gas.

Obama -- in declaring his goal to foster the creation of 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of his second term -- effectively hammered the last nail in the coffin of the pretense that natural gas (i.e. shale gas) is a "bridge" to a clean energy economy. 

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Citizens United: Enviros Target the Oil-agarchy

By Aaron Mintzes

August 31, 2012

We all know the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission already has and will continue to have a dramatic effect on our elections. Even if we don’t follow politics but live in any swing state, we know the effect well: more political ads, more vitriol, more mud and negativity, less disclosure, accountability, and honesty. Citizens United tells us that corporations are people and money is speech.

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The Public’s Role Under Attack in New Mexico

By Gwen Lachelt

August 29, 2012

In what can only be defined as industry’s fear of the truth coming to light – that pits have contaminated water and soil in New Mexico and that their proposed rollbacks will lead to further contamination – industry attorneys and Jami Bailey, OCC Chairperson - fought tooth and nail yesterday to prevent OGAP’s expert witness from testifying.

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Don’t Frack New York

By Hilary Lewis

August 23, 2012

Just a month after our huge success at Stop the Frack Attack we, fractivists, have been called into action again.

On July 28 we started a national movement in Washington, DC to tell the Administration we've had enough, it is time to put communities and the environment before companies that pump money into our political system. Now we are going to New York.

Since Stop the Frack Attack a number of states have called on us to take action. In Colorado, Colorado Frack Attack crashed the Colorado Oil and Gas Association's "Energy Revolution" party. In September we will return to Philadelphia for another Shale Gas Outrage.

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Now same #mining exec wants to eliminate public/enviro input even though @GAO says permit delays r industry's fault……
2/ This is what that same lake looked like as @CoeurMining turned it into their #mining waste dump.……

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