By Lauren Pagel
February 1, 2012
Today, I attended a hearing of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee on the topic of quality science at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, I’ll get in to the substance of the hearing, but clearly the highlight was watching Academy award nominated director and anti-fracking celebrity Josh Fox, handcuffed and escorted out of the hearing room by Capitol Police. House rules don’t allow members of the media to take video during hearings. Josh is filming a sequel to his popular anti-fracking documentary Gasland for HBO due for release this summer. Ranking member Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) twice made formal motions to allow Josh to continue taping arguing that a properly credentialed ABC film crew also requested permission to video tape the hearing. Both attempts were rebuffed.
The hearing considered the efficacy of an EPA report describing water contamination attributed to hydraulic fracturing activities in Pavillion, Wyoming. In reality, this hearing served as another opportunity for the House majority to rail against the EPA. Referring to the EPA’s work as “scientific innuendo” and “regulatory straight jacketing”, the Republicans criticized the report as lacking transparency, peer review, or sufficient consultation with relevant state authorities.
By Lauren Pagel
February 1, 2012
Before the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology's Energy and Environment subcommittee hearing today on Pavillion, WY water contamination, Josh Fox was led away in handcuffs.
The committee made their agenda clear with the hearing's title: Fractured Science – Examining EPA’s Approach to Ground Water Research: The Pavillion Analysis.
Josh was there to film the hearing for his upcoming film Gasland 2.
By Nick Magel
January 26, 2012
Colombia is in the middle of a mining bonanza. The national geology and mining regulation body, Ingeominas, reports that between 2008-2010 over 15,000 applications for mining operations were submitted. According to the new report “Mining in Colombia: at What Cost?” (PDF) nearly 40% of Colombia lands are under extraction and exploration licenses. Over 8.4 million hectares have been leased solely for mining, or just about 4x the size of New Jersey.
In the Colombia highlands mining is not a new way of livelihood. Artisanal mining has been a cornerstone of community sufficiency for generations, as is the case in Marmato. Marmato is a small village, in the department of Caldas, with a 500-year history of small-scale artisanal mining. In many ways the community of Marmato embodies the growing struggles of communities that sit on Colombia’s resource rich lands. In this case it’s gold. Marmato sits on “Montana de Oro”, or Mountain of Gold, so it is no surprise that large multi-national mining companies are anxious to tap into the area’s known deposits.
January 25, 2012
Deep underground the rolling foothills of Appalachia in Southwest Virginia lies a trove of uranium deposits. These deposits have remained untouched for a few billion years, but high metal prices and high unemployment rates have renewed interest in the possibility of mining the uranium for use in area nuclear power plants. The Commonwealth of Virginia has had a moratorium on uranium mining for 30 years. But in 2007, two families living near Virginia’s only economically viable uranium deposit in Coles Hill formed Virginia Uranium, Inc. to begin exploring the possibility of exploiting this resource.
The moratorium has left a dearth of hard rock mining technical expertise in the Commonwealth. For this reason, Virginia called in the National Research Council to report on scientific, environmental, public health, and regulatory aspects of uranium mining to help inform the Virginia legislature.
January 24, 2012
They say that numbers don’t lie—which sure is the truth when it comes to the growing movement against industrial shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Yesterday in Albany, more than 800 New Yorkers from across the state were out in force for a Hydrofracking Day of Action, a few hundred more than for the event in 2011.