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Maryland’s Choice on Fracking

By Aaron Mintzes

March 2, 2012

The stage is thus set for how Maryland will respond to the political winds of the shale gale.  According to a new study sponsored by Maryland’s chapter of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Maryland could drill several hundred wells, mostly in Garrett County right next to West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  At a recent API conference in Annapolis, experts estimated Maryland’s drilling capacity somewhere between 1600 and 2000 wells.  While this seems like a relatively small number, two points bear impressing.  First, almost all of those wells will be in just one or two counties.  So, they’d still be sited pretty close together.

Second, and almost more importantly, is the opportunity for Maryland to shape the rules of the road for the fracking industry.  In light of the President’s State of the Union embrace of natural gas, and Pennsylvania’s cart blanche acquiescence to the drilling industry wish list, Maryland must set a proper example for the entire Marcellus play.  In fact, the Mason-Dixon line must become a firewall separating the right way to harness our energy resources from the example set by irresponsible oil and gas development elsewhere.
 

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Troubled Waters – and no bridge to cross them

By Payal Sampat

February 28, 2012

The 313 million people who live in the United States send about 120 million tonnes of trash to landfills every year. That’s a lot of trash  - just think of all the photos you’ve seen of landfills overflowing with mountains of discarded refuse.

But that number pales in comparison with the amount of waste that mining corporations dump into oceans, rivers, and lakes around the world each year, which tops 180 million tonnes. These wastes can contain arsenic, lead, mercury, cyanide and over thirty other dangerous chemicals.

The staff at Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada have spent the past year investigating this egregious - and outdated – practice; we report our findings in a new study, Troubled Waters: How Mine Waste Dumping is Poisoning Our Ocean, Rivers and Lakes.

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Apple’s Supply Chain: Sacrificing Fair Labor Practices to Build Your Fancy iPhone

By EARTHWORKS

February 24, 2012

Apple is known for creating state-of-the-art electronic products that become the most wanted items of the day. Products such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and MacBook have revolutionized the electronics industry and made Apple one of the most successful companies in the world.

However, recent incidents have exposed the unfair labor practices at Foxconn and Wintek, Apple’s suppliers in China. The mental and physical health of workers at their facilities are overlooked as they are constantly under great pressure and overworked. Many workers live in crowded dorms and work longer hours than what Apple has suggested – Apple claims there is a maximum 60-hour workweek except in unusual circumstances.

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Introducing *In Their Own Words*, Post #1: fracking biocides are just bleach

By Lisa Sumi

February 23, 2012

Today Earthworks is launching In Their Own Words a series of recordings from a much ballyhooed industry PR conference in Houston where Texas Sharon recorded industry talking about transparency. Despite their constant use of the word "transparent" these recordings will show an industry that is anything but. 

In this first post, we hear Anadarko Petroleum discuss/dismiss the use of fracking biocides.

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SRBC Considers Taking Water from the Susquehanna River for Fracking

By Aaron Mintzes

February 17, 2012

Yesterday I attended a public comment hearing before the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC).  The SRBC is an interstate agency responsible for making important water resource decisions affecting the Susquehanna River basin.  Comprised of appointees from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and the Army Corps of Engineers, the SRBC met to receive comments on a series of proposed permit applications for water withdrawals intended for use in hydraulic fracturing operations.

This was a do-over meeting.  The first one, held December 15 in Wilkes-Barre, abruptly and improperly ended when a number of protesters shouted down the Commissioners as they moved for unilateral approval of all the permit applications without allowing for public comment.  The protests clearly rattled the SRBC commissioners.  Not used to such public outrage, the SRBC was left with no ability to neither conduct their business nor provide an opportunity for other advocates to speak.
 

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