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Colombia town outlaws open-pit mining, bucks displacement attempts from Gran Colombia Gold

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.

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Gov. McDonnell Embraces Uranium Mining Moratorium

By Aaron Mintzes

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. 
 

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A Day of Action + Many Voices = Fracking Changes

By Nadia Steinzor

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.

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Risking Our Environment and Health to Burn a Few More Years of Natural Gas

By Jennifer Krill

January 24, 2012

The big number to remember in natural gas in the U.S. is that we consumed 24 trillion cubic feet of it in 2010. That’s a lot of hydrocarbons. Today, entire sectors are making decisions about future energy choices based on how much natural gas we have left to burn. And with the Energy Information Administration's new Annual Energy Outlook, it appears we have been making those choices on false assumptions.

The report, released yesterday, issues new estimates of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, a vast formation more than a mile below 8 eastern states, including New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

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Serial fracking polluter Range Resources vows to strike again

By Sharon Wilson

January 23, 2012

It is "abundantly clear" that Range Resources knew about the “angular and nonconforming and unpredictable geology” in Parker County Texas, yet they cut corners and polluted Texas drinking water anyway. Now, Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs has vowed they will strike again.

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Industry at today's hearing: we'd LOVE to partner on abandoned #mining cleanup. Just don't make us pay. @NRDems naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/event…
.@NRdems: would like to enter before/after pics of Lower Slate Lake into the record re Coeur's Kensington #mining operation.

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