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Fracking season is upon us. Have you been inoculated?

By Sharon Wilson

December 6, 2011

A particularly potent virus that first surfaced in Texas during the 1990s and spread to epidemic proportions in over thirty U.S. States has now become a worldwide pandemic.

The virus spreads person-to-person but there are cases where people in remote, isolated areas contract it with no exposure. Once you have contracted the virus, you will have it for life. Getting inoculated is the only protection.

The name for this virus, “Fracking Insurgency,” was made public for the first time on October 31, 2011. Audio of the announcement is available online.

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Top fisheries scientists weigh in on 1872 Mining Law Reform

By Bonnie Gestring

December 6, 2011

It’s no secret that mining is no friend to our nation’s trout streams.  Now a group of top scientists from across the west, with over a century of combined experience, have weighed in on the topic, with a terrific opinion piece in the Anchorage Daily News.  Don’t miss it!

And, if you want more detail, go to the full peer-reviewed article in Fisheries magazine, where they’ve supplied an endless number of case studies, and detailed recommendations for reforming the 1872 mining law.

Last month, Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts introduced a mining law reform and abandoned mine clean-up bill (H.R. 3446), which tackles many of these important issues.

As the scientists say, “We encourage Congress to bring our nation's mining law into the 21st Century. It's long overdue.

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Flip-Flopping on Federalism: Who’s the Better Regulator?

By Aaron Mintzes

December 6, 2011

Much of the refrain we hear from the House Majority in D.C. over the government’s proper regulatory role over fracking emphasizes local control.  Too often the rhetoric references faceless and unaccountable Washington bureaucrats imposing a one-size-fits-all solution that stifles innovation and efficiency.  Beyond the mere rhetoric, we often here fracking proponents argue that local geology calls for local regulation.  That is, those elected and regulatory officials closest to and most familiar with the geological differences between, say Texas and Colorado, are best equipped to design a regulatory regime to fit. 

Curious then, what we see from the Keystone state.  The state legislature in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is debating a pair of industry-supported bills designed to remove a municipality’s zoning power to curb drilling operations.  Instead, faceless and unaccountable Harrisburg bureaucrats will decide where, when, and how many drilling wells will appear near schools, hospitals, and senior centers in small townships all over Pennsylvania. 

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Peru declares state of emergency as opposition grows against Conga gold mine.

By Nick Magel

December 6, 2011

Late last night President Humala, in a nationally televised address, declared a State of Emergency in four provinces in the state of Cajamarca. The provinces have been the center of the country’s anti-mining protests for the past months because of the record-breaking $4.8 billion Conga gold mine project.

The declaration comes after nearly two weeks of sustained protests in the region calling for the Conga Project, owed by Denver-based Newmont Mining, to be cancelled permanently. Communities and farmers claim that the project threatens the water that has been relied on for livelihood and survival for generations.

"We are not radical. It's just that the Conga project has no legitimacy in the eyes of the people." Milton Sanchez, one of many protest leaders

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Newmont Mining suspends Conga gold mine development indefinitely

By Nick Magel

December 1, 2011

In the wake of Peru's Ministry on the Environment raising concerns over an Environmental Impact Study, growing community opposition, and strong political blowback the Humala Administration yesterday requested that Newmont suspend all operations at the Conga mine site. In turn, Newmont has agreed to suspend their Conga gold mine development in Northern Peru, indefinitely.

Statement from Earthworks Executive Director, Jennifer Krill, on the suspension of the Conga project:

Earthworks welcomes this week's decision by Newmont Mining Co. to suspend the development of its controversial Conga mine in northern Peru at the request of President Ollanta Humala. The Minas Conga development has been at the center of many weeks of protests by community members and elected officials who are concerned about the project's impacts on the environment, water supplies, health and livelihoods. The project is a partnership between Newmont, Peruvian company Buenaventura, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

We urge the company, government and communities to open up a meaningful dialogue process that is undertaken in good faith. We also encourage all parties at the table to take the necessary time to build trust and address concerns.

Newmont Mining operates Latin America's largest gold mine, Yanacocha, in northern Peru, and this is not the first time that Newmont's Peruvian operations have been mired in controversy. In 2000, a truck carrying mercury from the Yanacocha deposit spilled 330 pounds of the toxic chemical along a road near the town of Choropampa, sickening hundreds of people, including children. In 2004, Newmont Mining was forced to suspend plans to develop the Cerro Quilish deposit after residents blockaded roads and protested the project."

You can read the complete statement HERE.

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