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It's a big win for Montana's bull trout and Rock Creek

By Bonnie Gestring

July 25, 2011

It s a victory for Montana s Rock Creek and threatened native bull trout.  Last week, the State District Court blocked a permit for the proposed Rock Creek mine, a copper silver mine which plans to tunnel under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana.

Earthworks and our co-plaintiffs, the Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance and Trout Unlimited, challenged the permit because it ignored the huge amount of sediment the mine would dump into Rock Creek, an important stronghold for threatened bull trout. Permitting studies for the mine showed the construction would cause a 38% increase in sediment pollution to Rock Creek, where existing sediment levels are already so high that any increase would impair bull trout spawning.

Biologists for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have identified Rock Creek as a crucial tributary for the recovery of bull trout in the lower Clark Fork River. We re heartened that the judge recognized Rock Creek as an area of "unique ecological significance" under Montana law.

Here s the story in the Missoulian

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Profile of shale gas shows benefits, reveals the problems.

By Alan Septoff

July 25, 2011

energyNOW!, a news service focusing on energy, has put out a good, balanced piece titled "The Promise and Problems of Shale Gas".

One of the key quotes from Professor Tony Ingraffea indicates why drilling is simply not safe:

"The studies haven't been done to allow a potential landowner who wants to lease his land to answer the following question: am I hurting my family's health or my neighbor's health by doing this?  They don't know how to answer that question.  They can't answer that question."

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Environmental Racism in the Haynesville Shale: New Storm Pregnant with Lightning

By Sharon Wilson

July 24, 2011

I drove to the Haynesville Shale last Tuesday, to the Church of the Living God where the EPA was holding a community meeting. The residents in this area on the Texas-Louisiana border are still, after more than two decades, trying to get one simple thing: safe drinking water.

I first met David Hudson in 2006, not long after, "What Lies Beneath," a story by Rusty Middleton about water contamination in DeBerry, Texas from oil field disposal wells appeared in the Texas Observer. Hudson was already a veteran in dealing with contaminated water.

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Spending Bills Only Polluters Would Love

By Lauren Pagel

July 20, 2011

Each year, lawmakers must pass 12 spending bills to fund the government. And each year, some lawmakers use these spending bills to push through anti-environmental provisions that have nothing to do with funding the government. These provisions, called "riders" because of the way they ride along on unrelated must-pass legislation, are usually terrible policies that lawmakers know they wouldn't be able to move through Congress as part of the regular legislative process. 

The spending bills that are currently moving through the House of Representatives contain the most anti-environmental riders of any year that I can recall in my decade-long career in DC.  If they become law, these policy riders would decimate some of our most basic environmental protections. Clean air, clean water and our most treasured places are under threat. 

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PA's Marcellus Shale Commission: dealing a stacked deck?

By Nadia Steinzor

July 16, 2011

When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett appointed the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission in March, the short study time allotted (120 days) and the fait accompli nature of its mission to guide the responsible development of natural gas due to its presumed economic benefits raised alarm bells. Many even wondered whether the final report was already written.

Today this suspicion seemed to be well-founded as the Commission hurriedly voted on a series of recommendations. Because the actual text of these presumably draft proposals were kept from the public and the media, their full content and context were visible only to the players at the Commission table.

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