December 17, 2010
President Obama stated yesterday that the US now "supports" the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. US support is no trivial change in policy, since the US was the last of the original four countries to not endorse it when the UN General Assembly passed the Declaration in September 2007.
But when you read the fine print, that support has some important caveats. So what does it mean for Indigenous communities affected by mining?
What US support for the Declaration should mean is that the US should ensure that its policies, and the implementation of its policies, conform with all the stipulations in the Declaration. Consequently, companies should not be able to impose mining projects on Indigenous communities that do not want them. This should apply to any mining operations over which the US has jurisdiction -- mining activities in the US, and companies based in the US or listed on the stock exchange in the US.
By Lauren Pagel
December 1, 2010
As 2010 draws to a close, I ve been thinking a lot about the great work the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been doing to try and regulate extractive industries in this country to protect communities and the environment. With the study on the impacts that hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water, and their plans to regulate mercury emissions from mining operations under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is attempting to move this country towards better regulated extraction. There s still a long way to go, of course, but there is a lot that EPA can do to protect our water, air, land and public health in the coming months.
So, what can EPA do through the end of this year and into 2011 to continue this path toward better regulation?
December 1, 2010
Yesterday, the New York State Assembly reconvened in Albany and ended up working late into the night to debate and vote on a time out for gas development. The bill (A. 11443B, sponsored by Assembly Member Robert Sweeney) passed by a wide 93-43 margin and suspends the issuance of permits to hydraulically fracture gas wells in New York State until May 15, 2011.
With a companion bill already passed by the State Senate in August, the moratorium will become law once it s signed by Governor David Paterson, who stated last week that Even with the tremendous revenues that will come in we re not going to risk public safety or water quality, which will be the next emerging global problem after the energy shortage.
The Assembly vote was the culmination of months of hard work by organizations, citizen activists, and forward-looking legislators from across New York. A broad coalition of groups heralded the news as an opportunity to closely examine the true costs of shale gas development that have plagued communities in other states before permits are issued.
November 29, 2010
As more than 230 people from 25 states and Canada gathered last week in Pittsburgh, the EARTHWORKS National People s Oil and Gas Summit shone a bright light on both shared problems and the potential for lasting solutions. As participants listened to presentations by scientists and citizens, held lively discussions, and got busy strategizing, the idea that there is far more that unites than divides us rang true.
Reports of serious health problems in the oil and gas patches of Texas, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania are tragically similar, and bad leasing, drilling, and waste disposal practices are now ubiquitous. As both drilling for and consumption of natural gas spreads across the nation, the true costs of dirty energy development have become harder to ignore the West, with its longstanding energy development, and the East, with its newly exploited shale gas plays, increasingly share common interests and stories. And as climate change and pollution accelerate, only a collective quickening of the pace will win the race for a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.
By Lauren Pagel
November 19, 2010
This past Sunday, Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, was interviewed on CBS 60 Minutes.
Although he defended natural gas extraction, he also acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) a process that facilities the extraction of natural gas from over 90% of wells drilled in the United States injects the equivalent of Drano through the water table groundwater that provides drinking water for much of America.
Finally, a major energy industry CEO is admitting the truth that fracking chemicals are toxic, like Drano.