By Gwen Lachelt
August 10, 2010
Taliban kill dentist from Durango was the shocker headline in yesterday s Durango Herald. When I opened my newspaper last night I had to sit down before I fell down. Tom Grams was my dentist and he was a longtime advocate of our work here at EARTHWORKS Oil & Gas Accountability Project. In 2007 Tom retired from the dental practice he built in Durango, Colorado, to pursue his passion of providing free dental care to impoverished children around the world.
Dr. Grams and his 10-member team were returning from a two-week medical mission north of Kabul last Thursday when they were attacked and killed by Taliban gunmen. Their driver was the only survivor.
Tom championed a lot of groups in our neck of the world a region both blessed and cursed by its geology. Our mountain and high desert canyon country is breathtaking and so rich in natural resources that impacts from mining and drilling are a huge part of our past and our present. When we started OGAP in 1999 to expand our regional oil and gas organizing efforts to work with communities across the country to prevent and minimize drilling impacts, Tom was one of our first supporters.
Tom will be remembered and honored for his work and service at a memorial this Sunday afternoon in Durango. We will remember Tom for his passion, dedication and support. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends. He will be missed.
By Lauren Pagel
July 29, 2010
As soon as this Friday, the United States House of Representatives will vote on an oil spill response bill to reform offshore drilling practices. H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, also contains a two new protections for onshore oil and gas drilling.
The disaster in the Gulf has shown that oil and gas operators need stringent regulations to ensure the environment is protected. The CLEAR Act addresses these problems by creating new safety standards, higher liability limits, and by closing the revolving door between government and the oil and gas industry.
Reid's spill bill: nevermind the damage to clean water/public health, full speed ahead on gas drilling!
July 27, 2010
Senator Harry Reid unfolded a narrow energy proposal today in the U.S. Senate. It includes modest reforms in the Nation s offshore drilling program, but creates new incentives for drilling on land -- without addressing any of the needed reforms to the onshore or land-based program.
Drilling for natural gas is spreading out across the country, and the new areas of gas development are seeing new health impacts, polluted air and polluted water. Despite these impacts, Congress acted several years ago to exempt natural gas drilling practices from provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, which protect our water supplies from pollution.
One of the many lessons learned during the Gulf oil disaster is that we cannot trust the industry to protect our environment during drilling.
We also know that we have as many problems with the drilling program onshore as we do offshore. For example, the state of Colorado documented over 1,000 spills reported to the state over a two and a half year period.
Congress cannot turn a blind eye to the damage we are creating with natural gas production.
A balanced approach to our energy policy is needed, which recognizes that the impacts of natural gas production must be considered before more taxpayer subsidies are provided to the industry.
July 26, 2010
One of the "Golden Rules" principles says mining companies should not operate in protected areas, fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation or ecological value. Infinito Gold clearly did not get the message. They are trying to impose an open-pit gold mine on communities in the Agua y Paz (Water and Peace) Biosphere Reserve in Costa Rica.
July 21, 2010
Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the CLEAR Act, a bill that would vastly improve our current energy policies affecting federal lands and ocean areas.