October 19, 2010
When the landman comes knocking, it s tempting to open the door wide. The promises made can be beguiling: fast cash, payments for years to come, and hardly any change on your property. Just sign up now
But harsh reality can set in fast. Maybe it s a road built right behind the house or through a crop field. Or barrels of toxic chemicals stored next to a drinking well. Perhaps the wastewater pond wasn t fenced, so thirsty livestock got sick. And when the royalty check arrives, it s far smaller than expected.
Across the Marcellus Shale region and beyond, there s abundant evidence that a rush to drill without strong regulations causes environmental and health problems. Less well-known is how the rush to lease in the absence of information, legal advice, and safeguards is harming many landowners, as well as their neighbors and communities.
For more than a decade, OGAP has worked to inform property owners about their rights and what to consider before signing a lease most recently at landowner workshops in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
By Alan Septoff
October 12, 2010
The Western Shoshone have lived in Nevada's Crescent Valley for thousands of years.
And they've regarded the Crescent Valley s Mt. Tenabo, and its springs, as sacred -- a place of worship -- for all that time.
And yet the U.S. government continues to approve mining operations that would cause great harm to this important place.
By Lauren Pagel
October 7, 2010
Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began an outreach program to individuals or companies that have mining claims on public lands under the 1872 Mining Law. The goal of the outreach is to help the Bureau mitigate abandoned mine hazards.
Outreach to claimants is a laudable goal, and something the BLM should do more of. Unfortunately, regardless of how much outreach the BLM conducts, it will not change the fact that because of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, there isn't enough money available to truly deal with our abandoned mine problem.
There are over a half a million abandoned mines in this country that could cost as much as $50 billion to clean up. Many of these abandoned mines pose serious public safety hazards, while others pollute streams and rivers. Yet, most years the BLM, Forest Service and National Park service spend less than $25 million on abandoned mine reclamation. EARTHWORKS helped to get some money in the 2009 stimulus bill for abandoned mine remediation, but nowhere near the $50 billion estimate.
Because the 1872 Mining Law allows mining companies to take valuable minerals like gold, copper and uranium from public lands for free, with no royalty or fee paid to the taxpayer, the abandoned mines that littler our public lands continue to pose threats to people and the environment.
October 6, 2010
Around a million tons of toxic alumina refinery waste -- red sludge -- broke through a dam this week in Hungary and flooded a large area. Several people died in the flood, and hundreds were injured by the flood and the caustic waste. And the impacts have just begun.
Common sense verified: independent panel verifies EPA's contention that mountaintop removal coal mining harms streams
By Alan Septoff
October 1, 2010
In yesterday's Charleston (WV) Gazette:
An independent science advisory team has issued a draft report that supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's conclusion that mountaintop removal is causing serious damage to Appalachian streams.
In a 75-page report, a 15-member panel of scientists from around the country agreed with EPA's conclusion that valley fills are increasing levels of electrical conductivity downstream from mining operations and threatening stream life.