EARTHblog » Lauren Pagel

Obama administration aims to end sweetheart deal for mining industry

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By Lauren Pagel

February 14, 2011

Released today, the FY 2012 Obama administration budget endeavors to end the taxpayer boondoggle known as federal hardrock mining policy. On behalf of Earthworks and all of the communities we work with in hardrock mining country, I d like to thank the President Obama for taking on this industry that has taken advantage of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law for far too long. The 1872 Mining Law, which lacks both royalties and protections for communities and precious western water resources, has left this country with at least $50 billion dollars in unreclaimed mine sites with no industry contribution to help deal with the problem.

The Obama administration proposes two things that would change the way that mining operates on public lands. Both of these changes would move us a step closer to cleaning up the mess that has been created by the current mining law.

First, the administration proposes a reclamation fee on the production of hardrock minerals based on the volume of material mined. This money would then be distributed through a competitive grant program to states where remediation is needed. This $200 million a year would go a long way in addressing the serious safety and water quality issues at many abandoned mine sites throughout the West.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, obama, royalties, leasing, president obama, department of interior, hardrock minerals

Dieselicious! The continuing saga of diesel in our drinking water

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By Lauren Pagel

February 9, 2011

Last week, ProPublica reported on the continuing saga of the use and regulation of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing.

Now that a Congressional investigation has revealed that 32 million gallons of diesel fuel were used to frack wells in 19 states between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas industry is backtracking on their past claims that they were no longer using diesel fuel. In fact, they are changing their tune entirely and saying that not only are they using diesel to fracture oil and gas wells, but that it s perfectly legal for them to do so.

Here on the Energy in Depth website (which is the mouthpiece for much industry rhetoric), it says, in relation to diesel use, the truth is, you won t find any of it in the solutions used during the hydraulic fracturing process...

Lee Fuller, the Executive Director of Energy In-Depth, previously told ProPublica that the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing would trigger federal oversight by EPA under the SDWA.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, hydraulic fracturing, oil and gas

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