Earthworks

Statement of Earthworks Policy Director, Lauren Pagel, on Sep 8 House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Hearing regarding the Gold King Mine/Animas River disaster

Earthworks

September 9, 2015

"Blaming the EPA for the Animas River mine waste disaster is like blaming the fire department for kicking down your door to put out your house fire. After you ignored the fire marshal’s warnings. And cut the fire department’s budget."

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Groups push EPA to rewrite oil and gas waste disposal rules

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Don Hopey

August 31, 2015
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Seven environmental organizations say they will sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the agency to set new and tighter standards for disposal of oil and gas drilling and fracking waste that they say now threatens public health and the environment.

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America’s toxic mining pools: Ticking time bombs?

CNBC | Bob Woods

August 27, 2015
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On August 5, 3 million gallons of toxic sludge gushed out of the long-abandoned Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado, and into the Animas River. The Tang-colored torrent, percolating with arsenic, lead and other pollutants, was inadvertently unleashed by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contractors attempting to clean up wastewater that's been accumulating since the mine closed in 1923. 

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30,000 Leaky Mines Contaminating U.S. West’s Water Supply

Discovery News | Patrick Kiger

August 27, 2015
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Colorado is still recovering from an August 5 toxic waste spill that turned the Animas River a bright orange color. The leak, which amounted to 3 million gallons, was caused when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  used heavy machinery to investigate pollutants at the Gold King Mine, north of Silverton.

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Environmentalists threaten to sue EPA over oil & gas waste-disposal law

StateImpact PA | Jon Hurdle

August 26, 2015
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Seven environmental groups on Wednesday threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly failing to update a law on the disposal of oil and gas waste to reflect the fracking boom of recent years.

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Local governments, nonprofits urge mining regulation reforms

Arizona Daily Sun | Emory Cowan

August 26, 2015
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It’s been only three weeks since 3 million gallons of wastewater the color of Tang gushed out of an abandoned gold mine in Colorado.

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Environmental Groups Start Legal Process to Sue EPA over Fracking Waste

InsideClimate | Phil McKenna

August 26, 2015
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A number of leading environmental organizations filed a legal notice with the Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday demanding that the agency stop what they say is improper disposal of drilling and fracking waste by oil and gas companies.

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A coalition of environmental group says Texas is among states where "fracking" for oil and gas is threatening people’s health. The group wants more federal oversight.

Houston Public Media | Dave Fehling

August 26, 2015
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In a conference call with reporters, the environmental groups said states, like Texas where oil and gas drilling has surged, aren’t doing enough to regulate toxic waste generated at the drill sites. And they said the federal Environmental Protection Agency should be stepping in but isn’t.

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Disaster on Animas River could have been anywhere

Longmont Times-Call | Terry Odendahl

August 24, 2015
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When a failed attempt to clean up the Gold King mine sent 3 million gallons of toxic mining waste into the Animas River, I was shocked. As the executive director of Boulder-based Global Greengrants, I travel the world hearing to local solutions to environmental problems. I know the challenges of bringing a community together and the power that a determined group of dedicated individuals can have. When I saw an orange river right in our backyard I knew there had to be a solution.

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In response to the Court of Appeals request that the Colorado Supreme Court hear the Longmont fracking ban case, the groups intervening in the case—Our Longmont, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club and Earthworks—issued the following statement

Earthworks, Our Longmont, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club

August 19, 2015

"We applaud the court for recognizing the legitimacy of Longmont's democratically enacted ban on fracking, the depth of public interest and concern, and the need for re-examining prior Supreme Court rulings on this issue.  It is exceptionally rare for the Appellate Court to kick a decision up to the Supreme Court due to the profound implications of its decision. 

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Fracking Injunction Fails

Santa Fe New Mexican | Elizabeth Miller

August 18, 2015
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A federal judge has failed to grant an injunction to temporarily halt on oil and gas drilling in Navajo lands and the area around Chaco Culture National Historic Park. The preliminary injunction would have nullified 265 recently approved applications to drill in the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico, often within 20 miles of the national park. Yet, now the practice will continue as the court process moves along. 

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New Oil & Gas Development Methane Standard Welcomed by Fracking-Impacted Residents, Enviros

Earthworks

August 18, 2015

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The Colorado mine spill was predictable and preventable

Al Jazeera America Opinion | Jennifer Krill

August 15, 2015
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Westerners know the value of clean water. From farmers in California to brewers in Colorado and fishermen in Montana, water is a part of everything we do. But our water is scarce, so we know not to put our limited water resources at risk.

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Colorado river spill: Fixing the 1872 law that haunts thousands of old mines

Christian Science Monitor | Brad Knickerbocker

August 15, 2015
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The US Environmental Protection Agency says it’s now safe for recreational boaters to use the Animas River following a mine waste spill in Colorado that befouled the river with toxic metals and turned it a mustard yellow.

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Mine spill throws EPA on the defensive

The Hill | Timothy Cama

August 15, 2015
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under fire over the toxic mine waste spill it caused in Colorado.

The spill of 3 million gallons of sludge filled with heavy metals into a river led to immediate scorn from Republicans and the EPA’s opponents. Critics accused the Obama administration of hypocrisy and said officials are not holding themselves to the same standards as private companies that pollute.

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5 Other Mines at Risk of Spilling Toxic Waste

National Geographic | Brian Clark Howard

August 14, 2015
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A spill at a mine that turned a Colorado river orange and sent toxic waste barreling downstream 100 miles has many people wondering if the mining site in their town could be next. The answer from experts: Yes.

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Senator Martin Heinrich announces 1872 Mining Law reform bill introduction

Earthworks

August 14, 2015

“We applaud Senator Heinrich’s focus on the root cause of Colorado’s Animas River mine disaster -- the antiquated 1872 Mining Law. When he introduces his bill this fall, we will take a step towards finally creating a dedicated fund to clean up the half million old mines that plague the West. Mining law reform will ensure that other communities do not have to endure the tragedy that Colorado, New Mexico and Utah are currently living.

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CO Mine Spill - Privatized Profits, Socialized Clean Ups

The Big Picture | Thom Hartmann

August 14, 2015
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Tara Houska, Tribal Rights Attorney & Lauren Pagel, Earthworks join Thom. Colorado Governor John Hicklenooper drank straight from the Aminas River today - but the EPA still says the mine waste spill there could take years to clean-up. So what kind of long-term damage could it do the local ecosystem? 

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What the Gold Mine Disaster Tells Us

The New York Times | Editorial

August 13, 2015
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The General Mining Law of 1872 is among the last surviving statutes of the boisterous era of westward expansion. Signed by Ulysses S. Grant, it establishes the basic rules for mining hard-rock minerals like gold, copper and uranium on public lands.

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Mine Spill Price Tag Rises, Raises New Concern About Colorado’s Abandoned Mines

NPR Here & Now | Robin Young

August 13, 2015
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The price tag attached to the toxic wastewater spill from Colorado’s Gold King mine is rising, as economic disruption spreads through Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

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US waterways at risk from thousands of defunct mines lacking cleanup funds

Al Jazeera America | Michael Keller

August 12, 2015
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While crews begin the arduous task of cleaning up Colorado’s Animas River — where contamination by heavy metals and toxins leaked from an abandoned hard rock mine turning the water orange — thousands of other natural sites across the American West remain at risk from similarly hazardous defunct quarries.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that there are currently 2,700 abandoned hard rock mines in need of environmental clean up. Nevada, nicknamed the “Silver State,” has the most, with an estimated 1,100 sites raising environmental concerns.

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The real culprit in the Animas River spill

CNN Opinion | Lauren Pagel

August 11, 2015
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Last Wednesday, the United States experienced one of its worst hardrock-mining-related disasters in decades, and I wish I could say that I was surprised.

A gold mine that has been inactive since 1920 spilled 3 million gallons of toxic mining waste into the Animas River in Colorado after contractors working for an Environmental Protection Agency cleanup team using heavy equipment accidentally sent it flowing into the waterway. The spill has spread from Colorado into New Mexico and now into Utah -- affecting over 100 river miles.

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Spill sheds light on legacy of abandoned mines out West

CBS | Michael Casey

August 11, 2015
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A week ago, the Animas River was best known as a popular white water rafting destination and its pristine water prized by residents in Colorado and New Mexico.

Today, it serves as a troubling reminder of the legacy left behind by the abandoned gold and silver mines that dot much of the West

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Toxic mine waste spill into Animas River symptom of larger problem

Earthworks, San Juan Citizens Alliance, INFORM

August 11, 2015

A toxic mining waste spill near Durango, Colorado spewed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater from the Gold King mine near Silverton into the Animas River last Wednesday.

“Last week’s tragic mining waste spill damaged wildlife, critical drinking water sources, tourism and agriculture for communities all along the Animas and San Juan rivers,” said Dan Olson, Executive Director of the San Juan Citizens Alliance. “While we need to address the immediate impacts of this disaster, we also need action to address the thousands of inactive mines across Colorado.”

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Clean Power Plan takes much needed first step toward transition to renewables

Earthworks

August 3, 2015

“We applaud President Obama’s commitment to tackling climate change. The shifts that have been made in the final Clean Power Plan to encourage renewables and energy efficiency over natural gas represent the kind of change the US needs,” said Jennifer Krill, Earthworks Executive Director. “Any support for dirty fossil fuels like fracked oil and gas threatens our health and climate.”

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Lawsuit over fracking near schools in Mars School District could have statewide legal impact

Pittsburgh City Paper | Ashley Murray

July 29, 2015
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On a hot afternoon along a backed-up, rush-hour-plagued two-lane road, parents rally in the front yard of a school, holding cardboard cut-outs of children that bear written phrases like “Don’t Frack My Future” and “Your Job is to Protect Me.”

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Forest Service Issues Mixed Decision on Montanore Mine Objections

Save Our Cabinets | Clark Fork Coalition | Earthworks

July 23, 2015

MISSOULA, MT (July 23, 2015) – In its response to concerns raised by conservation groups and local landowners about the Montanore Mine in northwest Montana, the Regional Office of the U.S. Forest Service yesterday acknowledged that there are numerous and serious deficiencies in the agency’s environmental review of the copper-silver mine proposed for development underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. 

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Controversial mine proposed near Smith River

NBC Montana | Paige Sedgewick

July 17, 2015
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The Smith River that runs through White Sulphur Springs in Montana is known to many people as a secret gem.  It's the only river in Montana where people have to get a permit to float.

Now a controversial proposal on a possible mine going in near the river is raising some concerns.

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Old mines still plague Montana’s Clark Fork

High Country News | Kindra McQuillan

July 10, 2015
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Cold, rapid and icy blue, the Clark Fork is Montana’s largest river. It begins its journey as Blacktail Creek, tumbling down from the Continental Divide at Pipestone Pass, near Butte, and threads its way between the Flint Creek, Sapphire and Garnet ranges on its way to Missoula. A century ago, one of North America’s largest copper booms rattled the river’s headwaters in Butte. Several hundred mines burrowed beneath the city, and in 1908, a flood washed tons of contaminated sediments from those mines into the river. Arsenic, copper, zinc, lead and cadmium contaminated millions of tons of sediment along 120 miles of the river’s banks — all the way to Missoula. The river’s legendary but struggling trout all but vanished.

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Oil and gas industry may one day reap a fracking whirlwind

Star-Telegram | Adam Briggle and Sharon Wilson

July 8, 2015
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The battle has begun to restore Texas communities’ right to decide whether and how hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells should occur within their boundaries.

Ironically, the battle’s beginning is signaled by the city of Denton’s repeal of its fracking ban.

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Conservation Groups File Lawsuit to Protect Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness from Needlessly Destructive Mining Activities

Earthworks et al

July 7, 2015

Boise, ID – Conservationists filed a lawsuit today against a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks and drilling rigs miles inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, calling the proposed plan needlessly destructive to this nationally treasured landscape.

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Oklahoma Case Could Open Doors to More Earthquake-Fracking Lawsuits

InsideClimate News | Zahra Hirji

July 2, 2015
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Nearly four years after Prague, Okla., became the unlikely epicenter of three earthquakes of at least magnitude 5.0 and sent a fireplace and chimney tumbling into Sandra Ladra's living room, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has stepped in and offered her a surprising ray of hope.

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Plea for international review of B.C. mine dismissed at company’s AGM

The Canadian Press | Cara McKenna

June 25, 2015
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An Alaskan tribal government says a Canadian company has rejected its last hope for stopping a mine on a colossal gold reserve that borders its territory and is located in northwestern British Columbia.

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Concerned Alaska Native, First Nation representatives attend Seabridge Gold annual meeting

Juneau Empire | Mary Catharine Martin

June 25, 2015
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Alaska Native and First Nation representatives had some questions for a Canadian mining company at its annual meeting, concerned about a project’s potential effects on their ancestral lands

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BC & Alaska indigenous leaders attending Seabridge Gold shareholder meeting to protest risky mine plan

Earthworks, MiningWatch Canada, United Tribal Transboundary Mining Working Group

June 24, 2015

Toronto, June 24 - British Columbia and Alaska indigenous leaders today are calling upon Seabridge Gold’s leadership and investors to prevent more disasters like Mount Polley. Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA)(NYSE:SA) is a junior mining company proposing what would be North America’s largest open pit mine near British Columbia’s northwest border with Alaska. The mine is located under an active glacier, as well as upstream from major salmon fishing waters and the Misty Fjords National Monument, a popular tourist destination.

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KSM mine targets richer ore while seeking investors

KTOO | Ed Schoenfeld

June 23, 2015
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A Canadian mining company says it’s found richer deposits of gold and copper ore at its controversial KSM project. It’s spending $16 million to continue to explore for more at its site, upriver from Ketchikan, this summer.

The company, Seabridge Gold, is holding its annual meeting in Toronto this week. Tribal representatives from Alaska and British Columbia plan a protest.

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Report questions the safety and economics of proposed KSM mine

Mining Innovation | James Perkins

June 23, 2015
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Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell’s proposed gold and copper mine threatens the environmental safety in the region and would not be profitable, a report from two environmental groups has claimed.

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What’s Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?

Rolling Stone | Paul Solotaroff

June 22, 2015
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I heard some version of that tale all over town. Avery Lawton, a radiant redhead, was pregnant that winter with her second child, but the fetus wasn't growing. It was so frail at 30 weeks that an obstetrician told her it could die during labor, and she should deliver at the hospital and not at home. Defying him, she went for a second, and third, opinion; her daughter, almost two now, was born with a rare and profound vision disorder, for which she wears Coke-bottle goggles.

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Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Drinking Water Near Texas Fracking Sites

EcoWatch | Anastasia Pantsios

June 22, 2015
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On June 4, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on how frackingfor oil and gas can impact access to safe drinking water. Although the report claims not to have found any “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” a new study in Texas provides more evidence that contamination of drinking water from fracking might be occurring.

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Environmental groups: KSM a bad investment

Juneau Empire | Mary Catharine Martin

June 22, 2015
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Two organizations have collaborated on an analysis questioning the profitability and feasibility of Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell, the largest of the mines planned in watersheds that start in British Columbia and empty into Southeast Alaska.

Salmon Beyond Borders, a coalition of Southeast Alaskans concerned about transboundary mines, and Earthworks, an environmental group, produced a report which says KSM, which would empty into the Unuk River watershed, is a risky investment for several reasons.

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Red Chris mine gets environmental permit

Mining.com | Andrew Topf

June 21, 2015
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The Red Chris copper and gold mine in British Columbia has received a full operating permit from the provincial government.

Imperial Metals (TSX:III) announced on June 15 that an amended permit under B.C.'s Environmental Management Act was issued by the Ministry of Environment. The permit allows the mine to discharge tailings into the tailings storage facility (TSF) and discharge water from the TSF subject to water quality guidelines.

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UT-Arlington Study Links Fracking To Groundwater Contamination

Ft. Worth Weekly | Jeff Prince

June 18, 2015
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Yesterday’s News Roundup told you about the puckering sound coming from Fort Worth’s Range Resources, a gas drilling company facing an $8.9 million fine from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection. (The agency said the drilling company’s repeated failure to repair a gas well led to groundwater contamination.)

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Mounting financial challenges seen for KSM mine

The Cordoba Times | Margaret Bauman

June 18, 2015
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A new mining report says an analysis by Toronto-based Seabridge Gold of the economic feasibility of its proposed Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell mine in northwest British Columbia, near the Alaska border, is based on unrealistic metals prices.

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Heavyweight enviro group targets world’s largest gold project

Mining.com | Frik Els

June 18, 2015
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During the final days of 2014 Canada's minister of the environment gave the green light to Seabridge Gold's KSM project in northern British Columbia, the world's largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves.

The joint harmonized federal and provincial environmental assessment process took nearly seven-years and KSM was only the second metal mine in five years to receive approval by Canada and BC.

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Ban on hydraulic fracturing repealed

Denton Record-Chronicle | Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

June 17, 2015
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Denton’s seven-month-old ban on hydraulic fracturing fell early Wednesday morning in what city leaders dubbed a “strategic repeal.”

The City Council voted 6-1 to pull down the citizens initiative after three hours of public testimony and deliberations late Tuesday night. In moving to repeal the ban, council member Greg Johnson called the option the least of three bad choices in two lawsuits against the city. He urged fellow members to join him, saying that it was too risky to consider the matter much longer.

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‘Alarming’ study shows dangerous water along Barnett Shale

WFAA | Brett Shipp

June 17, 2015
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What's being called one of the most comprehensive groundwater studies ever done in the U.S. was published Wednesday, and, according to the lead scientist, some of its findings are "incredibly alarming."

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Study finds elevated levels of metals, chemicals in Barnett Shale water samples

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/barnett-shale/article24830848.html#storylink=cpy

June 17, 2015
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Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington have found elevated levels of numerous metals and chemical compounds associated with the hydraulic fracturing process in public and private water wells throughout the Barnett Shale

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Environmental groups sue over proposed Cabinet Mountains mine

Missoulian | Rob Chaney

June 17, 2015
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After failing to win stronger protections for threatened bull trout and grizzly bears in the Cabinet Mountains, a coalition of environmental groups has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to block a proposed mine there.

Save Our Cabinets, Earthworks and Defenders of Wildlife filed their challenge in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Wednesday.

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UT study shows widespread groundwater pollution from fracking chemicals

Earthworks

June 17, 2015

Peer-reviewed analysis released day after HB40 forces Denton City Council to yield fracking oversight to state

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Coalition Sues Federal Agency to Protect Threatened Bull Trout, Grizzly Bears from Montanore Mine in Northwest Montana

Earthworks, Earthjustice et al

June 17, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont.—A coalition of conservation groups filed suit today to protect bull trout and grizzly bears from a massive mine proposal in the heart of some of the last remaining undeveloped habitat for these species in northwest Montana. The lawsuit challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision that the proposed Montanore copper and silver mine would not jeopardize the survival or recovery of bull trout and grizzly bears, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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