Earthworks

New Analysis: Ignoring best practices, four BC/Alaska transboundary mines risk repeating Mount Polley disaster

Earthworks | MiningWatch Canada | Rivers Without Borders

March 22, 2016

In the midst of deliberations over the British Columbia Mining Code, an international coalition today released, Post-Mount Polley: Tailings Dam Safety in British Columbia, a new analysis revealing that four major BC mine projects in the Alaska/British Columbia transboundary region fail to implement the recommendations of the Mount Polley expert panel, risking similar mine waste containment disasters. The Mount Polley mine disaster, considered the worst mine disaster in Canadian history, occurred in August 2014, releasing over 25 million cubic meters of mine waste into the Fraser River watershed.

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Obama starts process to protect community health from existing oil and gas air pollution

Earthworks

March 10, 2016

“With today’s announcement, President Obama starts to get serious about oil and gas methane pollution.

Prior to this announcement, his Administration has largely focused on pollution from yet-to-be-built oil and gas facilities. This announcement is of enormous importance because it deals with the main problem - existing facilities.

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Colorado Sens. Bennet, Gardner urge law to spur cleanup at old mines

Denver Post | Bruce Finley

March 3, 2016
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Colorado's senators Wednesday urged fellow lawmakers to support "good Samaritan" legislation to spur voluntary cleanups at dormant mines polluting waterways around the West.

Sen. Michael Bennet also is pushing a more-ambitious reform of the nation's 1872 Mining Law to raise funds.

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Gas Money Gone

Fort Worth Weekly | Peter Gorman

March 2, 2016
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When the landmen arrived in Fort Worth in 2007, they didn’t promise that every home owner would make a killing from leasing his or her land for natural gas exploration. But they did promise that every house would be getting free mailbox money monthly for 30 to 50 years, maybe a couple of hundred bucks per home, even if that home sat on only a 6,000-square-foot plot.

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Colorado senators testify in support of good Samaritan legislation

Durango Herald | Edward Graham

March 2, 2016
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Leaking mines are an endemic problem in the West that far exceed the capabilities of the Eniveronmental Protection Agency to address alone, Sen. Michael Bennet on Wednesday told a committee discussing a planned bill that would allow organizations to help clean up abandoned mines.

“The bill will encourage states, local governments, nonprofits and companies to clean up abandoned mines,” Bennet said, citing the steps he and other lawmakers from Colorado have taken in working with stakeholders on all sides of the issue to craft the legislation.

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Good Samaritan helps, but only 1872 Mining Law Reform will clean up 500,0000 abandoned mines

March 2, 2016

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director regarding tomorrow’s hearing before Senate Environment and Public Works Committe

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Montanore Mine seeks profit but squanders real treasure

Bonnie Gestring and Karen Knudsen

February 28, 2016
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The Cabinet Mountain Wilderness is a small gem in the northwest corner of our state that offers a rare glimpse of temperate forest, with towering red cedar, hemlock and moss-covered streams. This sliver of Wilderness is just 4 percent of the Kootenai National Forest, but it protects the headwaters of important river systems, provides refuge for native fish and wildlife, and is a lasting source of pristine water for those downstream.

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New map, videos show Aliso Canyon only the tip of the iceberg

Earthworks

February 24, 2016

Washington D.C., Feb 24 -- Just as the worst methane leak in California’s history is sealed, and the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged the U.S. pollutes much more methane than previously estimated, Earthworks -- the group that filmed the videos revealing the scope of the methane disaster in Los Angeles County --released a map of 180+ infrared videos of oil and gas methane pollution events across the country.

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Long-stalled Montana mine gets conditional approval

AP | Matthew Brown

February 12, 2016
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BILLINGS (AP) — Montana environmental regulators granted conditional approval Friday to a long-stalled silver and copper mine proposed beneath a federal wilderness area, saying the developer must show before mining can proceed that the $500 million project won’t drain overlying creeks.

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State and Federal Agencies Approve Mine Underneath Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Northwest Montana

Earthworks, Earthjustice et. al.

February 12, 2016

HELENA, MT --- State and federal agencies today approved the Montanore copper-silver mine proposed underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwest Montana’s Kootenai National Forest. The mine project planned by Mines Management Inc. (NYSE-MARKET: MGN) will disturb more than 1,500 acres adjacent to the Wilderness and remove up to 120 million tons of ore from tunnels that extend underneath it. Despite the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) Record of Decision admitting that the full mine project will violate state water quality law, the Forest Service has nevertheless approved the full mine.

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Crooksville gas leak shows need for U.S. EPA to issue comprehensive oil and gas methane standards

Earthworks, Ohio Environmental Council, et al

February 3, 2016

On Monday night, hundreds of residents living in Crooksville, Ohio were evacuated from their homes when a natural gas transmission line spewed methane into the air near their village. Residents within a half mile radius of the leak were ordered to leave their homes and take up shelter at Crooksville High School.

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Court Orders Environmental Protection Agency to Finalize Rules so Polluters Pay for Their Own Toxic Messes

Earthworks, Earthjustice et. al.

January 29, 2016

WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to stop letting polluters off the financial hook for contamination they caused. The judges directed the EPA to finalize long-awaited “financial assurance” regulations that will first apply to metal (hard rock) mining and other industries.

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Responding to Texas quake uptick, seismic study gets underway

Statesman | Asher Price

January 24, 2016

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Skeptics remain after power plan Q&A

Denton Record Chronicle | Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

January 23, 2016
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A panel from Denton Municipal Electric fielded questions from a skeptical audience for nearly four hours Saturday over a proposal to replace the city’s current coal-fired power with new gas-fired power plants.

Questions and comments from the audience ranged from the pragmatic to the philosophical. They wanted to know why the city should build the plants knowing the rapidly changing energy market, the region’s poor air quality, the community’s stated values and the threat of climate change.

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Earthworks statement on the Interior Department's Methane and Waste Reduction Rule

January 22, 2016

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Pennsylvania action on rules to cut methane pollution will help public health, address climate change

Earthworks, CATF, Sierra Club, NRDC

January 19, 2016

(Washington, D.C. – January 19, 2016)  National environmental advocacy groups today expressed gratitude to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for acting on climate as he previewed rules that will cut methane pollution from the state's oil and gas sector. Pennsylvania, as the second largest natural gas producing state in the U.S., is a significant contributor of the man-made methane pollution that is warming the planet at an alarming rate as it worsens the state's already-poor air quality.

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Science panel faults EPA fracking probe for excluding baseline water testing

StateImpact PA | Jon Hurdle

January 13, 2016
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The Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark investigation into the impact of fracking on drinking water lacked baseline testing that would have made its results more illuminating, according to a scientific panel that assessed it, and independent analysts.

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Watch: Infrared video shows Porter Ranch leak spew 50,000 kilograms of methane per hour

KPCC | Sharon McNary

December 9, 2015
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A black vapor plume boils up from a point on a hillside in Aliso Canyon and spreads as a low cloud, hugging the landscape, moved along by a breeze. It's footage from a camera calibrated to make gases that would normally be invisible show up on video.

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Watch Methane Gas Eerily Float Over the Hills Near the Huge Porter Ranch Gas Leak

Curbed LA | Bianca Barragan

December 9, 2015
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Since Late October, a leak at a Southern California Gas Company facility in the Santa Susana Mountains has been spewing an incredible amount of methane gas, and the gas has been wafting into the nearby, wealthy Porter Ranch neighborhood, causing problems ranging from headaches to nosebleeds. SoCal Gas says it'll take weeks at least to fix the leak, and meanwhile they've relocated hundreds of people. To help people get a better idea of how dire the situation is, a cameraman working for environmental nonprofit Earthworks has captured images of a cloud of methane leaking from the Gas Company's Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site and crawling over the hills in the area. Armed with a "forward looking infrared camera calibrated to detect gases," the cameraman was able to make the gas—normally invisible to video as well as the naked eye—visible, says KPCC.

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Watch 50,000 Kilograms of Methane Per Hour Gush From a Busted Pipe

CityLab | Laura Bliss

December 9, 2015
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What does a pipe spewing 50,000 kilograms of methane per hour look like? You’d never know, as the highly flammable gas is invisible to the naked eye.But in the northern San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, where a ruptured pipe has been pluming natural gas for nearly two months, residents finally have their chance to see.

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Interior Secretary Jewell to testify on Gold King, mines at hearing

The Denver Post | Bruce Finley

December 8, 2015
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The Obama administration is weighing in on the problem of acid drainage from inactive mines, proposing a fee on companies working on public and private lands to raise funds for long-delayed cleanups

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As world gathers in Paris, 125+ groups call for strict limits on U.S. oil & gas methane pollution

December 2, 2015

Washington, D.C., Dec 2 -- Today 128 groups sent a letter to the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency calling for stricter limits and stronger standards for methane pollution from oil and gas development. On Sep 18, the EPA proposed a Methane Pollution Standard to cut methane pollution from new and modified sources as part the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan.

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Eco-group working to make invisible air pollution from Ohio’s Utica Shale visible to everyone

Akron Beacon Journal | Bob Downing

November 22, 2015
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BARNESVILLE: Peter Dronkers of Earthworks makes invisible air pollution from shale drilling visible to everyone.

The viewfinder of Dronkers’ special infrared gas-recording camera shows billowing clouds or wispy leaks.

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Residents air concerns about fracking at forum

Barnesville Enterprise | Cathryn Stanley

November 19, 2015
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Barnesville area residents were given the opportunity to learn about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on air quality and make public comments to share with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to strengthen proposed rules on air quality standards for the industry. On Saturday, Nov. 7, the Concerned Barnesville Area Residents hosted a forum at the First United Methodist Church in Barnesville. Information was presented by  Melanie Houston, Director of Water Policy & Environmental Health, Ohio Environmental Council and  Nadia Steinzor, Eastern Program Coordinator, Earthworks. Several area residents also shared their stories about the environmental and health impact they say fracking has had in the Barnesville, Somerton and Seneca Lake areas.

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At BHP Billiton shareholder meeting, protesters demand justice for Brazilian mining disaster victims

Earthworks, Greenpeace Brazil, Greenpeace Australia

November 18, 2015

Perth, Australia, Nov 19 – Greenpeace protesters today disrupted BHP Billiton’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to demand justice for the thousands of victims of the mining waste spill that destroyed the historic Brazilian town of Mariana in Minas Gerais state. The Germano iron mine, whose tailings (waste) dam failed on November 5th, is operated by Samarco - a joint venture co-owned by Australia-based BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, and Brazil-based Vale S.A, one of the world’s five largest mining companies.

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Group Strives for tougher regulations on oil and gas drilling

Free Press Standard | Nancy Schaar

November 18, 2015
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A small group of local residents met Nov. 9 with officials from Earthworks of Washington D. C. to discuss and record their opinions regarding the lack of regulations for methane and other chemicals involved with the gas and oil industry.

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Forum gets input on tighter limits on methane, other chemicals released by the oil and gas industry

Canton Rep | Shane Hoover

November 9, 2015
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Tighter limits on the amount of methane and other chemicals released by the oil and gas industry is a win-win situation in Gail Walker’s view.

“This appears like a good and sensible step, both for my personal health here in Carroll County and for the well-being of the planet,” Walker, of Center Township, said Monday at a forum organized by local, state and national environmental groups in the heart of Ohio’s Utica Shale.

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President Obama Rejects the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline

Earthworks

November 6, 2015

“Today the environmental community is cheering. Organizations and individuals from across the country came together to demand President Obama reject the Keystone XL pipeline, and today our voices were recognized.

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Fatal Brazilian mine waste disaster shows modern mining is increasingly dangerous

Earthworks and Center for Science in Public Participation

November 6, 2015

Washington, D.C. -- A mine waste dam at the Germano open-pit iron ore mine in Brazil’s state of Minas Gerais breached yesterday, flooding the downstream area with mining waste and causing fatalities. The Germano facility is co-owned by two of the world’s largest mining companies, Brazilian Vale SA and Anglo-Australian BHP Billiton.

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Statement from Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill

Earthworks

November 5, 2015

“We thank Senators Udall, Heinrich, Bennet, Wyden, Markey and others for introducing legislation to reform the 1872 Mining Law.

If this bill had been law before the Gold King Mine waste disaster the Animas River might never have been polluted, and downstream communities in Colorado and New Mexico might never have suffered.

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Western senators launch effort to reform mining law to spur cleanup

Denver Post | Bruce Finley

November 5, 2015
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Western senators weighed in on the toxic mines problem Thursday, launching legislation to reform the nation's 1872 Mining Law and require companies to pay fees to create a cleanup fund for abandoned inactive mines.

The legislation introduced by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and New Mexico Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall would apply to existing and new mining operations. It aims to raise at least $100 million a year.

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Why capping methane leaks is a win-win goal for industry and environmentalists

PBS | Kathleen McCleery

November 4, 2015
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GWEN IFILL: But, first, natural gas is often considered a cleaner fuel than coal. It emits about half as much carbon dioxide. But the main component in natural gas is another greenhouse gas: methane.

As special correspondent Kathleen McCleery explains, that’s why both environmentalists and the energy industry are trying to find ways to capture leaks from oil and gas facilities.

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Fracking-Harmed Residents Travel to Washington, D.C. to Call On EPA to Stop Ignoring Its Own Science on Water Pollution

Earthworks and Food & Water Watch

October 28, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today residents from communities across the country with fracking contaminated drinking water joined with advocates at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board public meetings to demand that EPA stop ignoring its own evidence of fracking water pollution, and correct the faulty declaration that the agency did “not find evidence that [fracking has] led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources”.

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EPA to Propose New Rule Requiring Hundreds of Natural Gas Processing Plants to Start Reporting Toxic Pollution

Earthworks et al.

October 27, 2015

Washington, D.C. – In response to a petition and lawsuit by environmental and open government organizations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose regulations requiring natural gas processing plants to start reporting the toxic chemicals they release.

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Mining reclamation requires funding

Durango Hearld | Peter Marcus

October 22, 2015
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Mining-reclamation experts this week told a congressional panel that good Samaritan legislation and funding for restoration efforts are “inseparably tied together.”

The comments came during a hearing Wednesday on good Samaritan cleanups of abandoned mines, held by the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

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Rep. Bob Gibbs seeks ways to clean up abandoned mines

Cleveland.com | Sabrina Eaton

October 21, 2015
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WASHINGTON, D. C. -- A half-million abandoned mines throughout the nation pose public safety hazards, particularly to water quality, and current federal and state cleanup programs don't adequately address the problem, environmental and mining experts told a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday.

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NO FRACKING: Activists push delegation to ban hydraulic fracturing

Fort Myers Beach Observer | Bob Petcher

October 21, 2015
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The supportive act to ban hydraulic fracturing by several local governments was echoed by activists during a county lawmaking session last week.

Representatives from three environmentally conscious entities held a press conference during the lunch break of the Lee County Legislative Delegation Meeting at Florida Southwestern State College to express opposition to "fracking" and a potential pro-fracking bill in Florida.

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Deep Sea Mining a New Ocean Threat

Huffington Post | Richard Steiner

October 20, 2015
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Adding to concerns about the disastrous decline in ocean ecosystems, now there is another emerging threat - deep sea mining. While shallow water mining for sand, gold, tin, and diamonds has been conducted for decades, commercial deep sea mining has yet to occur anywhere. But that's about to change.

Extensive deep sea mineral exploration is currently underway in international waters governed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), under the U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of many coastal nations.

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Grassroots network forms to monitor fracking front

Star-Telegram | Max B. Baker

October 12, 2015
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Cathy McMullen shook her head as a year of hard work went down in flames.

The leader of the Denton grassroots group that spearheaded the state’s first voter-approved ban on fracking last fall felt powerless as state lawmakers tossed the Denton ban onto the ash heap earlier this year. On a drive back from Austin, McMullen thought that after years of fighting, her activist days might be over.

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Legal Push to Get EPA to Finally Regulate Oil and Gas Waste

Public News Service | Dan Heyman

October 8, 2015
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The EPA has largely failed to regulate waste from oil and gas drilling, even though the agency admitted the hazardous nature of the waste decades ago. National and state-based groups are pushing for the agency to at last close the gap.

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Anti-fracking activists converge in Denver for meetings, protests

Denver Post | Bruce Finley

October 5, 2015
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Oil and gas drilling closer to communities along Colorado's Front Range, as seen in a struggle north of Denver, is putting residents and school officials on guard.

While Synergy Resources says it would tread as lightly as possible near Thornton, the lingering anxieties are an example of the sentiments that on Monday drove 230 activists from 30 states to demonstrate around Denver.

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EPA final ozone rule helpful but insufficient for fracking-impacted communities

October 1, 2015

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NGOs: Study of world's first deep sea mine is misleading, fails to account environmental and social impact

International Business Times | Karla Tecson

September 30, 2015
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A coalition of non-government organisations and citizens from the Pacific, Australia, Canada and the US has expressed fresh opposition against the world’s first deep sea mine, situated in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea. The group, called Deep Sea Mining Campaign, launched a new critique which seeks to discredit the environmental and social benchmarking analysis, or ESBA, of the proposed Solwara 1 projectcommissioned by Nautilus Minerals.

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Arizona’s 100,000 Abandoned Mines Pose Environmental, Safety Dangers

KJZZ | Carrie Jung

September 28, 2015
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Opening a mine in Arizona today is no easy feat. It requires hundreds of pages of paperwork and several rounds of environmental studies. But, that wasn’t always the case. Until the 1970s the mining industry nationwide faced minimal regulation. That's left quite a mess behind.

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World’s first deep sea mining proposal ignores consequences of its impacts on oceans

Earthworks, Deep Sea Mining Campaign et. al.

September 28, 2015

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EPA Public Hearing On Methane Emmission Rules Held In Dallas

KERA | Christopher Connelly

September 24, 2015
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The federal Environmental Protection Agency was in Dallas Wednesday for a daylong public hearing on proposed rules that would govern oil and gas production.

The proposals are part of the Obama administration’s strategy to cut emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane in the production of oil and gas. The EPA’s Alison Davis said the new rules would expand on 2012 restrictions aimed at cutting smog.

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Texas Scientists, Communities, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Speak Out for Strong Rules to Reduce Harmful Methane Pollution from Oil and Gas Activity

Earthworks et al

September 23, 2015

DALLAS, Tex -- Sept 23 -- Today, faith leaders, scientists, and community members told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency why strong federal rules are needed to protect human health and the climate from oil and gas development’s air pollution. EPA held a hearing today at City Hall to collect public comments on its proposal to reduce methane and associated air pollution from oil and gas activity.

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Congress needs to address real culprit of Animas River mine spill, 1872 Mining Law

Earthworks

September 16, 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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Udall, Heinrich propose bill requiring hard-rock miners to help pay cleanup costs

Santa Fe New Mexican | Justin Horwath

September 16, 2015
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New Mexico’s two U.S. senators say they will introduce legislation that would require companies digging for hard-rock minerals on public lands to pay royalties to help cover the cost of cleaning up tens of thousands of mines across the nation abandoned by the industry decades ago.

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Draining old mines foul Denver’s watershed every day with contaminants

Denver Post | Bruce Finley

September 16, 2015
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ALMA — Ninety miles west of Denver, 347 gallons a minute of acidic heavy metals leak into a tributary of the South Platte River every day from the defunct London Mine. Not even the bugs that fish eat have survived in South Mosquito Creek west of Alma, let alone the trout local leaders hope to restore for the South Park recreational economy.

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