Media Releases

Proposed EU law will not keep conflict resources out of Europe, campaigners warn

Earthworks, Global Witness, et al

March 5, 2014

A law proposed by the European Commission on responsible sourcing of minerals is not strong enough to prevent European companies’ mineral purchases from financing conflict or human rights abuses, and falls far short of expectations, campaigners said today.
Instead of putting forward robust legislation that would require a wide range of EU-based companies to do checks on their supply chains – known as due diligence – the Commission today announced voluntary measures that will only apply to companies importing processed and unprocessed minerals into the European market. The proposal covers companies involved in the tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold sectors. The campaigners warned that the Commission’s proposal – an opt-in self-certification scheme available to a limited number of companies – is likely to have minimal impact on the way that the majority of European companies source natural resources.

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Tagged with: mining, conflict minerals, european union

EPA Acts to Protect World’s Largest Wild Salmon Fishery from Pebble Mine


February 28, 2014

Dillingham, AK & Washington, D.C.: Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is invoking its Clean Water Act authority to assess permanently prohibiting or restricting mine waste disposal into Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed.  This decision puts on hold attempts to build the Pebble Mine, which would be North America’s largest open pit gold-copper mine.

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Tagged with: mining, epa, gold, bristol bay, alaska, pebble mine

Citizens of Denton, Texas Call For Fracking Ban

Denton Drilling Awareness Group and Earthworks

February 18, 2014

Denton, Texas, February 18 – The Denton Drilling Awareness Group (Denton DAG) today announced they are collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to ban hydraulic fracturing within city limits.  If approved by voters, Denton would become the first major Texas city to ban fracking, and the first city in the country to ban fracking after permits had been previously granted.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, ban, denton

New EPA Fracking Diesel Guidance Step in Right Direction


February 11, 2014

Washington, D.C. — Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-awaited guidance (see below for links) describing how the oil and gas industry may use diesel fuel in the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking).  When it takes effect sometime this year, this will be EPA’s first formal rule or guidance dealing with fracking’s threat to drinking water.  

“Diesel and drinking water don't mix,” said Earthworks executive director Jennifer Krill. She continued, “Even the Cheney-era Congress recognized diesel’s hazard to drinking water.  That’s why, even as they passed the Halliburton loophole to the Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress left the door open for this first-ever EPA oversight of fracking’s threat to drinking water.”

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, water pollution, drinking water, diesel, guidance

100 jewelers say ‘no’ to dirty gold on Valentine’s Day

Earthworks' No Dirty Gold campaign

February 11, 2014

Feb 11, WASHINGTON, DC – Just in time for Valentine’s Day, over 100 of the world’s leading jewelry retailers– including 8 of the top 10 in the US– have committed to more responsible metals sourcing by signing the No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules.

“Dirty gold just isn’t romantic,” said Payal Sampat of Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold campaign. “Retailers don’t want consumers to associate gold jewelry with polluted rivers and child labor, and they are joining us in calling on the mining industry to clean up its act.”

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, 2014, beth gerstein, nunamta aulukestai, brilliant earth, kimberly williams, valentine's day

Congress investigates EPA’s Texas “overreach”, ignores EPA & impacted communities


February 4, 2014

Washington, D.C. & Weatherford, TX – The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on February 5th entitled “Examining the Science of EPA Overreach: A Case Study in Texas.” On the agenda: Region 6’s intervention to protect Parker County residents whose drinking water was polluted by fracking-enabled methane gas development.

In 2012 Senator James Inhofe asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General to investigate Region 6’s intervention. Although the IG released its findings late last year, they were not invited to testify. The IG’s report concluded Region 6 was fully justified in acting to protect area residents from pollution linked to Range Resources’ gas drilling.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, texas, house science committee

Texas fracking regulators to quake-damaged community: suffer while we study


January 21, 2014

Austin/Azle, Jan 21 – Today 50 residents of the Azle/Reno area traveled to Austin to compel the Texas Railroad Commission to publicly declare how they were going to address the issue of fracking-related earthquakes. Thirty quakes have occurred in the area since fracking wastewater injection wells began.

Despite scientific authorities linking fracking wastewater injection wells to earthquakes, including the United States Geological Survey and the National Academies of Science, the Railroad Commission announced at the meeting that they would not take action to protect the public until after their seismologist had studied the issue in Texas.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, earthquakes, railroad commission

New study shows Ortiz mine proposal is thirsty and dirty: could consume water equal to use of 7,800 New Mexicans, contribute to climate change, and drain acid into surrounding watershed in perpetuity

January 16, 2014

Santa Fe, New Mexico, January 16th, 2014.   A new coalition of jewelers and conservation groups today released Public Risk, Private Reward: an analysis of the Ortiz Gold Mine proposal, revealing that Santa Fe Gold corporation’s proposed 1000+ foot deep open pit mine in the Ortiz Mountains would consume enough water to sustain thousands of households, and potentially endanger area water supplies by draining acidic runoff into groundwater in perpetuity.

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Tagged with: mining, new mexico, dirty gold, jewelry retailers, groundwater, acid mine drainage, santa fe gold

Alaska Native Tribes, Jewelers, Investors, Commercial Fishermen and Conservation Groups Applaud EPA’s Final Study of Large-Scale Mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay Watershed


January 15, 2014

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Tagged with: mining, epa, bristol bay, alaska, pebble mine, salmon, northern dynasty

Inspector General: EPA justified in intervention to protect drinking water from fracking-enabled pollution

December 24, 2013

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, water pollution, texas, range resources, methane, parker county, inspector general, steve lipsky

Comment Period on Drilling Regulations Offers Opportunity for Vital Input

Earthworks et. al.

December 16, 2013

Harrisburg, PA – Environmental groups welcomed Saturday’s news that the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) proposed updates to Chapter 78 of the Oil and Gas Act were finally sent out for public comment. Though this was viewed as a positive step, the organizations emphasized the need to strengthen many of the vital regulations being proposed. 

“Although our organizations believe there is much that needs to be changed in the proposed regulations, it was time DEP submit its regulatory plans for public scrutiny and comment,” said Thomas Au, State Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, pennsylvania

Environmental, Health, Sporting Organizations, Call on Interior Secretary Jewell, EPA Administrator McCarthy to Curb Methane Emissions from Oil And Gas Industry

Earthworks et. al.

December 5, 2013

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2013 – A broad group of regional and national environmental and health organizations, joined by sporting and faith-based allies, today called on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to substantially reduce emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry on public and private lands, as well as from offshore oil operations. In an open letter, the organizations invoked President Obama’s June 2013 statement that “curbing emissions of methane is critical to our overall effort to address global climate change,” and recommended three essential pathways to clean up methane emissions and set the nation on a path to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, methane, doi, emissions

Groups urge Canadian officials to withdraw government support of Rosia Montana mining proposal

Earthworks, MiningWatch Canada, etal

December 5, 2013

(Ottawa) December 5, 2013. MiningWatch, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Council of Canadians and Earthworks join the call of Romanian and Canadian protesters to request the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Members of Parliament for:

Introduction of legislation to make Canadian corporations, particularly extractive industry corporations, accountable for proposed projects and actual operations abroad and
Withdrawal of Canadian Government support for Gabriel Resources' mining project in Romania at Rosia Montana.

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Tagged with: mining, fpic, gabriel resources, romania, canada, rosia montana

Christmas gifts come early for fracking industry: House to give oil & gas companies weaker oversight of environmental and public health impacts


November 20, 2013

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, congress, house of representatives, hr1965, hr2728, hr1900

New Fracking Report Finds High Levels of Water Consumption and Waste Generation

Earthworks et. al.

October 30, 2013

Charleston, West Virginia, October 30, 2013—Today, a report was released that provides the most recent and comprehensive investigation of water used and waste generated by Marcellus Shale gas extraction operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Based on state and industry data, the report finds that the volumes of water and waste are a cause for concern, and inadequate industry reporting requirements leave the true extent of the problem unknown. 

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Tagged with: fracking, water, water contamination, waste, water withdrawal, water usage

Fracking-Harmed Residents from Across the U.S. Confront President Obama and EPA, Demand Reopening of Investigations of Poisoned Drinking Water in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming

Earthworks et. al.

September 25, 2013

Washington, D.C. –Today, residents personally harmed by gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” held a press conference in front of the White House and then delivered 250,000 petition signatures from concerned citizens across the United States to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at EPA headquarters. The residents - including Ray Kemble from Pennsylvania, Steve Lipsky and Shelly Perdue from Texas and John Fenton from Wyoming - were all part of the EPA fracking investigations in their respective states that EPA abandoned despite evidence of water contamination. The petitions were collected by Stop the Frack Attack and Americans Against Fracking and its advisory committee member, actor Mark Ruffalo. The petitions demand that the EPA reopen investigations into fracking-related drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming and provide residents with safe drinking water in the interim.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, pavillion, dimock, parker county

New EU law could help stop natural resource trade fuelling conflict

Earthworks, Global Witness, Et al.

September 24, 2013

A coalition of 59 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is calling on the European Commission to pass a strong law to prevent European businesses fuelling conflict and human rights abuses through their purchases of natural resources, such as tin, gold and diamonds. The call comes ahead of draft legislation due to be published by the Commission by the end of 2013.

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Tagged with: conflict minerals, europe, eu

New Report: Fracking Pollution Sickening Residents in TX, Regulators Walk Away


September 19, 2013

Washington, DC – A new report released today, September 19th, provides an important window into a disturbing national pattern regarding the oversight of fracking-enabled oil and gas development: regulators, charged with protecting the public, are actively avoiding evidence that fracking is harming the public. The report focuses on Karnes County, TX in an attempt to illuminate a growing national pattern of absentee regulators.

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Tagged with: fracking, air pollution, health and toxics, enforcement, eagle ford shale, tceq, regulators

Press Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill regarding Anglo American’s Withdrawal from the Pebble Mine Proposal


September 16, 2013

Mining corporation Anglo American announced on Monday it has canceled its investment in the Pebble copper-mine project in Bristol Bay, Alaska, dealing a major blow to a proposal to exploit a vast swath of American wilderness that is home to the world’s largest remaining wild salmon fishery.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, bristol bay, alaska, pebble mine, anglo american

Impacted Citizens and Environmental Leaders Speak Out On BLM Fracking Rules

Earthworks et. al.

August 23, 2013

The public comment period closes tomorrow for the Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) second version of its Proposed “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands” rule.  BLM rules apply to more than 750 million acres of public lands and minerals: underneath Tribal lands, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges and other special places, beneath more than 50 million acres of privately-owned land, and drinking water sources for millions of Americans. These rules affect the health of communities and the environment, and the water and air upon which they rely.

As a result more than 1 million comments have been submitted by people across the country to the Obama Administration, asking him to stop the assault on our public lands and to protect our air, water and communities.

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Tagged with: fracking, public lands, blm

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill on today’s introduction of the CLEANER Act


July 26, 2013

July 26, Washington, D.C. -- "Earthworks salutes Congressmen Matt Cartwright and Jared Huffman for introducing the CLEANER (Closing Loopholes and Ending Arbitrary and Needless Evasion of Regulations) Act today. CLEANER would help protect public health by closing an important loophole in federal oversight of the oil and gas industry. Thanks to the nationwide shale boom, now more than ever the oil and gas industry’s special exemption in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for its hazardous waste seriously concerns impacted communities.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, toxics, rcra, cleaner

Wild and Scenic Chetco River Temporarily Protected from Mining: Groups Call for Permanent Protection

Earthworks et. al.

July 26, 2013

Today, the Interior Department announced its approval of a mineral withdrawal for 17 miles of a world-class salmon and steelhead river in southwest Oregon. Authorized by Public Land Order #7819, the mineral withdrawal protects 5,610 acres of National Forest land along the Wild and Scenic Chetco River from mining for five years, while Congress considers permanent protection for the river in the Chetco River Protection Act and the Oregon Treasures Act.

“The Wild and Scenic Chetco River is renowned for its singular beauty, recreational opportunities, and epic salmon and steelhead fishing,” said Barbara Ullian of Friends of the Kalmiopsis. “We’re thrilled by the Interior’s decision to approve the withdrawal and want to thank the Forest Service, the Chetco’s congressional champions and the local, regional and national organizations who supported it.”

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Tagged with: mining, chetco river, oregon, chetco river protection act

Wild and Scenic Illinois River Protected From Mining For Another 20 Years

Earthworks et. al.

July 1, 2013

Groups Call for Action on Rough and Ready Creek and Baldface Creek

On June 27th, the Interior Department approved a 20-year extension for a mineral withdrawal along 14 miles of Oregon’s National Wild and Scenic Illinois River. The measure will protect one of the most popular stretches of river in the state from mining. The existing withdrawal expired on Sunday, June 30th.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, withdrawal, illinois river

100 Jewelers Pledge Support for Alaska’s Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine, Earthworks Announces


June 27, 2013

Today, Earthworks announced that over 100 jewelers, representing more than $6 billion in annual sales, have pledged to support protection for Alaska’s Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine. This is the first time that such a large number of jewelers, including Tiffany & Co., Ben Bridge, Helzberg Diamonds, Birks and Mayors and independent jewelers have taken a position on a specific place or mine.

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Tagged with: mining, bristol bay, bristol bay pledge, jewelers

Fracked shale gas is part of climate change problem, not solution


June 25, 2013

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill

Increased natural gas and oil development is part of the climate change problem, not the solution.

President Obama should know this. His own agencies are effectively telling him so.

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Tagged with: fracking, climate change, obama

Grijalva, Markey, Holt Introduce Mining Reform Bill to Increase Transparency, Collect Royalties Following GAO Report on Failures


June 21, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva, Ed Markey and Rush Holt yesterday introduced the Abandoned Mine Lands Cleanup and Taxpayer Fairness Act, a bill to modernize U.S. mining law and establish a royalty program to increase taxpayer return on investment. The bill is a response to the findings of a Government Accountability Office report Grijalva and Sen. Tom Udall requested in 2011 and received earlier this year. You can read more about the report at

The bill addresses shortcomings identified by GAO in several key areas. Among other provisions, the bill:

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, reform, 1872

Pavillion-area citizens, national groups oppose Wyoming’s control of the Pavillion groundwater contamination investigation

Earthworks et. al.

June 21, 2013

Pavillion, WY & Washington, D.C. -- Pavillion-area citizens, landowners and environmental groups today condemned Wyoming Governor Mead’s announcement that the state is assuming control from the EPA of the investigation into groundwater contamination by fracking-enabled oil and gas development near Pavillion, WY.

In the announcement, the Governor congratulated EPA and Encana – the company operating in the Pavillion area – for working with him to “chart a positive course” for the investigation.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, wyoming, pavillion, water contamination

Statement of Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel

June 13, 2013

Prior to testifying before the Energy and Minerals Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee

“Mining in America: The Administration’s Use of Claim Maintenance Fees and Cleanup of Abandoned Mine Lands”

The House Energy and Minerals Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee is shining a welcome spotlight on the 1872 Mining Law. It’s outrageous that the 1872 Mining Law gives mining companies all the power while taxpayers have none.

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, grand canyon, subsidies, economics, claim maintenance fee, validity

Experts warn of bursting shale gas bubble: New York legislators briefed on the economics of fracking

Earthworks, et al

May 23, 2013

Albany, New York—With several bills pending in the New York legislature related to natural gas development in the state, elected officials were briefed today on new research revealing its economic limitations.

Hosted by Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Earthworks, Energy Policy Forum, Environmental Advocates of New York, Frack Action, and the Post Carbon Institute, the briefing focused on two groundbreaking reports released this spring. In sum, scientific and financial analyses show that the medium- to long-term benefits of shale fracking may be illusory and more similar to the housing bubble than the economic silver bullet promised by the gas industry. 

The reports, “Drill Baby Drill” by veteran coal and gas geologist David Hughes and “Shale and Wall Street” by financial analyst Deborah Rogers, assess the economic sustainability of the tight oil and shale gas booms that are sweeping America—and could come to New York through fracking in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations. They comprise a thorough and up-to-date analysis of data on more than 60,000 oil and gas wells and a comprehensive review of the financial status of the companies leading the charge to expand domestic fossil fuel development.

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Tagged with: fracking, economics, shale bubble, deborah rogers, david hughes, post carbon institute, well depletion

Industry controlled Responsible Jewellery Council fails to fulfill promise of preventing conflict diamonds and dirty gold

Earthworks, et al

May 22, 2013

Trade unions and environmental groups team up to expose deep flaws in jewelry certification system

Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Geneva, Sydney, May 22, 2013 – In a new report, More Shine Than Substance: How RJC certification fails to create responsible jewelry, an international coalition of labor and environmental groups indict the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)’s certification system as misleading jewelry consumers. The RJC holds its annual meeting in Milan on May 23.

“Jewelry is meant to lift our spirits.  But it loses its value if it’s made with gold or diamonds that are tarnished by human rights abuses or environmental destruction,” said Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold campaign director Payal Sampat. She continued, “Unfortunately, RJC’s certification cannot reassure consumers that the gems and precious metals that pass through its system did not come at the cost of community health or clean water.”  

The groups releasing More Shine Than Substance include the trade union federation, IndustriALL, which represents 50 million workers globally, CFMEU Australia, United Steelworkers, and environmental advocacy groups Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada.


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Tagged with: mining, dirty gold, responsible jewellery council, certification, conflict diamonds

Statement of Jennifer Krill, Earthworks' Executive Director, on BLM’s updated draft hydraulic fracturing rule


May 16, 2013

Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new draft rules governing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on federal public lands and some private lands where the federal government owns the sub-surface mineral rights. With this rulemaking, the BLM and the Obama administration had the opportunity to improve public oversight by incorporating emerging science and the hard-won experience of communities living with oil and gas development across the country.

But they did not.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, public lands, blm, obama

Government data shows mines will annually pollute up to 27 billion gallons of fresh water, forever


May 1, 2013

New report shows treatment costs as much as $67 billion/year, with new mines polluting and costing billions more

Washington D.C., May 1st – A new report released today shows existing U.S. hardrock mines (e.g. gold, copper, uranium) will pollute up to 27 billion gallons of fresh water per year, and cost as much as $67 billion per year to clean, in perpetuity. Based on government data, the report also reveals that four proposed mines could annually pollute an additional 16 billion gallons.

“The scale of the problem is enormous, and growing,” said Bonnie Gestring, report author and Earthworks' Northwest Organizer. She continued, “Every year, mines will pollute enough water to fill 2 trillion water bottles -- enough bottles to reach to the moon and back 54 times.”

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Tagged with: mining, water pollution, perpetual pollution

Mining giant Newmont urged to obtain community consent


April 25, 2013

Shareholders, NGOs say company’s flawed community engagement poses risks to reputation and bottom line

April 25th -Washington, DC: At Newmont Mining Co.’s annual general meeting yesterday, faith-based shareholders and DC-based NGO Earthworks urged the company to improve the way it engages with communities, and to provide greater transparency to shareholders and the public. The groups noted that the company’s failure to adequately inform and consult with local communities has resulted in strong community opposition and the suspension of the Conga mine project in northern Peru, costing the company – by its own estimation – hundreds of millions dollars in losses so far.

At the Wilmington, Delaware meeting, the groups urged Newmont to seek the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of local communities in which it operates, to publish reports and updates more frequently, and to conduct human rights impact assessments of its operations.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, newmont, fpic, conga, agm

Groups Appeal Fracking Chemical Case to Wyoming Supreme Court

Earthworks, Earthjustice, et al

April 17, 2013

Public interest organizations are seeking disclosure of chemicals that are injected underground

Cheyenne, Wyo. — Several public interest and government watchdog groups have appealed to Wyoming’s highest court, asking it to compel the state’s oil and gas permitting agency to disclose the chemicals that are injected underground during the oil and gas production process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Represented by the public interest environmental law firm Earthjustice, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and the Center for Effective Government filed the appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court today.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, wyoming, disclosure, lawsuit

Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance Hires Leader


April 2, 2013
Read this article on the publishing site

London, April 2, 2013: The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) announces its hiring of London-based Matthew Wenban-Smith as Managing Director.  IRMA is a multi-stakeholder dialogue that is developing a global certification program for more responsible mining.

In accepting the position, Matthew Wenban-Smith said, “We all depend on the products of mining – but we need to make sure that our enjoyment of these benefits does not come at an unacceptable cost to people or the environment.” He added: “I am looking forward to joining IRMA’s team at this critical point in its development and to working with all its partners, supporters and stakeholders to make its vision of responsible mining a reality.”

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Tagged with: mining, irma

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill regarding the Oversight Hearing on "America's Mineral Resources: Creating Mining and Manufacturing Jobs and Securing America"

March 21, 2013

#1 Toxic Polluter Wants to Have Free Cake, Eat it, & Have Taxpayers Pay for Cleanup

With HR 761, the so-called Critical and Strategic Minerals Production Act of 2013, the mining lobby and its Congressional champions clearly want more than just to have their cake and eat it too. 

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, oak flat, apache leap, critical minerals, strategic minerals, testimony, hr 761, amodei, hr 687

Secretary Krancer’s Response to Water Testing Questions Offers No Answers and is Politically Charged


March 18, 2013

Harrisburg, PA – Members of environmental and citizen groups sent several thousand emails to Governor Tom Corbett and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer seeking information regarding how the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) investigates cases of water contamination from fracking. Late last week DEP Secretary Krancer began responding to these emails without providing any new information that was specifically requested.

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Tagged with: pennsylvania, water, testing, krancer

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill on today's introduction of the BREATHE and FRESHER Acts

March 14, 2013

March 14th, Washington, D.C. -- "Earthworks salutes Representatives Jared Polis and Matt Cartwright for introducing the BREATHE and FRESHER acts today, legislation that would help protect public health by closing loopholes in federal environmental oversight of the oil and gas industry."

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Tagged with: fracking, clean water act, loopholes, breathe act, clean air act, fresher act, jared polis, matt cartwright

Coalition Acts to Protect City of Longmont’s Ban on Dangerous Hydraulic Fracturing

Earthworks et al.

March 11, 2013

LONGMONT, CO – Today, a coalition of community, public health, consumer and environmental organizations filed a motion in the Weld County District Court to intervene in the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s lawsuit that seeks to invalidate Longmont’s ban of the oil and gas practice known as “fracking” and related surface activities, such as storage of toxic post-fracking fluids. This ban was instituted by the citizens of Longmont in an amendment to the City Charter, Article XVI , the Longmont Public Health, Safety and Wellness Act.

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Tagged with: fracking, lawsuit, ban, longmont

Coalition Acts To Defend Longmont Ordinance Protecting Residents From Pollution And Health Risks Of Oil And Gas Development

EARTHWORKS and Sierra Club

February 14, 2013

BOULDER, CO- Today Earthworks and Sierra Club filed a motion to intervene in the State of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s lawsuit to invalidate a Longmont City Ordinance that would protect residents from the pollution and associated health  threats of oil and gas development.

The challenged Ordinance, passed in July 2012, prohibits oil and gas surface activities from occurring near homes, schools and hospitals, and places mandatory setbacks from these and other facilities, as well as from waterways and parks. The Ordinance also requires disclosure to emergency responders of hazardous chemicals transported through the City and consultation with local wildlife experts before operations begin.

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Tagged with: fracking, regulation, lawsuit, longmont

This Valentine’s Day, 90 jewelry retailers say ‘no’ to dirty gold


February 13, 2013

Macy’s called out as industry laggard

February 13, 2013, WASHINGTON, DC: Over 90 of the world’s leading jewelry retailers, including 8 of the top 10 US retailers, have committed to more responsible metals sourcing by signing the No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules. However, Macy’s Inc., the fifth largest jewelry seller in the US, lags behind and has yet to meaningfully commit to cleaning up its gold supply chain. The campaign’s Facebook-based Valentine’s Day card urges Macy’s to dump dirty gold, and has been widely viewed and shared.

“Dirty gold is no way to show your love on Valentine’s Day,” said Payal Sampat of Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold campaign. “Macy’s customers need to know that the gold jewelry they are buying is not produced at the cost of clean water or children’s health.”

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, macys, valentines day, retailers, jewelers

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill on the Senate Energy Committee hearing *Opportunities and Challenges for Natural Gas*


February 12, 2013

As the United States Senate considers natural gas issues in the 113th Congress, I urge Senators to seek the true impacts this industry has on our public health and our climate. Despite industry rhetoric, and thanks in part to industry obstruction, we still do not know the impacts of the unconventional oil and gas boom.

But we do know that both the state and federal regulatory regimes are not equipped to cope with the boom. Loopholes in federal law and lack of enforcement of state law mean oil and gas companies are largely self-regulating, accountable only to themselves.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, congress, hearing, wyden, exports, energy and natural resourc

Groups Urge Investigation of EPA Actions in Texas Water Contamination Case

Earthworks, et al

February 11, 2013

Coalition asks Inspector General to determine whether political meddling led agency to drop probe of gas drilling company

WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 80 organizations from 12 states and a New York State Senator today called on the inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate a decision to drop legal action against a drilling company despite evidence that it had polluted residents’ well water near Fort Worth, Texas.

The organizations sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., asking him to broaden an ongoing investigation of a case that made national news last year when the EPA dropped an enforcement action against Range Resources Ltd. after earlier invoking rare emergency authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act. New York State Senator Tony Avella is sending a similar letter later today. Elkins began investigating the case after six U.S. senators asked him last June to determine whether EPA had followed proper procedures.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, water pollution, texas, range resources, transparency, inspector general

Groups Call for EPA to Require Range Resources to Provide Clean Drinking Water to Texas Families

Earthworks, et al

February 7, 2013

Evidence that political pressure caused EPA to withdraw protection of homeowners threatened by drilling pollution calls into question public oversight of oil and gas development

Feb 7, Fort Worth - Conservation and citizen groups from Texas and around the country today sent a letter calling on EPA Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry to resume legal action against Range Resources for polluting the drinking water of homeowners near its operations in Weatherford, Texas. The letter also calls upon the EPA to require the company to immediately supply clean drinking water to homeowners whose wells were polluted during the company’s drilling, to publicly post all existing tests related to the matter, and to resume testing to ensure that Range Resources acts to remedy the situation.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, water pollution, range resources, testing, region 6, ed rendell

PA DEP Keeps Homeowners in the Dark on Water Testing Policy, Abruptly Cancels Meeting w/Environmental Groups

Earthworks, et al

February 4, 2013

PA DEP’s failure to explain their water testing policies and use of suite codes continues to leave concerned public demanding answers

Harrisburg, PA – Mystery, questions and concern continue to surround Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) water testing and reporting policies related to suspected impacts from Marcellus Shale natural gas operations. These issues were originally revealed in the Kiskadden vs. PADEP deposition of Taru Upadhyay, technical director of DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories—and described widely in subsequent news stories regarding the use of suite codes, which result in only partial test results being sent to homeowners.

“Where gas development goes, problems follow. Yet the DEP seems more interested in protecting its own information than protecting the environment," says Nadia Steinzor, Eastern Program Coordinator, Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. "DEP should stop playing hide and seek and start giving the public better water and air tests, complete results, and honest answers."

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Tagged with: water, pennsylvania department of environmental protection, transparency, michael krancer

Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information


January 22, 2013

CASPER, WY – In an effort to help protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) went to court today to ask a judge to require the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) to disclose information about chemicals used during the controversial oil and gas development process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Under regulations approved in 2010, Wyoming became the first state in the nation to require well operators to disclose the identities of chemicals that are mixed with water and injected into the ground during fracking. But since the regulations were adopted, the Commission has approved some 50 secrecy requests, shielding identifying information about over 190 different chemicals, by Halliburton and other oil and gas service companies.

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Tagged with: fracking, wyoming, disclosure, wogcc

New AP Report Raises Alarming Questions about EPA's Oversight of Oil and Gas Drillers

Environmental Working Group, Earthworks

January 17, 2013

Joint statement by Bruce Baizel, Director of Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project, and Dusty Horwitt, Senior Counsel for Environmental Working Group

A report yesterday (1/16) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency withdrew action against a natural gas company despite evidence that its drilling operations had contaminated drinking water in Texas raises alarming questions about the industry’s influence and the agency’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, regulation, enforcement, range resources

EPA: Metal Mining Industry Is Nation’s Top Toxic Polluter


January 16, 2013

Toxics Release Inventory illustrates why EPA must protect taxpayers from mining cleanup costs

Jan 6th, Washington, D.C. -- Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the metal mining industry as the nation’s largest toxic polluter. The metal mining industry reported the release of 1.9 billion pounds of toxic chemicals in 2011, according to EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory, or 46% of all reported toxics.

“Billions of pounds of pollution requires billions of dollars to clean up,” said Earthworks’ Strategic Communications Director Alan Septoff. He continued, “If the EPA doesn’t act soon to require cleanup bonds, taxpayers could be paying the cleanup bill instead of the polluting mining companies. Meanwhile, our nation’s rivers, streams, air and land remain at risk.”

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Tagged with: mining, pollution, toxics release inventory, bonding, cercla, lucky friday, 108b, hecla


Earthworks, New Mexico Environmental Law Center

January 10, 2013

Rejection of Expert Witnesses Part Of National Trend To Avoid Truth About Oil & Gas Development Impacts

Joint release: Earthworks * New Mexico Environmental Law Center

SANTA FE, N.M.— Today, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission concluded a public hearing on proposed amendments to the oil and gas waste pit regulation (the Pit Rule) without allowing conservation groups to testify. Expert technical witnesses offered by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) were not permitted to comment on the potential effects that burying toxic waste products from oil and gas drilling in the ground would have on the state's groundwater and public health.

“Irony aside, blocking testimony on a public health issue at a public hearing is part of an unfortunate trend across the country to avoid emerging science concerning the impacts of oil and gas development,” said Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project Director, Bruce Baizel. “In New Mexico, Colorado, and New York, industry and its advocates have recently attempted to obstruct input into public rulemakings regarding the environmental and health impacts of oil and gas development. You have to ask yourself, what are they afraid of? We think the answer is: the truth.”

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Tagged with: regulation, new mexico, pit rule, transparency, new mexico oil conservation division

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill on the release of the movie Promised Land


January 4, 2013

The new movie Promised Land is no fairy tale.

Matt Damon film understates oil and gas company misbehavior, unintentionally highlights need for stronger oversight.

Jan 4 -- The new film Promised Land -- opening today -- is bringing welcome attention to the issue of irresponsible oil and gas development. The sad truth is that Promised Land is no fairy tale.

The movie turns on the amoral and unethical behavior of a fracking/drilling company, and the landmen that try to convince citizens to lease their property for drilling. 

We can tell you from experience that Promised Land understates the depths to which some companies are willing to stoop.  In fact, fracking company representatives have told us so.

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Tagged with: fracking, communities, promised land, matt damon

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