Statement of Sharon Wilson (Texas Sharon), Earthworks' Gulf Regional Organizer, on the resignation of EPA Region 6 Administrator Dr. Al Armendariz
April 30, 2012
April 30, 2012, Allen, TX -- "When EPA Region 6 Administrator Dr. Al Armendariz resigned today, drilling-impacted communities lost a champion in the fight to improve the fracking industry’s lamentable track record of sacrificing community health and clean water for the sake of maximizing corporate profits.
Dr. Armendariz exemplified much of what an environmental regulator should be: expert on the issues, and concerned for the public and the environment before all else -- not to the exclusion of all else, but before all else. In other words, he exemplified the very reason the Environmental Protection Agency exists.
His resignation is regrettable for more than just the public’s loss of an effective regulator. It is regrettable because it may signal a premature end of what is a much-needed public conversation about what effective environmental enforcement is.
Earthworks, Earthjustice and Children’s National Medical Center
April 30, 2012
PITTSBURGH, PA – In a court case over gas industry secrecy, doctors, scientists, researchers and advocates are lending support to newspapers fighting for access to information that could shed light on the health impacts of gas development, including the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Observer-Reporter are seeking to overturn a court order sealing the record in a case in which a Pennsylvania family sued several gas companies over health impacts related to air and water pollution from nearby natural gas development operations. The companies are fighting to keep the records out of the public eye.
Shareholders, NGOs, raise questions about Newmont Mining's social and environmental risks at company's Annual General Meeting
Christian Brothers Investment Services, Earthworks, Maryknoll Sisters
April 24, 2012
April 24, 2012, Wilmington, DE: Shareholders and NGOs at the Newmont Mining annual meeting in Wilmington, DE today questioned company senior management and the Board of Directors about the operational and reputational risks Newmont faces in Peru, and emphasized the need for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of local communities where Newmont operates. In addition, the group strongly encouraged additional disclosure by the company on its environmental and social guidelines and practices, including Board oversight of these issues.
In 2007, in response to a shareholder proposal filed by members of The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Newmont agreed to conduct a global review of its policies and practices related to community opposition in its mining operations. At this year’s annual shareholder meeting, the lead proponent of that proposal, Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), expressed frustration over Newmont’s lack of disclosure on the implementation its Community Relations Review (CRR).
April 24, 2012
Texas town ignores own test results to allow fracking to continue in violation of city ordinances, endangering local residents
Colleyville, TX, April 24 -- Today Colleyville and Southlake residents, and Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released results from local residents’ privately-funded air testing of Titan Operations’ “mini-frack” on the border of both communities. The tests, performed by GD Air Testing Inc. of Richardson, TX, prove emissions released during fracking and flowback contain dangerous levels of toxic chemicals.
“We paid for tests because we can’t depend on the city or the fracking industry,” said Colleyville resident [NAME REMOVED FOR FEAR OF RETALIATION]. She continued, “The tests confirmed our worst fears, while Colleyville ignored their own tests to let fracking continue. Apparently the city represents Titan and the gas industry instead of local residents.”
Sierra Club * Earthjustice * Clean Air Task Force * Environment America * Earthworks * Clean Water Action
April 18, 2012
Agency Takes Important First Step to Protect Air Quality and Public Health
Washington, D.C., April 18—Today environmental groups praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) vital updates to nationwide air quality protections to include oil and natural gas production. This is the first federal safeguard aimed at curbing air pollution from hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking.’
The EPA’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS) will benefit the health of Americans and our environment in many ways. The updated standards will result in major reductions in emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic benzene and methane, a highly potent contributor to climate disruption. These pollutants are known to cause asthma attacks, hospital admissions, emergency room visits, cancer and even premature death.
The measure will also benefit the gas industry –EPA projects that capturing more methane and other gasses to send to market will save an estimated $30 million annually.
April 16, 2012
Fr. Edwin Gariguez honored for halting Norwegian-owned nickel mine in Mindoro
SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2012 — Today, Fr. Edwin Gariguez, a Catholic priest and mining activist from the Philippines, was awarded the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize for work to stop irresponsible mining on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. Six recipients from six different regions in the world were recognized by the Goldman Prize - the largest environmental award in the world - for their sustained efforts to protect the environment, often at great personal risk.
“For the indigenous Mangyan people living on Mindoro Island, the struggle to protect our threatened ecology is a matter of survival,” said Gariguez, 2012 Goldman Prize winner for Islands and Island Nations. We should not sacrifice people and the environment for the sake of short term profits by a few, " he added.
Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Earthworks, Nunamta Aulukestai
April 15, 2012
Growing threat to future of Alaska’s Pebble Mine as opposition groups pile the pressure on Anglo American
London, April 15 -- The Board and shareholders of UK-based giant Anglo American are facing a growing barrage of opposition to its plans for a massive gold and copper mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The mine would jeopardise the world’s largest and most valuable wild salmon fishery and a delegation of Alaska native Yupik leaders and the director of Bristol Bay’s largest commercial fishing fleet, are travelling 4,500 miles to attend the company’s AGM on 19 April to meet Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll and inform shareholders the mine is not worth the risk.
Statement by Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks, on the introduction of the FRESH Act (Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands Act):
March 30, 2012
“The Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (or FRESH) Act, introduced yesterday by Senator Inhofe (R-OK) continues the Senator’s track record of attempting to substitute unfounded trust in the oil and gas industry in the place of fact-based policy.
Earthjustice, Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks, OMB Watch
March 26, 2012
Asking court to force Wyoming to reveal information about toxins pumped into ground
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 OMB Watch are asking a court 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 chemical secrecy requests by Halliburton and other oil and gas service companies.
March 20, 2012
Oversight failure demonstrates local jurisdictions shouldn't be stripped of oil & gas regulatory authority
Durango, CO, Mar 20th – Today Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, COGCC: Inadequate enforcement means current Colorado oil and gas development is irresponsible. Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory enforcement, highlights of the Colorado-specific findings include:
- As the number of wells drilled increases in Colorado, the number of inspections is decreasing.
- It is physically impossible for existing COGCC inspection staff to inspect every well once per year.
- Many rule violations are not recorded, and very few violators are penalized.
- For those who are penalized, $1000/day maximum fines are inadequate to deter irresponsible operations.
Groups to Susquehanna River Basin Commission: ensure public participation, stop promoting gas drilling without science and protections
Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper, Earthworks, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Sierra Club PA
March 15, 2012
Joint release: CLEAN WATER ACTION, DEL. RIVERKEEPER NETWORK, EARTHWORKS, LOWER SUSQUEHANNA RIVERKEEPER,SIERRA CLUB PA
(Harrisburg, PA) – As the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) conducts its quarterly business meeting today, a coalition of organizations strongly criticized the agency for prohibiting public comment at the event and continuing to issue water permits for the natural gas industry without taking measures to prevent negative impacts across the Basin.
In a March 9 letter to SRBC, the groups said that full public participation at all meetings is necessary for the Commission to receive valuable public and expert input, have current information to consider in its permit reviews, and, as a public agency, to maintain transparent decisionmaking.
March 12, 2012
Arlington citizens sickened by fumes from Chesapeake hydraulic fracturing flowback demand independent analysis of company's claims
Arlington, TX, Mar 12th – Today Arlington residents, and Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project challenged Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) to provide independent verification of the company’s claim that fumes released from Chesapeake facilities in the Fish Creek, Norwood, and Oaks and Interlochen residential neighborhoods were simply steam – and therefore could not have caused harm to area residents.
“Chesapeake tells us to disbelieve our lying eyes, burning noses and heart palpitations, and trust them when they claim the company is not releasing anything but steam,” said Fish Creek resident Jane Lynn. “Well, I don’t believe them. If Chesapeake’s assurances are worth anything, they’ll stand up to independent testing.”
Food Retail Industry Flexes Its Muscle for Alaska's Bristol Bay, World's Largest Wild Salmon Fishery
March 12, 2012
FMI Sends Letter to EPA Supporting Review of Risks of Pebble Mine & Large-Scale Development
Washington D.C., March 12th - For the first time ever, the nation’s largest group of food retail companies has spoken out on behalf of protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay fishery – the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery. The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), which represents 26,000 retail food stores, and $680 billion in annual revenue -- three-quarters of US retail food store sales -- announced its support for the EPA study currently underway to determine the suitability of large-scale development in Bristol Bay, including the Pebble Mine.
Earthworks, MiningWatch Canada
February 28, 2012
Earthworks/MiningWatch Canada name endangered waters & companies responsible
WASHINGTON/OTTAWA, Feb. 28 – Each year, mining companies dump more than 180 million tonnes of hazardous mine waste into rivers, lakes, and oceans worldwide, threatening vital bodies of water with toxic heavy metals and other chemicals poisonous to humans and wildlife, according to report released today by two leading mining reform groups.
February 22, 2012
Viability of Pebble mine project questioned as legal, political, and engineering challenges mount
WASHINGTON, DC—A new investor advisory released today raises significant questions about the serious risks associated with Anglo American plc’s (LSE: AAL, JSE: ANGLO) Pebble mine project in southwest Alaska. The advisory details the growing list of regulatory, legal, engineering, and political challenges facing the London-based mining giant as it struggles to secure permits for the controversial gold-copper mine planned for the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world’s biggest wild sockeye salmon fishery.
The Pebble mine project in southwest Alaska is a 50-50 joint venture between London-based Anglo American plc and Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. known as the Pebble Limited Partnership. The report points to the dramatic drop in share price over the last year at Northern Dynasty Ltd. - whose only project is the Pebble Mine – as evidence of the lack of confidence in the Pebble project. The company’s share price has dropped by more than half – from $20 a share in February 2011 to less than $10 a share in January 2012.
February 14, 2012
Macy’s and Costco continue dodge responsibility, falling behind industry standard
WASHINGTON, DC: Over 80 jewelry retailers from around the world, including 8 of the top 10 US retailers, have committed to cleaning up dirty metals by signing the No Dirty Gold campaign’s “Golden Rules” for more responsible metals sourcing. This is good news for consumers, the environment, and the communities who live with metals mining – the largest toxic polluter in the U.S. Unfortunately, two companies, Macy’s and Costco, among the top 10 US jewelry retailers, lag behind and have yet to meaningfully commit to cleaning up their gold supply chain.
“Dirty gold must become a thing of the past,” said No Dirty Gold campaign director Payal Sampat. She continued, “No one wants their Valentine’s Day jewelry tainted with human rights abuses or toxic pollution. But this can’t happen unless companies like Macy’s commit to cleaning up their supply chains and sign the Golden Rules. ”
PA Senate and House vote for preemption of municipal zoning to favor gas drilling and operations; Industry interests dominate the public interest
Clean Water Action, Conservation Voters of PA, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Earthworks, PennEnvironment, Sierra Club PA Chapter
February 8, 2012
Yesterday in the Senate and today in the House, the Pennsylvania legislature voted in favor of HB1950, a compromise gas development bill that was hammered out behind closed doors under the heavy hand of Governor Tom Corbett. Under the guise of providing “impact fees” to municipalities where gas operations occur, the legislature effectively supported a takeover of municipalities by the State and the gas industry by gutting established and effective local planning and zoning rights.
Through provisions contained in the bill, municipalities will no longer be able to play a central, critical role in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of residents and determining which uses of land are most beneficial.
January 24, 2012
“In tonight’s State of the Union speech, President Obama promoted increased, environmentally safe natural gas production to meet our nation’s energy needs. President Obama is right that we don’t have trade energy production for the environment, but only if we wait for the science necessary to make informed decisions about how, where and whether to drill.
But his statement tonight made no mention of a growing body of evidence that drilling has serious known consequences, and much of those impacts have yet to be studied. Promoting gas production in the face of such evidence effectively prioritizes the profits of the oil and gas industry over the communities’ health, their drinking water, and the environment.
January 17, 2012
State & industry previously refused investigation of Pavillion-area drinking water wells
JOINT RELEASE: Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project * Powder River Basin Resource Council * Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens
Pavillion, Wyoming, Jan 17 – Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens (PACC) today denounced attacks from the oil and gas industry and the state of Wyoming in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its investigation of contaminated drinking water wells in Pavillion, Wyoming. EPA test results show that hazardous chemicals, commonly used in oil and gas development, contaminated the wells.
Powder River Basin Resource Council and Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project applauded PACC for its letter and today launched a national sign on letter campaign urging the EPA to continue with its rigorous investigation and to identify the cause of the contamination.
January 9, 2012
Barring Congressional Action, National Park Protected From Uranium Mining
WASHINGTON – After a nearly four-year battle to safeguard the Grand Canyon, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today that the area surrounding the National Park would be protected from new mining for 20 years. Conservation organizations across the country applauded the Obama administration for taking action, while recognizing the important leadership role Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has played in protecting this national treasure.
January 6, 2012
Federal loopholes still allow oil and gas industry to hide its hazardous chemicals from the national Toxics Release Inventory
Jan 6th, Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency released its complete analysis of the most recent Toxics Release Inventory data. The analysis – of data publicly released in October 2011 – indicates that, as with every year since the metal mining industry was required to report in 1997, the metal mining industry is the nation's largest toxic polluter: 41% of all reported toxics in 2010, or 1.6 billion pounds.
But perhaps the most significant toxics releases are those not included – across metal mining and oil & gas production.
American Rivers | Earthworks | Sierra Club PA
December 22, 2011
Seven conservation and environmental groups have sent a letter to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), asking the Commissioners to reconvene for the purposes of completing its meeting held on December 15 and pointing out that the Commission’s approval of 26 water withdrawal permits for shale gas development projects is not legal because it occurred after the meeting was adjourned.
Last week, the Commission hastily adjourned its meeting in Wilkes- Barre, after a group of citizens disrupted the meeting. The complete text of the letter follows at the bottom of this release.
The SRBC held its December 15 meeting to consider a series of natural gas drilling water withdrawal applications. In response to some outspoken members of the public, the meeting was adjourned; then, after adjourning, theCommissioners proceeded to vote off the record to approve the water withdrawal applications.
By adjourning the meeting prematurely, the SRBC prevented the testimony of non-protesting members of the public who wished to testify on the individual water withdrawals. Effectively, the SRBC’s action penalized the entire public for the actions of a few individuals and violated the SRBC’s own rules.
Human Rights Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas Raises Liability Concerns for New York
December 12, 2011
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 – A new human rights report details for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation specific ways in which hydraulic fracturing threatens to compromise international human rights norms. Commissioned by Earthworks' Oil and Gas Accountability Project, the report evaluates the production process known as hydraulic fracturing in relation to widely accepted international human rights norms.
December 1, 2011
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 – This holiday season, Macy’s could give its customers a gift: the assurance that the jewelry they buy comes from responsible gold mining. Instead, Macy’s remains one of the last major retailers that has yet to sign the No Dirty Gold Campaign’s Golden Rules, a set of social, human rights and environmental criteria for mining gold and other precious metals.
The No Dirty Gold Campaign, led by Earthworks, an international mining reform group, says Macy’s is turning a blind eye toward the abuses associated with irresponsible gold mining, while potentially selling gold tainted with those abuses. The department store chain, which includes Bloomingdale’s, is the eighth-largest retailer of gold jewelry in the United States, and one of the last major jewelry retailers to fail to sign the Golden Rules. Thus far, 80 retailers, including Target, Tiffany, Sears and Helzberg, have committed to these criteria.
Statement by Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks, regarding Newmont Mining’s Suspension of the Conga Mine development in Peru:
December 1, 2011
“Earthworks welcomes this week's decision by Newmont Mining Co. to suspend the development of its controversial Conga mine in northern Peru at the request of President Ollanta Humala. The Minas Conga development has been at the center of many weeks of protests by community members and elected officials who are concerned about the project’s impacts on the environment, water supplies, health and livelihoods. The project is a partnership between Newmont, Peruvian company Buenaventura, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).
We urge the company, government and communities to open up a meaningful dialogue process that is undertaken in good faith. We also encourage all parties at the table to take the necessary time to build trust and address concerns.
November 22, 2011
WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 – Earthworks, an international organization that campaigns to protect communities from the impacts of mining and oil and gas extraction, announces the addition of three distinguished experts to its Board of Directors: Cathy Carlson, Paula Hawthorn, Ph.D., and Anthony Ingraffea, Ph.D., P.E.
November 17, 2011
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 – Prices for precious metals are soaring, but the hardrock mining industry remains exempt from paying royalties for the riches it extracts from U.S. public lands, and from paying to cleanup the pollution from abandoned mines. Legislation to make the mining industry pay its share and clean up its messes was welcomed today by Western communities who live daily with the impacts of mining.
"With record-high metals prices and skyrocketing industry profits, it’s time for mining companies to pay their fair share,” said Lauren Pagel, policy director for Earthworks. “Reform of America’s antiquated mining laws to protect water resources, fund cleanup of abandoned mines, put special places off-limits to mining and make the industry pay taxpayers what we are owed is long overdue.”
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced a large package of bills today to make sure the oil, gas and mining industries pay their fare share. A key component of this comprehensive legislation would overhaul the General Mining Law of 1872, which allows mining of gold, copper, uranium and other metals virtually anywhere on Western public lands, with few environmental safeguards and no return to the taxpayers. Hardrock mining is the only industry that extracts resources from public lands that does not pay federal royalties.
November 14, 2011
DILLINGHAM, Alaska, Nov. 14 -- In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, Alaskans are asking Signet, the world's largest jewelry corporation, to promise not to use gold from the proposed Pebble Mine -- a massive copper gold mine that threatens the world's most valuable wild salmon fishery.
Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, and mining reform group Earthworks have turned the spotlight on to the world's largest jeweler: Signet, parent company of the retail chains Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria, with a full-page ad (PDF) in the Western edition of The New York Times.
November 4, 2011
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 -- Earthworks welcomed the news that after 17 years, the EPA ordered oil and gas companies to resume publicly disclosing releases of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas often emitted from drilling rigs and refineries.
Beginning next year, hydrogen sulfide emissions must again be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory, a federal database that allows Americans to find out what hazardous chemicals are being released in their communities, Nationwide, communities have not only used the TRI to learn about chemical releases in their neighborhoods, but to campaign for tighter regulations and health protections.
October 20, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 20 – No Dirty Gold, a campaign by Earthworks to get jewelry retailers to reject irresponsibly mined precious metals, took top honors at the 2011 BENNY Awards, given for outstanding achievement in advancing corporate ethics.
The awards were announced this week by the Business Ethics Network, which since 1995 has honored victories in corporate campaigns by non-profit activist groups. No Dirty Gold not only won the 2011 BENNY from Business Ethics Network’s judges, but also the People’s Choice Award, determined by popular vote conducted online.
October 20, 2011
DILLINGHAM, Alaska, Oct. 20 -- This week, voters in the Bristol Bay region said no to Anglo American plc's plans to dig a massive open-pit gold and copper mine at the headwaters of the world's richest salmon fishery. But if you're a Anglo American investor, don't expect the company to tell you about the risk to your share value by growing opposition to the mine or the chance that it might not be built at all.
According to a formal complaint filed by Alaskan Native villages with the UK's financial reporting watchdog, Anglo American has failed to obey the law requiring disclosure to shareholders the environmental, regulatory and liability risks of the proposed Pebble Mine near the salmon-rich waters of Bristol Bay.
September 28, 2011
ALBANY, NY (09/28/2011)(readMedia)-- In response to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) release today of regulations for industrial gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale by means of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," if such drilling is permitted, several environmental groups criticized Governor Cuomo and the DEC for not looking at the true costs of industrial gas drilling, particularly costs related to infrastructure, public health, and the environment that will be borne by communities. The groups are calling this omission Governor Cuomo and the DEC's "Don't Know, Don't Care" policy.
The New York Water Rangers also criticized the Governor for fast-tracking the state's fracking plans by releasing the regulations while the state's environmental review is incomplete.
September 27, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA, September 27th -- Today, hundreds of families and concerned citizens gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh for the first of only three public hearings held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a proposed safeguard to reduce harmful air pollution from the extraction, transmission, and storage of oil and gas. These are also the first-ever federally proposed safeguards aimed at cutting harmful air pollution from hydraulic fracturing.
Such federal laws are critical because they provide consistent standards that -- through oversight and enforcement by the EPA and other agencies -- can help to ensure that all Americans nationwide have basic protection from significant risks to their health and environment. As the oil and gas industry rapidly expands into new areas and uses new technologies to develop unconventional sources of fossil fuels, current standards and practices haven't kept pace and revision is necessary.
September 20, 2011
Earthworks welcomes Cherelle Blazer, an atmospheric chemist, to their Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).
September 2, 2011
WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 -- In recent weeks, hundreds of Costco customers have flooded Costco's Facebook page to urge them to reject "dirty" or irresponsibly mined gold and to commit to switching to more ethically produced metals. The wholesale chain -- one of the nation's leading jewelry retailers-- has failed to respond, and environmental and human rights campaigners are turning up the heat.
This week, Earthworks' No Dirty Gold Campaign and change.org are urging Costco customers to call the company's headquarters in Issiquah, WA, to tell CEO James Sinegal it's time to sign the Golden Rules, principles for more responsible mining that respect human rights, adopt fair labor standards, and minimize harm to the environment. To date, more than 80 leading jewelry retailers including Sears/Kmart, Target, and Tiffany & Co. have signed on to the Golden Rules principles. Customers are asking why Costco is lagging behind other major retailers in ensuring that the gold it sells is not tainted with human rights abuses or pollution.
August 23, 2011
DENTON, TX, Aug. 23 - State air tests in two communities in the Barnett Shale gas patch found strong evidence that a cancer-causing chemical -- banned for most uses for more than 25 years -- was used in hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells, according to a newspaper investigation. But despite the test results and the drilling company's admission that it used a banned biocide, state regulators have recanted their own findings and refuse to take action.
The Denton Record-Chronicle reported Sunday that air tests by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found levels of 1,2-dibromoethane, or EDB, at least six times since December 2010 near natural gas facilities in the towns of Argyle and Bartonville. EDB, formerly used as a fumigant pesticide, was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1983 for all but minor uses after it was found to cause cancer and reproductive damage. Four of the six detections were over TCEQ's safe level for long-term exposure.
DOE Panel Takes a Stand: Action Needed to Protect Communities From Risks of Natural Gas Drilling and Fracking
August 11, 2011
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 -- An Energy Department advisory panel today called for swift action to protect air, drinking water and public health from the impacts of the shale gas boom. Earthworks applauded the recommendations, but said loopholes in key environmental laws must still be closed to shield communities in America's gas patch from the risks of drilling and fracking.
President Obama called on Secretary Chu to examine the health and environmental impacts that have plagued the nation's gas fields for decades. After three months of study and public hearings, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board's Subcommittee on Natural Gas released its recommendations. The subcommittee identified four areas of concern from shale gas production: possible pollution of drinking water from methane and chemicals; air pollution; disruption of communities; and cumulative impacts on communities and the environment.
July 25, 2011
(Harrisburg) - A number of environmental and community organizations gathered outside Governor Corbett's office in the state capitol today to respond to the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. Groups universally criticized the Commission's final report, issued last Friday, as a product of its industry make-up and decried the secrecy employed to generate the final product.
"The Commission recognized the need for regulatory improvements, but in effect gave barely a nod to the serious and accelerating health and environmental problems in Pennsylvania's gas patch," said Nadia Steinzor, Marcellus Regional Organizer with Earthworks. "With strong incentives for the expansion of drilling, limited protections, and a willingness to violate the rights of landowners through forced pooling and municipalities by overriding zoning rights, the recommendations are yet another way to favor industry over citizens."
July 22, 2011
July 22nd -- On Thursday, a Montana state court blocked construction of Revett Mineral's proposed Rock Creek Mine beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwestern Montana, ruling that the state improperly relied on a permitting shortcut under the Montana Water Quality Act.
The ruling was the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the controversial copper and silver mine. The courts have repeatedly found the mine plan to be in violation of state and federal laws that protect clean water, fish and wildlife, and public health, resulting in the loss of several key state and federal permits.
Groups Call on Corbett Marcellus Commission to Issue Moratorium and Protections for Pennsylvania residents
July 15, 2011
(Harrisburg) -- The Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean Water released today a letter to Gov. Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, sent earlier this week, calling for a moratorium on further drilling pending study of the cumulative impact of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. The letter also listed recommendations to the Commission regarding what protections need to be implemented immediately to address the numerous problems with drilling identified thus far. 22 organizations from across the state signed the letter, which is available at: http://www.pacleanwatercampaign.org/.
July 1, 2011
June 30 -- Hundreds of people flooded Costco's Facebook page on Thursday, calling for the company to sign on to the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules criteria for more responsible metals sourcing. The online outburst grew from 50 posts on Tuesday to over 600 as of Thursday afternoon, and still continues to build. Since late March this year, more than 25,000 people have written letters urging Costco to sign on to the Golden Rules and to take a stand against irresponsible mining practices.
Costco is one of only two top 10 US gold retailers that has not yet signed the Golden Rules principles for more responsible mining mining practices that respect human rights, adopt fair labor standards, and minimize harm to the environment. Costco, which made $1.3 billion in profits last year, has thus far remained silent on the matter.
June 28, 2011
LONDON, 28 June -- Monday night, Channel 4's Dispatches exposed the truth about the international gold trade: despite a growing movement for more responsible mining, the use of child labor, dangerous working conditions and environmental destruction remain widespread. The programme also revealed that some UK jewellers who tell customers their gold or other precious metals were mined responsibly are either unclear about the details of their supply chains, or just plain wrong.
June 23, 2011
WASHINGTON, June 23 -- The past and future of uranium mining threaten communities across America, which an antiquated federal law fails to protect from the hazards of abandoned mines, toxic waste dumps and contaminated water, according to a new report from Earthworks.
The recent decision by the Obama administration to advocate for the withdrawal from mining of one million acres around the Grand Canyon demonstrates the serious threat that uranium mining poses to water resources.
June 20, 2011
WASHINGTON, June 20 -- The Obama administration today took an emergency measure to bar new mining claims around the Grand Canyon until December. At that time, administration officials indicated they hope to come up with a more comprehensive solution to protect one million acres around Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims for the next 20 years.
The million-acre area has been off limits to mining for the past two years. That moratorium, issued by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is set to expire July 20.
June 13, 2011
WASHINGTON, PA, June 13 -- Tonight a federal task force on hydraulic fracturing holds a hearing in Pennsylvania's gas patch, and citizens will testify to water contamination, air pollution, and other health and community hazards of industrial gas development. But the panel will also hear from fracking supporters -- some of them drawn to the event by the natural gas industry's offers of airfare, hotel rooms, and meals.
June 13, 2011
Washington, D.C., June 13 -- The Obama administration s imminent decision on the future of uranium mining near the Grand Canyon could be swayed by the analysis of a mining industry consultant who stands to reap hundreds of thousands of dollars if the moratorium on new uranium claims is lifted, according to a new report from Earthworks and the Environmental Working Group.
In February, the Bureau of Land Management released a study of the options for lifting the moratorium on new uranium mining claims on 1 million acres surrounding the Canyon. The study gave short shrift to the risk that radioactive mine waste could contaminate the Colorado River, which flows through the Canyon. That analysis relied heavily on a paper by the consultant, Karen Wenrich, of Golden, Colo.
June 7, 2011
Sacramento, Calif. -- The California State Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by Environmental Working Group and Earthworks to require oil and natural gas drillers to make public a complete list of chemicals they use in oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ) operations. The fracking issue has raised alarms in communities nationwide because some chemicals injected into the earth to break up rock formations and free oil and gas are known human carcinogens such as benzene, xylene, toluene and diesel fuel.
The bill, known as AB 591 and authored by Assembly member Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), now goes to the California State Senate, where a committee that considers water quality issues is expected to hear it before the end of June.
June 2, 2011
WASHINGTON, June 3 -- Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon could have health impacts and erode trust in the safety of drinking water supplies for 26 million residents of Southern California, Nevada and Arizona, the region's water suppliers warn.
In a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Lower Colorado River Water Partnership expressed concern that the draft environmental study for a plan that could allow uranium mining near the Canyon does not address worst-case scenarios should safeguards fail to prevent radioactive material from flowing downstream. The Partnership also said it had "substantial concerns" that uranium mining could deplete water supplies in the drought-prone region.
Earthworks to DOE Panel: To Protect Americans' Drinking Water, U.S. Must Close 'Halliburton Loophole' on Natural Gas Drilling and Fracking
June 1, 2011
WASHINGTON, June 1 -- The health and safety crisis in America's gasland states calls not for another panel, but for striking the oil & gas industry's exemptions from federal environmental laws, Earthworks told a Department of Energy task force today.
Last month, at President Obama's direction, Energy Secretary Steven Chu appointed a Natural Gas Subcommittee to address mounting concerns over the risks of drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in communities caught up in the natural gas boom. Today the subcommittee -- many of whose members have ties to the natural gas industry -- met with environmental groups including Earthworks, which has worked for decades with communities impacted by gas drilling and fracking.
Coalition calls on elected officials and the DEC to focus on public health risks of gas drilling as NY Assembly considers issue
May 26, 2011
Albany, May 26, 2011 -- Today representatives of health, environmental, and citizens organizations called on the New York State legislature, Governor Cuomo, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to give priority to public health when determining the future of natural gas drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ) in the state.
Along with residents from the gas fields of New York and Pennsylvania, they gathered at a public hearing on the links between natural gas development using hydraulic fracturing and public health risks. The hearing was called by New York Assembly members Robert Sweeney, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, and Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Committee on Health. For the first time, legislative members had the opportunity to hear testimony from medical professionals, scientists, and health experts on the pathways of toxic contamination and subsequent health effects.