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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Secretary Krancer’s Response to Water Testing Questions Offers No Answers and is Politically Charged
EARTHWORKS et. al.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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."
EARTHWORKS et. al.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Statement of Bruce Baizel, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project Director, on EPA’s Progress Report on its study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.
December 21, 2012
Most significant about the progress report is the lack of progress it reports. In its inability to find a single company willing to test water quality before and after drilling and fracking, the EPA is being thwarted in perhaps the most important part of its study of fracking’s impacts.
We are not surprised, however. Oil and gas companies’ unwillingness to cooperate continues a pattern of obstruction of actual science on the impacts of drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Oil and gas developers and their advocates are quick to claim that fracking is safe, but they are unwilling to put their money where their mouth is. Until they do, the industry has no credibility in the debate about the science and safety of fracking.
December 17, 2012
Tucson, AZ - The same Canadian mining speculators who are now seeking government permits to build the Rosemont copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson, Arizona, left behind a trail of unpaid vendors, a misspent government loan, hidden investors, and a toxic mess known to locals as "Cyanide Beach" after owning and operating an open-pit gold mine in Sardinia, Italy from 2003-07.
December 12, 2012
Lack of funding still main obstacle to reclaiming hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines
Washington, D.C. -- Today, the EPA aided abandoned mine cleanup efforts by assuring Good Samaritans who would perform such cleanup that they do not need Clean Water Act permits -- if they enter into a formal agreement with EPA. Clean Water Act concerns have given pause to some Good Samaritans who want to help clean up some of the nation’s hundreds of thousands of abandoned hardrock mines. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has been a staunch advocate for Good Samaritans on this issue, pressing the EPA to help ensure mine cleanups throughout Colorado.
December 12, 2012
New government report details lack of transparency, data
Washington, DC – A new Government Accountability Office report to Congress reveals that American taxpayers annually give away to mining companies unknown billions in hardrock minerals like gold, copper and uranium. Because the law does not allow taxpayers to charge a royalty for hardrock minerals taken from publicly owned lands, the Interior Department collects no data on their value. In 2011, Interior estimated their sales value at $6.4 billion
Earthworks, et al
November 14, 2012
Harrisburg, PA – 25 organizations sent a letter to Governor Tom Corbett today criticizing the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s well water testing and notification policies as outdated, lacking transparency, and inadequate to protect residents and drinking water from pollution caused by gas drilling. The groups called on the Governor to take immediate action to reform PADEP’s procedures and disclose all data collected through DEP water tests but only partially reported to households where the testing occurred.
The letter and requests for action were prompted by information revealed through depositions in the case of Kiskadden vs. PADEP and DEP Secretary Michael Krancer’s recent announcement of changes to how suspected water pollution from shale gas operations is investigated.
Earthworks, Rock Creek Alliance, Clark Fork Coalition
October 30, 2012
The Montana Supreme Court voided a key water quality permit for the proposed Rock Creek Mine on Monday, holding that the state’s use of a permitting shortcut would not sufficiently protect Rock Creek’s threatened bull trout population, a resource of “unique ecological significance” under state law. The Rock Creek Mine is a controversial mining project that would excavate for silver and copper underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in the lower Clark Fork River drainage near Idaho.
17 Groups Petition EPA for Public Reporting of Chemical Releases from Fracking, other Oil and Gas Operations
Environmental Integrity Project, Earthworks, and others
October 24, 2012
127,000 Tons of Undisclosed Hazardous Emissions: Oil and Gas Would Join Other Industries, Including Coal, That Already Report to the Toxics Release Inventory; Federal Disclosure for O&G Not Yet Required Despite Surge in Fracking Chemical Pollution.
WASHINGTON, D.C.///October 24, 2012///The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), along with 16 other local, regional, and national organizations petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today to require the oil and gas extraction industry—including companies engaged in fracking—to report to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The oil and gas extraction industry has long used and released large amounts of TRI-listed toxic chemicals, and this has dramatically increased in the last decade with the rapid spread of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”).
October 18, 2012
Read this article on the publishing site
October 18th –The largest health survey to-date of Marcellus Shale residents living near oil and gas development shows a clear pattern of negative health impacts associated with living near gas facilities, according to a new report released by Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project today. Released in association with ShaleTest, Gas Patch Roulette: How Shale Gas Development Risks Public Health in Pennsylvania surveyed 108 residents in 14 Pennsylvania counties, and conducted air and water tests at more than half of the households were surveys were completed.
EARTHWORKS and MPC
October 16, 2012
Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, Minn., October 16, 2012— As millions of new iPhones appear in mailboxes around the country, Earthworks, the only U.S. environmental watchdog focusing exclusively on the impacts of resource extraction on communities and the environment, announces the launch of their new Recycle My Cell Phone website.
Through the website, consumers can responsibly recycle their phones; reducing the demand for newly mined metals – including conflict minerals, and protecting groundwater by keeping hazardous metals out of landfills. For example, recovering the gold found in 50 million cell phones (iPhone5 sales are projected to reach 50 million by year’s end) could prevent the creation of 2 million tons of mining waste.
October 3, 2012
The U-Liners, based in Takoma Park, play a deep and eclectic repertoire of roots-rock and Americana with a social conscience. Members of the band have shared a stage with diverse artists such as Tom Morello, Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, the Dropkick Murphys, Jill Sobule, Lester Chambers and Pete Seeger.
Proceeds from this show will benefit Earthworks, which fights to hold the oil, gas and mining industries accountable while protecting clean air, water, public health and people’s rights.
October 3, 2012
Joint release with Natural Resources Defense Council * Sierra Club
U.S. Geological Survey Verifies EPA Findings in Pavillion, WY
Pavillion, WY -- An independent analysis of new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water monitoring data verifies a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation into whether hydraulic fracturing contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming - an important groundwater source that provides water to thousands of Wyoming residents and farmers.
The preliminary results of EPA’s study was one of the first to document hydrocarbons consistent with fracking fluid chemicals in drinking water wells and monitoring wells located near natural gas wells. EPA’s preliminary results have since been attacked by the oil and gas industry, as they seek to continue their dangerous practices and protect their own interests over public health and safety. USGS’s study was conducted specifically to check EPA’s results.
September 25, 2012
September 25th, Washington, D.C. – Today Earthworks released Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulatory Enforcement, a new research study revealing that states across the country are failing to enforce their own oil and gas development regulations. The one-year, in-depth research project examined enforcement data and practices in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Mexico and Colorado and included interviews with ex-industry and state agency employees.
"State enforcement of oil and gas rules is broken," said Earthworks' Senior Staff Attorney Bruce Baizel. He continued, "Across the country, public health and safety are at risk because states are failing to uphold the rule of law. Until states can guarantee they are adequately enforcing their own rules on an ongoing basis, state agencies must not permit new drilling."
August 23, 2012
Washington, DC: Earthworks and other civil society groups welcomed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval yesterday of its long-delayed rules for Section 1502 (conflict minerals) and Section 1504 (disclosure of payments) of the Dodd-Frank Act.
“The SEC’s rules on conflict minerals and payment disclosure represent a turning point in global efforts to reduce corruption and human rights abuses fuelled by mineral extraction,” said Payal Sampat, International Program Director at Earthworks, a mining and energy industry watchdog group headquartered in Washington, DC. “Although industry groups lobbied hard and succeeded in winning delays and loopholes, the tide has clearly shifted in favor of greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. ”
August 6, 2012
A new report released today documents the record of chronic pipeline spills, uncontrolled seepage, and other failures at operating U.S. copper mines, and finds that the proposed Pebble Mine would have an extremely high likelihood of releasing toxic substances into the Bristol Bay watershed -- which supports the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery. The Earthworks report supports the findings of the Bristol Bay watershed assessment recently released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
July 17, 2012
Leading Human Rights and Environmental Groups Urge Peru to Halt Repression and Human Rights Abuses Against Mining Protesters
July 11, 2012
Washington, DC and Ottawa – The Peruvian government should immediately cease any violent repression of mining protesters, over 80 leading environmental and human rights organizations wrote today in a statement that will be delivered to Peruvian embassies and consulates in the United States and Canada. The statement condemns the recent brutal repression and human rights violations that have left five people dead, and dozens more injured, after police opened fire on protestors of US-based Newmont Mining Corporation’s proposed Conga gold mine in the country’s northern Andean province of Cajamarca.
Earthworks Stands in Solidarity with Alma Smelter Workers in Quebec: Calls on Rio Tinto to End Illegal Lock-out and Respect Workers’ Rights
June 25, 2012
Washington, DC: Earthworks, a US-based energy and mining reform organization that leads the No Dirty Gold campaign, announced today its support for the United Steelworkers’ campaign to seek justice for 780 workers who have been illegally locked out of Rio Tinto/Alcan’s aluminum smelter in Quebec, Canada for nearly 6 months.
Rio Tinto illegally locked out 780 workers from its aluminum smelter in Alma, Quebec on December 30, 2011 after workers refused to accept an agreement that allowed the company to replace retiring workers with non-union contract workers at half the wage and without benefits. Rio Tinto hired a security firm to forcibly remove the workers from the plant, including those who were exposed to beryllium, a highly toxic substance. Exposed workers were not permitted to decontaminate before leaving the plant and may have carried beryllium home to their families.
May 17, 2012
NM OCD enforcement is sparse, arbitrary, toothless and opaque
Santa Fe, NM, May 17th – Today Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project released a new report, NM OCD: Inadequate enforcement guarantees irresponsible oil and gas development. Part of a national assessment of state oil and gas regulatory enforcement, highlights of the New Mexico-specific findings include:
- More than 60% of active oil & gas wells go uninspected each year.
- Where violations are found, individual inspectors have complete discretion as to whether and how violations are recorded -- in essence, each inspector is their own lawmaker.
- Few violators are penalized, and when they are, penalites are too low to deter future violations
- Public is prohibited access to data that would reveal how responsibly industry is operated, and how well OCD is enforcing the law.
“The OCD has failed in its mission is to effectively enforce New mexico oil and gas laws and regulations, “said Gwen Lachelt, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Director. She continued "With their failure, they, guarantee irresponsible oil and gas development, and put landowners, their water and the environment at risk.”
Statement of Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks, on the House Natural Resources Committee’s Passage of HR 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012
May 16, 2012
"Today, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to support corporate interests over public interests. HR 4402 masquerades as a bill about critical and strategic minerals, but it instead threatens our waters and disenfranchises our communities.
May 9, 2012
Statement by Gwen Lachelt, Director, Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project
After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stepped in when the state of Texas failed to address a water well contamination incident involving Range Resources, the company responded by suing the very landowner whose water was polluted. And Range didn’t stop there. It cast a wide net in a twisted attempt to show that the landowner was defaming Range’s reputation. They even forced our employee, the popular blogger and well-known oil and gas activist, Sharon Wilson (aka “TX Sharon”), to appear in court last week.
Statement of Bruce Baizel, Senior Staff Attorney, Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project on the Department of Interior’s New Rules Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands
May 4, 2012
May 4, 2012- Durango, CO “Today the Obama Administration and Secretary Salazar proposed new rules to protect the quality of our air, water, and public health from the harmful impacts of natural gas development, underscoring the need for federal standards as a floor.”
The new rules will apply to hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking”, operations on public lands. The Department first issued rules for fracking on public lands in 1982, but they have not been updated since1988. Since then, technological advances in horizontal drilling have led to both increase the spread of natural gas development and public concern about its safety with regard to air and drinking water resources. These rules create consistent minimum requirements for chemical disclosure, wellbore integrity, and waste disposal, among other aspects of the process.
May 2, 2012
National Day of Action will bring thousands to Washington, DC to put the public interest before drilling industry profits
Washington, D.C—Today citizens from affected communities, together with environmental organizations and community groups, announced a call to action to demand an end to putting oil and gas drilling profits ahead of public health, clean water and air and the safety of our communities. This event will be the largest of its kind and will take place in on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol, Washington, DC from 10am to 2pm on July 28, 2012.
Labeled “Stop the Frack Attack,” the rally will bring thousands to the nation’s capitol to demand greater government responsibility and corporate accountability for harm that existing oil and gas development causes.
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.”