Media Releases

Former DOE, NCAR Air Chemist Joins Earthworks as Science and Policy Advisor


September 20, 2011

Earthworks welcomes Cherelle Blazer, an atmospheric chemist, to their Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).

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Tagged with: ogap, air pollution, texas ogap, media, cherelle blazer

Turning Up the Heat on Costco: National Call-In Campaign to Reject Dirty Gold


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 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.

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Tagged with: gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, costco

Tests Find Banned Carcinogen in Air Near Fracking Sites


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.

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, texas ogap, barnett shale, tceq

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.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, natural gas, disclosure, obama

Environmental Groups Respond to Corbett Marcellus Commission

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."

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Tagged with: oil and gas, ogap, marcellus shale, pennsylvania

Montana State Court Blocks Construction of Rock Creek Mine

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.

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Tagged with: gold, drinking water, montana, rock creek mine

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:

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, pennsylvania, marcellus, marcellus shale advisory commission

Hundreds of Customers Flood Costco's Facebook Page Demanding Cleaner Gold

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.

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Tagged with: no dirty gold, golden rules, costco

In Wake of Dispatches Expos , Jewellery Customers Want to Avoid Dirty Gold

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.

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Tagged with: mining, no dirty gold, international, golden rules

Nuclear Power's Other Tragedy: Stories from the Frontlines of Uranium Mining


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.

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Tagged with: 1872 mining law, grand canyon, uranium, nuclear power

Grand Canyon and Colorado River Temporarily Protected from Uranium Mining

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.

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Tagged with: mining, congress, grand canyon, obama, uranium

At Federal Fracking Hearing, Citizens Face Off Against Industry

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.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, pennsylvania, department of energy, federal reforms

Conflict at the Canyon

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.

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Tagged with: mining, grand canyon, obama, uranium

Fracking Disclosure Bill Advances in California State Legislature

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.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, disclosure, california

Colorado River Agencies Urge Caution on Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

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.

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Tagged with: mining, grand canyon, uranium

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.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, public health, obama

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.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, public health, new york

Texas Fracking Bill Protects Oil and Gas Industry's Chemical Secrets, Not Citizens' Health

May 19, 2011

AUSTIN, May 19 -- Today the Texas Senate heard testimony on legislation touted as a national precedent on public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. But Texans should not be fooled: The bill allows the oil and gas industry to hide details about its use of fracking chemicals, denying citizens the important information that would help them protect their drinking water.

The bill in question, HB 3328, was introduced by Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland).

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Tagged with: fracking, texas, texas ogap, disclosure

Missing From U.S. Fracking 'Experts' Panel: Voices From Communities at Risk

May 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, May 10 - EARTHWORKS and citizens from shale gas deposits around the country are sending a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu requesting that impacted citizens be represented on the federal advisory panel on the safety of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas drilling. The panel includes academics, ex-regulators and analysts, some of whom have professional ties to the oil and gas industry. But the panel does not have a single citizen from communities directly impacted by drilling and fracking.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, public health

Leading oil and gas reform organization expands presence in Gulf Region

May 2, 2011

Durango, CO, May 2nd --"We are very pleased to announce Texas Sharon as our Gulf Region Organizer, said Gwen Lachelt, Director and Founder of EARTHWORKS' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. Beginning today, Sharon Wilson, aka "Texas Sharon," the prolific and much-respected Bluedaze blogger, becomes a full-time organizer for the nation's leading oil and gas reform organization.

Ms. Wilson will lead the organization's campaign work in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. "The Gulf Region Organizer position represents a milestone for us and we are honored to be adding our voice and expertise to the citizens' movement to reform gas drilling practices in this region", Lachelt stated.

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Tagged with: ogap, texas ogap

Newmont Urged to Drop Plans for Gold Mine in Cerro Quilish, Peru

April 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, April 19 -- As Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) holds its annual general meeting today, environmental and human rights groups are demanding the company drop plans for a gold mine gold mine at Cerro Quilish, where strong community opposition blocked previous plans seven years ago.
Mass protest in 2004, the last time Newmont proposed expanding its Yanacocha mine into Cerro Quilish. Credit: GRUFIDES

" Developing Cerro Quilish is an untenable proposal, both in terms of the financial risks represented as well as the damage to Newmont's reputation and social license", said a letter to Newmont President and CEO Richard T. O'Brien from EARTHWORKS and Oxfam America.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, international, newmont, indigenous

The Dark Side of the Boom: How Natural Gas Drilling in Texas Threatens Public Health and Safety

April 14, 2011

AUSTIN, TX, APRIL 14 -- State, local and federal officials and regulatory agencies are failing to protect Texans from the health and safety risks of the natural gas boom, according to a report released today by the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).

State Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth joined OGAP, other state advocacy organizations and community groups in releasing Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety. The report finds that authorities either lack the resources to deal with the air pollution, water contamination and other problems that accompany natural gas production; are limited in their response by inadequate laws and regulations, or continue the long Texas tradition of favoring the oil and gas industry at the expense of citizens.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, public health, texas, texas ogap

URANIUM: Bill Would Scrap 139-Year-Old Law, Protect Water and Public Lands

April 8, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8 -- -- Today, Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced legislation to shift the regulation of uranium mining from the antiquated 1872 Mining Law to the Mineral Leasing Act. This change would allow uranium mining on federal lands to be managed through a competitive leasing program, as opposed to an industry-initiated claim and patent system.

Because of an increased interest in nuclear power, the price of uranium is six times what it was 10 years ago. This price increase, as well as the speculation that new nuclear power plants will come online in the US and abroad has led to an increase

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Tagged with: mining, 1872 mining law, congress, grand canyon, uranium

Natural gas discovered underneath U.S. Capitol

April 1, 2011

Washington D.C. - Earlier today, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers announced that natural gas deposits were discovered on U.S. Capitol grounds during the construction of the underground Capitol Visitor center. The discovery -- made prior to the visitor center's opening in 2008 -- was announced today after mineral rights and jurisdictional issues were resolved allowing leasing to proceed and gas production oversight to be implemented.

An unsuspected natural gas bearing shale formation -- similar to the Marcellus Shale underlying middle Appalachian states, the Barnett Shale in north-central Texas, and other shale gas plays around the country -- was uncovered as the pit was dug for the several stories deep undergound Capitol visitor center. The new visitor center was deemed necessary in the wake of 9/11 to mitigate the possibility of terrorist attack on the Capitol Building.

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Target Says 'No' to Dirty Gold

March 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24 -- Target, the third-largest retail chain in the U.S., has joined 72 other jewelry retailers worldwide in pledging to shun gold from irresponsible mining and seek cleaner sources of gold and precious metals.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) becomes the 73rd signer of the Golden Rules, a set of social, human rights, and environmental criteria for more responsible mining of precious metals from the No Dirty Gold campaign. Target ranks No. 10 among U.S. jewelry retailers with 2009 sales of about $450 million. The Golden Rules have now been signed by eight of the top 10 jewelry sellers in the country, with combined annual sales of more than $13.5 billion, about a quarter of the total U.S. jewelry market.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules, target

FRACKING CRACKDOWN: Senate, House Bills Would Protect Drinking Water from Toxic Gas Drilling Chemicals

March 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, March 15 -- With growing national alarm over the health and environmental threat of toxic chemicals natural gas drilling, five members of Congress are reintroducing bills to repeal the exemption of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from the Safe Drinking Water Act and require public disclosure of chemicals used in the controversial process.

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Tagged with: fracking, epa, drinking water, toxics, safe drinking water act, loopholes

First Nations and Greens Urge Credit Suisse: No Funds for Taseko's Prosperity Mine

March 7, 2011

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C., March 7 -- First Nations and environmentalists are urging a major international financial institution to say "no" if Taseko Mines Ltd seeks funding for its revised proposal for the open-pit Prosperity Mine, which would threaten the traditional way of life of the Tsilhqot'in people and a celebrated trout lake high in the Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia.

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Tagged with: mining, international, indigenous, canada

Showdown in Court Over Oil & Gas Waste As Legislators Wage Stealth Attacks on Pit Rule

February 22, 2011

SANTA FE, Feb. 22 -- The battle over New Mexico's landmark Pit Rule -- the nation's most protective measure to safeguard citizens, water and land from hazardous oil and gas drilling wastes -- is building to a showdown in the courthouse and the Roundhouse.

District Judge Barbara Vigil will hear arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit to stop the rollback of the Pit Rule, even as anti-environmental lawmakers in the Legislature mount a backdoor assault on it and other important conservation rules.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, new mexico, pit rule

Obama Administration: Grand Canyon Should Be Off-Limits to Mines

February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 -- The U.S. Interior Department's draft plan for addressing uranium and other mining near the Grand Canyon includes a proposal to ban new mine claims on 1 million acres. Mining reform advocates applauded the proposal, noting it is the third move forward by the Obama Administration this week to protect public lands from destructive hardrock mining.

The Grand Canyon is our most iconic national treasure, and it's critical that the Canyon and important ecological areas around it be protected from uranium mining, said Lauren Pagel, policy director for EARTHWORKS, an international mining reform group. There are many other special places and Western waterways that need protection from the devastation of uranium mining, but the Grand Canyon is a no-brainer.

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Tagged with: mining, grand canyon, uranium, interior department

This Valentine's Day, 54 Jewelers Say NO to Gold From Bristol Bay, Alaska

February 9, 2011

BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA, Feb. 9 -- Valentine's Day is the biggest holiday for sales of gold jewelry in the U.S., and these days, many love-struck sweethearts want to know where their gold comes from. This year leading jewelers, commercial fishermen and Alaska Natives all want to make sure it doesn't come from a monster open-pit mine that would threaten the world's largest wild salmon fishery.

Fifty-four jewelers, representing more than $5.75 billion in annual sales, have pledged not to use gold from the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska. The mine, a project of Anglo American PLC of London and Northern Dynasty Minerals of Vancouver, B.C., would be the largest open-pit mine in North America, and generate up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste that would be disposed in the Bristol Bay watershed.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, bristol bay, alaska, jewelry retailers

Walmart's 'Love, Earth' Jewelry is Dirty Gold

January 12, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 12 -- Walmart's Love, Earth jewelry line, marketed as the product of eco-friendly mines and worker-friendly factories, in fact uses gold from polluting mines in the U.S. and Bolivian sweatshops where employees work in brutal and unsafe conditions for a few dollars a day, according to an investigation by a journalist for TIME and ABC News.

The investigation by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky in the Jan. 6 issue of Miami New Times confirms concerns raised by environmental and indigenous peoples' groups since Walmart, the world's largest jewelry retailer, launched the Love, Earth line two years ago.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, no dirty gold, jewelry retailers, golden rules

CLEAN AIR ACT: U.S. Issues First-Ever Limits on Mercury Pollution From Gold Mines

December 17, 2010

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Tagged with: mining, gold, regulation, mercury, clean air act

United States changes position to support UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

December 16, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16 -- "EARTHWORKS congratulates President Obama on the decision today to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  This represents a historic moment for Indigenous Peoples and for the United States, and an important step for Indigenous communities threatened by the impacts of mining, and oil and gas drilling.

“The Declaration states that Indigenous Peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent is required if they are to be moved from their lands or to have hazardous materials stored or disposed of on their lands.  Free, prior and informed consent is also required for approval of projects, including mining, oil, and gas projects, that affect their lands.  The Declaration includes the right for Indigenous Peoples to protect their religious and cultural sites and the right to the conservation and protection of the environment.

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Tagged with: indigenous, obama, un


December 11, 2010

(Albany, NY) -- Governor David Paterson today helped protect the health of New Yorkers and their drinking water by issuing an Executive Order that calls for a temporary timeout on high volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for natural gas. In doing so he signaled his understanding that high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, threatens both public health and the environment.

The Executive Order places a timeout on horizontal wells for fracking for natural gas through July 1, 2011. The Executive Order also creates a loophole that oil and gas corporations can exploit according to environmental, good government, community and public health organizations.

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Tagged with: fracking, ogap, public health, drinking water, new york

Groups Applaud New York State Assembly for Passing a *Timeout* on Fracking for Natural Gas

November 30, 2010

(ALBANY, NY) -- Environmental, good government, community and public health organizations applauded the State Assembly today for voting to protect New York's drinking water by passing legislation that will enact a timeout on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. By passing the bill, A. 11443B, sponsored by Assembly Member Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), the Assembly demonstrated that it recognizes the potential dangers of the environmentally dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing, often called "fracking." In states such as Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wyoming gas development using fracking has contaminated drinking and groundwater sources.

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Tagged with: fracking, public health, new york

Statement of EARTHWORKS Executive Director Jennifer Krill in response to the Interior Department's forum on natural gas development on public lands

November 30, 2010

Washington, D.C. -- "We are pleased to see the Secretary of the Interior and the Department take the initiative to modernize our federal oil and gas policy to protect communities and federal resources impacted by gas development. We urge Interior go further to require best management practices for natural gas drilling on public lands.

The federal government has a responsibility to ensure drilling on our public lands occurs responsibly. And disclosure, although necessary, is only the first and most basic step necessary to protect communities and their groundwater from irresponsible drilling.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, public lands, obama, interior department

Indigenous Peoples in Latin America call for an end to destructive mining

November 26, 2010

Lima, Peru -- On Tuesday, Nov 23, Indigenous Peoples from across Latin America released The Lima Declaration , a unified position calling for an end to large-scale surface mining by transnational companies on Indigenous Peoples' lands. Indigenous representatives from the Andes, the Amazon, and Central America drafted the Declaration after a three-day Indigenous Peoples' Forum on Mining, Climate Change, and Well-being. EARTHWORKS, a US-based organization that works to protect communities and the environment from destructive mining impacts, attended the meeting at the invitation of an Indigenous Peoples' coordinating group in Latin America.

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Tagged with: mining, international, indigenous

Native Alaskans Respond to UK Mining Giant's Greenwashing Campaign With Ad in CityAM

November 4, 2010

LONDON, 4 November -- For weeks, Anglo American PLC have been running ads in the Guardian, the Economist and at Heathrow Airport, touting the benefits their mines bring to communities. Alaska Natives from Bristol Bay, where Anglo American proposes to dig the largest open-pit mine in North America, have today replied to this greenwashing by taking out a full page ad in CityAM with a blunt message to the company.

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

50 Leading Jewellers oppose Anglo American's Alaskan Gold Mine

November 2, 2010

LONDON, 2 November -- Fifty jewellers, with more than 3.5 billion ($5.75 billion) in sales, say they won't use gold from Anglo American PLC's proposed Pebble Mine, which threatens the world's most important fishing grounds for wild sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

The proposed open-pit mine would be the largest in North America and generate an estimated 10 billion tonnes of mine waste, much of it toxic and held on the site forever. If it goes ahead, the mine would destroy salmon spawning habitat in a designated Fishery Reserve, and jeopardize the commercial fishing industry and the livelihoods of the Alaska Native communities in the region. With gold selling at record highs of over $1,300 an ounce, permits applications are expected next year.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, alaska, jewelry retailers, pebble

US Probe Finds Halliburton Lies Contributed to BP Disaster --

October 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 -- The presidential commission investigating the BP disaster says Halliburton knew before the explosion its drilling cement was faulty but said nothing -- raising grave doubts about whether the company is being honest about the danger of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is Halliburton's patented process for injecting huge volumes of chemical-laced fluid into natural gas wells to force deposits to the surface. In 2005, the drilling services company's lobbying opened the Halliburton Loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act, exempting fracking from federal regulation.

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Tagged with: drilling, oil spill, halliburton

Red Gold: Inside the effort to protect the world's greatest wild sockeye salmon fishery from gold mining.

October 18, 2010

Bristol Bay, Alaska, October 18 -- Alaskans are bringing award-winning film Red Gold to London.

A delegation of Alaska Natives and commercial fishermen from Bristol Bay, the world's largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery, is coming to the UK to bring attention to the threat of London-based mining giant Anglo American's proposed Pebble Mine. If built, it would be the largest open-pit mine in North America, directly upstream from the most valuable wild sockeye runs on Earth. The UK is the largest importer of Bristol Bay wild salmon.

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Tagged with: mining, gold, bristol bay, alaska, international

Records Show Texas Takes No Action on 99% of Barnett Shale Complaints

October 11, 2010

DISH, Texas, Oct. 11 -- State inspectors cited no violations in response to almost 99 percent of citizen complaints about natural gas drilling and hydrofracking operations in the Barnett Shale region in the first seven months of 2010, according to documents obtained through the Texas Public Information Act.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) records show 256 complaints -- more than one a day -- about odor and health effects from January 1 to July 23 in Tarrant, Denton, Wise and other counties in the Barnett Shale formation. Yet only three violations were found, all at the same site in Wise County.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, texas, texas ogap, barnett shale

Catastrophic waste spill in Hungary shows risks of irresponsible metals production

October 5, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5 -- The Danube River, the Marcal, and several other European rivers and the communities and ecosystems that rely upon them are at risk following the collapse of a dam holding back millions of tons of toxic metal-processing wastes at a Hungarian alumina plant. The accident has killed 4 people and injured at least 120 others and has covered an area of about 15 square miles with toxic red sludge.

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Tagged with: mining, toxics, international

FRACKING: Wyoming Requires Disclosure of Chemicals in Natural Gas Drilling

September 16, 2010

SHERIDAN, Wyo., Sept. 16 -- Wyoming's new rules requiring natural gas drillers to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are the best in the nation but fall short of full transparency, citizen groups said. They urged Congress to pass legislation protecting all Americans' right to know about hazardous drilling compounds that could contaminate water supplies.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, disclosure

Feds to Pavillion Residents: Don t Drink the Water and Be Careful Not to Blow Yourselves up

September 1, 2010

Pavillion, WY Last night, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their sister agency, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released health and safety recommendations based on the second phase of testing in the Pavillion, WY drinking water investigation. The federal agencies recommended that residents not drink their water or use it for cooking. Additionally, residents were told to take specific precautions to avoid explosions due to methane contamination of drinking water. Precautions should include ventilation when taking showers and avoidance of ignitions in closed rooms where water is running.

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Tagged with: epa, drinking water, wyoming, toxics

Wyoming gas-field residents call for Public Health studies related to oil & gas chemicals and drinking water contamination

August 18, 2010

Pavillion, Wy - EARTHWORKS and Powder River Basin Resource Council today released the results of a community-based health survey conducted in Pavillion, Wyoming. The survey results come after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified known oil and gas chemicals in residents' drinking water wells last year as part of a Superfund Investigation. The voluntary health survey was conducted by Wilma Subra on behalf of the groups. Ms. Subra is a chemist and MacArthur Genius award winner renown for her work with communities impacted by industrial contamination.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, public health, drinking water, wyoming

EARTHWORKS applauds passage of key oil and gas reforms

July 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30 -- ""Today the U.S. Congress takes is taking an important step towards establishing some protections for communities facing oil and gas production in their backyard. The House voted 209 to 193 to pass the CLEAR Act, which will establish important reforms in both offshore and onshore oil and gas extraction to protect communities, our water and our air from damage caused by the reckless development of energy resources.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, congress, clear act

Statement of Jennifer Krill, EARTHWORKS Executive Director, in response to introduction of Senate "Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Spill Accountability Plan"

July 27, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 27 -- "EARTHWORKS is stunned to see the one-sided nature of the Senate energy proposal, released today, which increases incentives for natural gas production without addressing the impacts of natural gas on communities and water supplies across the country.

The natural gas industry is exempt from numerous environmental standards, putting our Nation at risk of leaks and spills that threaten people and their livelihoods.

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Tagged with: oil and gas, congress

New legislation to bring greater accountability for extractive industries

July 16, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 16 -- EARTHWORKS commends the supporters of a landmark Senate bill that passed yesterday with provisions that aim to break the connection of drilling and mining with corruption and conflict. Under the amendment included in the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act (Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), companies will need to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission payments that they make to governments. This greater transparency should help prevent mining, oil, and gas companies from making arrangements with governments that represent bad deals for the public wherever those companies are operating.

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Tagged with: international, conflict minerals, congress, congo, frank dodd

EARTHWORKS applauds passage of plan to address reforms needed in the oil and gas industry

July 15, 2010

Washington D.C.,-- EARTHWORKS applauds Chairman Rahall courage and leadership to address the broad range of reforms needed for America's oil and gas industry. As we have seen from the oil disaster in the Gulf, we can no long rely on a trust us mentality from the oil and gas companies. The CLEAR Act adopted today by the House Natural Resources Committee will establish important reforms in both offshore and onshore oil and gas extraction to protect communities, our water and our wildlife from damage caused by the reckless development of energy resources. We encourage the House to take swift action on these reforms by passing the CLEAR Act.

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Tagged with: fracking, oil and gas, ogap, clear act, reform

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