February 14, 2009
Feb 14 -- Late last night, the U.S. Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, including as much as $1.5 billion for abandoned mine clean up on public lands. The $1.5 billion dollars will be given to the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for construction, capital improvement, maintenance and other land management activities, including remediating abandoned mines. The Senate-passed version of the bill had specifically allocated $105 million for abandoned mine cleanup.
February 12, 2009
Washington, D.C. - Today, an international network of environmental groups is launching a cross-border campaign urging President Barack Obama to stand strong on his new energy economy agenda and reject entreaties from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to shelter the dirtiest oil on earth from global warming regulation.
"Tar sands oil is the dirtiest form of energy in the world. It has no place in President Obama's plans for a clean energy economy," said Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Campaign Coordinator Pat Gallagher. "Tar sands oil accelerates global warming. It destroys forests. It endangers public health. Instead of importing this expensive, dirty oil, we can invest in clean energy that will create millions of much-needed, sustainable jobs."
February 5, 2009
Washington D.C. -- Just days before its 5th anniversary on Valentine's Day, the No Dirty Gold campaign is announcing its 50th signatory to the "Golden Rules" for more responsible sourcing of precious metals.
These retailers and manufacturers, representing some 23% of the US jewelry market, have pledged to source metals that were produced more responsibly, meeting the human rights, social, and environmental criteria of the Golden Rules.
January 30, 2009
Jan 30th -- The Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a broad package of economic recovery proposals for the Nation this week, including $650 million to restore our National Forests damaged by abandoned mines. This would create 15 to 42 thousand jobs to reduce water pollution, eliminate public safety threats, and restore fish and wildlife habitat in rural communities across the country and here in Montana.
"We applaud the efforts of Senator Tester and Governor Schweitzer to promote new economic opportunities in Montana's rural areas," declared Bonnie Gestring from the EARTHWORKS Northern Rockies office. "Old mines like the Beal Mountain project and other sites along the Clark Fork and Big Blackfoot River may finally get cleaned up."
January 22, 2009
1/27/2009 -- "Today the U.S. Congress takes an important step towards reforming one of the last remaining public-resource giveaways, the 1872 Mining Law. This bill, introduced by Chairman Nick Rahall, (D-WV), along with 21 co-sponsors from around the country, will promote economic development in rural communities throughout the West by creating jobs for abandoned mine clean up while protecting communities and water quality from the damage caused by modern mining.
December 18, 2008
"EARTHWORKS congratulates Senator Ken Salazar on his nomination to be Secretary of Interior. We know Senator Salazar to be a solution-oriented bridge builder whose intimate knowledge of public lands issues gives hope for a new day in the management of public lands -- and the valuable cultural, environmental, and natural resources they contain.
This year, Senator Salazar has pledged his support for long overdue reforms to the 1872 Mining Law, the law that governs metal mining, like gold, copper and uranium, on public lands. EARTHWORKS is confident that the Senator will continue to work for real and meaningful reform of this outdated law in his new role as Secretary.
December 18, 2008
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated enforcement action at the Gold Quarry and Jerritt Canyon Mines after investigations found serious problems with the handling and disposal of hazardous waste. The notices of violation went to mine owners Newmont and Queenstake (now Yukon-Nevada Gold Corp.). According to the EPA's investigation, the mines:
December 12, 2008
October 28, 2008
MISSOULA - Montana voters strongly support protecting our land, water and wildlife from the obsolete 1872 Mining Law, according to a statewide survey released today.
Sportsmen and conservation groups released findings of a poll today that show overwhelming support for updating the federal 1872 Mining Law that governs hardrock mining on national forests and other federal public land.
October 17, 2008
Durango, Colorado, October 17 - Today EARTHWORKS' Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) announced its strong support for H. R. 7231, a bill to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The legislation was recently introduced by Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Congressman John Salazar (D-CO), and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. H.R. 7231 repeals this exemption while allowing flexibility and ensuring a federal minimum standard to prohibit endangerment of underground sources of drinking water.
September 25, 2008
Washington, DC -- On September 30, Stephen D'Esposito will step down as President and CEO of EARTHWORKS, a position he has held for ten years. Steve has accepted a new appointment as President of RESOLVE, where he will launch a new initiative, the Earth-Solutions Center. EARTHWORKS will continue to build on its 20-year track record of protecting communities and the environment by reforming the mining and energy industries through legislative, markets and corporate campaigns.
Under Steve's leadership, EARTHWORKS, formerly called the Mineral Policy Center, promoted reform of the 1872 Mining Law and assisted communities across the West, and around the world, in dealing with the environmental, economic, and social effects of mining. During this time, EARTHWORKS established the "No Dirty Gold" campaign, expanded its mission to address international issues, and merged with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project. Recently, the organization launched its "No Dirty Energy" campaign to further increase its reach and impact. A special hallmark of EARTHWORKS' activities during Steve's tenure was engagement with corporate leaders to advance responsible mining and oil and gas development practices.
August 13, 2008
Accra, Cologne and Washington, DC, 14 August 2008-- Environmental and human rights organizations from 3 continents have criticized plans by Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation to develop an open-pit gold mine in a Forest Reserve in Ghana. The groups today released expert reviews of the technical aspects of the mine project that document deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The expert reviews point to major gaps in the EIS regarding reclamation plans, the potential for acid drainage, risks of water contamination with heavy metals and cyanide, as well as impacts on biodiversity.
No Dirty Gold campaign
July 21, 2008
June 25, 2008
Today, the House Natural Resources Committee took an important step to protect the Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of our National Park system. Over the past five years, the threat of uranium development outside its borders has increased more than a hundredfold. In response, the Committee passed an emergency resolution to temporarily withdraw over 1 million acres adjacent to the Park from new mining claim staking. We applaud the champion of this initiative, Congressman Grijalva, for his leadership on this issue.
June 10, 2008
Four conservation groups filed suit Monday to protect a critical native fishery from impacts associated with the proposed Rock Creek Mine, a controversial copper and silver mine at the edge of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in the lower Clark Fork River watershed near Idaho.
The suit, filed in state district court by the Rock Creek Alliance, the Clark Fork Coalition, Earthworks, and Trout Unlimited, alleges that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and mine owner Revett Minerals, Inc. are permitting the mine in a way that violates state water quality laws, harms a key fishery, and shuts the public out of the permitting process.
May 14, 2008
May 14, 2008 -- In a letter to the American Petroleum Institute (API), the environmental organization EARTHWORKS today called upon the API to stop its multi-million dollar, multi-year self-promotion campaign aimed at polishing its image during a time of record high energy prices. The letter calls upon API to aid American consumers by instead investing the PR campaign money in clean energy alternatives.
April 29, 2008
WASHINGTON (April 29, 2008) - Deputy Premier of Alberta Ron Stevens is in Washington this week, meeting with Bush Administration officials and members of Congress to promote the importation of dirty tar sands oil to the United States. Stevens is expected to advocate that tar sands oil should be exempted under Section 526 in the newly enacted Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Section 526 prohibits the Federal purchase of unconventional or synthetic fuels whose lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are higher than conventional fuels.
February 22, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- In the lead-up to the Oscar awards ceremonies in Los Angeles on Sunday, more than 2,000 activists have sent letters and faxes to the celebrity jeweler Harry Winston, urging the company to commit to human rights and environmental standards for sourcing gold and precious metals. Concerns about "dirty" or irresponsible mining practices have already prompted 29 leading jewelry retailers, including Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Piaget Gold to sign on to these standards, which are known as the "Golden Rules." However, Harry Winston, jeweler to the stars, still lags behind in this regard.
February 12, 2008
Washington, DC, February 12, 2008 - As shoppers rush to buy last-minute Valentine's gifts, five of the nation's leading jewelry retailers -- Tiffany & Co., Ben Bridge Jeweler, Helzberg Diamonds, Fortunoff, and Leber Jeweler, Inc. -- today pledged their support to permanently protect Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale metal mining, including the massive proposed Pebble gold mine. The retailers, who had $2.2 billion in sales in 2006, took this step at the invitation of local Alaskans, who seek to protect wild salmon, clean water, and traditional Alaskan ways of life from the damaging effects of industrial metal mines.
January 25, 2008
Washington, D.C., 1/25: Yesterday, the ranking member of the Senate and Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM), laid out an agenda for "reform" of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law that would not adequately protect taxpayers, communities and the environment from the potentially destructive impacts of hardrock mining.
October 23, 2007
October 23, Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee today approved a major rewrite of the badly outdated 1872 Mining Law, setting the stage for a House floor vote later this year. The House is expected to pass the reform bill, H.R. 2262.
A dinosaur among the nation's public lands statutes, the 19th century mining law is one of the most destructive still on the books. It applies to hundreds of millions of acres of federal public lands. Although it has left a legacy of poisoned streams and abandoned mines across the West, HR 2262 would be the Mining Law's first substantial overhaul in 135 years. The 1872 Mining Law, originally intended to spur the nation's westward expansion, makes mining the "highest and best use" of public lands, allows the sale of claimed lands for $5 an acre, imposes zero federal royalties, and contains no environmental standards.
Citizens' groups, ranchers, landowners urge state to protect water, public health and taxpayers with strong pit rule
October 19, 2007
October 19, 2007 - New Mexico citizens' groups, ranching groups and landowners are urging state officials to prohibit pits on most oil and gas drilling sites and to require operators to dispose of contaminated pit waste at permitted waste facilities, rather than burying the waste on-site.
"It's time that the oil and gas industry takes responsibility to prevent pit pollution and dispose of their waste properly like everyone else," said Bruce Baizel, staff attorney for the Oil & Gas Accountability Project and Pit Rule Task Force member - a stakeholder group charged with developing a proposal for new oil and gas pit regulations.
October 9, 2007
Oct 9, 2007 - The Madison Dialogue has published its second White Paper, entitled Getting to Fair Trade Gold and Jewellery, by Cristina Echavarria, Secretary General of the Association for Responsible Mining (ARM), a global NGO based in Colombia. It describes the Standard Zero process, which will certify gold that comes from artisanal and small-scale mines as meeting social, environmental and human rights standards and providing added economic benefit to local communities.
This project seeks to link an emerging grassroots movement in ethically produced metals and gems with the global "fair trade" movement. The result, for the first time, would be the presence in jewelry stores of jewelry sourced from gold that meets standards of environmental accountability, economic justice, and local sustainability.
October 2, 2007
October 2, Washington, D.C. -- New research released today finds that the mining royalty methodology used by Nevada and Alaska, if adopted by the federal government, would neither pay taxpayers a fair return nor adequately fund the $50 billion abandoned mine cleanup bill facing all Americans. Published by the mining and energy watchdog group EARTHWORKS, A Hardrock Royalty: case studies and industry norms, is being released the same day the Energy and Minerals Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee hears testimony regarding the royalty provisions of 1872 Mining Law reform.
September 11, 2007
September 11 -- Following continued efforts by Royal Dutch Shell to push its plans to explore for coal bed methane in British Columbia's Sacred Headwaters, a growing international coalition published an ad in the Financial Times calling upon the world's second largest corporation to abandon the risky project. The coalition, which includes the Dogwood Initiative, EARTHWORKS, ForestEthics, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and Sierra Club of Canada, is part of a diverse and growing opposition to Shell's attempt to develop one of the largest, intact predator-prey ecosystems in North America.
The ad follows a joint letter from the coalition members to Shell's Board Chair Jorma Ollila, and CEO Jeroen van der Veer, in which the groups requested that Royal Dutch Shell refrain from activity in the headwaters of the Stikine, Skeena and Nass Rivers.
September 11, 2007
San Jose and Washington, DC, 11 September, 2007: A multinational coalition of environmental and human rights organizations are calling on Canadian mining company Glencairn Gold Corporation to disclose information about suspected cyanide and metals pollution from the Bellavista gold mine in Costa Rica. Glencairn shut down the mine in late July, following heavy rains that caused substantial earth movements, and has reported in financial statements that the mine "may remain closed indefinitely," but has not made available any information about the extent of current or potential damage. The groups also demand proper cleanup and remediation of any current or future contamination.
September 6, 2007
Washington DC: A coalition of anti-poverty and environmental organizations today called on the private sector arm of the World Bank to re-write and improve its new environmental and safety guidelines for large-scale mining projects. The coalition, comprised of WWF, Oxfam, EARTHWORKS, the Bank Information Center and the Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2) released a 20-page analysis that found serious shortcomings in the draft guidelines.
The guidelines lack measurable standards for critical issues, such as preventing water contamination - a major concern with large scale mining - and disposal of toxic wastes. The new rules also do not ensure that mines will be closed down properly to avoid long-term pollution problems.
July 26, 2007
7/26/07 - "Today the U.S. Congress takes an important step towards reforming one of the last remaining public-resource giveaways.
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals hearing on HR 2262, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007, addresses the need to update a law that is long past due for reform -- the 1872 Mining Law.
June 28, 2007
(Raton, June 27) - Members of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association (NMCGA) will celebrate the enactment of the nation's strongest landowner law at its Annual Mid-Year Meeting in Raton June 29. They will also release the Oil & Gas Accountability Project's "Landowner's Guide to the New Mexico Surface Owners' Protection Act" - a step-by-step handbook detailing what the law does for surface owners.
June 11, 2007
Reno, NV (06/11) - New information reveals that the Queenstake's Jerritt Canyon Mine in northern Nevada is releasing massive unreported amounts of mercury air pollution. The new emissions data, obtained from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP), indicates that the mine may have released as much as 6,000-8,000 pounds of mercury air pollution in 2005 and 2006, yet it reported only 300-400 pounds to state and federal agencies for those years.
"It's a staggering amount of mercury, and a tremendous threat to the health and wellbeing of Nevada families," said Dan Randolph of Great Basin Mine Watch.
May 29, 2007
(Glenwood Springs, May 29) -- Today Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will sign House Bill 1252, precedent-setting legislation that is one of the most powerful state laws in the nation in terms of protecting landowners right and the environment.
"This is a brilliant piece of legislation that gives landowners a powerful tool to negotiate with companies and it requires industry to use state-of-the-art technologies to prevent and reduce damages," said Oil & Gas Accountability Project member Jim Fitzgerald, a rancher from Bayfield, CO. "There is no other law in the nation that balances the rights of landowners to protect their land with the rights of industry to develop their oil and gas."
May 10, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- Local elected officials, Native Americans, and conservationists welcomed the introduction today of a new bill in Congress to protect clean water and western public lands from the impacts of metal mining. Championed by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV), the bill would overhaul the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, which allows mining of metals (like gold, copper and uranium) virtually anywhere on western public lands with few environmental safeguards and no return to the U.S. Treasury on the value of metals taken from those lands.
April 23, 2007
Washington, DC -- In advance of tomorrow's annual meeting of Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation, community groups from around the world urged the company to address human rights and environmental concerns at its gold mining operations and investments in Indonesia, Ghana, Peru, the United States, and Romania. The company's projects have been beset by protests, lawsuits, and controversies, prompting shareholders this year to file two resolutions calling on the company to review its policies on community engagement and waste disposal.
February 14, 2007
Feb 14, Reno, NV -- A new University of Nevada report entitled Mercury Air Concentrations in Northern Nevada documents startlingly high mercury concentrations in the air around a number of northern Nevada gold mines.
The highest mercury concentrations in the air were measured at three mines: the Marigold Mine (3120 ng/m3), the Coeur Rochester Mine (2326 ng/m3), and the Twin Creeks Mine (694 ng/m3) -- mercury concentrations that were over 600, 400 and 100 times that of normal background conditions (5 ng/m3), respectively. According to the report, "These concentrations were much higher than expected and approach concentrations where impacts to worker health and safety, particularly to women of child bearing age, should be assessed." In two cases (Coeur and Marigold), the highest concentrations were measured in the employee parking lots.
February 8, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC --- This Valentine's season, 11 jewelry retailers are announcing their support for the No Dirty Gold campaign's Golden Rules criteria for more socially and environmentally responsible mining, bringing the total number of jewelry retailers supporting the Golden Rules up to 19. The list includes 7 of the 10 largest U.S. retailers of jewelry, and represents about 22 percent of the country's total jewelry market. The companies added to the list this year are: Fred Meyer and Littman Jewelers, Ben Bridge Jeweler, Wal-Mart, QVC, Birks & Mayors, Commemorative Brands (parent company of Balfour, ArtCarved, and Keystone class rings brands), Brilliant Earth, Leber Jeweler, TurningPoint, Boscov's and Michaels Jewelers.
BIRKS & MAYORS * CANADIAN BOREAL INITIATIVE * NO DIRTY GOLD
February 8, 2007
MONTREAL, Feb 8 --- Birks & Mayors Inc. (Amex: BMJ), a leading operator of luxury jewellery stores, today announced its support for the protection of Canada's Boreal Forest, the largest unspoiled ecosystem left on the planet and one of the last lines of defence against global warming, from expanding industrial development. With this announcement, Birks became the first Canadian jeweller to call for more socially and environmentally responsible production of gold and diamonds.
January 29, 2007
Jan 29, Reno, Nevada -- "Exposure to mercury causes learning disabilities and memory loss. Not to mention memory loss," warns a new Reno billboard unveiled today by a coalition of conservation and native community groups concerned that mercury pollution from gold and silver mines is a public health risk. The groups, Great Basin Mine Watch, Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Earthworks, last month urged the State of Nevada to determine the need for fish consumption advisories for northeastern Nevada waterways due to mercury from Nevada's mines.
January 23, 2007
January 23: Eighty organizations across Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Canada, and the United States released a statement today highlighting the local, national, and international opposition to the Rosia Montana cyanide open pit gold mine project in Romania, refuting accusations of "exaggerations and misleading claims" in a recent film entitled "Mine Your Own Business." The film was financed by Gabriel Resources, the Toronto-based mining company that wants to build the Rosia Montana mine.
December 13, 2006
Dec 13, Reno, NV - Public health, sportsmen, native, and conservation organizations are calling on the State Division of Health to investigate the need for fish consumption advisories for mercury in Wild Horse Reservoir and other reservoirs, lakes and streams in northern Nevada.
Recent analysis by the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) of several fish samples collected from Wild Horse Reservoir found mercury concentrations at levels that present a public health risk, particularly to children and pregnant women. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin which can cause developmental problems such as delayed onset of walking, talking and delays and deficits in learning.
December 13, 2006
December 13, Taos, NM - After an intense and hard-fought three-year battle, President Bush signed Representative Tom Udall's Valle Vidal Protection Act of 2005 into law yesterday. The new law will permanently protect the Valle Vidal, one of New Mexico's greatest natural treasures, by withdrawing the area from mineral leasing.
"The Valle Vidal Protection Act is a great step towards New Mexico's clean energy future, said Representative Tom Udall, the bill's sponsor. "Responsible management of our energy resources means that some places, such as the Valle Vidal, are simply off limits to development."
December 7, 2006
Dec 7, Washington, DC -- New scientific research unveiled today finds that faulty water quality predictions, mitigation measures and regulatory failures result in the approval of mines that create significant water pollution problems. Despite assurances from government regulators and mine proponents that mines would not pollute clean water, researchers found that 76 percent of studied mines exceeded water quality standards, polluting rivers, and groundwater with toxic contaminants, such as lead, mercury, arsenic and cyanide, and exposing taxpayers to huge cleanup liabilities. The release was issued by the Washington, DC-based conservation group EARTHWORKS and conservation groups in as many as ten western states affected by mining.
Groups Urge Jewelers, Miners to Provide Consumers with a Certified Alternative to "Blood Diamonds" & "Dirty Gold"
December 6, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC --- In advance of Friday's release of the new movie Blood Diamond, today international development organization Oxfam America and environmental group EARTHWORKS called on the jewelry and mining industries to ensure that gold, diamonds, and other minerals are independently certified to meet human rights, environmental and social standards. Since 2004, the groups' No Dirty Gold campaign (www.nodirtygold.org) has pressured companies to commit to protecting human rights and environmental standards in the gold-mining industry.
Since the launch of the campaign, more than a dozen jewelers have made the commitment to work toward certified gold.
November 15, 2006
Reno -- Glamis Gold Ltd. has been caught seriously under-reporting mercury pollution from its Marigold Mine in Humboldt County. The company recently changed its reported mercury emissions for the past four years. Glamis' changes come after three conservation groups filed a notice warning the gold mining company that they would take legal action if the company did not fully disclose their toxic mercury air emissions as required by the Community Right to Know Act. The notice of intent to sue was filed by Great Basin Mine Watch, Idaho Conservation League and Earthworks against Glamis Gold Ltd. in August.
September 21, 2006
'Prove it': Groups challenge World Bank to demonstrate the development impacts of its gold mining investments
September 18, 2006
Singapore and Washington, DC: Today, civil society organizations released a briefing paper which details social and environmental problems at gold mines supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's private sector arm, and challenges the institution to prove that its mining projects are reducing poverty and improving people's lives. It calls on the IFC to report on development impacts on a project-by-project basis, and to invest in other areas if such projects are found not to be benefiting the poor.
September 13, 2006
Washington, D.C. -- Though well-intentioned, the hardrock abandoned mine legislation passed today by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will do little to solve the problems from old mines. Instead, it creates new loopholes in environmental laws for mining companies.
In the West, the biggest obstacle to tackling water pollution from old mines is the lack of funding. States, local governments, and local non-profit organizations simply don't have the resources to act as "Good Samaritans" to clean up the rivers and streams. Chairman's Inhofe's substitute to the bill originally introduced by Colorado Senators Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar, S. 1848, falls short of its goal to reduce water pollution.
No Dirty Gold campaign, SEACC
July 13, 2006
Juneau and Washington, DC: More than 1,500 consumers sent letters to the World Gold Council (WGC) and Idaho-based Coeur D'Alene Mines Corporation this week urging them to protect clean water and not use rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans as dumps for mine waste.
No Dirty Gold campaign
June 1, 2006
Washington, DC -- The No Dirty Gold campaign applauded the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) for adopting a resolution that calls upon the mining industry to produce gold in an ethical way that respects environmental, social, and human rights standards.
"We're pleased that this prestigious organization of metalsmiths and jewelry artists has lent its voice in support of an alternative to irresponsibly mined gold," said Radhika Sarin, international campaign coordinator with EARTHWORKS.
May 10, 2006
Washington, D.C. -- EARTHWORKS has been working for over a decade to bring attention to the serious issue of abandoned metal mines in the West. Communities, agricultural lands, and our fish and wildlife resources are at risk from the water pollution caused by these old mines. A real solution is needed to address this pervasive problem that affects many western watersheds.
April 13, 2006
Multinational companies that mine metals--such as gold, silver and copper--produce more toxic waste than any other industry in the country, according to the EPA's annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) released yesterday.
According to theTRI,1.1 billion pounds of toxics were released by the metal mining industry, also known as hardrock mining, in 2004--25% of all toxics released by U.S. industry overall. This includes 105 million pounds of arsenic, 369 million pounds of lead and 4 million pounds of mercury.