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