Halliburton lies of omission re Gulf Spill uncovered. Should we be trusting these guys on fracking?

October 29, 2010 • Gwen Lachelt

The presidential commission investigating the BP disaster says Halliburton knew -- before the explosion -- that its drilling cement was faulty. 

But they went said nothing -- raising grave doubts about whether the company is being honest about the danger of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells.<--break->

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

Of course, Halliburton assured Congress and the EPA that fracking is safe, but that has not been the experience of people who live near natural gas wells in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states.

Hunger strikers challenge Costa Rica mine decree

October 26, 2010 • Scott Cardiff

Defenders of the communities in Costa Rica threatened by Infinito Gold's Crucitas mine have been on a hunger strike for over two weeks to urge the government to revoke the mine's special decree.

Gas leasing: if you’re going to do it, do it right

October 19, 2010 • Nadia Steinzor

When the landman comes knocking, it s tempting to open the door wide. The promises made can be beguiling: fast cash, payments for years to come, and hardly any change on your property. Just sign up now

But harsh reality can set in fast. Maybe it s a road built right behind the house or through a crop field. Or barrels of toxic chemicals stored next to a drinking well. Perhaps the wastewater pond wasn t fenced, so thirsty livestock got sick. And when the royalty check arrives, it s far smaller than expected.

Across the Marcellus Shale region and beyond, there s abundant evidence that a rush to drill without strong regulations causes environmental and health problems. Less well-known is how the rush to lease in the absence of information, legal advice, and safeguards is harming many landowners, as well as their neighbors and communities. 

For more than a decade, OGAP has worked to inform property owners about their rights and what to consider before signing a lease most recently at landowner workshops in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“Columbus” Day honored: EARTHWORKS activists support the Western Shoshone

October 12, 2010 • Alan Septoff

The Western Shoshone have lived in Nevada's Crescent Valley for thousands of years.

And they've regarded the Crescent Valley s Mt. Tenabo, and its springs, as sacred -- a place of worship -- for all that time.

And yet the U.S. government continues to approve mining operations that would cause great harm to this important place.

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BLM outreach to mining claim holders on abandoned mines

October 7, 2010 • Lauren Pagel

Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began an outreach program to individuals or companies that have mining claims on public lands under the 1872 Mining Law. The goal of the outreach is to help the Bureau mitigate abandoned mine hazards.

Outreach to claimants is a laudable goal, and something the BLM should do more of. Unfortunately, regardless of how much outreach the BLM conducts, it will not change the fact that because of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, there isn't enough money available to truly deal with our abandoned mine problem.

There are over a half a million abandoned mines in this country that could cost as much as $50 billion to clean up. Many of these abandoned mines pose serious public safety hazards, while others pollute streams and rivers. Yet, most years the BLM, Forest Service and National Park service spend less than $25 million on abandoned mine reclamation. EARTHWORKS helped to get some money in the 2009 stimulus bill for abandoned mine remediation, but nowhere near the $50 billion estimate.

Because the 1872 Mining Law allows mining companies to take valuable minerals like gold, copper and uranium from public lands for free, with no royalty or fee paid to the taxpayer, the abandoned mines that littler our public lands continue to pose threats to people and the environment.

Toxic sludge flood in Hungary is a wake-up call

October 7, 2010 • Scott Cardiff

Around a million tons of toxic alumina refinery waste -- red sludge -- broke through a dam this week in Hungary and flooded a large area. Several people died in the flood, and hundreds were injured by the flood and the caustic waste. And the impacts have just begun.

Common sense verified: independent panel verifies EPA’s contention that mountaintop removal coal mining harms streams

October 1, 2010 • Alan Septoff

In yesterday's Charleston (WV) Gazette:

An independent science advisory team has issued a draft report that supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's conclusion that mountaintop removal is causing serious damage to Appalachian streams.

In a 75-page report, a 15-member panel of scientists from around the country agreed with EPA's conclusion that valley fills are increasing levels of electrical conductivity downstream from mining operations and threatening stream life.