Tell Walmart to stop the greenwash and drop ‘Love, Earth’ jewelry.

January 22, 2011 • Alan Septoff

We put out an action alert today, urging people to tell Walmart that its 'Love, Earth' is jewelry greenwash

Join EARTHWORKS, Great Basin Resource Watch, and the Western Shoshone Defense Project in calling upon Walmart to suspend its 'Love, Earth' brand of jewelry.

We've taken these steps only after a good piece of investigative journalism confirmed fears that EARTHWORKS and others have had for years:  without independent oversight -- ala FSC-certified wood -- a company's claim of responsibility simply can't be trusted.  Or to phrase it more gently (and famously): "trust but verify".

So, please write a letter to Walmart CEO Mike Duke, and let him know that 'Love, Earth" jewelry is loving of neither the earth nor its workers.

 

EPA could save America’s waters and fisheries by taking strong action on mining

January 21, 2011 • Jennifer Krill

Bristol Bay, Alaska. Click to see full size versions of this any many more on the National Geographic website.Last week the EPA stepped into a leadership position by revoking the water permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia, recognizing that mountaintop removal coal mining causes irreparable damage to America's waterways. This campaign came after years of struggle against the intractable coal industry, and great work from our allies the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Coal River Mountain Watch, Appalachian Voices, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and many others.

Saving the scenery: Activist trainings teach skills, forge connections

January 19, 2011 • Nadia Steinzor

Don t blame me for signing a lease, and you'll never stop the drilling, the man said. There s an old saying: you can t eat the scenery.

Most days, this would have been depressing to hear and just another reason why gas development is running amok. But on this day, the speaker was part of something very positive, a role play on how to talk about the downsides of drilling with reluctant friends and neighbors.

This topic was part of Get Organized: Skills to Protect your Community in the Marcellus Shale, a training held last week in Pittsburgh and Connellsville, PA. Dozens of local residents turned out to learn how to recruit volunteers, generate media coverage, coordinate with other activists, and track problems in communities.

The events were hosted by PennEnvironment (which is planning more such events in the coming months) and co-led by EARTHWORKS, Clean Water Action, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, University of Pittsburgh's Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, and Mountain Watershed Association.

Justice Department backs up EPA: Range Resources’ fantasy in wonderland ends

January 19, 2011 • Alan Septoff

Last week, Sharon Wilson blogged about Range Resources willful blindness to the EPA's charge that it had contaminated a Texas aquifer. Basically, despite EPA confronting the company with evidence of its pollution, Range had sent a letter to EPA thanking the agency for agreeing that Range wasn't responsible for pollution.

Yesterday, the other shoe dropped.  Sharon has the full story over at Bluedaze, including context and links.

In short, the Department of Justice backed up the EPA's emergency order against Range Resources by filing a complaint in federal district court.

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Government oversight at risk: new House Oversight Cmte chair to publish regulatory hit list

January 18, 2011 • Alan Septoff

Darrell Issa

Well, at least we can credit Darrell Issa with the courage of his convictions.

Our friends at OMB Watch brought to our attention that Darrell Issa, the new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has

"promised to publicly release responses he receives from 150 companies, trade groups and think tanks that he asked to compile wish lists of regulations they would like rolled back." -- from The Hill, "Oversight head to release business requests for regulation rollbacks", 1/10/2011

We'll be watching this list closely. 

Communities and the environment rely upon federal oversight, present and future, to force resource extraction companies to account for the public good (to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon regulatory effectiveness) when operating.  Without government oversight, these companies will and do simply ignore what's in the public interest.  And, sometimes, even with it.

House Democrats support disclosure on public lands

January 18, 2011 • Lauren Pagel

Yesterday, 46 Democrats from the House of Representatives sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that supports Interior s move towards public disclosure of fracturing chemicals for oil and gas operations on public lands. This letter stands in contrast to the 32 House members that signed a letter urging Interior to put off regulations until after the EPA hydraulic fracturing study has been completed.

As a first step in regulating what happens with oil and gas production on our public lands lands that are owned by you and me disclosure is a no-brainer, from my perspective. Regardless of what the findings of the EPA study might be, citizens deserve to know what chemicals are being by companies operating on lands that are part of our national heritage. 

I hope the Interior Department stays true to its mission to protect public lands and the waters contained within them and moves forward with strong disclosure provisions. In addition to disclosure of chemicals involved in hydraulic fracturing, the Interior Department should lead the way by instituting the most stringent regulations for the entire lifecycle of oil and gas production. DoI should require that companies operating on public lands adhere to best practices to protect air, land and water resources. 

West Virginia considers shale gas drilling regulation

January 14, 2011 • Alan Septoff

From our friends at the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Association:

Interim Committee Advances Marcellus Shale Legislation

Earlier this week, Subcommittee A of the Joint Judiciary Committee advanced a bill establishing a new regulatory program for gas wells utilizing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  Although the committee advanced the bill without a recommendation for passage by the full legislature, this keeps the bill alive. (You can read more here, here and here.) It also means the legislature will have two comprehensive bills to consider. The DEP has finalized its legislation and acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed off on the package (although it will not be a governor's bill and Tomblin did not mention it in the State of the State address).

Range Resources tries to wish its pollution away

January 6, 2011 • Sharon Wilson

Range Resources lives in an alternate universe where saying something makes it true no matter the facts. Range wrote a letter where they claim the EPA met with them and agreed that they were not responsible for the garden hose turned flamethrower in Parker County. Okay, I ll play: if saying something makes it true, then I m a ballerina.

The EPA was clear when they gave Texans an early Christmas present by issuing an emergency order to protect families in southern Parker County, Texas, west of Fort Worth in the Barnett Shale gas field. The EPA would not take this action lightly, especially in Texas. Their investigation was thorough and included isotopic fingerprinting and a detailed timeline where the finger points directly at Range Resources.

After four months of investigating, the Texas Railroad Commission couldn t say how the gas got in the well water. It took the EPA two months of investigating to determine Range was responsible. But Gene Powell an industry apologist who writes the Powell Barnett Newsletter that even industry calls pro-industry did a quickie investigation and figured it all out in just five days!