Over the last year or so we’ve worked with our friends at the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Clean Water Action, Penn Environment, Sierra Club’s PA and MD chapters and other groups to urge the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) to amend its Comprehensive Plan to include a genuine cumulative impact study of hydraulic fracturing. It appears now that they will. While this is good news, no one is yet celebrating because we have a lot of details to iron out related to what the study should contain. The SRBC last amended their Plan in 2008. Back then, few folks anticipated the unprecedented spread of natural gas wells throughout Pennsylvania. The Keystone state has a very long history of drilling for oil and digging for coal. Yet the new technologies developed for high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing all over the region have left regulators without the tools they need to protect public health and water quality. It is for this reason that neighboring states Maryland and New York have chosen a much more deliberate approach.
Earthworks is on the Credo Donation Ballot in 2012!
Each year, Credo asks its members to vote for their favorite charities, and they make donations based on every vote cast.
Credo is many things to many people. For some it is a credit card, others a mobile phone service, and for many a way to take action on important progressive issues throughout the year.
Yesterday I helped deliver a letter to the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, DC, about the lawsuit against the Central American country of El Salvador, by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. The letter was coordinated by the Institute for Policy Studies and signed by Friends of the Earth, Center for International Environmental Law, Public Citizen, Sierra Club Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute and Foundation Earth (along with Earthworks).
Pacific Rim is a Canadian mining company exploring for gold in the mineral rich mountains of El Salvador. It is no surprise to geologists that Pacific Rim believes they can strike it rich there. Billions of dollars rich.
Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters produce annual scorecards rating Members of Congress on their environmental voting records. The latest edition declared the 112th House of Representatives as the most anti-environmental House in the history of the nation. It all started with HR 1, a budget bill laced with a buffet of pro-pollution appropriations riders. Americans already know about the party of “No”. A Senate that set the record for most filibusters ever preceded this worst House.
Dear Mr. President –
Congratulations again on your reelection. After our discussion yesterday regarding mining, today I’ve got some wisdom for you on energy.
It is clear from your victory speech that you support more drilling in unconventional oil and gas deposits across the country like the Marcellus Shale that underlies significant portions of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
Mr. President, the country cannot afford to continue to ‘drill baby drill’. Here are three reasons why:
Dear Mr President -
Congratulations on your reelection.
Now that the fluff and the fury of the campaign is past, it’s time to buckle down and make the real decisions that are going to determine whether our country moves forward to a more sustainable future. Don’t despair though, Mr. President. We are here to help.
Sustainability -- making decisions today that leave us as at least as well off tomorrow -- is inextricably intertwined with how we use (or don’t use) our natural resources. And that means energy, and mining. I’ll cover mining today, and energy tomorrow.
A string of recent reports and papers have brought to the forefront the value of having publicly accessible, complete and accurate information about gas development.
First, there was the Duke University team that found apparent migration of substantial amounts of methane from gas wells to private water wells as far out as 1000m in the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international effort to provide a robust yet flexible standard for disclosing revenues paid to governments from oil, gas, and mining companies for the people’s valuable minerals. What’s unique about EITI is the process. Rather than some international institution or government ordaining regulations, EITI establishes a collaborative process involving representatives from industry, government, and regular folks who through consensus develop the right transparency rules to fit the society.
Follow The Money
The EITI road is a two way street. Industry publishes the taxes, royalties, and other payments they make to governments. And governments disclose the money they receive. This transparency is especially critical in developing regions of the world where riches under the ground have led to enormous conflict, corruption, and strife. For wealthier nations, the transparency standards create greater certainty and reassurance for investors and stronger accountability for elected officials. Right now, the United States is vetting nominees to serve on our own EITI working group.