Last week, staff from Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society and Earthworks hand delivered 133,501 petitions to the U.S. Department of Justice, urging them to hold BP accountable to the fullest extent of the law for the 2010 gulf oil disaster.
This week, the Department of Justice reduced the "fullest extent of the law" by lowering the maximum potential fine by $3.4 billion, just one week ahead of their scheduled trial.
The 113th Congress, especially the US House of Representatives, will use their oversight responsibilities this term to conduct hearings on many issues related to hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Hydraulic fracturing involves the underground, high-pressure injection of millions of gallons of water, silicates and chemicals into ancient cracks in shale formations deep below the ground to release natural gas. The main question considered by these legislative committees boils down to who's the best regulator: cities, states or the federal government?
Earlier this week Senators McCain and Flake, along with Representatives Gosar and Kirkpatrick, introduced the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 (HR 687). The bill’s purpose is to facilitate a copper mine in federally protected lands east of Superior, Arizona. This bill, similar to the version in the 112th Congress, has been debated for years. The sticking point boils down to whether international mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton should dig for copper destroying areas sacred to the Apache Tribe and enjoyed by campers, climbers, and other recreationalists.
On February 14, Senators Wyden and Merkley re-introduced the Chetco River protection bill as part of their new Oregon Treasures Act.
“The lands addressed in these bills are among Oregon’s most pristine areas,” Senator Wyden said. “These areas provide habitats to countless species of plants and animals, economic benefits to surrounding communities and recreational opportunities for Oregonians and visitors throughout the nation. Senator Merkley and I will continue working with our colleagues to do all that we can to preserve these areas for generations to come.”
Dear President Obama,
I want to begin by thanking you on behalf of my generation and future generations for making it clear in your State of the Union speech that you are truly committed to tackling climate change.
I am too; that's why I risked my personal freedom today in front of the White House, alongside inspirational leaders from across the country.
While Earthworks applauds President Obama for declaring climate change a priority in his second term, we were disappointed by his open-armed embrace of fossil fuel extraction. We are dismayed by his unwillingness to recognize the conflict between the two goals.
As the shale gas and oil boom sweeps the nation, most states give into the frenzy and the fantasy of free benefits—and then leave communities bearing the tragic costs when health, air, and water problems inevitably occur. Today, it’s so very heartening to see New York look squarely at reality and make a different choice.
Today, President Obama announced his choice to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior. The President picked Sally Jewell, the current head of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). REI is a well-known retail outfitter based in Seattle, Washington. The President had a number of excellent options available to him and we salute the selection of Ms. Jewell. If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Jewell will face a number of critical decisions related to the competing interests of expanding oil and gas development on public lands while preserving those lands for future generations.