New EPA study out: The impacts to Alaska’s Bristol Bay bigger than before!

April 26, 2013 • Bonnie Gestring

The highly anticipated study is out.  The EPA has just released a new draft of its study on the impacts of the Pebble Mine to the Bristol Bay fishery – the largest wild salmon fishery on Earth. The kicker?

The new draft identifies even larger impacts to the salmon fishery from the proposed Pebble Mine than before.

At the maximum sized mine studied by the EPA (6.5 billion tons), the study finds that even under routine operation, the mine would likely result in:

  • the loss of up to 90 miles of streams from the mine footprint alone,
  • harm to up to 35 miles of streams from reduced stream flow, and the
  • loss of 4,800 acres of wetlands.

It Sucks To Be The Example

April 25, 2013 • Calvin Tillman

While boarding my flight at DFW to the Gasland 2 premiere in New York City, I can not help but reflect on the last eight years, and how it came to be that I would be a part of a film that would make such a huge impact around the world.  How is it that a small town boy from Oklahoma, a welder's son, would be invited to a movie premiere in the big apple?

I reflect further back to my roots of growing up in a small Oklahoma oil boom town, and the strange journey that my life has taken after graduating from the Oilton, OK High School.  My mind drifts back to my childhood and helping my father, who would work on the oil well pump jacks for extra money, which became some of my earliest memories.  How did I go from growing up in an oil field to becoming one of the oil and gas industry's largest critics?

Harvard study: Frac Focus puts fracking company convenience ahead of public’s right to know

April 24, 2013 • Alan Septoff

Thanks to two great stories by E&E’s Mike Soraghan, we know that the Harvard Law School has evaluated FracFocus.org and found government (and the public) shouldn’t rely upon it.

In short, Harvard says FracFocus is inadequate for at least three reasons:

  1. It is hard to determine when and if companies make disclosures.
  2. The data contained within FracFocus isn’t vetted – it consists of whatever the company reports.
  3. Secrecy claims made by companies aren’t vetted – FracFocus allows for unchallenged and extremely broad disclosure exemptions made at the company’s discretion.

CSSD illustrates what is wrong with fracking debate

April 16, 2013 • Jennifer Krill

The formation of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) illustrates much that’s wrong with today’s fracking debate.

By attempting to address the need for stronger standards, the effort validates claims that existing state oversight of oil and gas extraction is inadequate to protect impacted communities.

But CSSD also validates local communities’ mistrust of fracking supporters by excluding drilling-impacted communities from the CSSD formation and decision-making structure. The CSSD has publicly launched a plan to certify drilling, but has not publicly disclosed its verification process.

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Cyanide Beach? Movie, popcorn & learn with Earthworks

April 15, 2013 • Lauren Pagel

Join Earthworks and Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) for the D.C. premiere of Cyanide Beach, a short documentary film that exposes the speculators behind the proposed Rosemont copper mine - a poster child for reforming the 1872 Mining Law.

What does a small town in Sardinia, Italy have in common with the pitched battle over the proposed Rosemont copper mine in the scenic Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, Arizona?

I Call it an Oil Spill

April 4, 2013 • Hilary Lewis

A broken Exxon pipeline spilled more than 12,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil and water en route to the Gulf Coast on Friday, March 29. The spill ran through the neighborhoods of Mayflower, Arkansas, just north of Little Rock, and into nearby wetlands and rivers. 

We know pipelines break.

Who’s the fool?

April 1, 2013 • Nadia Steinzor

All morning, the news elicited gasps as it circulated around listservs: the safety and applications of fracking fluid will be tested by being used in a high school swimming pool. Just as my mouth was gaping wide, I remembered it’s April 1—but along with relief that this was a joke came the realization that it was possible to believe, just for a minute, that it might not be.

AZ Federal Court Saves Grand Canyon from Uranium Mining

April 1, 2013 • Aaron Mintzes

In part two of our two part series on Federal court decisions that favored the environment over the interests of hardrock mining, we now turn to the United States District Court of Arizona. Recall in the first installment of this series, a Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco held just two weeks ago that the Endangered Species Act trumps the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872. So, before miners use their suction dredge techniques to destroy the habitat of a protected species, they must first consult with the right government biologists. This week, we look at a case out of Arizona where corporate interests seek to mine the Grand Canyon. Really.