An update from the field on the Conga Mine

January 30, 2014 • Ross Geredien

I spent nearly a week in Peru’s Cajamarca region in spring of 2013 investigating the controversy around the proposed Conga Mine, which sits atop a plateau nearly 4,000 meters above sea level north of the city of Cajamarca, Perú. The plateau is a massive dome of uplifted metamorphic and sedimentary rock rich valuable minerals like gold, copper and molybdenum.  Lower in elevation than other parts of the Peruvian Andes, however, the area lacks snow and ice.  The hydrology instead is rain-fed, nourishing high-altitude grasslands called jalgas, as well as alpine lakes and wetlands, or bofedales.  These lakes and wetlands are the headwaters of all the streams, rivers, and drinking water for the surrounding areas, including most of Cajamarca’s 250,000 residents.

DC Officials take a stand against fracking the GW Forest

January 30, 2014 • Dusty Horwitt

More local government officials in Washington, DC have taken a stand against horizontal drilling and fracking for shale gas in the George Washington National Forest.  Commissioners of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, who represent the neighborhood that includes the White House, voted on December 18 to pass a resolution opposing the drilling practice in the forest.  The commissioners joined three DC-area water providers, DC Water, Fairfax Water and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Washington Aqueduct, that have also opposed horizontal drilling and fracking in the forest.  Earthworks provided testimony in support of the commission’s resolution.

Selling Opposition to a Gold Mine to Santa Fe, New Mexico

January 29, 2014 • Marc Choyt

When I learned last July of a proposed gold mine just south of my home in Santa Fe, I brought a group together and started a campaign. Earthworks offered support early; and last week, we published a study, Public Risk, Private Reward: an analysis of the Ortiz Gold Mine proposal. This report was part of a broader strategy—it followed my editorial in our local paper in September and the Stop Santa Fe Gold Facebook page. We needed to frame how public risk outweighs economic benefit.

I also made sure people knew I am a real Santa Fe jeweler and business man, a winner of sustainability awards. The selling of the opposition to a gold mine had to be rational, focused mainly on human impact, and tied to the bottom line. In a drought stricken region, the mine may consume the annual water supply of up to 7,000 homes, drain acid into the groundwater for generations and [Ortiz_map] create a massive tailing heap.

An unfortunate lesson in insensitivity

January 29, 2014 • Jennifer Krill

Last weekend, we carelessly posted an image on Twitter that promoted classism and transphobia. It was wrong for us to have posted this image, and we apologize to our community.

We want to say a little bit of background about how this happened, because we think that there is little point in learning a lesson if you can't articulate the lesson you learned.

We are writing this post for public consumption, because the initial offensive image was posted publicly.

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Final EPA study on Pebble Mine is out! What’s next?

January 29, 2014 • Bonnie Gestring

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final study on the impacts of large-scale mining, including the proposed Pebble Mine, on Alaska’s Bristol Bay.  

This is big news!  Alaska’s Bristol Bay supports the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, and the fate of this fishery now rests in the hands of the EPA and Obama Administration.

The science is complete, and it’s definitive. There’s simply no way to avoid severe impacts.  Even under routine operation,

State of the Union: On clean energy & climate change, President Obama is his own worst enemy

January 28, 2014 • Jennifer Krill

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, he must explain why his administration’s policies on clean energy, climate and environmental goals have not lived up to his own standards. The President declares it is his policy to:

“Build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment.”

But his actions speak otherwise. In doing so, he is ignoring his own administration’s best available science on energy and the environment.

Retailers for Responsible Mining: Toby Pomeroy

January 28, 2014 • Shreema Mehta

Earthworks' No Dirty Gold campaign is encouraged by growing consumer awareness of the importance of responsibly mined gold. We also appreciate the many retailers who are steadily building a market for ethical jewelry.

We continue our series interviewing NDG retailers, with Toby Pomeroy, who started jewelry making in college and built a business committed to ethical sourcing.

Congress Funds a Government Complete with Mining Policy Riders

January 24, 2014 • Aaron Mintzes

If you really want to know the priorities our elected officials have, look how they spend money. Last week, Congress passed the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill to fund the Federal Government through September 30- the end of the fiscal year. Now, appropriators can fund the programs and agencies that help protect our communities and precious resources. A welcome improvement I think, since not too long ago, Congress shutdown the government and raised the specter of a debt default.