This week, our friends with Clean Water Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Powder River Basin Resource Council, and New Mexico Environmental Law Center petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform a wholesale rewrite of their rules protecting underground sources of drinking water (USDW).
The hardrock mining (think gold, copper, uranium, rare earths) trade lobby has made a career of trying to convince Congress that the the federal mine permitting process is so burdensome as to chase away those who would otherwise invest in mineral development in the United States. When asked for proof of this “problem” they point to the interminable permitting process for new mines: they claim it can take the better part of a decade to permit a mine.
Norway is a country known for both its affluence and progressive policies. But despite its sterling reputation, its government makes a highly destructive allowance to the mining industry: it permits mining operations to allow the direct dumping of toxic mine waste into the country’s famous fjords.
Every day, an average adult takes about 20,000 breaths to get the oxygen needed for survival. Unfortunately, for the growing number of people living near oil and gas development, that many breaths also provides ample opportunities to take in health-harming pollution.
The shale boom of the last several years has intensified drilling in many places and introduced it in others, adding onto previous drilling and bringing the number of active oil and gas wells nationwide to 1.1 million in 2014.
No wonder oil and gas field residents keep asking basic questions: “What’s in my air?” and "Why is it making me sick?” Yet both the regulators who oversee the oil and gas industry and the policymakers who determine its course respond only with partial, ambiguous answers. They don’t regularly monitor the air directly around well sites and facilities, accurately track the emissions generated, or use the right health standards to judge risks to residents.