Thanks to a bill passed this June by the state legislature, Pennsylvania now has the dubious distinction of being the only state in the nation to abandon oil and gas regulations after they’ve been fully developed and publicly reviewed. While other states have modernized oil and gas oversight in the wake of the shale boom, no other state has exempted a major part of the oil and gas industry in the process.
This week, the House Natural Resources Committee held yet another hearing about the controversial Pebble Mine proposed at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Although the Republican-led hearing was ostensibly about the “appropriate role of NEPA in the permitting process,” it was really just another attempt by the Canadian-based mining company to present itself as a victim in what it considers an unfair process by EPA to place restrictions on waste disposal from the proposed mine.
Pollution from a zinc mine waste dump in the mining town of Ridder, Kazakhstan, spilled into the Ulba and Filippovka rivers, which flows near the Kazakhstan-Russian border, and headed toward the Siberian city of Omsk. Pictures of the polluted river look like freshwater was replaced by wet concrete.
Today, Clean Air Task Force and Earthworks unveiled a suite of tools designed to inform and mobilize Americans about the health risks from toxic air pollution from the oil and gas industry. For the first time, Americans across the country—from Washington County, PA, to Weld County, CO to Kern County, CA—can access striking new community-level data on major health risks posed by oil and gas operations.
This comes in the form of very bad bills that would derail much needed upgrades to oil and gas regulations, allow large industries to opt out of energy efficiency requirements, and delay air emission reductions. Legislators even want to give themselves more power to block health, safety, and environmental regulations.
Later this week, the animated film Finding Dory will be in theaters, and I am excited to see it. But far less exciting are the threats that industrial mining poses to the real-life Dory's habitat.
The lovable Dory is a blue tang - a royal blue tropical fish that lives in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where mining companies are dumping mine waste.
Last week, watchdog group NC WARN accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of vastly underreporting the amount of methane leaking from gas wells across the US. Methane, a greenhouse gas 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the short term, is the primary component of natural gas.
In late April, Pacific Environment invited me to attend a conference in Novosibirsk dealing with the impacts of placer (stream bed) gold mining in various regions throughout Siberia. The conference -- consisting of about 20 civic leaders and scientists from throughout Russia -- intended to share new information and build a more unified national strategy to minimize the incredible damage being done by this industry. I was invited to share my experience with mining-related campaigns, coalitions and networks in the United States, and to investigate ways that some of these experiences might help the Russians as they build their power and influence to take their campaigns to the next level.