10 Years is Long Enough: How Colorado is Taking Steps to Clean Up Abandoned Mines

August 16, 2019 • Pete Dronkers
Although uranium mining in Colorado largely went dormant decades ago, about 20 actively permitted mines – mostly in western Colorado on federal lands – still have not been cleaned up and reclaimed. But last month, the Colorado Court of Appeals… More »

Victory! Colorado Joins States Opposed to Perpetually Polluting Mines

June 3, 2019 • Pete Dronkers
For the last two years, Earthworks and our partners throughout Colorado have worked closely with legislators, regulatory agencies, local elected officials and community groups to update to the state’s mining law to protect communities from mines that pollute in perpetuity,… More »

California Makes Major Polluter Pay for Contribution to Climate Change

September 5, 2018 • Pete Dronkers
Leann Leiter co-authored this blog with Pete Dronkers. California sets an important precedent by forcing a major polluter to pay for some of the damage it caused after the infamous Aliso Canyon gas storage leak. Other states whose oil and gas… More »

BLM Must Begin the Process of Tapering Fossil Fuel Development

November 8, 2016 • Pete Dronkers

The North Fork Valley and its surroundings — managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Uncompahgre Field Office — is an exceptionally beautiful place. Located on the western slope of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the valley is home to the largest concentration of organic farms in Colorado, and is renowned for its outdoor reaction. Many in the region have worked hard to transition the local economy from coal mining to more sustainable industries such as agriculture, tourism, recreation, and the arts. Now this cleaner economy is under threat.

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Joining with the Apache to defend their land from mining

October 11, 2016 • Pete Dronkers

A few weeks ago, both Earthworks and the San Carlos Apache Tribe filed lawsuits challenging the US Forest Service’s choice to do an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the impacts of work needed to better characterize the publicly-owned lands on which Resolution Copper wants to dump 1.5 billion tons (no, that is not a typo – billions with a B) of mine waste over a half dozen square miles near the San Carlos Apache’s reservation, east of Phoenix, Arizona. The Forest Service chose an EA instead of a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which considers the option of not building the dump.

Yet another study confirms methane pollution

August 24, 2016 • Pete Dronkers

Last week, NASA released a follow-up study on its 2014 report that exposed a huge methane hotspot looming over the Four Corners. In the original report, NASA did not know what was causing this highly unusual density of methane pollution. The agency’s latest report drilled deeper to find the source of the pollution: the oil and gas industry.

Environmental Activism in Russia: Mixing Work and Play in Southern Siberia

June 7, 2016 • Pete Dronkers

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.

Forest Service begins Oak Flat environmental review

May 6, 2016 • Pete Dronkers

The passage of the Oak Flat Land Exchange -- that terrible piece of legislation buried within the depths of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act -- was the last major piece of news regarding the proposed Resolution Copper Mine near Superior, Arizona.  This is the mine that would destroy the publicly owned Oak Flat -- the area sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and the place used for decades by rock climbers, campers and hikers.