Uranium-Impacted Communities Urge Washington to Consider the Human Impacts of Nuclear Power

May 7, 2010

Washington, D.C. -- As the Nation debates our energy future and the role of nuclear power in meeting our energy needs, uranium experts and people from communities impacted by uranium are arriving in Washington DC on May 10th to educate Members of Congress and the Obama Administration about the impact of uranium development on their communities.  Citizens from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming are telling our government that we cannot ignore the adverse effect that nuclear power as a fuel source has on public health, water supplies and the environment in areas where uranium is extracted. 

Currently, uranium mining is governed by a patchwork of federal and state laws, including partial regulation under the 1872 Mining Law, an archaic statute that considers mining to be the highest and best use of the federal land.  In these modern times, demands for nuclear fuel need to be balanced with other values from our federal lands, and reforms in our Nation’s mineral policy are long overdue.

Good news for New Mexico, drilling affected communities across the country

February 14, 2010 • Alan Septoff

Yesterday a bill that would allow citizens to stop polluters from polluting took a big step towards becoming law.

The New Mexico House Judiciary Committee passed Private Action to Enforce Environmental Statute - HOUSE BILL 259.

It goes to the House floor this afternoon; then it's on to the Senate.  If it passes the whole legislature, the Governor will certainly sign it into law.

More good news.  The New Mexico legislature also killed a ridiculous proposal by drilling industry champions.  Industry wanted to punish communities who regulated oil & gas drilling by prohibiting them from receiving taxes generated by drilling.  Only if a community let industry run wild would they get severance tax revenue.  Fortunately, that proposal died (was tabled) a well deserved death this week.

This is a big deal nationwide because New Mexico is a bellwether for the entire country.  Good drilling laws and regulations in New Mexico will influence other states wrestling with similar issues -- like New York and Pennsylvania.

Thanks to everyone that made calls and donated to help counter industry's initiatives.

Stay tuned for more updates. Things are looking good, but the fight is not over.

$140 billion giveaway? Senate Committee to Vote on Arizona Land Exchange

December 15, 2009

Washington,DC -- On Wednesday December 16th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to mark up S. 409, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009. The current version of the legislation, as well as an amended version of the legislation being presented as a substitute, would fleece the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars.

Drilling industry executive admits that oversupply, not regulations, responsible for decreased drilling

November 5, 2009 • Alan Septoff

The drilling industry claims, over and over, that rules that better protect landowners, public health and the environment reduce the industry's willingness to drill.

It's a canard, of course.

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EARTHWORKS Supports Abandoned Mine Initiative Introduced in the U.S. Senate

October 14, 2009

Washington D.C., October 14-- "EARTHWORKS welcomes the step forward for abandoned mine restoration in the U.S. Senate represented by the introduction of Good Samaritan abandoned mine legislation [S. 1777, the Good Samaritan Cleanup of Abandoned Hardrock Mines Act]. The attention on this pervasive source of water pollution from our legacy of abandoned mines is long overdue. Senator Mark Udall deserves praise for leading this effort to bring common sense to the management of abandoned mine clean up efforts, and allow communities, companies, non-profit organizations and individuals to help restore our polluted waters without liability under the Clean Water Act. We look forward to working with the Senate Environment and Public Works in the need to act on this proposal to protect our streams, fisheries and western communities from the pollution that comes from abandoned mines. Coupled with this important step forward to restore abandoned mines, we hope the Senate will consider comprehensive mining reform legislation to provide a revenue source for these restoration efforts.

Something stinks… the drilling industry’s attitude towards reasonable oversight.

October 8, 2009 • Alan Septoff

What do the recent Pennsylvania and Colorado examples of industry's attempt to suborn reasonable state drilling oversight demonstrate?

The need for federal regulation of drilling/fracking.

Efforts to Reform Natural Gas Development Gain Momentum

September 16, 2009

Washington, DC, Sep 16 - As the House Natural Resources Committee holds hearings on reforms to the nation's oil and gas program, more than 160 community and national organizations across the country signed on to a letter of support for passage of legislation that would protect drinking water from the growing impacts of hydraulic fracturing, a process used in most natural gas drilling projects.

"When it comes to the public's health, it is not unreasonable to require the oil and gas industry to disclose the toxic chemicals they use in our local communities," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). "The oil and gas industry has one of the only exceptions under the Safe Drinking Water Act that frees them from federal oversight and disclosure. With people getting sick from contaminated water sources potentially due to frac'ing, the public's safety is paramount." Rep. DeGette introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (or "FRAC Act") in the House with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the bill in the Senate.

Joint advocacy letter to Congress urging passage of the FRAC Act

September 16, 2009