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Issue 10 > January 8, 2009

Happy New Year from EARTHWORKS

Dirty tar sands pipeline delayed

Bush Administration continues environmental degradation in final days

Western states getting wiser

Wal-Mart supports Bristol Bay salmon

Happy New Year from EARTHWORKS

Credit: ENS Newswire
Mount Tenabo. Credit: ENS Newswire

EARTHWORKS would like to wish all you e-advocates a happy new year! We're hoping a new year means a new dedication to tackling global warming, reducing our reliance on Dirty Energy, modernizing the outdated 1872 mining law, and restoring environmental protections stripped away in the past eight years. With your help, we look forward to working with President-elect Obama, Secretary of the Interior-designate Salazar, the new Congress, and others towards a cleaner and safer environment in 2009.

Dirty tar sands pipeline delayed

In response to lobbying by EARTHWORKS and several of our partners, the Department of State has extended the comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Transcanada's Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring in dirty tar sands fuel from Canada. The pipeline would run through Montana, North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas in order to bring dirty tar sands from Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, Texas. You can see a map of the proposed pipeline here.

The State Department has kept the comment period open for an additional 45 days after the completion of the draft EIS, thanks in part to the letters people like you sent. Without this extension there would have been effectively no comment period for this important project. You can learn more about dirty tar sands at No Dirty Energy and read about the State Department's decision to extend the comment period here.

Bush Administration continues environmental degradation in last days

Despite the protests of environmental groups and the citizens and elected officials of Kentucky and Tennessee, the Bush Administration has approved a change to the decades-old Stream Buffer Zone rule, which prevented dumping coal mine debris within 100 feet of any water source. The decision has prompted a lawsuit aimed at reversing the decision. The new rule exempts some of the most environmentally reckless methods of coal mining from protecting water sources in Appalachian states.

We hope that the incoming Obama Administration will review this, and other last minute rule changes made by the Bush Administration which benefit only polluting mining companies and offer no protections for the people whose water sources are about to be destroyed. Please check out our memo to the President-elect's transition regarding some of these rules and policies.

Western states are getting wiser

New common sense rules in the energy-rich states of New Mexico and Colorado are on the way, thanks to the actions of Governors Bill Richardson and Bill Ritter.

Gov. Ritter of Colorado has added environmentalists and public health advocates to the state's oil and gas commission, alongside industry officials. The new commission voted unanimously on many new rules including a no-drill buffer zone around streams, smell and dust controls near residential areas, and speedier reclamation projects in areas no longer drilled.

In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson has initiated an overhaul of outdated state oil and gas drilling laws by ordering the state Oil Conservation Division to create new rules regarding drilling in Santa Fe County and around the Galisteo Basin. Since then, both Santa Fe County and the state OCD have passed new drilling moratoriums, protecting important environmental areas and preventing serious degradations to public and community health.[Learn More]

Wal-Mart supports Bristol Bay salmon

EARTHWORKS successfully lobbied Wal-Mart this year to source its sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska – the world's largest wild sockeye salmon fishery. This highlights the economic value of the Bristol Bay Fishery, and provides added incentive to protect the Bristol Bay watershed from the Pebble Mine – a massive copper gold mine proposed at the heart of this tremendous ecosystem. We took this ad out to thank Wal-Mart. You can learn more here.