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New Year, new greenwashing

Issue 3.1 > January 10th, 2011

Happy New Year!

Range Resources in Wonderland

Tax-free damage:
Marcellus states should make polluters pay

“Love, Earth” Wal-Mart jewelry — not so Loving

Happy New Year!


Happy new year! I'd like to kick off this first EARTHnotes of 2011 by thanking everyone who helped support our work in 2010.

We had our most successful online fundraising year ever — including exceeding our goal of $9,000 in 9 days at the end of the year. Know that we are very grateful for the support of our members — and will use your contributions constructively and transparently.

Speaking of which, one of our New Year's resolutions is to communicate more effectively with you, our members — including asking you directly what it is that you most want to hear (and not hear) from us. More on this in coming weeks. Of course, you needn't wait for us to ask. You can always contact us by email, posting on our Facebook page, or joining the conversation on Twitter.

We expect 2011 to be an interesting year – complete with the challenges of expected attempts to hamper environmental protections, and the opportunities of permanent protection from mining for special places like Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Whatever arises, as with every year since our founding in 1988, we will continue our work to protect communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mining, digging and drilling.

Best wishes for a truly happy new year,

Alan Septoff, EARTHWORKS

Range Resources in Wonderland

Range Resources apparently lives in an alternate universe where saying something makes it true no matter the facts.

Late last month, Range wrote a letter in which they claimed the Environmental Protection Agency met with them and agreed that they were not responsible for contaminating drinking water.

In fact, EPA has issued an emergency order under the Safe Drinking Water Act holding the company directly accountable.

[Read more from EARTHWORKS' Texas organizer Sharon Wilson at EARTHblog]

Tax-free damage: Marcellus states should make polluters pay

Pennsylvania and New York are the only oil- and gas-producing states without a severance tax to make companies pay for the resources they sever from the land forever — and from future generations.

Although no substitute for adequate regulation and enforcement, resource extraction taxes can at least help offset the steep costs of gas development (like road damage, toxic clean up, and health problems).

Coupled with the immense budget crises both states face, it beggars the imagination that they wouldn't make this multinational, multibillion dollar industry pay a severance tax. And perhaps they may yet.

[Get more background at EARTHblog from EARTHWORKS' Marcellus organizer Nadia Steinzor]

“Love, Earth” Wal-Mart jewelry — not so Loving

A new investigation in the Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times has shed more light on Wal-Mart's “Love, Earth” jewelry line, and it's not looking so lovely.

In fact, the jewelry is looking rather like dirty gold: it comes at a great cost to jewelry factory workers and to the environment and communities around the mines.

This new report adds to the existing concerns over Wal-Mart's “Love, Earth” that began as soon as it launched in mid-2008.

[Learn more about EARTHWORKS concerns about “Love, Earth” from our International Coordinator, Scott Cardiff, at EARTHblog]