Nearly every uranium operation studied in this report had environmental and/or labor violations. The following case studies -- taken from our publication, Nuclear Power's Other Tragedy: Communities Living with Uranium Mining -- highlight some of the most controversial uranium projects in the United States.
CASPER, WYO.— Under a settlement agreement approved today, the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission must adopt more rigorous policies for scrutinizing industry requests to keep the identities of fracking chemicals secret.
Under the agreement, the Oil & Gas Commission must require substantially greater factual support for oil and gas industry claims that the identities of fracking chemicals used in Wyoming qualify as trade secrets or confidential commercial information and are therefore exempt from state public disclosure requirements.
Many people have asked me: “Jhon, why did you choose the career you are in? Why do you do what you do?”
I have often wondered the same thing. Environmentalists are not famous. We don’t make a lot of money. And we often find ourselves on the losing end of long battles against powerful companies with endless amounts of resources. It is not rare to get a phone call or email informing us of some terrible accident that has just spilled millions of gallons of oil into a pristine ecosystem, or to hear that an indigenous community is being pushed out of their ancestral home because a mining consortium wants to extract minerals under their feet.
En Wyoming, el fracturamiento hidráulico ocurre por en todo el estado. El desarrollo de petróleo y gas natural es una de las principales fuentes de ingresos para el gobierno estatal y los gobiernos locales, y es una de las mayores fuentes de empleo en Wyoming. Aunque muchas personas no están dispuestas a hablar contra la industria, otros están haciendo lo que es correcto, y luchan para proteger su salud, sus comunidades, y el medio ambiente.
Durante nuestro viaje a Wyoming, tuvimos la oportunidad de reunirnos con Deb Thomas, una activista que vive en el Condado de Clark. En 1994, Deb y su esposo, Dick, compraron un terreno en este pedacito de cielo. Rodeado de picos nevados, Deb y su familia construyeron su hogar. Unos años después, Windsor Energy comenzó a perforar pozos a la vista del hogar de Deb. Una explosión en un pozo cerca de su casa en 2006 forzó la evacuación de varias casas, y Deb y su familia no pudieron regresar a su hogar por varios días. Con el fin de proteger a su familia, Deb comenzó a organizar, y logro obtener varias concesiones de Windsor y el estado para proteger las fuentes de agua.
In Wyoming, fracking is taking place all over the state. Oil and gas development is one of main sources of revenue for state and local governments, and one of the biggest sources of employment for communities. Although many are unwilling to speak up against the industry, others are doing what is right, and fighting to protect their health, their communities, and their environment.
During our trip to the area, we had a chance to meet with Deb Thomas, a current activist living in Clark County, Wyoming. In 1994, Deb and her husband, Dick, purchased land in this little piece of heaven. Surrounded by snowy peaks, Deb and her family made this area their home. A few years later, Windsor energy began development, and placed several well pads within view of Deb’s home. A blowout at a well near her home in 2006 forced the evacuation of several homes, and Deb and her family were not allowed to return to her home for several days. In order to protect her family, Deb began organizing, and managed to get several concessions from Windsor and the state to protect water sources.
In October, Energy Corporation of America's CEO, John Mork, made a huge mistake. In a press conference, he declared that he would like to "bring something like the Bakken" to areas surrounding Red Lodge, on the flanks of Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness, and then added salt to the wound and announced that it would "fundamentally change these areas the way it has changed other areas of the United States."
Mr. Mork is exactly right -- it would fundamentally change these areas. If his plans succeed, folks can expect to see changes in the scenic landscape, and in crime rates, road conditions, the affordability of rent and food, and perhaps most importantly, changes in the clean water and air currently enjoyed in the area.
Esta es la primera parte en una serie especial explorando el lado personal de los organizadores de Earthworks.
En noviembre del 2013, organizadores de Earthworks tuvieron la oportunidad de visitar Pavillion, Wyoming, el caso mas infame y más conocido por la contaminación de agua que existe en los Estados Unidos. En el año 2011, la EPA emitió un informe preliminar, el cual ataba directamente el fracturamiento hidráulico a la contaminación de las aguas subterráneas en el área. En su informe, la agencia determino que los productos químicos utilizados en el fracturamiento hidráulico alcanzaron los acuíferos a través de vías subterráneas. La agencia dijo: "contaminación del agua subterránea con componentes tales como los que se encuentran en Pavillion son típicamente inviable o demasiado caros para remediar o restaurar".
In November, 2013, Earthworks staff had a chance to visit one of the most well known cases of water contamination from fracking – Pavillion, WY. In 2011, the EPA issued a preliminary report, directly tying fracking to groundwater contamination in the area. In its report, the agency found that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing most likely reached groundwater through subsurface pathways. It went on to state: “Groundwater contamination with constituents such as those found at Pavillion is typically infeasible or too expensive to remediate or restore.”
Dear Governor Mead,
It was unfortunate you were unable to attend your meeting in Riverton on June 20th; we hope your condition has improved.
After reviewing the State’s plan for addressing the contamination impacts in our community, Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens (PACC) has the following initial comments and questions.
Pavillion, WY & Washington, D.C. -- Pavillion-area citizens, landowners and environmental groups today condemned Wyoming Governor Mead’s announcement that the state is assuming control from the EPA of the investigation into groundwater contamination by fracking-enabled oil and gas development near Pavillion, WY.
In the announcement, the Governor congratulated EPA and Encana – the company operating in the Pavillion area – for working with him to “chart a positive course” for the investigation.
Public interest organizations are seeking disclosure of chemicals that are injected underground
Cheyenne, Wyo. — Several public interest and government watchdog groups have appealed to Wyoming’s highest court, asking it to compel the state’s oil and gas permitting agency to disclose the chemicals that are injected underground during the oil and gas production process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Represented by the public interest environmental law firm Earthjustice, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and the Center for Effective Government filed the appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court today.
CASPER, WY – In an effort to help protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) went to court today to ask a judge to require the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) to disclose information about chemicals used during the controversial oil and gas development process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Under regulations approved in 2010, Wyoming became the first state in the nation to require well operators to disclose the identities of chemicals that are mixed with water and injected into the ground during fracking. But since the regulations were adopted, the Commission has approved some 50 secrecy requests, shielding identifying information about over 190 different chemicals, by Halliburton and other oil and gas service companies.
Joint release with Natural Resources Defense Council * Sierra Club
U.S. Geological Survey Verifies EPA Findings in Pavillion, WY
Pavillion, WY -- An independent analysis of new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water monitoring data verifies a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation into whether hydraulic fracturing contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming - an important groundwater source that provides water to thousands of Wyoming residents and farmers.
The preliminary results of EPA’s study was one of the first to document hydrocarbons consistent with fracking fluid chemicals in drinking water wells and monitoring wells located near natural gas wells. EPA’s preliminary results have since been attacked by the oil and gas industry, as they seek to continue their dangerous practices and protect their own interests over public health and safety. USGS’s study was conducted specifically to check EPA’s results.