Mining is risky business. Some major international mining companies have billions of dollars of investment at stake in their project portfolios. Last week, Ernst & Young (E&Y) released their annual Business Risks Facing Mining and Metals report. Topping this year’s list are concepts laden with financial jargon like cash optimization and capital access. Related listed challenges involve techniques for penny pinching or turning some money in to more money. Yet, E&Y’s report also reveals some of the greatest risks mining companies and their investors face having nothing to do with markets, commodity prices, or the boom and bust cycle. In fact, in any economy, these major risks are completely avoidable.
Last month, the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) published its first report. The good news is that the numbers match up well. A multi-stakeholder group (MSG) of industry, government, and civil society representatives decides which revenue streams the report will include. The Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) unilaterally disclosed all 2013 payments received from companies on public lands and waters. Unfortunately, only a disappointing 12% of eligible companies agreed to have their Internal Revenue Service (IRS) corporate income tax payments reconciled.
The Extraction Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is catching on. When President Obama announced the United States would join EITI in September of 2011, many hoped the United States would inspire more nations to join. Last week, the President of France, Francois Hollande, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron said they want in just as representatives from nearly 100 nations meet in Sydney over the weekend to discuss the new EITI standard.
Coalition asks Inspector General to determine whether political meddling led agency to drop probe of gas drilling company
WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 80 organizations from 12 states and a New York State Senator today called on the inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate a decision to drop legal action against a drilling company despite evidence that it had polluted residents’ well water near Fort Worth, Texas.
The organizations sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., asking him to broaden an ongoing investigation of a case that made national news last year when the EPA dropped an enforcement action against Range Resources Ltd. after earlier invoking rare emergency authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act. New York State Senator Tony Avella is sending a similar letter later today. Elkins began investigating the case after six U.S. senators asked him last June to determine whether EPA had followed proper procedures.
PA DEP’s failure to explain their water testing policies and use of suite codes continues to leave concerned public demanding answers
Harrisburg, PA – Mystery, questions and concern continue to surround Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) water testing and reporting policies related to suspected impacts from Marcellus Shale natural gas operations. These issues were originally revealed in the Kiskadden vs. PADEP deposition of Taru Upadhyay, technical director of DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories—and described widely in subsequent news stories regarding the use of suite codes, which result in only partial test results being sent to homeowners.
“Where gas development goes, problems follow. Yet the DEP seems more interested in protecting its own information than protecting the environment," says Nadia Steinzor, Eastern Program Coordinator, Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project. "DEP should stop playing hide and seek and start giving the public better water and air tests, complete results, and honest answers."
Rejection of Expert Witnesses Part Of National Trend To Avoid Truth About Oil & Gas Development Impacts
Joint release: Earthworks * New Mexico Environmental Law Center
SANTA FE, N.M.— Today, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission concluded a public hearing on proposed amendments to the oil and gas waste pit regulation (the Pit Rule) without allowing conservation groups to testify. Expert technical witnesses offered by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center (NMELC) were not permitted to comment on the potential effects that burying toxic waste products from oil and gas drilling in the ground would have on the state's groundwater and public health.
“Irony aside, blocking testimony on a public health issue at a public hearing is part of an unfortunate trend across the country to avoid emerging science concerning the impacts of oil and gas development,” said Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project Director, Bruce Baizel. “In New Mexico, Colorado, and New York, industry and its advocates have recently attempted to obstruct input into public rulemakings regarding the environmental and health impacts of oil and gas development. You have to ask yourself, what are they afraid of? We think the answer is: the truth.”
Last month the Government Accountability Office issued a new report Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key environmental and public health requirements.
Regarding obstacles to enforcement, GAO’s findings – which they drew from interviews with pertinent federal and state agencies – corroborate several of Earthworks’ findings in our recent report, Breaking All the Rules: The crisis in oil & gas regulatory enforcement. Although the GAO report is more federally focused, the findings highlight themes common across state and federal regulatory agencies. Including: