Senator Dale Bumpers (D-Arkansas) passed away on January 1, 2016. He served as Governor of Arkansas from 1971-1975 and as Arkansas Senator from 1975-1998. We at Earthworks will miss him greatly because of his tireless work to protect Americans from the excesses of the hardrock mining industry encouraged by the antiquated 1872 Mining Law.
In 1989, Senator Bumpers introduced the first Senate bill to reform the Mining Law. He was a mining reform champion from then until he retired from the Senate in 1999.
Natural gas is not cleaner than coal.
But thanks to boatloads of advertising and campaign contributions, oil and gas lobbyists has convinced many politicians, including President Obama, that replacing coal with natural gas is a viable way to stave off catastrophic climate change.
“If the dam had collapsed at night, everyone would have died”.
These chilling words came from Duarte Junior, a mayor of a city downstream from Samarco mine waste dam that failed last month in Minas Gerais, a state in southwestern Brazil.
The newly-minted Paris climate agreement calls for limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, and leaves in the preamble the more aspirational goal shared by many countries of 1.5°C. It’s clear to observers around the world that meeting this goal is going to require steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and leaving most of the world’s remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
And that includes natural gas, particularly fracked natural gas.
Talk about a bitter pill – in exchange for a 5-year extension on the tax credit for renewable energy, Congress has PERMANENTLY lifted the forty-year old crude oil export ban.
This deal lines the pockets of the oil industry at the expense of the global climate. Crude oil from shale regions like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas can now be shipped to overseas markets; it’s not even likely to be a good deal for consumers.
One avenue to encourage a more rapid transition from dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy economy is through socially responsible investment, or in this case, disinvestment. If we want fossil fuels to stop dominating the global economy and our political decision makers, then we need to stop buying into them.
So it was great news back in September that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced they would divest from fossil fuels.
“Can’t anybody here play this game?” baseball manager Casey Stengel said about his 1962 New York Mets, renowned as the worst team of all time.
Stengel’s famous line comes to mind with the recent publication of a report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, showing that the federal Bureau of Land Management, the leading regulator of oil and gas drilling on federal land, wasn’t even inspecting more than 2,100 of 3,702 wells drilled between fiscal years 2009 and 2012 that the bureau, itself, had designated as high risks for water pollution or other environmental harm.