Durango, Colorado, October 17 - Today EARTHWORKS' Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) announced its strong support for H. R. 7231, a bill to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act. The legislation was recently introduced by Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), Congressman John Salazar (D-CO), and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). The Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. H.R. 7231 repeals this exemption while allowing flexibility and ensuring a federal minimum standard to prohibit endangerment of underground sources of drinking water.
Today, the House Natural Resources Committee took an important step to protect the Grand Canyon, the crown jewel of our National Park system. Over the past five years, the threat of uranium development outside its borders has increased more than a hundredfold. In response, the Committee passed an emergency resolution to temporarily withdraw over 1 million acres adjacent to the Park from new mining claim staking. We applaud the champion of this initiative, Congressman Grijalva, for his leadership on this issue.
Washington, D.C., 1/25: Yesterday, the ranking member of the Senate and Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Peter Domenici (R-NM), laid out an agenda for "reform" of the antiquated 1872 Mining Law that would not adequately protect taxpayers, communities and the environment from the potentially destructive impacts of hardrock mining.
October 23, Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee today approved a major rewrite of the badly outdated 1872 Mining Law, setting the stage for a House floor vote later this year. The House is expected to pass the reform bill, H.R. 2262.
A dinosaur among the nation's public lands statutes, the 19th century mining law is one of the most destructive still on the books. It applies to hundreds of millions of acres of federal public lands. Although it has left a legacy of poisoned streams and abandoned mines across the West, HR 2262 would be the Mining Law's first substantial overhaul in 135 years. The 1872 Mining Law, originally intended to spur the nation's westward expansion, makes mining the "highest and best use" of public lands, allows the sale of claimed lands for $5 an acre, imposes zero federal royalties, and contains no environmental standards.
Washington DC: A coalition of anti-poverty and environmental organizations today called on the private sector arm of the World Bank to re-write and improve its new environmental and safety guidelines for large-scale mining projects. The coalition, comprised of WWF, Oxfam, EARTHWORKS, the Bank Information Center and the Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2) released a 20-page analysis that found serious shortcomings in the draft guidelines.
The guidelines lack measurable standards for critical issues, such as preventing water contamination - a major concern with large scale mining - and disposal of toxic wastes. The new rules also do not ensure that mines will be closed down properly to avoid long-term pollution problems.