Yesterday a bill that would allow citizens to stop polluters from polluting took a big step towards becoming law.
The New Mexico House Judiciary Committee passed Private Action to Enforce Environmental Statute - HOUSE BILL 259.
It goes to the House floor this afternoon; then it's on to the Senate. If it passes the whole legislature, the Governor will certainly sign it into law.
More good news. The New Mexico legislature also killed a ridiculous proposal by drilling industry champions. Industry wanted to punish communities who regulated oil & gas drilling by prohibiting them from receiving taxes generated by drilling. Only if a community let industry run wild would they get severance tax revenue. Fortunately, that proposal died (was tabled) a well deserved death this week.
This is a big deal nationwide because New Mexico is a bellwether for the entire country. Good drilling laws and regulations in New Mexico will influence other states wrestling with similar issues -- like New York and Pennsylvania.
Thanks to everyone that made calls and donated to help counter industry's initiatives.
Stay tuned for more updates. Things are looking good, but the fight is not over.
When consumers buy jewelry, they don't want their purchase to underwrite environmental destruction; they don't want to support throwing people out of their homes; they don't want their wedding rings to cause the pollution of drinking water.
But consumers have little reliable assurance about the origins of their jewelry purchases.
Although there have been several steps in the right direction in the six years since the No Dirty Gold campaign was launched.
Today we released Tarnished Gold? Assessing the jewelry industry's progress on the ethical sourcing of metals. It evaluates the efforts made by jewelers towards responsible sourcing of precious metals. It is based on responses to a survey sent to the jewelers that had signed on to No Dirty Gold's Golden Rules of Responsible Mining by mid-February 2009, and ot other large jewelry retailers who sold jewelry worth more than $100 million.
Our No Dirty Gold campaign has released a new report on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) of gold and precious metals, The Quest for Responsible Small-scale Gold Mining. The report compares standards of initiatives aiming for responsibility in ASM of precious metals.
Small-scale mines can have serious community and environmental impacts. But if projects adopt mining standards that are responsible and most precautionary, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) could be a source of more responsibly mined gold. Adopting strong principles and standards for responsible ASM practices may allow miners to minimize harmful impacts and allow ASM to provide a net benefit to communities.
The following is the summary from the report:
On Tuesday the Onondaga county legislature voted to prohibit hydrofracking on county property until more is known about its effects on health and the environment. The legislature also passed on non-binding resolution calling on law makers to pass laws ensuring public protection from the environmental and health risks associated with fracking.
Onondaga county's actions are a promising step for communities dealing with fracking. Current regulations are inadequate, which is why we need to support the FRAC act and stronger state regulations governing the drilliing process.
For More Information:
- As NY mulls hydrofracking regulations, gas companies lease land in CNY watersheds, by Delen Goldberg in the Post-Standard. 12/28/09
- Onondaga County Legislature bans hydrofracking on county property, by Tim Knauss in the Post-Standard. 2/2/10.
- EARTHWORKS hydraulic fracturing page
Richard Bass, along with his partner William H. Hunt, are currently trying to permit the largest coal strip-mine in Alaska s history, the Chuitna Coal Project, along the Chuitna River. The mine would be built directly on top of 11 miles of prime salmon fisheries feeding the Cook Inlet.
Mr. Bass is the owner of the world famous Snowbird ski resort in Utah. Ironically, his proposed mine threatens the very resort in which he takes so much pride. The Chuitna mine would release nearly 54 million pounds of greenhouse gases per year, piling on to man-made global warming -- the boogeyman of ski resorts and all winter sports. In addition, the mine would destroy one of Alaska s most productive salmon fisheries and poses a direct threat to area wildlife.
For More Information:
Amnesty International has released a report urging the Papua New Guinean Government to investigate forced evictions and police violence associated with the Porgera gold mine in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Amnesty's report, Undermining Rights: Forced evictions and police brutality around the Porgera gold mine, Papua New Guinea, details the raids on villages that occurred between April- July of 2009, in which at least 130 buildings were burned down and families were forced out of their homes.
TXSharon over at Bluedaze just posted a series of aerial photos showing how one family, the Ruggieros, has been impacted by irresponsible gas drilling.
Since the day Aruba Petroleum invaded the Ruggieros, they have been subjected to overpowering diesel fumes, destruction of their property, a drilling waste spill, noise, another drilling waste spill, fugitive emission fumes, endless lies and much more.
Currently, the emissions from Aruba's wells are constantly pumping horrible smelling gas into the air. Christine suffers from headaches and blurry vision. Nine year-old Reilly sometimes feels as if she can't inhale fully. Tim has headaches, numbness in his extremities and sometimes looses his balance.
Yesterday, New Mexico state legislator Thomas Taylor -- acting on behalf of the oil & gas drilling industry -- introduced a bill that would rescind the hard-won regulations protecting water and public health from toxic oil and gas waste pits.
The 2008 rules require lining all oil & gas waste pits. They also prohibit waste pits entirely when groundwater is within 50 feet of the surface.
"Closed-loop" or "pitless" systems actually save drillers money -- on the order of 3% per well -- according to testimony before the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission.
Hopefully the New Mexico legislature hasn't forgotten its responsibility to its citizens and their health, or the drilling industry's history of contaminated groundwater.
If not, this bill will die and quick and well-deserved death.
For more information: