The retail giant Zales and a number of other jewelry companies have added to the growing opposition to mining in the Bristol Bay watershed and the planned Pebble mine. They have signed the Bristol Bay Protection Pledge and so stated their opposition to the copper-gold mine that would threaten one of the best salmon fisheries in the world. The local communities in Alaska don't want the Pebble mine, and these jewelers are supporting the rights of the communities to protect their livelihoods.
Last month, we told you about the release of Tarnished Gold: assessing the jewelry industry's progress on ethical sourcing of metals. In essence, Tarnished Gold is a report card that evaluates the progress jewelers have made in pursuit of cleaner sources of precious metals.
Some jewelers saw the first report and realized they needed to do more, and tell us more about what they were already doing. So they sent us additional information and assurance about their efforts.
Yesterday we issued an updated report, which notes further advances by four large jewelers and a dozen smaller companies. Eleven small jewelry companies now deserve an "A" rating for their efforts.
For more information:
In a stunning development today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new guidance designed to protect Appalachian streams from mountaintop removal mining, by taking an important step to prevent the removed mountaintops from being dumped into streams and valleys. This is great news for Appalachia, and EARTHWORKS congratulates our allies for their hard work in bringing this issue to the forefront of the EPA s attention, and we also applaud Lisa Jackson and her team at the EPA for recognizing the importance of protecting clean water.
The Obama administration defending bad Bush-era mining policies? I wish that I could add an "April Fools!" after that statement, but unfortunately, it's true.
In addition to opening up vast areas of our coastline to offshore oil drilling yesterday, the Obama administration also decided to allow unlimited amounts of our nation's public lands to be used as waste dumps for the mining industry.
We at EARTHWORKS are proud to have worked with Secretary Udall. In 1988, he helped found our organization, and served as the chairman of our board of directors for a decade, providing guidance and leadership in our efforts to protect communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development in the U.S. and worldwide.
Jim Lyon was EARTHWORKS (then Mineral Policy Center) Vice President for Policy in the early 1990's -- the closest we've come to comprehensive hardrock mining reform in 137 years and counting. He is currently the Vice President for Conservation Policy at the National Wildlife Federation. He writes:
I had the honor of working closely with Stewart in the early 1990s when I was with Mineral Policy Center, and 1872 Mining Law reform legislation was on the national stage. And what could be better than the opportunity of working with a conservation legend. Stewart took Mining Law reform personally. He would repeatedly say to us that he felt it was unfinished family business for he and his brother Mo. In 1993, he wrote:
"Thirty-three years ago, in The Quiet Crisis, I wrote -- America today stands poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open space, and an of an overall environment that is diminished daily by pollution and noise and blight -- As for hardrock mining, however, I could have written those same words this morning. ...There can be no justification for permitting the hardrock mining industry to continue exempting itself from environmental standards applicable to most other industries."
Phil Hocker cofounded EARTHWORKS (as Mineral Policy Center), along with Stewart Udall and Michael McCloskey. Phil served as Mineral Policy Center s first executive director from its founding in 1988 through 1997. He writes:
I mourn the loss of Stewart Lee Udall.
From 1954 to 1960, Stewart Udall served as Congressman from a mining-dominated region of Arizona. He knew first-hand the reckless damage the mining industry causes. He knew that the 1872 Mining Law still gives mining corporations vast power to overwhelm other values on public lands. He strove to fix it.
In January 1969, when he stepped down after eight years as Secretary of the Interior, Stewart wrote:
"...after eight years in this office, I have come to the conclusion that the most important piece of unfinished business on the nation's resource agenda is the complete replacement of the Mining Law of 1872."
When EARTHWORKS (then known as Mineral Policy Center) was formed in 1988, Stewart Udall volunteered to be Chairman of our Board of Directors. He lent his prestige and his knowledge to the campaign to reform the 1872 Mining Law. Stewart testified in person at an early Reform hearing in the Senate. He and I went door-to-door in the offices of Congress, meeting with Representatives and Senators to explain the need for 1872 Reform. He wrote letters and op-ed pieces to help spread the word.