Category Archives: Mining

GOP House Puts Big Oil’s Revolving Door Into High Gear

These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-27-2023 by Common Dreams.

Nancy Peele, chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a former fossil fuel lobbyist for companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo: Nancy Peele/LinkedIn)

An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Huge News’: Alaska Native Group Secures Protections for Land Eyed by Pebble Mine Developers

An Alaska Native village corporation drove the effort to conserve 44,000 acres of land in the Bristol Bay region, home to the world’s largest salmon fishery.

By Julia Conley  Published 12-22-2022 by Common Dreams

The proposed site for Pebble Mine Photo: Jason Sear/KDLG

In partnership with a national conservation group, an Alaska Native village corporation owned by people of Dena’ina descent announced Thursday that it’s secured protections for 44,000 acres of land and waters that have been targeted by developers of the proposed Pebble Mine—creating the latest roadblock for a project that tribal leaders and conservationists warn would threaten the world’s largest wild salmon fishery.

The Conservation Fund, a nonprofit, announced that following an 18-month fundraising campaign, it has purchased three conservation easements for the land near Bristol Bay, surrounding Knutson Creek, Iliamna River, and Pile River. The easements cover part of the land on which developers have sought to build a mining road to transport ore from the proposed copper and gold mine. Continue reading

Share Button

Amid coup, countercoup claims – what really went down in Peru and why?

Clashes on the streets of Peru.
Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Eduardo Gamarra, Florida International University

Peru has a new president following the ouster of former leader Pedro Castillo at the hands of the country’s Congress.

His removal followed an attempt by Castillo to cling to power by dissolving a Congress intent on impeaching him. Castillo’s opponents accused him of attempting a coup – a charge his supporters similarly levied in regards to his removal from office. The day ended with the former president in detention.

The Conversation asked Eduardo Gamarra, an expert on Latin American politics at Florida International University, to explain the wider context of Peru’s political crisis – and what could happen next. Continue reading

Share Button

Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

“Their ‘solutions’ are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment,” said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Nearly half of the endangered red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas, where the loss of bamboo and nesting trees is impacting the population. Photo: Mathias Appel/flickr/CC

With the next United Nations Biodiversity Conference set to kick off in Canada this week, a report out Monday details how corporate interests have attempted to influence efforts to protect the variety of life on Earth amid rampant species loss.

After a long-delayed and mostly virtual meeting in Kunming, China last year to work on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF), nearly 20,000 delegates are headed to Montreal for the second part of COP15, which will bring together countries party to a multilateral treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Continue reading

Share Button

GOP Threatens to Hold Economy Hostage to Slash Climate Investments

“If Republicans take over Congress, they plan to hold the government hostage and ransom our future,” said one climate advocate.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: CNN

In addition to threatening cuts to Social Security and Medicare, congressional Republicans are reportedly plotting to use the debt ceiling and an end-of-year clash over government funding to target popular climate investments approved in August as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that “while some Republicans do favor brinkmanship over Medicare and Social Security… some aides and analysts think the GOP may be more likely to demand changes to other Democratic priorities.” Continue reading

Share Button

‘Hidden Killer’: Experts Urge Action After Study Shows How Air Pollution Causes Lung Cancer

“If you want to address human health, you have to address climate health first,” said Charles Swanton, who led the research team.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Steam rises from the cooling towers of the Jänschwalde lignite-fired power plant—which is to be taken off the grid and shut down by 2028 as Germany phases out coal. Photo: Julia Seeliger/flickr/CC

Experts emphasized the importance of more ambitiously addressing air pollution from fossil fuels after the presentation of a new breakthrough on lung cancer in Paris on Saturday.

Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London (UCL) shared their findings—part of the TRACERx lung study funded by Cancer Research U.K.—at the annual conference of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).

“Our study has fundamentally changed how we view lung cancer in people who have never smoked,” said Cancer Research U.K. chief clinician Charles Swanton, who led and presented the research.

The way air pollution causes cancer differs from cigarettes and sunlight. Tobacco smoke and ultraviolet light damage the structure of DNA, creating mutations that cause cancer. Air pollution causes inflammation in the lungs, affecting cells that carry mutations.

“Cells with cancer-causing mutations accumulate naturally as we age, but they are normally inactive,” Swanton explained. “We’ve demonstrated that air pollution wakes these cells up in the lungs, encouraging them to grow and potentially form tumors.”

The team analyzed 463,679 individuals from England, South Korea, and Taiwan, and examined lung tissue samples from humans and mice following exposure to particulate matter, or PM2.5—air particles that are no larger than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.

They found higher rates of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant lung cancer—and other types of cancers—in people who lived in areas with higher levels of PM2.5 pollution. They also found that, at least in mice, blocking a molecule which causes inflammation and is released in response to PM2.5 exposure prevents cancers from forming.

“According to our analysis, increasing air pollution levels increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and cancers of the mouth and throat,” noted Emilia Lim, co-first author and postdoctoral researcher at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL. “This finding suggests a broader role for cancers caused by inflammation triggered by a carcinogen like air pollution.”

“Even small changes in air pollution levels can affect human health,” she said, adding that 99% of the global population lives in areas that exceed annual World Health Organization (WHO) limits for PM2.5, “underlining the public health challenges posed by air pollution across the globe.”

The WHO—when updating guidelines on air quality last September for the first time in over 15 years—warned that “the burden of disease attributable to air pollution is now estimated to be on a par with other major global health risks such as unhealthy diet and tobacco smoking, and air pollution is now recognized as the single biggest environmental threat to human health.”

While most of the human population is exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution—which is tied to other health issues including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dementia, and heart disease—research has repeatedly shown it’s often worse in the poorest communities.

One 2021 study found that air pollution reduces the average global citizen’s life by over two years. Citing an estimate that it is tied to more than eight million deaths worldwide per year, Swanton called air pollution a “hidden killer,” according to Agence France-Presse.

Swanton stressed in a statement that “the same particles in the air that derive from the combustion of fossil fuels, exacerbating climate change, are directly impacting human health via an important and previously overlooked cancer-causing mechanism in lung cells.”

“The risk of lung cancer from air pollution is lower than from smoking, but we have no control over what we all breathe,” the scientist said. “Globally, more people are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution than to toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, and these new data link the importance of addressing climate health to improving human health.”

“It’s a wake-up call on the impact of pollution on human health,” he told The Guardian. “You cannot ignore climate health. If you want to address human health, you have to address climate health first.”

Tony Mok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who was not involved in the study, similarly said in a statement that “as consumption of fossil fuels goes hand in hand with pollution and carbon emissions, we have a strong mandate for tackling these issues—for both environmental and health reasons.”

Like the scientists who conducted the study, Mok also pointed out how it could help with the prevention of lung cancer among nonsmokers.

“This research is intriguing and exciting as it means that we can ask whether, in the future, it will be possible to use lung scans to look for pre-cancerous lesions in the lungs and try to reverse them with medicines,” Mok said.

“We don’t yet know whether it will be possible to use highly sensitive EGFR profiling on blood or other samples to find nonsmokers who are predisposed to lung cancer and may benefit from lung scanning,” he added, “so discussions are still very speculative.”

Suzette Delaloge, head of the cancer prevention program at France’s Gustave Roussy institute, was also not involved in the research but discussed it with AFP in Paris this weekend.

“The study is quite an important step for science—and for society too, I hope,” she said, noting that it was “quite revolutionary, because we had practically no prior demonstration of this alternative way of cancer forming.”

“This opens a huge door, both for knowledge but also for new ways to prevent” cancer, added Delaloge. “This level of demonstration must force authorities to act on an international scale.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
Share Button

New Study Warns Swaths of Amazon Have Already Passed Key ‘Tipping Point’

“The tipping point is not a future scenario but rather a stage already present in some areas of the region,” note researchers.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-5-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Amazônia Real/flickr/CC

Indigenous leaders and scientists on Monday revealed research showing that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is so advanced that some swaths may have hit a key tipping point and never recover.

While experts have long warned of human activity causing portions of the massive, biodiverse rainforest to shift to savannah, the new findings were unveiled on the Global Day of Action for the Amazon and the launch of the 5th Amazon Summit of Indigenous Peoples: Solutions for a Living Amazon in Lima, Peru. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Big Win’ for Public Lands and Climate as US Judge Reinstates Coal Lease Ban

“It’s past time that this misguided action by the Trump administration is overturned,” said one environmental campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Surface coal mine in Gillette, Wyoming. Photo: Greg Goebel/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Climate and Indigenous activists on Friday applauded the reinstatement of an Obama-era moratorium prohibiting new coal leases on all public lands until after the completion of a thorough environmental review.

Brian Morris, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Montana, issued an order reinstating the 2016 moratorium, which Ryan Zinke, former President Donald Trump’s disgraced interior secretary, reversed the following year. Continue reading

Share Button

Death Valley Floods Deemed a ‘1,000-Year Event’

“With climate change models predicting more frequent and more intense storms, this is a place where you can see climate change in action,” said the park superintendent.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 8-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Three cars at the Inn at Death Valley pushed together by flash floods are towed on August 6, 2022. (Photo: National Park Service)

Last week’s historic rainfall and flash flooding that caused widespread damage and left hundreds of staff and tourists stranded in Death Valley National Park is another clear sign of how extreme weather is being intensified by the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency, experts say.

The otherwise bone dry landscape between California and Nevada was pummeled by multiple downpours last week. Friday’s storm dumped an estimated 1.46 inches of rain at Furnace Creek—75% of the annual average total for the park, where less than two inches of precipitation per year is typical—in just three hours. Continue reading

Share Button

Inside the Democrats’ climate deal with the devil

The new climate package furthers the US’ most profligate pastimes: drilling oil and driving big cars

By Aaron White  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Senator Joe Manchin Photo: Third Way Think Tank/flickr/CC

Last week, Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator whose decisive vote in the evenly split upper house has led some to brand him ‘President Manchin’, and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer surprised even the most clued-in political junkies by announcing support for a climate bill that had been declared dead just several weeks before.

The 725-page legislation seemed a brief respite from a summer of extreme weather – a brutal heatwave and flooding across the US – as well as soaring inflation, a cost of living crisis and radical Supreme Court rulings that overturned abortion rights and limited the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency. Continue reading

Share Button