Category Archives: Mining

Green Groups Blame Bolsonaro Policies as Amazon Deforestation Sets New Monthly Record

“The Bolsonaro administration is abetting deforestation and environmental crime,” said one campaigner, “and what we harvest are these terrible, scary, revolting numbers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Amazon Watch/Twitter

Brazil’s space research agency revealed Friday that deforestation in the country’s Amazon rainforest last month shattered the previous record for April, a development one conservation campaigner called “very scary” and an indication of the criminal level of environmental destruction occurring under the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The National Institute for Space Research said nearly 400 square miles of the world’s largest rainforest was destroyed in Brazil last month, an area the size of 1,400 soccer fields and by far the biggest loss for April since record-keeping began in 2015, Agence France-Presse reports. Continue reading

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Arizona Slammed for Permitting Uranium Mine That Imperils Grand Canyon Tribe’s Water

“Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Havasupai activists protest against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Jake Hoyungawa/Grand Canyon Trust)

Indigenous and environmental activists on Friday condemned an Arizona agency’s approval of a key permit for a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon that opponents say threatens the land, water, wildlife—and Native Americans’ ancestral obligation to safeguard a place they’ve called home for centuries.

The Arizona Republic reports the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday issued an aquifer protection plan permit for Canada-based Energy Fuels Resources’ Pinyon Plain Mine, located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Kaibab National Forest.

Conservationists and tribes have long opposed the mine, which has been in various stages of planning and preparation since 1984 but from which no uranium has yet been extracted. The Havasupai people, some of whom live in a nearby canyon, say the project imperils their sole source of drinking water.

“Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed threatens the enduring legacy of this landscape and jeopardizes the entire water supply of the Havasupai people,” Michè Lozano, Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in a statement, warning of the “incredible threats that uranium mining poses to the limited underground sources that feed the canyon’s creeks and waterways.”

According to NPCA:

The mine… has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and tribal cultural resources…

In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021.

Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.

“Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”

Asserting that “uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon,” Amber Reimondo, energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said that “uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

Havasupai tribal leaders have long argued against uranium mining on lands from which their ancestors were ethnically cleansed to make way for white tourists before being pressed into dehumanizing railroad labor.

One of the staunchest Havasupai mining opponents, the late Tribal Chairman Rex Tilousi, believed that his people “were given a responsibility to protect and preserve this land and water for those yet to come.”

“The ancient rock writing in our canyon tells us to protect this place,” Tilousi said at a 2018 prayer gathering. “The canyon doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the canyon, to the Earth, to the water. It created us and gave us life. We are fighting for our lives and for those who are yet to come.”

Carletta Tilousi, Rex’s niece and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spoke against uranium mining at an Earth Day rally in Phoenix last week.

“Native Americans, we have struggled so far and so long, and we don’t need it anymore,” she said. “We want to make sure our future generations have clean air, clean water, and a happy life. That’s all we ask for.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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Shareholders Target Wall Street Banks With ‘Groundbreaking’ Climate Resolutions

“Investors are saying we can’t conduct business in a world that is on fire, that has heatwaves and insufficient water. And I do think companies are beginning to understand that it’s in their interest to take action.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Protest outside the Bank of America shareholder meeting on April 25, 2022. Photo: drew hudson #1u/Twitter

A significant percentage of shareholders at three of the biggest U.S. banks voted Tuesday to endorse first-of-their-kind resolutions urging the companies to stop supporting new fossil fuel development amid a worsening climate emergency.

Shareholders at Citi, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo voted 12.8%, 11%, and 11%, respectively, to support climate resolutions filed by the Sierra Club Foundation and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. According to the Sierra Club, any resolution that receives at least 5% of the vote can be refiled the following year, and those that get 10% or more are “considered difficult for a company to ignore.” Continue reading

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Biden Takes ‘Critical First Step’ to Fix Landmark Environmental Law Gutted by Trump

“The Biden administration cannot stop here,” said one advocate, calling on the White House “to ensure we tap NEPA’s full potential to address the unprecedented environmental challenges we face now.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-19-2022 by Common Dreams

While welcoming the White House’s move Tuesday to repair some of the damage that the Trump administration did to a federal law known as “the Magna Carta of environmental legislation,” green groups also urged President Joe Biden to go even further.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalized its “phase 1” rule for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), reaffirming that federal agencies reviewing infrastructure projects such as highways and pipelines must consider all relevant environmental impacts, including those that are climate-related. Continue reading

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West Virginians Lead Blockade of Coal Plant That’s Made Manchin Rich

“This is what the fight for a habitable planet looks like in real time.”

By Julia Conley  Published 4-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Police in Grant Town, West Virginia arrested demonstrators who blockaded a coal plant that contracts with Enersystems, a company owned by Sen. Joe Manchin’s family, from which the senator earns $500,000 per year. (Photo: @WV_Rising/Twitter)

Organizers of the “Coal Baron Blockade” protest which targeted right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s coal empire Saturday afternoon reported that state police almost immediately began arresting campaigners who assembled in Grant Town, West Virginia.

“Sen. Joe Manchin’s policies hurt poor people and hurt our environment so deeply that activists are ready to put themselves on the line,” tweeted the Poor People’s Campaign, which joined grassroots group West Virginia Rising and other organizations in the blockade. Continue reading

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‘Major Step Forward’: AIG to Stop Insuring Coal, Tar Sands, and Arctic Drilling

“Organizing works,” said one advocacy group. “Now, all insurers must stop supporting fossil fuel expansion.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 3-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Insure Our Future Coalition at AIG’s NYC Headquarters on 12/7/2021. Photo: Insure Our Future, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

Climate justice advocates celebrated Tuesday in response to insurance giant AIG’s announcement that it will no longer invest in or provide insurance coverage for any new Arctic drilling activities nor will it finance or underwrite the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or tar sands projects, effective immediately.

AIG also said that it will immediately stop investing in or underwriting “new operation insurance risks” of coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or tar sands projects owned by corporations that derive 30% or more of their revenue from those industries or generate over 30% of their energy production from coal. Continue reading

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Air and Water Under Threat as SCOTUS Targets Environmental Laws

“It seems like we have a new conservative supermajority on the court that is much more inclined to do a slash-and-burn expedition through our major environmental laws.”

By Julia Conley   Published 1-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Coastal Wetlands at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, MA.
Ohoto: Kelly Fike/USFWS/flickr/CC

Environmental advocates and congressional Democrats are raising alarm after the U.S. Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in two cases regarding bedrock regulations designed to protect the quality of the nation’s air and water.

The nine justices announced Monday that they plan to hear arguments in the case of an Idaho couple who were blocked from building a home on their land by the Clean Water Act. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chantell and Michael Sackett’s land contained wetlands and the couple needed a federal permit to build. Continue reading

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4 New Year’s resolutions for a healthier environment in 2022

Enjoy the environment in 2022 and find ways to help nature and communities thrive.
Cavan Images via Getty Images

Viniece Jennings, Agnes Scott College

When many people think of New Year’s resolutions, they brainstorm ways to improve themselves for the year ahead. What if we expanded those aspirations to include resolutions that benefit our communities, society and the planet, too?

It might not be a typical approach, but it can broaden your horizons to show ways you can also be of service to others.

Here are four popular New Year’s resolutions with a twist for improving your relationship with nature in 2022 and beyond. Continue reading

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‘Stomach-Wrenching’ Report Reveals Secret US Strike Command’s High Civilian Death Toll

The unit, called Talon Anvil, is said to have killed Syrian civilians at 10 times the rate of similar airstrikes elsewhere in the so-called War on Terror.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-13-2021 by Common Dreams

In a 2019 U.S. airstrike in Syria killed dozens of civilians, including women and children. Screenshot: CBS News

Peace advocates on Monday responded to a report about a U.S. military unit that killed Syrian civilians at 10 times the rate of similar operations in other theaters of the so-called War on Terror by accusing the United States of hypocritically sanctioning countries while committing atrocities of its own, and by reminding people that there is no such thing as a “humane” war.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported the existence of Talon Anvil, a “shadowy force” that “sidestepped safeguards and repeatedly killed civilians” in aerial bombardments targeting militants in Syria. The unit “worked in three shifts around the clock between 2014 and 2019, pinpointing targets for the United States’ formidable air power to hit: convoys, car bombs, command centers, and squads of enemy fighters.” Continue reading

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Green Groups Demand Answers About ‘Flimsy’ and Buried Biden Drilling Report

“Public records released as a result of this request will shine light on the dangerous chasm separating Biden’s climate promises from his refusal to phase out the use of our public lands and waters for oil and gas extraction.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-2-2021 by Common Dreams

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at the White House. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior/flickr/CC

A trio of climate and conservation organizations on Thursday filed a public records request regarding the development of a report about leasing federal lands and waters to fossil fuel companies that the Biden administration released the day after Thanksgiving.

The administration came under fire for not only the contents of the U.S. Department of the Interior report—required by President Joe Biden’s January executive order on “tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad”—but also dropping it on the Friday after a holiday. Continue reading

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