Court Orders New Climate Impact Analysis For 4 Gigantic Coal Leases

The court ruling involved new federal coal leases in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana that expanded projects holding some 2 billion tons of coal. Credit: Bureau of Land Management

By John H. Cushman JR. for Inside Climate News – A federal appeals court in Denver told the Bureau of Land Management on Friday that its analysis of the climate impacts of four gigantic coal leases was economically “irrational” and needs to be done over. When reviewing the environmental impacts of fossil fuel projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the judges said, the agency can’t assume the harmful effects away by claiming that dirty fuels left untouched in one location would automatically bubble up, greenhouse gas emissions and all, somewhere else. That was the basic logic employed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2010 when it approved the new leases in the Powder River Basin that stretches across Wyoming and Montana, expanding projects that hold some 2 billion tons of coal, big enough to supply at least a fifth of the nation’s needs. The leases were at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine and Peabody Energy’s North Antelope-Rochelle mine, among the biggest operations of two of the world’s biggest coal companies. If these would have no climate impact, as the BLM argued, then presumably no one could ever be told to leave coal in the ground to protect the climate. But that much coal, when it is burned, adds billions of tons of carbon dioxide to an already overburdened atmosphere, worsening global warming’s harm. Increasingly, environmentalists have been pressing the federal leasing agency to consider those cumulative impacts, and increasingly judges have been ruling that the 1970 NEPA statute, the foundation of modern environmental law, requires it.

Genocide: Goldminers “Massacre” Uncontacted Amazon Indians

Evidence of an attack? Burnt communal houses of uncontacted Indians, seen in December 2016, could be signs of another massacre in the Uncontacted Frontier.
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By Staff of Survival International – Public prosecutors in Brazil have opened an investigation after reports that illegal goldminers in a remote Amazon river have massacred “more than ten” members of an uncontacted tribe. If confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped out. Two goldminers have been arrested. The killings allegedly took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in western Brazil, but the news only emerged after the goldminers started boasting about the killings, and showing off “trophies” in the nearest town. Agents from Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency, FUNAI, confirmed details of the attack to Survival International. Women and children are believed to be among the dead. FUNAI and the public prosecutor’s office are currently investigating. The area is known as the Uncontacted Frontier, as it contains more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth. Several government teams who had been protecting uncontacted indigenous territories have recently had their funding slashed by the Brazilian government, and have had to close down.

The World Protests As Amazon Forests Are Opened To Mining

This polluted lake is what remains of the open mine pit of Serra Pelada (‘Naked Mountain’), hand-excavated by tens of thousands of miners in the Amazon Basin. REUTERS/Paulo Santos

By Beatriz Garcia for The Conversation – The Amazon, often described as the “lungs of the Earth”, is the largest rainforest in the world. Its extraordinary biodiversity and sheer scale has made it a globally significant resource in the fight against climate change. But last week the Brazilian president Michel Temer removed the protected status of the National Reserve of Copper and Associates, a national reserve larger than Denmark. The reserve, known as “Renca”, covers 46,000 square kilometres and is thought to contain huge amounts of copper, as well as gold, iron ore and other minerals. Roughly 30% of Renca will now be open to mining exploration. Renca also includes indigenous reserves inhabited by various ethnic communities living in relative isolation. The decision, which has been denounced by conservation groups and governments around the world, comes as the unpopular Temer struggles with a crushing political and economic crisis that has seen unemployment rise above 12%

Menominee Tribe Seeks Stricter Federal Oversight In Michigan Mine Fight

The Peabody mine on Black Mesa. The company is seeking a lifetime mining permit for the lands it leases from Native American tribes. Photograph: Sam A Minkler

By Brian Bienkowski for Truth Out – In its continued fight against a mine near sacred waters, the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin want stronger federal regulations to apply as officials weigh the final permit for mine approval. At issue is the Back Forty mine, a proposed 83-acre open pit gold, zinc and copper mine in the southwestern corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The mine would sit within 150 feet of the Menominee River, which forms the Michigan-Wisconsin border — and is namesake for the Menominee Tribe across the border in Wisconsin. Environmental Health News highlighted the Menominee’s fight last year in “Sacred Water,” a national look at how culturally significant water resources — both on and off reservation — get sullied, destroyed, defaced by activities often happening beyond Native Americans’ control. The mine was on track for approval but has been stagnant, as it still needs one permit — a wetlands permit — before beginning operation. The state of Michigan has controlled permitting to this point. This week the Menominee tribe asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to take over authority for the wetland permit under Clean Water Act rules. Menominee tribal member Burton Warrington said the Clean Water Act — specifically section 404(G) — allows for states or tribes to take over permitting control, but that doesn’t mean all waterways.

IWW Miners Of Jerome & Bisbee Loaded Into Cattle Cars & Deported From State Of Arizona

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By Janet Raye for We Never Forget – The above photograph shows more than 1000 working class men, mostly members of the Metal Mine Workers Industrial Union of the Industrial Workers of the World, being loaded into cattle cars in Bisbee, Arizona, July 12th, for the purpose of being deported from the state of Arizona. The men were force to stand in manure and left without food and water for hours until they were hauled across the state line and into New Mexico. More than 1000 men were left stranded in the desert near Hermanas, New Mexico. The sixty-seven men deported from Jerome were taken across the state line and left at Needles, California.

Why We're Investigating Grand Canyon Uranium

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By John Ahni Schertow and Garet Bleir for InterContinental Cry. In 2012, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a twenty-year ban on mining surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park. It was one of the biggest wins for the environment that year. After all, 10,000 uranium mining claims threatened to turn this iconic natural landscape into a radioactive wasteland. The moratorium put an end to all that — at least for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, our celebration of the historic decision had consequences. It drowned out two pressing facts that the media urgently needed to focus on: there were at least four old uranium mines near the Grand Canyon that could be reopened despite the moratorium; and there were still hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo (Diné) land that needed remediation.

Grand Canyon Is Our Home. Uranium Mining Has No Place Here

‘This struggle is not about money to us, it is about human life.’ Photograph: Stephen Yelverton Photography/Getty Images

By Carletta Tilousi for The Guardian – The Havasupai – “people of the blue-green waters” – live in Supai Village, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Today our lives and water are being threatened by international uranium mining companies because the US government and its 1872 mining law permit uranium mining on federal lands that surround the Grand Canyon. In 1986, the Kaibab national forest authorized a Canadian-based uranium company to open Canyon mine, a uranium mine near the south rim of Grand Canyon national park. The Havasupai tribe challenged the decision but lost in the ninth circuit court of appeals. Miners were just starting to drill Canyon mine’s shaft in 1991 when falling uranium prices caused the company to shut it down for more than two decades. Havasupai ancestors share stories of the sacredness of the Grand Canyon and all the mountains that surround it. They have instructed us to protect the waters and the mountains from any environmental contamination. That’s why we stand firm against any uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region. As uranium prices began to rise again in 2007, the uranium company reopened three closed mines on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, north of the Grand Canyon.

Uranium Mining In The Grand Canyon Continues Despite Years Of Resistance

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By Vic Bishop for Waking Times – Sad but true, the dramatic opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota failed to achieve the result of stopping corporate and political powers from proceeding with the pipeline. Less than six months after the camp’s abandonment, the pipeline is functional and leaks are already being reported. Another, less publicized, struggle has been taking place for years around the area of the Grand Canyon, where indigenous rights and environmental activists have been seeking a ban on uranium mining in this part of America’s breathtaking landscape. Beginning in the 1950’s when a rush to draw uranium for the first generation of nuclear weapons brought mining operations to this region, opponents recently lost a bid to prohibit the mining and processing of radioactive materials near the iconic Grand Canyon. The environmental impact of uranium mining and processing is devastating, as radioactive contamination is common, affecting people as well as wildlife, springs, aquifers, and sacred sites.

Haul No! Awareness And Action Tour

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By Haul No! Haul No! is an awareness & action tour that will be held in Spring 2017 along the proposed uranium haul route of the Canyon Mine (owned and operated by uranium production company Energy Fuels Inc.). We intend to spread awareness and stimulate action to ensure sacred sites, the Grand Canyon, and our communities are safeguarded from this deadly toxic threat. The Canyon Mine is a uranium mine located near Red Butte, a sacred mountain and Traditional Cultural Property only six miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Canadian company, Energy Fuels, is currently sinking the mine shaft and plans to extract uranium in early 2017. The company is operating under a Plan of Operations and Environmental Review that date to 1986, and the Forest Service failed to properly consult with the Havasupai Tribe before allowing the mine to operate.

Energy Fuels Completes Drilling Near Grand Canyon

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By Klee Benally for Haul No! GRAND CANYON, AZ — Energy Fuels Inc. recently reported that it has completed drilling of it’s uranium mine shaft at Canyon Mine, which is located just miles from the Grand Canyon. The company is now creating a plan based upon results of the drilling before it can resume construction at the site. They have also temporarily fired most of their workers. Energy Fuels threatens that uranium ore extraction could begin at Canyon Mine as early as June 2017. “Energy Fuels is violating Mother Earth, desecrating sacred Red Butte, and now bringing poisonous water laced with uranium out of their mine near the Grand Canyon. It is an outrage to witness careless mine workers spray radioactive pollution over these sacred lands.” stated Klee Benally, a coordinator with Clean Up The Mines and volunteer with Haul No!, “That they are also transporting millions of gallons of this toxic contaminants through Diné Bikeyah (Navajo Nation) without our informed consent, where our communities continue to suffer the effects of the nuclear industry’s deadly legacy, is an outrage.

Native American Uranium Miners & Trump Budget

From thehill.com

By Robert Alvarez for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – For minimum wage or less, they blasted open seams, built wooden beam supports in the mine shafts, and dug out ore pieces with picks and wheelbarrows. The shafts penetrated as deep as 1,500 feet, with little or no ventilation. The bitter-tasting dust was all pervasive, coating their teeth. They ate in the mines and drank water that dripped from the walls and, sometimes, developed chronic coughs. And much worse. Native American uranium miners were essential to the United States’ efforts to create a nuclear arsenal. From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, Indian people dug up approximately four million tons of uranium ore—nearly a quarter of the total national underground production in the United States used in nuclear weapons.

Grand Canyon Uranium Mine Filling With Toxic Water

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By Alicyn Gitlin and Leona Morgan for Sierra Club. TUSAYAN, Ariz. – The controversial Canyon Mine, located just six miles from Grand Canyon’s South Rim, is filling with surplus water after a wet winter. In an effort to dispose of the water from the bottom of the mine shaft, mine owner Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. is trucking the contaminated water to the White Mesa Mill uranium processing facility near Blanding, Utah and spraying it, into the air and on the adjacent Kaibab National Forest, in an attempt to evaporate it. The Plan of Operations requires that all excess water be retained in holding ponds and be treated on-site. Simultaneously, Energy Fuels has allowed state environmental permits intended to help protect groundwater to expire.

Month Long Miners Strike In Chile

Chie Miners Strike from DAWN News

By ALBA Movements for Dawn News. The 2,500 organized workers of the Chilean mine La Escondida, the biggest copper mine of the world, reached the first month of strike today, in the middle of the talks paralyzation and of the radicalization of the conflict. “We’re no longer fighting for the 2,500 workers, what we stand for here is the future of mining in the country, we’re creating a precedent for all Chilean workers”, said today Enrique Thenoux, leader of the Syndicate Number 1 of the mine to Efe Jaime. Since the past February 9, the 2.500 organized workers of La Escondida mine, that employs 4,500 people, paralyzed the extracting work in repudiation to the collective agreement proposed by the company. The workers sustain that the company, operated by the Australian BHP Billiton, offers them a new agreement that reduces in a 14,5% their salaries and benefits, and implements discriminatory terms in the contracts of new workers.

Drilling To Begin In Porcupine Mountains Wilderness

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By the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. Houghton, MI — Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) members and supporters are expressing outrage and frustration following news that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a surface use permit authorizing Orvana Resources – a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to begin exploratory drilling in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. According to the DNR, drilling began Sunday, before the agency’s press release had even been published. The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is well known for its hiking trails, rugged terrain, old growth forests, miles of wild and scenic Lake Superior shoreline, wilderness campsites, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. “The sulfide mining industry is leading the State of Michigan around by a leash….”

Romania Seeks World Heritage Status For Transylvania Village In Gold Mine Row

From investing.com

By Paola Totaro and Claudia Ciobanu for Reuters – LONDON, Jan 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Romania has asked the United Nations to make a Transylvanian village boasting 18th century houses and intact Roman mining shafts into a World Heritage site in a surprise 11th hour move that could protect it from a gold mine project. The request to list Rosia Montana was announced as the government of Dacian Ciolos handed over power this week to the incoming Social Democrat Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, who won elections last month. Romania’s outgoing culture minister said in a statement late Thursday that a request had been sent to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).