by Laura PaskusDig deep, fellow taxpayers: On Oct. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund — a fund, fed by corporate polluters, which cleans up some of the nation’s most contaminated places — officially ran out of money (HCN, 12/9/02: Life in the wasteland). Now, taxpayers will foot the cleanup bill for everything from toxic dumps to defunct factories, lead mines to leather tanneries.
Talk is cheap, especially when the discussion is about oil and gas drilling. In August, Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., promised he would leave drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge out of the Energy Bill (HCN, 8/18/03: Energy bill will likely boost drilling in the Rockies). But in September, the Senate Energy Committee, chaired by Domenici, added language to the bill that would allow drilling on 200,000 acres of the refuge.
At least one Canadian tribe is saying “no” to sea lice — and to big business (HCN, 3/17/03: Bracing against the tide). The Kwicksutaineuk tribe in British Columbia is suing two multinational corporations, alleging that corporate fish farms — and the algae and sea lice associated with them — are killing not only wild salmon, but also crabs, clams and shrimp.
In his investigation of the Indian Trust accounts, Alan Balaran found that oil and gas companies paid Navajos 20 times less than they paid non-Indians (HCN, 9/15/03: Follow-up). The court-appointed investigator gleaned much of his information from Kevin Gambrell, head of the Farmington, N.M., Indian Minerals Office. In May, the Interior Department placed Gambrell on administrative leave for “insubordination.” But on Sept. 15, just weeks after Balaran’s report was published, Interior officially fired Gambrell.
Tribes and environmentalists cheered when the Salt River Project, an Arizona utility company, backed out of its proposal to build a strip mine near the Zuni reservation in New Mexico (HCN, 10/8/01). But last month, the Bureau of Land Management put a damper on that celebration by announcing it has received a request from an unnamed energy company to drill for oil and gas on 117,000 acres in the area. © High Country News