Cusco Government Slams the Door on Biopirates

Cusco Government Slams the Door on Biopirates

Cusco Government Slams the Door on Biopirates  6957-128x96

Indigenous people in Peru are celebrating a major victory in their long-time struggle to protect the land from outsiders hoping to exploit it.

On January 14, the Regional Government of Cusco enacted a law that bans the practice of biopiracy, or “the appropriation and monopolization of traditional population’s knowledge and biological resources.”

“Worldwide, national governments and international bodies such as the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization have failed to protect indigenous people’s traditional knowledge and associated genetic resources from biopirates,” says Alejandro Argumedo, the Director of Asociacion ANDES, an Indigenous group based in Cusco.

“The new law enacted by the regional government of Cusco is a good example of how local governments can create the appropriate legal and institutional framework, as well as the mechanisms to implement it, to ensure that biopiracy does not prey on the creativity …



Canada’s Mine Tailings Secret Heads to Court

Canada’s Mine Tailings Secret Heads to Court

Canada’s Mine Tailings Secret Heads to Court red-708304-128x96

Dine’ CARE: Navajo president plans Navajos as test subjects

This was originally posted by Brenda Norrell at

Dine’ CARE: Navajo president plans Navajos as test subjects

Obama Beware: ‘Shirley’s fraudulent action not only breaches federal trust responsibility, but he invites testing non-existent technology on innocent test subjects, the Navajos’

By Dine’ CARE
Dine’ Citizens Against Ruining our Environment

In December 2008, Navajo President Shirley sent the Obama-Biden transition team a federal agenda that outlines 27 recommendation policies and requests for $2.9 billion in funding through Obama’s $775 billion stimulus program.
Some of these priorities include research funding for water rights, health issues and medical facilities on the Navajo Nation. These issues require an attentive eye from Obama; however, Shirley concealed the proposed Desert Rock power plant and carbon capture sequestration, or CCS, technology as riders in the agenda. In effect, Shirley’s fraudulent action not only breaches federal trust responsibility, but he invites testing non-existent technology on innocent test subjects, the Navajos.
Two things are important to note on Shirley’s request for federal funds to test for CCS technology:
First, the agenda states “CCS is expensive and unproven in a commercial capacity power plant” and adding CCS components would add $450 million to each of Desert Rock’s two furnaces. So far, Desert Rock costs are projected at $4 billion without the consideration of CCS. Sithe Global LLC has stated that it invested about $20 million in the project and that the tribe loses $5 million every month. Should the federal government expend an additional $1 billion atop erroneous business endeavors such as Desert Rock when it is clearly losing millions per month?
Second, the agenda states that the Navajo Nation is willing to host a commercial scale CCS component since the proposed Desert Rock location is ideal to test carbon storage. Unfortunately, none of Desert Rock’s public hearings, primary and legal documents (Air Quality Permit and Draft Environmental Impact Statement) include any analysis of CCS for Desert Rock. Inevitably, to consider CCS technology in Desert Rock would require developers to restart the entire federal permitting process. Is it not a business cliché that “Time is money”?
Altogether, Desert Rock’s 20-year lack of achievement and $4 billion price tag is deviously embedded in the federal agenda. What is most disturbing, however, is the notion that Navajos are expendable guinea pigs to non-existent technology. In 2009, we hope that the legal, political and economic tangles will hasten the demise of Desert Rock.
Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (Diné CARE)
Dáilan J. Long
Community Organizer,Diné CARE
(505) 801-0713


Critics question water, access at disputed NV mine

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RENO, Nev.—Access to a mountain some tribal members consider hallowed ground and the impact on water resources was the focus of testimony Thursday as a hearing continued to determine whether a massive gold mine project in northeast Nevada should be allowed to proceed.Some Western Shoshone and the environmental group Great Basin Resource Watch are seeking a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court to halt at least part of Barrick Gold Corp.’s 6,700-acre Cortez Hills Project on Mount Tenabo 250 miles east of Reno.

They argue the mountain holds cultural and religious significance to the Western Shoshone people—a claim disputed by other Western Shoshone and some experts. They also say environmental studies used by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in approving the project were flawed.

Groups appeal permit for Flagstaff coal mine

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FLAGSTAFF – A coalition of tribal groups and conservationists have appealed the federal government’s decision to renew a permit that combines the facilities and coal reserves of two northeastern Arizona coal mines.

The Office of Surface Mining approved a life of mine permit last month that covers Peabody Energy’s Kayenta Mine and allows operations to continue there until 2026.

In their appeal filed Thursday, the groups cited concerns about air and water pollution, global warming, ground water depletion and impacts to religious freedom.

Uranium mining’s legacy

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GRANTS — Data reviewed by an independent team of scientists and engineers contracted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the remediation system at Homestake Mining Co.’s uranium mill site has raised a number of issues.

William Thompson, senior hydrologist for Environmental Quality Management Inc. of Cincinnati, said the Remedial System Evaluation team looked at what Homestake was doing right, and what it might be doing wrong in its cleanup of the Superfund site.

With regard to the tailings pile, water is injected to flush contaminants out of the rock strata, then collected and drained in wells. “The question is, how effective is this process,” Thompson told a group of concerned residents during a community meeting conducted Wednesday evening in Grants by EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department.

Judge Rules Needville ISD Violated Native American Boy’s Constitutional Rights

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In a strong rebuke of their actions, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that Needville Independent School District officials violated the constitutional rights of a kindergarten student and his parents, by not allowing the boy to wear his hair according to his Native American religious beliefs.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison ruled that Needville ISD is permanently barred from forcing 5-year-old Adriel Arocha to comply with terms of a dress-code exemption policy the district created specifically for the boy.

That policy “violates not only Adriel Arocha’s free exercise rights, but also his rights to free expression and his parents’ due process rights,” Judge Ellison said in court documents released Wednesday.