Organizer wanted in South Dakota

Dakota Rural Action is seeking the right individual to join our team. The Western South Dakota Organizer will get the opportunity to work with the staff and members of a fast growing grassroots organization whose work on local foods, landowner protection, civic engagement and leadership building are unique in South Dakota.

Another meatpacker attack on COOL & GIPSA

Big meatpacking corporations and their allies in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are lobbying members of Congress to stop country-of-origin labeling (COOL) and kill rules that protect livestock and poultry farmers from unfair meatpacker practices.

Urge your Representative to reject radical “riders” on the Agricultural Appropriations bill that would stop COOL and limit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's authority to level the playing field between farmers and corporations.

  • Send your message here.
Many problems with the rubber stamp process and West Antelope coal lease

WORC, Powder River Basin Resource Council, Northern Plains Resource Council and other groups submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management pointing out critical problems with a lease modification proposal to sell nearly 16 million tons of federal coal to Cloud Peak Energy. The lease modification is a fast-track coal lease that has come under criticism by the Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General. Cloud Peak is a major exporter of public coal through the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia and the Antelope coal is part of the mix.

COOL stays!

Appeals Court denies a preliminary injunction against enforcing Country-of-Origin Labeling and found that the meatpacking industry was “unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims.” Read more

WORC joins call to set coal ash rule

Over 110 organizations sent a letter to the EPA to urge action on a coal ash rule. The recent coal ash spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River Power Station demonstrates the urgent need to address threats to the health, environment and economy posed by the nation’s leaking and unstable coal ash dumps.

WORC & PRBRC comment to protect water

WORC signed onto comments prepared by Powder River Basin Resource Council on a proposal to re-classify groundwater and exempt an aquifer from the Safe Drinking Water Act to allow underground coal gasification.

The aquifer represents some of the best quality water in Northeast Wyoming. At PRBRC's challenge, EPA required the State of Wyoming to go back and include the opportunity for public participation in the decision.

The hearing in Wright on March 26 was attended by 50 local citizens, including landowners concerned about their groundwater.

WORC offers grassroots leadership & organizing trainings this summer

Build a strong organization and winning issue campaigns.

Deputy Political Director wanted

Looking for some excitement this election year? WORC is seeking a Deputy Political Director. Learn more here.

Heavy Traffic Still Ahead

HTSA cover

Heavy Traffic Still Ahead updates WORC’s July 2012 report, Heavy Traffic Ahead, and reevaluates the anticipated increase in coal train traffic in light of the current proposals for new or expanded port facilities in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, the update discusses the combined effects of oil trains traveling from North Dakota over the same routes.

The report also identifies impacts to communities along the transport route, consequences for existing rail users, including grainshippers and passenger service, and how coal export could affect rail corridors already near capacity.


Senator wants review of coal leasing program

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Ron Wyden, of Oregon, sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell calling for further review of problems with the federal coal program that stretch back to the 1980s.

In addition, Wyden said DOI appears to have repeatedly shortchanged taxpayers by underestimating the volume of coal contained in reserves leased to the coal companies.

Read letter.

WORC applauds ‘hands off’ of COOL & livestock provisions in Farm Bill

WORC praised Congress for excluding provisions in the House Farm Bill that would have rolled back the country-of origin labeling (COOL) program and limited the authority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address fraudulent, deceptive and retaliatory business practices of meatpackers.

Read statement.

GAO review says coal policy lacks competition, rigor, oversight & transparency

A new report by the Government Accountability Office identifies major problems with the federal coal leasing program:

  • Competition for coal leases is still lacking.
  • The Department of Interior lacks rigor and oversight in determining the fair market value of federal coal leases.
  • Interior is not fully considering the potential of coal exports despite market changes.
  • Interior is providing limited information to the public.

Statements by WORC, Powder River Basin Resource Council and Northern Plains Resource Council.

New York Times article, Government Said to Undervalue Coal Leases.

COAL LEASING: BLM Could Enhance Appraisal Process, More Explicitly Consider Coal Exports, and Provide More Public Information

Summary provided by Sen. Edward Markey.

Sen. Markey’s news release; Markey: Report on Public Coal Leasing Shows Taxpayers Losing Money

Letter from Sen. Markey to DOI on problems to fix before new federal coal lease sales.

Life in the booming Bakken

The Dakota Resource Council’s new video, This Is Our Country: Living With the Wild West Oil Boom, depicts the group’s work on the impacts of the Bakken oil boom.

With footage of the industrialization of the area, the film features farmers and ranchers like McKenzie County’s Don Nelson, whose family has dealt with the mix of agriculture and oil issues since oil was first discovered in North Dakota in 1953.

Nelson, also a mineral owner, talks about the challenges of running a farm and ranch while dealing with oil pads, easements, pipelines, gas flares, and oil and saltwater spills.Nelson worries about the huge amount of fresh water used in fracking that leaves the hydrological cycle forever.

He said that if oil development isn’t handled better, there won’t be anything from his family farm and ranch to hand down to his children and grandchildren. He said, “We’re being sacrificial lambs for the rest of the country.”

You can view it here.

Slow down on Fast Track and TPP

The Obama administration has been quietly negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement with a dozen nations behind closed doors for four years.

Congressional leaders marked recently the anniversary by signing off on a backroom “Fast Track” plan that would set up special rules to push the secret TPP trade deal through Congress in January. Under Fast Track, the White House can put the trade agreement before Congress for an up-or-down vote with limited debate and no amendments, making it very hard to stop.

Tell Congress to oppose Fast Track legislation and demand that TPP texts be made public.

Watered Down Examines the Dangers to Water Quality from Oil and Gas

A new report by WORC shows how regulatory systems are failing to protect residents and communities from the harmful effects of oil and gas development.

Watered Down identifies and examines the dangers to water quality posed by oil and gas production in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Support residents of Pavillion, Dimock, and Parker County

Add your name to petition urging President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to reopen investigations of water contamination by fracking.

Voices from the Bakken - Fighting Back

A snapshot of residents defending their water, land, communities, and families from the harmful effects of booming oil drilling in the Bakken region of northwest North Dakota.



Hydraulic Fracturing Photos

John Fenton and his
neigbors deal with the impacts of gas
drilling and hydraulic fracturing daily.
Click on Learn More to
view photographs.
Who's Your Farmer?

Powder River member Audrey Malan gives thanks for local food and local producers in a High Plains News radio commentary.


Member Group News

Baucus introduces ‘fast-track’ trade legislation– Fast track would ease way for secretly negotiated trade pact that may affect country-of-origin labels said Steve Charter, Northern Plains Resource Council Chairman. (Billings Gazette, January 9, 2014)

Coalition wants stricter air-quality rules near homes, schools – Western Colorado Congress and Grand Valley Citizens Alliance among groups seeking more air quality protections from oil and gas drilling near homes and schools. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent, January 8, 2014)

After Spill and Explosion, ND Urged to Slow Pace of Drilling – Dakota Resource Council says rush to drill oil threatens human health and safety. (Public News Service, January 7, 2014)

More Member Group News


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