Latest Updates on Transgender Rights, and how we can all self-educate

By Alyssa on February 26, 2015 at 12:57 pm

o-TRANS-facebook

In 2014, and so far in 2015, there have been several legal, social media, and entertainment-related successes for the transgender community. But the successes were not without some wake up calls too, alerting us to the fact that as a nation we have a lot of self-educating to do, even within the LGBT community. Before I started writing this, I checked out GLAAD’s media reference page for transgender-related issues, which I found helpful in clarifying certain definitions and uses of terms–making sure you know what you’re talking about, and in the right ways, can only help increase your level of respect, especially as terms and definitions evolve.

While progress is being made in accepting, understanding, and supporting transgender people, and explicitly granting them their legal rights, they continue to experience severe disadvantages. Transgender people are disproportionately affected by hate crimes, especially transgender women, and face high levels of discrimination and poverty. The American Medical Association states that treatment for gender dysphoria is medically necessary, but insurance companies treat transition-related medical care as cosmetic. And while the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was repealed, it only applied to lesbian, gay, and bisexual personnel, so transgender people are still prohibited from serving in the military.

2014 began with the passing of the Affordable Care Act on January 1st, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and enabled eligible transgender Americans to receive transition-related care for the first time.

Then in April, the Department of Education added explicit protections for transgender students to Title IX. Also in education, three all-women’s colleges, including Mills College, Mount Holyoke College, and Simmons College, adopted policies that clearly state that all women can seek admission, regardless of what is listed on the applicant’s birth certificate or other legal documentation. Disappointingly, the Smith College board of trustees has stated that the class of 2020 will be the first to apply under an explicitly transgender-inclusive policy.

In Hollywood, there was upheaval concerning the straight actor Jared Leto portraying the transgender woman, Rayon, in Dalla Buyers Club, rather than an actual transgender woman. It was clear from his response to protesters that Leto, who argued that straight men play gay roles all the time and never once said the word “transgender” in any of his acceptance speeches, has some work to do in understanding what it means to be transgender. But he’s not the only one–read this article from Rolling Stone.

2014 also saw some improvements in the social media sector: Facebook now offers over 50 gender identities to choose from, and three gender pronouns. OKCupid also added nine sexual orientation and 19 gender options, while Google+ has started allowing users to type in their own gender. While not social media related, I can’t help but be reminded that most application forms I run into still only give two choices for gender.

As the year was coming to a close, the Department of Labor issued an executive order that protects transgender federal employees from workplace discrimination, a huge step forward as transgender people experience a disproportionate amount of workplace discrimination. This was followed by the release of a new federal regulation on Friday, January 30, 2015, clarifying that unlawful sex discrimination in the workplace includes bias against all LGBT workers, exhibiting the increasingly broad legal consensus that sex discrimination laws should extend to all LGBT workers, not just federal employees. Within the proposed rule it is stated that transgender workers must have equal access to workplace restrooms consistent with their identity (read this for more).

And in January 2015, for the first time in US History, President Obama said “transgender” and “bisexual” in a State of the Union address (read this article for more):

As Americans, we respect human dignity […] It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims – the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.

Here are a few articles and resources for further self education on transgender issues:

http://nymag.com/news/features/transgender-children-2012-6/

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/04/woman-2

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/03/18/about-a-boy-2

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/19/politics/mike-honda-transgender-granddaughter/

http://nymag.com/news/features/martine-rothblatt-transgender-ceo/

http://www.impactprogram.org/lgbtq-youth/transgender-101/?gclid=CjwKEAiA05unBRCymrGilanF9SwSJACqDFRm7CH5sinhpc_RtGdD2tpK8J1jxk3x-9hl5Rf7I9RdXxoCxLDw_wcB#sthash.4SZglvHJ.dpbs

http://transequality.org/

http://www.glaad.org/transgender/trans101

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx

 

Alabama Has (Pretty Much) Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

By Alyssa on February 16, 2015 at 6:06 pm

same-sex-marriage-coming-to-alabama

As of February 9th, 2015, same-sex marriage is legal in Alabama. But the legalization came with some struggle and confusion, including conflicting orders from federal and state courts.

Here’s the breakdown: On January 23rd federal Judge Callie Granade ruled in Searcy v. Strange that Alabama’s Marriage Protection Act is unconstitutional (read more about it here). Her ruling went into effect on February 9th.

In response, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore issued an order telling probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The legalities of his order were dubious, and the repercussions for judges who disregarded it were unclear. So, some judges issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples anyway (and were not punished), some judges complied with Judge Moore, while still others stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, creating a huge headache for many.

On Thursday, February 12th, after a group of gay couples went back to federal court to claim their right to marriage licenses, Judge Granade agreed, ordering that all judges in the state of Alabama start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples (see here for more on that).

So where are we now? Most judges have been complying with Granade’s order to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but there is still one major hurdle to overcome, as the case is still on appeal. Though it seems unlikely, there is still a possibility that the ruling could be reversed, and Judge Moore will be fighting for the reversal nail and tooth. He has even said he’ll defy the US Supreme Court if it decides to back same-sex marriage in the upcoming hearings in April (see the article in the New York Times here and today’s article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

But Moore seems to be increasingly on the losing side: the US Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 last week to legalize same-sex marriage in Alabama. With Scalia and Thomas as the only dissenting judges, things seem to be looking up for a pro-equality ruling this spring. Marriage of Convenience, an essay that appeared in the New York Times Magazine on February 1st, gives a nice background on those upcoming hearings.

As of today, 37 states have legalized same-sex marriage, and 13 states have banned it. See here for a breakdown. We’ll provide updates as things progress this spring.

 

Further reading:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-baume/how-alabama-marriage-equality-got-so-messy_b_6690716.html

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_6j37.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Alabama

Conflict Minerals in Congo: Interview with the Enough Project’s Holly Dranginis

By Anna on January 5, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Dranginis during a visit in May to a tin mining community in Masisi territory, eastern Congo.

I met Holly Dranginis, a policy analyst for the Enough Project, at a roundtable discussion on responsible gold sourcing and mining this past summer. The Enough Project fights to end genocide and crimes against humanity, and their current initiatives are focused on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC or Congo), Sudan, South Sudan, and Central African Republic. The conflict in Congo, and the role of gold and other minerals in that conflict, has not been a constant headline in the US, but the details Holly shared about the war there are shocking. At the same time, the progress toward a more transparent, sustainable mineral trade that Holly outlined is impressive and inspiring. This winter I interviewed Holly about the war in Congo, the role of gold and other metals mining, and the Enough Project’s work there.

AB: The war in the DRC is the deadliest since World War II, taking the lives of more than 5.4 million people. Much of this violence has been funded by the extraction and trade of minerals including tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. Can you explain the relationship between these minerals and the conflict in the region for those who are unfamiliar?

HD: The war in Congo began following the Rwandan genocide in 1994. At that time, armed groups were motivated by political power and grievances, as well as tensions and trauma related to the genocide. But Congo’s lucrative natural resources quickly became a source of revenue for violent armed groups in Congo and their backers, including the national army, and eventually became part of the complex landscape of motivations that sustained the fighting. For over a decade, investigations have revealed that armed groups are financed by and motivated by exploiting natural resources. For most groups, in order to take control over those riches and run successful illegal trading networks, they terrorize the civilian populations. For example, rebel commanders enslave civilians to work under brutal conditions at the mines, they abduct children in the communities to work and fight as part of their forces, and they use rape to tear apart the fabric of communities, force people to flee out of fear, and submit to their orders. There are many things that motivate groups to do this, but conflict minerals are the driving financer of these activities, and often one of the motivators.

AB: Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act is intended to prevent armed groups and militias from profiting through the illicit minerals trade by requiring publicly-traded US companies to conduct supply chain audits and trace the gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten in their supply chain. I have been impressed by the impact of this legislation and the new awareness of supply chains it is creating in the jewelry industry. But Dodd Frank could be construed as effectively creating a boycott of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold from DRC and the surrounding countries. It has certainly impacted legitimate mining operations as well. What reactions have you heard from artisanal miners, regional companies, and Congolese government in response to the legislation?

HD: One very common reaction we hear on the ground, from diverse stakeholders including miners, mining community civil society groups, local government, and church leaders, is that Dodd Frank is spurring in-region reforms that have been desperately needed for decades, but never put in place because there wasn’t the right outside pressure. Now, after prolonged entrenched illegal conflict minerals trading and brutal violence, Dodd Frank is creating market incentives to put pressure on regional authorities to finally build a clean minerals trade and support local economies by transitioning a lawless, violent minerals sector into a formalized trade. This will not be an overnight process, however, and yes, the livelihoods of legitimate, peaceful artisanal miners are harmed by the market forces that are making it less profitable for armed groups to terrorize civilians for control over mineral wealth. That’s why more reforms are needed to accompany Dodd Frank to make sure artisanal miners have a fluid way of joining the growing clean minerals trade in Congo, or have alternative livelihoods opportunities like agriculture and small business. We work on building support for in-region projects like this, especially among companies. One of our biggest advocacy goals is to create awareness and momentum among retail companies to source from the region, and support the development of a clean minerals trade there. Some bold, responsible companies have committed to continue to source from the region and helped build clean sourcing initiatives there. Boycotting the region is not the responsible thing to do, and in the long run, with more investment, some of the most prosperous business will hopefully be in Congo’s clean minerals trade.

Mining in Congo (Enough Project)

 

AB: The electronics industry and the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition have been at the forefront of developing traceable, conflict-free mineral sources in DRC. Beyond supply chain audits and due diligence, how has the industry partnered with organizations like the Enough Project to create conflict-free products with materials from DRC? What are the parallels for how the jewelry industry can contribute?

HD: Industry actors have collaborated with Enough and other groups in a number of ways apart from supply chain management. First, companies like Intel, Motorola Solutions, and AVX have, with help from advocacy organizations like Resolve, Enough, and Congolese civil society councils, piloted closed-pipe conflict-free mines in Congo to begin to establish clean minerals sourcing opportunities for companies who want to support the region, along with job opportunities and growth for local communities. It would be a game-changer to see a critical mass of jewelry companies get involved in supporting conflict-free gold mines in the Great Lakes region, especially Eastern Congo. We are already starting to see interest and involvement in a closed-pipe gold mine in the Kivus by companies like Tiffany and Signet, but these initiatives need a broader push and financial support to advance those mines and make sure artisanal miners and communities benefit.

The other major impact of our collaboration with the tech industry has been in raising public awareness, especially on college campuses, which in turn launch their own powerful campaigns to influence the wider public. We’ve worked with Intel and others to create short videos to help explain the issues, hold rallies on college campuses and big public events with celebrity upstanders like Aaron Rodgers and Robin Wright. Tech companies have been with us organizing and supporting these initiatives, hoping to educate their consumer audiences and empower the next generation to carry the momentum forward. Jewelry companies, large and small, could follow that example, especially with their power in advertising and around the holidays. People attach sentimentality and enormous value to jewelry and jewelry brands – companies could use that power to raise awareness and elevate the importance of this issue to a broad public audience.

AB: How can smaller jewelers support the development of conflict-free gold mines in DRC? What is the scale of investment needed?

HD: There is broad range of investment needed, especially considering the important need for investment in artisanal mining communities and alternative livelihoods. The beauty of the in-region initiatives is that they are generally very collaborative and multi-stakeholder in nature, taking into account a number of different interests and perspectives, including downstream companies, mining companies, local and national government, and both local and international civil society groups. For the conflict-free sourcing initiatives, even small investments can make a difference. For community projects helping create agriculture or micro-finance opportunities or formalize artisanal mining, investment can start even lower to have a meaningful impact. Funds are needed for small business loans, distributing registration cards to artisanal miners, buying equipment for safer mining practices, and school fees for children who once worked in the mines, but due to reforms, are now given the chance to leave the mines and go to school. Small jewelry companies can make very important contributions with smaller grants to programs like that through their organizers, including Partnership Africa Canada, Solutions for Hope, and UNICEF. Small companies can also join efforts by attending events like Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forums on responsible sourcing, the Responsible Sourcing Network’s multistakeholder calls on conflict minerals, or the Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade. Small jewelers are also critical in raising awareness about the issue. The jewelry industry traditionally is very powerful over public consciousness, in part because consumers attach so much personal and sentimental value to the jewelry they buy. Public awareness does not happen overnight, and it doesn’t need to be widescale to be important. If small jewelers can influence a small subset of their customers to take interest in this issue, that interest can have ripple effects.

AB: Can you tell us more about the Mukungwe and Masisi conflict-free gold mines under development in the Kivus?

HD: The Mukungwe and Masisi mines are meant to build on successful conflict-free sourcing initiatives in Congo in tin and tantalum. The vision for investors, communities, NGOs and companies involved is to build fully conflict-free large-scale gold mines in eastern Congo. That way refiners and companies will have clear options for supporting Congo’s gold trade while still complying with Dodd Frank 1502. Mukungwe and Masisi are two examples of that vision in development. They are both works in progress, working to responsibly address conflict risk factors, and community needs, including alternative livelihoods programs and shared understanding of the mines’ impact on human rights and the environment. These kinds of projects must develop and maintain true multi-stakeholder involvement – including new mining police, tasked with helping to monitor security and transparency, and the invaluable work of local community-based organizations to monitor the projects’ impact. With this kind of investment, opportunities for conflict-free sourcing will increase, and gold mining communities will see increased security as armed groups are pushed out and replaced by regulated mining activities.

 

A community agricultural project near Bukavu, South Kivu province (Enough Project)

AB: The tension between large-scale and artisanal mining occurs alongside mineral and gemstone extraction all over the world. Because of the complexities of oversight, security, protocols, and international trade, investment can tend to focus on larger scale mines. How are the conflict-free 3T and gold mines in development in DRC approaching the relationship with artisanal miners?

HD: Large scale mining is an important way for Congo to benefit from its natural resources, as long as the industry development is done in a responsible manner, complementary to artisanal mining. Large-scale mining has the potential to bring revenues and development to the population. It’s true that when a large-scale mine is established, it can be at odds with artisanal mining communities because many artisanal miners may already be surface-mining the area that is set for development into a large scale mine. The responsible thing for companies and government partners to do is first, consult early and often with the artisanal mining community to assess the impact of the proposed large-scale mine and understand the grievances and interests of the artisanal miners and their families; second, to employ as many local artisanal miners as possible in the large-scale mine, and allow artisanal miners to continue mining parts of the concession wherever possible; and finally, to invest generously in alternative livelihoods projects for artisanal miners who can’t be employed by the mining company because of limits on the number of workers needed for large-scale mines.

AB: With initiatives like Fairmined or Fairtrade gold, much effort goes into the labeling, tracking, and tracing of the materials even after it’s been made into jewelry. Do you see conflict-free gold from DRC going this route? Would it be, for lack of a better term, ‘branded’ as conflict-free gold from DRC?

HD: The more transparency at any stage in the sourcing of gold and production of jewelry, the better. We encourage a variety of different approaches to ensuring that retail companies and consumers know where their gold is coming from and whether or not it is verified conflict-free. We’re also supportive of country-of-origin transparency because simply conflict-free gold without transparency about where the gold is from could indirectly encourage an embargo on the Great Lakes region and falls short of a comprehensively responsible approach to conflict-free gold sourcing. Truly responsible companies will support growth and development and peace in areas like Congo where gold has fueled conflict, rather than focusing on sourcing conflict-free gold from places where conflict hasn’t occurred in recent memory.

AB: Are there initiatives such as women’s cooperatives, microlending, or miner education that work with artisanal miners in the region?

HD: There are a number of incredible Congolese organizations working on this issue, including Synergie des Femmes in North Kivu and Maman Shujaa in South Kivu – both are women’s organizations designed to support women affected by violence in eastern Congo. The leaders and members of these organizations take great interest in the development of conflict-free sourcing initiatives because conflict minerals have a significant adverse impact on the safety and wellbeing of women and girls. Armed groups use rape as a weapon of war as part of their strategies to control mining areas in the east, and even in times of relative peace, mining areas are hotbeds of prostitution, rape, and child labor. Synergie and Mama Shujaa take a comprehensive, locally-led approach to these issues and do invaluable work to support communities and solve problems from the grassroots.

In addition, international groups like Eastern Congo Initiative, Partnership Africa Canada, and UNICEF are all doing work in this space – creating alternative livelihoods for former artisanal miners in areas like agriculture and small business, transitional child laborers into school, and helping support, educate, and equip artisanal miners for safer, more regulated, and more profitable work in mines.

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Obama Protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay from Oil and Gas Drilling, NY to ban Fracking

By Roxy on December 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Obama Protects Alaska’s Bristol Bay from Oil and Gas Drilling, via the LA Times.

“This is one of the most important ocean protection decisions that this or any president has ever made,” said Marilyn Heiman, U.S. Arctic program director for the Pew Charitable Trusts. “This is a victory for the people of Bristol Bay who have fought for more than 30 years.

“There are just some places that are too special to risk,” she said. “Bristol Bay is one of those places.”

But Tuesday’s action is only a partial protection for the remote region. Federal officials are expected to decide in coming months whether to allow the largest open-pit mine in North America to be dug in the Bristol Bay watershed.

This year, a study by the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the proposed Pebble Mine would have a devastating effect on the same fishery that Obama acted to preserve Tuesday.

This is huge victory for conservationists, fishermen, and Native Alaskans. I’m very happy to read this news today, even though there is still work to be done to protect the Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine, which would cause devastation to the landscape and economy.

Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks, via the NY Times.

That conclusion was delivered publicly during a year-end cabinet meeting called by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Albany. It came amid increased calls by environmentalists to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.

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New Engagement Rings From Bario Neal

By Roxy on December 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

 

 

002_DSC9379  _DSC8916 _DSC8938

 

Our New Engagement Rings. Available to purchase instore and online.

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Sunday Reading: The Importance of Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold

By Roxy on November 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Deadly mercury is used in small-scale gold mining processes. Photograph: Eduardo Martino/Eduardo Martino / Documentograph via the Guardian

The Harsh Reality Behind the Glamor of Gold, via The Guardian

“The miners bring rock containing the metal ore to the surface where it is crushed by hand into a fine powder in the search for gold – work mainly carried out by women.

Then, controversially, the deadly metal mercury is used to help separate the gold. Gold clings to mercury which is burnt off in open cooking pans, the vapours filling the atmosphere, sometimes with children close by. Severe risks to health are caused by exposure to mercury which can lead to brain and nervous system damage, gastroenteritis, kidney complaints and more, yet the workers do not know this and swill the mercury with their bare hands.The mercury also pollutes local rivers and the food chain.

For all of these efforts, the miners receive sometimes less than $1 a day from middlemen, unaware of the gold’s value. As Tina Mwasha, Tanzania’s first female mineral processing engineer says, “If a broker walks into your compound and offers to buy your gold and you haven’t eaten for two days – then you sell.”

Fairtrade has already brought signs of hope. Several mines in Latin America are working to Fairtrade standards. A Fairtrade minimum price is paid for the gold plus a $2,000 (£1,200) per kilo premium, often invested in better equipment.”

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NEW Black Diamond Eternity and Channel Bands

By Roxy on November 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm

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Our new Black Eternity and Black Channel Bands, made with ethically sourced, melee black diamonds.

Jeweler’s Row: Artisans in Action

By Roxy on October 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

We work with a handful of artisans in historic Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row. We took some video of them in action.

 

Joan, our enamelist, working in her studio.

Our stone setter, Gabe, setting a diamond into our Allium Ring.

Lane, setting a stone into our Black Eternity Band.

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Sunday Reading: Deforestation and Ebola, Deep Sea Mining

By Roxy on October 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Industrial kimberlite diamond pit mine in Sierra Leone, West Africa owned by Koidu holdings, one of a number of international mining companies who have come to Sierra Leone in search of diamonds. Mining is among major factors driving deforestation of the region. Photographer: David Levene

How saving West African forests might have prevented the Ebola epidemic, via The Guardian:

Although bats have long been on the menu in West Africa, there are other transmission routes for the virus besides bushmeat. It is conceivable the two-year-old boy in Guinea thought to be the first case in this outbreak was infected after eating bat-contaminated fruit. This mode of transmission may also explain how the disease gets into wild gorilla populations.

The bottom line is that there is no public health without environmental health. Deforestation didn’t cause this Ebola epidemic, but did make it much more likely. The region’s legacy of war and poverty, its beleaguered health care systems, and a series of bureaucratic fumbles fanned a small and isolated outbreak into a full-blown epidemic fire, which has already killed more people than all previous 25 known Ebola outbreaks put together.

It is shocking to realize that a tiny virus with just a handful of genes can fracture families, shred communities, destroy national economies and destabilize whole regions in just a matter of months. But this is what are witnessing with Ebola.

Ethical Metalsmiths recently published an article an deep sea mining, which would be devastating to marine habitats, called A Close Look At Deep Sea Mining:

Intensive research, planning, risk mitigation and the advances of technology hope to decrease environmental degradation.   The risk to the environment is far greater, however, in the form of large scale disaster.  EM fears the potential of large scale environmental disaster similar to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  During the spill, British Petroleum’s fail safes were unable to stem the flow of oil gushing out of the sea floor.  The prospects of a rogue tank-sized robotic vehicle on the ocean floor gobbling up ecologically diverse habitats concerns us here at EM and it sadly is not out of the realm of possibilities.

[…]

The ROVs will remove some of the most biologically diverse and active vents and habitat on planet earth.  This concerns environmentalists even though the production area is much smaller than land based mining.  All that grinding and crushing of the vents will create noise pollution and large plumes of sediment that have the potential to spread over a larger area of habitat, impacting whales and possibly smothering other sensitive species in a larger swath of habitation.  Scientific research concludes that these ROVs will disturb and suspend 16% of the floor sediment in the surrounding water and predict it will take 20 years for sediment to regain its original density. This disturbance could destroy species’ environments and feeding grounds. Even after the slurry of ore is pumped up to the ship the environmental impacts do not stop.  The waste water is pumped back down to the ocean floor, and even if it is filtered prior to return, it could contain sedimentary particles and heavy metals that are harmful to ocean floor species and migrate to human consumption through seafood and shellfish and via water tables.

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Sunday Reading: California Drinking and Irrigation Aquifers Contaminated with Fracking Water

By Roxy on October 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm

California aquifers contaminated with billions of gallons of fracking wastewater, via Reuters

Troubling news from California. Protected aquifers in drought-ridden California have been found to contain billions of gallons of fracking wastewater.

According to documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, the California State Water Resources Board found that at least nine of the 11 hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, wastewater injection sites that were shut down in July upon suspicion of contamination were in fact riddled with toxic fluids used to unleash energy reserves deep underground. The aquifers, protected by state law and the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, supply quality water in a state currently sufferingunprecedented drought.

The documents also show that the Central Valley Water Board found high levels of toxic chemicals – including arsenic, thallium, and nitrates – in water-supply wells near the wastewater-disposal sites.

Arsenic is a carcinogen that weakens the immune system, and thallium is a common component in rat poison.

“Arsenic and thallium are extremely dangerous chemicals,” said Timothy Krantz, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

“The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to wastewater injection sites raises major concerns about the health and safety of nearby residents.”

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