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G2. Local Greens

Tell Feds "no subsidy for hydrogen"

Delaware Riverkeeper Network - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 09:20
Image: Body: Tell the federal government we don’t want to subsidize dirty hydrogen and we want meaningful public input! Please submit a written comment to the federal government today!
Deadline February 26, 11:59pm.

Please take a few minutes to submit a written comment to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the proposed rules that would govern how our tax money is being doled out for the “hydrogen Hubs” that the Dept. of Energy is bankrolling. The “proposed regulations relating to the credit for production of clean hydrogen (clean hydrogen production credit)” under 45V of the Internal Revenue Code. 88 Fed. Reg. 89,220 (Dec. 26, 2023) (“Proposed Rule”) has tens of billions in tax subsidies that would go to energy providers and we don’t want greenwashed dirty energy to profit.

What’s more, the IRS is providing only one public hearing on the Proposed Rule set for 10:00am, March 25, and you must register to speak by March 18 by sending an email to publichearings@irs.gov. IRS may even cancel the hearing if they don’t receive the outlines they require by March 8 (See the Proposed Rule here). This sole hearing will be held in-person in Washington, DC with a telephonic option for non-local participants. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, providing opportunity for sufficient public input. We need more hearings and more public participation.

The Proposed Rule has some strict requirements that some special industry interests such as fossil gas providers are trying to get eliminated so they can use these subsidies to develop more hydrogen made from gas and other dirty fuels. There are also dangerous loopholes in the proposed rule that must be removed. We must fight back to make these rules as strict as possible. Below are some talking points calling for strengthening of the rules.

 

Please act now by submitting a written comment here.
(Make sure to reference IRS and REG–117631–23)
It’s best to personalize your comment by adding some information about why you care, why this is important to you.
You can use any or all of the suggested points below – just copy and paste into the form.

 

Some Suggested Talking Points:

  • More public input! I want the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to: hold additional public hearings in, at minimum, each of the seven regions where hydrogen hubs have been proposed; provide virtual options where people can speak on the record; clarify the process for participation and oral comment at its public hearing(s) NOW. There is one public hearing scheduled but its scheduled after the comment period has ended and will be held at the IRS’s discretion, if they judge the comments to warrant it, and it’s unclear how people can take part virtually. This is unfair.
  • IRS must not allow greenwashing to exploit these credits! The 45V hydrogen tax credit could have enormous impact on me and my community. If not implemented carefully, this credit could increase emissions and embed polluting practices in environmental justice communities.
  • No Biomass pollution! I oppose woody biomass being used as a feedstock to make hydrogen, as the draft rule allows. The cutting, transport, and gasification of woody biomass to make hydrogen is a carbon-intensive process that releases large amounts of planet-heating CO2 and toxic air pollutants, worsening the climate emergency and harming public health. The draft rule also subsidize biomass-powered electricity used for hydrogen production, despite this production being more carbon intensive than the statutory requirement. Biomass power plants are more carbon-polluting at the smokestack than coal per unit of electricity produced and often concentrate pollution in communities of color and low-income communities, worsening environmental injustice. This dirty energy source must be eliminated from the rule.
  • The rule needs to be strong – no fudging! We need you to ensure that the final rule maintains the “three pillars” that are supposed to prevent dirty and inefficient energy. The proposed rule states three pillars of “additionally, deliverability, and hourly time-matching”. Treasury and the IRS have rightfully identified that without these principles, hydrogen production from electricity would far exceed the carbon emissions requirements of the 45V tax credit. Treasury and IRS must ensure that the final rule strictly maintains these three pillars.
  • No Loopholes! The proposed rule delays the implementation of “hourly time-matching” until 2028, which is concerning and unnecessary. You must enforce hourly matching without delay or polluters will undermine the program’s potential benefit and turn this credit into a counterproductive subsidy to Big Oil. Additionally, you must not bend the crucial three pillars of hydrogen by exempting nuclear power plants from the “additionally” requirement. This will serve as nothing but a bailout for the toxic nuclear fleet.

Thank you for commenting on this proposed rule!

 

 

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Feb. 25: Senator Hashmi Hosts Town Hall on Costly and Controversial Gas Plant in Chesterfield

CCAN - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 07:23
Feb. 25: Senator Hashmi Hosts Town Hall on Controversial and Costly Gas Plant in Chesterfield
Opposition grows against newly proposed fossil fuel plant, which would be largest of its type in Virginia, accelerating Youngkin's energy policy reversals and undercutting Biden's climate plan

CHESTERFIELD, VA: At 3:00 PM on Sunday, February 25, Virginia State Senator Ghazala Hashmi (D-10) will host a community town hall about Dominion Energy’s proposal to build a massive methane gas plant in Chesterfield near the James River. The Senator will invite representatives from Friends of Chesterfield and environmental organizations to speak alongside representatives from Dominion, before allowing members of the community to ask questions.

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting on the Chesterfield Gas Plant

WHEN: Sunday, February 25, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM ET

WHERE: Beulah Recreation Center, 6901 Hopkins Road, North Chesterfield, VA 23234

WHO: 

      • Host: Virginia State Senator Ghazala Hashmi

      • Speakers:
            • Representatives of Dominion Energy

            • Representatives of Friends of Chesterfield and partners
                  • Jason Woodby, Friends of Chesterfield Founding Board Member.

                  • Glen Besa; Friends of Chesterfield, Founding Board Member, and Sierra Club, Volunteer.

                  • Aliya Farooq; Friends of Chesterfield, Founding Board Member, and Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, Board Member.

                  • Rachel James; Associate Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center.

          • Community members will be invited to ask questions

        VISUALS: Concerned activists will flood the room wearing bright t-shirts. 

        RUN OF SHOW: 

            • Welcome and introductions – Senator Hashmi

            • Dominion Energy will give a 15-minute presentation on the proposed gas plant

            • Environmental justice advocates offer a 15-minute presentation on their views

            • Questions from the audience

            • Conclusion – Senator Hashmi

          RSVP: Click HERE to RSVP

          ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Opposition is growing to Dominion Energy’s plans to build a gas plant called the “Chesterfield Energy Reliability Center” that would build four new gas generators totaling 1,000 MW of nameplate capacity. The plant is emblematic of Dominion’s continued efforts to profit from new fossil fuel infrastructure despite a state-level mandate that the company achieve zero-emissions by 2045. It is a key part of Dominion’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which itself has come under fire for focusing on expensive, unnecessary fossil fuels. In fact, on December 8, the Virginia State Corporation Commission Hearing Examiner recommended the state agency reject Dominion Energy’s energy plan. Senior Hearing Examiner A. Ann Berkebile stated that she does “not recommend the Commission find the 2023 IRP to be reasonable and in the public interest.” Energy analysts with the consulting firm Gabel Associates recently released a report detailing how Dominion Energy can meet its projected growth in demand for electricity while improving compliance with the Virginia Clean Economy Act, where the Chesterfield project is not necessary.

          The timing of this town hall is pivotal as the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors deliberates a final decision on the project, which is expected to come in late April. 

          ###

          Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. Founded in 2002, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

          The post Feb. 25: Senator Hashmi Hosts Town Hall on Costly and Controversial Gas Plant in Chesterfield appeared first on Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Conservative peer Lord Deben intervenes in High Court legal challenge against government climate plans

          DRILL OR DROP? - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 04:51

          Lord Deben, the Conservative peer and former chair of the Climate Change Committee, has made a dramatic intervention at the High Court in support of a legal challenge that accuses the government of breaching the Climate Change Act.

          Lord Deben. Photo: CCC

          Lord Deben provided a witness statement in support of Friends of the Earth’s case against the government’s decarbonisation plan, which is currently before the court.

          The case is one of three separate, but related, challenges being considered by the High Court this week.

          The challenges, also involving ClientEarth and the Good Law Project, all allege the government’s Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) is insufficiently detailed and risks the UK missing its legally-binding targets for reducing emissions.

          The CBDP was published in March 2023. This followed a previous High Court ruling that an earlier version was inadequate and must be revised.

          The three organisations alleged the updated plan was still inadequate and began fresh legal actions to force the government to provide more details on how emissions targets would be met.

          Friends of the Earth’s case centres on an assumption by government that “everything will go right” and fails to account sufficiently for risks of under-delivery.

          The opening of the case yesterday focussed on a document produced by officials at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), but not shared with the Secretary of State. The document revealed that nearly half the policies were listed as having “very low” or “low” degree of confidence that they would deliver the expected results.

          In his witness statement, Lord Deben accused the government of failing to share information on the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan before publication with its statutory advisor, the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

          He said:

          “in my experience, the government has previously given the CCC advance information about reports published under the CCA 2008”.

          He was also surprised that the Secretary of State had not been given risk assessments carried out by DEFRA, which rated policies red, amber or green based on the level of risk.

          Had the Secretary of State seen how many of the polices were rated red or amber they would not have concluded the policies would meet statutory emissions targets, Lord Deben said.

          He added that that when the CCC had studied the full detail of the CBDP it was “even more unconvinced that the government’s programme would achieve net zero by 2050”.

          Lord Deben said:

          “The government is relying on everything going to plan with no delays or unforeseen circumstances, and on technologies which have either not been tested or indeed on which testing has not even started.

          “From what I have seen of the evidence provided to the court, the Secretary of State was not given enough detail on the level of risk associated with the policies in the plan. This meant that he could not see how many of them were likely to fail to achieve their end.

          “When you see that evidence, to me it’s clear that the present programme does not provide the necessary assurance that we can meet our statutory duty to reach net zero by 2050. I know of no other government policy which is premised on everything going exactly right.”

          Friends of the Earth lawyer, Katie de Kauwe, said:

          “Lord Deben’s written statement is a damning indictment of the government’s latest climate strategy and its failure to properly consider the risk of its policies not achieving the emissions cuts needed to meet its climate targets.

          “It’s a sorry state of affairs that the government departed from established ways of working to deny its own expert statutory advisors, the Climate Change Committee, the opportunity to view and offer comments on its draft climate plan before it was finalised and published. From an accountability perspective, it’s interesting that this has happened in the context of a plan which is so manifestly weak.”  

          Responding to the legal actions, the government said the UK had halved its greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 while growing the economy by almost 80 per cent, delivering steeper emissions reductions than other G20 nation.

          The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said in a statement:

          “The government has overdelivered on every Carbon Budget to date and we’re on track to meet our future targets, which are among the most ambitious in the world

          “While we cannot comment further on matters that are subject to live litigation, our long-term plans to deliver net zero in a pragmatic way will continue to lower energy bills, create jobs across the UK and reduce emissions.”

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Help Stop Trade Agreements from Blocking Climate Action

          Sunflower Alliance - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 17:07

          We have a chance right now to join a campaign to get a global poison pill out of international trade agreements. The US is part of many trade agreements that include a Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process, which allows multinational corporations to punish nations for  taking positive actions for climate, environmental and social justice.… Read more

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Insure Communities, Not Fossil Fuels, February 29

          Sunflower Alliance - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 16:10

          The global Insure Our Future campaign focuses on pressuring insurance companies to stop insuring fossil fuel projects. Join a global week of action to bring this demand to the streets.

          Insure Our Future writes:

          “In order to build a new fossil fuel project, companies need three things: permits, money and insurance. Without insurance, most new … Read more

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Upgrading the Delaware River’s Water Quality Standards

          Clean Air Ohio - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 13:19

          The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (EPA) took a bold step issuing revised water quality standards for a critical part of the Delaware River on December 13, 2023. This was the culmination of years of work by Clean Air Council and our partners. 

          The draft rule strengthens water quality standards for Zones 3, 4, and 5 of the Delaware River to include aquatic wildlife propagation as a designated use that must be protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Zones 3, 4, and 5 of the Delaware roughly covers from Philadelphia, PA to Wilmington, DE and includes multiple environmental justice communities that have been impacted by years of under-investment and poor water quality. EPA’s draft rule would protect critically endangered animals such as the Atlantic Sturgeon, which are genetically unique to the Delaware River, and already protected by the Endangered Species Act. 

          Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen in a specific body of water and is what aquatic plants and wildlife breathe to live. Therefore, dissolved oxygen is an important indicator of overall water quality. This is vital to oxygen-sensitive species, such as the Atlantic Sturgeon, as well as public health. Low levels of oxygen can create “dead zones” that cannot support aquatic wildlife and also allow for more bacteria and algae in water. These bacteria and algae can sometimes be toxic, which threatens the health of people in the region who recreate in the Delaware River and depend on it as a source of drinking water.

          A 60-day public comment period on EPA’s draft is closing today, and the Council mobilized our members and partner organizations to submit comments asking for the rule to be strengthened in three key ways:

          1. The rule should establish a minimum threshold for dissolved oxygen. The current proposal uses median and average oxygen levels that can allow for periods where the actual level is below the standards required by aquatic life.
          2. The rule should implement monthly assessment periods. The current proposal has created three “seasons” based on the life stages of the Atlantic Sturgeon during which new water quality standards can’t be exceeded. However, this again allows for potentially extended periods where water quality levels are below the standard.
          3. The rule should establish 80% saturation value of dissolved oxygen, or the amount of oxygen the water can hold, to support all life stages of the Atlantic Sturgeon. The proposed rule sets the value between 66% and 74% saturation, which falls below recommendations from current research. 

          The Council will continue to monitor this draft rule and plans from Pennsylvania on how to implement the new water quality standards. While water quality in the Delaware River has vastly improved over the past 50 years, we need stronger standards and the public’s involvement to ensure the highest quality water for our communities. For more information, feel free to contact Susan Sunhee Volz, Advocacy Coordinator, at svolz@cleanair.org.

          Photo courtesy of Peter Miller.

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Questions raised over federal tax handouts to fracking company for NT project

          Lock the Gate Alliance - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 16:06

          A fracking company active in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin may have unlawfully obtained almost $30 million through a publicly-funded Commonwealth “research and development” scheme that explicitly excludes fossil fuel exploration. 

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Government at High Court over claims that its climate action plan is “inadequate”

          DRILL OR DROP? - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 16:01

          Three organisations are taking the government to the High Court this morning alleging that the UK climate plan is weak and inadequate. 

          Campaigners outside the High Court for the first case in June 2022.

          This is the second time Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project have taken legal action over the government’s plan for meeting legally-binding climate targets. (DrillOrDrop reports of the first case here and here)

          They won their case in 2022 and the High Court ruled that the government’s climate action plan breached the Climate Change Act.

          The court ordered the government to rewrite the strategy. But the three organisations will argue this week that the revised strategy – the March 2023 Carbon Budget Delivery Plan – is inadequate and also in breach of the Climate Change Act.

          Their cases focus on three key arguments:

          Lack of information

          The plan has no information on the government’s assessment of the risk that many key policies will not deliver the cuts needed to meet legally-binding climate targets. Friends of the Earth and Client Earth will say the Secretary of State lacked enough information about the level of risk in the plan to adopt it lawfully.

          Vague information

          Where the plan does include information, the organisations argue it suggests that many technologies relied on to make substantial emissions savings are high risk. Many of the proposals are vague and uncertain, the organisations will argue. This raises questions about government assumptions that cuts in emissions will be delivered in full, they say. ClientEarth will say this approach is flawed, unlawful and fails to comply with the Climate Change Act.

          In the dark

          The public and parliament have been kept in the dark, the organisations will say, because the plan contains insufficient information on risk to the delivery of the policies. Ministers have refused to publish the risk tables for the policies, despite legal pressure from the Good Law Project over the past eight months. Once the risk tables are mentioned in court, they can and will be published, unless the government applies for a court order to try to keep them secret.

          Friends of the Earth will also argue that the plan seriously jeopardises the UK’s ability to meet its international commitment to cut emissions by two thirds by 2030, and will therefore negatively impact future generations, and undermine sustainable development.

          The Climate Change Committee, the government’s independent adviser on climate, found in June last year that there were credible plans for less than a fifth of the emissions cuts needed to meet the UK’s Sixth Carbon Budget, which starts in 2033. 

          Since the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan was published, the government announced delays to the ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars and gas boilers. It also announced plans for more than 100 new offshore oil and gas licences.

          Friends of the Earth lawyer, Katie de Kauwe, said today:

           “We believe the government’s revised climate action plan is a complete pipe dream.  

          “It lacks critical information on the very real risks that its policies will fail to deliver the cuts needed to meet legally binding carbon reduction targets and relies too heavily on unproven technologies. 

          “The government ought to just come clean that this is a reckless, high-risk plan, and should come up with a credible and lawful strategy that ensures all our climate targets are met – including our international pledge to cut emissions by two thirds by 2030.  

          “Climate action is not only good for the planet, it’s essential for creating new jobs and business opportunities, boosting energy security and reducing our reliance on costly fossil fuels.” 

          ClientEarth lawyer, Sam Hunter Jones, said: 

           “The UK government continues to rely on pie-in-the-sky measures to address a crisis that needs real, immediate action – an approach the UK’s flagship law the Climate Change Act was designed to prevent. 

          “Instead of plugging the gaps identified by their own expert advisors, ministers are standing behind a strategy that is riddled with policy holes and reliance on risky techno-fixes.

           “This approach flies in the face of key legal requirements and puts the UK well off track from meeting its legally binding commitments, which is why we’re back in court.” 

          Legal Director of Good Law Project, Emma Dearnaley, said:

           “The government has admitted to us that, on its own assessments, its net zero plan is fraught with risks. Many of its flagship policies could fail to be achieved by the legally-binding deadlines, yet ministers are stubbornly keeping vital information under lock and key to save embarrassment.

          “With so much at stake for our planet and our economy, that needs to change. The sooner we can see what the risks are, the sooner the government will have to face up to the shortcomings in its net zero strategy and take action to fix them. So as soon as the risk tables are mentioned in court, we plan to publish them for all to see.”

          The case is expected to run for three days (February 20-22) at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, London. 

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          The Council Receives Funding To Support Child Development and Literacy in Cobbs Creek Park

          Clean Air Ohio - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 12:41

          Clean Air Council is excited to announce we have been awarded the Play Everywhere Philly Challenge grant from KABOOM! and William Penn Foundation. This grant will support child development and literacy skills by creating play and learning spaces at entrances to Cobbs Creek Park. This project will transform four park entrances to include mural art on the paved trail and areas for children and families to learn and play together. 

          The Council has partnered with Amber Art and Design and Tiny WPA to develop, design, and build art and play spaces in the vision of community members. Throughout the next several months we will be gaining inspiration and ideas from residents in order to guide the new play space designs. 

          The project team has created a short survey as a starting place to learn more about what Cobbs Creek Park neighbors would like to see included in the design. We invite Cobbs Creek Park users and area neighbors to our first workshop which will include an evening of creativity, story sharing and imagination as we collectively envision and design mural art on trails and play areas for children and families. This free family-friendly event will take place on Wednesday, March 6th from 5-7:30pm at Christy Rec Center, located at 728 S 55th St, Philadelphia, PA 19143.


          RSVP for the workshop at eventbrite.com and complete the survey using this link.

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Art exhibit: Quilts from the Refinery Corridor Healing Walks, March 2-16

          Sunflower Alliance - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 12:04

          “Many Hands, One World, Quilts from the Refinery Corridor Healing Walks” commemorates the sixteen walks that took place from 2014-2017 along the entire length of the Bay Area refinery corridor.  Idle no More organized these amazing events to bring attention to the five oil refineries along the Bay, educate the public on harms, and defend … Read more

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Brentwood Bans Oil and Gas Drilling

          Sunflower Alliance - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 11:19

          On Tuesday, February 13, Brentwood’s city council delivered an early valentine to its residents:  a ban on oil and gas drilling.  The ordinance was actually two years in coming; the staff report lays out its development and rationale in detail.

          City legal staff made it clear that the August State Supreme Court ruling on Chevron … Read more

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          In Memory of Richard Mermejo

          La Jicarita - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 09:56

          In Memory of Richard Mermejo
          September 20, 1945 – January 27, 2024

          By Severin Fowles, Michael Adler, and Lindsay Montgomery

          Richard Mermejo, former Governor of Picuris Pueblo, passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2024. During his 78 years with us on Mother Earth, Richard touched countless communities through his friendship, mentorship, and activism. He was, firstly, a cultural leader at Picuris Pueblo, a man who dedicated his life to serving his tribe as governor, war chief, and kiva leader. Richard was a tireless fighter in the struggle for tribal self-determination, despite his emphasis that “sovereignty is just a theory.” Richard made this comment often, though those who spent time with him knew that by “theory” Richard meant something more like “sacred memory,” the dream of a tribal inheritance yet to be fully reclaimed. That dream guided his life: in his battles against mining corporations, against the U.S. government, and indeed against a dominant culture that seems to assault Indigenous traditions at every turn. Somehow Richard managed to go into these battles each day with profound generosity and a beautiful smile, seasoned with the occasional naughty joke.

          Richard was born in 1945, two months after the fateful Trinity test. As a child, he was naïve to the effects of the nuclear industry on the health of his homeland, though later in life this became a preoccupying concern. (Richard frequently reminded visitors that Picuris is downwind of Los Alamos and consequently has elevated radiation levels.) Reflecting on his youth, Richard instead placed emphasis on the year 1952, a difficult time for the Picuris community both socially and economically and one that grew even more difficult when an important spiritual leader became estranged from the tribe and took with him certain prayers and sacred belongings. Richard was only seven, but old enough to know about certain ceremonies that could never again be performed. He spoke about this as a psychic trauma, as a moment when part of his future was taken from him. It wasn’t long before Richard found himself a young man in Chicago, far away from home and enrolled in a Native American vocational program. He traveled widely after that, married twice, had children, and then returned to Picuris permanently when he realized that the community needed him and he needed the community. Back at home, he began studying Picuris  history intensely.

          Picuris Governor Craig Quanchello liked to remark that Richard was the tribe’s “Google.” Richard knew more about his tribe’s heritage than anyone and was regarded as an irreplaceable resource in this sense. He came from a prominent Picuris family. His father and his brother were both key members of the Council of Elders and both served as cacique. Richard’s path was different. He neither sat on the council nor served as cacique, despite the great depth of his understanding of and commitment to Picuris tradition. This, however, enabled him to play a more central role in public-facing activism and, indeed, to collaborate more directly with outside scholars, particularly archaeologists.

          The three of us offering this remembrance are archaeologists who worked closely with Richard during the last decade of his life. Richard was committed to the documentation of Picuris history for future generations, and he regarded archaeology as an important means of establishing a documentary record that could strengthen his tribe’s political and economic position. It was not an uncritical engagement. Richard had been involved in archaeology since the 1960s, when he participated in excavations at Picuris, then directed by Dr. Herbert Dick. Through this experience, he was acutely aware of the challenges of working with outsiders who presumptuously claimed knowledge about tribal history and all-too-often treated the tribe’s material heritage as scientific “data” to be used however they—the scientists—saw fit. But rather than respond with cynicism, Richard threw himself into what became a lifelong project of building a culture of collaboration based on mutual respect, shared community, and tribally led research priorities.

          His last service to his tribe was as the Picuris Archaeology Liaison, taking on the work more commonly assigned to Tribal Historic Preservation Officers at other tribal nations. In that capacity, Richard was on the front line of caring for his community’s cultural heritage. He also spent his summers mentoring hundreds of field school students from Southern Methodist University, Barnard College, Columbia University, the University of Arizona, the University of Toronto, Dartmouth College, and the University of New Mexico, sharing not only his extensive knowledge of Picuris oral history but also his great enthusiasm for the potential of scientific study to amplify and expand what the tribe already knew about its past. Richard was particularly committed to the documentation of the vast precolonial agricultural landscapes that surround his pueblo, which he regarded as crucial evidence of his ancestors’ sophistication, population scale, and ecological stewardship of the Picuris watershed. Richard felt that understanding how water was managed in Ancestral Pueblo agricultural systems was key to the development of equitable and sustainable water management systems in the future. Towards that end, he spent countless days in the field, training teams of archaeological students in the identification and interpretation of Ancestral Picuris remains. Such mentorship continued long after the field season was over through follow-up interviews, course lectures, and discussions with students. When Richard passed away, he was actively supervising two undergraduate theses at Barnard College, working on three co-authored papers with archaeological colleagues, and consulting on a dozen or more scholarly initiatives.

          Research spilled over into friendship. Richard was a regular at dinners during summer field seasons, eager to sample the student cooking and to tell jokes over dessert. He always brought his harmonica, just in case there was time to sit around and play together after the meal. Along with his many other skills, Richard was a traditional musician, having long played fiddle for the Picuris matachines dance. On the harmonica, around the fire, however, his favorite tune was Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” which he played with a beauty and emotional gravity that left us speechless. “Won’t you help to sing… These songs of freedom… ‘Cause all I ever have… Redemption songs…”

          In 2023, the provost of Barnard College made Richard an honorary professor, in recognition of his extraordinary pedagogical contributions. Richard traveled to New York that year and walked with the faculty at commencement. One of the photographs included below is from that event. He enjoyed the pomp well enough, but he was really there for his students. He wanted to support and honor them, to meet their parents, and to send them off into their post-graduate lives with a Tiwa prayer that would keep them on the right path.

          “It’s a cruel world out there,” Richard often noted; “and we all need blessings.” Indeed. We are blessed to have spent time with this extraordinary and inspiring teacher. He is deeply missed.

          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          The best offense is a good defense—and we’ll need one

          Climate Solutions - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 16:24
          The best offense is a good defense—and we’ll need one Gregg Small Fri, 02/16/2024 - 16:24
          Categories: G2. Local Greens

          Deepening WA's clean energy commitment

          Climate Solutions - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 14:55
          Deepening WA's clean energy commitment Megan Larkin Fri, 02/16/2024 - 14:55
          Categories: G2. Local Greens

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