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G2. Local Greens

Climate change is threatening wildflowers, Carnegie Museum research shows

Allegheny Front - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 12:15

A warming climate means spring comes earlier, triggering trees to leaf out sooner and leaving wildflowers with a shorter window of sunlight.

The post Climate change is threatening wildflowers, Carnegie Museum research shows appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Museums aren’t getting as many animal specimens. Scientists say that’s bad

Allegheny Front - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 12:00

Museum collections can help scientists get a window into the past to understand the environment and species. Fewer specimens put research at risk.

The post Museums aren’t getting as many animal specimens. Scientists say that’s bad appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Postal Service commits to 100 percent electric vehicle replacement beginning in 2026

Allegheny Front - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 11:45

After facing lawsuits from states including Pa., the U.S. Postal Service will have one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the nation.  

The post Postal Service commits to 100 percent electric vehicle replacement beginning in 2026 appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Statement on Bureau of Land Management plans for new oil and gas lease sales in Montana and North Dakota

Western Priorities - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 10:14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2022

DENVER—The Bureau of Land Management today announced plans to lease nearly 21,000 acres of national public land in Montana and North Dakota to oil and gas companies. It also released an environmental review for the upcoming May 2023 sale in New Mexico. The announcements come as the Interior Department falls further behind in its obligation to write rules implementing the new leasing system created by the Inflation Reduction Act. 

The Biden administration’s Fall 2022 regulatory agenda, belatedly released this week by the Office of Management and Budget, revealed that rules updating the oil and gas leasing system are only at the Proposed Rule Stage. If the department doesn’t publish a draft rule within the next few weeks, any final rule will likely be published so late that it’s at risk of getting thrown out in 2025 under the Congressional Review Act.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Deputy Director Aaron Weiss:

“The Interior Department is playing a dangerous game right now. It’s irresponsible of the Bureau of Land Management to rush to lease hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands before it fully implements the Inflation Reduction Act. There is no provision in the IRA that requires Interior to hold these massive lease sales without proper safeguards in place. The department must shift its resources to get new rules on the books ASAP.”

The Inflation Reduction Act requires the Interior Department to hold lease sales before approving new wind and solar rights-of-way, but the law does not set a timetable for either. Because the IRA also implemented a $5 per-acre fee for new nominations of parcels, it is in the best interest of taxpayers for the department to hold off on any lease sales until all of the parcels being leased are subject to the fee.

In addition to the sales announced today, the Bureau of Land Management is also planning lease sales in WyomingNew MexicoNevada, and Utah. In total, the agency has proposed leasing nearly 500,000 acres of public land across the West in 2023.

The post Statement on Bureau of Land Management plans for new oil and gas lease sales in Montana and North Dakota appeared first on Center for Western Priorities.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Interior regulatory agenda targets hot-button energy, public lands issues

Western Priorities - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 07:00

The White House Office of Management and Budget released this week a semiannual document known as the Unified Agenda that outlines the administration’s regulatory efforts across all federal agencies. The release of the agenda prompted the Biden administration to acknowledge that it will miss several self-imposed deadlines for proposing major environmental rules, prompting concerns among climate advocates about the delays.

The regulatory to-do list for the Interior Department includes taking action on a number of high-profile energy and public lands issues, including rules advancing offshore renewable energy, reducing methane emissions, and updating regulations governing the management of wild horses and burros. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release in March a proposed permit system to allow for the otherwise prohibited take of migratory birds from wind power and other energy activities.

However, the release of the latest agenda reveals the administration is several months behind schedule en route to achieving these regulatory goals. Sam Sankar, senior vice president for programs at Earthjustice noted that if rules are issued near the end of Biden’s first term, a future Congress could overturn them using the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to scrap any regulation within 60 legislative days of its finalization by a simple majority vote.

“Certainly we would like to have seen some of these rules come out sooner, but what’s imperative is that they come out as soon as possible while being legally defensible,” Sankar said.

Podcast: Estonian company uses billions of gallons of Colorado River water to mine crude oil in Utah

On this episode of The Landscape, Kate and Aaron are joined by Grand Canyon Trust staff attorney Michael Toll to discuss a plan to mine hundreds of thousands of barrels of waxy crude oil in Utah near Dinosaur National Monument, using billions of gallons of Colorado River water.

A loophole in Utah law enabled an Estonian state-owned company called Enefit to buy 3.2 billion gallons of Colorado River water for just $10 in 2015. Now, Enefit wants to use that water to extract oil in the Uinta Basin using a novel method that is around 75 percent more carbon-intensive than traditional fossil fuel drilling. Toll discusses how Enefit acquired its massive water right and how the Grand Canyon Trust is fighting Enefit’s plan.

Quick hits Experts warn Utah’s Great Salt Lake could vanish in five years

Salt Lake Tribune

Interior regulatory agenda targets hot-button energy, public lands issues

E&E News

Industry perceives “wiggle room” for Biden to limit oil and gas leasing

S&P Global

Corrected data show fracking and drilling produce more emissions than every Front Range vehicle in Colorado

Colorado Public Radio

Podcast: Estonian company uses billions of gallons of Colorado River water to mine crude oil in Utah

The Landscape

Consider the burying beetle: How 30×30 is key to stopping the global biodiversity crisis

The New York Times

Opinion: In the race to save biodiversity, water is getting its due

Newsweek

National parks ask visitors to “Leave No Trace.” Here’s what that means

USA Today

Quote of the day

There is nothing really to stop them from complying with the letter of the law by offering a modest amount of acreage in areas that they know no one really wants to buy. That is fully within their discretion to do something like that, and there’s not much industry can do to really override that in any way.”

—Glenn Schwartz, director of energy policy at Rapidan Energy, S&P Global Picture this @WstrnPriorities

President Biden has SO MANY great opportunities to protect #publiclands and waters, starting with #AviKwaAme, which Biden has already promised to protect! We’re looking for at least 5 new #nationalmonument designations or conservation successes for a BINGO in 2023! #30×30

(featured image: Renewable energy development in the California Desert. Photo courtesy of Tom Brewster Photography, BLM Flickr)

The post Interior regulatory agenda targets hot-button energy, public lands issues appeared first on Center for Western Priorities.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Catskill Strategic Planning Advisory Group Submits Final Report To DEC Commissioner Seggos

Catskill Mountain Keeper - Fri, 01/06/2023 - 06:39

Final Report Recommendations Build on DEC’s Ongoing Efforts to Promote Sustainable Recreation, Diversity, and Protection of the Park’s Natural Resources

The Catskill Strategic Planning Advisory Group (CAG) submitted its final report on promoting sustainable recreation in the Catskill Forest Preserve to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. Comprised of stakeholders with expertise in local government, recreation, natural resource protection, business and tourism, and other priority areas, the CAG was tasked in October 2020 with providing recommendations to DEC on how to address critical issues associated with increased public use of Catskill Park resources in order to protect these areas in the short term, as well as for future generations.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Climate and the Economy: Which Green Matters Most? January 20

Sunflower Alliance - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 22:27

Save the date: Join the Bay Area Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force for the next in their series of summits on Climate, Equity, and Race: United Actions for a Just and Regenerative Future.

This summit will focus on climate and the economy. Program under development. Watch here and/or register for details.

WHEN

Friday, January 20, … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Climate Emergency Action Honoring Indigenous Climate Leader, January 20

Sunflower Alliance - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 22:16

Join a coalition of Bay Area climate justice organizations for a rally as part of a national day of climate action:
* Honoring indigenous environmental/climate justice activist Joye Braun
* Demanding that Biden stop fossil fuel expansion and declare a Climate Emergency.
* Focusing attention on local climate justice fights.

January 20th marks the … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Fighting a plan to mine oil in Utah using billions of gallons of Colorado River water

Western Priorities - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 13:47

On this episode of The Landscape, Kate and Aaron are joined by Grand Canyon Trust staff attorney Michael Toll to discuss a plan to mine hundreds of thousands of barrels of waxy crude oil in Utah near Dinosaur National Monument, using billions of gallons of Colorado River Water.

A loophole in Utah law enabled an Estonian state-owned company called Enefit to buy 3.2 billion gallons of Colorado River water for just $10 in 2015. Now, Enefit wants to use that water to extract oil in the Uinta Basin using a novel method that is around 75 percent more carbon-intensive than traditional fossil fuel drilling. Toll discusses how Enefit acquired its massive water right and how the Grand Canyon Trust is fighting Enefit’s plan.

News
  • House speaker vote could portend ‘pure chaos’ for GOP policy agenda – Washington Post
  • In Arizona, Colorado River crisis stokes worry over growth and groundwater depletion – Los Angeles Times
  • How a Utah utility is helping an Estonian oil company hoard Colorado River water – Grist
  • New national monument proposed south of Joshua Tree National Park – Desert Sun
Credits

Hosts: Kate Groetzinger & Aaron Weiss

Feedback: podcast@westernpriorities.org

Music: Purple Planet

Featured image: Staplegunther, Wikimedia Commons

The post Fighting a plan to mine oil in Utah using billions of gallons of Colorado River water appeared first on Center for Western Priorities.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Biden set an ambitious goal for nature—can he meet it?

Western Priorities - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 10:55

Last month, the United Nations convened a biodiversity conference in Montreal during which delegates from countries around the world agreed to the ambitious goal of protecting 30 percent of the Earth’s land and waters by 2030, otherwise known as the 30×30 goal. While the United States was not one of the nations to formally ratify the convention on biodiversity, President Joe Biden embraced the 30×30 goal shortly after taking office, calling for a plan recommending steps the U.S. can take to reach the goal.

Robert Semple Jr., a former reporter and writer for the New York Times editorial board, published an opinion on Biden’s progress toward reaching the 30×30 goal, stating“Biden must rapidly accelerate conservation measures on federal, state, and private lands while keeping intact natural carbon sinks like the old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and the mangroves, wetlands, and timberlands in the Southeast.” In order to meet the urgency of addressing the inextricably linked biodiversity and climate crises, Semple identifies “many steps, big and small, that must be taken on the road to 30×30.”

Semple gives President Biden credit for undoing some of the damage caused by the Trump administration, including restoring the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, as well as restoring protections for the Tongass National Forest and effectively halting oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

However, Mr. Semple argues that President Biden has yet to “make vigorous use of the Antiquities Act to create more new national monuments and encourages Biden to follow through on his promise to protect Nevada’s Avi Kwa Ame, or Spirit Mountain, area. He also urges Biden to direct the Interior and Agriculture departments to complete an inventory of old growth forests that are most in need of protection. Finally, he recommends that Biden nudge Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to facilitate the Bureau of Land Management’s pivot toward conservation and away from its historical emphasis on mining and drilling, particularly through the increased establishments of Wilderness Study Areas.

Quick hits Biden administration to miss deadlines on major environmental rules

Washington Post | E&E News

More than 6,000 acres along Montana’s Blackfoot River purchased for conservation

Great Falls Tribune

Biden set an ambitious goal for nature—can he meet it?

New York Times [opinion]

Colorado’s wildfire risk is so high some homeowners can’t get insured

Colorado Sun

Secretary Haaland reverses Trump-era California irrigation policy

E&E News

Why the age of underground water matters in the thirsty West

Salt Lake Tribune

Alaska oil sale was a bust and a potential harbinger of the industry’s decline

Gizmodo | E&E News

Opinion: Climate change is the most critical business risk ski resorts face

Colorado Sun

Quote of the day

Providing public access for a multitude of recreational users and applying restoration principles to enhance wildlife habitat is paramount to the BLM’s mission. This acquisition also helps to advance President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, which seeks to use partnerships and voluntary actions like this one to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.”

—BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, Great Falls Tribune Picture this nationalparkservice

Hoodoo you think you are? Some kind of superstar? In a way. Bryce Canyon National Park in Southwestern Utah is famous for its large collection of hoodoos. What’s a hoodoo? A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, or earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock formed by erosion. Hoodoos typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.

Image: Hoodoos covered with snow at @brycecanyonnps_gov

#hoodoo #utah #brycecanyonnationalpark #geology #winterwonderland #rock

(featured image: Looking down on the Hulahula River in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo Credit: Danielle Brigida/ USFWS, Flickr)

The post Biden set an ambitious goal for nature—can he meet it? appeared first on Center for Western Priorities.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

BREDL letter to President Biden regarding U.S. Nuclear Posture Review and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 03:23
Jan. 22, 2022: BREDL requests President Biden to take action to have the U.S. adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to make the treaty a core element of his administration's upcoming Nuclear Posture Review.
Categories: G2. Local Greens

BREDL Job Opening: Fundraiser/Development Director

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League - Thu, 01/05/2023 - 03:23
Jan. 19, 2022: BREDL is searching for an environmentally conscious fundraiser/development director to establish relationships with major donors, implement fundraising plans to help the organization receive necessary financial support.
Categories: G2. Local Greens

MPs call for ban on oil and gas industry flaring by 2025

DRILL OR DROP? - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 16:01

A cross-party committee of MPs has called for flaring on UK oil and gas fields to be banned in the next two years.

Flare at Preston New Road, 13 October 2019. Photo: Sue Underwood

The Environmental Audit Committee, in a report published this morning, called for faster action from the oil and gas industry to cut operational emissions by 68% in the current decade, in line with government commitments under the Paris Agreement.

It said:

“Oil and gas companies must accelerate their efforts to electrify offshore platforms, stop flaring and address methane leakage.”

The report said the industry regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), should ban outright the routine flaring of waste gas:

“We recommend that the Government introduces an amendment to the Energy Bill to provide for a total prohibition on flaring from installations in the UK’s jurisdiction to be introduced not later than the end of 2025.

“This would help ensure the UK fulfils commitments it made at COP26 and COP27 under the Global Methane Pledge.”

“Weak targets”

The committee said targets to cut upstream emissions, set under the North Sea Transition Deal, were “weak” and lacked “the urgent and transformative action”, which the government’s climate change advisor said was required:

“there appear to be few sanctions available to the North Sea Transition Authority in the event that companies do not achieve the production emissions targets they have agreed to meet.”

It added:

“The oil and gas industry has been aware of the contribution of its activities to man-made climate change since the 1990s, or earlier. A responsible industry should have been working to clean up its operations with far greater urgency than this timescale suggests. The Government needs to push the industry to go further and faster than its current approach.”

The committee recommended:

  • The NSTA should review the targets in the North Sea Transition Deal
  • The government should set mandatory, rather than voluntary targets, if there was insufficient progress on ending methane emissions from oil and gas operations by 2027
  • Oil and gas companies operating in the UK should report annual on progress on decarbonising operations
  • The NSTA should publish a league table of the best and worst performing companies
  • The NSTA should insist on the electrification of all new oil and gas projects approved under the current 33rd onshore licensing round.
Licensing end date

The committee also said there should be an end date for oil and gas licensing rounds:

“To show its continued commitment to climate leadership, we recommend that the government consult on setting a clear date for ending new oil and gas licensing rounds in the North Sea: this date should fall well before 2050.”

It said the date should be based on the oil and gas production currently being planned by the UK and other producer states and on the remaining global carbon budget if temperatures are to be limited to 1.5°C.

“Clear rebuke”

The fossil fuel free campaign group, Uplift, said “calling out the oil and gas industry’s foot-dragging over emissions” was long-overdue.

It described the committee’s report as a “clear rebuke” of the government’s “outdated and costly approach to energy”.

The group’s public affairs manager, Gwen Buck, said:

“Banning flaring and toughening emission reduction targets are reasonable, common sense asks that the government should adopt, given the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

“It is welcome that the committee has called for an end date for new oil and gas licensing, but the government must go further and set an end date for all North Sea production, not just licences. The committee received powerful evidence from experts, like the International Energy Agency, who firmly said that any new oil and gas supply creates a ‘clear risk’ of breaching safe climate limits.

“What’s heartening as we start this new year is the clear message from Parliament that the only route to a safe and secure energy supply that’s in our control is to speed up the transition away from oil and gas.”

The Weald Action Group, which campaigns against onshore oil and gas operations in southern England, described as “completely inadequate” the recommendation on an end date for new oil and gas licensing before 2050 .

The group’s Kirsty Clough said:

“There must be an immediate moratorium placed on new offshore and onshore oil and gas development now.

“The further exploitation of UK oil and gas reserves will not relieve short term supply constraints; will perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels thereby continuing to expose us to fluctuating global oil and gas prices; and, in the absence of a worldwide cap on fossil fuel extraction, will contribute to the climate crisis.”

“Spur to net zero”

The committee said ending reliance on fossil fuels would “spur net zero and low-carbon generation” and reduce exposure to the energy price crisis, provoked by the war in Ukraine.

The Conservative chair of the committee, Philip Dunne, said:

“Fossil fuels have helped keep our homes warm, power our cars and generate the majority of our electricity. Britain will continue to need to access fossil fuel supplies during the Net Zero transition.

“But Government should consult on setting an end date for licencing oil and gas from the North Sea. We can accelerate this transition by fully harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources, including tidal energy that can deliver a reliable year-round source of clean electricity, and by upgrading our energy inefficient buildings.”

The committee said the government’s British Energy Security Strategy set out ambitions for low-carbon electricity generation but “significant gaps” remained. It should have “placed far greater emphasis on energy saving measures”.

There should be a “war effort” on home insulation and energy efficiency to cut household energy bills, cut carbon emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, the committee said.

Ministers had “missed a window of opportunity to accelerate energy efficiency installations in the warmer months of 2022”.

Part of the energy profits levy (windfall tax) should be allocated immediately to help fund energy efficiency improvements, the committee said.

It called for:

  • Greater focus on a rapid short-term rollout of onshore wind and tidal energy
  • Developers to be required to fit solar panels on homes to meet the government target
  • Consultation by the Department of Transport to improve energy security, reduce oil demand and cut carbon emissions from transport.

The committee also called for an update of the British Energy Security Strategy in Spring 2023 showing what progress had been made on securing energy supplies and improving energy efficiency.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Groups, residents want EPA to protect Mon Valley from ‘unacceptably high’ levels of benzene pollution from U.S. Steel

Allegheny Front - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 14:33

Benzen, a known carcinogen, threatens ‘imminent danger’ to residents, the groups argue in a letter to EPA. They want action under the Clean Air Act.

The post Groups, residents want EPA to protect Mon Valley from ‘unacceptably high’ levels of benzene pollution from U.S. Steel appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Siccar Point Energy founder joins IGas

DRILL OR DROP? - Wed, 01/04/2023 - 03:02

A member of the team that founded the North Sea operator, Siccar Point Energy, has joined the board of IGas as an independent non-executive director.

Doug Fleming. Photo: IGas

Doug Fleming, 52, was most recently chief financial officer at Siccar Point Energy. The business went from start-up in 2014 to production of about 9,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boepd), before it was sold to Ithaca Energy in 2022.

Before that, Mr Fleming had senior roles at Centrica Energy E&P and Venture Production plc.

IGas’s interim executive chairman, Chris Hopkinson, said:

“I am delighted we have brought in someone of Doug’s calibre and experience to the Board. Doug brings senior expertise drawing on 27 years’ working in E&P, corporate banking and venture capital.”

Mr Fleming described this as an “exciting time” for IGas:

“I am very pleased to be joining IGas and bringing my experience to the team. It is an exciting time for the company – the company’s cash generative oil and gas production gives it an excellent platform from which to drive its growing geothermal business.”

  • IGas’s chief executive, Stephen Bowler, left suddenly in September 2022 after seven years.
Categories: G2. Local Greens

WEATHER ALERT Tuesday 1/3/23 – Sunday 1/15/23

Restore The San Francisco Bay Area Delta - Tue, 01/03/2023 - 16:51
BREAKING NEWS
‘Threat to life likely’: Atmospheric river headed for SF Bay Area – SF Gate 1/3/23
“An approaching
 atmospheric river is threatening to kick up powerful winds and dump up to another 3 inches of rain in urban areas, including San Francisco, and up to 5 to 8 inches in the valleys and mountains of the North Bay, the National Weather Service said.”

This storm will be followed by another week of rain. 
Bay-Delta Flood Resources (January 2023)
Please share with friends and family in the region

Delta Flood Ready (Resources for all 5 counties)
Check your Contra CostaSacramentoSan JoaquinSolano, or Yolo County Office of Emergency Services to learn what alert systems, evacuation plans, and other resources are available in the event of a flood emergency.

San Joaquin County Emergency Services

SJ Ready
https://sjready.org/disasters/flooding.html

Sign up here for San Joaquin emergency alerts 
https://member.everbridge.net/397890065268824/login

City of Stockton – Emergency Preparedness
http://www.stocktonca.gov/government/departments/fire/emeStorm.html

National Weather Service Stockton forecast
https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=37.9537&lon=-121.2905

Evacuation maps
https://www.sjmap.org/evacmaps/


Sacramento County Emergency Services

Prepare your home
https://sacramentoready.saccounty.gov/Emergencies/Pages/Floods-and-Rain.aspx

Storm updates
https://www.saccounty.gov/news/latest-news/Pages/Stay-Safe-During-Storms.aspx

Evacuation maps
https://waterresources.saccounty.gov/stormready/Pages/Maps—Flood-Scenarios-and-Evacuation-Routes.aspx

Sandbag locations
https://waterresources.saccounty.gov/stormready/Pages/Sandbag-Information.aspx

NOAA
Current California watches, warnings, and advisories
https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/ca.php?x=1

Emergency Management Radio Stations
San Joaquin County – KVIN 920 AM
Sacramento – KFBK 1530 AM 
Bay Area – KQED 89.3 FM

National Weather Service
Flood Safety flyer
https://www.weather.gov/media/owlie/FloodSafety-OnePager-11-29-2018.pdf

Categories: G2. Local Greens

From the Gulf to Appalachia, We Are in the Fight for Our Lives

PoWHR Coalition - Tue, 01/03/2023 - 12:08

This guest blog was written by Crystal Mello. Crystal is a Community Organizer with POWHR and a fellow with the Equation Campaign. She lives in Shawsville, Virginia.

We are in the fight for our lives.

I never thought I’d be in a struggle like this. The struggle for my home, the struggle for air and water, the struggle for the planet… it’s a lot.

And being in the middle of all this injustice in a country that has a long history of denying its wrongs sometimes feels lonely. 

The fossil fuel industry targets communities that they don’t think resist their projects strongly. In the case of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, this is because they know that many of our homes are far apart, spread out over the mountains, streams, towns, and farms of West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. In the tough moments of this fight, I feel isolated.

Late last year, I got to meet members of our national community who live hundreds of miles south of Montgomery County. Russell* and I flew to Houston and went on a five-day toxic tour of Port Arthur, Lake Charles, and St. James. We met community organizers at Port Arthur Community Action Network, Healthy Gulf, Rise St. James, and the Pueblo Action Alliance.

The point of our trip was to build relationships with other frontline organizers and see the work they are doing to protect their communities from fossil fuel projects.

I can’t stop looking at the photos I took when I was there. I read about what was happening in the Gulf before the trip but there’s nothing like being there – your eyes burning, reaching for your inhaler.

We visited the area around a giant 960-acre lake of “hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic, radioactive water on top of a 200 ft pile of waste byproduct” (which looks like a big white wall). The byproduct is the result of making fertilizer and is formed with phosphogypsum, a naturally radioactive element. Every ton of phosphate fertilizer creates about 5.5 tons of phosphogypsum which has to be kept indefinitely because it is “weakly radioactive”. 

It is owned by the Mosaic Company, which produces fertilizer. Rise St. James is fighting to stop industrial development here, alongside their many other fights to stop health and environmental destruction. This land is known as Cancer Alley. It has the highest cancer rates in the nation.

[Above] The Mosaic Company plant. Photo credit: Crystal Mello

[Above] The sugarcane fields next to the Mosaic Company plant. Photo credit: Crystal Mello

This is what it looks like when the fossil fuel industry is allowed to poison and pollute communities of color and working class communities indefinitely, despite strong community resistance and opposition. Shame on every government official that let this happen. 

As a cleaning lady, I am held to high standards around chemicals. Small businesses around me are held to standards about chemical use. Why aren’t these massive companies held to standards for human health? 

There is endless evidence for how and why fossil fuel industry build-out and industry waste impacts human health. For example, a new study just declared that fracking expansion has caused a public health crisis because of how it impacts people and the number of people it impacts – more than 17.6 million people in the U.S. now live within a mile of a fracked oil or gas well.

But our government is acting like none of this is happening, thus forsaking their duty to represent and protect us. The Biden administration just approved the application for a new offshore oil export terminal in Texas called the Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT)… despite just announcing he will prioritize climate action in a speech at COP27.

We are not seeing the action we deserve, demand, and need from our elected officials. But that won’t stop us from fighting. What we are going to do is keep uniting our fights because that’s how we win. We saw that in September when we raised fierce opposition to Manchin’s Dirty Deal and witnessed its ensuing defeat.

This work is hard – there is no getting around that. But it’s much better together.

[Above] The best meal we had was at Blue & Sons Grocery. I had a really good sandwich in the company of a frog and shared root bear with Russell*. Photo credit: Crystal Mello.

*Russell Chisholm is Mountain Valley Watch Coordinator at the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights Coalition.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

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