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Protecting our Environmental Resources
Updated: 20 hours 52 min ago

The National Campaign to End Corporate Personhood and Demand Real Democracy!

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 09:01
Corporations are only in it for short term profit while as a species we face climate catastrophe.   The National Campaign to End Corporate Personhood and Demand Real Democracy! About | Donate | Take Action

They did just what they said they would. They rammed him through, violating Senate process, prescendent, and any semblance of fairness or decency. The emperor really has no clothes at this point.

So now, probably no matter what happens in November, we are facing a generation (plus?) of Supreme Court decisions that will empower corporations and could dismantle any semblance of human rights and protections for women, people of color, poor people, immigrants, LGBTQ folks… probably more of us than we even know.

Nancy Pelosi has already said the Democrats won’t be pushing for impeachment of Kavanaugh, despite how shady the whole process was.

It feels like the whole country is still reeling from the experience of the flagrant disrespect and nastiness the Republicans and Trump spat out at women and sexual assault survivors.

I don’t know about you, but I am hearing stories from every corner of women who have been so triggered by the past few weeks it has been hard to get out of bed. I’m also hearing incredible stories of bravery as many survivors were moved by Dr. Ford’s courage to show their own and tell their stories — many for the first time or more publicly than ever before.

We can take this energy, this rage, and we can channel it into change. In fact we absolutely must. But voting for a new Congress alone will absolutely not get it done.


Where do we go from here?

I don’t have all the answers, but we need to talk about it.

Please join me Monday evening to begin that discussion — on Facebook Live at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern.

I want to hear your ideas. We at Move to Amend have a few of our own. Let’s talk.
Ever onward,
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
National Director, Move to Amend
How to attend?

It’s super easy:

Step 1: Like the Move to Amend fan page. (If you haven’t already)

Step 2: Come to this page MONDAY OCTOBER 15 at 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern and the live transmission will start automatically. You don’t need to do anything.

Step 3: If you know other folks who would be interested in learning about Move to Amend, share the video on your FB page, and/or tag your people.

Step 4: During the transmission, say hello, share where are you from and post your question.
Will there be a replay?

Yes, just go back to our FB fan page and scroll down for the play-back. Downside? You won’t get your question answered live ;-). We will also post the recording to our YouTube Channel tomorrow if you don’t use Facebook.
Not sure what time the live stream is where you live?

Use this time zone tool to find out.
See you there, and invite your friends too! MOVE TO AMEND COALITION

PO BOX 188617
SACRAMENTO, CA 95818-8617
United States

(916) 318-8040 | www.MoveToAmend.org

CELDF: Now Forget Everything You Were Taught About How to Resist Injustice

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:13
“Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation confirms the Court’s trajectory, since the 1960’s, away from defending human rights and democracy. No longer can impact litigation attorneys write their cases for Justice Kennedy’s swing vote. It’s a solid five-Justice conservative block now, and they are ready to undo the Warren Court decisions from half a century ago that we mythologize as the high point of the United States Supreme Court’s defense of civil rights and liberties.” Now Forget Everything You Were Taught About How to Resist Injustice Blog: With Justice Kavanaugh, Forget Everything You Were Taught About How to Resist Injustice Oct 11, 2018 “…the people pressed on anyway, regardless of what the Court said…”

 

Young activists and organizers today study the civil rights movement. It’s our model for organizing. It’s our reference point for how to do it right. It defines the unofficial rules for mass organizing.

In the United States, we are raised to celebrate the social movement for civil rights in the American South in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and use this movement as the model of successful and proper social change organizing. Nearly 100 years after the official end of slavery in the 1860s, black people in the South rose up in nonviolent resistance to white supremacy and successfully changed national policy with, notably, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act. This movement moved into the national conversation with beautifully-stated concepts like King’s reference to “unjust laws” in Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It was a moral and ethical movement.

It was also a movement that could justify its cause by pointing to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court. That is because of who was on the Court at that time. By the end of Truman’s presidency in 1953, every United States Supreme Court Justice had been nominated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry S. Truman. They were all considered to support the policies of the New Deal. In his first year of office, Dwight D. Eisenhower successfully nominated Earl Warren as the new Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Warren turned out not to be the kind of Justice Eisenhower was looking for. Warren led this New Deal Supreme Court through the 1950’s and 1960’s with decisions like Brown v. Board of Education. The civil rights movement could point to that decision as a source of authority for its direct action and civil disobedience against segregation and other forms of white supremacy. In the end, the Court had the civil rights movement’s back.

Virginia Civil Rights Memorial — State Capitol Grounds Richmond (VA) 2012 by Ron Cogswell Flickr Creative Commons

The Supreme Court Seeking Justice is an Anomaly

Since then, the United States Supreme Court has turned more and more against justice-seeking social movements and democracy. Nevertheless, the narrative that American society tells about the Court hasn’t really changed. We still tell legends about Brown overturning Plessy. We don’t tell stories about Bush v. Gore and the raw partisanship of the Justices. Nor do we recognize Citizens United as the legacy of 200 years of the Court prioritizing “rights” for corporations.1 Instead, we want to pretend that Citizen United was some kind of anomaly that just needs to be debugged from an otherwise functional system. The problem is that the Court of the 1950’s and 1960’s was the real anomaly in American jurisprudential history. Yet we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that it was normal.

Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation confirms the Court’s trajectory, since the 1960’s, away from defending human rights and democracy. No longer can impact litigation attorneys write their cases for Justice Kennedy’s swing vote. It’s a solid five-Justice conservative block now, and they are ready to undo the Warren Court decisions from half a century ago that we mythologize as the high point of the United States Supreme Court’s defense of civil rights and liberties.

The Challenge We Now Face: Social Movements in America

So here is the challenge we now face. We are taught to model our social movement organizing after the civil rights movement. But that movement had the United States Supreme Court on its side. Today, we desperately need social movements that successfully fight for freedom, democracy, and justice. But unlike the civil rights movement, we’re going to be fighting the United States Supreme Court every step of the way. This means, in the end, we will not be able to point to the Court to legitimize our actions. Instead, the Court will make our actions illegal. That makes our moment fundamentally different from the civil rights movement. It means we need to look beyond the civil rights movement for organizing models.

We will not be able to point to the Court to legitimize our actions. Instead, the Court will make our actions illegal. That makes our moment fundamentally different from the civil rights movement.

The Populist and Labor Movements as a Model Notably, we need to look back to the historical period that led up to the New Deal. In the late nineteenth century, the populist movement of rural farmers threatened the new corporate robber barons who were concentrating wealth and creating economic injustice. See Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. The late nineteenth-century agrarian populists organized a mass social movement against the corporate interests of the Court and other branches of government. We should study their strategies and tactics for tools for resisting today.

Similarly, the early twentieth-century labor movement fought a Court that had fabricated a constitutional right that made most labor laws illegal. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in response to the social and economic harms of industrialization, state and local governments enacted many laws to protect people from corporate exploitation. In response, in 1905, the United States Supreme Court claimed that people had a constitutional right to choose how to contract with others (a “liberty of contract”), and thus the Court held unconstitutional a New York state law that prohibited employing a person in a bakery for more than sixty hours a week. This decision is Lochner v. New York:

The statute necessarily interferes with the right of contract between the employer and employees, concerning the number of hours in which the latter may labor in the bakery of the employer. The general right to make a contract in relation to his business is part of the liberty of the individual protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution. Under that provision no State can deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The right to purchase or to sell labor is part of the liberty protected by this amendment, unless there are circumstances which exclude the right.

Lochner v. New York is the namesake for what is today known as the “Lochner Era,” the several decades at the beginning of the Twentieth Century when the United States Supreme Court used the “liberty of contract” theory to strike down state and local labor laws: health, safety, and welfare laws enacted by legislatures. By constitutionalizing “liberty of contract,” the Court took away the legislative branch’s ability to protect the people.

One More Lost Soul by Thomas Hawk, Flickr Creative Commons

No” Is Not an Answer

The early twentieth-century social movements seeking economic justice didn’t take “no” for an answer, even though the United States Supreme Court had definitively spoken on the issue and shows no signs of reversing course. Instead of backing down, the social movement organizers attempted to change the structure of government to enable direct local democracy (through Home Rule and the powers of Initiative, Referendum, and Recall), and they continued to enact economic justice laws at the local and state level. These laws were ostensibly illegal because the Court had said that such laws violated the United States Constitution’s contractual liberty protection between employers and employees. But the people pressed on anyway, regardless of what the Court said, creating the laws they needed to protect themselves from the corporate state. For three decades the Court continued to strike down these laws.

The people pressed on anyway, regardless of what the Court said, creating the laws they needed to protect themselves from the corporate state.

Building Political Power

Finally, only after the social movements had built sufficient political power to force President Roosevelt to create a constitutional crisis, the Court backed down. Roosevelt proposed adding more Supreme Court Justices, declaring: “We have, therefore, reached the point as a Nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court, and the Court from itself.” Roosevelt, F. March 9, 1937. Fireside Chat on the ‘Court-Packing’ Bill. The Court responded with the “switch in time that saved nine,” issuing opinions on new cases that overruled previous Lochner Era opinions, signaling its departure from the “liberty of contract” theory. For example, West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937), which held Washington State’s minimum wage law constitutional.

Today, we’re in a situation relative to the Court that is much more similar to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries than to the Warren Court of the 1950’s and 1960’s. We need to adapt our organizing models to fit the times. This means we need to be ready to fight for justice even when the Justices say that our actions are illegal. We need to remember that “unjust laws” are not just made by legislators, but also by the Court’s interpretation of the United States Constitution. The Arc of History Doesn’t Bend Toward Justice On Its Own

We’re in this for the long haul. This means not just changing who holds power in our government today (or this November, or November 2020). It means taking action from a deep belief in the foundational principle, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of [the people’s unalienable Rights and the consent of the governed], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . . .” That means our social movements must continue to drive forward lawmaking that creates a system of government that protects all of our safety and happiness. We need to do that even though the United States Supreme Court, and lower courts, will say those laws are illegal and unconstitutional and eventually will say that organizing for these laws is illegal too.

The arc of history doesn’t bend toward justice on its own. It has taken determination by dedicated organizers who have worked through social movements to make that happen. For most of the history of the United States, those organizers have worked against the United States’ Supreme Court interpretation of the United States Constitution. In the decades ahead, we will be well served to learn how they resisted injustice.

1 See generally, Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights (2018).

Featured image: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march, 2003 by Seattle Municipal Archives Flickr Creative Commons

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Groasis, solution for climate change?

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:30
Groasis solution for climate change.

If you have not heard of this company, they have turned back the Sahara desert and made it fertile, cleaned up salt mines in Spain and helped African countries in severe drought to flourish. Trees planted with their method in the Moroccan desert had a 85% survival rate.

For information on the plan and download book click here.

 

Press message about IPCC report Yesterday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued a report which states that the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels as early as 2030, increasing the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. It says that ‘ governments around the world must take rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society to avoid disastrous levels of global warming. According to IPCC we have 12 years to address this challenge. The Treesolution helps solve climate change There is a cheap, affordable, solution that creates wealth while solving the CO₂ problem. Groasis calls it ‘The Treesolution’. In 2008 Pieter Hoff, Groasis’ founder, wrote a book about this solution and since then his company Groasis continued to work on making implementation of the solution as cheap as possible. The Treesolution can save us from climate change at less than half the cost of the bank bail out that followed the 2008 crisis.

Paris COP21 acknowledges that agriculture and forestry are crucial elements of emissions reduction. Trees are nature’s ‘low capex and minimum opex’- tool to generate carbon offsets (the ultimate Negative Emissions Technology). Through the principle of photosynthesis CO₂ is captured and extracted from the atmosphere and converted into valuable products (CCUS/CCER).

Most fertile land on earth is already planted and extracts CO₂ from the atmosphere. In order to prevent climate change we need to develop additional capacity to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere. The extra CO₂ offsets have to be realized on currently unused, degraded, dry, and eroded land. The Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology enables planting of productive trees in combination with vegetables on this type of degraded land, using 90% less water and at 90% lower cost than existing methods, whilst resulting on average in a 90% survival rate.

Besides offsetting CO₂ emissions with productive trees, Groasis’ disruptive technology allows hundreds of millions of people to develop resilient food production systems – offering wide social benefits in the form of food, water savings and employment. The Treesolution -based on the Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology – not only solves the climate problem but also addresses poverty, unemployment and hunger. It generates 478 trillion US$ in revenues over the next 40 years thus stimulating all countries that today suffer from economic stress caused by drought, it creates over 1.2 billion new jobs and helps solve the food problem. More information: download the accompanying documents – including the cost calculations – here.

Calculate your countries’ costs: here is the list of countries with the annual emissions of CO₂. If you want to calculate the costs of The Treesolution to make your country CO₂ neutral, then copy the annual emissions of your country from this list, add three zero’s, and paste this number into cel 8C of tab page ‘Introduction and Summary’ of the accompanying excel document ‘ 5 20181001 Groasis Growboxx The Treesolution Investment Calculation template’. Once you’ve done this, cel 29C of the same tab page shows the costs of The Treesolution for your country.

Copyrights: All copyrights are owned by Groasis. You are free to use the documents if you add ‘Courtesy ©Groasis’.

About Groasis: Groasis was founded by Mr. Pieter Hoff. In 2003 he invented a tecehnology to enable planting on degraded land with 90% less water, at 90% less costs and resulting in 90% survival rate. The technology has been perfected over the last decade and proven in 42 countries on 6 continents. In 2016 Groasis was awarded the status of “National Icon” by the Dutch Government for being one of the three most sustainable companies that support economic growth. In 2017 the UN World Food Program selected Groasis as a partner to help them reach their ‘Zero hunger by 2030’ challenge. In September 2018 Groasis was crowned as the most innovative company of the Netherlands by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

Communication:
www.groasis.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/Groasiswaterboxx
https://www.youtube.com/user/GroasisVegetables
Contact: cvhaaften@groasis.com
Pieter Hoff’s blog ‘The Green Musketeer‘
Download ‘The Treesolution’ here Copyright © 2018 –  Groasis Ecological Water Saving Technology. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
press@groasis.com

Judge: Groundskeeper Failed to Show Monsanto Acted with ‘Malice’ in Landmark Case

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:15
ECHO WATCH: Judge: Groundskeeper Failed to Show Monsanto Acted with ‘Malice’ in Landmark Case

by Olivia Rosane

A California judge opened the door Wednesday to a do-over of the landmark trial that awarded California groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson $289 million in damages from agri-chemical giant Monsanto after he claimed constant use of the company’s Roundup weed-killer caused his cancer.

Oct. 11, 2018 07:24AM EST

GEORGES GOBET / AFP / Getty Images San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos issued a tentative ruling ordering a new trial, arguing that Johnson did not present “clear and convincing evidence of malice or oppression” on the part of Monsanto, The Associated Press reported.

The jury had awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. It is the second award, based on the assumption that Monsanto deliberately withheld information about the safety of Roundup, that might be subject to a new trial. Bolanos said Johnson had not produced evidence that Monsanto employees believed the Roundup he was using would cause cancer. Bolanos further said she may also reduce the $39 million to $31 million if she upholds the ruling that exposure to Roundup did indeed cause Johnson’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Bolanos asked for written arguments from the lawyers for both sides by Friday and will issue her final ruling once she has reviewed them.

“There’s nothing that I heard that suggested the judge was persuaded otherwise on the question of punitive damages, so that tentative ruling is likely going to stand,” said University of California Hastings Prof. David Levine told ABC 7.

Johnson said nothing during the two-hour hearing Wednesday.

Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, immediately appealed the August verdict as it pushes back against growing concern that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer in humans.

“The Company continues to believe that the evidence at trial does not support the verdict and the damage awards,” a Bayer spokesperson told The Guardian following the tentative ruling.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer listed glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015, and Johnson’s attorneys had presented Monsanto emails that they said showed the company had worked to suppress negative findings about glyphosate and encourage positive ones.

The journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology issued an “Expression of Concern” last month over published articles finding glyphosate safe whose authors had failed to acknowledge their ties to Monsanto.

Whatever Bolanos ultimately decides, there are 8,000 plaintiffs bringing similar complaints against Monsanto, and some trials will start as soon as next year.

“I think we are going to win a lot more than we lose. There will always be appeals until Bayer is ready to settle the whole liability,” one of Johnson’s attorney’s Timothy Litzenburg told The Guardian. “There are a lot of people out there suffering from this horrible disease that might’ve been avoided with a tiny label.”

read full story

 

Attention all “tree huggers”…..learn to read timber harvest permits/documents in webinar

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:45

SCHEDULED for OCTOBER 22, 1:00-3:00 PM

CalTREES Public Training Workshop

California Timber Regulation and Environmental Evaluation System

Location:  Resources Auditorium – 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA

Webcast:  The workshop will be webcast for those who cannot attend in person.  Register here to access the live webcast: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8502937227975779587

The webcast will be recorded, posted to the CalTREES website, and available for viewing at any time.  

Clear cutting our forests.

Workshop Topic:  This workshop will fully cover the CalTREES functions to search and review harvesting permit documents.  This workshop will not include information pertaining to entering or processing harvesting documents in CalTREES.  A different session will be set up for that purpose at another time. 

Target Audience:  Members of the general public who will use CalTREES to access submitted timber harvesting documents and related information.  

Background:  Starting in November, the CalTREES team will be releasing the CalTREES on-line functionality for the public to search and review all timber harvesting documents, current and past.  The search feature in CalTREES will provide search criteria such as document type, document number, county, date range, etc., that can be entered to assist in locating documents.  Once this functionality goes live, the THP FTP Library will no longer be updated, but it will remain operational with historical documents until December 31, 2018.  For CalTREES FAQs, visit:  http://www.fire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/CalTreesFAQs

Geoff Ellsworth people first campaign for St Helena mayor

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 09:33
What a ride it’s been. With Election Day fast approaching, my campaign is heating up and it’s all thanks to you. Check out the new campaign video we just released, and read on for more campaign updates, including the results from my door-to-door survey. Survey Results Are In For the past few weeks, I’ve been going door-to-door, asking you all about the most pressing issues in St. Helena. The people have spoken. Out of 102 surveys, we found that 77% of you felt that your water rates were too high. 84% believed that residential users should pay a lower rate for water than commercial or industrial users. A whopping 90% were worried about how our local water supplies might be affected by drought over the coming years.

On average, our survey indicated that traffic, too many vacant homes, water rates and water safety, affordable housing, and retail/downtown viability were your top concerns for quality of life in St. Helena.

Special thanks to everyone who answered our survey. I look forward to working together with all of you to tackle St. Helena’s most pressing issues. Our Latest Campaign Video Click on this image to view our latest campaign video. Thanks for Your Support When I first announced my candidacy back in August, I never expected to see the response this campaign has been getting. So many of you have sent in Letters to the Editor to show your support for my campaign.

Thanks to Lois Battuello, Pat Dell, Valli Ferrell, Ester Askerloot, Lana Ivanoff, Roger Hagan and Susan de Luis, Tona Kovacevic, George Caloyannidis, Joan Westgate, Anne Carr, Tom Belt, Nancy Parrish Brandl, Linda Rose, Phil Murphy, and Susan Davis for your letters of support.

Every letter to the editor counts. We’re depending on you to help us spread the word. Ballots are Enroute Election day is November 6th. Like last year, this election will be by mail. Watch out for your voter’s pamphlet and ballot! We’ll send an email next week with more info on mail-in and drop off voting. Upcoming Events Want to get involved? Join me at these upcoming events.

– On October 11th and October 25th, join me at the St. Helena Public Library for Conversations with Geoff Ellsworth. These meetings are free to attend and will start at 6PM. 

– And on October 14th, get ready to do-si-do with the whole family. a square dance and potluck fundraiser will be held at Native Sons Hall. Bring your dancing boots and a favorite dish to share. Our square dance is free to attend, donations greatly appreciated. Getting Involved According to the St. Helena Star, our campaign has now out-raised Galbraith’s. Let’s keep up the good work! Election day is still 27 days away. A lot can change between then and now so let’s keep pushing. My campaign depends on you.

Donating isn’t the only way to get involved. From yard signs to sending in a public endorsement to the newspaper, to talking with neighbors, it takes all us to build a campaign. Visit my website at www.ellsworth4mayor.com to learn more about getting involved. Copyright © 2018 Geoff Ellsworth For Mayor, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Geoff Ellsworth For Mayor
PO Box 117
Rutherford CA 94573

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Geoff Ellsworth For Mayor ·  PO Box 117 · Rutherford CA, CA 94573 · USA

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FERC: One of the Most Important Agencies You’ve Never Heard of Is Being Taken Over by Trump

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:05
SWAMP WATCH “FERC also is considering a request from a gas-fired power plant in California that could have dangerous implications for the state’s recent historic decision to achieve 100 percent clean energy electricity by 2045. It just so happens that this gas-fired plant, La Paloma in Kern County, was purchased last year by Daniel Andrew Beal, a large donor to Trump’s presidential bid who also served as a campaign adviser. La Paloma is asking FERC to order California to put a mandatory capacity market into place—which would explicitly prevent renewable energy sources supported by state policies from earning money in the market. The results would be devastating for a state that has been a pioneer in sourcing its electricity from clean energy. If McNamee were confirmed, it is far more likely that Beal will get his way.” One of the Most Important Agencies You’ve Never Heard of Is Being Taken Over by Trump By Kim Smaczniak

Most Americans probably don’t know that an independent—and up to now nonpartisan—government agency has played a key role in our nation’s transition to cleaner energy technologies. Under the radar and hidden beneath a layer of technical jargon, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has shepherded changes to electricity market rules that have gradually allowed the superior economics of clean energy technologies to out-compete clunky, old fossil fueled power plants. And it has done this for decades, under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Now the Trump administration is poised to tip FERC’s balance by appointing a fossil fuel advocate as one of five commissioners—putting all that bipartisan clean energy progress under threat. However, because few people have heard of the important work done by this small, technocratic agency, this potential appointment could move forward without much opposition. This has to change. A healthy, livable climate depends on it. Bernard McNamee is the Trump administration’s pick to fill Robert Powelson’s recently vacated seat on FERC. McNamee currently leads the Office of Policy at the Department of Energy, where he helped to roll out Energy Sec. Rick Perry’s failed attempt to bail out the coal and nuclear industries. His resume reads like a who’s who in the fossil fuel industry and the far-right political crowd.

McNamee has deep ties to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Koch-funded organization that has provided a pipeline of Trump nominees, including the former nominee to the Council For Environmental Quality that even Republicans agreed was unqualified for the job. It was there that McNamee spearheaded “Life: Powered,” a project launched by the group in 2015 “to combat the Obama-era Clean Power Plan,” according to TPPF’s 2017 annual report. He also served as a senior advisor and counsel to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). This past Earth Day, he authored a love letter to fossil fuels that implored Americans to remember how “the responsible use of America’s abundant resources of natural gas, oil and coal have dramatically improved the human condition.”

By all accounts, he’s decidedly political and unabashedly an advocate for dirty energy.

Up to this juncture, FERC’s work to keep the grid running at fair rates hasn’t been a “red” or “blue” issue. Although FERC’s five commissioners are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate, no more than three of its commissioners may belong to the same political party in order to maintain its tradition of careful bipartisanship. Under this bipartisan approach, clean energy progress has marched forward: Year after year, regional grids have hit higher and higher proportions of renewable energy. FERC has eliminated barriers to new energy technologies whether chaired by a “D” or an “R.” Even under the initial slate of Trump appointees, FERC unanimously rejected the Trump coal bailout.

That bipartisan tradition now appears to be under threat.

If McNamee were confirmed as a FERC commissioner, Trump would gain a decisive vote on a commission that’s currently split 2-2. With critical matters looming ahead on FERC’s agenda, this is dangerous. As executive director of the Office of Policy at the Department of Energy, McNamee played a central role in an attempt to undermine wholesale energy markets for the benefit of the coal industry – an attempt FERC has blocked to date.

FERC recently issued a ruling that has the potential to undercut state policies that level the playing field for renewable resources. PJM Interconnection runs the nation’s largest regional grid, which stretches from Illinois to New Jersey and down to North Carolina. FERC’s ruling would effectively block state-supported renewables from participating in one of PJM’s electricity markets. The ruling is poorly conceived, and Earthjustice is working to reverse it. FERC could right its own course with a pending case that provides another way for the impacted renewables to receive payment for their services. Without McNamee, FERC’s two Democratic commissioners could potentially negotiate a compromise solution that respects state renewable energy programs. However, with McNamee, FERC’s fellow Republican commissioners could be swayed toward a hardline position and produce a 3-2 pro-fossil fuel vote. FERC also is considering a request from a gas-fired power plant in California that could have dangerous implications for the state’s recent historic decision to achieve 100 percent clean energy electricity by 2045. It just so happens that this gas-fired plant, La Paloma in Kern County, was purchased last year by Daniel Andrew Beal, a large donor to Trump’s presidential bid who also served as a campaign adviser. La Paloma is asking FERC to order California to put a mandatory capacity market into place—which would explicitly prevent renewable energy sources supported by state policies from earning money in the market. The results would be devastating for a state that has been a pioneer in sourcing its electricity from clean energy. If McNamee were confirmed, it is far more likely that Beal will get his way.

Together with our advocacy partners, Earthjustice is paying close attention to these and other matters that could be threatened by a McNamee confirmation. We will continue to fight to keep politics from getting in the way of progress at FERC. But we need your help. Call your senators today and ask them to oppose the appointment of Bernard McNamee to FERC. Our clean energy future is at stake.

Kim Smaczniak is a staff attorney with the Clean Energy Program. She helps shape legal strategies to ensure a fair playing field for clean energy in federally-regulated electricity markets. Kim is based in Washington, DC.

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EcoWatch: 10 Worst Plastic Polluting Companies Found by Global Cleanups

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:51
EcoWatch. “By continuing to churn out problematic and unrecyclable throwaway plastic packaging for their products, these companies are guilty of trashing the planet on a massive scale. It’s time they own up and stop shifting the blame to citizens for their wasteful and polluting products.” EcoWatch: 10 Worst Plastic Polluting Companies Found by Global Cleanups 

Oct. 09, 2018 01:06PM EST

Coke bottles found on Mull Beach in Scotland. Will Rose / Greenpeace 10 Worst Plastic Polluting Companies Found by Global Cleanups Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé were identified as the world’s biggest producers of plastic trash in global cleanups and brand audits, a new report from Greenpeace and the Break Free From Plastic movement reveals. Over the span of nine months, an international team of volunteers sorted through 187,000 pieces of plastic trash collected from 239 cleanups in 42 countries around the world.

The results, released Tuesday, shows that these multinational food and beverage giants were the top 10 offenders:

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. PepsiCo
  3. Nestlé
  4. Danone
  5. Mondelez International
  6. Procter & Gamble
  7. Unilever
  8. Perfetti van Melle
  9. Mars Incorporated
  10. Colgate-Palmolive

The organizers behind the effort are calling out these brands for their contribution to plastic pollution.

“These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” Von Hernandez, global coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, said in a press release emailed to EcoWatch. “By continuing to churn out problematic and unrecyclable throwaway plastic packaging for their products, these companies are guilty of trashing the planet on a massive scale. It’s time they own up and stop shifting the blame to citizens for their wasteful and polluting products.”

Greenpeace Southeast Asia conducts plastic brand audit activity at Wonnapa beach, Chonburi province on World Cleanup Day, September 15, 2018.GreenpeaceIn the U.S. specifically, a total of 70 cleanups determined that Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola were the worst corporate plastic polluters, in that order.

The three companies have each pledged to cut their packaging waste. Coca-Cola has a global goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030. Nestlé aims to make 100 percent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. PepsiCo has a goal to design 100 percent of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable and to reduce its packaging’s carbon impact by 2025.

Awareness about the global plastic waste crisis is growing worldwide. Governments around the world have taken steps to ban single-use plastics and individuals are pledging to reduce their plastic footprint.

However, the organizers of the recent report are asking: Shouldn’t corporations that package their goods in plastics shoulder some of this responsibility, too?

“We all have a role to play in tackling plastic pollution. But the reality is, individual consumers are already bearing the burden of this crisis,” Greenpeace content editor Ryan Schleeter wrote in a blog post about today’s report. “We’re swapping plastic bottles for reusable glass and metal, ditching disposable straws, avoiding unnecessary packaging in our grocery stores, and cleaning up our beaches as best we can. But there’s only so much we can do if companies don’t step up and provide more sustainable choices.”

Related Articles Around the Web

 

North Bay Will Parrish writes article on protestors for the Guardian

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:35
Making peaceful protestors criminals……. From The Guardian, Oct. 4, 2018:

Standing Rock activist faces prison after officer shot him in the face

by Will Parrish Marcus Mitchell lay facedown on the snowy North Dakota prairie, blood pouring through the gaping wound on the left side of his face. It was just past midnight on 19 January 2017, and a Morton county sheriff’s deputy had just shot the 21-year-old indigenous activist with a bean bag pellet amid a demonstration near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation against the Dakota Access pipeline. The lead pellet entered Mitchell’s left eye socket, shattering the orbital wall of his eye and his cheekbone, and ripping open a flap of skin nearly to his left ear.

Paramedics brought Mitchell to the Sanford medical center in Bismarck, North Dakota, where hospital personnel removed the lead pellet from his face. But the harrowing ordeal was only beginning. Law enforcement officers and hospital staff concealed Mitchell’s whereabouts from family members and supporters, who spent a frantic day and a half searching for him, multiple witnesses say. When a group of family members and legal workers finally discovered him on the hospital’s fourth floor, he was shackled to a gurney. More than 18 months later, Mitchell, who is Dine’ (Navajo), is being prosecuted in relation to the incident, even as the police officers involved appear to have faced no repercussions. He faces class A misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and obstruction of a government function, which carry a collective maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $6,000 fine. His trial is scheduled for 8 November in Mandan, North Dakota.

Click here to continue reading >>.

Donald Williams running for Calistoga Council could use a hand October 11th

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:25
Dear Supporters, So many of you have helped in so many ways for this campaign for change on our council—and here’s another opportunity to pitch in: With your donations I’ve been able to print additional flyers to mail to voters in Calistoga.  Our task tomorrow is to address 1,475 envelopes and insert the flyers. Lucretia Marcus has volunteered her house for us to do that.  The address is 933 Petrified Forest Road.  The time is Thursday, October 11, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  (As you turn off Foothill to drive to Santa Rosa, her driveway is just past the convenience store, on the left.  You’ll see my sign there.)
I understand you may not be able to come, but I hope you can, even if only for part of the time.  The more of us who can do this, the less time it will take. Please let me or Lucretia (bellemarc@comcast.net) know if you can help tomorrow.  You’ll be among friends! (And if you’d like to help another time, let me know.) Thank you, Donald -- Donald Williams

Anti-climate legal decision authored by Brett Kavanaugh survives Supreme Court challenge

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:01
SWAMP WATCH The assault on our health and environment begins…..polluters rule (and have more rights than you). “The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a lower court ruling that allows the continued use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful class of climate-damaging chemicals, in millions of consumer products ranging from air conditioners to aerosol sprays. An Obama-era rule limiting the use of HFCs was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — in an opinion authored by then-D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh……. “Coming only a day after the world’s leading climate scientists called for urgent action to curb dangerous carbon pollution, the court’s decision lets irresponsible companies to continue harming our planet — even though safer alternatives exist,” David Doniger….”  Anti-climate legal decision authored by Brett Kavanaugh survives Supreme Court challenge

 

Groups had appealed D.C. Circuit’s ruling in favor of continued use of harmful chemicals. Mark Hand Twitter Oct 9, 2018, 11:54 am

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a lower court ruling that allows the continued use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful class of climate-damaging chemicals, in millions of consumer products ranging from air conditioners to aerosol sprays.

An Obama-era rule limiting the use of HFCs was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — in an opinion authored by then-D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh — in August 2017. Kavanaugh, who was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice on Saturday despite facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, did not participate in the Supreme Court deliberations in the HFC case, Honeywell v. Mexichem Fluor.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal of the D.C. Circuit decision came one day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a major report detailing the devastating effect climate change will have on the world if widespread action isn’t immediately taken. “Coming only a day after the world’s leading climate scientists called for urgent action to curb dangerous carbon pollution, the court’s decision lets irresponsible companies to continue harming our planet — even though safer alternatives exist,” David Doniger, an attorney and senior strategic director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said Tuesday in a statement. Trump ‘poses the single greatest threat’ to our climate, bombshell UN report makes clear

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case, Doniger expressed hope response to action taken at the state level to limit the use of HFCs. Four states — California, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut — have already committed to curb HFCs, with more states expected to follow, he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule, issued during the Obama administration, required companies to phase out HFCs used in refrigerators and air conditioning in favor of new chemicals that do not harm the ozone layer and contribute little or nothing to climate change.

In 2015, the EPA determined there were safer alternatives for many HFC uses. The agency put those HFC uses on the prohibited list. The EPA was sued by two chemical companies — Mexichem Fluor and Arkema — which had failed to invest in safe alternatives. They argued the EPA lacked authority to order the replacement of HFCs because — no matter how dangerous HFCs are to the climate — they do not deplete the ozone layer.

In the August 2017 opinion authored by Kavanaugh, though, the D.C Circuit decided the EPA lacked authority to regulate the companies already using HFCs.

“EPA’s well-intentioned policy objectives with respect to climate change do not on their own authorize the agency to regulate,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Under the Constitution, congressional inaction does not license an agency to take matters into its own hands, even to solve a pressing policy issue such as climate change.”

Donald Trump accused of ‘waging a war on children’ through EPA regulatory rollbacks

In June, NRDC petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling.

If allowed to remain in place, the HFC rules would have ensured the safety of the chemicals used to replace ozone-depleting substances in millions of air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosol cans, insulating foams, and other products Americans used nearly every day, NRDC said.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal will allow all of the current users of HFCs to keep using them in perpetuity, even though companies have developed much safer substitutes, some with far less the heat-trapping power of HFCs.

The EPA, under Trump’s leadership, has sought to remove any mention of climate change on its website and its documents, including the role of HFCs in exacerbating climate change.

Last week, E&E News reported that the Trump administration removed language about how climate change affects children’s health from a draft EPA proposal on HFCs. An earlier draft of an EPA proposal on HFCs contained language about how children are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. That language was removed during a review by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

#Brett Kavanaugh, #Climate, #Environmental Protection Agency, #Justice, #Politics, #Supreme Court

  • ‘The world is against them’: new era of cancer lawsuits threaten Monsanto

    Wed, 10/10/2018 - 09:47
    Bring out the tiny violins….and how many people did your product kill or maim? “It’s like a serial killer, but it’s a product,” said Brooks, 57, who has a pending case against Monsanto, alleging that her husband’s use of the company’s popular weedkiller at their home led to his fatal disease. “It’s unconscionable … I don’t see how they can win. The world is against them.” ‘The world is against them’: new era of cancer lawsuits threaten Monsanto

    and

    A landmark verdict found Roundup caused a man’s cancer, paving the way for thousands of other families to seek justice

    Dean Brooks grasped on to the shopping cart, suddenly unable to stand or breathe. Later, at a California emergency room, a nurse with teary eyes delivered the news, telling his wife, Deborah, to hold out hope for a miracle. It was December 2015 when they learned that a blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) was rapidly attacking the man’s body and immune system.

    By July 2016, Dean was dead. Deborah gets emotional recounting the gruesome final chapter of the love of her life. But in recent months, she has had reason to be hopeful again.

    In an historic verdict in August, a jury ruled that Monsanto had caused a man’s terminal cancer and ordered the agrochemical corporation to pay $289m in damages. The extraordinary decision, exposing the potential hazards of the world’s most widely used herbicide, has paved the way for thousands of other cancer patients and families to seek justice and compensation in court. Pinterest Dean and Deborah Brooks. Photograph: Courtesy Deborah Brooks

    “It’s like a serial killer, but it’s a product,” said Brooks, 57, who has a pending case against Monsanto, alleging that her husband’s use of the company’s popular weedkiller at their home led to his fatal disease. “It’s unconscionable … I don’t see how they can win. The world is against them.”

    Brooks said she cried when she learned that a jury had ruled in favor of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, the terminally ill former school groundskeeper who became the first person to take Monsanto to trial over Roundup. The verdict stated that Monsanto “acted with malice”, knew or should have known its chemical was dangerous, and failed to warn consumers about the risks.

    Monsanto has filed an appeal, and a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in San Francisco. The stakes are high for Monsanto and Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant that acquired the company earlier this year. Energized by the Johnson win, a snowballing series of courtroom challenges are now threatening the legacy and finances of the corporations – and the future of a chemical that is ubiquitous around the globe.

    The fight against 8,000 plaintiffs

    Monsanto has argued that “junk science” led to the jury’s ruling on the chemical called glyphosate, which the company brought to market in 1974. Sold under numerous brands, including Roundup and Ranger Pro, the herbicide is now worth billions of dollars in revenues and is registered in 130 countries, with approvals for use on more than 100 crops.

    The Johnson v Monsanto trial was groundbreaking before it even began, because a judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorneys to present research and expert testimony on glyphosate and health risks – scientific evidence that the jury ultimately found credible and compelling.

    The Johnson v Monsanto trial was groundbreaking before it even began, because a judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorneys to present research and expert testimony on glyphosate and health risks – scientific evidence that the jury ultimately found credible and compelling.

    Pinterest Dewayne Johnson said he had prolonged exposures to glyphosate, a chemical in herbicides made by Monsanto. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AP

    Johnson, who is not expected to survive for more than two years, said he had prolonged exposures to glyphosate while applying the herbicide to school properties, at least twice accidentally getting large amounts of the chemical on his skin. Because Monsanto has insisted that the product is safe and has no cancer warnings on its labels, Johnson said he did not know about the risks until it was too late.

    His award of $289m, which included $250m in punitive damages, is a game-changer for the 46-year-old, who will leave behind a wife and three children. But Monsanto is fighting to keep it from him.

    One man’s suffering exposed Monsanto’s secrets to the world Carey Gillam Read more

    “It’s a big red flag for the company,” said Jean M Eggen, professor emerita at Widener University Delaware Law School, adding of the verdict: “It brings more people out who might not otherwise sue.”

    Roughly 8,700 plaintiffs have made similar cases in state courts across the country, alleging that exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides led to various types of cancer. The impact could be huge if Monsanto continues to fight and lose in jury trials, and an accumulation of wins could force the company to consider settling with plaintiffs.

    “It could become very costly,” said Eggen, comparing the fight to that of the tobacco industry, which aggressively fought cases in court but eventually decided settlements were the best option. “It’s really a business decision.”

    Monsanto may ultimately consider changing the labels to warn consumers about cancer risks and work to settle with consumers who have had high exposures, said Lars Noah, University of Florida law professor: “It’s sort of a wake-up call that their strategy was unrealistic.”

    Of the thousands of cases, there are more than 10 trials on track to start in 2019 and 2020, with court battles ramping up in California, Montana, Delaware, Kansas City and St Louis (where Monsanto is headquartered). Farmers, gardeners, government employees, landscapers and a wide range of others have alleged that Monsanto’s products sickened them or killed their loved ones.

    “This is a tremendous number of trials for one year and will allow plaintiffs to get critical evidence in front of juries – evidence not seen before,” said the attorney Aimee Wagstaff.

    The  first plaintiffs who may have an opportunity to face Monsanto in a courtroom are Alberta and Alva Pilliod, a California couple. Alberta, 74, has brain cancer while her husband, 76, suffers from a bone cancer that he said has invaded his pelvis and spine – both forms of NHL.

    Pinterest Monsanto, the maker of the herbicide Roundup, has argued that ‘junk science’ led to the jury’s ruling on the chemical called glyphosate in the Johnson v Monsanto trial. Photograph: Jeff Roberson/AP

    Given their age and cancer diagnoses, their lawyers have argued they have a right to a speedy trial. Monsanto, however, has opposed the request, and a hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.

    The couple, who have two children and four grandchildren, used Roundup from the 1970s until a few years ago – around their yard and on multiple properties they purchased and renovated. The couple said they chose the herbicide because they believed it wouldn’t be harmful to the deer, ducks and other animals that roamed their property. They were also sure it was safe for themselves.

    “We are very angry. We hope to get justice,” Alberta told the Guardian, noting that they didn’t use protective gear when they sprayed and would not have used Roundup the way they did if they knew the risks. “If we had been given accurate information, if we had been warned, this wouldn’t have happened.”

    Alva said the cancer had destroyed their lives: “It has been a miserable few years.”

    Their lawyers hope to go to trial before it’s too late. Alberta’s doctors have said she has “substantially high risk” for recurrence, has “deep brain lesions” from the cancer – and is likely to die if she does relapse.

    ‘We are not going to be silent’

    The Pilliods and other plaintiffs taking on the company have long argued that Monsanto led a “prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general public that Roundup was safe”.

    Attorneys have cited internal Monsanto records that they say demonstrate how the company has manipulated and corrupted the scientific record with respect to the herbicide’s safety. The scrutiny has escalated in recent weeks.

    On 26 September, the prominent scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology issued an “expression of concern”, saying that its published research finding glyphosate to be safe had not fully declared Monsanto’s involvement.

    The high-profile correction came after litigation revealed that the company was involved in organizing and editing article drafts. Monsanto was linked to a scientific review that countered a crucial 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

    More evidence could emerge at forthcoming trials about Monsanto’s questionable involvements in scientific papers, plaintiffs’ attorneys said.

    A Bayer spokesman, Utz Klages, said in an email that the number of cases filed was “not indicative of the merits of the litigation”. He called glyphosate a “breakthrough for modern agriculture” and “cost-effective tool that can be used safely to control a wide range of weeds”.

    Regulatory reviews and scientific studies have demonstrated that glyphosate is safe and not a cause of NHL, he said, adding: “The Johnson verdict is not final and concerns a single, specific case.”

    EU on brink of historic decision on pervasive glyphosate weedkiller Read more

    John Barton, a California farmer who used Roundup for decades and was diagnosed with NHL in 2015, said he was eager to go to trial, especially since Monsanto and Bayer were still telling the public that glyphosate was safe.

    “Monsanto needs to realize that we are not going to be silent any more,” said Barton, a third-generation farmer, who is part of a California lawsuit filed by the Baum Hedlund firm, which represented Johnson. “We are not going to roll over and play dead … People should be warned that this stuff is everywhere and we should be careful of this product.”

    Barton, 69, said he also feared that his three sons could get sick due to their Roundup exposure.

    “My dad exposed me to this. He never would’ve done that if he knew it was dangerous,” he added. “I have this guilt that I may have endangered my own sons.

    Read more

    John Barton, a California farmer who used Roundup for decades and was diagnosed with NHL in 2015, said he was eager to go to trial, especially since Monsanto and Bayer were still telling the public that glyphosate was safe.

    “Monsanto needs to realize that we are not going to be silent any more,” said Barton, a third-generation farmer, who is part of a California lawsuit filed by the Baum Hedlund firm, which represented Johnson. “We are not going to roll over and play dead … People should be warned that this stuff is everywhere and we should be careful of this product.”

    Barton, 69, said he also feared that his three sons could get sick due to their Roundup exposure.

    “My dad exposed me to this. He never would’ve done that if he knew it was dangerous,” he added. “I have this guilt that I may have endangered my own sons.”

    Pinterest John Barton, a plaintiff, has non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Photograph: Dan Tuffs for the Guardian

    Deborah Brooks described NHL as “torture”, recounting her husband lying on towels on the floor trying to stop endless nosebleeds and the constant illnesses that plagued him while his immune system suffered.

    “Nobody should have to go through that. It takes life in such a terrible way,” said Brooks, whose husband was 72 years old when he died. “I’m fighting for the honor of my husband and all the others that have come before and will come after … My heart goes out to those victims who don’t know they’re victims.”

    Bayer declined to comment about the Brooks or Barton cases. A spokeswoman, Charla Lord, said in an email that because the Pilliods are both in remission and there was “no indication of any imminent cancer recurrence”, the company is arguing that an early trial date was not warranted.

    Legal experts said it was possible the Johnson appeal could lead to a reduced monetary award. The courts could also find that there was insufficient evidence to prove that glyphosate causes cancer or that attorneys failed to demonstrate that the herbicide caused Johnson’s cancer.

    Those outcomes could be devastating for Johnson and a setback for those fighting glyphosate. But cancer patients and families across the country will be able to push forward regardless of what happens in San Francisco, said David Levine, a University of California Hastings law professor.

    “Even if Monsanto gets a complete victory here, it’s not going to stop other plaintiffs.”

    Carey Gillam is a journalist and author, and a public interest researcher for US Right to Know, a not-for-profit food industry research group

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    Topics

    When politicians need to be educated….SB 901 uses faulty science and doesn’t address major issues

    Wed, 10/10/2018 - 09:32

    SB 901 uses faulty science and fails big time to address future fire concerns. So why did Jim Wood support this? And Governor Brown signed this…..

    “Your support for approval of SB 901 was not well thought out and your response to me indicates that you (and your staff) are ill informed.”

    COAST ACTION GROUP
    126 Steiner Ct.
    Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    October 8,2018

    Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance

    Assemblymember Jim Wood

    State Capitol
    P.O Box 94249
    Sacramento, CA 94249-2002

    Assembly Member Wood:

    On the Date (Sept. 20, 2018) , you sent me the response (included below the text of this letter) in regards to issues I had raised  concerning your efforts (misguided) in the approval of SB 901.

    In this document I am responding to your assertions and arguments.

    Certainly the fires of last October were devastating. It can be fairly argued that the devastation could have been mitigated by proper planning. However,  your support for and the approval of SB 901  will provide very little positive effect in dealing with the issue of forests and minimizing effects of wildfire on forests and the community.

    First, I will point out that the areas that burned had a history of wildfire events and community planning ignored that history allowing for non-fire hardened construction in known fire paths. SB 901 actively employs no effective actions that will address the issue of planning for fire and fire hardening communities.  This is a problem as there will be fires in the future and the best way to deal with potential  fire effects is planning for those events in a way that will protect the community in the future.

    Your response suggests that SB 901 will help protect and recover ravaged forests.  I must point out that the fires did not occur in managed forest areas (for the most part).  For the most part, the fires were in mixed chaparral /grass lands/oak woodland, and lightly populated conifer forested areas.  Furthermore, properly managed forested areas that contain mixed aged class trees – and that have been properly thinned after post-harvest regeneration – are less subject to severe fire effects (larger trees do not burn readily and harvested areas  – especially clear-cut areas – that are not thinned support regeneration of brush and/or overstocked areas of small (slow growing trees) that are subject to fire.  SB 901 does not address this issue – and – in fact, makes it worse by allowing clear-cut type silviculture. Additionally, SB 901 removes the Review Team (multi-agency timber harvest review of harvesting activity) oversight from controlling such projects – thus eliminating oversight that might mitigate mismanagement and negative effects on resources.

    You probably are not aware that every major river (except the Smith River) – from the Russian River to the Klamath system is listed as impaired (State List of Water Quality Limited Segments) due the pollutants of sediment, temperature, and nutrients.  These impairments are directly linked  to inappropriate timber harvest activity –  where such activity  failed to address issues  of erosion  from harvest activity and inappropriate road construction, low stocking requirements, and failure to employ near stream and watercourse protections. [Note:  agricultural effects and urban effects do play a role in the impairment on some of these impaired waterbodies – timber harvest is the dominant land use on these rivers – where  inappropriate timber harvest activity plays the major role in impairment] . SB 901 effectively removed protections of these resources by eliminating the requirement of an Erosion Control Implementation Plan as part of the working project document and oversight  for the Working Forest Management Plan.   Not only that, SB 901 removed forest stocking  and inventory requirements for assuring forest growth to satisfy forest health and productivity outcomes – which would provide added benefits for wildlife values, water quality benefits, and carbon sequestration.

    You also note devastating effects of wildfire to our watercourses.  Such adverse effects to watercourses – as a result of aggravated runoff  during rain events causing erosion can be, and are often, a result of wildfire events. I the case of last years fire storms,  pollutant runoff from chemicals and byproducts of structure incineration were also a large issue.  The Regional Water Quality Control Board exercised a huge effort to control those contaminants – and – were fairly successful in their efforts.

    The “protective”  management efforts (exemptions for harvesting, road construction, and changes to requirements for the Working Forest Management Plans) that you claim are part of SB 901 are mostly facilitated by exemptions that allow timber harvest, fuel reduction activity, and road construction to occur – without agency review.  And, in fact, the managing agencies (Regional Water Quality Control Board, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife) are not afforded notice of these activities.

    Finally, you tout the 200 million dollars secured from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund as a benefit in aiding fuel reduction.   First, (and again) it was not managed forests that burned (for the most part).  The areas that burned – mixed chaparral/grass/ oak woodland – regenerate  quite rapidly. These areas are quite large  – millions of acres spread across the State – with much of those acres in difficult terrain and hard to access.  Mechanical management of these areas is next to impossible. Furthermore,  the rapid regeneration (re-growth) will quickly negate all the efforts and expense (many of these areas would require periodic management).  Additionally, mechanical fuel reduction may have devastating effects to watercourses – creating  area disturbance and aggravated runoff and erosion from rain events – flushing more pollutants into our already impaired streams.  

    That 200 million dollars was slated, by Statute to support Greenhouse Gas Reduction.  What Greenhouse Gas Reduction will be attained by the implementation of fuel reduction plans that will not work?

    [Note: Existing law requires the Department of Finance, in consultation with the state air board and any other relevant state agency, to develop and update, as specified, a 3-year investment plan for the moneys deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund This bill (SB 901) would require the state air board (California Air Resources Board), in consultation with CalFire, to develop a standardized approach to quantifying the direct carbon emissions and decay from fuel reduction activities for purposes of meeting the accounting requirements for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund expenditures, a historic baseline of greenhouse gas emissions from California’s natural fire regime reflecting conditions before modern fire suppression, and a report that assesses greenhouse gas emissions associated with wildfire and forest management activities, as provided ( language from Legislative Analyst – SB 901).  Additionally, it should be pointed out that Calfire has a carbon accounting system for analysis of GHG effects related to timber harvest. This Calfire GHG accounting methodology has been deemed inadequate (missing pertinent accounting factors) by scientists at Oregon State University (scientific papers available).  This fact, in part, is basis for the finding by the Legislative Analyst  Office that Calfire is not capable of the task of administering forest practices in California (2018) ]

    Your response indicates greenbelts, as protective measures, are to be employed around high fire risk areas (assessment to be completed by Calfire).  This idea simply will not work. High fire risk areas in California are numerous (to the extreme) and complex. There simply is not enough time  or money to complete this objective. This strategy my be miss paced.  In Santa Rosa  hundreds of yards of noncombustible  freeway did not stop the fire – pushed by 70 mph winds.  Nor did large swaths of vineyard.  What is the reasoning and technology (science ) supporting this greenbelt idea?  Who will maintain and pay for such  greenbelts to be employed in numerous high fire risk areas, The whole $200 million dollars taken from the Cap and Trade program might cover part of a greenbelt – just for Santa Rosa.  Where is there sufficient funds to employ greenbelts in fire risk areas in rest of the State?  (where Southern California has millions of acres of combustible mixed chaparral/grasslands that reside near populated areas (with severe fire risk) that are subject to wildfire threat – is that money not to be shared with the rest of the State or is it just for our local use in Santa Rosa?).  There are many millions of acres in this State that would need to be treated – either by mechanical methods, greenbelt, or some other method.  Out of a target of  500,000 acres (that is the yearly target) acres to be treated for fuel load reduction for the year of 2017 – Calfire treated less than 20,000 acres. (Statistics from Calfire).

    Furthermore – fuel load reduction alone  (with its costs and environmental  hazards) can not keep up with the regeneration  – nor can it provide safety from wildfire.  Nothing can provide such safety when winds  in excess of 70 mph are driving the fire.  The fires will occur and they need to be planned for.  SB 901 does not address that issue.

    URBAN PLANNING

    SB 901 authorizes the Office of Planning and Research to convene (a commission, with experts, and Calfire) and report on planning strategies to assess and mitigate wildfire threat.
    [65040.21. Before July 1, 2020, the office shall update the guidance document entitled “Fire Hazard Planning General Plan Technical Advice Series” in consultation with the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and other fire and safety experts. The guidance document shall include specific land use strategies to reduce fire risk to buildings, infrastructure, and communities. The office shall update the guidance document thereafter as necessary. (SB 901)]

    Given the above noted language.  The Office of Planning and Research and Planning mandated for assessing and implementing was already in place.  As with the Legislative Analyst’s Report on Calfire’s forestry management capabilities  – the information provided was ignored. Also ignored by planners (planning departments, Supervisors, and City Councils) was placement of construction (housing and industrial development) in known fire paths and high fire risk areas.

    SB 901 may give an appearance of correcting and addressing issue – when there is sufficient historical evidence that this is not the case.

    Your claim that SB 901 improves forestry conditions is unfound. Subsequent to the passing of the Forest Practice Act (1973 – which was passed to protect and restore diminished forest conditions in the State) –  nothing has changed.  SB 901 will only make matters worse by allowing uncontrolled harvesting in inventory reduction (by exemptions and harvest plans not subject to future review) – and – road construction to facilitate this activity that is also not subject to agency review.
    Forest inventories remain at 1973 low levels.  These low inventory levels and disruptive logging techniques are responsible for continuing effects on water quality issues – and – forest productivity and related forest values.

    Your support for approval of SB 901 was not well thought out and your response to me indicates that you (and your staff) are ill informed.

    Please review the attached paper for more information.  This letter and related information are being widely circulated.

    Sincerely,

                                       Alan Levine for Coast Action Group

    Attachments:

    E – mail response from Assembly Member Jim Wood

    Fire Season Stoked by Climate Change (Guy Kovner) – News Article In the Press Democrat (Sept. 9. 2018).

    E-Mail to Alan Levine from Assemblymember Wood

    Delivered-To: alevine@mcn.org
    Date: 20 Sep 2018 16:17:39 -0700
    X-IronPort-AV: E=Sophos;i=“5.54,282,1534834800″;
    d=”scan’208″;a=”220185784″
    From: Assemblymember.Wood@assembly.ca.gov
    To: alevine@mcn.org
    Subject: From the Office of Assemblymember Jim Wood

    Dear Alan:

    Thank you for contacting my office regarding wildfire resiliency in California. I appreciate hearing your concerns on this important issue.

    As a member of the Wildfire Preparedness and Response Conference Committee, I became very familiar with the incredibly formidable challenges California is facing. In the past two years, wildfires have not only violently taken lives, homes and possessions, but they have also negatively impacted our air quality, diminished tourism, shocked our housing markets, ravaged our forests and wildlands and damaged our waterways. California needs to adapt to wildfires quickly, and in many different ways.

    SB 901 (Dodd) was the result of the committee’s work addressing utility regulations, forest and vegetation management and fire safety and prevention. This bill puts into place a funding stream and a comprehensive framework to tackle both fire recovery and prevention.

    This legislation puts forth several different programs for landowners which simplify the tenants of vegetation management and seek to streamline the process for fire resiliency land management. Specifically, CAL Fire will create the Wildfire Resiliency Program which will assist nonindustrial timber owners with resources and technical assistance on fuel removal projects, best practices for wildfire resiliency and grant opportunities. The Small Timberland Owner Exemptions provides for limited harvesting of smaller trees and is set to sunset in five years. The purpose of this program is to eliminate the continuity of vegetative fuels to reduce flammable materials and maintain a fuel break. This program does not allow for unchecked or harmful logging practices. SB 901 also requires that any forestland conservation easement purchased with state funds is to include an agreement to maintain and improve forest health through promoting natural tree density, species diversity and habitat function.

    The Committee has been able to secure $200 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be continuously appropriated to CAL Fire for projects that improve forest health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires, fuel reduction plans and the operation of year round prescribed fire crews. Furthermore, this legislation sets aside $1 billion over the next five years, for the California Office of Emergency Services to be used to provide local assistance, equipment and technology that improves California’s Mutual Aid System and activities that are directly related to regional response and readiness.

    SB 901 also begins to address the vast and complex issue of local fire safety and resiliency. It directs the Board of Forestry to develop minimum fire safety standards for residential, commercial and industrial construction in very high fire hazard severity zones. It also requires the Board to update regulations for fuel breaks and greenbelts on the perimeter of communities to provide greater fire safety. Additionally, the Board will develop criteria and maintain a list of local agencies that meet best practices for local fire planning.

    SB 901 has gained passage in the Assembly and the Senate and been sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature. If you would like to track the progress of it, you may do so by logging onto http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful comments; I appreciate your engagement and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office in the future, on this issue or any others, through my website https://a02.asmdc.org/. Be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to mandate safer utility standards, better vegetation management practices, and community resiliency.

    Sincerely,

    JIM WOOD
    Assemblymember, 2nd District

    Fire Season Stoked by Climate Change (Guy Kovner) – News Article In the Press Democrat (Sept. 9. 2018).

    The Press Democrat, since the fire(s), has presented numerous news articles and opinions on the effects and causes of these events. It is assumed there is interest in informing the public and finding a path to recovery and dealing with future issues related to the threat of calamitous fire and other effects of climate change.  Additionally, the Press Democrat was historically the paper of note regarding forestry issues.  This no longer is the case.

    I have no issue with this article.  It presents the issue of increased threat due to climate change.
    The larger issue is what about climate change and how best to deal with it (controlling sources that exacerbate climate change and resources that can mitigate climate change and wildfire threat).

    My argument is that the reporting by the Press Democrat has been myopic – leaving out major issues – including the role that mature forests play, what type of areas are more subject to wildfire, and what State and local programs can do and/or are doing to exacerbate and remedy the issue.  It is also my argument that the State legislators, and the Governor, have no idea what they are doing and have failed to pay attention to existing science and their own agency staff and executive leadership  (Calfire, State Water Board, Legislative Analyst Office, Senate and Assembly Natural Resources Committees). There exists abundant science and history that is available to the decision makers that goes unrecognized and is ignored.   Thus, legislation dealing with these issues is subject to political manifestation(s) that end up supporting a profit driven outcome rather than actually providing remedy and safety.

    A Short Summary of Forestry and Climate issues (related to wildfire and other resources) that you should be aware of:

    The areas subject to wildfire were, to a very great extent,  not subject to managed forestlands.  These fires burned mostly grassy oak woodland, chaparral/brush areas and areas sparsely inhabited by noncommercial conifer species.  These areas recover from wildfire quickly and provide a fuel ladder in a relative short period of time. Managing the abundance of fuel in these areas (which are very large ) by mechanical methods is expensive an can be damaging to soil and water resources.  Management by controlled burning is preferable.  Management by controlled burning  is unlikely due to inherent danger and repercussions if fire gets away.  [Not: For the year of 2017 of 500,000 acres intended for such management less than 20,000 acres were actually managed. The Cal Fire yearly target is 500,000 acres per year].   Additionally, much of this type of ground is not readily accessible and probably will not be managed.

    Areas of managed forestlands (populated by commercial species) that have been logged often (repeated severe logging regimes) allows for regeneration that presents an over population of stems (small trees).  Appropriate management would provide for thinning. However, thinning is expensive and provides no economic incentive.  Thus, these areas, overpopulated with small trees exist and provide a fuel ladder and fire threat.   Small conifers burn readily.  Larger trees are more immune to fire effects.  A fire resilient forest is one with well distributed multi-aged class trees (with a large population of mature larger trees).

    Forest volume is a deterrent to climate change.  Fossil fuel burning – and other emissions CO2, methane, fluorocarbons, etc.. exacerbate climate change trends.  Forests store carbon and process CO2. Thus, maintaining or enhancing forest volume is an important factor in dealing with climate change.  Forests are also important as a water resource – where forests store water and limit (meter) water discharges.  And, forests are important for limiting erosion  – providing healthy streams, rivers, and lakes.

    Forest density (volume) in the Untied States has been diminished by a factor of 75% – since the settlement by Europeans.  This number is similar for the State of California.  The Z’berg-Negedly Forest Practice Act (1973) was passed in an effort to deal with this issue “protect and restore”.
    However, things have not changed since the passage of the Act.  The Board of Forestry (the rule writers) is controlled by industry and forest inventories are maintained at low levels and the thinning of forested areas (where a appropriate of the larger trees would be maintained) is not supported. There is also an economic paradox here – where,  if  forestlands with low inventories (10,000 to 20, 000 bf/acre) were increased to larger inventories (40,000 to 60,000 bf/acre) the economic benefit, via increased productivity of more larger aged class tress, would outstrip (be larger than) the inventory increase.  Note:  This would take some time – but – can be accomplished in a reasonable period of time –  if harvest was 30% to 50% of the growth rate.  Also Note: these numbers are for our coastal range. Growth is slower in other areas (northern and southern Sierra’s – with regional variation).  Historically the coastal range inventories originally were in excess of 100,000 bf/acre and currently are less than 15,000 bf/acre in Mendocino and Sonoma County. There would be other benefits from increasing forest inventory – including: fire resiliency (larger tree size classes), more carbon sequestration, improved water quality and water supply, and wildfire and fishery habitat improvement.

    To make matters worse the California Air Resources Board (CARB), relying on the Climate Action Reserve (CAR)  to produce projects (carbon securing plans qualifying for Carbon Credits) are approving such plans that allow for the sale of those credits – where such plans do not meet their own protocol by allowing “business as usual” (credits are providing no real benefit), and existing external constraints (planning documents submitted to CalFire)  that are supposed to be considered – are not considered. [Note: CAR has stated that considering such constraints is a “race to the bottom” – with noting that we are close to the bottom and why these constraints should not  be considered – as the protocol calls for).

    Finally, there are numerous scientific and agency reports to support the above statements and the fact the current Forest Practice Rules and their Administration do not support good forestry and the beneficial uses of water – including:

    Little  Hoover  Commission.  1994, Timber  harvest  plans:  a  flawed  effort  to  balance
    economic and environmental needs.\ Report 124. Sacramento; 85 pp

    Coastal Zone Management Act (CZARA Re-Authorization – 1997) – both the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Environmental Protection Agency find that the State of California’s administration of timber harvest activity (effects of)  cause for impaired conditions in California’s rivers and streams – and – that the State must develop programs to curtail such activity effecting forested areas.

    Ligon,  F.K.; Rich,  A.A.; Rynearson,  G.;Thornburgh,  D.;  Trush,  W.  1999.  Report  of  the Scientific  Review  Panel  on  California’s  Forest  Practice  Rules  and  salmonid  habitat., Sacramento, California.
    .
    Dunne Report 2001:  Failure to assess Cumulative Impacts on Timber Harvesting
    A SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR THE PREDICTION OF CUMULATIVE WATERSHED EFFECTS by The University of California Committee on Cumulative Watershed Effects
    June 2001

    I have in my possession a letter from forester and mensurationist at Calfire  (90 pages + 300 pages of appendices) that indicates he can not assess compliance of forestry planning documents with the Rules – stating that the foresters providing the documents did such lousy work that nothing can be assessed. (no determinations of compliance with the rules or planning documents can be made).

    Legislative Analysts Office Report (2018): States that Calfire is not capable of managing Forestry Resources – with the objectives considered in this document.  And, suggests that forestry and timber harvest review and planning responsibilities be turned over to another agency.

    As you can see many of the “Problems have been identified. However they have fallen off the table”  (Richard Wilson, Director of Calfire 1991 to 1999).  Richard is supporting a campaign “Why Forests Matter” supporting concepts in good forestry  and champion of the idea that current foresters (to a significant extent) have not benefited from  being properly informed and educated.  Not until such education  is supported  will we have people working in the  field that understand the issues and how to make forests productive and beneficial to climate and other resource issues.

    The current salvo of approved Bills to deal with the subject of fire resiliency considers none of the above.

    Note:  Some of the statements in this document are generalized – for brevity. It must be understood that there are spatial, temporal, species type, and ground condition differences in the status of California forestlands  – and – that being understood – there will be variance in the prescriptions and methods in attainment of desired conditions.  None of the newly adopted legislative endeavors accurately considers such variance.  Thus, we are headed for nothing good.

    Alan Levine

    For Coast Action Group.

    Alan Levine
    Coast Action Group
    Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance
    126 Steiner Ct.
    Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    Ostracism – How the Athenians voted people out of office

    Tue, 10/09/2018 - 09:25
    True democracy for and by the people… “Known as ostracism, this type of recall allowed for citizens to band together and vote to exile anyone who they believed to be dangerous to the interests of the public.” Ostracism – How the Athenians voted people out of office Jun 14, 2018 Andrew Pourciaux

    Popularity and politics go hand in hand. After all, how can a politician win elections without getting the necessary votes from the general public?

    In some governments, if an elected official isn’t doing a great job or is under suspicion of being corrupt or working against the good of the public, a recall attempt is made.

    If a recall goes well, the incumbent is removed from office and a special election will take place. The recalled politician may experience the disgrace of losing his position, but for the most part, he is able to live out his life unscathed.

    The concept of the recall has ancient roots in the culture of the city-state of Athens.

    Nineteenth-century painting by Philipp Foltz depicting the Athenian politician Pericles delivering his famous funeral oration in front of the Assembly

    Known as ostracism, this type of recall allowed for citizens to band together and vote to exile anyone who they believed to be dangerous to the interests of the public.

    Ostracism was a civil practice, in which pottery sherds, usually from broken urns or vases, were used as ballots to place a vote. These potsherds were called ostracon, which is where we get the word for ostracism.

    The practice was fairly straightforward. In a yearly assembly, the Athenian people would determine whether it was necessary to have an ostracism.

    determine whether it was necessary to have an ostracism.

    Athens, Greece. The Erechtheum and Caryatids balcony.

    If so, they would then meet together in a second meeting and cast votes for those who they believed needed to be ostracized. It could be any citizen within Athens, regardless of class or status.

    Of course, the average nobody had nothing to fear when it came to ostracism. It was the leadership and those who held high status who needed to watch their backs.

    Oftentimes, the Athenians would select people who they believed were growing too politically strong or were at risk of becoming tyrants.

    The Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians, now in the British Library (Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 131)

    These measures were usually done preemptively, before a leader could get too much control over the city.

    The procedure for ostracism involved the citizenry giving their pottery shards to scribes, having the names etched onto the ostracon and then placed in an urn, where a tally would be counted later.

    If 6,000 votes were cast for an individual, they would be declared to be ostracized.

    Paul preaches in Athens (Acts 17). Wood engraving, published in 1886.

    The rules of ostracism were simple: the ostracized member was forced to live in exile for ten years.

    They would keep their property as well as their status, but could not return without fear of execution until the end of their exile period.Despite the apparent harshness of this practice, ostracism was politically beneficial to Athens.

    The formal process in which citizens could remove anyone from power if they had enough votes would be able to keep the leadership in check from becoming too powerful.

    Ostraca from 482 BC

    Tyranny was a constant threat in the ancient days of Athens. A leader who gained too much power could be a threat to the democracy of the city. Ostracism helped preemptively prevent a tyrant from rising to power.

    If there were grudges against leaders in political office, ostracism was a legitimate outlet to remove the leader. With legal outlets to remove a politician, assassinations would be on the table as the only resort.

    Thanks to the presence of ostracism, politicians didn’t have to fear assassination due to dissatisfied citizens. The punishments were stringent, but not harsh enough to warrant military response from a leader who faced ostracism.

    Of course, this isn’t to say that ostracism was always an efficient way of managing leadership. Sometimes the crowd could be swayed to ostracize a leader because of the manipulations of his political enemies.

    Ostraka used as voting tokens. Photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis CC BY 2.0

    Sometimes people could choose to ostracize simply because of a personal grudge or because they just didn’t like a political faction’s policies.

    The exact motivations behind the ostracism practice are clouded because there was very little record of why citizens voted, just records of who the citizens voted to kick out.

    While ostracism fell out of practice in Athens due to the establishment of civil courts, we still utilize the word itself today, usually to denote someone who has been cast out of a social group due to some kind of failing, moral or otherwise.

    Andrew Pourciaux is a novelist hailing from sunny Sarasota, Florida, where he spends the majority of his time writing and podcasting.

     

    As Landmark ‘Climate Necessity Defense’ Trial Opens Today in MN, Shocking Last Minute Court Ruling Silences Scientists Scheduled to Provide Expert Testimony

    Tue, 10/09/2018 - 09:01
    Partisan judge…..no science or facts for you....”“The irony is that the judge may be proving our point—we acted as we did because we know that the paralysis and myopia of the executive and legislative branches with regard to climate change mean that the political system itself must be shaken up if there is to be any hope for all of us. We were hoping that the judiciary might show the way,” Johnston added.”  As Landmark ‘Climate Necessity Defense’ Trial Opens Today in MN, Shocking Last Minute Court Ruling Silences Scientists Scheduled to Provide Expert Testimony

    Bagley, MN – A groundbreaking ‘climate necessity defense’ trial of Valve Turners Emily Johnston, Annette Klapstein, and their support person Ben Joldersma begins today in Clearwater County, Minnesota. The three are standing trial for their role in a coordinated action in 2016 that shut down every tar sands crude pipeline coming into the United States. The action temporarily halted the flow of 2.8 million barrels of oil, which according to a report from Reuters was equivalent to 15% of daily U.S. oil consumption.

    The trial has been delayed for over a year as the prosecution sought to overturn the District Court’s earlier written ruling expressly allowing a necessity defense, a decision upheld by a MN appeals court, and affirmed by the State’s Supreme Court.

    Yet, in a stunning, 11th hour reversal by the court, attorneys Lauren Regan (Civil Liberties Defense Center ), Tim Phillips, and Kelsey Skaggs (Climate Defense Project) will be prohibited from calling their full suite of planned expert witnesses including climate scientists Dr. James E. Hansen, Dr. Mark Seeley and Dr. Peter Reich; public health expert Dr. Bruce Synder; renowned climate and policy experts Dr. Martin Gilens, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, nonviolent direct action historian Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution and 350.org cofounder Bill McKibben; and oil infrastructure expert Dr. Anthony Ingraffea. The experts were poised to testify on the overwhelming threats of climate change, and why the Valve Turners’ actions were not only right, but necessary in today’s challenging political paralysis.

    Indicating that he believed that it would be confusing information for the jury, the court barred testimony from defense experts on the barriers to effective political action for addressing climate change, the efficacy of civil disobedience historically, and the imminence of climate change. “I’m baffled by the surreal nature of this court’s decision and timing,” said Annette Klapstein. “We were looking forward to entrusting this case to a Minnesota jury of our peers to decide after hearing expert scientists and social scientists discuss the facts of climate change and public policy. By requiring us to establish the necessity defense, without allowing us to use our planned expert testimony to do so, the court has placed an overwhelming burden on us.” “Four days before trial, for no apparent reason, the court eviscerated our defense, and essentially overruled itself,” defendant Emily Johnston, a Seattle-based poet, said. “It is impossible for us to properly defend ourselves without expert testimony.” 

    “The irony is that the judge may be proving our point—we acted as we did because we know that the paralysis and myopia of the executive and legislative branches with regard to climate change mean that the political system itself must be shaken up if there is to be any hope for all of us. We were hoping that the judiciary might show the way,” Johnston added.

    The trial is expected to complete this week. If the jury is allowed to consider this testimony, it will be the first time a ‘climate necessity defense’ has been considered in a US jury trial.

    For more on the action and the trial: http://www.shutitdown.today/

    Daily updates during the trial will be posted on the Shut It Down Facebook page.

    On Twitter, follow @ClimateDA and @enjohnston, as well as the hashtags #ClimateTrial and #FossilFuelsOnTrial for the latest.

    Background and Resources

    Check out these short videos of Emily and Annette, and see bios for all the Valve-Turners here. See this February 2018 piece in New York Times Magazine for an in-depth look at the Valve-Turners and check out other media coverage of the actions and previous Valve-Turner trials here. More on this Climate Necessity Defense here and here. Info about prior Valve Turner Cases: In Washington, Valve Turner Ken Ward had one hung jury on two charges, and, on a split verdict in a second trial, was found guilty of one count of burglary, and sentenced to time served and 30 days of community service. Ken’s conviction has been appealed on the basis that he was denied a necessity, and will be heard by a Washington appeals court in November. In Montana, Leonard Higgins was found guilty of criminal mischief and misdemeanor criminal trespass, sentenced to three years deferred imprisonment, meaning he will serve no jail time. Leonard’s conviction has been appealed on the basis that he was denied a necessity defense In North Dakota, Michael Foster was convicted of criminal mischief, conspiracy to commit criminal mischief (both felonies) and criminal trespass (a misdemeanor), and sentenced to three years, two deferred, for which he served 6 months. Michael’s conviction has been appealed on a question of application of state law. Sam Jessup, who live-streamed Foster’s action, was convicted of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief (a felony) and conspiracy trespass (a misdemeanor), and was required to pay $5,000 restitution.

    Federal Court Upholds Protections for Oceans and National Monuments

    Tue, 10/09/2018 - 08:55
    Why judges matter…..appointing partisan hacks as “judges” is a disaster for the planet, boon for corporate profits. Federal Court Upholds Protections for Oceans and National Monuments

    Court dismisses an industry challenge to the first U.S. Atlantic Ocean marine monument

    WASHINGTON – A federal court on Friday dismissed an industrial fishing group’s challenge to the designation of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts as a national monument, the first marine monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean. Earthjustice represented Zack Klyver, head naturalist at Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company in Maine, and the Center for Biological Diversity in the lawsuit to dismiss the case.

    Judge Boasberg granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case, agreeing with the government and conservation group intervenors that Northeast Canyons was lawfully created. Invoking the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt, who signed the Antiquities Act into law, the court held: “[J]ust as President Roosevelt had the authority to establish the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908, . . . so President Obama could establish the Canyons and Seamounts Monument in 2016.”

    The following is a statement from Roger Fleming, Earthjustice attorney:

    “We welcome this historic decision from the court. In dismissing industry’s case, the court affirmed that the President has the power under the Antiquities Act to establish national monuments in the ocean, including to protect important ecosystems from destructive activities like commercial fishing and oil and gas drilling. Further, the most recent government data shows that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument has no negative impacts on the commercial fishing industry. As the U.S. Atlantic’s only entanglement-free zone, this monument is a refuge for whales, fish, cold-water corals and countless other wildlife, and provides a buffer for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean against the worst impacts of climate change.”

    Background about Northeast Canyons and Seamounts:

    Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is located off the coast of New England. The nation’s only ocean monument in the Atlantic, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument protects a vibrant ocean ecosystem stretching across majestic canyons and extinct undersea volcanoes off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The monument is America’s only “entanglement-free zone” for whales in the Atlantic Ocean. Rare and ancient deep-sea corals are found throughout the canyons and seamounts, whose geology send upwellings of cold water with a bounty of nutrients like plankton, squid and other forage fish through this vibrant ecosystem. These nutrients feed the sperm whales, pilot whales, sea turtles, seabirds, and sharks thriving in these waters.

    The monument protects recreational access to this biodiversity hotspot for the public, including recreational fishing. The waters of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument hold popular offshore fishing spots for anglers seeking billfish, tuna and mahi mahi.

    President Obama designated the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument on September 15, 2016 using the Antiquities Act, a century-old law used by 16 presidents since Theodore Roosevelt to protect some of our nation’s most cherished landscapes, scientific wonders, and cultural heritage. Congress enacted the law in 1906, granting presidents the authority to create national monuments on federal lands and waters to protect significant cultural, historic and scientific treasures. The Antiquities Act does not however grant presidents the authority to diminish or revoke the monument designations of their predecessors.

    More than 300,000 citizens, 145 scientists, 100 New England businesses, ten aquariums, as well as dozens of fishermen and fishing groups, marine mammal research groups and whale watch operators, dive groups, and conservation organizations voiced their support for protecting the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in the year-long public engagement process leading up to its designation.

    Resources for reporters:

    Read the legal document

    For more background about this case in particular, click here.

    Fact sheet on the marine treasures in the monument

    Op-ed from Zack Klyver on this “Serengeti of the ocean”

    Blog post from Brad Sewell, Natural Resources Defense Council, “New England Ocean Monument has not Harmed Commercial Fishing

    NO MORE TIME: ‘This Is a Climate Emergency’: Global Mobilization Against Dirty Energy as IPCC Warns of Climate Catastrophe if Warming Continues

    Tue, 10/09/2018 - 08:46
    Environmental groups and climate scientists now say 12 years (2040)to climate disaster. NO MORE TIME to act. Leaders have to stop pandering to wealthy fossil fuel donors. LA Times: “Sounding the Alarm on Climate Change
    Ninety-one top scientists have an urgent message: Climate change is not only real but also could reach a tipping point in a dozen years. The report, commissioned under the Paris climate accord that President Trump rejected, paints a grim picture for the relatively near future if dramatic steps aren’t taken to cut back on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.” ‘This Is a Climate Emergency’: Global Mobilization Against Dirty Energy as IPCC Warns of Climate Catastrophe if Warming Continues

    Amsterdam and Globally – Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change launched its Special Report on Global Warming at 1.5 degrees, Friends of the Earth International groups are mobilizing for equitable and ambitious climate action that keeps global warming below 1.5 degrees without the need for dangerous techno-fixes.

    The IPCC’s new report provides evidence that governments must now heed: there are still ways to avoid runaway climate change, but only if the world acts now, and with determination—going well beyond the commitments made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Paris Agreement.

    Removing tree canopy destroys the watershed, depleted groundwater and raises temperatures.

    Karin Nansen, Chair of Friends of the Earth International says:This is a climate emergency. The IPCC 1.5 report starkly illustrates the difference between temperature rises of 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees – for many around the world this is a matter of life and death. It is crucial to keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees without offsetting, carbon markets and geoengineering, but the evidence presented by the IPCC shows that there is a narrow and shrinking window in which to do so. Activists across the world are mobilizing to call for an end to fossil fuels, dirty energy and dangerous technologies. Common but differentiated responsibilities and payment of the climate debt must be at the foundation of climate action. We want a just transition to a clean energy system that benefits people not corporations.

    The IPCC 1.5 report shows that temperature increases must remain well below 1.5 degrees: too many people are already suffering and dying because of climate impacts at 1 degree of warming. The consequences of a 2 degree rise will be severe and potentially irreversible. The report shows that if we limit the increase to 1.5 degrees rather than 2 degrees we could halve the number of people who might suffer from water scarcity, and significantly reduce the risks of extreme weather events (including severe droughts and forest fires), food shortages, heat-related illnesses and death, and damage to biodiversity and ecosystems. We could avoid the displacement of up to 10 million people due to sea level rises.

    But, many of the 1.5 pathways analyzed by the IPCC contain dangerous assumptions about risky, unproven technologies that claim to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. One dangerous method, BioEnergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), would require growing crops on vast amounts of land, burning them for fuel and then storing the carbon. This will create additional problems and crises, especially for the poorest peoples in the world.

    Friends of the Earth International rejects these risky technologies. They are not inevitable: the IPCC reviews some pathways that can keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees without relying on untested false solutions. But a safe and just pathway will require nothing less than a radical and immediate shift away from dirty energy globally and a huge flow of finance from the global North to the global South to finance the transition. It will require nothing less than radical system change.

    Karin Nansen says:

    The IPCC itself says that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees “with no overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching systems transitions occurring during the coming one to two decades, in energy, land, urban, and industrial systems”. This proves what Friends of the Earth International has been saying for years – only radical system change offers a pathway towards hope and out of despair. Only with a radical transformation of our energy, food and economic systems, embracing environmental, social, gender and economic justice, can we prevent climate catastrophe and temperature rises exceeding 1.5 degrees.

    Contact:

    Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International:
    +598 98 707 161
    chair[at]foei.org 

    Sara Shaw, Climate Justice and Energy Program Coordinator
    +44 7974 008270
    sara.shaw[at]foe.co.uk 

    General Press:
    press@foei.org

    Background:


    The IPCC launched its Special Report on Global Warming at 1.5 degrees on Monday 8 October in Incheon, South Korea.

    As part of the global fight against climate change, grassroots environmental groups from Friends of the Earth International will mobilize in a Week of Action for climate justice from 6-13 October 2018.This will include events by Friends of the Earth Korea around the launch of the IPCC report.  

    Spanning six continents, the campaign aims to highlight the climate emergency, fight dirty energy, such as coal, oil and gas, and to call for a shift towards clean alternatives like solar and wind power. It will also highlight the role of communities in pushing for change in the current energy system, both locally and globally.

    Climate change is unjust because the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet, who have done least to cause climate change, are hit hardest by its impacts. It is deeply unfair that we risk exceeding 1.5 degrees and crossing tipping points because of longstanding inaction by the global North that has benefited most from the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels which caused this crisis.

    The global North must reduce its emissions to zero as soon as possible, whilst ensuring a Just Transition for workers and communities. This means countries in the global North must cease any NEW fossil fuel projects, including exploration, pipelines and infrastructure anywhere in the world, and rapidly phase out existing reliance on fossil fuels. They must also stop funding fossil fuel extraction in the South.

    The global South should divert urgently from  development pathways that rely on fossil fuel extraction and burning, and forge clean sustainable futures free from corporate control and dirty energy infrastructure that almost always bring local pollution, land grabbing and human rights abuses, in addition to climate change. But equity must be respected: massive public finance must flow from the North to the South to pay for the energy transformation, for adaptation and for the loss and damage which has already been suffered.

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    Supporters of forest and watershed, day in court to stop logging Oct. 10th, tuesday

    Mon, 10/08/2018 - 08:58
    Supporters of Forest Unlimited, There is a hearing this Wednesday, October 10, at 3 pm in Judge Chouteau’s courtroom #18. This is located at the Empire College extension on Cleveland Avenue just north of Coddingtown.  As you know, this is the second round of contesting a timber plan with intent to log mature trees entirely within the floodplain of the Gualala River. In the first round, Friends of Gualala River, Forest Unlimited, and the California Native Plant Society prevailed.  Rather than log in more appropriate forests areas, GRT (Gualala Redwoods Timber, Inc.) has tried a second time to log in the floodplain, now called Dogwood II.  The issues will be almost the same as last time:  Inadequate Cumulative Impacts Assessment and inadequate or missing plant surveys of rare floodplain flora. If you can come to the hearing to support Gualala River, Friends of Gualala River, or Forest Unlimited that would be great. Otherwise, we will let you know how it went. Thank you.

     

    Larry Hanson, Board President Forest Unlimited www.forestunlimited.org contact

    Study shows oil and gas industry wields ‘meta power,’ but Colorado residents are fighting back

    Sun, 10/07/2018 - 09:45
    Taking our government back from corporate interests…..”Colorado Rising, however, doesn’t have the funds to pay for pro-proposition television advertisements. Instead, the campaign for Proposition 112 is attempting to counter the industry with online videos.

    On Wednesday, the group released its first campaign video in favor of the proposition.

    The video shows scenes from an April 2017 natural gas fire at a home near a drilling site in Erie, Colorado that killed two people. Investigators traced the cause of the explosion to an uncapped flowline that had been leaking non-odorous natural gas into a family’s home for months. The gas came from a nearby well owned by Anadarko Petroleum.

    In response to industry advertisements showing bucolic scenes in the state, Colorado Rising’s pro-proposition video says: “Coloradans live in the real world, not an oil and gas advertisement.”

    Study shows oil and gas industry wields ‘meta power,’ but Colorado residents are fighting back Citizens who live near energy infrastructure often feel disempowered, study says. Mark Hand Twitter Oct 5, 2018, 8:00 am

    An initiative that will appear on the ballot in Colorado next month marks the first time that voters anywhere in the U.S. will have the power to control the distances between oil and gas drilling infrastructure and homes and schools in their communities.

    The ballot initiative — known as Proposition 112 — would require that new oil and gas projects be set back at least 2,500 feet from occupied buildings. The state’s current limits are 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.

    Getting the initiative on the ballot was a major accomplishment for Coloradans concerned about the health and safety impacts of oil and gas drilling in their communities. In most major oil and gas producing states, citizens who live near energy infrastructure often feel disempowered and exploited due to the political and corporate forces stacked against them, according to a new study from Colorado State University’s Sociology Department.

    The study, titled “The Right to Resist or a Case of Injustice? Meta-Power in the Oil and Gas Fields” was published in the October 2018 issue of the academic journal Social Forces. Co-authors Stephanie Malin and Tara Opsal, two professors of sociology at Colorado State University, contend the oil and gas industry “wields enormous power — meta power — in decisions related to [unconventional oil and gas] production, which shrinks space for authentic participation on the part of the stakeholders such as community members.”

    The professors define meta power as the process through which certain actors create and control the rules of the game. The question becomes “when” and not “‘whether” unconventional oil and gas production can occur, they write.

    In most states, the power differential between the industry and ordinary citizens “allows the industry to control the structure or rules of the game, the form of the game, and its terms of negotiation,” the study says.

    Colorado voters will get to decide controversial oil and gas ballot initiative this November

    The professors interviewed more than 100 citizens in Colorado and Pennsylvania who have negotiated private leases giving oil and gas companies access to their land or their minerals. The vast majority of the participants in the study, for example, reported experiences of “procedural injustice” with companies in lease negotiations or enforcing lease terms related to oil and gas production on their land.

    Procedural justice is the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes or allocate resources.

    The researchers found that the public is typically marginalized from playing an equal role in making collective decisions about whether, when, and where oil and gas activity takes place. In heavily drilled states such as Colorado and Pennsylvania, the states “take a variety of steps to limit the space for authentic public participation in zoning or regulatory decisions,” the authors write in the report.

    Anne Lee Foster, spokesperson for Colorado Rising, the leading organization behind the ballot initiative, told ThinkProgress that, “As a result of feeling stonewalled and feeling exploited — all of the things that the study details very well — Colorado communities decided to use the ballot initiative process as a way to balance the scales and try and take the power back to some degree.”

    About 85 percent of the surface area of non-federal lands in Colorado would become off-limits to new oil and gas drilling if the initiative passes, according to a July 2 report by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, an agency that both promotes and regulates oil and gas.

    Drilling on public lands, which cover about 35 percent Colorado, would not be affected by the proposition, which would limit only new oil and gas wells. Colorado currently has about 55,000 active oil and gas wells.

    When oil and gas drilling in Colorado entered a major expansion period more than a decade ago, residents began fighting for better protections against the industry. But they quickly found out they were essentially excluded from the oil and gas siting process.

    Passage of the ballot initiative would finally shift the balance of power in the direction of the citizens of Colorado. At the very least, it would provide local governments and Coloradans more say over where drilling occurs and enhance the rights of those who live near these sites, according to study co-authors Malin and Opsal.

    Foster of Colorado Rising said many of the interviews in the study were similar to conversations she’s had with people who have found themselves unable to obtain enough information to understand how to get a fair agreement with the oil and gas companies.

    One community, which had the financial resources to hire legal counsel and form coalitions with neighbors, still found itself at a disadvantage to the industry. “It was like having a second job,” one rancher told the Colorado State University researchers. “We did absolutely everything we could as private citizens to mitigate the impacts and in the end, it just — it was futile.”

    Community fights massive drilling site planned near public school in low-income area Oil and gas company originally planned to drill in largely white, middle-class neighborhood.

    Decisions about oil and gas production typically result from private negotiations that occur among permitting agencies, corporations, and landowners, to the exclusion of members of the public who will be dramatically impacted by the industrial activity.

    “This trend to private contracts marks an important shift in the way communities engage with planning energy projects, moving these processes from public spaces and deliberations to those defined by market-based, individualized, private participation via leased agreement processes,” the study says.

    And the battle over Colorado’s ballot initiative is heating up, pitting citizens against corporations.

    Opponents of the ballot initiative have turned to Gale Norton, the scandal-plagued Interior secretary under President George W. Bush, to appear in an advertisement urging Coloradans to vote against the initiative. The advertisement is sponsored by Protect Colorado, a political action committee created to promote the state’s oil and gas industry. Another group, Colorado Rising Action, was formed in June to oppose the ballot initiative. Michael Fields, its executive director, was formerly a senior official with Americans for Prosperity, a group run by the Koch Brothers, according to Westword. Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, formed in 2013, is headed by a senior officials with Anadarko Petroleum, one of the top oil and gas producers in the state. Colorado fracking company wants to ‘silence’ opposition to massive drilling project, lawyer says Deep-pocketed energy companies use lawsuits as weapon against public opposition.

    Residents may be confused by Colorado Rising Action, whose name is very similar to Colorado Rising, which is in favor of increasing setbacks for oil and gas drilling. Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, or CRED, has a name that is very similar to Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development, or CREED, an anti-fracking group that is now defunct but was formed prior to the oil and gas-affiliated group.

    Industry-funded groups and the Colorado Farm Bureau, which represents farmers, ranchers and other agricultural interests, succeeded in getting their own initiative on the ballot in response to the Proposition 112 efforts to increase setbacks. Known as Amendment 74, the measure would force any city or county government that limits drilling to compensate property owners if new setback rules were to lower property values or reduce revenue from fracking leases.

    The state’s oil and gas industry has already spent millions on advertisements opposing the proposition. The industry-funded groups are paying huge sums for advertisements that run regularly on television.

    Colorado Rising, however, doesn’t have the funds to pay for pro-proposition television advertisements. Instead, the campaign for Proposition 112 is attempting to counter the industry with online videos.

    On Wednesday, the group released its first campaign video in favor of the proposition.

    The video shows scenes from an April 2017 natural gas fire at a home near a drilling site in Erie, Colorado that killed two people. Investigators traced the cause of the explosion to an uncapped flowline that had been leaking non-odorous natural gas into a family’s home for months. The gas came from a nearby well owned by Anadarko Petroleum.

    In response to industry advertisements showing bucolic scenes in the state, Colorado Rising’s pro-proposition video says: “Coloradans live in the real world, not an oil and gas advertisement.”

    Fifty-Thousand Come Together in Germany to Defend Ancient Forest and Fight Coal

    Sun, 10/07/2018 - 09:25
    People power. Fifty-Thousand Come Together in Germany to Defend Ancient Forest and Fight Coal

    “This rally is about demanding that the German government break the deadlock of a climate policy that has failed to reduce carbon emissions for nearly a decade now, but it also is about showing governments everywhere that a growing climate movement is demanding an end to dirty and outdated fossil fuels.”

    by Jon Queally, staff writer

    More than 50,000 people from across Europe gathered near the Hambacher Forest in western Germany on Saturday to defend the area from the expansion of coal-fired energy and demand much more ambitious climate action.

    According to Greenpeace, one of the organizers behind the demonstration, the enormous crowd made up of local farmers, environmental activists, church groups, local residents and supporters from other countries, including Italy, France and the Netherlands. It was the largest-ever anti-coal demonstration in the Rhineland.

    Those attending carried large banners declaring “Farmers against coal” and “We will end coal” as they assembled in a massive field and demanded that the RWE energy group be forbidded from further logging in the nearby Hambacher Forest, the largest of its kind in the region.

    “This rally is about demanding that the German government break the deadlock of a climate policy that has failed to reduce carbon emissions for nearly a decade now, but it also is about showing governments everywhere that a growing climate movement is demanding an end to dirty and outdated fossil fuels,” said Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany. “The German coal phase-out needs to start here and now and the last coal plant needs to shut down by 2030 if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

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    50 000 people participate in the demonstration at the Hambacher Wald near Koeln-Buir for a quick coal phase-out and for the rescue of the Hambacher Forest. The demonstration “Save forest-stop coal” near the forest is the largest of its kind so far. The initiative Buirer for Buir, the German Federal Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), Campact, Greenpeace and the nature friends of Germany are calling for a fast exit from coal. They demand energy group RWE to definitively stop logging in the Hambach Forest. The banner reads: “We will end coal. #hambibleibt.” (Photo: Bernd Arnold/Greenpeace)

    The mass protest comes in the wake of a legal victory in which a German court forbid RWE from carrying out a clear-cutting operation of the forest.

    “The court ruling shows that blatant lies and reckless policies of corporations like RWE are no longer acceptable,” said Kaiser. “However, it doesn’t switch off a single coal plant and doesn’t stop any of the other lignite  mines. There still are villages, forests and churches in danger of being destroyed and people are no longer willing to accept that – at the Hambach Forest or any other mines anywhere in the world.”

    While Germany in many ways has lead Europe, and the world, in transitioning to renewable energy, it still operates the largest fleet of coal-fired plants in Europe and the campaigners say that as long as this is true the nation’s political leadership will not be left off the hook.

    The demonstration also comes ahead of the release of a new series of reports by the UN’s IPCC on Monday. According to expectations, the latest declaration from the world’s scientific community will again raise the alarm that human-caused global warming continues apace and once more call on the world’s government’s to increase their efforts to curb emissions and reduce the negative impacts of the fossil fuel industry and other polluting sectors.

    As those defending the forest from destruction declared in this video, their fight to save Hambacher is intricately and directly connected to similar struggles and fights across the world:

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