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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #135

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 13, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

As railroad business declines, talks with unions for Nebraska workers screech to a halt - By Russell Hubbard, Omaha World-Herald, January 8, 2017 - Union labor-contract negotiations for one of Nebraska’s key industries — freight railroads — have stalled after almost two years of fruitless bargaining.

Broad coalition helps solar win on 1 - By staff, Florida Solar United Neighborhoods, January 7, 2017 - The grassroots effort pushing for better solar policies quickly changed course to fighting Amendment 1. The group was a collaboration of Tea Party conservatives, business, labor groups, good government organizations, and environmentalists to defend solar.

Byrd Amendments Update: House Republicans from Coalfield Districts Introduce Resolution to Protect Black Lung Improvements from Obamacare Repeal - By Evan B. Smith, Devil in the Dust, January 6, 2017 - Lately the black lung provisions that are within the Affordable Care Act—called the “Byrd Amendments”—have (rightly) been getting a lot of media attention.  For example, there’s been coverage by CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Stat News (which was picked up by the Boston Globe and The Week), and many others.

Can We Expect More Flint Debacles In a Pruitt-Led EPA? - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - While his views on climate change are well known, it is far less clear what approach Scott Pruitt, the Trump nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will bring to bread-and-butter matters such as anti-pollution enforcement and oversight of state programs. Today, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is calling on him to affirm that civil and criminal enforcement of federal air, water, toxic and other basic pollution laws will be a high priority in the EPA he seeks to lead.

Canada well on its way to a renewable-energy future - By Christopher Barrington-Leigh, Toronto Globe and Mail, December 24, 2016 - The bottom line: There is plenty of renewable-energy potential near current roads, power lines and population centres. Most of it is wind power, with plenty of hydro and solar as well. In fact, every province except Alberta and Ontario has a large surfeit – enough to be choosy about siting installations to minimize environmental side-effects.

China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020 - By Michael Forsythe, New York Times, January 5, 2017 - The agency said in a statement that China would create more than 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2020, curb the growth of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming and reduce the amount of soot that in recent days has blanketed Beijing and other Chinese cities in a noxious cloud of smog.

China is Leaving the U.S. Behind on Clean Energy Investment - By Joel Jaeger, Paul Joffe and Ranping Song, World Resources Institute, January 6, 2017 - Looking at the entire economy, not just foreign investment, China regularly outspends the United States on renewable energy. It invested more than $100 billion in clean energy in 2015, more than double U.S. investment, which spurred robust job growth. Of the 8.1 million renewable energy jobs that exist globally, 3.5 million are in China, compared to less than one million in the United States. And China’s National Energy Administration projects that new investment from 2016 to 2020 will create 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Climate Change Is A Global Loss For The Economy: Report - By Adam Johnston, Clean Technica, January 9, 2017 - Poorer countries will be the hardest hit economically by climate change. The report suggested that average income from 60% of citizens from the poorest nations will see a 70% decline at the end of the century, due to the effects of climate change. A warming world will also impact economic inputs. The analysis found crop yields, labor productivity, and labor supply decline sharply between 20C and 30C.

Coal country afraid Trump will repeal black lung benefits with Obamacare - By staff, CNN, January 2, 2017 - Former coal miners and their families in Kentucky, who voted for Donald Trump, are worried that the President-elect will repeal Obamacare, and the benefits for black lung that come with it.

#DayAgainstDenial Protests Across the U.S. Call Attention to Climate Change as Trump Cabinet Confirmation Hearings Begin - By Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, January 10, 2017 - “We need cabinet officials who recognize those realities and who will work for a just and rapid transition to renewable energy,” he added, “rather than denying the threats that we face and advancing the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.”

Demonetisation in India: Farmers' Groups write an open letter to the Prime Minister - By various, La Via Campesina, January 9, 2017 -  - Several farmers' groups in India have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister of India, highlighting the severe distress that exists in the countryside after the Indian Government withdrew nearly 86% of the currency in circulation overnight, in a supposed crackdown on corruption and 'black economy'.

The End of Indian Point and the Myths of Nuclear Power in America - By Karl Grossman, CounterPunch, January 11, 2017 - The engineer, employed at nuclear plants and for a major nuclear plant manufacturer, wanted to relate that even with the Indian Point news—“and I’d keep my fingers crossed that there is no disaster involving those aged Indian Point plants in those next three or four years”—nuclear power remains a “ticking time bomb.” Concerned about retaliation, he asked his name not be published.

Their Final Hours: Ten Years After the Sago Mine Disaster - By Nick Mullins, The Thoughtful Coal Miner, January 3, 2017 - On this day ten years ago, thirteen men were still trapped following the explosion that rocked their mine over 28 hour before. Rescue efforts were in a state of disarray. The company, and many politicians, were busy doing damage control in front of the press to preserve their image.

From the “Things that Make You Go Hmmm” Department… - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 9, 2017 - T’ruah (The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights) calls on burger giant to publicly “reject designation as official burger of Neo Nazis”

How postal workers removed the Staples - By Jamie Partridge, Socialist Worker, January 10, 2017 - A three-year battle against the outsourcing of living-wage, union postal jobs to the low-wage, nonunion Staples ended January 5 when USPS management informed the APWU that the "approved shipper" program in Staples Office Supply stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. The union-initiated boycott of Staples was called off.

In Canada, a move to protect data from Trump - By Sarah Tory, High Country News, January 10, 2017 - On a Saturday morning in December, Henry Warwick trudged through the slushy streets of Toronto, Canada, to attend an event at the University of Toronto’s towering Robarts Library. He took the elevator to a room on the fourth floor where 150 people— mostly IT specialists, hackers, scholars, and activists—had assembled for the auspiciously titled “Guerrilla Archiving Event: Saving Environmental Data From Trump.”

Jarvis Tenure a Disaster for National Park Resources - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - The vast trove of natural resources within our national park system is in far worse shape today than eight years ago, says Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which points to the turbulent tenure of National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan (Jon) Jarvis as the primary cause. After nearly eight often scandal-plagued years, Jarvis steps down today as the 18th NPS Director.

Lessons from the Republic Windows workers’ sit-in, eight years on - By Curtis Black, Chicago Reporter, January 5, 2017 - Eight years ago, Republic workers sat down, risked arrest, and forced big banks to come up with their severance pay.  They went on to reorganize their company as a workers cooperative.  It’s that kind of courageous and strategic confrontation with the status quo, focused on economic justice, that holds the best hope for progress in the age of Emanuel and Trump.

The long wait for work a terrifying, demoralizing slog - By Reid Southwick, Calgary Herald, December 26, 2016 - A stunning 60,000 Albertans — roughly the population of Airdrie — have been jobless for six months or more. They account for 2.5 per cent of the province’s labour force, the highest threshold in the country that Alberta shares with Newfoundland and Labrador.

Manatee Mortality Spiked in 2016 - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - Last year was not a good year for Florida manatees, as deaths in 2016 rose to a recent high and the numbers killed by watercraft reached an all-time record, according to figures posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At the same time, manatee deaths related to toxic red-tide events are also starting to creep back up, more than tripling in the last year.

A massive gas-price hike in Mexico is leading to frustration, violence, and death - Aura Bogado, Grist, January 9, 2017 - Mexican citizens have taken to hijacking tankers, running over police, and blocking the U.S.-Mexico border in order to show their unhappiness. In response, police have arrested more than 1,500 people and killed at least four.

More Farmers, Better Food: A framework for British Agriculture - By staff, Land Workers Alliance, January 9, 2017 - The Landworkers’ Alliance have been working on an 8 point proposal that is integral to sustaining a healthy, vibrant and just farming sector. The UK’s small scale, ecological and family farms are at the heart of our rural culture and communities; they create employment, protect cherished landscapes and produce much of the food that we eat.

Most laid-off energy workers remain out of work - By Jordan Blum, FuelFix, January 9, 2017 - Nearly 90 percent of surveyed workers who lost their jobs during the oil bust either remain unemployed or opted to leave the oil and gas sector entirely, according to an ongoing study being conducted by University of Houston researchers.

Nationwide Layoff Watch: Biglaw Firm Tells Underperforming Office To Go Frack Itself - Staci Zaretsky, Above the Law, January 9, 2017 - Poor oil and gas performance continued through 2016, with Pennsylvania — the epicenter of the Marcellus shale industry for all intents and purposes — losing 32 percent of its jobs in this area over the course of the year. It was only a matter of time before a Biglaw firm fell prey to to the underperforming market, and one of the largest firms in the country is now waving the white flag of defeat.

Obama: ‘I didn’t kill coal, gas did’ - By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Change News, January 9, 2017 - “Solar and wind firms now employ more than 360,000 Americans, compared with less than 160,000 Americans who work for coal firms,” said Obama.

Park Service Corporate $ Plan Mightily Watered Down - By Kirsten Stade, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, January 11, 2017 - Many of the major proposals from a controversial corporate fundraising plan pushed by the departing National Park Service (NPS) Director have been dropped or scaled back, according to an analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The policy now also calls for extensive follow-up prior to implementation, meaning that much of it may be left in limbo.

Restoring Trust After Our “Free Trade” Charade Ends - By Stan Sorscher, Huffington Post, January 10, 2017 - We need a new approach to globalization that does as much for workers and the environment as it does for global investors.

Rex Tillerson could be America’s most dangerous Secretary of State - By Antonia Juhasz, In These Times, January 9, 2017 - The former Exxon Mobil CEO spent his entire adult life working for a company that has left a trail of carnage—from human rights abuses to the destruction of the environment—in its ruthless pursuit of oil.

States With Clean Energy Are Creating Jobs & Economic Growth - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, January 11th, 2017 - A new study has concluded that states like Iowa, California, & Texas, which have strong clean energy industries, are also attracting businesses and creating jobs in the thousands.

Strike at Yamana Gold mine in Chile enters ninth day, shares fall - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, January 11, 2017 - Miners affiliated with union No. 2, which represents about 500 workers or almost 75% of the mine’s workforce, downed tools on Jan. 4 after rejecting the company's final wage offer. Two days later, they blocked the two access roads to El Peñón as a way to press management, local paper Diario Financiero reports (in Spanish).

While Oil Front Group Touts Cheap Fossil Fuel to Low-Income Families, Industry Negotiates Deal to Drive World Oil Prices Up - By Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, January 9, 2017 - The reasons for the price drop were complex. Some pointed to a glut of oil from fracking U.S. shale in places like Texas and North Dakota, while others pointed to decisions by countries like Saudi Arabia to keep oil flowing when markets expected them to cut back. By June 2016, the oil industry had laid off over 350,000 workers worldwide since oil prices started falling in 2014, many drillers had declared bankruptcy, and the top 40 U.S. onshore drilling companies had lost their investors over $66 billion.

Work and Climate Change Report - By Elizabeth Perry

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