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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #137

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 28, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

As Trump Advances Pipelines, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Calls on CalPERS to Divest - By Darwin BondGraham, East Bay Express, January 24, 2017 - In response to Trump's actions, Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan says it's time for California's biggest pension fund to divest from the companies building both pipelines.

As Trump Takes Office, Women Scientists and Environmental Activists Fight Back Against Climate Change Deniers in D.C. - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, January 23, 2017 - The day after Trump’s inauguration, dozens of female scientists decked out in white lab coats met in front of the National Air and Space Museum for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. They were carrying colorful signs showing support for science.

Cameco shedding 120 jobs at Canadian operations - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, January 22, 2017 - The company announced it plans to lay off 10% of its workforce at the McArthur River, Key Lake and Cigar Lake operations, or 120 employees in total.

Casualties of China’s Coal Addiction - By Fu Danni, Sixth Tone, December 22, 2016 - Coal mining fatalities have become a fact of life, though many accidents are preventable.

Commission and Council only add to the dairy overflow with their milk powder - By Jose Miguel Pacheco, Philippe Collin et Victor Pereira, Stéphanie Delhaye et Henri Lecloux, La Via Campesina, January 19, 2017 - ECVC still claims that only the restauration of a regulatory instrument on public sector production will halt the destruction of the dairy sector in Europe and guarantee the quality and sustainability of the production model.

Declaration on the assassination of Aldemar Parra Garcia - By Richard, London Mining Network, January 23, 2017 - On January 7, Aldemar was assassinated by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle on the route from El Hatillo to La Loma in broad daylight. He was a community leader and active trade unionist, until recently employed in the mine of Colombian Natural Resources (CNR). Parra leaves his wife and three children behind.

Federal Black Lung Benefits Rates for 2017: Benefits Increase By 1% - By Evan B. Smith, Devil in the Dust, January 19, 2017 - Recently the U.S. Department of Labor increased by 1% the modest amount of money that disabled coal miners and their families who receive federal black lung benefits get each month.  This is the same percent increase as last year.

Forensic Audit Needed of Origin Energy After Explosive Whistleblower Claims - By staff, Lock the Gate Alliance, January 25, 2017 - Carmel Flint, Campaign Coordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance said, "The incidents alleged by an Origin whistleblower this week will send shockwaves through rural communities across Australia – they represent the worst nightmare of farmers forced to live alongside oil or gas mining.

Get Ready for the First Shocks of Trump’s Disaster Capitalism - By Naomi Klein, The Intercept, January 24, 2017 - Speculation is unnecessary. All that’s required is a little knowledge of recent history. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” a history of the ways in which crises have been systematically exploited over the last half century to further a radical pro-corporate agenda. The book begins and ends with the response to Hurricane Katrina, because it stands as such a harrowing blueprint for disaster capitalism.

LVC SEAf condemns recent criminalisation of traditional seed exchange in Tanzania - By staff, La Via Campesina, January 16, 2017 - The recent reports that Tanzanian farmers would face heavy penalties or a long prison sentence if they continue their traditional seed exchange beyond government prescribed areas does not come as a surprise to La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa (LVC SEAf) and its allies.

Labor, unions, CEC ridicule Coalition push for RET to be scrapped - By Jonathan Gifford, REnew Economy, January 23, 2017 - Butler’s attack came as the unions also complained against the latest Coalition attempts to stymie the renewable energy industry, just as large scale investment was finally poised to take off after years of under-investments and reliance on schemes such as the ACT’s or from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, an institution the Coalition has sought to de-fund.

MLK's Advice on Strike Strategy Still Relevant Today - By Rand Wilson, Labor Notes, January 18, 2017 - Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther King Jr.'s thinking about poverty evolved from racial equality to more of a class perspective. He proposed a Poor People's Campaign to challenge the government to end poverty and a broad coalition to support it.

Massachusetts lawmakers float aggressive bill mandating 100% renewables by 2035 - By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, January 24, 2017 - Rep. Sean Garballey, one of the bill's sponsors, said in a statement that the measure "provides a bold step by placing the Commonwealth on a path to a cleaner and more sustainable future." He said eliminating the use of fossil fuels would encourages job creation and provide health and environmental benefits.

Mexico’s Gasolinazo Ignites Public Rage - By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, New Internationalist, January 9, 2017 - Mexicans protest gas deregulation, an economic measure many think will exacerbate an already precarious situation.

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month marked by sentencing in FFP forced labor prosecution - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, January 23, 2017 - In one of his last official acts in office, President Obama signed an eloquent statement on the scourge of slavery that has plagued this country, in one form or another, for centuries, declaring January “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.”

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - By Kirsten Stade

Public Interest Groups, Farmers File Lawsuit Challenging Monsanto's Toxic Pesticides - By various, Center for Biological Diversity, January 23, 2017 - Illegal Approval of Dicamba Use on Engineered Crops Will Harm Farmers, Environment.

Rail Industry Eager for a New Trump Era Light on Safety Rules - By Justin Mikulka, DeSmog Blog, January 21, 2017 - The article specifically mentions the AAR’s desire to repeal the regulation requiring oil trains to have electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes as of 2021. This is reiterated by Friedberg, who lists rules requiring two-person crews on trains, as well as the just-announced proposed rule to limit the volatility of oil moved by rail, as additional regulations the rail industry wants to halt.

A Rogue National Park Is Tweeting Out Climate Change Facts in Defiance of Donald Trump - By Katie Reilly, Time, January 24, 2017 - Badlands National Park posted several facts about climate change on its official Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, sharing statistics that might contradict the beliefs of President Donald Trump's new administration.

Second winner of environmental prize killed months after Berta Cáceres death - By Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, January 18, 2017 - Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer and leader of the Tarahumara community in the country’s northern Sierra Madre mountain region, was shot at a relative’s home on Sunday.

Supreme Court denies review of BLET victory on two-person train crews - By staff, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, January 17, 2017 - The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) has secured another significant victory for rail workers — this time from the highest court in the United States — in the Union’s ongoing campaign to protect two-person train crews.

3 Ways Donald Trump’s Climate Approach Is A US Economic Disaster - By Zachary Shahan, Clean Technica, January 21, 2017 - To be fair, we don’t yet know what Donald Trump’s precise climate approach will be, but it seems all but guaranteed that he will slow and obstruct climate action and will do a “great deal” to increase pollution and CO2 emissions from the out-of-date oil, coal, and gas industries. This is idiotic not just because it puts all of human society at great risk, but also because it’s one of the worst economic moves a politician can make.

The TPP Is Officially Dead. Thank the People's Movement, Not Trump - By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams, January 23, 2017 - Donald Trump's administration is profoundly anti-worker, and his decision to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership doesn't change that.

Trump administration tells EPA to freeze all grants, contracts - By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, January 24, 2017 - An email went out to employees in the agency’s Office of Acquisition Management within hours of President Trump’s swearing-in on Friday.

Trump & Keystone Steel - By Lorne Stockman, Oil Change International, January 24, 2017 - This requirement fits with Trump’s populist positions on U.S. manufacturing, but like many of Trump’s ideas and pronouncements, it has myriad implications that will likely cancel out whatever benefits Trump thought he might be conferring on the U.S. economy and workers.

Trump’s energy plan is riddled with contradictions - By Elizabeth Shogren, Grist, January 24, 2017 - It’s difficult to envision what Trump could do to effectively bring back coal. He could try to diminish competition from ever-cheaper renewable sources of electricity by setting even higher tariffs on Chinese solar panels or persuading Congress to cancel tax benefits for renewable power. But the surge of solar and wind in red states, as well as in blue states, has created jobs and powerful Republican backers of these tax incentives. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for instance, takes credit for securing the tax incentives and wind provided nearly a third of Iowa’s electricity in 2015, a larger share than any other state. Some analyses show solar jobs exceeded oil and gas jobs starting in 2015.

Trump’s Meeting With US Automaker CEOs: Who Said What, & Why? - By Steve Hanley, Gas2, January 24, 2017 - Predictably, he made no mention of which regulations he was referring to, but one can make some informed guesses. OSHA regulations that protect workers from losing body parts in pursuit of corporate profits would be a good place to start. Minimum wage and overtime pay provisions? Who needs them? Environmental limitations on  the use of toxic materials that protect workers from industrial hazards? They cost business a lot of money. Clean air and clean water requirements also cost corporations bigly.

Trump White House Distorts Wages Figure on First Day - By John Upton, Climate Central, January 20, 2017 - The statement, included on the White House’s website to justify Trump’s drive to eliminate environmental rules affecting the energy sector, was a distortion. And if it was true, it would represent wage gains equivalent to less than $20 per American every year.

Two killed in train accident near Edgemont - By Seth Tupper and staff, Rapid City Journal, January 17, 2017 - Two BNSF Railway employees died after being struck by a train Tuesday morning in Edgemont, according to a representative of the company.

US Solar, Wind Jobs Up; Geothermal Jobs Down - by staff, Renewable Energy World, January 23, 2017 - From 2Q15 to 1Q16, U.S. wind power jobs increased 32 percent and solar jobs increased 25 percent, while geothermal jobs decreased 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Vancouver Island old-growth forest almost gone - By Redeye Collective, Rabble.Ca, January 18, 2017 - Ninety per cent of the forests on Vancouver Island have been logged. Now the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Union of B.C. Municipalities have joined with environment organizations, First Nations and forestry unions to call for an end to the logging of old growth forests. Torrance Coste is with the Wilderness Committee. He speaks with Redeye host James Mainguy.

Will Trump's Tough Talk On Immigration Cause A Farm Labor Shortage? - By Vanessa Rancano, NPR, January 21, 2017 - In the Central Valley, there's a bumper sticker you see all over the place. It's shaped like California, and reads "My job depends on Ag." In California, that agriculture depends on immigrant labor.

Work and Climate Change Report - By Elizabeth Perry:

World Bank Put On Notice: Do Not Jeopardizes Farmers’ Right to Seeds, Food Security - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, January 23, 2017 - Ahead of World Bank’s release of the 2017 “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA) report this month, 157 organizations and academics from around the world denounce the Bank’s scheme to hijack farmers’ right to seeds, attack on food sovereignty and the environment.

Wyoming Moves to Ban Wind and Solar Power for Use by Electric Utilities - By staff, Monetary Watch, January 24, 2017 - Wind and solar power are gaining ground around the globe as viable and economically sound alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear energy. In the U.S., solar power now employs more people than any other energy industry, including oil, natural gas, and coal combined, proving that not only is clean energy good for the environment, but it’s also good for the economy. Nevertheless, lawmakers in the state of Wyoming have introduced legislation to prevent utility companies from using energy derived from solar and wind power, effectively outlawing the most viable sources of clean energy in the state.

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