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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #141

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, February 25, 2017

News of interest to green unionists:

Actions To Stop The Atlantic Coast Pipeline - By staff, Popular Resistance, February 18, 2017 - This proposed pipeline will also not mean long term jobs for the area as it would likely only provide at most 18 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built (which would be completed in a matter of months once it began). Renewable energy sources would in fact bring thousands of good paying jobs to North Carolinians if our legislators would stop selling us all out to big oil and take care of our futures.

ALEC Embraces Trumpism - By Mary Bottari, PR Watch, February 14, 2017 - On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order reviving the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. The order invites "TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (TransCanada), to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline" and directs the State Department to "take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review." It also reiterates that the pipeline company may, "secure access from an owner of private property to construct the pipeline and cross-border facilities described herein." Trump touts enormous jobs numbers like 28,000 but the reality is that very few permanent jobs are created from these projects. KXL for instance would create 35 permanent jobs, according to State Department estimates. On cue, ALEC cheered Trump's executive order on the pipelines.

Australian Energy “Political Circus” Could Cost Jobs & Energy Security, According To CEC - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, February 20, 2017 - The Clean Energy Council itself also reported earlier this month that 2017 is lining up to be a “huge year” for renewable energy technology development, with up to 2,250 megawatts worth of new development in various stages of construction and development. This development is also likely to result in up to $5.1 billion in investments, and 3,000 direct jobs from 2017 construction projects alone.

BHP has lost 41,000 tonnes of copper due to strike at Escondida - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, February 22, 2017 - World’s largest miner BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT) has already lost 41,000 tonnes of copper production due to an ongoing strike at its Econdida mine in Chile, the world’s largest.

Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor - By Brian Slodysko, Associated Press, February 11, 2017 - The measure comes as investor-owned utilities across the U.S. also are looking to take advantage of plunging costs for sun-generated power and carve out a share of the market. And critics say the bill amounts to utilities muscling out small companies, threatening the 1,500 jobs the Solar Foundation estimated in 2015 the industry had created in Indiana.

California Senate leader's new bill: 100% clean energy - By Sammy Roth, Desert Sun, February 20, 2017 - The state's sprawling deserts have been an epicenter of renewable energy growth, with several huge solar farms opening in eastern Riverside County, near the Coachella Valley. The solar industry has become an economic force here, creating 100,000 jobs in California and 260,000 jobs nationally by late 2016, according to an industry-backed nonprofit.

Clash Over the Bayou Bridge Pipeline Ratchets up After Louisiana Pipeline Explosion - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, February 14, 2017 - Five days earlier, a Phillips 66 natural gas pipeline in Paradis, Louisiana, exploded, presumably killing one worker and injuring two. The explosion occurred one night after the Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) held a public permit hearing for the Bayou Bridge oil pipeline at a community center in Napoleonville, Louisiana.

The Deadly Reality of Construction Work - By Michael Arria, In These Times, February 17, 2017 - Construction worker deaths are rising in New York and Latinos are especially at risk.

Despite what Trump says “People have left the industry, and they’re not coming back” - By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, February 20, 2017 - Since the oil price collapsed, some 440,000 oil industry jobs worldwide have been lost. Of those, the oil industry consultants, Graves, estimates that 40 per cent have been in the United States; 28 percent in the UK and 10 per cent in Canada. Some 100,000 oil jobs were lost in the capaital of the oil industry itself, Texas.

Drilling experts explain why Trump can’t bring back oilfield jobs - By Joe Romm, Think Progress, February 22, 2017 - Industry experts have some news for the president: Because of automation, a lot of the jobs lost in oil drilling aren’t coming back. And more are going to be lost.

Forest Carbon Tax and Reward: Creating more jobs and carbon in the woods - By John Talberth, Sustainable Economy, February 16, 2017 - A typical multiplier for money spent in the woods paying workers to restore timber plantations back to real forests and implement other climate smart practices is about 60 direct and induced jobs per million dollars invested. That’s 6,000 jobs per year associated with FCIF payments of about $100 million per year. Not a bad deal for skilled forest workers. And a welcome shot in the arm for distressed rural communities searching for ways to decouple from the booms and busts of industrial, high emissions logging cycles.

Iron & Earth: Oil Sands Workers Ready For Renewable Energy Shift - By Lauren Tyler, North American Wind Power, February 14, 2017 - Realizing that his co-workers shared the same concerns, Hildebrand conceived Iron & Earth, a national initiative to retrain tradespeople working in the fossil fuel industry to transition into the renewables sector.

Is Berta Cáceres' Assassination a Tipping Point for Change in Honduras? - By Gloria Jiménez, Truthout, February 21, 2017 - "We are not satisfied because they have only captured those that executed her. The intellectual authors -- those who ordered it, those who paid for it -- are enjoying complete impunity," said Austra Flores, mother of slain Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, from her home in La Esperanza, before the latest arrest of a suspected hitman.

Is the oil industry dying? - By Jason Lavis, OilPro, January 2017 - The current downturn, 30 months in, has caused many of us to question whether the oil industry is dying. The number of oil and gas jobs lost during this downturn is estimated to be between 300,000 - 400,000 worldwide. At the same time the industry faces existential threats from environmentalists, alternative energy and electric cars.

Like Keystone XL, Much of Dakota Access Pipeline Steel Made by Russian Company Tied to Putin - By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, February 19, 2017 - “American workers need jobs,” Jeremy Brecher, co-founder of the Labor Network for Sustainability, told DeSmog. “It is unconscionable that fossil fuel companies and Donald Trump exploit that need by making phony claims to be creating jobs — all to persuade us to support projects that will poison our air and water and make our planet unlivable for our kids. It's time to get serious about creating jobs that protect our environment rather than destroying it.”

More Than 3 Million in US Now Work in Clean Energy - By staff, Renewable Energy World, February 22, 2017 - On Wednesday, February 22, national business groups representing the range and breadth of clean energy companies in the United States cheered government statistics showing their industries support more than 3 million American jobs – equal to the employment of retail stores across the country, and twice as many jobs as involved in construction of buildings. This is based on 2016 data recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in its second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Nevada Official: Tesla Now Hiring 150–200 New Workers Every Month - By James Ayre, Clean Technica, February 21, 2017 - Tesla is now hiring 150 to 200 new workers a month in Nevada, as part of the Gigafactory development effort at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center in Storey County, going by recent comments made by the head of the Nevada governor’s office of economic development.

Nearly 8,000 U.S. public schools are plagued by toxic air - By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Center for Public Integrity, February 20, 2017  - Darryl Alexander, the American Federation of Teachers’ health, safety, and wellness director, said federal incentives would help. The EPA released a guide in 2015 for reducing road pollution at schools, but school districts are under no obligation to follow it, assuming they even know it exists. The U.S. Department of Education, noting that school buildings are funded with state and local money, declined to say whether it makes recommendations about school siting or sets any requirements.

New California bill ups RPS to 100% by 2045 - By Danielle Ola, PV Tech, February 21, 2017 - Whether the statewide proposal catches on with the rest of the Senate, or provides the foundation for a more detailed bill, is yet to be seen. Whilst ambitious, the new mandate is not unrealistic, given that in Q3 2016, California became the first state ever to add more than 1GW of utility-scale solar in a single quarter. Furthermore, solar created 100,000 jobs in 2016 in California alone, according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Job Census.

A New Economy and a Fair Transition for Workers - By Hassan Yussuff, Clean Growth Century, January 2016 - Canadian workers — and not only those in the fossil fuel sector — have seen a rise in job insecurity and a decline in good-quality employment in recent years. By implementing a clean growth shift, Canada can and must improve prosperity in a broad-based way. Anything less risks a breakdown of the political conditions that lead to climate action.

Oilsands Face Big Trouble Ahead, 2 New Studies Suggest - By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post Canada, February 2, 2017 - According to research released this week from Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI), demand for oil and coal could stop growing as soon as 2020, thanks to falling prices for solar energy and the rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs).

Opponents Of Atlantic Coast Pipeline: "Nobody Is Saying What’s Happening." - By staff, Popular Resistance, February 21, 2017 - Perhaps the natural gas would meet an overall greater demand in Dominion and Duke’s service areas. But opponents argue, and the DEIS confirms, that the pipeline would create fewer than 20 permanent jobs in North Carolina. Natural gas, although cleaner than coal, still produces large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and driver of climate change.

Renewable Energy Is Creating Jobs 12 Times Faster Than the Rest of the Economy - By Kate Samuelson, Fortune, January 27, 2017 - The solar and wind industries are each creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than that of the rest of the U.S. economy, according to a new report.

Researchers find pesticide spills, accidents may alter farmworkers’ DNA - By Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, February 16, 2017 - Farmworkers who have a high pesticide exposure event—such as a spill—are more likely to experience molecular changes on DNA that may lead to certain cancers, according to a large U.S. study of pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina.

The right's "right to work" onslaught - By Joe Richard, Socialist Worker, February 22, 2017 - Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have met with various union leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka before Trump's inauguration and the presidents of different building trades and manufacturing unions like the Teamsters and the Laborers afterward. Trump apparently tried to enlist them to support his ambitious program of oil pipeline construction and even the building of the infamous border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Scientists' Group Launches Website to Help Federal Whistleblowers - By Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimate News, February 15, 2017 - Fearing an assault on science from the Trump administration, the Union of Concerned Scientists is creating a way for federal scientists to report abuses.

The solar industry has become a key source of jobs for returning veterans - By Jeremy Deaton, Think Progress, February 16, 2017 - The ranks of solar firms are filled with men and women like Kreamer and Johnson, veterans who guarded Army fuel convoys in Afghanistan, or served aboard Navy destroyers that kept international shipping lanes safe for oil tankers.

Southern rail workers set new strike date after talks collapse - Press Association, The Guardian, February 15, 2017 - Workers on Southern rail are to stage a fresh strike in the long-running staffing dispute after the collapse of talks.

Struggling Sungevity Lays Off Workers After Merger Falls Through - By Julian Spector, GreenTech Media, February 17, 2017 - The solar firm laid off 66 employees from its Oakland headquarters January 12, government documents show. That was just under two weeks from the day that a planned reverse merger with shell company Easterly Corporation fell through.

Texas Oil Fields Rebound From Price Lull, but Jobs Are Left Behind - By Clifford Krauss, New York Times, February 19, 2017 - In the land where oil jobs were once a guaranteed road to security for blue-collar workers, Eustasio Velazquez’s career has been upended by technology.

$3.5 million judgment closes books on yet another forced labor case in Florida’s fields - By staff, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, February 21, 2017 - Newest case marks ninth forced labor operation brought to justice by CIW’s Anti-Slavery Program since 1997, demonstrates enduring perils of fields beyond the reach of the Fair Food Program.

Union-Busting Republicans Lick Their Lips at the Possibility of a Federal Right-to-Work Law - By Cole Stangler, Village Voice, February 21, 2017 - Trump has also made overtures to the most conservative wing of the labor movement, the building and construction trades. Last month, he invited its leaders into the White House, wooing them with talk of infrastructure development and earning their praise for an executive order approving the Keystone XL pipeline. National right-to-work risks disrupting this courtship and the prospects of a future alliance. (Representatives from the Laborers' International Union of North America and North America's Building Trades Unions, an umbrella group, did not respond to requests for comment.)

We know who is responsible for climate chaos, and how to stop them - Louise Hazan,, February 22, 2017 - Whether it’s your university or your local council, your faith group or your workplace – we’re all connected to institutions who shouldn’t be funding the fossil fuel industry. It could be the first event to raise divestment in your community, or a public rally or creative action to push the debate to the next level. The Global Divestment Mobilisation is the chance to organise locally, and act globally – there’s space for everyone, everywhere to take part.

'We'll Rise as One and Resist' Trump's Attack on People and Planet - by Rhea Suh, EcoWatch, February 22, 2017 - What does Pruitt's tweet say, though, to that family in coal country, watching ancient Appalachian streams buried by tons of toxic scree when mountains get dynamited to rubble? What does it say to that waterman in the Chesapeake Bay, where Pruitt fought EPA cleanup efforts meant to save dying crabs, oysters and fish? What does it say to that child struggling with asthma, that senior citizen plagued with respiratory ailments or that expectant mom worried about mercury harming her unborn baby—all real problems addressed by EPA rules Pruitt went to court to try and overturn? And what does it say to our children and grandchildren when they ask why we failed to stand up to the mounting dangers of climate change?

What Do Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66 - By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, February 15, 2017 - That line, the VP Pipeline/EP Pipeline, was purchased from Chevron in August 2016 by DAPL co-owner Phillips 66. One employee of Phillips 66 is presumed dead as a result of the explosion and two were injured.

What This Outsider With Hidden Conflicts of Interest Can Learn From A Local About the Bayou Bridge Pipeline - By Steve Wilkerson, DeSmog Blog, February 15, 2017 - “He doesn’t speak for me. He is speaking for the company that hired him. Some of these guys…anybody with a dollar can buy them…the fact that he came down here [from out of state] and that he’s on the board of that company that took care of the security there [at Standing Rock] speaks volumes that he will work for anybody and do anything. And it is not a national security issue. What’s a national security issue is that we don’t have proper regulations regulating these pipelines. That’s the problem. They are destroying the Atchafalaya Basin because the pipelines are not being maintained properly…you have all these pipelines unattended in the wetlands that have allowed salt water intrusion because they are not being maintained and [sea-level] subsidence with wetlands loss. That’s the problem I have with pipelines.”

Whole Foods is finally getting its comeuppance - By Sabrina Imbler, Grist, February 15, 2017 - Whole Foods may have a squeaky clean image, but that doesn’t square with its labor practices. The company has historically quashed employees’ attempts to unionize, and it sold goat cheese produced with prison labor until last April.

'The wild west of wind': Republicans push Texas as unlikely green energy leader - By Tom Dart and Oliver Milman, The Guardian, February 20, 2017 - Four of the eleven largest wind farms in the world are in the region around Sweetwater, a friendly, part-historic, part-decrepit town of about 11,000 people that is home to so many serpents that every spring it holds a gory rattlesnake roundup.

Work and Climate Change Report - by Elizabeth Perry (dates below)

Why the People’s Climate March matters to people of color like me - By Aura Vasquez, Grist, February 22, 2017 - This intersectionality will be the hallmark of the movement in coming years, and it will be our strength. That is why the People’s Climate March is so important. It’s not just about sending a message to Washington that we won’t stand for their agenda. It’s about sending a message of unity that crosses color lines and income scales. It’s about demonstrating the diversity of the climate movement, the diversity that gives us our strength.

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