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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #151

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, April 21, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

Activists and clients tell TIAA to stop investments linked to deforestation and displacement of local farmers - By Audrey Fox, Friends of the Earth, April 20, 2017 - Nancy Romer, a PSC-CUNY union faculty member and TIAA client, spoke out at today’s event. “I want my retirement money to be invested ethically, not in companies that exploit resources and abuse communities. I have a right to decide where my retirement investments go, and that cannot happen until TIAA and other investment firms stop concealing the destruction they are financing.”

Brazil: Since the return to democracy there have been nearly 2,000 political assassinations in rural areas - By Cauê Seigner Ameni, La Via Campesina, April 25, 2017 - Records from the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) show that, since 1985, 1,833 peasants and leaders of the struggle for agrarian reform have been assassinated in conflicts over land, while during the same period of time large land estates have grown by 375%; [related]:  Outbreak of Killing in Brazil as Landowners Work to Displace Farmers - By staff, Global Justice Ecology Project, April 24, 2017 - The Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) reported another murder in the struggle for land on April 23. This time it was in the Settlement Liberdade, municipality of Periquito. Around 8 pm, comrade Silvino Nunes Gouveia, 51, a regional leader of the MST, was brutally murdered with 10 shots.

As Britain Celebrates Coal-Free Day, Solar Could Soon Shine in US Coal Country - By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, April 24, 2017 - Ebell should check on the numbers as he continues to twist the truth: Wind and solar now employ almost 475,000 people in the US, three times that of coal.

Climate Activists Plot How to Turn Anti-Trump Rage Into Anti-Trump Votes - By Marianne Lavelle, Inside Climate News, April 18, 2017 - "A march is great and all—it's great to show power and show force," said Mike Williams, vice president of the Blue-Green Alliance, a labor-environmental coalition and one of the march's organizers. "But a lot of the focus is on how do we turn this into a true big, deep movement-building effort?"

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Colorado Bill Would Create Bonds to Retire Coal Plants and Finance Worker Retraining - By Katie Fehrenbacher, GreenTech Media, April 21, 2017 - As coal plants and coal mines continue to shut down across the U.S., coal workers are getting hit hard. While the transition has brought lower-carbon electricity and cleaner air, it’s also meant lost jobs, company bankruptcies, and false political promises about revitalizing the industry.

Deepwater Horizon Anniversary Reminds Why Offshore Drilling Should Be Phased Out, Not Expanded - By Chris Carnevale, Clean Energy Footprints, April 20, 2017 - Perhaps worse than the direct economic damage are the ways that the spill has hurt the health of Gulf residents and workers. More than 50,000 cleanup workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals on a daily basis, resulting in chronic debilitating conditions, and possibly increased risks of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Gulf residents suffered considerable mental health degradation as well, with sharp increases in anxiety and clinical depression, largely related to the loss of income from the spill.

Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American’ Initiative Is a Lie, By John Nichols, The Nation, April 19, 2017 and Trump's "Buy American" Order Looks Weak as DAPL Company Pushes Back - By Nika Knight, Common Dreams, April 20, 2017 - "As with Trump’s campaign promises, the executive order is full of loopholes that are designed to protect Wall Street interests and multinational corporations—at the expense of American workers and communities," wrote The Nation's John Nichols. "The biggest of those loopholes involves the fact that dozens of countries currently get waivers that allow them to avoid following 'Buy American' policies."

Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed - By Darwin BondGraham, East Bay Express, April 20, 2017  - In response, the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance banning the storage and handling of coal on the grounds that it would endanger the health and safety of Oakland residents and workers.

Fiji: Mining Work Ceased, 500 Workers Sent Home - Fiji Sun, April 20, 2017 - A recent death and a series of accidents have forced the closure of all underground operations at the Vatukoula Gold Mines.

Four Croydon tram drivers admit falling asleep at controls - Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, April 24, 2017 - The drivers told the BBC that they had fallen asleep while operating trams, with one alleging that irregular shift patterns caused fatigue. Drivers also claimed the dead man’s handle, a failsafe device designed to apply the brakes if the driver is incapacitated, did not appear always to stop the vehicles.

Here’s why so many young people are joining the climate march - By Morissa Zuckerman, Grist, April 24, 2017 - On April 29, an unprecedented coalition of movements will descend on the streets of Washington, D.C., to march for climate, jobs, and justice. The People’s Climate March will bring together indigenous people leading the fights against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, labor unions, environmental and racial justice groups, farmers, student divestment campaigners, and more.

How the climate march can stand out in a crowd of protests - By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Grist, April 25, 2017 - In February, a coalition of nearly 100 environmental, labor, civil rights, and religious groups came together in Washington to hash out details for the climate march. The aim was to incorporate a diverse array of voices into the march right from the start, to make sure it wasn’t just old-school green groups (and their largely white members) participating.

Is the Suniva Bankruptcy a Canary in the Coal Mine for Solar? - By Paula Mints, Renewable Energy World, April 21, 2017 - Those looking for jobs in solar manufacturing will not find stable employment in the solar sector, as price pressure has squeezed the viability out of the sector. Plenty of solar construction jobs but manufacturing is unlikely to recover. Module assembly is different from cell manufacturing, and here, the U.S. could see some recovery though highly competitive pricing means that these jobs are not stable either.

Kentucky coal company announces plans to build the state’s largest solar farm - By Natasha Geiling, ThinkProgress, April 19, 2017 - Clean energy employs more people than fossil fuels in nearly every US state. Former Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen, who is involved in the solar farm project, says interest in the project has been high, especially among unemployed coal workers.

National parks create jobs - By staff, Look West, April 20, 2017 - The Interior Department announced yesterday that America's national parks saw a record 331 million visitors in 2016, creating 318,000 jobs and adding $34.9 billion to the U.S. economy.

Oakland's Poorest Neighborhoods Will Be The Most Susceptible to Flooding Due To Climate Change And Sea-Level Rise - By Jean Tepperman, East Bay Express, April 19, 2017 - It’s not just homes that are at risk. Workplaces, too, would be inundated, affecting almost 30,000 Oakland employees. This scenario would also impact schools, hospitals, and other community facilities, as well as a large number of sites containing toxic contaminants, which could then be released into the floodwater.

On Workers Memorial Day, April 28, Nurses Vow to Keep Fighting for The Highest Level of Protections - By staff, National Nurses United, April 20, 2017 - On April 28, 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, governing workers’ right to a healthy and safe workplace, went into effect. April 28 is now an annual Workers Memorial Day, when we remember those who have been injured, or who have lost their lives, on the job. It’s a day when we underscore the need to ensure comprehensive, mandatory protections for workers.

One Community’s Fight for Clean Air in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley - By Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, April 19, 2017 - The only other plant in the United States that made Neoprene was another DuPont facility in Rubbertown, a heavily industrialized neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. It closed in 2008, moving its remaining production to the LaPlace plant in Louisiana, after pressure from workers and environmental groups.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment

Ramping Up for May Day around the Country - By Fernando Garcia and Sonia Singh, Labor Notes, April 24, 2017 - Dairy farmworkers are demanding that Ben & Jerry’s implement the Milk with Dignity Program, as the ice cream chain promised two years ago. The program calls for Ben & Jerry's to adopt a worker-authored code of conduct that would ensure a dignified workplace and fair housing, and a worker education program and third-party monitoring to enforce the code.

Sami people persuade Norway pension fund to divest from Dakota Access - By Rachel Fixsen, The Guardian, March 17, 2017 - The Sami parliament, representing indigenous people of Nordic countries, has convinced Norway’s second largest pension fund to ditch the oil pipeline project.

The Scam continues US Oil Sands gets more money - By staff, Utah Tar Sands Resistance, April 25, 2017 - USOS has spent over 100 million dollars building the strip mine and tar processing facility at PR Springs. They have destroyed 100 acres of pristine forest and hold leases to 32,000 acres for tar sands strip mining. In the 4th quarter of 2016 they announced they were out of money and they laid off  most of their employees.

Siberian gold mine collapse kills two - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, April 23, 2017 - Two gold miners are dead and one is in critical condition after an underground gold mine near the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk partially collapsed.

Slave Labour in Eritrea: Picket Vancouver-based mining company Nevsun’s Annual General Meeting - By staff, Mining Justice Alliance, April 24, 2017 - The north-eastern African country of Eritrea may be far away but a Vancouver-based mine’s activities there connects us and makes Canada complicit in serious labour violations.

Spill: A Vivid Reminder of Lessons Not Learned after the BP Disaster - By Karen Savage, Bridge The Gulf, April 19, 2017 - New York’s Ensemble Studio Theatre is hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast and it’s been seven years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing eleven men and starting one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.

Strike at Escondida hurt Rio Tinto copper output - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, April 21, 2017 - Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO), the world’s second largest miner, said copper output dropped in the first quarter of the year due to a strike at its 30%-owned Escondida mine in Chile and Indonesian regulatory changes.

Sungevity Is Sold: More Layoffs Without Notice, Name Changed to Solar Spectrum - By Eric Wesoff, GreenTech Media, April 21, 2017 - No-longer-bankrupt solar sales firm Sungevity has laid off two-thirds of its remaining technical staff, breaking the news at a company meeting today, according to sources. The company will provide no severance to the laid off employees.

Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal - By Nadja Popovich, New York Times, April 25, 2017 - Last year, the solar industry employed many more Americans than coal, while wind power topped 100,000 jobs.

Trump admin could approve new projects through September - By Adina Levin, Save Our Transit, April 24, 2017 - The economic development arguments are about transportation and also jobs. Powerful Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch of Utah, whose state would gain manufacturing plant that would serve Caltrain electrification and other projects,  told the Washington Post that he was “going to do what we can to get that done.”

Trump Promises More Coal Jobs, New Mexico Thumbs “Cleaner” Power Nose - By Tina Casey, Clean Technica, April 21, 2017 - Despite all the coal references during his presidential campaign, the first 100 days of the Trump Administration have not yielded any significant action to create new coal jobs.

UK foreign office cut climate staff in half under Tory government - By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Change News, April 26, 2017 - The UK foreign office has almost halved the staff it devotes to climate change over the term of the past two Conservative-led governments.

UK PM Calls Surprise Election, Puts Green Economy On Further Hold - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, April 19, 2017 - “Whichever party forms the next UK Government, the benefits of decarbonising our energy system at the lowest cost to the consumer remain clear,” said Niall Stuart, Chief Executive at Scottish Renewables. “Renewable energy is already delivering jobs and investment while helping to tackle climate change.

Undocumented in Vermont: The Hidden Life of a Migrant Farmworker​ - By Terry J. Allen, In These Times, April 8, 2017 - Carlos was one of the estimated one to 2,000 undocumented, mostly Mexican migrants employed on the state’s dairy farms. The actual number, like most of the workers who entered the country illegally, is hidden.

US Wind Power Added Jobs More Than 9 Times Faster Than Overall US Economy - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, April 20, 2017 - New figures published by the American Wind Energy Association show that the US wind energy industry added jobs at more than 9 times faster than the overall US economy in 2016, reaching 102,500 jobs in all, helping to install over 8 gigawatts of new wind power and helping investment reach more than $14 billion.

With Increasing Risk From Fossil Fuel Industry, Sustainability Train Has Definitely Left The Station - By Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, April 21, 2017 - The coal industry was always going to be the first to face massive losses, and in 2010 in the United States the coal industry lost a combined 31,000 jobs and $30 billion in share value.

West Virginia governor’s company cited in coal mining death - By Natasha Geiling, ThinkProgress, April 25, 2017 - A mining operation owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (D) was cited for six safety violations following the death of a worker in February, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Whistleblower in Record ‘Magic Pipe’ Pollution Case Gets $1 Million Payout - By Staff, gCaptain, April 20, 2017 - A U.S. District Judge in Miami on Wednesday sentenced Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) to pay a $40 million penalty – the largest-ever for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution – related to illegal dumping overboard of oil contaminated waste and falsification of official logs in order to conceal the discharges.

Why Fort McMurray will never be the same - By Jason Markusoff, MacClean's, April 10, 2017 - The plunge in oil prices has pushed the sector to slash workforces and drive down production costs to keep operations viable and calm investor worries.

Work and Climate Change Report - The green transition of work and workplaces: Research and News from a Canadian viewpoint

Wind Power in 2016? Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs - By Allie Brown, Clean Energy Footprints, April 24, 2017 - In 2016, the wind industry added nearly 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs, helping the industry surpass over 100,000 total American jobs. Last year, the industry added jobs over 9 times faster than the overall economy.

The YUGE job losses Trump is ignoring: retail workers - By Sher Watts Spooner, Daily Kos, April 23, 2017 - Coal mining is still 95 percent white and 95 percent male. Department store workers are 40 percent minority and just 40 percent male. The emphasis on work that is white, male, and burly may represent an implicit bias against the working class of the modern service economy, which is more diverse and female.

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