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EcoWobbles - EcoUnionist News #158

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, June 14, 2017

A smorgasbord of news of interest to green unionists:

Baltimore Residents Call for Action on Oil Trains, Commemorate 1-Year Anniversary of Train Derailment - By Kenyetta Whitfield, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, June 14, 2017 - David McClure, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, said: “Each day our 2,500 MTA workers transport the people of Baltimore to work, school, the doctor, or wherever they need to go. And our riders’ safety is our number one priority. I repeat, it’s our number one priority. And now it’s time for the City Council to put the safety and health of the people first. It’s time to put a stop these trains from carrying dangerous crude oil and other hazardous cargo travelling through these densely-populated neighborhoods before we have a disaster on our hands.”; [related]: Baltimoreans Call for Action on Oil Trains on Derailment Anniversary - By Taylor Smith-Hams, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, June 14, 2017.

‘Coal is dead’ and oil faces ‘peak demand,’ says world’s largest investment group - By Joe Romm, ThinkProgress, June 8, 2017 - President Donald Trump famously campaigned on restoring coal jobs, and has continued to reiterate that commitment as president, but the economic reality makes that a futile effort; [related]: All the ways this White House props up coal - By Brian Sewell, Appalachian Voices, June 13, 2017 | Global renewables rise from the ashes of coal’s collapse - By Joe Romm, ThinkProgress, June 13, 2017 | New Coal Mine Opens, Employs Just 70 People - By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, June 13, 2017 | Pittsburgh and Paris join over 200 cities and states rejecting Trump on climate - By Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, June 8, 2017 | The Trump administration’s false coal stats, explained - By Jonathan Thompson, High Country News, June 7, 2017 | World Coal Consumption Experienced a Record Drop in 2016 - By staff, YaleEnvironment360, June 14, 2017 | World coal production falls off a cliff - By Andrew Topf, Mining.Com, June 13, 2017.

As coal production declines, Montana sees drop in coal jobs, plans for more - By Holly K. Michels, Helena Independent Record, June 11, 2017 - In the past year, though, the numbers have declined, mirroring a drop in production that could be an indicator of what’s to come. 

Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:

Company fined €300k for health and safety breaches in relation to Corrib worker's death - By staff, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, June 13, 2017 - He had been working on a tunnel boring machine (TBM) that was being used to construct an underground channel to bring gas from the Corrib field to the onshore processing terminal.

Exposing the injustices that lie beneath the Canadian dinner table - By Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun, June 8, 2017 - Clearly, farm work can be dangerous in Canada. The collection of essays gathered by Shirley A. McDonald of University of B.C. Okanagan and Athabasca University’s Bob Barnetson for this book illustrate that many of the deaths and injuries that occur on Canadian farms and in our meat packing plants could be avoided if the workers had a strong union or if safety regulations and inspections in the industry were improved.

Farmworker union reaches tentative contract deal with Sakuma berry farms - By Jim Brunner, Seattle Times, June 11, 2017 - Just in time for the strawberry harvest, leaders of a union representing hundreds of farmworkers have reached a tentative contract agreement with Sakuma Brothers Farms in Skagit County.

Five Indian farmers killed during protest - By news agencies, Al Jazeera, June 6, 2017 - The spokesperson of a farming union said police had fired on the protesters in Mandasur city, marking an escalation of violence as a rural strike demanding debt relief spread.

Forced to Endure Extreme Heat, Prisoners Are Casualties of Texas' Climate Denial, Documents Show - By Candice Bernd, Truthout, June 12, 2017 - At this point, even unions representing prison guards, many of who have also experienced heat-related illnesses and injuries while on duty, have been supportive of lawsuits over extreme heat in TDCJ units.

Former EPA Staffers Hit Back at “Severe”, “Unprecedented” and “Orwellian” Cuts - By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, June 14, 2017 - The "deep cuts would slash the Environmental Protection Agency's Budget 42%," leaving the EPA with the smallest workforce since the early eighties; [related]: Former EPA Employees Are So Worried About Trump’s Plans, They Formed Their Own Alt-EPA - By Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post, June 12, 2017.

Fossil fuel interests seek to kneecap North Carolina’s growing solar industry - By Molly Taft, Laura A. Shepard, and Monika Sharma, ThinkProgress, June 12, 2017 - Solar companies created thousands of jobs on the back of a decades-old law. Now, the state’s utility wants to rewrite it.

Honduran Melon Workers Push for Union Rights - By John Walsh, Labor Notes, June 12, 2017 - Seeking to improve their wages and working conditions, melon workers in the politically marginalized southwestern corner of Honduras are fighting to win recognition and a contract for their young union, a local of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS, the Union of Agricultural and Related Workers).

Hundreds honour coal miners’ sacrifices at Davis Day ceremony in Glace Bay - By Tom Ayers, Local XPress, June 11, 2017 - Workers at the newly opened Donkin coal mine will be unionized within a year, Bob Burchell told hundreds of people gathered at the Cape Breton Miners Museum on William Davis Miners' Memorial Day.

Illinois Legislators to Trump: We Will Not Roll Back Historic Environmental Laws - By Sierra Club, EcoWatch, June 10, 2017 - Illinois state legislators announced Friday a series of legislative proposals that would block any weakened environmental and worker protection standards from taking effect in Illinois, and also respond to President Trump'sdecision to pull out of the Paris agreement.

In America, coal pollution is nearly as deadly as car crashes - By Jay Apt, The Conversation, June 6, 2017 - President Trump has called the Paris climate accord “very unfair” for the United States, especially the coal industry, and pledged to restore coal miners’ jobs. But bringing back coal isn’t the same thing as bringing back coal miners’ jobs.

In Iowa energy primary, King Coal loses out to Wind Power - By Tina Casey, Red, Green, and Blue, June 12, 2017 - “Transitioning off coal to locally sourced biomass is cost-competitive and provides maximum economic value to the state by providing jobs to the local economy and taking advantage of Iowa’s outstanding agricultural producers…”

Increase in Cancer Risk for Japanese Workers Accidentally Exposed to Plutonium - By Ed Lyman, Union of Concerned Scientists, June 9, 2017 - The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the operator of the facility, reported that five workers inhaled plutonium and americium that was released from a storage container that the workers had opened.

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Get People of Color Onto Cable News Shows - By Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones, June 9, 2017 - Latinos are also more likely to hold jobs that require being outdoors such as construction and farm work, leaving them susceptible to extreme heat.

La Via Campesina

National Park Service explains impacts of crippling cuts in President Trump’s proposed budget - By Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Look West, June 8, 2017 - The National Park Service would lose 1,242 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, leading to significant challenges at almost every park.

New Poll: Americans believe Bayer-Monsanto merger poses serious threats to jobs, independent farmers, and food safety - By Erin Jensen and Anna Zuccaro, Friends of the Earth, June 14, 2017 - 80% of Trump voters believe that the merger of Bayer and Monsanto will result in fewer jobs. History backs up their concerns: the recent merger of DuPont and Dow resulted in the layoff of 1,700 Dow employees in Delaware, and more cuts are expected across the country soon.

Norwegian oil company, DNO, refuses to pay workers in Yemen - By Brad Blankenship, Al Masdar News, June 13, 2017 - While DNO continues to announce record growth and profits, especially relying on entitlements to gas and oil blocks in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, their operations in Yemen have now ceased and they are refusing to pay their employees.

Oil Change International responds to CAPP annual forecast - By Greg Muttitt and Lorne Stockman, Oil Change International, June 13, 2017 - This delusion that the tar sands have a growing future is only hurting communities, workers, and Canadians. We need strategies for a just transition and a diverse, stable economy. The longer we delay the more it will hurt.

The Philippines, a nation rich in precious metals, encounters powerful opposition to mining - By Keith Schneider, Mongabay, June 8, 2017 - The village of Didipio, in the meantime, looks to have benefited from virtually none of that wealth. A number of residents work at the mine, earning about $1 an hour. But there are no restaurants, no hotels, and just a handful of front porch stores in a collection of shabby wooden homes.

Poolbeg incinerator workers hospitalised after incident - By staff, BBC, June 8, 2017 - Eleven workers were taken to hospital after lime was "inadvertently released" inside Dublin's new incinerator plant on Wednesday night.

Rayon, an Epidemic of Insanity, and the Woman Who Fought to Expose It - By Paul David Blanc, M.D., UnDark, June 9, 2017 - In 1933, workers at a plant in Delaware began suffering breakdowns. Enter Alice Hamilton, one of history’s foremost occupational-health detectives.

Remember William Davis and his fight for justice on June 11 - By staff, Nova Scotia Federation Of Labour, June 7, 2017 - These are more than numbers, they were workers and families and community members. Tragedy was not only in the lives lost, but for the families left without breadwinners in a society with little, if any compensation.

Sharara reopens after workers end strike - By staff, Libya Herald, June 9, 2017 - Libya’s largest oilfield, Sharara, in the south west of the country, has reopened after a short strike by workers angry at the death of a colleague on Tuesday night, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said today; [related]: Libya’s Largest Oil Field Resumes Production - By Tsvetana Paraskova, Oil Price, June 9, 2017 | Libya’s oil output recovers after resuming work at Al-Sharara oilfield - By staff, Libyan Express, June 11, 2017 | Sharara Oil Field resumes production - By Abdullah Ben Ibrahim, Libya Observer, June 9, 2017.

The Solar Industry Is Creating Jobs 17 Times Faster Than the Rest of the U.S. Economy - By Karla Lant, Futurism, May 28, 2017 - Jobs in the solar field in the United States grew at a rate 17 times faster than the overall economy. This was part of a larger trend towards jobs in renewable energy and away from more dangerous, less sustainable jobs in fossil fuels.

States Challenge Scott Pruitt's Decision to Keep Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Food Supply - By Mike Ludwig, Truthout, June 8, 2017 - In addition to the challenge from the attorneys general, environmental and labor groups submitted 140,000 public comments opposing Pruitt's decision to keep chlorpyrifos on the market before the comment period closed this week.

Trump’s cuts to energy efficiency will cost jobs and taxpayer money, report finds - By Mark Hand, ThinkProgress, June 9, 2017 - The researchers found that the two federal programs, Energy Star and the Weatherization Assistance Program, contribute to job growth and make it easier for customers to invest in energy efficiency products and upgrades.

Trump Touts a New PA Mine. But is Coal Actually Rebounding? - By Reid Frazier, Allegheny Front, June 8, 2017 - Coal production reached a 30-year low in 2015, and the number of U.S. coal miners fell from 90,000 in 2012 to 50,000 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of U.S. coal mines dropped from 1,831 in 2006 to 1,159 in 2015, according to the Energy Information. Administration.

Two workers trapped at Mandalay’s Cerro Bayo mine in Chile after flooding - By Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.Com, June 9, 2017 - Two employees were working in the Delia 2 ramp section of the mine at the time of the incident  and remain trapped, the firm said.

US oil firm Halliburton branded ‘obscene’ over unpaid UK internships - By Rob Davies, The Guardian, June 7, 2017 - Halliburton is worth billions – it’s outrageous they’re asking their young staff to work for free when they can more than afford to pay the living wage. Certainly, few big UK firms would make this mistake in 2017.

Will California's 100% renewables goal survive the political process? - By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive, June 14, 2017 - California’s oil companies, who are not yet significant players in the SB 100 debate, made opposition to AB 378 a priority, White said. “And the building and construction trade unions who opposed AB 378 back SB 100.”

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

Wyoming wind power plans to sail into California - By Michael McDonald, Breaking Energy, June 8, 2017 - The completed project, which will create hundreds of local jobs and have 1,000 wind turbines will create enough energy to power 1,000,000 homes. That power will be transmitted by a specially built direct current transmission line to California.

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