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EcoUnionist News #119 - #NoDAPL Update

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 31, 2016

Statement from Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman, Dave Archambault II, August 15, 2016:

The United States via the Army Corps of Engineers is in the mist of moving ahead with an oil pipeline that officials are claiming is not potentially harmful to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. I am here to advise anyone that will listen, that the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is harmful. It will not be just harmful to my people but its intent and construction will harm the water in the Missouri River, which is one of the cleanest and safest river tributary left in the United States.

We have been told by the officials that there will be breaches in the pipe line, but they claim that the situations are generally never very bad. This is unacceptable.

Our Mother Earth is sacred. All things evolve and work together. To poison the water, is to poison the substance of life. Everything that moves must have water. How can we talk about and knowingly poison water?

I’ve been told and taught that it is our responsibility to stand for our relatives, the ones that crawl, the ones that fly, the ones that burrow, the ones that swim, the ones that flower. Relatives that cannot speak for themselves. Who will speak for them? We have to speak for those who are not here – our ancestors, for those children who are not yet born. Our ancestors left sacred sites for us. We have to speak for them. Children not yet born will not live without water. We have to speak for them.

Several of our Lakota and Dakota relatives have had visions and dreams. They have been visited in a spiritual sense and have been told that there is a black poisonous snake trying to come among us. Our relatives have said this.

Our instructions say snakes are good – they serve a great purpose in the web of life. Our elders and the elders before them have given us wonderful teachings and a beautiful way to live and co-exist with all that is, however, the black poisonous snake we are being warned about does not come from the Creator. It is man-made and the creature is made of nothing but Greed. There is nothing good that has ever come from Greed. Greed is pure poison. It blinds and twists thinking. It is what my people have endured and continue to endure.

Right now the Rosebud reservation, the Cheyenne River reservation, the Pine Ridge reservation and my Standing Rock reservation represent five of the 10 poorest places or counties in the United States, according to the 2010 Census. Our state of being is not our fault. We did not cause this. United States lawmakers and their policies caused this. Why?? Greed – and now again, even what little we have left is under attack.

Is it too much to respectfully and peaceably request that we not live in fear of being bitten by this creature of eminent harm? Isn’t living in fear and terror unacceptable in the United States?

The United States should use all its will and power to be a real great world leader. It should swear off oil production because we all know it is harmful to it is to our planet. The United States should use all its wisdom and technology to develop alternative sources of power. It should be a great wise leader to preserve and enhance this earth, not knowingly destroy the webs of life.

What I ask is that my fellow American citizens stand with my people to stand with us. I ask you to please call or write your Senators and Representative to stop this blindness and this greed.

And, if nothing else, please, offer a prayer for my people and all the people who are standing with us in prayer. Just offer some thoughts of protection for us. We ask that you offer a prayer for sensibility and common sense on behalf of all the two-legged that walk as this is not just a Lakota/Dakota issue, this is a human issue.

This land that is being disturbed was once ours. Our people, our Indian Nations lived and governed our peoples all over this territory. This land across the Cannonball River that is now threatened was forcibly taken from us and there was nothing that we could do about it then and now.

Nonetheless, we still believe that we are the keepers of this beautiful land. Although it was taken from us, we know, we must stand and speak on this land’s behalf. We want everyone and the federal government to respect this land and take care of it. That is why our people are standing up and standing with the land and water. We have to be here. It is instructions that the Creator has given us. We have to be here. We have to stand to protect ourselves and those cannot speak for themselves.

When the President of the United States came to Cannonball, I did not ask him for anything. I tried to let his wife, Michelle and him, see for themselves a little of our reality. They saw our people in our happiest times, singing and dancing, but they also heard the tough reality of life for so many of our youth.

I believe both were impacted but knowing what I know now, I wish I would have asked President Obama to help us in this struggle.

I will pass away someday, which is all part of the Creator’s plan, but I have a son and daughter. I have no doubt that they will give me grandchildren. What will we leave for our grandchildren? Poisoned water? The substance of Life! In my language, we describe water as the source of Life. We say Mni Wiconi!

My Tribe asks how can we live with ourselves if we don’t respect the rights and needs of our future generations?

Today I realize that everything happens for a reason. Although I didn’t ask the President for a dime, I see our people are peacefully speaking out in a good way now. This is hugely important to my Tribe and all of our Tribal Nations. This peaceful demonstration is a cry to stop the desecration of land and water.

I pray that the powers that be, hear our prayer because all this behavior we are exhibiting is a prayer on our part.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your families, your children and grandchildren.

To Join in the Struggle

EcoUnionist News #118 - #NoDAPL Resistance

Compiled by x344543 and x378016 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 24, 2016

From Democracy Now: "In North Dakota, more than a thousand indigenous activists from different tribes have converged at the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, where protesters are blocking construction of the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Protesters say the pipeline would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River, which provides water not only for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, but for millions of people downstream.

Native Activist Winona LaDuke: Pipeline Company Enbridge Has No Right to Destroy Our Future – Winona LaDuke interviewed by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, August 23, 2016

Excerpt from the interview:

AMY GOODMAN: Last month, Winona, the Laborers’ International Union of North America endorsed the Dakota Access pipeline. Terry O’Sullivan, general president of LIUNA, said in a statement, quote, "The men and women of LIUNA applaud the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its fair and thorough review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. ... For the highly skilled and trained men and women of LIUNA, projects like the Dakota Access are more than just pipelines. They are crucial lifelines to family-supporting jobs," they said. Laborers Local 563 business agent Cory Bryson said, quote, "We’ve been inundated with calls from all over the country from people wanting to work on this pipeline project. Mainline pipeline projects like Dakota Access provide excellent working opportunities for our members and tremendous wages." Your response, Winona LaDuke?

WINONA LADUKE: My response is that the United States has a D in infrastructure. That’s why bridges collapse. That’s why Flint, Michigan, has a problem. That’s why everything is eroding in this country. And what we need is those skilled laborers to be put to work, pipelines for people. I’m saying take those pipes that are sitting there in northern Minnesota, and send them to Flint, Michigan. They need billions of dollars’ worth of pipe infrastructure out there. We don’t need any pipes in northern Minnesota. I say that most of our Indian reservations don’t have adequate infrastructure. We’d like a little help with our water and sewer systems there. I am all for organized labor, but what I want is I want pipelines, I want infrastructure, for people, not for fossil fuels, not for oil companies. So I am all for that. There are plenty of people that could be put to work. And it’s five times as many jobs doing infrastructure for communities, doing for people, than one shot throw a pipe down and hope it works out for you. So I’m asking American labor to stand with us and to say we want pipelines, we want infrastructure, that goes for people, that goes for communities, and not for oil companies that are going to destroy our environment and cause more climate change destruction to our planet.

LaDuke is correct, as the folks at Labor Network for Sustainability pointed three years ago in reference to the Keystone XL Pipeline (see The Keystone Pipeline Debate: An Alternative Job Creation Strategy - by Kristen Sheeran, et. al., Labor Network for Sustainability, 2013). There's absolutely no reason for the Building Trades to needlessly hitch their wagons to this extractivist capitalist boondoggle.

Iww member and camper and organizer against the pipeline had this to say:

"we need the support of people now more than ever and there are numerous ways you can support. The health of the land is a human rights issue and a labor issue. The labor movement must stand firmly against the attempts of the capitalist class to pull the people into false solutions that only mean unsustainable jobs and practices that will do nothing to alleviate the hardships of working people during this current economic downturn. We should be pushing alternatives for ways to improve our communities and heal the land, not destroy the very land base we depend on for survival. There are no jobs on a dead planet."

To Join in the Struggle

Pipeline fighters resist climate catastrophe

By Carl Sack - Socialist Action, July 8, 2016

Humanity is faced with a worsening climate catastrophe. In June, levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere topped 400 parts per million at the South Pole, a concentration not seen on this planet in the last four million years. Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which is registering 407 ppm carbon dioxide as of this writing, say that the concentration there is now probably permanently above 400.

The significance of this milestone is massive. NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen has written that 350 parts per million is the upper limit of Earth’s carbon dioxide concentration, “if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted.” Carbon dioxide concentrations were last at 350 ppm around 1985.

Human-induced climate change is already wreaking havoc. May 2016 marked the 13th consecutive hottest month on record in global average temperature, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The permanent drought and major wildfires in the western U.S., the huge Horse River Fire that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray in far northern Alberta, Canada (ironically the epicenter of Canada’s tar sands oil boom), the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, the killer heat wave in India, and many more unfolding disasters are all attributable to a warming world.

Yet, the world’s capitalist rulers are actively pouring gasoline onto the climate fire. U.S. politicians from President Barack Obama on down have cheered on the expansion of fracking for oil and natural gas, which has only slowed slightly in the face of a historic fossil fuel glut. Fracking continues to be exempted from most federal environmental regulations, despite its routinely poisoning of local air and water supplies, causing earthquakes, and releasing huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide over a 20-year time span.

Last December, with the support of both Republicans and Democrats, Congress quietly lifted the country’s 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, allowing fracking for oil in the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana to go full speed ahead even when domestic demand can’t keep up. In June, the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee reiterated that party’s support for fracking, rejecting a proposal to call for a national moratorium on it.

In Canada, the federal government continues to actively promote the development of tar sands. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest energy source on the planet. Mixed in with soil, it takes huge amounts of energy to extract and refine, and has resulted in massive deforestation and pollution in the boreal forest region of Alberta. James Hansen has called the full development of the tar sands “game over for the climate.”

Laws limiting fossil-fuel production at the source are necessary to combat climate change, yet the agenda of Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals alike seems to be just the opposite. In their calculus, short-term profits for U.S. and Canadian fossil fuel companies trump the future livability of the planet. Likewise, the representatives of the global capitalist class utterly failed to implement meaningful limits on greenhouse gas emissions through the most recent international climate accord, the Paris Agreement, signed last December.

In a June 30 article in the journal Nature, several climate scientists warn that all of the non-binding pledges for greenhouse gas reductions made by countries as part of the agreement, if fully implemented, would result in a disastrous global temperature increase of 2.6-3.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. The agreement aspires to hold global temperatures to “well below 2 degrees Celsius,” a number which would still mean famine and displacement for millions.

There is hope in the climate justice movement, which continues to build its power to stop fossil fuels even in the face of long odds. Activists are fighting back against the expansion of pipelines used to carry oil and gas from the point of production to refineries and export terminals—and in some cases they are winning.

Although plenty of oil and gas are getting to market, pipelines represent a choke point for future production. The 2016 Crude Oil Forecast from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which represents Canada’s tar sands industry, concludes that “Canada’s oil supply will soon greatly exceed its current pipeline capacity.” Denying the fossil fuel industry this capacity is a symbolic blow against the industry and shows that it is vulnerable to movement pressure.

Much of the growing pipeline resistance has also been driven by more local concerns. If a line bursts, it can devastate farmland, ecosystems, and waterways. This nightmare visited Michigan in 2010, when an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured and spilled 1.1 million gallons of heavy tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River, the largest inland oil spill in the U.S. to date. Tar sands oil is heavy and thick and pumped at high pressure, putting a large amount of stress on the pipes. Along natural gas pipelines, compressor stations release large amounts of methane, along with toxins such as benzene, toluene, sulfuric oxide, and formaldehyde.

The most famous pipeline battle to date was over the Keystone XL line, which would have cut across the central U.S., bringing 800,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil from northern Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. In the face of a national groundswell of opposition, the Obama administration denied the pipeline’s permit to cross the Canadian border, killing the project. Now activists are fighting to keep Keystone’s successors at bay.

Dimock families win water contamination case against Cabot Oil & Gas

By Traci - Energy Justice Network, March 12, 2016

IWW members are involved in this campaign.

A federal jury awarded two couples from Dimock, Pennsylvania 4.2 million dollars after finding Cabot Oil and Gas negligent for contaminating their well water during drilling for natural gas.

The plaintiffs in the case are Nolen “Scott” Ely and his family, and Ray Hubert and his family who live next to the Elys. The Ely family has lived in Dimock since the 1800’s.

The Dimock federal civil litigation, which began under the caption Norma Fiorentino, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation and Gassearch Drilling Services, Inc. in 2009, and concludes under the caption, Nolen Scott Ely, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, had its final verdict in United States District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, located in Scranton, PA.
The panel awarded Mr. and Mrs. Ely $2.6 million and their three children $50,000 each. The Huberts were awarded $1.4 million, while another of their family members was awarded $50,000.

"It's been a battle," said plaintiff Scott Ely. "I mean, you're up against a multi multi multi million dollar company. We are the lucky ones in the case, but there are still many more families in the Dimock area who are still without the benefit of clean water.”

“This is a huge victory for Dimock families who have fighting for clean water for over six years. Finally justice has been served for Scott and Monica Ely, their three children, and their neighbors, the Huberts,” said Alex Lotorto, Shale Gas Program Coordinator for Energy Justice Network stated.

Cabot Oil & Gas states that they plan to appeal the ruling, but Lotorto said, “No matter the outcome, we have publicly disclosed all of the facts of the case for the world to see and the couples have beautiful children which is their greatest wealth.”

Except for a two year period when Cabot supplied these plaintiffs with water, since 2008, the Elys and Huberts have been living without reliable access to water and under rationing conditions. To survive day to day, these families haul water at their own expense every week for drinking, bathing and other daily basics.

Beginning in the fall of 2008, Dimock families noticed problems with their drinking water, and began to experience rashes, nausea, headaches and dizziness. A trigger point to the litigation was the explosion of Norma Fiorentino’s private water well on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2008 due to methane gas accumulation in the well head.

The case eventually included 22 families from Dimock and Springville Townships in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, who sought fair compensation for damages to their property and their lives caused by Cabot’s failed natural gas drilling operations.
The travails of these plaintiffs, as well as those of other Dimock families, have been chronicled in the HBO documentaries, Gasland I and Gasland II.

The federal case number is 3:09-cv-02284-MCC.

Energy Justice Network fiscally sponsored the legal fund for the case and have been working with the family since 2009.

How To Fight a Pipeline

By Alex Lotorto - Energy Justice Network, February 16, 2016

Energy Justice Network is on the cutting edge of fighting fracking and related infrastructure in the northeast.

It's a special organizing challenge to fight pipelines, as we're fighting a line, not a point, on the map. Companies and agencies won't release data listing all impacted landowners. In Pennsylvania, we have enhanced our outreach by using GIS to overlay company pipeline maps with 911 emergency addresses obtained from each county, allowing us to identify impacted landowners.

Along the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in northeast Pennsylvania, we used this information to mass-mail and go door-to-door to over 200 landowners in three counties to inform them of their rights and build a landowner coalition that meets quarterly.

Our goal for landowner organizing is to have them each deny survey permission to the company (Williams Partners LLC) so that permit filing can't be completed. Then, we intend to support landowners through eminent domain proceedings by providing referrals to vetted attorneys and appraisers.

Media strategy is just as important and we have had a number of human interest stories published in local and national news about compelling cases where landowners are standing up against Williams and other companies.

In Pike and Northampton Counties, we appealed the PA Department of Environmental Protection's air permits for twin compressor stations meant to pressurize the Columbia Pipeline 1278 line that transports gas to the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal. Both compressors emit the equivalent of a fleet of idling diesel school buses, making the local air quality especially dangerous for children's developing lungs.

During the compressor appeals, Columbia Pipeline motioned to dismiss our case and Governor Tom Wolf's attorneys agreed. However, the judge dismissed their motion and is allowing us to proceed with our arguments regarding best available control technologies, health impacts, local zoning approval, and other important considerations.

Most urgently, we're leading the cutting edge battle against the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline, a project of Williams and Cabot Oil & Gas, which is proposed to carry fracked gas from Susquehanna County, PA to Albany, NY and beyond.

On January 29, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitted tree cutting to begin in Pennsylvania that must be finished by March 31 to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act as enforced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

We have landowners across Susquehanna County who have given our volunteers and staff permission to monitor the pipeline clearing for violations. On one property, where a sugar maple farm is producing syrup this season, we have set up a picket line where we've turned away tree crews for 16 days straight.

The picket at North Harford Maple has drawn both the attention of national media organizations like NPR and the Associated Press and legal action in federal court by the company. We're pledging to stick to it for the long haul so stay tuned for more updates!

Inspiring Fossil Fuel Resistance Action In Northeast Pennsylvania

By Ted Glick - Ted Glick's Blog, February 8, 2016

Northeast PA – Very possibly as early as tomorrow, chain-saw-armed tree cutters hired by Williams Partners, a powerful pipeline-building corporation for the gas and oil industry, will try to cut down sugar maple trees on the property of Maryann Zeffer, Cathy and Megan Holleran and their family. For 65 years they have lived on this land, and for the last ten or so they have been producing delicious, pure, Pennsylvania maple syrup from those trees.

This destruction won’t happen without a big fight. Nine days ago as I write, after FERC gave approval to Williams’ request to start tree cutting in Pa. even though Williams does not have all of the necessary approvals to build their Pa. to NY Constitution pipeline, an encampment was set up on the Zeffer/Holleran land. Every day since people have been there.

The press has been there too. TV stations in Binghamton, NY and Scranton, Pa. have done stories on this epic David vs. Goliath battle, though this one is more like strong women Davidas vs. Goliath.

I spent a very cold but inspiring day yesterday with Maryann, Cathy and Megan and about 30 other people there for some part of the day, including fracktivist heroine Vera Scoggins, who I had never met before. One of the rewarding things about a life of for-the-people activism and organizing is the wonderful people you are always meeting and getting to know.

Yesterday it looked like Williams’ tree cutters might not be getting to the Zeffer/Holleran land for a while; they had started just the day before, a number of miles away. However, just today, another crew started cutting a little more than a mile away, and the locals sent out an alert calling upon as many people as possible to show up today if possible but tomorrow for sure. They expect the confrontation to take place within 48 hours at most.

People who can get to the site should do so right away. You don’t need to be prepared to risk arrest to do so; the more people there to watch and observe and take pictures and spread the word the better.

You do need a car. Here’s the information you need, from the “Stop the Constitution Pipeline in Pa” site on Facebook:
The Holleran property is located at 2131 Three Lakes Road, New Milford, PA, but use these coordinates to find where people are gathered to stop the tree cutting: 41.8272387, -75.7585062

The Farce of Democratic Party Climate Change Policy

By Andrew Stewart - CounterPunch, January 1, 2016

As the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak continues to spew into the air, Rhode Island’s small hamlet of Burrillvillle is now facing the chance to be the future site of such a catastrophe. With the help of a key Democratic Party endorsement and accession from labor union bosses who should know better, Rhode Island may soon host a fracked natural gas plant rather than the saner move of a sustainable electric plant.

Recently, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who is lovingly nicknamed ‘Wheldon Shitehouse’ by constituents in the know, has posed and postured around the Senate regarding climate change, browbeating and hectoring the Republican denialists with all the pomp and circumstance of the pontificating charlatan he is. One of Sen. Whitehouse’s claims to fame is going after the paint corporations in a lawsuit regarding lead poisoning in children, yet his recent behavior makes one wonder if he in fact consumed a fair share of paint chips in his youth.

What makes this such a joke is his adamant support of the construction of a Spectra Energy natural gas plant in Burriville. My colleague Steve Ahlquist at RIFuture.org, a better journalist and investigative reporter than I will ever be, has done a truly amazing amount of muckraking on this issue that shows the calamity in construction, reporting I would highly encourage CounterPunch readers to peruse at their leisure, including ones about whistleblowing regarding corporate pollution and protests by residents willing to go to jail. What I offer here is a mere summary.

Former inspectors allege safety issues with Spectra pipeline project

By Steve Ahlquist - RI Future, November 30, 2015

Two safety inspectors who worked on Spectra Energy’s proposed methane gas pipeline that will cut through Burrillville, RI, say the company cut corners when it came to project, worker and environmental safety.

“Right now, what they’re hoping to do, is they’re hoping to slam all this through, and then at the end ask for forgiveness,” said one of the former inspectors. “Oops, sorry about that, I didn’t know, let me write you a check. Because once this thing’s turning meter, they’re going to be making millions of dollars a day. It doesn’t matter what your problems are…”

The other added, “We were told to shut the fuck up or quit.”

Both men, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, were subcontracted by Spectra and both were terminated from the project this summer. I was introduced to them through FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas), an environmental group that opposes the project, and have spent time talking with both men by phone as well as reviewing audio interviews and emails provided by FANG.

“Like every other company, Spectra gives a tremendous presentation about their commitment to safety, but their actions lack any kind of resolve. No one ever says, ‘Safety’s #2 here,’” said the first inspector. “At every turn when I made a safety suggestion, I was met with monumental resistance from the company on every level.”

Perhaps suspecting their days are numbered, fossil fuel companies are rushing to build the infrastructure required to keep us dependent on methane or “natural” gas for the next 50 years or more, even as evidence mounts that methane is a major contributor to climate change. This gives lie to the claim that methane will serve as a bridge fuel, something to ease the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources, as the infrastructure investments being made are long term and permanent. Companies are investing billions laying pipelines, building compressor stations, and constructing energy plants and other infrastructure ahead of industry-wide extinction.

In their rush to build, safety and environmental concerns are being brushed aside, suspect many experts. A recent “Pipeline Safety Trust analysis of federal data,” shows that, “new pipelines are failing at a rate on par with gas transmission lines installed before the 1940s.”  Sarah Smith writes that Carl Weimer, director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, told attendees at a National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives annual meeting in Tempe, AZ that, “The new pipelines are failing even worse than the oldest pipelines.”

Pipeline Incidents

Though some of the problems may be related to workers learning how to implement the latest technologies, Weimar says, “there’s also some suggestions that we’re trying to put so many new miles of pipeline in the ground so fast that people aren’t doing construction … the way they ought to.”

In the same piece Smith quotes Robert Hall, of the National Transportation Safety Board Office of Railroad, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations, who agreed that, “the rapid construction of pipelines in the U.S. is likely a contributing factor to ‘people … out there possibly taking shortcuts or not being as diligent’ as they would be if the pace of construction were less fervent.”

Coming forward to confirm these observations are two former Spectra contractors I’m calling Inspector One and Inspector Two. Both wish to remain anonymous for this piece for personal and professional reasons, though they know that their former bosses may be able to identify them.

Tim Norgren: Letter to Labor

By Tim Norgren - Special to IWW Enviornmental Unionism Caucus, October 16, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Fellow workers:  

In considering extreme-method fuel extraction and export: the danger of spills, water contamination, explosions, wild fires, the devastation of  fishing, farming, tourism, and manufacturing economies, and climate crises are troublingly relevant. Similarly the claims by project supporters that fuel passing through these terminals is for domestic use, or to “end our dependence on foreign oil”  is a disturbingly hollow lie; while it may yet be refined in America, the product is primarily bound for overseas markets.

Yet what most drives me to comment now is how the industry and even some of our own leadership continue to divide and manipulate the populace with mantras of “good jobs vs. the environment”. That supposed opposition is a fabrication. In fact “profits for the wealthy vs. the environment, public safety, AND workers” is far more accurate.

I began my construction union career building wind turbines. We also build and maintain solar farms, hydro dams, and public transportation networks. For a while we joined the Blue-Green Alliance, and even trained workers in weatherization of homes and buildings, a new business for us.

One potentially huge line of work is to build manufacturing design and production centers for consumer goods and technology. Intel’s recent expansion, for example, is now in its fourth year of renewed construction and has provided a multitude of jobs at any given time. As technology excels into the realm of sustainability there become many more opportunities in these “new” areas (energy storage, retrofits, production centers, etc.) for projects that will benefit all of us.  And of course electric cars can tear up roads and bridges like any other, so highway work remains a steady bet. This is all happening while dwindling supplies (leading to extreme extraction methods), popular resistance, and divestment leave the fossil industry with a dim future.

Yet recently our leaders decided to scrap new opportunities to pursue fossil export projects instead. In doing so we find ourselves aligning with such dubious entities as the Koch brothers, and the American Legislative Exchange Council. These powerful advocates for dirty fuels, fracking, climate denial, and OPPOSITION to renewable energy projects we work on are also the forces behind virulent attacks on unions such as “right to work” bills, and attempts to lower the minimum wage (www.alecexposed.org)

If this “jobs vs. the environment” rhetoric succeeds in dividing us, then we'll indeed have a few new projects, though they rarely stand up to their hype. Pipelines, for example, are divided into sections so as to be finished quickly, providing only 4-6 months of employment to a given set of local workers, while out-of-towners dominate about half of the work (as taught in the recent class for Laborer’s stewards preparing for the “Pacific Connector” proposal, should it go through). But when those jobs are over, the fuels will continue to be fracked and extracted, with taxpayer-funded subsidies and predominantly nonunion miners and roughnecks, often destroying indigenous and municipal water supplies, and run through our neighborhoods and forests in oft-leaky pipelines,  uncovered train cars and explosive tankers, further profiting the enemies of labor as they're shipped overseas to provide cheap fuel for death-trap factories where subsistence workers slave at jobs outsourced from safe, emission-regulated, living-wage employment in America and elsewhere!

Indeed as Industrial and other jobs are replaced with government-subsidized resource extraction, export, and privatization schemes, across the board from fossil fuels and lumber to such basic staples as water, education, the post office, and social services, we see in our mirror a third-world nation.

We can and must overcome that, and lead the way to a sustainable infrastructure and a sustainable economy. We need to offer a more solid resistance, to reign in globalization efforts like the TPP, which undermine our manufacturing base and the construction and maintenance that goes with it, and which allow companies to circumvent the rights and protections which the labor movement has sacrificed sweat, blood and LIVES to attain and defend for all of us. And we need to recognize these raw-material extraction-for-export and privatization projects as a symptom of that globalization. If we fight for these new jobs and to keep the industry of sustainability local, WE WILL GET THEM! Many want us to succeed and will back us up, including non-construction unions, railroaders, and many other activists.

Pipelines or Rail for Fossil Fuels are False Choices

By Dory Hippauf - No Fracking Way, March 11, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The so called “train bombs” are gaining public attention, mainly due to the media reporting. We have to keep in mind the first rule of reporting news – If it bleeds, it leads.

A train derailment with a spectacular fireball is more “entertaining” than a pipeline leak.

Transport of fossil fuels by rail is more expensive than transport via pipeline. Due to the cost considerations of rail or pipelines it is obvious the industry would prefer to use a pipeline.

The frequency of news reporting around rail accidents involving fossil fuels has put the public in “scare mode” with every train being looked at as a potential disaster. This works to the industry’s benefit in proposing more and more pipelines.

Who Regulates?

Pipelines and Rail transport are regulated by two sub-administrations under the US Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulates pipelines, with the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) charged with carrying out “a national program to ensure the safe, reliable, and environmentally-sound operation of the Nation’s pipeline transportation system.”

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