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Jerry Brown: The Wrong Stuff

By Steve Ongerth - Originally published at Counterpunch, October 17, 2013

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.

On Thursday, October 17, 2013, the Blue Green Alliance will award Governor Jerry Brown a “Right Stuff” Award for “catalyzing the clean energy economy”.

The Blue Green Alliance is a coalition of AFL-CIO labor unions and environmental organizations. I am a union worker—a San Francisco ferryboat deckhand –and an environmentalist. You would think I would be supportive of this event. However, I am not.

A member of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) since 1995, I and two Earth First!ers sparked what became the Blue Green Alliance in the fall of 1998. We envisioned a coalition of environmentalists fighting to save Headwaters Forest in Humboldt County and steelworkers on strike at Kaiser Aluminum in Washington, Louisiana, and Ohio.

An oddball idea? Not really. The Headwaters Forest was in danger of being mowed down by Maxxam Corporation, a Houston corporate raider, to pay for the debt with which it saddled Pacific Lumber in its takeover. Three years later, Maxxam acquired Kaiser Aluminum in a similar fashion.

At first the alliance continued that spirit. Earth First! activists marched on steelworkers’ picket lines. Steelworkers encouraged nonunion Pacific Lumber workers to organize for better working conditions. The combined forces agreed that an “injury to one is an injury to all”, and “no compromise in defense of Mother Earth!” These efforts spawned the “Teamsters and Turtles” protest at the 1999 WTO meetings.

The Blue Green Alliance, while well meaning, has made far too many compromises to corporations. I support renewable energy, but it must be produced sustainably and deployed in harmony with the environment. Workers who manufacture, install and maintain the equipment must work under good and safe working conditions. Giving Jerry Brown an award is proof the Blue Green Alliance has lost its way.

California's Fracking Regulatory Bill: Less Than Zero

By Lauren Steiner - Originally published on Common Dreams, August 7, 2013 (used by permission)

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.

A year after buying his dream home in Los Angeles, Gary Gless started falling down and breaking bones.

Fourteen years and one thousand doctors visits later, his neuromuscular disorder hasn’t been specifically diagnosed. He survives on painkillers and sleep aids.

Gless’s backyard overlooks the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the nation. Within the field, gas companies have been secretly fracking in the middle of this community of 300,000 residents for nine years.

Many of Gless’s neighbors also suffer from neurological, auto-immune and respiratory diseases and several types of cancers. Many have died. Homes and swimming pools are cracking.

None of these people will be helped by passage of the only fracking bill still alive in California’s legislature: Senate Bill 4. That’s because the regulations in SB 4 do nothing to actually make fracking safer.

Instead, the flawed bill sets up a process for notification, disclosure, monitoring and permitting and simply calls for future regulations by other agencies anda scientific study.

Telling someone when you're going to frack, where you're going to frack and what chemicals you will use, is like a murderer telling you he's going to shoot you on your front porch at noon tomorrow using an AK-47.

At the end of the day, you're still dead.

Brown is not Green (and he's no Friend of the Workers Either!)

by x344543, x356039, and x363464 - October 3, 2013

The IWW Environmental Unionist Caucus recently learned that California Governor Jerry Brown will be appearing at an event in San Francisco at 55 Cyril Magnin Street (near Union Square) at 530 PM on Thursday, October 17.

At this event, Jerry Brown will be receiving an award from the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance for "environmental stewardship".

However, Brown is a green washer and a union buster!

In the past few months, Brown has:

  • Signed SB 4 which allows fracking in California;
  • Pushed for the so-called "Peripheral Tunnels" in the Central Valley Delta, a project opposed by environmentalists;
  • (At the behest of corporate developers) Pushed to water down CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act!

He also issued a 60 day cooling off period during the recent BART strike thereby aiding the BART bosses in their ongoing campaign of vicious union busting - detailed at transportworkers.org.

Several environmental groups are protesting this sham award in protest of Brown's green washing. We call for workers to join this protest in opposition to Brown's aiding of union busting!

All out on October 17!

Brown isn't "Blue" or "Green" and he's not the workers' friend!

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Endorsed By:

Bay Area IWW

To add your name or organization as an endorser, contact is at euc@iww.org

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How to Deflate the Carbon Bubble

By Truls Gulowsen - Originally published at OpenDemocracy.net, September 29, 2013

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.

Last Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change went public with their Fifth Assessment report in Stockholm. The report supplied us with more reasons to dread the coming effects of global warming, and even more reasons to urge politicians to act.

One of the key new features in the IPCC report is the global accumulative “carbon budget”. The IPCC confirms earlier findings that there is an allowence for less than 1000 gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere for the rest of the century, if we are to avoid dangerous climate change above two degrees warming. This is less than a third of proven fossil reserves, and will be consumed in less than 30 years at current emission levels.

In neighbouring Norway, often described as a “world-leader in the combat against climate change”, a population of just over 5 million reap the profits in being the world's second largest gas exporter and the sixth largest oil exporter. The investments in the sector are growing year by year.


Along with the rest of the world, we are debating how to manage a limited resource and how to achieve the necessary emission cuts to avoid disastrous global warming. 



Along with the rest of the world, we live in a carbon bubble, in which, despite increasingly urgent warnings from scientists and environmentalists, we keep pumping up fossil fuels at record speed, pushing greener industry aside as we do so. In Norway the fossil fuels industry is by far the country's largest, and our reliance on this industry is not just a threat to the green industry, but to our entire economy, as has lately been pointed out by various individuals and organizations, including the IMF.


Our goal is not to get rid of the oil industry tomorrow. Nor is it to set a date for when the last oil worker will be out of a job. On the contrary, we want to keep the industry going for generations, but at a significantly lower level than we see today. To achieve this in a way that does not lead to mass unemployment (an estimated 250,000 people - or one in twenty Norwegians - are involved in the fossil fuel industry) we need a plan that combines both environmental policy and the oil workers' interests. That was the starting point when labour unions and environmental NGOs sat down to draft a plan on how we might realistically deflate Norway's inflated oil industry in a way that also retains the interests of the industry's employees.

The Department of (Dirty) Energy

By Burkely Hermann - Originally published at whiterosereader.org, August 14, 2013; reposted by permission of the author.

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.

Yesterday I was walking around Washington, DC with my friend from Chicago and my dad. We walked past a number of government buildings like the USDA (US Department of *Agribusiness*) and the Department of Education on the way to the Air and Space Museum. One of biggest government buildings was the Department of Energy. There was a flag emblazoned with the symbol of the department which has a lightening bolt going through the middle of it and a number of exhibits inside the building. To my companions, in brief I told them about the article I was writing, and how Jimmy Carter created the cabinet-level executive department in 1977. That article is the one that continues on for the next ten paragraphs and is a detailed critique and analysis of how the powerful and influential “energy lobby” corrupts the Energy Department from the inside out.

I first looked at who leads the department itself. The current Energy Secretary, a fracking-lover and nuclear power-lover, Ernest Moniz is one of the many “corrupted” officials of the Obama administration. This is nothing new because over half of the secretaries since the beginning of the department were either corporate-friendly or part of the military-industrial-complex. Only one person didn’t follow this pattern as he was a GOP Governor in South Carolina. On top of this, the sitting Deputy Energy Secretary, Daniel Poneman, “served as a principal of The Scowcroft Group for eight years, providing strategic advice to corporations on a wide variety of international projects and transactions,” before he took his current political office. Additionally the Secretary of Energy’s thirteen member Advisory board is corrupted in a sense. Ten of the members are corporate-friendly, with the rest either connected to universities or the scientific community. This group, while not forming policy, has seemingly profound influence on the Energy Secretary.

We're Getting Tanked: New EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Loosens Frack Tank Rules

By x362102 - Originally posted at We Are Power Shift, August 6, 2013.

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.

In 2012, the Obama's EPA Air Division under newly installed EPA Adminstrator Gina McCarthy issued new rules for emissions from natural gas production, specifically, the wastewater and condensate tanks present on the well pads after hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" has taken place. The new restrictions required gas companies to reduce the amount of harmful Volatile Organic Compounds and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene up to 95 percent.

The deadline to do so was October 15, 2013, but not anymore.

Condensate tanks in shale gas operations collect liquids that come up from a fracked well and are separated using a glycol separator onsite before the gas is sent into transmission pipelines. Those liquids form a toxic brine that is trucked to EPA-permitted Class 2 injection wells, waste "treatment" facilities, or "recycled" for the next fracking operation by removing the solids which are sent to landfills as "frack cake".

Many of these condensate tanks are present in rural people's yards, where their children play, and the technology to control the tanks' emissions has been available for years, but has not been put into use largely because the oil and gas industry would rather avoid the cost and generate extra revenue for their shareholders.

Today, Gina McCarthy, who has also extended the deadline for gas well flaring until 2015, supported massive subsidies for natural gas vehicles, and proposed sub-par CO2 emission standards for natural gas power plants, gave another hand out to her friends in the trillion dollar oil and gas industry. The EPA says it's because they claimed hardship during the public comment period for these new frack tank rules.

The EPA is now allowing operators to wait until as late as April 15, 2015 to comply, an 18 month extenstion.

Don't "Stand With Gina" on Natural Gas

By x362102 - Originally posted at We Are Power Shift, July 25, 2013.

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.

I drafted this open letter to SaveOurEnvironment.org's board and staff because they are the predominant source of social media praising new EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. From their website, their coalition partners include: American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters – Education Fund, National Audubon Society, Pew Environment Group, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, The Ocean Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Union of Concerned Scientists, and World Wildlife Fund.

Letters like these, expressing environmental justice concerns to Big Green organizations, should never have to be written. When conference room decisions are being made to endorse candidates, policies, and plans of action in their Washington, New York, or San Francisco headquarters, attention should be paid to the consequences for frontline communities, especially those of us in the shalefields. Enough has been said and written about how our communities' concerns have been ignored or sacrificed by these national environmental groups in the past. It's time that those words materialize into action, and that should start with their approach to Gina McCarthy and the Obama administration's dead end climate plan that emphasizes dirty energies as false solutions.

The Devil's Triangle: How Big Green, Mainstream Labor and the Democratic Party Derail the Struggle to Stop Fracking

By John Reimann - June 11, 2013

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.

Fracking kills.

It kills by poisoning the earth, the water and the air.

It kills by destroying wilderness and open space areas.

It kills by destroying our quality of life.

It kills by releasing methane – a potent greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere.

It kills by diverting investment and resources away from developing renewable energy sources, thus enormously exacerbating global climate disruption/global warming.

And the entire gamut of Corporate America-–from the oil and gas industry to the major financiers-–is lined up to continue to rape, plunder and pillage the environment using this disastrous practice. Covering for them, major environmental NGO's and supposedly environmentally conscious politicians, as well as the mainstream union leaders are pretending that it can be made acceptable if properly regulated.

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