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EcoUnionist News #22

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 14, 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 following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Story:

IWW Campaigns:

Carbon Bubble:

Other News of Interest:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

EcoUnionist News #20

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 12, 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 following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Story:

IWW Campaigns:

Carbon Bubble:

Other News of Interest:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

Bay Area IWW Endorses "The Future of Railroads: Safety, Workers, Community & the Environment" Conference

Passed unanimously at the Bay Area IWW General Membership Branch meeting, Thursday, January 8, 2015

Whereas, there has been growing opposition to the transportation of volatile heavy and dirty crude by rail transport in recent months, and

Whereas, in 2013 there were more derailments of crude-by-rail trains than in the previous four decades combines, the most dramatic but not the last of which occurred in Lac Magantic, Quebec, and

Whereas, these derailments have resulted in destruction and death to residents of these communities, loss of life and limb to the railroad workers involved in the transport of these volatile cargoes, but little or no penalty to the profiteering employers responsible for the transport of such cargoes, and

Whereas, the opposition to such transport stems from the inherent danger to the affected communities as well as the environment--due to the destructive extraction process of the source material, the enabling of further extreme carbon fuel production and consumption, the destruction of wilderness environments, the pollution of the air and water, and the destruction of mostly indigenous lands from which the crude is extracted--and

Whereas, railroad workers are often blamed for these accidents through employer created "blame the worker" so-called "safety" cultures, and

Whereas, the actual safety hazards are the result of capitalist corner cutting, including--but not limited to--the reduction in railroad crew sizes, the deployment of overly long and heavy trains, the lack of safety monitoring equipment, and the use of unsafe tank cars, and

Whereas, railroads also carry a variety of other, equally volatile cargoes under no less unsafe conditions, but such cargoes are not scrutinized to the same extent as crude-by-rail by many environmental organizations, and

Whereas, the railroad workers and environmental organizers share a common adversary in the capitalist class who've created these conditions, and

Whereas, Railroad Workers United and the Backbone Campaign have committed to jointly sponsor a series of conferences, beginning on the Weekend of March 14-15 in Richmond, California and March 21-22 in Seattle, Washington to be entitled, “The Future of Rail: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment”, and

Whereas, leaders in these efforts from Railroad Workers United include dues paying members of the IWW, including a member of the Bay Area IWW General Membership Branch who is also one of the cofounders of the IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, and

Whereas, a post capitalist, ecologically sustainable society would involve increased use of transport by rail for both passengers and cargo (though not for climate destroying fossil fuels), therefore

Be it Resolved that, the Bay Area General Membership Branch of the IWW endorses "the Future of Rail: Safety, Workers, Community and the Environment" conferences organized by Railroad Workers United, the Backbone Campaign, et. al, and

Be it Finally Resolved that, the Bay Area General Membership Branch of the IWW further encourages all other IWW branches and the IWW General Executive Branch to likewise endorse the aforementioned efforts.

EcoUnionist News #19

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 7, 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 following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Story:

Carbon Bubble:

Other News of Interest:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

EcoUnionist News #15

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 30, 2014

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 following news items feature issues, discussions, campaigns, or information potentially relevant to green unionists:

Lead Stories:

Other News of Interest:

For more green news, please visit our news feeds section on ecology.iww.org; Twitter #IWWEUC

Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline Approved Grab Land, Cut through Southern Oregon

Staff Report - Earth First! Newswire, November 17, 2014

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 State of Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has confirmed Douglas County’s decision to allow the Williams Company to construct the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline through the Umpqua Valley.

The pipeline running from Klamath Falls to Coos Bay, Oregon, would cross the Fremont-Winema National Forest, which contains 549,800 acres of old-growth forest (more than half of its territory), and is home to the threatened bull trout along with some 300 other species of wildlife.

The pipeline would also cut through the Umpqua Valley, Rogue River, and the Upper Klamath Lake drainage—400 bodies of water in total.

This placement is especially controversial for those who remember the Bellingham disaster of 1999, when the Olympic natural gas pipeline exploded, setting Whatcom Creek on fire and killing three.

Just this April, 1,000 workers and residents of Plymouth, Washington, were evacuated after an explosion at a gas storage facility injured four. A matter of days after the explosion in Plymouth, 200 people protested the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline at Shady Grove, which is poised to seize the land of 300 people through immanent domain.

Opponents have also pointed out, for instance at a protest in Medfort in 2011, that free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership will facilitate further landgrabs for infrastructure.

The Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline also cite the fact that it will be transporting gas from fracked wells in Idaho, exploiting people’s land for corporate profits, and making it even less popular of a move for the embattled greenwasher Governor John Kitzhaber.

This pipeline would comprise only one of several efforts to run fossil fuel infrastructure through Oregon under Kitzhaber’s watch, including incendiary oil trains, polluting coal trains, and tar sands megaloads.

While he was given a chance to speak during the Peoples Climate March in Portland, activists with Rising Tide unfurled a banner over a bridge behind him stating “Coal, Oil, Gas, None Shall Pass!” and demonstrators disrupted his performance with the same chant.

'I told them in no uncertain terms to go f**k themselves because what they were doing was blatantly unsafe and illegal'

By Mark Calzavara - Rabble.Ca, November 17, 2014

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 told them in no uncertain terms to go f**k themselves because what they were doing was blatantly unsafe and illegal"

- Excerpt from TransCanada whistleblower Evan Vokes' eye-opening speech at our annual conference in Hamilton. (Watch the video of his speech below.)

TransCanada has had five ruptures over the past year -- far more than any other pipeline company according to National Energy Board statistics.

The five ruptures occurred on both recently-built pipelines and pipelines that are up to 40 years old, which raises serious questions about TransCanada’s ability to safely build and maintain pipelines.

While America Spars Over Keystone XL, A Vast Network Of Pipelines Is Quietly Being Approved

By Katie Valentine and images by Andrew Briener - Think Progress, March 24, 2014

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.

After countless marches, arrests, Congressional votes, and editorials, the five-and-a-half year battle over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is nearing its end. If a recent ruling in Nebraska doesn’t delay the decision further, America could find out as soon as this spring whether or not the pipeline, which has become a focal point in America’s environmental movement, will be built.

But while critics and proponents of Keystone XL have sparred over the last few years, numerous pipelines — many of them slated to carry the same Canadian tar sands crude as Keystone — have been proposed, permitted, and even seen construction begin in the U.S. and Canada. Some rival Keystone XL in size and capacity; others, when linked up with existing and planned pipelines, would carry more oil than the 1,179-mile pipeline.

With the public eye turned on Keystone, some of these pipelines have faced little opposition. But it’s not just new pipelines that worry Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. Weimer said companies are beginning to revamp old pipelines by expanding their capacity or reversing their flow, changes that can be troubling if proper safety measures aren’t put in place.

CEO of TransCanada Concedes just 50 permanent jobs from Keystone XL Pipeline

By Mugsy - Daily Kos, November 17, 2014

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.

Seeming overlooked during yesterday's (11/16/14) interview on ABC's "ThisWeek", Russ Girling, current CEO of "TransCanada"... the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline... conceded a claim by Reuters last year that, once constructed, the Keystone XL would produce as few as "FIFTY permanent jobs." But, he went on to argue, that the number did not take into account the nearly "9,000 temporary construction jobs" or the estimated "42,000 'indirect' jobs (from new businesses along the construction route)."

Seriously? These are the “jobs, jobs, jobs” Republicans have been promising? The very thought that this country may risk certain environmental disaster to create fewer jobs over TWO years than it needs every TWO weeks just to keep up with population growth, is unfathomable. Tell me we’re not being ruled by people THAT dumb!

While 350.org Wins, Houston Continues To Be Sacrificed

By Perry Graham - Free Press Houston, November 14, 2014

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.

“Today is an achievement,” announced 350.org founder Bill McKibben in an email Wednesday, refering to an agreement reached this week between the U.S. and China on reducing carbon emissions. McKibben took the opportunity to congratulate himself, his organization, and the participants of the march they organized seven weeks ago. He might as well have posed in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

This agreement likely has little to do with anything 350.org has done. It comes amidst intense jockeying by the two governments in promoting their different proposals for a Pacific-area free trade agreement, as well as a relaxation of tariffs between the two countries. Increasing the number of goods that are shipped halfway around the world before consumption is antithetical to reducing carbon emissions, and free trade agreements are notorious for limiting a country’s capacity to enforce environmental regulations. Taking a look at their track record, the last time 350.org tried to pressure Obama on climate — by showing up at the White House with 40,000 people — Obama spent the weekend golfing with oil executives.

There’s also the disappointing content of the agreement. The U.S. pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025. Five years ago, in the lead up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen, the proposal being discussed called for reductions of 25-45% by 2020, and the scientific predictions of the impacts of climate change have only gotten worse since then. Celebrating the reductions the U.S. has agreed to is major backpedaling on McKibben’s part, who has long been an advocate for reduction targets based on climate science. He also calls the agreement “historic” because it is “the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions.” China has pledged to stop their emissions from growing by 2030; if it actually takes them that long, we’ll likely be locked into runaway climate change (chaos, catastrophe) for the rest of the century.

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