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Carbon Bubble News #116

Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, August 10, 2016

A supplement to Eco Unionist News:

Lead Stories:

Other Carbon Bubble News:

Utility Death Spiral News:

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Going to Extremes: The Anti-Government Extremism Behind the Growing Movement to Seize America’s Public Lands

By staff - Center for Western Priorities, July 7, 2016

The 2016 armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon provided the American public with a ringside seat to a disturbing trend on U.S. public lands: extremist and militia groups using America’s national forests, parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges to advance their anti-government beliefs.

But these far right-wing organizations are not operating in a vacuum. To the contrary, the armed insurrection in Oregon and Nevada before—led by Ammon Bundy and the Bundy family—share the same foundations as land transfer schemes promoted by some elected leaders in states throughout the West. Both rely upon a philosophy based in vehement anti-government ideologies, both have connections to organizations that espouse armed resistance, both employ pseudo-legal theories to justify their actions, and both use scholarly support from conspiracy theorists and discredited academics.

Our nation’s parks and network of public lands are one of our finest democratic achievements. Americans see management of public lands as one of the things our government does best. But over the last four years, politicians and special interest groups in 11 Western states and in Congress have tried to seize many of these places and turn them over to state and private control.

The elected officials supporting state seizure of U.S. public lands couch their arguments carefully, but our research shows their close associations to extreme individuals, groups, and ideology characterized by antigovernment paranoia and a pseudo-legal approach to the Constitution.

Since the beginning of 2015, 54 land seizure bills have been introduced into Western states, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. At least 22 state legislators with direct connections to anti-government ideologies or extremist groups were the primary sponsors on 29 of those bills.

Sitting at the hub of the movement and functioning as the bridge between extremism and the mainstream political debate are Utah Rep. Ken Ivory, Montana Sen. Jennifer Fielder, and their non-profit, the American Lands Council. A close analysis of Rep. Ivory and Sen. Fielder’s activities, and those of other active land seizure proponents at the state level, shows how these efforts are a functional part of an aggressive anti-government movement that will grow more potent if reasonable Americans don’t take action.

Read the report (PDF).

Well, If You Ask Me: The Sun's Going Down in Nevada

By Dano T. Bob - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, January 30, 2016

Boy, the state government and utility commission of Nevada sure know how to kill some jobs! In the most recent installment of the corporate fossil fuel utility attack on renewable energy, Nevada just pulled the plug on viable Net Metering for solar energy, thus all but killing the nascent solar industry there.

Here’s the word from GreenTech Media on the decision from December:

“The Nevada Public Utility Commission voted unanimously in favor of a new solar tariff structure on Tuesday that industry groups say will destroy the Nevada solar market, one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.

The decision increases the fixed service charge for net-metered solar customers, and gradually lowers compensation for net excess solar generation from the retail rate to the wholesale rate for electricity, over the next four years. The changes will take effect on January 1 and will apply retroactively to all net-metered solar customers.

The broad application of the policy sets a precedent for future net-metering and rate-design debates. To date, no other state considering net-metering reforms has proposed to implement changes on pre-existing customers that would take effect right away. Changes are typically grandfathered in over a decade or more.

“While the people of Nevada have consistently chosen solar, the state government today decided to take that choice from them, and damage the state’s economy,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive.

In July, NV Energy proposed reducing the net-metering credit by roughly half — to 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour from the current 11.6 cents — to better reflect the cost of serving solar customers. The plan would have established a three-part structure made up of a monthly basic service charge, a demand charge and an energy charge.

According to The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), NV Energy’s proposed rate would amount to a $40 monthly fee for most solar customers, who typically save $11 to $15 per month on their electricity bills, thereby eliminating all savings.”

As a radical, I can’t say I love SolarCity particularly. As Elon Musk’s cousins venture into the solar economy, it is a leasing based model instead of ownership, with lots of the benefits going to the company with a lesser upfront cost to customers for installation.

But, “green” jobs are “green” jobs and the solar market in sunny Nevada was booming! Whatever the faults of Solar City’s capitalist owners, it’s the solar workers who’re suffering at the hands of this policy change.

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