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New Miner Safety Initiative from MSHA

Environmental Justice Equity Principles for Green Hydrogen in California

By various - California Environmental Justice Alliance, October 13, 2023

We represent heavily polluted communities throughout the State of California. Our communities border oil refineries, gas-fired power plants, industrial farming operations, fossil fuel extraction facilities, waste processing centers, ports, transportation corridors and other polluting operations. These cumulative sources of pollution cause a wide range of adverse health outcomes in working class communities of color. Our communities share a common fence with facilities and operations that emit toxins, foul smells, and noise and cause nuisance impacting people’s quality of life at all hours of the day and night.

The State of California intends to expand the use of hydrogen as a fuel, and to this end, we offer these guiding principles, which are essential to respect and protect our communities.

The following principles represent our collective values and positions to support communities as hydrogen energy is utilized across the state.

These principles were developed in 10 workshops and learning sessions for environmental justice partners across California between March and September of 2023. The learning sessions examined the current science, including risks, benefits, and unknowns, and shed light on each stage of the hydrogen cycle, including production, delivery, storage, and use. The workshops allowed our organizations to discuss different perspectives, build consensus, and reflect on how hydrogen may impact our communities. 

We adamantly oppose all non-green hydrogen proposals and projects. We insist that new projects protect communities first and do not perpetuate the injustices that polluting infrastructures impose on fence-line communities today. Each stage of the hydrogen life cycle—production, delivery, storage, and end use—can present unique risks and harms to environmental justice communities and to all Californians.

Discussions about building new green hydrogen infrastructure must involve the community, and its members should be meaningfully engaged. Siting green hydrogen infrastructure should also take into account the cumulative impacts of environmental justice communities and the risks associated with hydrogen.

Renewable Energy is (Mostly) Green and Not Inherently Capitalist, Volume 1: Wind Power

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Eco Union Caucus, October 1, 2023

Is renewable energy actually green? Are wind, solar, and storage infrastructure projects a climate and/or envi­ronmental solution or are they just feel-good, greenwashing, false "solutions" that either perpetuate the deep­ening climate and environmental crisis or just represent further extractivism by the capitalist class and the privileged Global North at the expense of front-line communities and the Global South? 

This document argues that, while there is no guarantee that renewable energy projects will ultimately be truly "green", there is nothing inherent in the technology itself that precludes them from being so. Ultimately the "green"-ness of the project depends on the level of rank-and-file, democratic, front-line community and working-class grassroots power with the orga­nized leverage to counter the forces that would use renewable energy to perpetuate the capitalist, colonialist, extractivist system that created the cli­mate and environmental crisis in which we find ourselves.

In‌ order to do that, we mustn't fall prey to the misconceptions and inaccuracies that paint renewable energy infrastructure projects as inherently anti-green. This series attempts to do just that. This first Volume, on utility scale wind power addresses several arguments made against it, including (but not limited to) the following misconceptions:

  • Humanity must abandon electricity completely;
  • Degrowth is the only solution;
  • New wind developments only expand overall consumption;
  • Wind power is unreliable and intermittent;
  • Wind power is just another form of "green" capitalism;
  • The extraction of resources necessary to build wind power negates any of their alleged green benefits;
  • Wind power is an extinction-level event threat to birds, bats, whales, and other wildlife (and possibly humans);
  • Only locally distributed renewable energy arrayed in microgrids should be built without any--even a small percentage--of utility scale wind developments;
  • Only nationalized and/or state-owned utility scale renewable energy developments should be built;
  • No wind power developments will be green unless we first organize a socialist revolution, because eve­rything else represents misplaced faith in capitalist market forces.

In fact, none of the above arguments are automatically true (and the majority are almost completely untrue). However, they're often repeated, sometimes ignorantly, but not too infrequently in bad faith. This document is offered as an inoculation and antidote to these misconceptions and misinformation.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Solidarity Can End Toxic Gold Mining in the Sperrins

By staff - IWW Union Ireland, September 10, 2023

The Industrial Workers of the World took part in an Environmental Delegation to the Greencastle People’s Office (GPO) in the Sperrin Mountains, Co. Tyrone, the epicentre of a mammoth ‘David and Goliath’ fight between a multinational gold mining company and the people of a small rural community in the North West of Ireland.

Members of the IWW representing the Ireland branch, the Environmental Committees and Earth Strike where welcomed into the heart of the community as part of a fact finding delegation. Representatives engaged in a lengthy questions and answers sessions before a tour of the area, noted for its outstanding natural beauty which is still under threat from Dalradians potential toxic gold mining industry.

A spokesperson for the IWW Environmental Committees spoke following the visit stating: “Firstly on behalf of everyone who traveled to Greencastle as part of this group visit, I would like to thank them for traveling to the Sperrins to try and learn more about the desperate situation directly affecting the people of Greencastle and the population of the wider North West. The multinational corporation, Dalradian, has plans to effectively decimate the landscape surrounding us with a toxic gold mining plant. The people of Greencastle has shown great resolve in facing down increasing attacks and intimidation over the last number of years. Their bravery is an example to us all and the people of this beautiful area for preventing anyone to pollute and destroy all for the sake of greed and profit.

The New (Renewable) Energy Tyranny

By Al Weinrub - Non Profit Quarterly, July 13, 2023

There are two very different (and antagonistic) renewable energy models: the utility-centered, centralized energy model—the existing dominant one—and the community-centered, decentralized energy model—what energy justice advocates have been pushing for. Although both models utilize the same technologies (solar generation, energy storage, and so on), they have very different physical characteristics (remote versus local energy resources, transmission lines or not). But the key difference is that they represent very different socioeconomic energy development models and very different impacts on our communities and living ecosystems.

Let me start by recounting some recent history in California—the state often regarded as a leader in the clean energy transition.

In recent years, California’s energy system has failed the state’s communities in almost too many ways to count: utility-caused wildfires, utility power shutoffs, and skyrocketing utility bills, for starters. Currently, state energy institutions are advancing an all-out effort to suppress local community ownership and control of energy resources—the decentralized energy model.

Instead, they are promoting and enforcing an outmoded, top-down, utility-centered, extractive, and unjust energy regime—the centralized energy model—which effectively eliminates local energy decision-making and local energy resource development. This model forces communities to pay the enormous costs of unneeded transmission line construction and bear the massive burden of transmission line failures.

Using the power of the state to enforce the centralized energy model is at the heart of California’s new renewable energy tyranny. And this tyranny has now spread to the federal level, as substantial public investment is now set to go toward large-scale renewable energy projects across the country. These projects will be controlled by and benefit an increasingly powerful renewable energy oligarchy. Being touted as a solution to what is popularly regarded as the “climate emergency,” this centralized energy model has actually failed to meet our communities’ energy needs, and at the same time has exacerbated systemic energy injustice.

A Turning Point: The Critical Raw Material Act’s needs for a Social and Just Green Transition

By staff - European Environmental Bureau, July 10, 2023

The 21st century demands global efforts that provide solutions to multiple social and environmental crises that negatively impact economies. Many solutions are available to us, and demand a political will to advance on some existing tools (such as product ecodesign legislation or product bans), and a political discourse to develop new tools (such as energy production limits) that will all potentially result in societal transformation that brings humanity comfortably back within planetary boundaries in an equitable way.

Most of the converging social and environmental crises we are facing are a result of the over-consumption of resources due to unsustainable production and consumption patterns in increasingly unequal societies regardless of the level of development of any given country.

This Position Paper (download file here) delves into the main issues that arise within this context in regard to the Critical Raw Materials Act, and has been written by a multitude of civil society organisations.

The version in other languages:

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

UNDROP Alive and Kicking: Zainal Arafin Fuad - SPI - Indonesia

UNDROP Alive and Kicking: Ramona Dominiciou - Ecoruralis - Romania

UNDROP Alive and Kicking: Jessie MacInnis – NFU – Canada

UNDROP Alive and Kicking: David Otieno - Kenyan Peasants League - Kenya

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