All posts by nsolomyn

President Obama must say no to the tar-sands pipeline

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
This release is online at http://www.gp.org/index.php/green-party-press-releases/details/4/673.html

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805

Green Party urges President Obama, Sec. of State Kerry to reject the tar-sands pipeline

• Greens see danger of approval after the State Dept.’s report and call the pipeline a test for Obama: Will he fight climate change or surrender to Big Oil?

• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on global warming and energy:
http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-GlobalWarming.php
http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-energy.php

WASHINGTON, DC — “President Obama is standing at a crossroads right now. He can say no to the Keystone XL pipeline and prove that his administration is serious about reducing production and consumption of fossil fuels. Or he can satisfy Big Oil and major investors by okaying the pipeline’s conveyance of dirty, dangerous tar-sands crude oil from Canada across the U.S.,” said Darryl! L.C. Moch, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

Green Party leaders called the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, released last week, a troubling sign that the President might approve the pipeline soon.

The Green Party has strongly opposed the pipeline and is urging the Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Dept., as well as other agencies, to reject it. (The State Dept.’s 90-day National Interest Determination is now underway.)

“The goal of domestic ‘energy independence’ is a distraction from the real goal — ending subsidies for fossil fuels and averting a global climate catastrophe in the coming decades,” said Kate Culver, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

“The bipartisan rhetoric of energy dependence proves that Democrats and Republicans are too beholden to corporate contributions and lobbyists’ influence to effectively deal with the climate crisis. This is why we call the Green Party an imperative for the 21st century,” added Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party’s Eco-Action Committee (http://www.gp.org/index.php/ecoaction-committee.html).

Greens said that development of the tar-sands oil fields in Alberta, Canada, was one of several energy-industry projects that must be halted. Others include fracking, mountaintop detonation mining, offshore drilling in U.S. coastal waters, and “clean coal.” The Elk River chemical spill on Jan. 9, which left 300,000 West Virginians without drinkable or usable water, proved “clean coal” to be a public-relations myth. The spilled chemical was a foam used to wash coal and remove polluting impurities.

Recent spills are irrefutable proof that pipeline safety cannot be guaranteed. Recent examples include the July 2011 ExxonMobil pipeline rupture that dumped 63,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Yellowstone River and the March 2013 ExxonMobil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, involving the rupture of a pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil.

Even if it were possible to transport Canadian tar-sand bitumen without catastrophic accidents and spills, extraction and refinement consumes more energy than the bitumen ultimately yields, releasing significantly more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than petroleum.

According to the State Dept. report, “Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States.” The report said that rail transportation would bring the crude oil into the U.S. if the pipeline is delayed or canceled.

Greens said that weak, defective, and outdated railcars also pose a danger, citing the derailment of tank cars carrying crude oil in July, 2013, which caused a explosion that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec.

These dangers and the threat of toxicity have motivated intense Native Nations opposition to the pipeline, which would place the Oglala Aquifer at risk; see “No Keystone XL Pipeline Will Cross Lakota Lands,” a joint statement from Honor the Earth, the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred, Feb. 2, 2014 (http://lastrealindians.com/for-immediate-release-no-keystone-xl-pipeline-will-cross-lakota-lands).

Greens further noted that the Keystone XL (XL for “Export Limited”) pipeline’s destination at major shipping ports in the Gulf of Mexico indicates that the primary purpose of the pipeline is to make Canadian oil available to foreign markets, enriching oil companies. (See “Pipe Dreams?”, Cornell University Global Labor Institute, http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/upload/GLI_KeystoneXL_Reportpdf.pdf)

Green Party leaders pointed to the conflict of interest in the State Dept.’s Environmental Impact Statement: several employees of Environmental Resources Management, the firm contracted to help prepare the statement, have ties to TransCanada, the firm which will construct the pipeline (“State Dept. Hid Contractor’s Ties to Keystone XL Pipeline Company” by Andy Kroll, Mother Jones, March 21, 2013, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/03/keystone-xl-contractor-ties-transcanada-state-department).

The Green Party supports conversion of all U.S. power plants to 100% clean carbon-free, nuclear-free energy instead of proposed EPA rules that initially only affect new plants and rely on the unproven viability of carbon capture and sequestration. Green candidates have advocated the Green New Deal, a detailed plan to jumpstart the economy by creating millions of new jobs in conservation, new technologies, retro-fitting of homes and buildings, expansion of public transportation to reduce car traffic, and other projects to curb the advance of climate change (http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal).

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191
• Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
• News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• Ballot Access Page http://www.gp.org/2012/ballot-access.html
• Video Page http://www.gp.org/video/index.php
• Green Papers http://www.greenpapers.net/
• Discussion Forum https://secure.gpus.org/secure/GreenPartyForum
• Google+ http://www.gp.org/google
• Twitter http://twitter.com/gpus
• Livestream Channel http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus
• GP-TV Twitter page http://www.gp.org/twitter
• Facebook page http://www.gp.org/facebook

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
http://gp.org/greenpages-blog

Green Shadow Cabinet http://greenshadowcabinet.us

Time to Escalate Our Nonviolent Efforts

by Stephanie Van Hook, Director, Conflict Resolution Service, Green Shadow Cabinet

Originally published here on Jan. 30th, as a response to Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address.

“Truth-telling is powerful. People don’t try it often enough.” – Guy Saperstein

The power of nonviolence as the key to strengthen our democracy was noticeable by its absence in Obama’s State of the Union address. Gandhi, we may remember, felt that democracy would never be complete without nonviolence, because, among other things, there would be no protection for those who are weak, or who dissent.

Perhaps, by resigning the movement to silence, the President signaled to us that it’s time to escalate our efforts.

One of the most fundamental questions in nonviolence is whether our means are aligned with our ends. Obama has often noted (rather paternalistically) that while we can agree on the ends, we will disagree on the means, in other words that he can use whatever means suit him – reminiscent of the Bush quip, “I’m the decider.”

He misses the point; The means for anything are more important than the ends.

Read more here.

Sec. Kerry’s National Interest Determination on Keystone XL

We have now entered a new 30-day public comment period, where you can make your voice heard and tell John Kerry to get the facts right about the environmental dangers of Keystone XL and say NO to this dirty pipeline now. 

Here are some key facts to consider including in your comment to Sec. Kerry and the State Dept:

  • Climate action starts at home, and one of the first and clearest actions Sec. Kerry could take would be to recognize that the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline is a climate issue.
  • The evidence is clear that Keystone XL could increase production levels of tar sands oil in Alberta, and therefore significantly add to carbon emissions. The massive investment would lock us into dependence on this dirty fuel for decades, exacerbating carbon pollution just when we have to go quickly and decisively in the other direction.
  • Beyond the effects on our climate, this dangerous pipeline would also put the water supply of millions of Americans at risk, including the precious Ogallala Aquifer, Platte and Niobrara rivers, and hundreds of individual families’ wells. After a year in which many communities were harmed by spills from existing pipelines, we cannot allow any more of the dirtiest, most toxic oil on earth to spill into our lands and waterways.

Click here to use BOLD Nebraska’s easy comment form.

Green Drinks event Jan 22nd in Omaha!

Green Drinks is happy to join the Flatwater Chapter for their annual membership soiree, held this year at Block 16, downtown. They’re a great bunch and I encourage all Green Drinkers (many of whom are already members) to attend. It’s $5 cover for non-members, but any morsel at Block 16 is worth far more.

RSVP requested here. 

As always – please pass the word to others who might be interested in attending these fine events.

OMAHA GREEN DRINKS DATA SHEET:
WHAT:___ The world-famous *** Green Drinks ***
WHEN:___ NEW TIME 4:00 ’til 6+ pm, Wednesday 22nd Jan 2014
RULE: ___ Fourth Wednesday of every odd month (Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Nov)
WHERE:__NEW LOCATION – Block 16, 1611 Farnam Street, (402) 342-1220
HOW:____ Walk, cycle, bus, carpool 🙂
WHO:____ Anyone working on environmental issues (green business, architecture, design, clean energy, natural resources, and more) or studying them
WHY:____ Fun, contacts, alcohol (& non-alcohol), info, gossip, inspiration, business and pleasure
NEW:____ Just go up to someone and say “are you green?”, and you’ll be made welcome.
REMIND:_ We have a send-only email circulation list; to get on it, send an email with subject heading “Green Drinks NE”
PRIVACY: This email list is ONLY for Green Drinks reminders.

STATUS: Informal, self-organizing network. Continued growth and learning at every meeting. Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge with others!!

Net Neutrality – too late to save it?

A federal appeals court just killed critically important government protections against discrimination online; the giant Internet service providers (ISPs) — Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable — now have total control over what information we can access on the web.

It’s a nightmare scenario, and one the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has long seen coming. A self-imposed, Bush-era rule restricting the agency’s ability to regulate broadband foreshadowed the court’s finding this week that ISPs no longer have to treat all web users equally — they can block websites, slow down services, and double- and triple-dip in charging extra fees to restore access.

But we have the power to stop this. By raising our voices together, we can ensure the FCC has the political will to act on its authority to reverse a decade of failed Internet policy — and the courage to stand up to an industry that has pushed it around for too long.

FCC chair Tom Wheeler says he supports a free and open Internet, but actions speak louder than words. Demand the FCC re-regulate broadband and save the Internet now.

The Internet is an essential service we rely on to conduct our most basic daily affairs, from applying for a job to finding a home to running a small business. And our right to communicate freely and be heard lies at the heart of our ability to participate fairly in our democracy.

ColorOfChange has been at the forefront of efforts to protect our ability to communicate freely online since we fought to enshrine rigorous FCC Net Neutrality rules in 2010. Real Net Neutrality ensures ISPs and content companies can’t collude to turn the democratic Internet into corporate-controlled cable TV, full of restrictions, limits on consumer choice, and toll stations designed to maximize their profits at our expense. In the wake of this week’s ruling, Net Neutrality is dead.

Imagine Comcast penalizing subscribers for accessing news sources not owned by its NBC subsidiary. Imagine AT&T shutting off access to T-Mobile’s customer service website. Verizon charging you — and the school you’re attending — extra for you to access classroom resources online. ISPs are now legally permitted, and more financially incentivized than ever before, to engage in precisely these types of predatory behaviors.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The court agreed the FCC has the power, bestowed by Congress, to regulate ISPs’ business practices — if only the agency can rethink its conflicting, overly restrictive internal rules. Chairman Wheeler has clear direction that it’s time to reclassify broadband companies as common carriers, affording the public the same anti-discrimination protections we all enjoy when making a phone call, using electricity, or taking public transportation.

Can you take a moment to make sure Chairman Wheeler gets the message? Join us in urging the FCC to defend our right to communicate by reclassifying broadband now.

Learn about running for office from local environmental group Bold Nebraska

Below is a calendar of upcoming events where you can get involved in the pipeline fight, and join the campaign for New Energy. Click the links for more details and to sign up.

Feb. 1: Omaha & Lincoln: Candidate Training Workshop
(Saturday, Feb. 1, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Ayars & Ayars, Omaha & Lincoln, NE)
Note: The training will be simulcast via live video at both Ayars & Ayars locations.
The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters has organized non-partisan candidate training workshops to introduce you to our public power districts, natural resource districts, and other introductory-level elected offices. Participants will get an understanding of what these offices do, what it means to serve on the board, and the basics you need to know if you are thinking about running for one of them. Bold Nebraska is a co-sponsor of the trainings, along with Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Farmers Union and the Center for Rural Affairs.

Feb. 4: York Pipeline Fighter & New Energy Voter Meetup
(Tues., Feb. 4, 5:00-7:00 p.m., York, NE)
Join us at the York Community Center, for an update on the U.S. State Department’s review of TransCanada’s pipeline permit application, as well as an overview of the state of Nebraska’s public power landscape, and a preview of Bold Nebraska’s plans for a New Energy Voter campaign in 2014.

Feb. 6: Omaha & Lincoln Pipeline Fighter & New Energy Voter Meetup 
(Thurs., Feb. 6, 5:00-7:00 p.m., Ayars & Ayars, Omaha & Lincoln, NE)
Note: The meeting will be simulcast via live video at both Ayars & Ayars locations. 
Join us at either the Ayars & Ayars location in Omaha or Lincoln, for an update on the U.S. State Department’s review of TransCanada’s pipeline permit application, as well as an overview of the state of Nebraska’s public power landscape, and a preview of Bold Nebraska’s plans for a New Energy Voter campaign in 2014.

Feb. 8: O’Neill Candidate Training Workshop
(Sat., Feb. 8, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., The Blarney Stone, O’Neill, NE)
The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters has organized non-partisan candidate training workshops to introduce you to our public power districts, natural resource districts, and other introductory-level elected offices. Participants will get an understanding of what these offices do, what it means to serve on the board, and the basics you need to know if you are thinking about running for one of them. Bold Nebraska is a co-sponsor of the trainings, along with Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Farmers Union and the Center for Rural Affairs.

Feb. 11: O’Neill Pipeline Fighter & New Energy Voter Meetup
(Tues., Feb. 11, 5:00-7:00 p.m., O’Neill, NE)
Join us at the O’Neill Community Center, for an update on the U.S. State Department’s review of TransCanada’s pipeline permit application, as well as an overview of the state of Nebraska’s public power landscape, and a preview of Bold Nebraska’s plans for a New Energy Voter campaign in 2014.

Feb. 15: York Candidate Training Workshop
(Sat., Feb. 15, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Chances ‘R’ Restaurant, York, NE)
The Nebraska League of Conservation Voters has organized non-partisan candidate training workshops to introduce you to our public power districts, natural resource districts, and other introductory-level elected offices. Participants will get an understanding of what these offices do, what it means to serve on the board, and the basics you need to know if you are thinking about running for one of them. Bold Nebraska is a co-sponsor of the trainings, along with Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Nebraska Sierra Club, Nebraska Farmers Union and the Center for Rural Affairs.

NET News Legislative Coverage

Live Legislative Coverage: Each day the legislature is in session, NETNews provides gavel-to-gavel coverage on NET Television’s NET2 World.  NET Radio listeners can hear legislative highlights of each weekday session at 5:30 p.m. CT during “All Things Considered,” as well as at 7:06 a.m. CT during “Morning Edition.” Coverage is also available streaming on the NET website at: http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government

Mobile Access: In 2013, nearly 5.4 million minutes of state government proceedings were streamed from the NET website. Legislative content is now available on mobile devices via the Nebraska Capitol Live Mobile App. The app provides instant access to Unicameral action including discussions, votes and hearing rooms. In addition to the Legislature, video from the Nebraska Supreme Court, Appellate Court, the Governor’s Hearing Room and the Nebraska Department of Education are all available. The Capitol Live App is available for Apple and Android devices at the following links:

The Capitol Live App on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nebraska-capitol-live/id597484363?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Capitol Live App on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.netnebraska.nebraskacapitollive

Other NET Nebraska Mobile Apps: http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/other/mobile-apps

“Capitol Conversations,” is a weekly web interview series hosted by legislative reporter Fred Knapp. The series, consisting of 10-minute interviews are issue-oriented and focus on one policymaker, state senator or other person whose decisions or viewpoints affect Nebraskans. Each interview is designed to provide information about the guests’ views and opinions on a variety of issues and a closer look at what has shaped their political thinking. New “Capitol Conversations” interviews will generally be available each Thursday through the end of the legislative session, and can be found at: http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/news/news

Derail the TransPacific Partnership

From the Green Shadow Cabinet‘s Kris Alman, published 12/29/2013

The mainstream media should be ashamed of its minimal attempts at informing the American people about the TranPacific Partnership (TPP). Negotiated in secret, the TPP is NAFTA on steroids. It’s urgent we demand that Congress oppose a “fast track” of this treaty.

You may be muttering, “Why pay attention to this irrelevant issue?” After all, we’re too busy working long hours to buy cheap Nike shoes, iPads and apparel from retailers like Walmart to celebrate the Christmas® holidays.

Indeed, we are so busy buying stuff destined for landfills that we don’t realize we are disposable too. The wizards behind the curtain of the TPP are 600 corporate “advisors” for rich multi-national corporations that don’t care about public health, the environment and human rights. They care about profits—period.

Read more here

See also…NAFTA Twenty Years On
from the Green Shadow Cabinet’s Richard McIntyre, published 12/13/2013

News from the Green Shadow Cabinet

False positives of Jobs Report: More jobs, but at less pay

A first look at U.S. third quarter 2013 GDP and October Jobs Reports gives the impression that the U.S. economy is mending and might soon begin to recover. But a closer inspection shows that the reports indicate an economy still mired in a ‘stop-go’ trajectory at best and a jobs market able to produce low pay, often contingent service jobs. Moreover, trends within the reports suggest even the already tepid results in the reports will likely wane, once again, in the coming quarter and months. Here’s why.