Provisions in ‘Farm Bill’ Seek to Fast Track Logging in National Forest

globaljusticeecology.org
Provisions in ‘Farm Bill’ Seek to Fast Track Logging in National Forest
Posted on May 15, 2018 by GJEP staff Leave a Comment
3 minutes

New York – Often seen politically as a must pass for legislators, the current “Farm Bill”, more accurately known as the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, has taken on a menacing form this legislative session as it has just been passed by party line vote from committee on May 3rd.

The bill in its current form is replete with provisions that seek to undermine environmental laws and safeguards. The bill has been opposed by a long and growing list of environmental groups that includes the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Defenders of the Wild, Earthjustice, League of Conservation voters among others.

Global Justice Ecology Project is announcing its opposition to H.R. 2 as a blatant attempt to undermine environmental protections and severely limit the ability of the public to challenge destructive forest policies. This includes the logging of up to ten square miles of trees at a time within the national forest system – under the guise of forest health.

H.R. 2 would double a similar carve out for the logging industry that was included in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill (budget). In doing so, it would further allow exemptions from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of up to 6,000 acres per single cut to be exempt from review- and thus meaningful citizen input.

“The Farm Bill in its current form is a gift to the logging industry as it would allow for tremendously destructive increases in extraction of timber from our national forests without review or disclosure of potential harm,” said Anne Peterman, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP). “Pro-logging provisions in the bill use fear-mongering, including the specter of wildfire, to give extractive industries carte blanche access to devastate our public lands with no opportunity for input from the public.”

https://globaljusticeecology.org/provisions-in-farm-bill-seek-to-fast-track-logging-in-national-forest/

Global Justice NOW

Category: Climate Justice, Featured, Press Releases, Pressroom, Social Media News Tags: Farm Bill

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Tell the Trump Administration: No Drilling in Carrizo

environmental-action.webaction.org
Tell the Trump Administration: No Drilling in Carrizo
1 minute

US Bureau of Land Management California State Director Jerome Perez,

We, the undersigned, strongly urge you to reverse your approval of a new oil platform and pipeline in Carrizo National Monument. This special place, its wildlife, and its natural beauty should be protected, not sacrificed for the sake of more destructive oil and gas drilling.

We, the undersigned, strongly urge you to reverse your approval of a new oil platform and pipeline in Carrizo National Monument. This special place, its wildlife, and its natural beauty should be protected, not sacrificed for the sake of more destructive oil and gas drilling.

https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=26038&uid=1220798&utm_source=salsa&utm_medium=email&tag=email_blast:46299&utm_campaign=EAC4-FCNS:SPECPLCCNS-0418&utm_content=EM9:00C:0HH-AAP

5 Environmental Victories to Inspire You This Earth Day

Olivia Rosane

Planet Earth is at a crisis point. Researchers say we have to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 if we want to meet the temperature goals outlined in the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic climate change.

The work to be done can seem overwhelming. A survey published this week found that only 6 percent of Americans think we will succeed in reducing global warming.

But Earth Day weekend is no time to give up! History has shown that when human beings come together to face environmental challenges, we are capable of making the planet a healthier, happier place for humans and non-humans alike.

Here are five environmental victories to inspire you this Earth Day.

  1. The First Earth Day Creates a Movement

Before the first Earth Day in 1970, polluted rivers in the U.S. sometimes caught fire, and industry polluted the air without worrying about consequences. Then Sen. Gaylord Nelson decided to launch a “national teach-in on the environment,” drawing on the tactics of the anti-war movement to unite different struggles against pollution, oil spills and wilderness depletion under a single green umbrella. Twenty million Americans participated in the first Earth Day and it led to major legislative victories, such as the formation of the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which set out to make all U.S. rivers swimmable and fishable again, and insured they would no longer be flammable.

As hard as it might be to believe in today’s political climate, that first Earth Day was a bi-partisan affair. Nelson reached out to Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey to act as the day’s co-chair, in a model of the kind of bipartisan collaboration we need to tackle today’s environmental challenges.

  1. The U.S. Saves Its Symbol

One of the factors that raised environmental consciousness in the U.S. in the decade leading up to the first Earth Day was the 1962 publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. In the book, Carson explained how the widely-used pesticide DDT entered the food chain, killing many more insects than targeted and harming the birds who feasted on the insects, including bald eagles.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), a year after Carson’s book was published, there were only 487 nesting pairs left in the country. But the U.S. acted to save its national bird. In 1972, the nascent EPA banned DDT, and, in 1978, the species was listed as endangered, five years after the passage of the Endangered Species Act. In 2007, the FWS announced that the bald eagle had entirely recovered.

  1. International Collaboration Closes the Ozone Hole

As insurmountable as global climate change seems at times, there is precedent for nations coming together to solve an environmental problem. When a hole in the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer and harm plants, was discovered in the 1980s, nations came together and finalized the Montreal Protocol in 1987.

The protocol banned ozone-depleting products such as chlorofluorocarbons that were used in refrigerants and aerosol sprays. And it worked. A 2018 NASA study found that the reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals had resulted in 20 percent less ozone depletion since 2005.

  1. The Green Belt Movement Plants More Than 50 Million Trees

Prof. Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her role in founding the Green Belt Movement. Fredrick Onyango

In the 1970s, Prof. Wangari Maathai listened to the complaints of women in rural Kenya who told her that they had to walk further for fuel, their local streams were drying, and their food supply was more precarious. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1972 to encourage them to plant trees in order to improve the soil, store rainwater, and provide fuel and food. Tree planting led to grassroots activism as the women realized the deterioration of their land was also the result of government policies. Overall, the movement has planted more than 51 million trees since its founding.

  1. Maori Win 140-Year-Old Environmental Court Case

 

 

In 2017, New Zealand’s parliament granted the Whanganui River, called Te Awa Tupua by the Maori, the legal rights of a person, something the local Maori had petitioned for since 1873. The move honored the persistence of indigenous activists, who are often on the forefront of struggles to protect the environment, and signals that settler governments might finally be willing to learn from a worldview that places fewer separations between human beings and the planet. The legislation included money for compensation and for improving the river’s health, and paved the way for Mount Taranaki to be offered similar legal status later that year.

https://www.ecowatch.com/environmental-victories-2561818321.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=1db4b0c0eb-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-1db4b0c0eb-86074753

Climate-friendly burgers: fact or fiction?

By Nathanael Johnson on Apr 16, 2018

Here’s a crazy idea: What if your love of steak wasn’t a massive environmental problem but part of a solution instead? What if we could suck carbon out of the air and save the world simply by eating beef?

A new study suggests that all this is possible, but it comes with a whopper of a caveat.

Ranching advocates have long thought carbon-negative beef was possible. The hypothesis was that grasslands and grazing animals have an ancient relationship; they’ve evolved together and depend on each other for optimal health. But modern ranching methods severed that connection, so the thinking went. Allow cattle to graze in the manner of wild herds — very heavily in one area for short periods, and then giving that area time to regrow — and the ancient relationship could be restored. Grasses would grow lush and suck up lots of carbon dioxide, more than compensating for the greenhouse gases that the cattle produce.

The problem was, there wasn’t good science to support this hypothesis. There have been studies looking at carbon sequestration in grazed land, but those only worked when you trucked in tons of compost, which can be prohibitively expensive. Then, a couple of weeks ago we finally got our first study showing grass-fed beef can be carbon negative. Here it is. Let the beef bacchanal begin.

Actually, before you dump gravy over your head and skip off to join the celebrants, let’s look at that big caveat: The beef in this study took up twice as much land as conventional beef production.

About half of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cutting down forests, and livestock are a primary culprit because they dominate 77 percent of agricultural land. And farms keep expanding to feed more meat-hungry people. There’s a danger that findings like this could give grass-fed beef a green halo, and allow people to feel virtuous for buying more double cheeseburgers. That would be a disaster. If everyone in the world started eating this kind of carbon-negative beef, we’d have to clear forests and wildlands to expand pasture, and that would wipe out any carbon savings.

Getting it right requires a balancing act. If we manage to slash our collective burger habit in half, while only buying beef raised the way described in this study, then voila, carbon-negative beef! That really could happen if good replacements — say, the Impossible Burger and good old mushrooms — help us drive down beef consumption. And that’s also assuming these practices work in a lot of different places. Remember, this is just one study (other terms and conditions apply, not valid in Veganistan).

There’s another way this might work: Conventional beef cattle spend two-thirds of their lives eating grass before they move to a feedlot and start eating grain. If ranchers around the world start applying the lessons of this study to that first two-thirds of a steer’s life, it could go a long way toward offsetting cattle emissions without taking up any more space. That’s a way we could tweak the system, and it wouldn’t require optimistic assumptions about how we’d keep people from clearing more farmland or convince everyone to eat less meat.

https://grist.org/science/climate-friendly-burgers-fact-or-fiction/

Petition · Protect the most biodiverse savanna in the world · Change.org

 

 

Pedro Piauí, with the Campaign in Defense of the Brazilian Savanna started this petition to Brazilian Congress

My name is Pedro Piauí. I belong to a rural community in the Brazilian “Cerrado,” an immense tropical savanna filled with trees, plains, and thousands of animal species. It’s a magical place, but it’s currently at risk so my family, along withedrl hundreds of other people and traditional communities, have started a campaign to protect it. Will you join us?

The Cerrado is also known as the Brazilian Savanna. It isn’t as big or well-known as the Amazon, but it is still one of the most important and rich ecosystems in our country. Please help us pressure the Brazilian Government to give the Cerrado more legal protection by making it a National Heritage Site!

The history of the inhabitants of the Cerrado is rich and vibrant. We are peasants, fishermen, river dwellers, coconut breakers, and family farmers. Many of us are indigenous – there are over 80 indigenous ethnic groups – and also quilombolas, groups that descended from fugitive slaves. But our families and our way of life are being threatened. We are losing our native vegetation, rich biodiversity and our ancestral culture to the monoculture of soy, mining, cattle ranching and dams – but National Heritage Site status would help to stop that.

We are trying to call for international attention because we found out there is money from the United States, Germany, Sweden and Holland being invested in deforestation and forced evictions. It comes through pension funds, multilateral banks and export credit agencies.

Are the North American and European citizens aware that their own money is tainted by environmental destruction and the human rights violations of traditional peoples?

The Cerrado is one of the oldest biomes in the world, with 5% of the planet’s biodiversity. It hosts jaguars, rare birds and thousands of unique plants – half of which have already been lost. It is also crucial to the maintenance of the water in the South American continent, since the most important rivers and water basins come from here. My community works hard to protect our home but big agribusiness have used violence and coercion to fight us.

We protect nature because we know we are part of it, we need it. Without us, the people of the Cerrado, there will be no conservation of nature, there will be no water, there will be no life!

We can not lose this battle against greed, power and corruption. Join us in calling on the Brazilian Congress to recognize that connection and protect the Cerrado.
https://www.change.org/p/protect-the-most-biodiverse-savanna-in-the-world

Petition: Utah Has Banned Cities From Cutting Down on Plastic Bags!

Not only did SLC strike down a measured to charge for plastic bags, they decided to ban the whole state from doing things to cut down on plastic waste. Charging for plastic bags or banning them all together is an amazing things cities can do to ease their environmental impact, we can’t let Utah block that effort statewide.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/934/607/112/

End Deforestation to Protect Rare Forests of Ecuador

Rare forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate by deforestation. Sign the petition to demand that sustainable measures be put in place to protect these forests and the habitats they support.

Source: End Deforestation to Protect Rare Forests of Ecuador

Sulawesi: stop dredging paradise for concrete! – Rainforest Rescue

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1113/sulawesi-stop-dredging-paradise-for-concrete

After Years of War, Nature is Flourishing on These Tiny Islands | National Geographic

Petition · Oppose The Anti-Health Bill HR 3117 · Change.org

Congress is currently considering a bill that would prohibit our government from taking the human cost of greenhouse gas emissions into account when making decisions about energy and environmental policy. This anti-health measure is serious, and extremely harmful for all of us.

https://www.change.org/p/oppose-the-anti-health-bill-hr-3117

New Petition to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

If you live in the US ~ You can not sign the petition, will not accept your ZIP code!

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Please Sign, Share and Talk about this, Letters to the press, please help to stop this plan in whatever way you can. Incredibly this mad, bad and dangerous plan has received far less media attention and discussion than the proposed Zip wires accross Thirlmere.  Why is that?  What is Going On?

The Petition can be signed here

The Full Petition Text is below….

Please do not let Cumbria be the first place in 30 years to open a deep coal mine in the UK. The proposed undersea coal mine under the beautiful coastline at St Bees would be five miles from Sellafield and five miles from the plan for new reactors (Moorside) at Beckermet. Coal mining is known to increase seismic activity.

Why is this important?

What People are Saying:

“We are particularly concerned in regard to the potential impact upon the wider marine and coastal environment of the discharge…

View original post 511 more words

Republicans are using some very shaky math to justify drilling in the Arctic refuge | Grist

By Jackie Flynn Mogensen 

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Early Saturday morning, Senate Republicans narrowly passed a controversial tax bill which — aside from overwhelmingly benefiting the rich — will open up 1.5-million acres of the pristine, 20-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil and gas drilling.

The fate of the ANWR has been a decades-long tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats, with the right seeing the massive oil reserves within the park as a source of revenue for Alaska and the country, and the left insisting on preserving the land, which supports hundreds of bird species, arctic foxes, caribou, and polar bears. First designated a “wildlife range” in 1960 and then later a refuge in 1980, the land is also home to the Native Alaskan Gwich’in tribe, which relies on the land for subsistence.

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the crowned jewels of our public lands,” Ana Unruh Cohen, the director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Mother Jones last week when the tax bill was still being considered. “Drilling there would totally mar this beautiful place.”

The ANWR measure was added to the tax bill late last month in an effort to secure the vote of Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who had crossed party lines to oppose the Obamacare repeal in July and hadn’t yet committed to supporting the tax bill. The move worked; after the vote, Murkowski said in a statement that the bill’s passing was a “critical milestone in our efforts to secure Alaska’s future.”

Murkowski’s prediction, though, is an optimistic one. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that drilling in the ANWR would raise $1.1 billion for the federal government over the next 10 years and another 1.1 billion for Alaska over the same time period. This would, in theory, help offset the unprecedented cost of tax cuts proposed in the bill, which is estimated to add a whooping $1.4 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

But experts warn that the CBO’s estimates are off — by a lot. According to data prepared for the nonprofit Alaska Wilderness League by David Murphy, an assistant professor of environmental studies at St. Lawrence University, and analyzed by Bloomberg, the federal government is actually likely to raise less than a fifth of that 10-year goal, or about $145 million. This lower estimate is based on historic sales in the region; the average bid for drilling along Alaska’s North Slope since 2000 is $194 per acre. So, bids for ANWR land would need to be nearly seven times higher than that in order to match the $1.1 billion federal estimate.

The problem with the CBO estimate is that it’s based on the size of all recoverable oil reserves in the 1.5-million-acre section of the ANWR that would open for drilling (thought to contain between 4.3 and 11.8 billion barrels according to the United States Geological Survey). It also uses long-term oil prices of $70 per barrel (prices Tuesday were at about $57) and the estimated cost of production in the region. In a November report, the CBO says their estimates are “uncertain,” and “potential bidders might make assumptions that are different from CBO’s, including assumptions about long-term oil prices, production costs, the amount of oil and gas resources in ANWR, and alternative investment opportunities.” The CBO does not provide a margin of error in their calculations.

“[The CBO] doesn’t explain any uncertainty about this [$1.1 billion] number — and legislation is being drafted around it. This would never pass muster in an academic journal,” Murphy tells Mother Jones.

Findings from both the Audubon Society, a nonprofit conservation organization and the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, similarly diverge from CBO estimates, but predict that oil and gas drilling would yield even lower numbers than Murphy suggests, at just $37.5 million over the next decade. They hinge their estimates on the average bid per acre since 1999 in the much larger, neighboring National Petroleum Reserve (an area already allocated for oil and gas leasing), which is just $50 per acre.

“Opening the Arctic to drilling as part of this tax plan is simply shameful. The Arctic Refuge isn’t a bank — drilling there won’t pay for the tax cuts the Senate just passed,” National Audubon Society President and CEO David Yarnold said in a statement just after Saturday’s vote.

Throwing even more confusion into the situation, when the Trump administration released its 2018 fiscal budget report in May, it claimed said that drilling in the ANWR would raise a staggering $1.8 billion over the next 10 years, but didn’t provide reasoning for the estimate in the report.

Beyond this uncertainty on how much drilling would actually deliver into state and federal coffers, the bigger issue might be that it’s not even clear if oil companies still want and are willing to drill in the ANWR — a contentious and also costly site for oil extraction. Due to differences in how the oil is held in the ground, oil production in the Arctic costs, on average, $78 per barrel, while production in the lower 48 states ranges from $40-60 per barrel, according to Murphy’s analysis. Moreover, there is no existing oil extraction infrastructure located on the reserve, and building wells from scratch would cost, on average, more than $6 million per well, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That doesn’t even take into account the headache that environmentalists and natives-rights activists could create for oil companies, if not potentially costly litigation.

Of course, this not to say that oil drilling won’t occur there. “It’s a much smaller area [than the neighboring Petroleum Reserve] with a large amount of oil,” so drilling in the reserve would likely be fruitful, says Murphy. “Talk about throwing darts at a board … If it’s opened up, I’m sure companies will bid on it.” And drilling there could still be profitable for companies, despite the higher cost of drilling in the Arctic. Still, the Petroleum Reserve may prove to be a safer option for oil companies, which would have access to existing infrastructure and less pushback from advocacy groups that oppose drilling in the ANWR.

“We have a significant position now that’s close to where we have infrastructure and a long history of strong operating capability,” said Al Hirshberg, the executive vice president of production, drilling, and projects for ConocoPhillips, in a statement. The company leases about 70 percent of the Petroleum Reserve’s sold acreage, and recently discovered a store of 300-million barrels of oil in the reserve. The company tells Mother Jones they “would consider” operations in the ANWR, but it sees “tremendous potential” in the Petroleum Reserve and remains “focused on our projects and exploration plans there” — a statement similar to what the company shared with Bloomberg.

Finally, there’s still a lot of unleased land left in the Petroleum Reserve. According to the Bureau of Land Management, over half of the reserve was still available for leasing as of August 2017.

It remains to be seen if the ANWR provision will remain in the tax bill once the Senate and the House finish reconciling their versions of the legislation. But even then, it is unlikely to be the cash cow Republicans are relying on. “Current presidential and congressional budget projections are unrealistic,” Murphy writes in his report. “It would be fiscally irresponsible to pursue this path on a budget justification.”

Republicans are using some very shaky math to justify drilling in the Arctic refuge

A Beacon in the Smog®

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TELL CONGRESS NOW: No Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge!

This would destroy one of the world’s most iconic and vital landscapes – critical for the survival of many Alaskan native people including the Gwich’ in Nation, and home to migratory birds from six continents and the porcupine caribou herd. With climate change already threatened this fragile refuge,it’s unacceptable that the Administration and Congress are putting the needs of big business and oil before our planet and ecosystems.  Activists and environmentalist have been fighting against dangerous drilling here for decades – and we can’t give up. We need to demand that Congress act now to protect America’s last unspoiled Wilderness from oil drilling.

https://petitions.signforgood.com/StopArcticDrilling/?code=Se

Petition · Secretary Ryan Zinke: Stop the waste and protect our health · Change.org


https://www.change.org/p/secretary-ryan-zinke-stop-the-waste-and-protect-our-health?source_location=petition_footer&algorithm=promoted&grid_position=1&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAMKRwQAAAAAAWgN8sf424oQxMTljMjRmMw%3D%3D

Petition: URGENT: Save the Rainforest – Tell the EPA To End Deforestation for Biofuels


https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/438/251/203/

#SaveOurParks From Oil and Gas Drilling!

The Trump administration is trying to allow gas and oil drilling near a pristine national park, all for the financial benefit of big oil companies. This drilling will critically threaten wildlife and the environment if permitted. Sign this petition to demand that this national park be protected from oil drilling.

Source: #SaveOurParks From Oil and Gas Drilling!

The Fight From Below Seen From Above: New Map Details Local Fossil Fuel Resistance | Global Justice Ecology Project

The Fight From Below Seen From Above: New Map Details Local Fossil Fuel Resistance

Posted on September 25, 2017 by GJEP staff
In an attempt to highlight and bolster the “groundswell of resistance” against fracking wells, pipelines, and other fossil fuel projects throughout the United States, a coalition of environmental groups on Thursday launched the Fossil Fuel Resistance Mapping Project, which details precisely where opposition to Big Oil is taking hold throughout the United States and how others can join in.

“People demand a safe and clean environment, and they will not rest until that is guaranteed for every community across the country.”
—Kelly Martin, Sierra Club

“From the Gulf Coast where people are recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to the Pacific Northwest where wildfires are raging, many communities are leading fights against fossil fuel projects amidst life-altering climate impacts,” the coalition—which includes 350.org, Sierra Club, and Bold Alliance—said in a joint statement Thursday.

“These fights are not isolated events, but rather a groundswell of steadfast and widespread local resistance to fossil fuel projects across the continent in the absence of federal climate action,” the groups continue. “Grassroots leaders in these efforts are pushing back on the fossil fuel industry’s injustices, from environmental racism to violating Indigenous sovereignty.”

(Image credit: Fossil Fuel Resistance Project)
The groups hope that the map, which can be accessed on the coalition’s website, will serve as “a resource for people to find, start, or join a campaign in their community to resist fossil fuel projects, and for those involved in existing fights to connect with each other.”

They also believe the map will serve as a tool to raise awareness and concern about the risks those who live near oil refineries and pipelines face on a daily basis.

“With the climate-denying Trump administration putting the the health of Big Oil billionaires’ bottom lines before anyone else, the time to join your local fight to protect our air, water, and planet is right now.”

—Cherri Foytlin, Bold Louisiana “This map highlights what too many Americans are forced to grapple with everyday: a life, community, and clean water and air threatened by fossil fuel infrastructure,” Kelly Martin, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels project, said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve seen the movement to oppose these projects grow rapidly in recent years. People demand a safe and clean environment, and they will not rest until that is guaranteed for every community across the country.”

The new project comes as the Trump administration continues its efforts to empower the fossil fuel industry and roll back regulatory measures designed to protect the air and water—even in the aftermath of deadly hurricanes like Harvey and Irma, which have left millions exposed to dangerous pollutants.

Foytlin, executive director of Bold Louisiana, said that the Trump administration’s blatant and “reckless” contempt for the planet should serve as a potent motivator for people across the country to join the burgeoning opposition movement and fight back.

“The extractive industry is like a cancer, and our efforts to stop this industry’s expansion are holistically connected on many fronts—this map makes that clear,” Foytlin observed. “With the climate-denying Trump administration putting the the health of Big Oil billionaires’ bottom lines before anyone else, the time to join your local fight to protect our air, water, and planet is right now.

Originally published by Commondreams.org

Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project
http://globaljusticeecology.org/the-fight-from-below-seen-from-above-new-map-details-local-fossil-fuel-resistance/

Report: Algae Biofuel Claims Overhyped; GE Algae Poses Environmental Risks  | Global Justice Ecology Project

Report: Algae Biofuel Claims Overhyped; GE Algae Poses Environmental Risks

Posted on September 26, 2017 by GJEP staff
SAN DIEGO, C.A. – As the Bio-Based Live Americas conference meets today to discuss topics including industrial scale production of biofuels and chemicals via genetically engineered (GE) microorganisms such as GE algae, a new report suggests that these organisms pose serious environmental and health risks.

Microalgae Biofuels: Myths and Risks and a companion briefing, released today by Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth U.S., reveals that even after decades of investment, viable commercial production of algae biofuels has failed and is unlikely to succeed. Meanwhile, genetically engineering microalgae to produce fuels, chemicals and other products poses under-recognized, serious threats to the environment and public health.

“As we are witnessing more frequent toxic algae blooms such as those currently plaguing the Finger Lakes region in New York, it seems particularly unwise to be encouraging mass-scale production and inevitable release of GE microalgae,” said Dr. Rachel Smolker, Co-Director of Biofuelwatch. “Scientists are clear that GE microalgae will inevitably escape from cultivation facilities. Many of the traits that are being engineered to create algal ‘chemical factories’ could result in their outcompeting and proliferating out of control in the wild.”

“Rushing genetically engineered algae into production ahead of safety assessments and oversight could result in serious unintended consequences. These organisms could become ‘living pollution’ that is impossible to recall,” said Dana Perls, Senior Food and Technology Campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S. “We need a common sense moratorium on the commercial cultivation of GE microalgae, and investment should be redirected toward more promising and sustainable solutions.”

Key findings of the report include:

Even after decades and millions of dollars in public and private of investment, production of algae biofuels has failed to become commercially viable.
Genetically engineering microalgae to produce fuels, chemicals, and other products poses serious threats to the environment and public health: invasive algae outcompeting native species, potential for increased harmful algal blooms, and land use impacts from chemical, energy and water intensive feedstock production.
Several major companies invested in producing genetically engineered algae are turning to low volume, high-value products to remain economically viable, with some such products already on the market, including ingredients for food and consumer products, all of which are derived from GE algae.
Government agencies, including Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with various state and private sources, continue to invest heavily in algae biofuels.
The continued market hype about GE algae biofuels as sustainable, claims of unrealistic productivity, and historic promises of commercial viability just over the horizon perpetuate the myth of a “miracle fuel” and that unsustainable energy consumption may continue “business as usual.”

The report explores the biological and technical barriers to algae biofuel production, providing perspective as to why decades of investment and hype has yet to yield any commercial biofuels. It argues that whether it is for biofuels, “bio-products”, or face creams, the large-scale cultivation of GE microalgae poses unacceptable risks, perpetuates the myth that algae biofuels will provide a viable and substantial alternative to fossil fuels, and diverts attention, funding and resources from safer solutions. The report calls for more sustainable and proven solutions to climate and energy concerns, such as efficiency, solar and wind energy, relocalization, expanded public transportation, and regenerative agriculture.

http://globaljusticeecology.org/report-algae-biofuel-claims-overhyped-ge-algae-poses-environmental-risks/
Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project

Petition: Protect Wild Spaces: Stop Northern Niobium Mine


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/198/053/189/

Petition: Protect Lake Erie – Keep Our Water Safe


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/873/259/597/

Petition: Demand the US and Australia Stop Obstructing Efforts for Corporate Transparency at UN Climate Talks


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/751/336/547/

Support common sense methane pollution standards for Pennsylvania

The natural gas industry in Pennsylvania alone wastes enough methane to heat over half of the households in Pittsburgh for a year. Act now to support common sense standards limiting methane emissions from new gas operations in Pennsylvania.

Source: Support common sense methane pollution standards for Pennsylvania

URGENT: New EPA Administrator Fires Scientists, Wants Public Input on Regulation Cuts | Global Justice Ecology Project


http://globaljusticeecology.org/urgent-new-epa-administrator-fires-scientists-wants-public-input-on-regulation-cuts/#comments

Clean Up One of America’s Most Polluted Lakes – ForceChange


https://forcechange.com/221237/clean-up-one-of-americas-most-polluted-lakes/

Petition: Demand Penny-Pinching Trump Adminstration Keep Their Dirty Hands Off Energy Star Program


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/638/802/845/?z00m=29065178&redirectID=2387920412

Petition: Tell Congressman Frelinghuysen Not to Defund the EPA, New Jersey


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/721/407/331/

Petition: Demand Congress Reject Devastating Budget Cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/342/921/973/demand-congress-reject-devastating-budget-cuts-to-the-enironmental-protection-agency/

How You Can Help North Dakota Water Protectors Brutalized by Police | Global Justice Ecology Project


http://globaljusticeecology.org/how-you-can-help-north-dakota-water-protectors-brutalized-by-police/

The Future Doesn’t Suck | Grist


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Grist Newsletter
The future doesn’t suck
By Chip Giller on Nov 19, 2016 11:00 am

Sooo … that happened. Donald Trump won the U.S. election and now threatens the progress we’ve all worked so hard to achieve. Does this mean our planet is gonna burn and our future is gonna suck? Many of us are in pain and fear for the future right now. Optimism might as well go on the endangered species list. Great time to kick off a newsletter focused on hope and progress for building a better world, right?

Actually, yes. Because change doesn’t begin — or end — in Washington, D.C. And it doesn’t rest solely on the actions of one person, or even one government. Innovators, artists, activists, cleantech pioneers, community organizers, city and state leaders, and many others across the globe aren’t giving up on the effort to build a better future for all humanity. That’s why Grist is here — to shine our beacon in the smog. To show progress and solutions and bring together the best and brightest to facilitate progress. Shift happens … let’s share it together.

Hence, this newsletter. Feedback welcome. Please bamboozle friends to subscribe via email, too.

–Chip, Grist founder
5 people you should know

One of the great things about my job: I get to hang out with cool people.

Check out what these five are up to:

Alvaro Sanchez wows me with his work on environmental equity at The Greenlining Institute. He looks at public transit, for example, and sees a boon for communities and the climate — equitable transit can solve poverty and pollution at the same time. Sweet.
Rebecca Burgess founded Fibershed (a play on “watershed,” get it?) after vowing to spend a year wearing clothing sourced within 150 miles of her home — the whole kit and caboodle, from fabrics to dyes to labor. She now envisions a system of regional textile communities that uses water renewably, builds up local soils, and creates “climate-beneficial” clothes … that look way comfier than mine.
Michael Ford is digging into the social and cultural impact of architecture and urban planning on city-dwellers, and is designing the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx.
David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, is the chief anti-BS officer who helped take down Florida’s fake solar amendment. His main hobby? Haunting dreams of fossil fuel execs everywhere.
Hard not to fanboy over artist and architect Maya Lin, who is working on a project to highlight biodiversity loss and climate change and what can be done about them. It’s called What is Missing? — take a look, and cue the jaw-drop.

P.S. Recently, Team Grist held a dinner in the Big Apple with a bunch of Grist 50 types, including NYC Councilmember Donovan Richards, sustainable fashionista Maxine Bédat, and attorney and community organizer Elizabeth Yeampierre. We like people who are getting shit done. Want to grab dinner soon?
Stuff I’m reading

Election Day wasn’t a complete disaster. Floridians cared enough about renewables to vote down a Koch bros-backed initiative masquerading as pro-solar. Seriously, the fight for climate and environmental justice is more important than ever — and a lot of it will shift to the regional and local levels in the United States. Last week, an important oil-producing county in California actually banned fracking — a huge environmental justice win for residents. Soda taxes won big in cities, too. Election Day also saw Seattle and L.A. voters boost public transit like crazy, and Nevada took a big step toward ending a state-wide monopoly on electricity. Yep, cities and states can be home to environmental solutions even in Trump’s America, but only if they dig deeper than canvas totes, and keep high-density development top of mind. (Good job on that, Santa Monica. Tesla, that means you, too!) And in some especially surprising news: Children can sue the feds over climate change. Follow the yutes.
On my nightstand

Need perspective on the election and the work moving forward? These books are a start. Got questions for the authors? Shoot ’em to me and I’ll do my mightiest to get answers.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance, is an examination of the struggles of poor, white Americans — some of the same struggles that helped bring us a Trump presidency.

Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything, by Bernie Sanders campaign organizers Becky Bond and Zack Exley. Important right now.

Coming of Age at the End of Nature, a collection of essays by twentysomethings working to get us out of this planetary pickle.

Sarah Jaffe’s new book Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt explores movement-building in America. I asked her what lessons she drew from the book that can be applied to the climate cause right now. Her response: While doubling down on our specific issues is important, we’re going to have to do better at showing up for others’ struggles to build unlikely alliances. Labor and the climate movement have to learn to talk to each other. Climate activists need to see protecting immigrants from deportation as part of their fight, because we’re going to have a lot more climate migrants in the years to come.

Action that inspires

The fight to block the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. Activists on Tuesday held protests around the country and beyond. Keep up with Dakota Access news on Grist and on Twitter.

Have any loose change lying around that you’re itching to put to good use? Big national charities like Planned Parenthood are raking in donations since Trump’s win, and that’s great. But if you want your contribution to reach the community-based groups that need it most right now, I asked around for suggestions.Here are some organizations to consider.

What are your favorite causes that merit special help right now? Zap me with suggestions to highlight in a future newsletter. You can also, of course, donate to Grist.
Opportunities

Food+Tech Connect has a new job board for you foodies.
Zooming in on foodie freelancers: Civil Eats needs a managing editor.
The New School is hiring a visiting professor in the climate field.
Hey, Grist is hiring, too.

Do you know of a sweet job waiting to be filled? Do tell!
How to spend your Sunday

Listen to stuff by soul singer/climate activist extraordinaire Antonique Smith, especially her take on Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Me.” What gives her hope after this election? People power, if we use it: Whether it’s in our personal lives or coming together to fight for our futures, our freedom and equality, our right to clean air and clean water, we, the people, actually have the power.

And read this letter from E.B. White. It helps.

A Beacon in the Smog®

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Justice for Environmental Activist Murdered in Brazil

 

An environmental activist who worked to prevent illegal logging and other environmentally exploitative practices was recently shot and killed by two gunmen. Demand that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice and that the government work to protect the vulnerable Amazon rainforest.

Source: Justice for Environmental Activist Murdered in Brazil