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Archive for the ‘Climate’ Category

“Epic” Video Push For a Fossil-Free, Nuclear-Free Clean Energy Future

In Climate, Energy, Fossil Fuels, Nuclear, Renewables, Solar, Wind on March 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

Five groups mount “epic” push to enlist more Americans to join movement for a fossil-free, nuclear-free clean energy future – As Fukushima anniversary nears, interactive video at www.MakeNuclearHistory.org allows visitors to experience three very different energy futures, get involved in groups’ pushes on nuclear, wind power initiatives.

Epic Labs Capture

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A week ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima reactor disaster, five leading organizations fighting for America’s clean-energy future – Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club – are unveiling an interactive online video, “Our Epic Future: Create It With Clean Energy.”

Available at www.MakeNuclearHistory.org, the entertaining, fact-filled video allows visitors to explore three scenarios in the “Epic Energy Labs” with very different future outcomes: one dominated by fossil fuels, another in which nuclear power is the focus, and a third relying on renewable energy.

After viewing the video, visitors can get involved in clean energy campaigns of the five groups, including urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to put in place post-Fukushima safety measures at U.S. reactors and petitioning Congress to reinstate the Production Tax Credit support for the wind energy.

The Make Nuclear History Web site explains: “There is a better way. There is a way to power our lives without fossil fuels.  There is a solution to climate change without nuclear energy. There is a future where we can solve the climate crisis and power our lives from 100 percent renewable sources and energy efficiency. Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future … A fossil and nuclear-free future powered by renewable sources is possible and the transition is happening now. The benefits of clean, affordable and renewable energy compared with the dirty, expensive legacy of fossil fuels and nuclear reactors are obvious.”

“The Fukushima disaster shows us exactly why we cannot and should not try to rely on nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis,” said Tim Judson, Executive Director of NIRS. “Japan’s decision to invest in nuclear rather than renewables left the country totally unprepared when calamity struck. Clean, renewable energy sources are abundant, affordable, and ready to go. They can replace nuclear and fossil fuels, which are two sides of the dirty, extreme energy coin.”

“We no longer need to be shackled to dirty and dangerous energy,” said Robert Weissman, Executive Director of Public Citizen, “A sustainable energy economy is not only possible but necessary if we are to avoid irreversible climate disruption and safeguard our communities against radioactive contamination.”

“While the nuclear industry continues to grasp at straws for relevance, it is more apparent than ever that the clean energy revolution has taken hold in communities across the country,” said Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard. “The Fukushima disaster is a constant reminder that nuclear energy is a dirty and dangerous distraction from real solutions like wind and solar. We should commit to rejecting costly nuclear pipe dreams and supporting the renewable efforts that can help avert our climate crisis.”

“Choosing between clean energy and dangerous fuels like coal and nuclear isn’t difficult. Nuclear has proven time and time again to be too expensive, too slow to build, and far too dangerous. Meanwhile, burning fossil fuels is making our families sick and making the climate crisis worse. That’s a huge part of the reason our clean energy economy is growing by leaps and bounds, creating jobs while keeping pollution out of our air, our water, and our communities.” – Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

“Fukushima was a global water shed moment illustrating the potential for catastrophic nuclear accidents to occur,” said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica. “This video contributes to a growing people’s movement demanding a fossil free, nuclear free future.”

About the groups:

Friends of the Earth strives for a more healthy and just world. We understand that the challenges facing our planet call for more than half measures, so we push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy. Sometimes, this involves speaking uncomfortable truths to power and demanding more than people think is possible. It’s hard work. But the pressures facing our planet and its people are too important for us to compromise. http://www.foe.org/

Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. www.greenpeace.org

2014 marked the 36th anniversary of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. We were founded to be the national information and networking center for citizens and environmental activists concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues. www.nirs.org

Public Citizen serves as the people’s voice in the nation’s capital. Since our founding in 1971, we have delved into an array of areas, but our work on each issue shares an overarching goal: To ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power. www.citizen.org

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. www.sierraclub.org

Contacts:
Alex Frank, (703) 276-3254, afrank@hastingsgroup.com
Tim Judson, for Nuclear Information and Research Service, (301) 270-6477, timj@nirs.org
Benjamin Schreiber, for Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0752, bschreiber@foe.org
Allison Fisher, for Public Citizen, (202) 454-5176, afisher@citizen.org
Perry Wheeler, for Greenpeace, (202) 319-2461, perry.wheeler@greenpeace.org
Trey Pollard, for the Sierra Club, (202) 495-3058, trey.pollard@sierraclub.org

– See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-03-groups-mount-push-for-nuclear-free-clean-energy-future#sthash.CXUiMiNS.dpuf

New York’s Hydrofracking “Ban” and what It Does or Doesn’t Mean for the Environment

In Climate, Energy, Fracking on February 26, 2015 at 12:14 pm

The Landscape of Fracking in NY: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t

Saturday, February 28 at 1:00pm

University United Methodist Church, 1085 E. Genesee St.

Environmental Groups have hailed Governor Cuomo’s recent (Dec. 2014) decision to ban hydrofracking in New York as the first ban by a state with significant natural-gas resources. While this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction in terms of environmental regulations, we as citizens need to turn an analytical eye to this new policy to determine if it is doing enough to control this harmful practice in our home state. First, we need to familiarize ourselves with the official definition of hydrofracking– “a stimulation technique involving the pumping of hydraulic fracturing fluid, possibly with a proppant, into a formation to create fractures to increase formation permeability and productivity”. In other words ‘fracking’ is a technique of drilling for natural gas in which large amounts of water and relatively small amounts of chemicals are forced into shale deposits in order to release natural gas.

The specifics of how this new law will affect drilling practices in New York are still uncertain, but the law does prohibit oil companies to “drill, deepen, plug back or convert a well for oil and gas exploration, production, input, or storage purposes to any depth… greater than 500 feet” until the well owner has applied and received a permit from the state. The basis of this decision came from a cabinet meeting in which the acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, said the public health examination on hydrofracking had found “significant public health risks” associated with drilling. Dr. Zucker listed concerns about water contamination and air pollution, [not to mention earthquakes, a common occurrence in heavily fracked areas].

So knowing that the new legislation is not exactly a Hail Mary for citizens concerned about fracking, activists can still work on these issues on a local level. Since the New York Court of Appeals ruled that towns could use zoning ordinances to ban fracking in June, dozens of communities across New York have passed moratoriums and bans on fracking.

Finally, what average New Yorkers should do before taking any further action in this arena is educate themselves on the ‘wheres’, ‘whats’ and the ‘whys’ of hydrofracking. A great way to get started, and to meet similarly minded people, is to attend “The Landscape of Fracking in NY: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t”. This event will be held Saturday, February 28 at 1:00pm in University United Methodist Church, 1085 E. Genesee St. This teach-in will focus on the non-drilling aspects of fracking that are being pursued by industries in New York, including proposals for pipelines, compressor stations, storage caverns, and waste dumping. Speakers will include Doug Couchon, from People for a Healthy Environment and Mary Menapace, from Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County. I hope to see fellow environmentally conscious citizens there, since as we all know, more often than not, the solution to pollution is… education!

Rand Aaron Michaels a freshman at SUNY school of Environmental Science and Forestry studying environmental education and interpretation, and is dedicated to providing members of the public with accurate non-biased information about issues relating to the environment and social justice. 

Green Party: Katko Wrong on Keystone, Urge Climate Action and Divestment from Fossil Fuels 

In Climate, Corporations, Energy, Government, Katko, Media Advisory on February 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

SYRACUSE, NY – The Green Party of New York expressed disappointment with Rep. John Katko’s vote in support of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Rep. Katko vote in support of the Keystone XL pipeline shows that he is blind to the climate crisis. It’s disgraceful that our representative in Congress would support further development of infrastructure to exploit the Canadian Tar Sands, the most intensive and dirty extractive projects on the planet.  This pipeline will further lock the world into massive carbon emissions, with inevitable spills like the one we saw last month which dumped thousand 30,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Yellowstone River,” said Ursula Rozum, Green Party of Onondaga Secretary and a former Green candidate for Congress.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is the opposite of progress. Climate scientists tell us that to avoid catastrophic climate change, we have to ensure that 80% of the existing fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground.  We must to halt all new investments in fossil fuels infrastructure, and commit to a swift transition to renewable energy, ASAP. We should commit to 100% clean energy by 2030,” added Rozum.

The Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the GulfCoast. Oil from tar sands, or bitumen, is the dirtiest kind of crude of oil. Refining tar sands oil requires four times the energy and produces 5 to 20 percent more greenhouse gases compared to light crude oil. Northern Alberta is home to indigenous populations whose cultural traditions and livelihood are coming under attack because of the tar-sands operations.

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross farms, parks, wetlands, forests, conservation lands, protected wildlife areas, as well as tribal lands. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) has called the U.S. House’s authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline an act of war (http://boldnebraska.org/rosebud-sioux-tribe-house-vote-in-favor-of-keystone-xl-pipeline-an-act-of-war/). It has the potential to contaminate over 1,000 water­ways in­cluding the Ogalala aquifer, which supplies drinking water to millions of people in the midwest and is used for irrigation of vast acres of farmland.

Recent spills are irrefutable proof that pipeline safety cannot be guaranteed. Recent examples include the July 2011 and January 2015 pipeline ruptures that dumped tens of thousands of gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Yellowstone River and the March 2013 ExxonMobil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. The derailment of tank cars carrying crude oil in July 2013 caused an explosion that killed 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec.

The Green Parties of Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey have banded together against a proposed fossil-fuel pipeline through the region, calling themselves the Green Alliance to Stop the Pipelines, or GASP (https://www.facebook.com/StopThePipelines).

GASP opposes a plan by the six New England governors to spend $6 billion on the Kinder Morgan gas transmission pipeline, which would bring fracked natural gas to export terminals in Maine and Canada.

The Green Party is part of the February 13th Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Day which in New York State is pressuring Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest New York’s pension fund from fossil fuel investments.

Contact Ursula Rozum, Green Party of Onondaga, Secretary, (315) 414-7720, ursula.rozum@gmail.com

REPORT BACK: Citizens’ Climate Lobby meeting with Rep. John Katko’s District Director, Tom Connellan

In Climate, Katko, Report Back on February 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Submitted by Diane Williamson:

“Members of the Syracuse chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby met with Rep. John Katko’s District Director, Tom Connellan, as well as his Deputy Director, to make the case for a federal carbon fee and rebate law. CCL’s proposal, which already has bi-partisan support, involves levying a fee on all fossil fuel producers based on the amount of carbon dioxide pollution the fuel produces.

The fee is to be revenue neutral because all of the money will be rebated back to households to make up for rising fuel prices. For the lower two-thirds of income-earners the rebate will more than off-set the rise. Fossil fuels would eventually become more expensive than renewable alternatives. A “carbon tax” in any form is largely believed by environmental policy makers and economists to be the most effective way to address the problem of climate change. The fee and rebate proposal would also be good for the economy, both because of the monthly rebate checks and the growth in green jobs.

Connellan promised to report on the proposal to Katko, and he urged CCL to meet with the D.C. office. He was interested in the proposal, especially the benefits it promises for the NY economy but was concerned about possible harm to American businesses in the global market. The three-part legislation also includes a provision to tax imports from countries without a similar carbon fee program, addressing Connellan’s concern.

CCL’s mission overall is to build political will for meaningful climate change legislation and empower people to engage in politics. Please consider joining us! For more information see the national website, citizensclimatelobby.org, or email the chapter head, Kyle Thomas at kthomas@naturalsystemsengineering.com

Submit your own Report Back, Lobby Visit, or Event/Action Summary to Independent Media CNY for publication and archival recording online – indymediacny@gmail.com