For Immediate Release:
November 25, 2014
Consumers Union Hails Recount on GMO Labeling Law in Oregon, Calls Close Vote a Major Victory for Consumers
CU Urges Congress Not to Prohibit Consumer Right-to-Know Laws
As usual, DeSmogBlog did a great job covering the just breaking story of Edelman’s PR plan for a desperate TransCanada to win support and stymie public opposition to its Energy East pipeline.
This story only reminds us that, however silly and weak TransCanada comes off, the threat to those fighting the pipeline is real and, as Clayton Thomas-Muller recently said in a KPFK interview, “the stakes couldn’t be higher.”
By Brendan DeMelle, DeSmogBlog. 17 November 2014.
Documents obtained by Greenpeace detail a desperate astroturf PR strategy designed by Edelman for TransCanada to win public support for its Energy East tar sands export pipeline. TransCanada has failed for years to win approval of the controversial border-crossing Keystone XL pipeline, so apparently the company has decided to “win ugly or lose pretty” with an aggressive public relations attack on its opponents.
This press release was sent on Oct. 22, 2014, from Biofuelwatch, Dogwood Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Save America’s Forests, and Global Justice Ecology Project.
Groups across the country denounce “National Bioenergy Day” as a dirty sham
Groups around the country denounce the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and their industry partners’ designation of this date as “National Bioenergy Day.” Pointing to growing opposition to bioenergy facilities around the nation and the world, they say burning trees, contaminated wastes, and garbage is grossly and dangerously misrepresented by industry advocates as “clean, green, and carbon neutral.” The groups point out that biomass power pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere than even coal, along with comparable amounts of toxic air pollution, while also posing new threats to forests, ecosystems, and our health.
Rachel Smolker, Ph.D., co-director of Biofuelwatch, states: “The biomass industry has perpetrated a series of dangerous myths that they just keep repeating to ensure ongoing subsidies and supports. The Biomass Power Association website, for example, is rife with misleading statements, for example proclaiming to ‘Light America with clean, green biomass power—a natural solution to energy independence.’ This is utter nonsense as we would need several planets worth of biomass to provide any significant portion of overall US energy demand from biomass.” (1)
EcoWatch will be live streaming the NYC Climate Convergence, including tonight’s opening plenary featuring GJEP’s executive director Anne Petermann, among other leaders of the global and local climate justice movement.
ICYMI, The opening plenary is TONIGHT, Friday, September 19, 2014 – 7:00pm
Here’s the line-up!
Oscar Olivera: Bolivian water rights activist
Josua Mata: Philippine trade unionist leader
Erica Violet Lee: Idle No More
Immortal Technique: Revolutionary hip-hop legend
Anne Petermann: Global Justice Ecology Project
Nastaran Mohit: New York State Nurses Association
The National Audubon Society released a report this past Tuesday, September 9, indicating that 314 North American Bird species are on the brink, due to shifting and shrinking ranges that have a fundamental cause in climate change. This includes loss of habitat caused by a number of factors including climate shifts and commodification of natural resources such as forests. 126 species are identified in the report that will lose more than 50% of their current ranges, some up to 100% by 2050. Another 188 species face catastrophic loss of range by 2080. The Bald Eagle is expected to loose 73% of its range by 2080. Familiar birds like the Baltimore Oriole, Common Loon, the Purple Finch, and the Wood Thrush may will be significantly effected. Some like the Trumpeter Swan will not survive.
An article published tuesday in the New York Times tells the story of the Audubon Report.
Felicity Barringer New York Times September 8, 2014
The Baltimore oriole will probably no longer live in Maryland, the common loon might leave Minnesota, and the trumpeter swan could be entirely gone.
Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change is likely to so alter the bird population of North America that about half of the approximately 650 species will be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find new places to live, feed and breed over the next 65 years. If they do not — and for several dozen it will be very difficult — they could become extinct.
The four Audubon Society scientists who wrote the report projected in it that 21.4 percent of existing bird species studied will lose “more than half of the current climactic range by 2050 without the potential to make up losses by moving to other areas.” An additional 32 percent will be in the same predicament by 2080, they said.
Scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch, and the World Resources Institute are tracking global forest decline and have announced that the rate of decline is accelerating.
Canada has now surpassed all other countries including Brazil as being responsible for loss of forest landscapes since 2000. According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen published last week, the “main drivers are fire, logging, and energy and industrial development.”
Resource exploitation in the boreal forests of Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are particularly devastating. Satellite imagery shows that the boreal forests in the area of the oil sands between Fort McMurray and Lake Athabasca has been almost totally devastated.
According to Dr Nigel Sizer, director of the forest program at the World Resources Institute, “if this rate of degradation continues “business as usual will lead to destruction of most remaining intact forests in this century”
Canada leads world in forest decline, report says
By William Marsden, Ottawa Citizen. September 3, 2014.
WASHINGTON – The world’s virgin forests are being lost at an increasing rate and the largest portion of the degradation is in Canada, according to a new report.
No longer is Brazil the main villain in the struggle to stop forest destruction.
“Canada is the number one in the world for the total area of the loss of intact forest landscapes since 2000,” Peter Lee, of Forest Watch Canada, said in an interview.
He said the main drivers are fires, logging and energy and industrial development.
“There is no political will at federal or provincial levels for conserving primary forests,” he said. “Most logging done in Canada is still to this day done in virgin forests.”
Using satellite technology, scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch and the World Resources Institute have tracked changes in the earth’s forest coverage. The scientists discovered that the pace of decline is accelerating with more than 104 million hectares – about 8.1 per cent of global undisturbed forests — lost from 2000 to 2013.
The BP fine over the Macondo Gulf of Mexico disaster was unexpected, at least by BP. The company had put aside $3.5 billion to pay its way out of the Clean Water Act violations and has fully intended to continue business as usual. However, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier in his 153 page decision ruled that BP is “grossly negligent” and engaged in decisions that were “profit” rather than “safety” driven. The finding of “gross negligence” increases the amount of the fine by up to four times. If the company had been found merely negligent, the fines could be $1,100 per barrel spilled. Gross negligence ups that to $4,300 per barrel.
BP continues to contest the amount spilled and has hired the the best science that money can buy and shady public relations advisors to convince the world that they didn’t really spill all that much oil. Expect the appeal process to focus on that. Meanwhile, according to the article below published by the Bellona Foundation, thousands of people affected by the disaster and the clean-up efforts are so sick that they will never work again, and never have normal lives.
BP found guilty of ‘gross negligence’ in Deepwater Horizon spill – victims far from rejoicing
By Charles Digges, Bellona Foundation. Sept. 5, 2014
NEW ORLEANS – British oil giant BP’s “gross negligence” and “profit-driven decisions” in the Gulf of Mexico was directly responsible for the worst accidental oil spill in history, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled in New Orleans Thursday – to a tepid reception from those a possible settlement might benefit.
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which BP leased and operated, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 men and spewing 4.9 million of barrels of oil and plodded through 87 days of hit and miss attempts to plug it until it finally manage to seal it.
The city of Detroit’s state appointed emergency manager has hired the notorious Veolia North America, the American subsidiary of the equally notorious Veolia Environment, headquartered in Paris. Veolia, one of the leading privatizers of water systems in the world and Veolia North America has colonized American cities, especially those located on the Great Lakes.
The Company has been hired to “advise” the city on “how to find cost savings” in the sewer and water department. The city has now opened up bids on privatizing the water and sewer system in Detroit, which has been resisted for years.
Wait, it only gets worse. The United States is in the middle of negotiating a trade deal with the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, aka TTIP, which could undermine communities ability to halt hostile privatizations efforts, hinder attempts to reclaim water systems from EU corporations and make it harder to hold private water companies accountable.
Just what Detroiter’s that are already suffering human rights violations and access to water need! We see the future and it is here.
Read the whole story in Mitch Jones’ story at Food and Water Watch
How Free Trade Might Harm Detroit Again
Mitch Jones, Food and Water Watch. Sept 2, 2014.
While once a central component of the economic activity of the United States, Detroit – like other American cities reliant on manufacturing – has fallen on hard times. To be clear, this isn’t an accident of misfortune. Detroit was targeted by both the “free trade” and anti-labor agenda that took over American politics in the 1970s. As a result, the city lost thousands of jobs and its economy suffered. The current crisis in Detroit involving water shut-offs is a symptom of this agenda.
The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit opened up bids for privatizing the sewer and water department. Recently, the city hired private water company Veolia Water to advise the city on “cost savings” within the department. Headquartered in Paris, Veolia Environnement operates as Veolia Water North America in the United States and is the second largest water company in the country, serving about 10.5 million people in 32 states. In addition to advising the city on cost savings within the department, Veolia is also one of the companies that have expressed interest in a privatized Detroit water system.
Demand System Change