Category Archives: Coal

ESKOM’S coal is killer, new study finds

July 3, 2014, Source: Friends of the Earth International

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 

While Eskom awaits decisions from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on its applications for postponement (in many cases, effectively exemption) to meet minimum emission standards for its coal-fired power stations, a new study [1] commissioned by NGO groundWork [2] reveals that while some of the country benefits from Eskom produced electricity, it’s the health and lives of people in the Highveld that are carrying the disease burden of the energy utility’s pollution.

With one of the world’s highest air pollution levels, most of the Highveld was declared a Priority Area (HPA) by government in 2007 because of the health implications. Home to 12 of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations, the area experiences a disproportionate amount of Eskom’s pollution. groundWork’s new study shows  that 51% of deaths due to respiratory illness and 54% deaths due to cardiovascular disease, related to outdoor pollution in the area, can be attributed to Eskom. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Coal

Cranky koala and treesits sustain leard blockade

May 31, 2014.  Source: The Australian

Photo Credit: Earth First Journal

Photo Credit: Earth First Journal

It must have been an odd site for a Saturday morning.

A grown adult in a furry grey suit chained to a large truck at the mercy of the western NSW sun.

But unlike the scenes that commonly face their city-counterparts, this scenario wasn’t a case of the morning after for police at the Maules Creek mine site.

An environmental activist – under the identity of the “cranky koala” – was chained to a large truck in the Leard State Forest as part of an ongoing blockade.

“He was there to highlight the threat to koalas that are hibernating and how winter clearing will affect different animals,” Leard Forest Alliance spokeswoman Helen War told AAP. Continue reading

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Filed under Coal, Forests, Mining

The untold story of what happened at an overcrowded West Virginia jail after the chemical spill

Note: Stand with the inmates at South Central Regional Jail who are demanding human dignity, protection of basic rights, and accountability from jail administrators, by signing this petition here.

-The GJEP Team

By Christie Thompson, May 21, 2014. Source: Think Progress

Graphic: Adam Peck

Graphic: Adam Pec

When roughly 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked into a West Virginia watershed this January, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency. Officials shut down schools, deployed the National Guard, and rallied volunteers to bring water and support to the 300,000 people without potable water.

But in the state’s emergency response, there was one group that many forgot: the 429 prisoners locked in Charleston’s overcrowded jail, who were entirely dependent on the state to provide them clean water.

The only article that looked at the spill’s impact on inmates was a small, glowing report published two months later in the Charleston Daily Mail. Jail officials trumpeted their success at “protecting” inmates by providing a “plentiful supply of bottled water.”

Joe DeLong, executive director of the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority, told the paper inmates were given eight bottles of water a day and that they had “essentially no access to the contaminated water.” Before the jail returned to using tap water on January 18, DeLong said the jail went through a “very extensive” flushing process that lasted two to three days. They said they weren’t aware of any inmates reporting health problems related to chemical exposure. Continue reading

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Filed under Coal, Water

Eleven arrested at Peabody Coal’s annual shareholder meeting in Missouri

May 9, 2014. Source: Rising Tide North America

Photo: Rising Tide North America

Photo: Rising Tide North America

For the second time in less than a week, activists were arrested at a Peabody Coal demonstration in Missouri yesterday. Seventy-five people rallied at Peabody’s annual shareholder meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton, MO. Members of the local Take Back St. Louis campaign were joined by Dineh (Navajo) Peabody resist-ers from Black Mesa and residents from Rocky Branch, IL, who are currently fighting Peabody’s mine expansion there.

Representatives from Take Back St. Louis, Justice for Rocky Branch and Tonizhoni Ani had bought shares of Peabody in order to attend the shareholder meeting and voice their concerns to CEO Greg Boyce, but were not allowed into the main meeting room with Peabody executives.

When they were placed in an “overflow room,” they walked out of the meeting. The entire rally then marched to the entrance of the Ritz Carlton to deliver a letter outlining the group’s demands to Boyce. Eight people were arrested while trying to enter the Ritz Carlton to deliver the letter. Two other people were arrested attempting to enter the shareholder meeting from the overflow room. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Coal

Don’t allow Peabody Coal to destroy our democracy and environment

Note: Sign the petition here.

-The GJEP Team

Source: Stop Peabody

peabody_23From the hills and hollers of Appalachia to the streets of St. Louis, the forests of southern Illinois and Big Mountain on the Dine Reservation in the southwest, Peabody Coal has long exploited the earth and those living on it.

This year marks the 40th year of Indigenous resistance by the Diné (Navajo) communities of Big Mountain and Black Mesa, Arizona to forced relocation off of ancestral homelands due to Peabody Coal’s massive strip mining. The effects of the relocation meet all the criteria of the UN’s internationally recognized definition of cultural genocide.

In Rocky Branch, Illinois, the Justice for Rocky Branch campaign is fighting Peabody’s recent attempts to expand a large strip mine and take over Rocky Branch road as a mining road. The Justice for Rocky Branch campaign is using lawsuits, lobbying, and direct action to preserve and protect their rural community. Peabody has used intimidation to push some of the local community off their farmland. From Black Mesa to Rocky Branch, we demand not one more relocation at the hands of Peabody Coal. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy

7 Washington University students arrested protesting Peabody Coal

By Jeff Biggers, May 2, 2014. Source: Eco Watch

Photo: EcoWatch

Photo: EcoWatch

On the heels of an earlier arrest of a student at a growing divestment blockade at Harvard University, seven Washington University students were arrested today in St. Louis, as they sought to enter the quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Today’s action followed a historic 17-day sit-in at the St. Louis campus, where hundreds of Washington University students have joined in a campaign to remove Peabody Energy CEO Greg Boyce from the Board of Trustees, as part of other demands to cut university ties with the coal industry giant.

World renowned author Margaret Atwood, appearing yesterday to accept the Arts First award at Harvard, summed it up best at an open forum when asked about the protest: “Any society where arrest is preferable to open dialog is a scary place.”

According to Washington University student Caroline Burney, nearly 100 students rallied in front of the Knight Center, where the Board of Trustees meeting was being held, and then marched to the main doors of the building. Students were faced by a line of police, locked arms, and stated that they were not leaving until they were let into the building to speak with Greg Boyce about his role at the University and on the Board of Trustees. After about forty minutes of singing and chanting, seven students were arrested by St. Louis County Police. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Youth

David vs. Goliath: A tiny tribe takes on big energy

 By Sarah Hoye, April 29, 2014. Source: Al Jazeera

Photo: America Tonight

Photo: America Tonight

MOAPA, Nev. — Surita Hernandez leaned against the frame of her front door, looking nowhere in particular. Some of her brood played on a stack of tossed mattresses. Her husband’s contagious cackle erupted from across the street.“There’s been just so many deaths from people right here on the reservation,” she said matter-of-factly, a light breeze rustling through her waist-length black hair. “Growing up, I don’t remember going to so many funerals.”Hernandez believes a nearby coal-fired power plant is killing her people.

Windy days

Nestled among the sprawling desert mesas, the Moapa River Reservation dates back to 1875. The bond between the 300-member Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the land is strong and deep. The reservation is roughly an hour north of Las Vegas and borders the coal ash landfills of the Reid Gardner Generating Station. On windy days, the coal ash from the plant whips across the desert like a toxic sandstorm. Residents say it forces them to stay indoors. Continue reading

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Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples

Portland Rising Tide occupies Department of Environmental Quality

April 28 2014. Source: Earth First! Newswire

Portland Rising Tide responds to the Global Call for 10 days of Action from Earth Day to May Day by joining other groups who together represent the public’s interest in opposing polluting fossil fuel export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.

About 70 people occupied the lobby of the DEQ and called out local toxic polluters, including ESCO and Precision Castparts (which was recently named the #1 toxic air polluter in the country).

As Governer Kitzhaber recently said in his speech on April 19th to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, “The time has come to end all coal exports in the Pacific Northwest” to stop “the very real consequences of climate change”, as we are “the last generation that can do something about it.”

Rising Tiders say we need to stop much more than coal, and are concerned about the 15 coal, oil, and gas terminals being proposed in the Pacific Northwest that would harm our coast, the Columbia River, local communities, and the global climate.

Some handed out notices that the DEQ was being dissolved, and offering guaranteed employment with the People’s Agency, where their job would be to enforce a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure by denying all permits for coal, oil, and gas export proposals.

They also made a group phone call to Morrow Pacific CEO Clark Moseley, informing him that the DEQ had just been dissolved, that his three permits for a coal export facility at Boardman recently issued by the DEQ have been revoked (issuing what they called a “notice of termination”), and that any pending future permits have been summarily denied. They then left a message on his cell phone for his records

(Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)

There is majority public opposition to exporting global climate crisis and suffering the local health and ecological consequences of fossil fuel terminals. Portland Rising Tide illustrated this tension with a crowd representing the People’s Agency, participating in a tug of war with the Department of Destruction, in the DEQ’s downtown lobby.

Portland Rising Tide’s skepticism of state regulatory agencies protecting us from fossil fuel devastation is fueled by the DSL allowing Ambre Energy 7 extensions to their deadline despite what even Kitzhaber calls ‘repeated failures’ to supply information regarding their project’s legality.

“This process shows that the permitting process is essentially one of approval – with illegal and destructive projects delayed, but never denied,” said Karen Coulter.

Furthermore, ODOT recently issued illegal permits for Omega Morgan’s hauling of tar sands megaloads through the ceded lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, despite substantial public and Umatilla opposition.

More recently, ODOT officials were caught lying about the volume of oil trains rolling through Oregon with their tacit consent. In the ensuing public scandal, they announced their refusal to give the public *any *further information on oil trains.

“We’re here today to show that the public can’t trust the regulatory agencies to protect our ecosystems and future. We have to show each other what it looks when the people take charge, and confront the root causes of climate change,” said Wes Kempfer, a participant in the political theater.

(Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)

Fully two-thirds of the greenhouse gas pollution in the US is legally permitted by regulatory agencies1 <#sdfootnote1sym>. Oregon’s DEQ has already proven their willingness to allow this destruction in Oregon – handing out three permits for Ambre Energy’s coal export facility in Boardman, Oregon.

“I agree with Kitzhaber that it is time to get past 19th century fossil fuels, but it is equally necessary to move beyond the illusion that regulatory agencies are really protecting ecosystems and the public interest,” said Rising Tide member Stephen Quirke. “In fact, we cannot have one without the other.”

“It’s no mystery that climate change follows from the regulatory agency jigsaw puzzle approach to ecological protection, which has too many missing pieces, and doesn’t really fit together,” said Katherine Cotrell, another Rising Tider. “The public needs to intervene if we want a sane response to this truly insane situation.”

In response to the revelation that the Clatskanie oil train terminal was carrying 6 times more than their permit allowed, DEQ charged Global Partners LP $117,000, but failed to halt the oil trains rolling along the Columbia, through rural communities, and ultimately through Portland.

This is the equivalent of one penny per barrel of illegally shipped oil, being transported in the most dangerous way possible. In response to journalist inquiries, ODOT’s rail division announced they would no longer request reports of hazardous oil moving by rail, since they knew it would “not be protected” from the public.

They were over-ruled by the their director and Governor Kitzhaber one day after Rob Davis covered the story. This is just one more reason we cannot trust the regulatory agencies.

The DEQ is currently reviewing air quality permits for Jordan Cove LNG, after FERC gave their approval. DEQ appears set to approve these permits—they say it pollutes less than the Weyerhauser paper mill that used to be on the site.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy