By Steve Horn for Counter Punch – As the U.S. presidential race dominates the media, it is easy to forget that both chambers of the U.S. Congress are currently in session. The U.S. Senate has put a major energy bill on the table, the first of its sort since 2007. The 237-page bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) —S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 — includes provisions that would expedite the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permitting process, heap subsidies on coal technology, and fund research geared toward discovering a way to tap into methane hydrate reserves.
By Karen Vale for Cape Cod Bay Watch. Plymouth, MA – Seventy-three year old Paul Rifkin of Mashpee, Mass. was on trial February 2 at Plymouth District Court. The charge was trespassing at Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Mother’s Day in 2015 during a rally with 40 other protestors. Two people were arrested, and it was Rifkin’s third arrest at Pilgrim. Rifkin refused to plead guilty or accept a deal with the prosecution because his actions last May, he stated, “deserved commendation, not condemnation.” He chose to have a jury trial with the possibility of jail time. A jury of six was selected and Rifkin represented himself.
By JLSTEWCT for Beyond Extreme Energy – Every third Thursday, the morning bustle of Washington, DC’s Union Station plays host to a monthly prelude. Small tables are haphazardly pulled together and the 8am ritual commences. Gathered in a circle and passing around food and coffee, we plan our next round of unwelcome Truth Injections. The objective–to crack a little known but terribly powerful entity near the heart of the Fracked Gas Empire. This entity is frightening, but it houses no monsters. Instead, it houses something far more grotesque–a form of unacknowledged violence persisting under a bureaucratic veneer.
By Staff of Our Power Campaign. Below is a storify of the national day of action against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan which people see as rhetorical cover for expanding the use of methane gas, which is usually fracked gas, incinerators to burn waste and nuclear power. On Tuesday January 19th, activists with the Climate Justice Alliance’s (CJA) Our Power Campaign met with EPA administrators and held rallies outside of EPA offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle. Our Power Campaign, Climate Justice Alliance The actions called for stronger safeguards for frontline communities and a “just transition” to a clean energy future. The called for community-based solutions and transition to a clean energy future. Clean energy does not include methane gas, incinerators or nuclear energy
By Staff of Buck Local News – The Spence family is one of many traveling to Harrisburg for a “Farms, Not Fracking” rally at the opening of the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Saturday, January 9 in Harrisburg. Farmers from across the state, joined by supporters such as the Spences, will converge to bring attention to the negative impact fracking is having on the $2.35 billion a year agriculture industry in Pennsylvania. The Farms Not Fracking rally is being organized by Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, a statewide coalition working to stop fracking.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Renewable energy advocates in Nevada are outraged by the state’s solar-killing moves, and they’re not going down without a fight. The state’s Public Utilities Commission considered requests Wednesday from solar company groups, homeowners, activists, and the state consumer advocate to put a stay on a rate hike that took effect January 1. The Republican-appointed Commission (PUC) in late December voted to increase a fixed monthly fee for solar customers by about 40 percent while simultaneously reducing the amount customers get paid for excess power they sell to the grid.
By Jim Warren of NC WARN. Durham, NC – Duke Energy responded to our insistence for careful examination of the need for a large gas-fired power plant near Asheville by pressing the NC Utilities Commission to fast-track its approval of the controversial project. The project would add nearly 800 megawatts of gas-fired generation capacity to service the western parts of both Carolinas. Duke has committed to closing two coal-fired units at the site, which provided power totaling 174 MW in 2014. NC WARN and The Climate Times has responded by reminding the Commission that it is required to carefully examine the project by conducting evidentiary hearings that allow expert testimony and cross-examination of Duke officials.
By Shane Ferro for The Huffington Post – Solar is the energy employer of the future — or at least that’s how the numbers look today. A new report on the state of the solar industry out Tuesday from the nonprofit Solar Foundation shows that the number of jobs in the United States in the solar industry outpaced those in the oil and gas industries for the first time ever. As of November 2015 there were almost 209,000 people who worked in the solar industry, 90 percent of whom only work on solar-related projects, according to the report. There were only about 185,000 people working in oil and gas in the United States in December 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By Leila Roberts for Our Power Campaign – Albuquerque, NM | 12 January 2016 — Environmental justice leaders from frontline communities hardest-hit by climate change and pollution will converge on 10 Environmental Protection Agency regional office headquarters Jan. 19, 2016, to mark the end of the final public comment period for the Obama Administration’s federal Clean Power Plan to reduce power plant carbon emissions 32% by 2030. These peaceful protests and press conferences will launch the “Our Power Plan,” the Climate Justice Alliance’s answer to the Clean Power Plan. Community leaders are also arranging private meetings with EPA Regional Administrators on that day.
By Sue Sturgis for Institute for Southern Studies – After tens of thousands of tons of coal ash and millions of gallons of contaminated water spilled into the Dan River from a waste impoundment at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina in 2014, the legislature passed the Coal Ash Management Act requiring the state environmental agency to issue risk ratings for all of the company’s coal ash impoundments by the end of 2015 to help set cleanup priorities. According to a draft report made public last month, the Department of Environmental Quality’s professional staff determined that 19 of Duke’s 32 coal ash ponds pose a high risk to North Carolina communities, meaning that under the law they’d have to be excavated and the wet ash dried and moved to safer lined landfills by August 2019.
By Peter Nightingale for RI Future – During the last two days activists filed rebuttals with the Energy Facility Siting Board as they contest Invenergy’s attempt to suppress public input on its proposal to build a fracked-gas power plant proposal. In a press release late last month Fossil Free Rhode Island cited as reasons for filing a motion for intervention with the Board: The construction of the proposed power plant —part of the energy policy of team Raimondo— would slow down the transition to renewable energy.
By Daphne Bramham for The Vancouver Sun – With its echoes of Hollywood movies, it’s not surprising that an armed uprising by white ranchers in the American West wanting free range over public land has gained international attention. But while the ranchers and self-proclaimed militia are occupying an abandoned federal building in southeast Oregon, there’s a similar — albeit more peaceful — occupation taking place in northeastern British Columbia. The unarmed British Columbians are refusing to leave the site where BC Hydro plans to clear-cut parts of the Peace River Valley and flood 57,000 acres of farmland in order to construct an $8.3-billion hydroelectric dam.
By Jack Balkwill for Dissident Voice. There have been many victories and we need to celebrate them. Among the victories was stopping the northern portion of the KXL pipeline, various new laws in 24 states to prevent police violence and an increase inprosecutions of police who commit violence, and the increase in wages across the country and winning the critically important battle for net neutrality. These were people-powered victories that showed when we act together we have the power to defeat corporate interests. Another ongoing series of victories is seeing local people, who have not been involved in activism, working along with experienced, often young, energy activists, taking on big energy companies in an aggressive way. This is a victory.
By Mark Jacobson for Eco Watch – Nuclear is an opportunity cost relative to clean, renewable wind, water and solar energy because of a. the significant lag time between planning and operation of a nuclear plant relative to a wind, solar, or geothermal plant; b. higher carbon emissions of nuclear per unit energy; and c. nuclear weapons proliferation risks, meltdown risks, waste disposal risks, and uranium mining risks. As such, the only basis for nuclear growth is if 100% wind, water and solar is not possible.
By Sue Branford for Mongabay. Brazil’s Public Federal Ministry (Ministério Público Federal, MPF), an independent state body, has started legal proceedings to have it recognised that the crime of “ethnocide” was committed on seven indigenous groups due to the severe detrimental impacts on their lives made by the building of the giant Belo Monte hydroelectric power station that will soon begin operating on the Xingu River in eastern Amazonia. The charges have been made against Brazil’s federal government and Norte Energia, the contractor that built the dam. After carrying out a lengthy study that fills 50 books and includes contributions from a wide range of experts, the MPF has concluded that the “social organization, customs, languages and traditions” of the indigenous groups have been destroyed by the construction of the dam. The MPF says: “The villages became covered in garbage, with a proliferation of disease as a result, illnesses such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes became common because of the change in diet, child mortality surged, along with alcoholism, drug consumption and prostitution”.