Sustainable Sundays: Sequester Cuts Threaten National Parks, Shell Pulls Out of Arctic Drilling This Summer, California’s Draft Fracking Rules Among Weakest in Nation, Think Progress’ 8 Inspiring Things That Happened Since Trayvon Martin Was Tragically Killed One Year Ago Today and more on Sustainable Sundays!
Great news for the Arctic, polar bears and other creatures of the Far North: Shell Oil has announced it won’t drill in Alaska’s Beaufort or Chukchi seas this summer. Wednesday’s announcement follows a series of mishaps for Shell in the Arctic, including one of its drilling rigs running aground earlier this year.
The Center for Biological Diversity and allies have been pushing for years to stop drilling in the Arctic ocean, home to polar bears and other imperiled creatures that would be devastated by an oil spill. More than a million people sent messages to President Obama last year urging him not to allow Arctic drilling. Shell began exploratory drilling operations last summer but was beset by a series of mishaps.
“Although Shell calls this simply a ‘pause’ in its plans for Arctic drilling, we think it ought to be a permanent stop,” said Rebecca Noblin, the Center’s Alaska director. “Drilling in the Arctic can never be made safe for polar bears, whales and ice seals or the fragile ecosystems where they live. President Obama ought to use the opportunity to rethink his support for Arctic drilling and take if off the table forever.”
Coincidentally, Wednesday was also International Polar Bear Day. What a great way to celebrate.
Read more in The New York Times.
As oil companies gear up for a hydraulic fracturing boom in California, state regulators have proposed industry-friendly fracking regulations that would do little to protect the state’s air, water and wildlife from pollution. The Center for Biological Diversity, in comments submitted this week, is pressing officials to recognize that the draft fracking rules fail to protect the public and fall far short of legal requirements.
In a boisterous public meeting in Los Angeles earlier this month, the Center’s Kassie Siegel told California officials that their proposal would not allow for a real assessment of the impacts of fracking, or for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The state’s proposal to exempt fracking with diesel from the state’s Underground Injection Control Program would also violate the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The federal government has already criticized California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources for not doing enough to protect state water from oil industry pollution.
The Center also pointed out other fatal flaws in the draft regulations and urged state officials to replace the extraordinarily weak regulatory proposal with a simple prohibition on fracking.
Yesterday Time Magazine declared that Keystone had become the Stonewall and the Selma of the climate movement — and today we got a reminder of just how tough those fights were, and how tough this one will be.
On a Friday afternoon, with Secretary of State John Kerry half a world away and D.C. focused on the budget fight, the State Department released a new environmental impact statement for the pipeline. Like the last such report, it found that approving a 800,000 barrel-a-day fuse to one of the planet’s biggest carbon bombs was “unlikely to have a substantial impact” on the tar sands or the climate.
That, in a word, is nonsense — some of our most important climate scientists in the U.S. have written the State Department to explain exactly how dangerous Keystone is. Just yesterday Europe’s top climate diplomat pointed out that it would send a truly terrible signal to the rest of the world.
President Obama will be making a decision in a few short months. I won’t lie: today’s report makes the odds look even tougher — and the power of the fossil fuel lobby hasn’t waned one bit.
But I’m reminded that the last time the State Department issued an environmental impact statement about the pipeline, we were just beginning this fight. That day in 2011, 50 people were arrested at the White House during the very first wave of protests against the pipeline.
This time around we’re tens of thousands of people stronger, and once again, I think we are just beginning to fight.
In these next months we need to send a signal to the White House that we’re not standing down. There are two things I think we should begin working on immediately.
First — since it’s clear that the polite but firm warnings of our top climate scientists aren’t being heard –anytime that the President or Secretary of State Kerry appears in public, it’s crucial that we let them know that we won’t accept this pipeline or the damage it will do to our climate. We need a team of rapid responders coast-to-coast who can turn around with 24 hours notice and raise a ruckus at these events when we find out about them.
I should also say that with our global network, both President Obama and Secretary Kerry can expect to hear from folks when they head abroad as well.
Second, we need to raise the heat this spring and summer. Significantly. To get a jump on the season, 350.org and our allies will be hosting a massive day of action and training at venues across the country in May. It will be the first muster for the grassroots army we hope will fan out across the nation this summer, and a unified statement of our intention to fight this pipeline.
Even as we stick it to the pipeline, we’re going on offense as well, with a student-led divestment campaign that grows by the day (and increasingly moves off campus to city governments and faith communities too), and a Global Power Shift gathering this June in Turkey to gather young leaders across the globe.
I don’t know how this will all go down — only that it won’t go down easily. After watching Arctic sea ice practically disappear last summer, and Superstorm Sandy hit New York, I can also tell you that this is a key moment for our planet, and your role in it will be remembered for a long, long time — as will the President’s.
Here’s how Time put it yesterday: “There are many climate problems a President can’t solve, but Keystone XL isn’t one of them. It’s a choice between Big Oil and a more sustainable planet.” As with those historic moments at Stonewall or Selma, “The right answer isn’t always somewhere in the middle.”
Thanks for all you’ve done, and thanks for all you’ll do.
One year ago today, Trayvon Martin — an unarmed 17-year-old boy on his way home from 7-11 — was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The murder trial is scheduled to begin this June. A separate hearing may be held in April to determine whether Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law gives Zimmerman immunity.
While nothing can make up for the events of February 26, 2012, many people have responded to the tragedy with compassion, courage and strength. Here are some of the most inspiring things that have happened over the last year.
1. 192 colleagues of Trayvon Martin’s mother donated 1,362 hours of their vacation time so she could grieve.
“Sybrina Fulton, who has worked at the Miami-Dade County housing authority for 23 years, collected $40,825 worth of donated vacation time, county records show… the Miami-Dade County Commission passed a resolution sponsored by Bruno Barreiro, Barbara Jordan and Jose “Pepe” Diaz to allow county employees to donate vacation time to Fulton…Records show 192 county employees gave Fulton some of their hours” [Miami Herald, 5/12/2012]
2. Sanford, Florida has a new police chief who has pledged to finally address “long-standing racial tensions between the police department and the African-American community.”
The police chief who decided not to charge George Zimmerman was fired. [ABC7, 2/18/2013]
3. Dozens of major companies ended their support for ALEC, the right-wing group who championed “Stand Your Ground” laws.
The companies that ended their support for the American Legislative Exchange Council include “Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Procter & Gamble, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, Dell Computers, Best Buy, General Motors and Walgreens.” ALEC was also forced to end it’s “Public Safety and Election Task Force,” which advocated for “Stand Your Ground” laws around the country. At least 39 lawmakers have also ended their association with ALEC.[ThinkProgress, 4/17/2012; ThinkProgress, 8/7/2012; ThinkProgress, 5/18/2012]
4. Thousands of people peacefully gathered in Sanford, Florida to demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
[News 10, 3/22/2012]
5. A United States Congressman went on the floor of the House of Representatives in a hoodie to show solidarity with Trayvon.
Illionis Rep. Bobby Rush said, “Racial profiling has to stop Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.” After delivering a rousing speech, he was escorted from the floor for violating decorum. [NBC News, 3/28/2012]
6. Legislation to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws was introduced in four states.
The law was cited by the police as the reason Zimmerman was not arrested for weeks after Martin was killed. [Yahoo, 1/26/2013]
7. Students at Howard University produced this video to highlight the racial profiling of young black men.
“All young black men are not suspicious. We don’t deserve to be harassed, murdered, prosecuted or denied the protections of the justice system all because America believes that we are suspicious… Some of us have already and will eventually change the world. All are not suspicious.”
8. President Obama spoke out about Trayvon Martin in the Rose Garden.
“My main message is to the parents: If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.” [3/23/2012]
By Judd Legum (Think Progress)
How Republicans Plan To Rig The Next Presidential Election!
By now, I’m sure you know just how serious the situation is for our national parks due to the sequester cuts which will go into effect later today. I know you are as concerned as we are about this. Below is an NPCA press release with more information. Please help us do everything we can in the days ahead to protect our national parks from these damaging cuts.
Battle of the Climate Process
We have been on the front lines of the fight against global warming — and on front pages, too — for years now with some of the country’s most innovative legal, policy and grassroots campaigns to save the globe from irreversible climate catastrophe. Last year we started our Clean Air Cities campaign, which urges cities to sign formal resolutions calling on the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to make dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas pollution; we’ve already signed on 40 cities, including Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Miami and Nashville. We’ll grow that number substantially in 2013.
Our Climate Law Institute will continue with our other pioneering climate work, including to save the Arctic from oil drilling, to stop dirty fuel-extraction methods like oil and tar sands development and fracking, to improve fuel economy, to protect warming-threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and more. So stay tuned to find out what new tricks we have up our sleeves; we’re not giving it all away yet.
Learn about our work at the Climate Law Institute.
Sunset Records - Sunset Urban - Tropical Records - Sunset Connect - Bomb Baby
- Fracking Decision Delayed Pending Health Studies (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Good Job Everyone! Shell Pulls Out of Arctic Drilling This Summer! And, Its because of us! (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Update: Keystone XL gets blessing from U.S. State Department, clears major hurdle (calgaryherald.com)
- Did the State Dept. set its Keystone XL assessment up for failure in court? (junkscience.com)
- State Department Clears Keystone Pipeline For Approval (news.firedoglake.com)
- Keystone XL draft pushes Obama further into a corner (business.financialpost.com)
- Draft Assessment of Tar Sands Pipeline “Devastatingly Cynical” (ipsnews.net)
- Minister Oliver Comments on Release of Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Proposed Keystone XL Project (sys-con.com)
- State Dept. Releases Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement (commondreams.org)
- Texans affected by the Keystone XL pipeline – lets get ready to rumble – #NoKXL (texasvox.org)