February 11, 2020
The threats to water access have been in the news for more than a decade, but grow more dire as corporations become ever-more psychotically driven for profit, commodification of access to water becomes normal, and climate crisis changes the patterns of water availability.
But first the news.

Table of Contents

Activist News

Water Wars

Indigenous Leaders

Youth Leaders

Resilience & Deep Adaptation

Science, Climate & Climate Crisis Drivers

In Case You Missed It

<name=”delaware-riverkeeper-network”>People’s Dossier of FERC Abuses:
Stripping People’s Rights

FERC Denies the Public their Right to Due Process Before Property Rights are Taken, and Irreparable Environmental and Community Harm is Approved

FERC routinely uses a legal loophole (a tool called a tolling order) to deny the public the right to challenge approval of a pipeline project before it allows private companies to seize property rights via eminent domain and before FERC approves pipeline construction to begin in ways that inflict irreparable environmental and community harm.

How FERC Forces Communities Into Legal Limbo

Under federal law, a private party is not allowed to legally challenge FERC approval of a pipeline project until they have first submitted a rehearing request to FERC, and FERC has affirmatively granted or denied that request. Rather than do one or the other, FERC’s practice is to issue a “tolling order” in response to such requests, which temporarily grants the request but only “for further consideration”. As a result, the public’s ability to challenge the FERC decision is put into legal limbo until such time as FERC renders and issues its final decision regarding the rehearing request. It is common for FERC to place people in this legal limbo for up to a year or more, while allowing the pipeline company to advance its project, take property, cut through forests, and begin construction.

There does not appear to be a single instance when FERC has granted a rehearing request submitted by the public — as such, the denial is a foregone conclusion and the use of tolling orders is an obvious ploy to allow pipeline projects to advance unfettered by any legal challenge. The harms inflicted by the delay in responding to the rehearing requests cannot be undone or fully remedied later – forests cut cannot be instantly regrown; property rights, once taken, are not returned.

The New York Attorney General condemned FERC’s use of tolling orders “to extend the pendency of rehearing petitions in order to avoid judicial review of FERC orders. FERC’s use of tolling orders undermines congressional intent, infringes upon property rights of landowners, and renders judicial review meaningless.” (Attchment 1) FERC Commissioner Glick has joined the impacted public (i.e the focus of this Dossier) in urging Congress to enact reforms to end this harmful practice:

This situation highlights the need for Congress to enact legislation amending the judicial review provisions of the Natural Gas Act and the Federal Power Act to account for the ability of an aggrieved party to seek redress in the courts of appeal. It is fundamentally unfair to deprive parties of an opportunity to pursue their claims in court, especially while pipeline construction is ongoing. (Attch 2)

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Northeast Upgrade Project (TGP NEUP)

In the case of Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC, 753 F.3d 1304 (D.C. Cir. 2014), FERC’s use of a tolling order prevented any sort of real remedy even where a court ruled that FERC had violated the National Environmental Policy Act in allowing the use of segmentation and failing to consider cumulative impacts in its review and approval of the pipeline project.…

The seven months of legal limbo meant that by the time the Delaware Riverkeeper Network secured the court ruling that FERC had in fact violated federal law in their review and approval of the TGP NEUP pipeline, the project was fully constructed and in operation.…—”People’s Dossier of FERC Abuses: Stripping People’s Rights,” Delaware Riverkeeper Network

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D.C. Circuit En Banc Review
of FERC Tolling Orders
Could Have Profound Implications
for Infrastructure Projects Requiring FERC Approval

On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit), sitting en banc, will hear arguments challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) use of “tolling orders.” Because FERC routinely uses tolling orders across all areas of its responsibility, the Court’s actions could have profound, and potentially extremely negative, implications for any FERC-regulated industry. In particular, a decision forcing FERC to curtail its use of tolling orders could create new legal risks and barriers for natural gas and oil pipelines, electric transmission lines, and other energy infrastructure requiring FERC approval.

The use of tolling orders arises from the rehearing requirement, common to both the Natural Gas Act and the Federal Power Act (the primary statutes under which FERC regulates the energy industry), which requires any party seeking to challenge a final FERC order to first file a petition for rehearing with the agency raising all issues that party may raise in an appeal. FERC, in turn, is required to address the rehearing petition within 30 days. Otherwise, the rehearing petition is denied by operation of the statute. In order to fully address the arguments raised in rehearing petitions, which routinely run to 100 pages or more in complex matters, FERC has for decades issued “tolling orders,” which suspend the 30-day statutory deadline in order to allow FERC to fully address arguments raised on rehearing. 

The DC Circuit’s decision to take the highly unusual step of reviewing this FERC practice en banc arises from an otherwise routine appeal of a FERC order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity to permit construction of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline. Under the Natural Gas Act, once FERC issues a certificate of public convenience and necessity, the sponsor of a natural gas pipeline is permitted to condemn private property in the approved pipeline right of way. In an otherwise routine decision issued in August, the DC Circuit upheld FERC’s order granting Atlantic Sunrise’s certificate of public convenience and necessity against challenges from landowners and environmental groups opposing the pipeline.

The decision, however, includes a lengthy and impassioned concurring opinion from Judge Patricia Millett arguing that FERC’s practice of issuing tolling orders creates a “Kafkaesque” process that allows pipeline sponsors to proceed with condemnations once FERC approves the project, while property owners are “jurisdictionally locked . . . out of federal court.” That is, because FERC orders are final once issued, the pipeline sponsor is permitted to proceed with condemnation proceedings and other construction activities once FERC issues its order, unless the opponent obtains a stay.… Apparently, Judge Millett’s reasoning was sufficiently persuasive that a majority of the eleven active DC Circuit judges voted to take the highly unusual step of reviewing en banc the August decision of the three-judge panel.…—”DC Circuit FERC Tolling Orders Review Implications,” James M. Auslander, National Law Review, 1/17/20

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FERC reorganizes
to address landowner disputes

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is launching a reorganization to better focus on rehearing requests from landowners affected by energy infrastructure permits, the chairman announced late last week.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is launching a reorganization to better focus on rehearing requests from landowners affected by energy infrastructure permits, the chairman announced late last week.

The reorganization includes a new “rehearings” section within the Office of the General Counsel to focus on requests filed under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act, which details FERC’s responsibilities to permit interstate pipeline projects.

Further reading: Energy Subcommittee Announces Oversight Hearing on the Natural Gas Act

Should the court rule unfavorably on our use of tolling orders, there’s no way to cordon it off to the Natural Gas Act. urt rule unfavorably on our use of tolling orders, there’s no way to cordon it off to the Natural Gas Act,” he said. “It would apply to the Federal Power Act and to electricity matters as well … it would fundamentally alter the functioning of the commission if we can no longer utilize tolling orders.—FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee|ProPolitico

“Our objective today is to reinforce the Commission’s commitment to ensure landowners are afforded a judicially appealable rehearing order as quickly as possible,” FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in a statement.

“I am confident that this action will help substantially reduce the amount of time we take to issue rehearing orders in these critical cases,” he said.

Chatterjee has made landowner rights’ a more central focus. In September 2019, he moved to prioritize rehearing requests to avoid extending the rehearing decisionmaking process beyond its 30-day timeline.…—”ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE: FERC reorganizes to address landowner disputes,” Jeremy Dillon, E&E News, 2/3/20

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‘Colonialism In All Its Ugliness’:
Indigenous Land Defenders
Condemn Violent Police Raid
on Camp Blocking Pipeline Construction

“We are in absolute outrage and a state of painful anguish as we witness the Wet’suwet’en people having their Title and Rights brutally trampled on and their right to self-determination denied.”

Climate action campaigners and Indigenous leaders on Thursday condemned a violent pre-dawn raid by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at a camp set up by Wet’suwet’en land defenders in British Columbia.

Dozens of RCMP officers—backed up by dog teams, drones with infrared sensors, and tactical officers armed with “what appeared to be sniper and assault rifles,” according to VICE—arrived at the Unist’ot’en Camp near Houston, British Columbia shortly before 5:00 am, a month after the Wet’suwet’en evicted Coastal GasLink from their land.

Further reading: Canadian Police Raid Indigenous Land to Help Build $6B Pipeline – VICE

The company plans to clear a logging road in Wet’suwet’en territory to make way for a pipeline which all five Wet’suwet’en clans have unanimously opposed under the tribe’s code of laws, known as Anuc niwh’it’en. In 1997, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the Wet’suwet’en had not given up rights to their land—more than 8,000 square miles in British Columbia.…—”‘Colonialism In All Its Ugliness’: Indigenous Land Defenders Condemn Violent Police Raid on Camp Blocking Pipeline Construction,” Julia Conley,  Common Dreams News, 2/6/20

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Extinction Rebellion Capital RegionShuts Down
NY State Comptroller DiNapoli Office

On Friday Extinction Rebellion Capital Region occupied the NY State Comptroller’s office for several hours to draw attention to the climate emergency and demand that NY state divest pensions from fossil fuel investments. Eleven activists were arrested. WOOC correspondent Elizabeth Press was there and brings you some voices from the protest starting with Mark Dunlea.

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Iroquois Pipeline
Enhancement by Compression Project

Iroquois Enhancement by Compression (ExC) project would add 48,000 Hp spread over three existing compressor stations at Athens NY, Dover NY, and Brookfield CT, and coolers at Milford CT.  These are all south of the Wright compressor station in Schoharie NY, where Constitution gas would have been delivered.  Proposed to be in service November 2023.

Further resources Northeast Pipeline Interconnects | Interactive Iroquois Pipeline System Map
Project Overview: A ‘compression Only’ Alternative to Provide Additional Capacity to NYC PDF

Stated purpose is to increase capacity to import 125 MM cf/d of nat gas from Canada at Iroquois’ interconnect with the TC Energy Canadian mainline in Waddington NY and deliver this to New York utilities Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. and National Grid’s KeySpan Gas East Corp.  These two utilities would share this capacity equally and finance the $272 million cost under a contract for 20 years signed May 8, 2019.  Redacted copy of contract (65 pages) has been posted by NYS DPS, 2019 – Gas – Contract No.42 .

A dekatherm is (roughly) a thousand cubic feet of gas. A thousand dekatherms is (roughly) a million cubic feet of gas. 125K dekatherms is then about 125 million cubic feet of gas (often written MMCF) for NYS;  the additional 125k dkthm/day at 2.6% leakage results in about 3.25 MMT/yr CO2E in combustion and leakage.  At 5.6%, the combustion/leakage is around 5MMT/yr CO2E. 

Clearly these increases do not align with state GHG emission reduction goals under CLCPA.  All of this feeds the expanded appetite for gas in LI and NYC, which also represents the wrong direction for us to be moving.  If state incentives for ashp/gshp and pilot geothermal programs coming from NYSERDA or utilities were sufficient& well-managed, we would expect to see less gas moving to the metropolitan area.  So this expansion proposal represents a failure in planning, and state agency oversight, and an utter lack of commitment to new state law.—Dennis Higgins,  [See also New York City Announcing Intent to Ban New Fossil Fuel Projects | Common Dreams Newswire —Editor]

Originally, Constitution was to be exported 650 MM cf/d of nat gas to Canada via the the same interconnect at Waddington.  Although Iroquois announced the SoNo project to reverse the flow on its length north of Wright station, it never filed this project with FERC.  (Capacity of SoNo was to be same as Constitution.)  Eventually Iroquois admitted that because of regulatory uncertainty, it would not until the Constitution Pipeline Project began construction.  ExC project indicates that Iroquois has no expectation of receiving gas from Constitution at its interconnect in Schoharie.

The ExC is a relatively minor upgrade.  No new pipe will be laid, just equipment added at four existing compressor stations.  However if you look at statistics on accidents that are compiled by federal PHMSA, the newest infrastructure is as dangerous as the oldest infrastructure — a classic ‘bathtub’ curve (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve). Likely this is due to mistakes in materials and construction that were missed by inspectors.—”Iroquois Pipeline Enhancement by Compression Project,” Brian Brock, The Banner, 2/10/20

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Greenpeace Greets New BP CEO
by Shutting Down London Headquarters
With Oil Barrels and 500 Solar Panels

“Their new CEO needs to accept that if BP wants to keep trading in the twenty-first century, they need to switch to 100% renewable energy.”

 About 100 Greenpeace U.K. campaigners temporarily shut down BP’s London headquarters Wednesday by delivering 500 solar panels to the office and locking themselves to oil barrels in an effort to pressure the fossil fuel giant’s new chief executive to take the climate crisis seriously and support a global transition to renewable energy.

“Today is the first day on the job of BP’s new CEO, Bernard Looney, who is expected to commission a report on BP’s future direction in a warming world, to be published in the summer,” Greenpeace U.K. said in a statement. “But despite the warm words, BP are still intending to spend $71 billion developing new oil and gas fields this decade… and they are a world leader in lobbying to block legislation which could speed up the carbonation of our economy.”…—”Greenpeace Greets New BP CEO by Shutting Down London Headquarters With Oil Barrels and 500 Solar Panels,” Common Dreams News, 2/5/20

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The Zombie Jordan Cove LNG Project
in Southern Oregon

As Jordan Cove project struggles, a new vision emerges:

The news from southern Oregon looks promising: There is growing evidence that the Jordan Cove LNG export project will run aground, sharing the same fate as every other major Northwest fossil fuel project over the last decade. When the project backer, Pembina, withdrew its permit application from the Oregon Department of State Lands in late January, many heralded the scheme’s demise. But Jordan Cove has returned, zombie-like, several times before—and this time may be no different. Some observers believe that Pembina may try to get approval from federal regulators and then resubmit its application to state level after the Trump Administration weakens key provisions in the US Clean Water Act, potentially forcing a showdown over whether federal water laws can preempt state authority.

The fight over Jordan Cove is emblematic of Northwest’s long-running opposition movement to coal, oil, and gas export projects that Sightline calls the thin green line. For a decade, Cascadians have opposed carbon fuel proposals in unprecedented numbers, repeatedly packing local hearing rooms to standing-room-only, burying government agencies with hundreds of thousands of comment letters, and committing scores of acts of civil disobedience. The movement has even spawned its own art.…—”Re-imagining a Pipeline Route in Southern Oregon,” Eric de Place, Sightline Institute, 2/7/20

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Albany Loop Pipeline/E37: The Latest

Mark Dunlea of Sanctuary for Independent Media interviews Robert Connors on the Albany Loop Pipeline/E37 proposal and the Feb. 6 SNYFGP E37 actions

During this ten minute interview, not much time to complain about the Public Service Commission’s policy of not allowing the public to speak at its meetings and unfairness of not releasing its meeting agenda to the public only a short time before the meeting itself. <>Back to Activist News
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Water Wars

Towns sell their public water systems — and come to regret it

Trump promised infrastructure investments, but aid doesn’t appear to be coming.

This hard-luck town just south of Chicago is weighing a decision confronting many small and midsize cities with shrinking populations and chronic budget deficits: whether to sell the public water system to a for-profit corporation.

Lake Station desperately needs the cash. Once solidly middle-class, the town of 12,000 has suffered from cutbacks at nearby steel mills, statewide caps on property taxes, and debt incurred to build a pricey new City Hall.…—”Towns sell their public water systems — and come to regret it,” Elizabeth Douglass, The Washington Post, 7/8/17

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Inside the bad math
that lets Coca-Cola say it gives back
all the water it uses

A year-long investigation reveals that Coca-Cola has been grossly exaggerating its water record.

When Coca-Cola announced plans earlier this year to recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030, the company touted the effort as building on its success with sustainable water use. In a 2016 full-page ad published in The New York Times, the company proclaimed, “For every drop we use, we give one back,” boasting on its website that it was “the first Fortune 500 company to hit such an aggressive target.” But a year of reporting into Coca-Cola’s water program shows that the company is grossly exaggerating its water record, which suggests that its new “World Without Waste” recycling plan should also be viewed with skepticism.

Further reading A Transformative Partnership to Conserve Water: The Coca-Cola Company and WWF Annual 2017 Report|WWF
Coca-Cola | Partnerships | WWF
WWF International accused of ‘selling its soul’ to corporations

Coca-Cola came under fire for its water practices in the mid-2000s. (The company did not answer specific questions, but it did issue a lengthy statement for this article.) Coca-Cola keeps distribution costs low by tapping local water sources, a practice it has continued since the company’s early success at Atlanta-area soda fountains in the late 1800s. By the 2000s, however, local people in some of the world’s increasingly water-stressed regions were looking more critically at big water users, and Coca-Cola found itself a target of public ire. By 2007, US college students took up the cause, calling for a nationwide boycott in support of Indian farmers who accused the company of stealing their water and livelihoods. It was an international PR nightmare that threatened Coca-Cola’s brand image and global business strategy.…—”Inside the bad math that lets Coca-Cola say it gives back all the water it uses,” Christine MacDonald, The Verge, 5/31/18

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The Evolutionary Power of Children and Teenagers

The cognitive scientist on the creativity of the young human brain and how it keeps us growing as a species.

Christa Tippett: I have a question I generally ask everyone I interview, whoever they are, just wondering about the spiritual or religious background of their childhood, however they understand that now. But it occurs to me, a word that — you are trained as a philosopher; that was your first love, and I wondered — I would add to that, how would you think about the spiritual, religious, or philosophical background of your childhood?

Alison Gopnik: So we were brought up as absolutely militant atheists — militant, serious atheists. That was very much the creed in our household. And I retain that creed to this day. But on the other hand, what I like to think of as sort of the numinous, rather than the spiritual, the sense of awe and relation to a world that’s much bigger than you are, a set of emotions about the significance and meaning of what’s going on around you — that whole set of emotions and feelings and beliefs — that was something that was very much a part of my childhood.

Essentially — I’ve written about thisour creed was Modernist literature and art. So we got taken to see the Seagram’s building the way that other kids would’ve been taken to see a cathedral. And we went to see Beckett and Brecht — in fact, we acted in Beckett and Brecht — the way that other kids might go to church. So we had some very intense aesthetic and literary values, and I do think those intense aesthetic and literary values are very closely connected to what’s often called spiritual values.…—”The Evolutionary Power of Children and Teenagers,” Krista Tippett, Alison Gopnik, The On Being Project, 1/23/20

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Leasing the Rain

The world is running out of fresh water, and the fight to control it began decades ago.

In April of 2000, in the central plaza of the beautiful old Andean city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, the body of Víctor Hugo Daza lay on a makeshift bier. Daza, a seventeen-year-old student, had been shot in the face by the Army during protests sparked by an increase in local water rates. These protests had been growing for months, and unrest had also erupted in other parts of the country. The national government had just declared martial law. In Cochabamba, a city of eight hundred thousand, the third largest in Bolivia, a good part of the population was now in the streets, battling police and soldiers in what people had started calling la guerra del agua—the Water War. Peasants from the nearby countryside manned barricades, sealing off all roads to the city. The protesters had captured the central plaza, where thousands milled around a tiled fountain and the catafalque of Víctor Daza. Some of their leaders had been arrested and taken to a remote prison in the Amazon; others were in hiding.

The chief demand of the water warriors, as they were called, was the removal of a private, foreign-led consortium that had taken over Cochabamba’s water system. For the Bolivian government, breaking with the consortium—which was dominated by the United States-based Bechtel Corporation—was unthinkable, politically and financially. Bolivia had signed a lucrative, long-term contract. Renouncing it would be a blow to the confidence of foreign investors in a region where national governments and economies depend on such confidence for their survival. (Argentina’s recent bankruptcy was caused in large part by a loss of credibility with international bankers.) The rebellion in Cochabamba was setting off loud alarms, particularly among the major corporations in the global water business. This business has been booming in recent years—Enron was a big player, before its collapse—largely because of the worldwide drive to privatize public utilities.…—”Leasing the Rain,” William Finnegan, The New Yorker, 4/8/02

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The Key to the Environmental Crisis
is Beneath Our Feet

The Green New Deal resolution that was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in February hit a wall in the Senate, where it was called unrealistic and unaffordable. In a Washington Post article titled “The Green New Deal Sets Us Up for Failure. We Need a Better Approach,” former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John More

The problem may be that a transition to 100% renewables is the wrong target. Reversing climate change need not mean emptying our pockets and tightening our belts. It is possible to sequester carbon and restore our collapsing ecosystem using the financial resources we already have, and it can be done while at the same time improving the quality of our food, water, air and general health.

The Larger Problem – and the Solution – Is in the Soil

Contrary to popular belief, the biggest environmental polluters are not big fossil fuel companies. They are big agribusiness and factory farming, with six powerful food industry giants – Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Dean Foods, Dow AgroSciences, Tyson and Monsanto (now merged with Bayer) – playing a major role. Oil-dependent farming, industrial livestock operations, the clearing of carbon-storing fields and forests, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the combustion of fuel to process and distribute food are estimated to be responsible for as much as one-half of human-caused pollution. Climate change, while partly a consequence of the excessive relocation of carbon and other elements from the earth into the atmosphere, is more fundamentally just one symptom of overall ecosystem distress from centuries of over-tilling, over-grazing, over-burning, over-hunting, over-fishing and deforestation.…—”The Key to the Environmental Crisis is Beneath Our Feet,” Ellen Brown, Counterpunch, 12/31/19

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Mexico: defender of monarch butterflies
found dead two weeks after he vanished

Activists say death of Homero Gómez González found floating in a well could be over illegal logging disputes

A Mexican environmental activist who fought to protect the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly has been found dead in the western state of Michoacán, two weeks after he disappeared.

Homero Gómez González, a former logger who managed El Rosario butterfly reserve, vanished on 13 January. His body was found floating in a well on Wednesday, reportedly showing signs of torture.

Further reading: More than 300 human rights activists were killed in 2019

The motive for his murder remains unknown, but some activists speculated that it could have been related to disputes over illegal logging.

Last week, authorities called in 53 police officers from the surrounding municipalities for questioning.

Gómez González’s death comes as the murder rate continues to surge in a country where environmental defenders, human rights workers and community activists are routinely targeted for their work.…—”Mexico: defender of monarch butterflies found dead two weeks after he vanished,” David Agren,The Guardian, 1/30/20

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Kauai utility hits mark
supplies island with 100% renewable energy

While the state is moving towards a goal of 100% renewables by 2045, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is already accomplishing that on a smaller scale.

KIUC claims that for five hours last Tuesday, all electricity on Kauai — which provides power to a population of about 100,000, including visitors — was generated 100% by renewable resources.

It was not the first time that has happened, according to KIUC in a news release. It was actually one of 11 days in the last five weeks, or since Nov. 22, that KIUC successfully supplied all of the grid’s electric needs with 100% renewables for an extended period lasting several hours.… —”Kauai utility hits mark of supplying island with 100% renewable energy,” Nina Wu, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 12/19/19

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Majority of US Adults Believe Climate Change
Is Most Important Issue Today

Nearly half of 18-34-year-olds say that stress about climate change affects their lives

WASHINGTON — As the effects of climate change become more evident, more than half of U.S. adults (56%) say climate change is the most important issue facing society today, yet 4 in 10 have not made any changes in their behavior to reduce their contribution to climate change, according to a new poll by the American Psychological Association. 

While 7 in 10 say they wish there were more they could do to combat climate change, 51% of U.S. adults say they don’t know where to start. And as the election race heats up, 62% say they are willing to vote for a candidate because of his or her position on climate change.

The survey was conducted online from Dec. 12-16, 2019, by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association. 

People are taking some steps to combat climate change, with 6 in 10 saying they have changed a behavior to reduce their contribution to climate change. Nearly three-quarters (72%) say they are very or somewhat motivated to make changes.…—”Majority of US Adults Believe Climate Change Is Most Important Issue Today,” Sophie Bethune, American Psychological Association, 2/6/20

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Saugeen Ojibway Nation Has Saved Lake Huron
From a Nuclear Waste Dump

A major victory for Canada’s First Nations has just been won in Ontario. On January 31, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) overwhelmingly voted down the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) for storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste next to Lake Huron. The DGR had long been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), but in 2013 OPG had committed to SON that it would not build the DGR without their support.

As Chief Lester Anoquot of the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation told the press on January 31, “This vote was a historic milestone and momentous victory for our People. We worked for many years for our right to exercise jurisdiction in our Territory and the free, prior and informed consent of our People to be recognized.”

Out of 1,232 total votes, there were 4 spoiled ballots, 170 yes votes, and 1,058 no votes, indicating that 85% of those casting ballots had said no to a DGR at Bruce Power’s nuclear generating station in Kincardine, Ont.…—”Saugeen Ojibway Nation Has Saved Lake Huron From a Nuclear Waste Dump,” Joyce Nelson, CounterPunch, 2/4/20

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A third of world’s major aquifers are threatened

Scientists using satellite data have found that a third of the world’s largest aquifers — in places ranging from China and India to the United States — are being rapidly depleted and are seriously threatened.

In two new studies, a team of researchers led by hydrologists from the University of California, Irvine assessed the depletion of groundwater on a global scale using readings from NASA satellites. They also concluded that although there is little solid information about how much water remains in aquifers, it’s likely much less than previously estimated, leaving big unanswered questions about how soon those reserves of groundwater might run out.

“If we continue to use groundwater the way it’s being used, then there’s a high chance that it could be depleted to the point that we can no longer use it in my lifetime in certain areas,” said Alexandra Richey, the lead author of the studies.… —”A Third of World’s Major Aquifers Are Threatened,” Ian James, USA Today, 7/17/15

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Climate Debate | the Oxford Union

Climate Debate: This House Would Break the Law to Save The Planet

Rising global temperatures threaten to destabilise our planet irreversibly.  Faced with this existential threat, how far should we be willing to go in our attempts to achieve action on climate change?

Speakers in Proposition:

  • Dr Gail Bradbrook  :  Environmental activist, and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion;  she is a contributor to This is Not a Drill:  An Extinction Rebellion Handbook
  • Amelia Womack  :  Deputy Leader of the Green Party since 2014;  she is the youngest Deputy Leader of any UK political party

Speakers in Opposition:

  • Gina McCarthy  :  Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2017;  current Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health
  • Leslie Hook  :  Environment and clean energy correspondent for the Financial Times;  she is an award-winning journalist, and leads the FT‘s climate crisis coverage

Since this debate Professor Rockström has made a different statement about how many people he believes would be killed at 4 degrees celsius: Extinction Rebellion on COP25: ‘What a pile of shite this is’… —”Climate Debate: This House Would Break the Law to Save the Planet,” Gail Bradbrook, The Oxford Union, 11/7/19

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Could the Ohio River have rights?
A movement to grant rights to the environment
tests the power of local control

“What you’re seeing is not just a legal strategy, it’s an organizing strategy. It’s a seismic shift in thinking about nature that has to happen.”

Can you imagine if the Ohio River and its tributaries had legal rights? While speculative, the idea isn’t necessarily far-fetched. This month marks the one-year anniversary of residents in Toledo, Ohio, bestowing Lake Erie with its own bill of rights.

In 2014, Ohio declared a state of emergency after about 110 people fell sick from an algae bloom and about half a million area residents were instructed not to drink tap water for three days. Unhappy with existing state and federal environmental protection, area activists got creative.

Using an emerging legal strategy termed “rights of nature,” they developed a ballot measure to give residents the ability to sue on behalf of Lake Erie, even if they can’t show harm to humans.

It’s a unique move — and it’s been challenged by conservative lawmakers and agribusiness groups like the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Opponents believe the measure will harm area industry and farmers, and after lobbying by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Republican-controlled state Legislature added language intended to nullify it in an appropriations bill signed into law in May. The lake’s bill of rights also faces an ongoing lawsuit from an area farmer who said it wrongly exposes farmers to liability.…—”Could the Ohio River have rights? A movement to grant rights to the environment tests the power of local control,” Erin West, Environmental Health News, 2/4/20

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And That’s A Wrap! Thanks to everyone who sent in news, action announcements and comments this week. Send kudos, rotten tomatoes and your story ideas, your group’s action events, and news of interest to intrepid climate change and environmental justice warriors! Send to editor@thebanner.news.