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Action Alert – one more time – last push for Green Energy

 NEW statehouse call Action Alert. Phone numbers included:

The Energy Bill is in conference committee at the state house and we are in the final weeks of the session.

It is very important for us all to call the House conference committee members- Chair Dempsey, Reps Jones and Golden this week! Their phone numbers are below. In addition, we need to alert our networks to do the same.

Script:
My name is _________ and I am calling to leave a message for (Chair Dempsey, or Rep Jones, or Rep Golden) about the energy bill. (at that point the person answering the phone might transfer you to the aide handling energy issues. Then you can begin again) My name is _________, I am a resident of Massachusetts who cares deeply about the need to make a rapid transition to clean energy. I am calling to urge (Chair Dempsey, or Rep Jones, or Rep Golden) to include the following 3 provisions in the final energy bill-

*first, an increase in the RPS to 2%
*second, an investment in wind energy in the amount of 2,000 Megawatts
*and third, a prohibition against charging electric customers for gas pipelines

Please give him my message.
Thank you.
_______________________
Phone numbers:
Dempsey:617-722-2990
Jones:617-722-2100
Golden:617-722-2263

On Spectacle Pond: Resisting the Pipeline

pondCohello A Celebration of Solidarity with Berkshire Friends and Neighbors Fighting the Connecticut Expansion Pipeline proposed by Kinder-Morgan to run through the Protected Otis State Forest

Saturday, July 16, 2016 Join us for one or both events!

 KICK OFF RALLY
Great Barrington: 12 pm – 1 pm
 Gazebo behind Great Barrington Town Hall

RALLY at Lower Spectacle Pond
 2pm-4pm
Cold Spring Road
Sandisfield, Mass

Music, speakers, kayak & canoe flotilla!

Sponsored by Sugar Shack Alliance

Co-sponsors include: Climate Action Now, Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT); Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposed to the Pipeline (STOP); Western Mass AFSC; Massachusetts Sierra Club; the Enviro Show; Stop NED; Mothers Out Front; Collective Copies

For more info contact Kathy Daly 413-586-4435 mailto:inothatcat@gmail.com

Can you lend a hand? Helpers are needed at Great Barrington (12-1pm) and Otis State Forest (2-4pm). Sign up by sending a message here (please indicate which location you will be attending and let us know by 5 PM on Wednesday, July 13th). 

Photo by Geoffrey Coelho… thank you!

Action alert! Call your rep today about making sure the green stays strong in the energy bill

greenStatehouseRepACTION ALERT! Negotiations are still under way in the state house for the green energy bill. We need to keep up the pressure right now. Calls are better than emails, but emails are better than nothing.

CALL SCRIPT you can use, distribute, or adapt to your own needs; details on the bill in the comments.

Dear Representative:

Thank you for working to advance comprehensive energy legislation, H4377. I am calling to ask you to push for a strong final clean energy bill. Here are my priorities regarding the legislation:

1) Increase the RPS to 2%- this is crucial to assuring we will meet our emission reduction goals.

2) I oppose the “pipeline tax,” and urge you to protect ratepayers and our environment by prohibiting subsidies for new gas pipelines, as the Senate has done.

3) I support procurement of 2000 megawatts of offshore wind. I am pleased both chambers have chosen to support offshore wind, and want to see a bigger commitment!

4) I support decommissioning planning and financing for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.

Please contact Speaker DeLeo and the conferees to ask them to include these policies in the final bill.

Lookup your representative here:  https://malegislature.gov/people/search
Interesting bill details: Continue reading

Climate Justice a Spotlight on Springfield TV

By Dineen O’Rourke

In Springfield, environmental racism has been threatening one of humanity’s basic rights for years – the right to breathe. 1 in 5 people in the city have asthma, a rate that sharply increases for children and people of color.1 “We have to stop taking the air we breathe for granted,” shared Michaelann Bewsee, founder and organizer of Arise for Social Justice.

To highlight this issue, the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC) recently organized a panel filmed live on Focus Springfield Community TV, bringing together representatives of local and statewide organizations working towards environmental and climate justice. The panel, hosted by Springfield Ward 1 City Councilor Adam Gomez, featured Michaelann Bewsee of Arise, as well as Claire Miller, community organizer at Toxics Action Center, Ivette Hernandez from Keep Springfield Beautiful, and Jesse Lederman, spokesperson for Stop Toxic Incineration Springfield.

Watch the stream of the entire panel discussion here.

Over 20% of children in Springfield have asthma, which is more than double the statewide rate of childhood asthma, and 50% higher than the national average. This rate almost triples for African American and Latino children in Springfield.1 This is what environmental racism looks like.

Ivette Hernandez spoke of being a single mother of three children while living in the North End, one of the most low-income areas of the city. One of her children has chronic asthma, which has caused upwards of 15 school absences a year. “The lack of accountability and action from our city’s government on these issues is unacceptable,” she said, adding that low-income communities like the North End are treated as “less than human.”

With over 500 known gas leaks in the city and a proposal to build a new toxic biomass incinerator, Springfield is heading in the wrong direction of fixing this asthma emergency, even though these organizations have been highlighting problems like this for years. Two years ago we marched to the Springfield City Hall and witnessed the unanimous vote to pass the Climate Action Resolution developed by the SCJC. The determined hope was palpable in the air of the courtroom. From the Springfield high school students who spoke about climate change, to the parents of children with asthma, and from religious leaders to community organizers, everyone had a pertinent story to share about why climate justice is the necessary path for Springfield.

But now, over two years later, Mayor Domenic Sarno still has not implemented the Climate Action Plan that his government unanimously passed. The SCJC has increased their pressure by demanding a Climate Justice Plan, one that would employ Springfield residents to alleviate the city’s unemployment issues. “We don’t want a climate change plan. We want a climate justice plan,” Michaelann voiced on the panel.

There’s a critical need for a framework of race and class politics when discussing sustainability and climate action. Without these frameworks, the constant push for renewable energy and electric vehicles from wealthy environmentalists becomes isolating and polarizing for those unable to afford such solutions. We are not going to buy ourselves out of climate change; our emotional and societal dependence on consumerism is part of the very problem that laid the groundwork for climate change. The changes we require come from collective action and dedicated grassroots organizing. We are not free until everyone is free.

Climate Action Now is one of the co-founding organizations of the SCJC. Our work has also included organizing against the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct, a pipeline that would have carried gas obtained by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from Pennsylvania through New England. After a two-year-long grassroots movement, with a wide array of strategies, Kinder Morgan withdrew their pipeline application from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and our struggle became a success.

Yet even with this recent victory, fracked gas and methane will continue to be a threat in our region – our work is not over. Springfield is now organizing against a dangerous amount of methane leaks in the city’s gas heating system, with over 500 discovered in the city in one year alone. “These streets can explode at any given time,” remarked Jesse Lederman. “It’s unacceptable.”

Not only does this gas leak into the atmosphere, rapidly accelerating climate change and increasing the risk of asthma and neurotoxin disorders, it also is an economic loss that falls on the backs of electric ratepayers in the city. Home Energy Efficiency Team estimated that in 2014 alone, this escaped gas accumulated to a loss of $2.3 million. Northampton is facing almost 100 known gas leaks, believed to be have cost ratepayers $600,000 in 2014. The SCJC is currently awaiting a response from a letter sent to Colombia Gas, the city’s electric utility company, requesting a meeting to discuss this issue. You can sign this petition to demand Colombia fix these leaks immediately. “Yes, fixing the leaks can be costly,” remarked Ivette Hernandez. “But we have a lot of people here looking for jobs,” echoing the interconnected justice aspect of the Climate Justice Plan.

As City Councilor Adam Gomez aptly stated to close the panel, “creating real change in our community will begin with real unity.” In a world rapidly warming world with rising seas and increased pollution, hope can understandably be a difficult emotion to turn to. Our hope for a better world becomes more actualized when we come together and take collective action.Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 2.40.05 PM

Get involved with the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition!

What: SCJC Monthly Meeting
When: Wednesday, June 8, 6pm
Where: Arise for Social Justice office, Springfield
RSVP: (413) 734-4948

This meeting is open to all interested in being apart of the campaign to make Springfield a most just, sustainable, and healthy place for all. Whether you were apart of the founding of the coalition or you know little about climate change, all are welcome to learn about the work of this inspiring coalition.

Dineen O’Rourke is a student at Hampshire College and an organizer with Climate Action Now. Follow her on Twitter: @dineenorourke.

References

  1. Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition

No Need for N.E.D, No Need for Any

By Dineen O’Rourke

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Taking Steps to a Renewable Future, a four-day walk along the route of the pipeline this March, planned by the Sugar Shack Alliance and Climate Action Now. Exactly a month after we completed the walk, Kinder Morgan announced the suspension of the pipeline. Photo Courtesy of Aly Johnson-Kurts.

Throughout the bitter months of winter in 2014, veiled representatives of the billion-dollar energy company Kinder Morgan knocked on the doors of residents in the small hill-towns of Massachusetts. Their company emblems were covered and their smiles were wide. “Do we have permission to survey your property? We’re collecting data for a regional environmental study.” Clipboards and cameras in hand, they were shown to the backyards of dozens of properties, quietly collecting and recording information. It was weeks later when homeowners learned what they had actually granted permission for, when Kinder Morgan-marked letters were received in mailboxes across the state outlining the plan to build a fracked gas pipeline in those very backyards. Naturally, this didn’t favor well in the birthplace of Shay’s Rebellion; a movement quickly spread like wildfire, with resolutions and ordinances banning the project in over seventy towns, tens of thousands of petition signatures, legal cases, multiple marches across the state, and opposition declared by dozens of public officials.

Now, after a dedicated two-year-long grassroots movement, Kinder Morgan suspended the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline on April 26, 2016 and then officially withdrew their application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on May 23. Our grassroots movement defeated one of the largest energy companies in the country.

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Photo courtesy of No Fracked Gas in Mass

This following research was originally conducted and written in December of 2015, when Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas had just significantly changed the proposed path of the pipeline, brining the eastern section of the route into New Hampshire. Publishing this research now is a way to portray a capsule in time of a successful social movement and reflect on the strategies that brought on a major victory in the fight against the fossil fuel industry. What did our movement do particularly well? Where could we have improved? The threat and consequences of this pipeline are shared with all the other proposed fracked gas projects in our region. Fighting one helps us fight others; we must not back down because we’ve won just one battle. Reflecting on this recent victory can help strengthen our understanding of this industry and inform us on how to defeat Spectra Energy’s AIM Pipeline, the West Roxbury Lateral, the compressor stations in Burrillville, Rhode Island and North Weymouth, and inspire us to continue organizing for a just and sustainable world.

In this light, I hope you will join us in escalating this summer against Spectra and acting in solidarity with our neighbors in Eastern Massachusetts. On Tuesday, June 28th, the Sugar Shack Alliance will be bringing a contingent of Kinder Morgan pipeline fighters to risk arrest in West Roxbury. Then from July 14-18, we will march along the route of the proposed Spectra Access Northeast route, back to West Roxbury, and end at the Boston Statehouse to send the message: Stop the Pipelines or the People Will! 
Continue reading

June 2: Northampton and Springfield Gas Leak Community Forums

Stop the Gas Leaks Campaign Hosts Community Forums in Springfield and Northampton

Date: Thursday, June 2

5 pm in Springfield
Trinity Church, 361 Summer Ave.

7:30 pm in Northampton
Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, 220 Main St.

With Ania Camargo: Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET MA) Board of Directors and Mothers Out Front member. Ania is a leader in the campaign to repair gas leaks in the Greater Boston area.
“Natural gas leaks are potentially explosive, harm the health of humans and trees, and the major component, methane, is a potent contributor to global warming,” said Dr. Marty Nathan. “Gas distributors have complained about lack of natural gas supply… Yet for decades old, leaky pipes have been wasting nearly 3% of what is delivered. And that lost gas has been paid for by customers.”
The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC) & Arise for Social Justice who are working together to get the 500+ gas leaks in Springfield plugged, will host the Springfield event. With over ninety gas leaks in Northampton the neighborhood group TwoDegrees, Climate Action Now, Mothers Out Front and the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence Climate Action Group will host the Northampton forum.

The campaign is working directly with Columbia Gas CEO Stephen Bryant, calling for real time information on the volume of gas lost, the cost to rate payers and for a plan by Columbia Gas to fix the leaks. All are encouraged to attend the Springfield City Council Meeting on Monday June 6th at 7 PM (36 Court Street) to support passage of a resolution calling for legislation against gas leaks.

For Springfield information, contact Jesse Lederman, Environmental Organizer at ARISE, at 413-351-6785. For Northampton, contact Dr. Marty Nathan at 413-531-9915.

Northampton Gas Leaks Forums PDF

 

From Protest to Resistance: Our latest newsletter (May 19, 2016)

May 19 2016 newsletter

Click to read our latest newsletter

Presentation & Discussion: Community Energy and Local Innovation

Heather Smith Poster

Join us for BREAKFREE 2016 in Albany This Saturday, May 14th

Break Free 2016 in Albany This Saturday, May 14th

There is still time to join with many others from Western Mass who are heading to the Break Free from Fossil Fuels Mass Action to Stop the Bomb Trains in Albany on Saturday, May 14th.  If you need or can offer a ride please contact David Arbeitman from Climate Action Now ( up until noon on Friday, May 13th) and he will assist you.  Break Free is a series of 23 mass actions demanding to Keep Fossil Fuels In The Ground in 12 countries on 6 continents. Actions have already started all across the globe. If you are still deciding whether or not to go please read these words from Jay O’Hara of the Climate Disobedience Center, one of the organizers of the Albany action.

Our motivation to take action for climate and environmental justice can spring from our anger, sadness, love and so many other emotions, even fear. But in our coming together, living into the crisis with our bodies in a way that confronts the urgency and magnitude of this situation, we find an opportunity for true hope. With so many lives at stake at Ezra Prentice homes and in the South End of Albany, all along the rail corridor blast zone, in the shale fields of North Dakota where this fracked oil is loaded into the trains, and across the globe as climate catastrophe unfolds – this is a serious endeavor. I’m convinced that this sort of action works because we lead by example. And when we lead boldly by example, people are moved to join us.

 Go to albany2016.org for full details

A crew of Break Free organizers “met with” the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – the body that approves most of the pipelines in the country.
Check out and share the video on our Facebook Page!

Pipeline Action Alert: Tell the Governor and Your State Rep:  No Pipeline Tax!

canPhoneThe Mass House of Representatives will soon release the  Omnibus Energy Bill. The fossil fuel industry is working overtime to ensure that this bill includes a PIPELINE TAX, effectively forcing the public to finance unnecessary and dangerous gas pipeline expansion projects. This tax has the potential to help bring the Kinder Morgan fracked gas pipeline back to life.

We stand firmly against any bill that taxes the people of Massachusetts to pay for fossil fuel pipeline subsidies; the climate crisis we face requires intensive efforts at increasing energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy. We are asking everyone to take the actions below and to spread the word. 

Go here to send a letter to your state representative telling them that an energy bill containing a pipeline tax is completely unacceptable; if a pipeline tax is included we want a NO VOTE on the bill. We are hearing from people in the State House that legislators need this reminder now; events will move swiftly once the draft of the bill is released and it will be harder to make our voices heard.

A number of our reps have submitted a letter against the pipeline tax; when you call, you can thank your rep if they signed the letter, but let them know that no matter what, you want them to vote against a pipeline tax! Please ask your rep to sign (if they have not already) an excellent letter about energy priorities being circulated by Rep. Ehrlich’s office. Please go here to read the letter and to see if they have signed on. Please call (617.725.4005) and write to the Governor with the same message.

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