Category Archives: Take Action

In the wake of devastating flooding in Louisiana, groups urge Obama Admin to end fossil fuel auctions

[Editor: See three articles below on Climate advocates’ call to end fossil fuel auctions…  – RS]

Amid Flooding, Groups Call for End to ‘Unconscionable’ Fossil Fuel Auctions

“Allowing next week’s fossil fuel auction to move forward is rubbing salt in the wounds of a region already in a state of emergency”

By Nadia Prupis, 8/19/16 Common Dreams

A coalition of climate and advocacy groups on Friday called on the Obama administration to cancel an upcoming fossil fuel auction as Louisiana reels from the unprecedented floods that have ravaged the state—and which rescue groups have described as the worst U.S. disaster since Superstorm Sandy.

The organizations, including 350.org, CREDO, and Greenpeace… [continued]


Climate activists want fossil-fuel lease auction canceled in flood-stricken Louisiana

By Sue Sturgis, 8/19/16,  Facing South

The historic flooding that has left at least 13 people dead and damaged some 40,000 homes in southwestern and central Louisiana this week was caused by record heavy rain, with as much as 31 inches falling in some places over the course of several days.

While scientists are cautious about saying climate change is the cause of any single weather event, they point out that five other states…  [continued]


In the Wake of Devastating Flooding in Louisiana, Groups Urge Obama Administration to Cancel Upcoming Gulf Drilling Lease Sale

For Immediate Release, 8/19/16, 350.org

350.org, CREDO, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, MoveOn.org Civic Action, Oil Change International, Endangered Species Coalition, Bold Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, Earthworks, and the No New Leases Coalition tell President Obama: The Gulf Coast is not for sale

BATON ROUGE, La. – In the wake of unprecedented flooding in central and southwestern Louisiana, leading national environmental organizations are calling on the Obama administration to cancel an upcoming fossil fuel auction in the Gulf.

The devastating flooding is among the most severe weather disasters since Hurricane Sandy. Across the region, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, thousands of homes damaged, and at least eleven people killed.

Next Wednesday, on August 24th, the Obama administration is planning to sell off an area the size of Virginia…  [continued]

Please share!

Petition: Ban Oil Trains For Good

Repost from Huffington Post

Ban Oil Trains For Good

By Marc Yaggi, Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance, 08/11/2016 03:30 pm ET
2016-08-08-1470664391-409844-13308293_10154299311634165_7880276907808028024_o.jpg
Oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon in June 2016. Photo credit: Columbia Riverkeeper

Just a little over two months ago, a disastrous oil train derailment occurred in Mosier, Oregon, spilling 47,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota. The fallout from that accident has seen the entire region debating whether transporting this hazardous crude oil by rail through local communities and along our nation’s rivers is worth the risk. It’s time for the debate to close, and for all sides to realize the hard truth: oil trains like the one that derailed in Mosier pose an immediate threat to communities around the country, and it is time we demand immediate action.

Waterkeeper Alliance’s report, Deadly Crossing: Neglected Bridges & Exploding Oil Trains, written in partnership with STAND and Hudson Riverkeeper, showed that many of the bridges these oil trains pass over show signs of neglect and disrepair. The report also highlighted that the public cannot access any meaningful information regarding the safety of rail bridges in their community. In response to these concerns, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) now has a way for local officials to request public bridge inspections. This is a small victory, but the threat of these oil trains still lingers in communities across the country, and the only true solution is to ban these trains altogether.

No community wants a potentially lethal oil train speeding past their schools, behind their homes, or near their precious water sources. We need to stand together to demand a complete ban on oil trains. Please join this petition to call on the Department of Transportation to recognize that oil trains are inherently unsafe for our communities and waterways, and to use all available authority to stop oil train traffic throughout the country.

Please share!

Letter: Bay Area Air Board needs to step up for cleaner air

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald

Where our mayor, supervisor stand

By Michelle Pellegrin, 08/04/16, 4:09 PM PDT

There are 24 people in the Bay Area with the power to regulate the air we breathe. Their decisions cause or reduce asthma, cancer and other illnesses that can and have resulted in death.

This regional board has so much power to affect peoples’ lives and deaths, yet most people haven’t even heard of this agency with the unwieldy name: The Bay Area Air Quality Management District — or BAAQMD.

The 24 members of this board — which includes Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis — have a mandate to protect public health.

The neighborhoods around the refineries have suffered severe health effects from emissions. The 2012 Chevron toxic explosion and fire in Richmond sent more than 15,000 people to the hospital, which is now closed. A broad coalition of Bay Area groups would like to see refinery emissions, which have continuously gone up for the past 20 years, capped and then methods found to reduce harmful emissions. The first step in this process is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

On Wednesday, July 20, after four long years and several refinery incidents, the board, in a room with standing room only, was to vote on this. What appeared as a simple slam dunk became a political football between clean air advocates and Big Oil.

Bay Area refineries have been preparing to process heavier dirtier crudes, which will increase emissions and their diseases. The wave of Crude By Rail (CBR) of proposed projects, such as the Valero Benicia CBR project, are designed to facilitate the importation of extreme crudes, such volatile oil from the Bakken fields and volatile heavy crude from the Canadian Tar Sands.

BAAQMD staff, in what can only be seen as another move to interminably delay implementing modern and necessary emission standards on Bay Area refineries, supported combining the simpler refinery emission cap EIR with a complex EIR on toxic chemical emissions for up to 900 businesses.

Bay Area refinery corridor communities and their allied cities want the EIRs to be conducted separately, as the EIR on refineries can be done much more quickly than the more complex toxic chemical EIR because it requires no infrastructure changes. They want answers and relief from the constant health problems they are suffering.

And here is where our mayor stepped in to show his stripes. Davis, just recently appointed to the board, gave a critical speech supporting combining the two EIRs. Who would have thought the BAAQMD’s newest member would have such sway with the board?

Anyone with respiratory health problems or cancer can give a big round of applause to our mayor and Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, who made the motion to combine the two EIRs. We in Solano County have the dubious distinction of having the most anti-public health, pro-corporate members on the board.

Even the Contra Costa appointees where four of the five refineries are located weren’t as instrumental as the Solano reps in pushing for the delay of this most important EIR.

Luckily, other board members did uphold their duty to the public’s health and a compromise was reached. The EIRs will be combined but if they become bogged down then they will be separated out. In addition, and a very important one from the public’s point of view, there will be citizen oversight of the process.

The irony here is that this is a false dichotomy. Big Oil will keep functioning and we need them for those cars we drive. These companies provide jobs and add to our economies. But it is no longer legitimate to trade health for jobs. It is an outmoded model and has no place in deciding public policy. It is no longer acceptable for companies to dominate local economies and the policies of the people in those communities where they are located.

Big Oil has known for years that this is the direction things are moving. A 2014 article in the San Jose Mercury News notes the refineries are already working on improving their systems in anticipation of processing the dirtier and volatile oil from outside California.

As Tom Griffith, head of the Martinez Environmental Group back in 2014 stated, “The missed opportunity here is for the oil companies to refocus their sights on the future of renewable energy.”

We should be working together to improve public health. The corporate stranglehold on such important regional boards must end. Citizens need to be attend BAAQMD board meetings and provide input on upcoming board decisions for this to happen. The next meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9:30 a.m. at the BAAQMD headquarters at 375 Beale St. San Francisco.

And here in Vallejo we need to do the same and be more engaged. We have seen the result of complicity between politicians and corporations that excluded public input: The absurd notion of putting a cement factory in a residential area with its disastrous public health consequences. Don’t let Mayor Davis and his cronies put our community in harm’s way. Say “no” to the Orcem/VMT cement plant and don’t vote in November for any candidate who supports it!

— Michelle Pellegrin/Vallejo
Please share!