The Queensland Land Court has ruled human rights would be unjustifiably limited by a proposal to dig the state's largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland. First Nations-led activist group Youth Verdict challenged an application by mining company Waratah Coal, owned by billionaire Clive Palmer. The group of young Queensland activists challenged the mine on the basis it would impact the human rights of First Nations peoples by contributing to climate change. The coal mine would remove about 40 million tonnes of coal a year for export to South-East Asia, with a forecast life span of 30 years. It is the first time a group has successfully argued coal from a mine would impact human rights by contributing to climate change.
Great Falls, Montana - A federal judge in Montana District Court ruled today to reinstate a moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands, halting all coal leasing on federal lands until the Bureau of Land Management completes a more sufficient environmental analysis. The original moratorium set by the Obama administration in 2016 was overturned by Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in 2017. The Biden administration revoked the Zinke order last year, but did not reinstate the moratorium. “The Tribe has fought and sacrificed to protect our homelands for generations, and our lands and waters mean everything to us. We are thrilled that the court is requiring what we have always asked for: serious consideration of the impacts of the federal coal leasing program on the Tribe and our way of life,” said President Serena Wetherelt of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Chiang Mai, Thailand – Fifty representatives of the residents of Omkoi filed a lawsuit at the Chiang Mai Administrative Court against the Expert Committee on EIA Consideration in the mining and extracting industry as the first defendant, and the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning as the second defendant. The lawsuit aims to ensure that the flawed environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Omkoi coal mine project developed by the 99 Thuwanon Company is revoked. If implemented, the coal mine project will cause long-term health impacts and loss of livelihoods of the Omkoi residents. The lawsuit specifically challenges the coal mine’s EIA and aims to ensure that the flawed EIA is revoked, and a new assessment is conducted in a transparent manner and with meaningful participation from the affected communities.
The growing movement for regeneration offers a much needed reframe of how to fully show up in our humanity at this critical moment in our planet’s history. We need to move beyond incremental change and a narrowed fixation on reducing our carbon footprint. We cannot treat social injustices and ecological crises as separate, unrelated phenomena. Nor can we surrender to despair and distraction, or waste time on projects that make us feel good but lack deeper impact. The task at hand—our great calling—is to simultaneously regenerate our ecosystems AND integrate the design of new social and economic systems that can truly center and support life. At a foundational level, this ambitious project of regeneration requires us to RESIST or stop destruction, repair harm, and reimagine our world, our communities, and the systems upon which we depend.
The miners who dig black rocks from beneath the soil of Alabama returned to New York July 28 to protest outside the steel-clad offices of BlackRock Fund Advisors on East 52nd Street. The investment firm owns 13% of the Warrior Met Coal company in Brookwood, Alabama, where 1,000 miners have been on strike since April 1. Hundreds of miners from throughout the Appalachian coal belt filled four police pens on both sides of the block, joined by supporters from a dozen-odd New York unions, cheering loudly when the drivers of Verizon vans, Uber taxis, and food-delivery and garbage trucks passing by honked their horns in support.
Miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama have been on strike for almost five months, struggling to reverse concessions in pay, health care, and safety. Strikers brought their picket lines from the piney woods of the South to the tony Manhattan offices of three hedge fund shareholders on June 22, and more than 1,000 mine workers and union allies return today to demonstrate outside the offices of the company’s largest shareholder, asset manager BlackRock. Miners have chanted, “No Contract, No Coal!” and “Warrior Met Has No Soul” on picket lines from the worksite in Brookwood, Alabama, to New York City. “We’re here to let the whole world know that we will take it from the bottom of the United States to the top. Where we have to take this fight, we’re going to take it,” Dedrick Gardner, a first-generation miner from a union household of teachers and postmasters, said on the New York picket line in June.
Australia - In a victory for people power, the Federal Court found, on May 25, that the federal government had failed to apply the “water trigger” test when assessing — and approving — Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme (NGWS) in April 2019. The NGWS refers to a pipeline that would extract 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River to service Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine in central Queensland. The “water trigger” refers to The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 2013 (EPBC Act) that stipulates that coal seam gas and coal mining developments need federal assessment and approval if they are likely to have a significant impact on water resources.
Eight teenagers and an octogenarian nun had sought an injunction to prevent Ley approving a proposal by Whitehaven Coal to expand the Vickery coalmine in northern New South Wales, arguing the minister had a common law duty of care to protect younger people against future harm from climate change.
Over 1,100 workers at two Alabama coal mines and related facilities will go on strike starting Thursday, April 1, at 10:30 pm. United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) issued the strike notice against Warrior Met Coal on behalf of the workers in the company’s two coal mines and related facilities after negotiations over the latest contract failed. The last contract was negotiated in 2016, as Warrior Met Coal was bringing the company out of the bankruptcy caused by its erstwhile owner, Walter Energy. As the union’s press release details, it was on the backs of the labor and sacrifice of their workers that the company turned itself around. Since then, the company has raked in millions in profits. Coal mined by Warrior Met is used for steel production in Asia, Europe, and South America.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to filmmaker and journalist, Eleanor Goldfield about her documentary, "Hard Road of Hope". Goldfield’s documentary, "Hard Road of Hope", revisits West Virginia’s long tradition of radicalism and militant unionism, including the famed 1921 armed uprising, the largest since the Civil War, by some 10,000 coal miners at Blair Mountain who fought the repressive coal owners and their hired coal company gun thugs and militias. In 2018, the state’s 20,000 public school teachers and employees carried out a strike over low pay and high health-care costs, shutting down every public school in West Virginia until their demands were met.
For more than a century-and-a-half, the forests, streams, and hollows of the Appalachian Mountains have been scraped and gashed to unearth their heart of rich black coal. These lumps of hydrocarbons historically played a vital role in America’s electricity mix, accounting for a third of the country’s energy production as recently as 2008. But over the past decade, a devastating combination of forces has pummeled the industry, from cheap natural gas and the falling cost of renewables to growing public pressure to respond to the climate crisis. U.S. coal production has dropped 40 percent since its peak 12 years ago, and the commodity accounted for only 14 percent of the country’s electricity generation last year. With the coronavirus pandemic now stalling energy demand, coal production has dropped about 26 percent in the past 12 months alone, perhaps ringing the death knell for coal as an energy source in America.
Denver— A federal appeals court today ruled that the U.S. Forest Service illegally approved a loophole allowing the coal industry to despoil unroaded National Forest lands in western Colorado. The decision gives new hope for the protection of Colorado’s North Fork Valley and for the climate. “The Trump administration can’t sacrifice public lands at the expense of our climate,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy program director. “Today’s ruling is another win for the American public over the dirty coal industry and their climate-denying cronies in the federal government.” “The Forest Service failed to provide a logically coherent explanation for its decision to eliminate the Pilot Knob Alternative,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit wrote.
The shutdown of hundreds of coal-fired power plants in the United States over the past decade has saved an estimated 26,610 lives, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Sustainability. This closure of coal plants also has reduced carbon dioxide emissions and lowered air pollution and ozone levels, and has even increased nearby crop yields, the study found. More than 330 coal-fired power plants stopped operating in the U.S. between 2005 and 2016, thanks in part due to aging facilities and a glut of cheap natural gas.
With the backing of the mining industry and anti-regulatory groups, the Trump administration has been seeking to expand mining on public lands and further loosen environmental rules under the banner of weaning the United States off importing minerals deemed “critical” to national security. This move may have particular implications for the struggling U.S. coal industry and its promoters, which have begun rallying behind efforts to extract some of these so-called “critical minerals” from coal and its by-products.
On the heels of Friday's global youth-led climate strike, thousands of activists staged demonstrations at three coal mines in Germany Saturday to protest the government's plan to phase out coal by 2038, which activists say isn't soon enough. The German news agency dpa reported that "protesters ran into the Jänschwalde and Welzow-Süd open-cast mining sites in the eastern state of Brandenburg, as well as the United Schleenhain lignite mining area in neighboring Saxony." Ende Gelände (End of the Road), which helped organize the protests, said there were about 4,000 demonstrators total...