The Pacific Northwest Is Proving Grassroots Action Against Fossil Fuels Can Work

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By Renee Lewis for Fusion – The Pacific Northwest is proving that grassroots action against the fossil fuel industry can work, and the strategies they’re using can be used anywhere. The region has seen a tsunami of fossil fuel infrastructure proposals in the last few years—from coal export, oil-by-rail, liquefied natural gas, and more. “And what we have seen happen very much to everyone’s surprise is that local grassroots opposition stopped every single project they fought against,” said Eric de Place, Sightline Institute’s policy director on energy policy. Sightline Institute is a sustainability research and communications center in the Pacific Northwest. The fossil fuel industry may dominate in Congress but we crush them at the local level. “The fossil fuel industry may dominate in Congress but we crush them at the local level,” de Place said. “I think it’s a tremendously powerful technique.” That opposition at the local level was summed up by one million comments —all from a public opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure projects in their communities. The comments were delivered to Washington Governor Jay Inslee on May 11 by a coalition of groups in the Pacific Northwest…

UCSB Chancellor Backs Call To Divest From Fossil Fuel Companies

A crowd gathered in the cold near Wall Street on Friday to call for New York’s divestment from fossil fuels. (Flickr / 350)

By Staff for Pacific Coast Business Times – After a four-day sit-in, UC Santa Barbara students won the endorsement of Chancellor Henry Yang on the divestiture of the University of California’s $2.8 billion in its endowment from fossil fuel companies. Margaret Klawunn, vice president of student affairs, delivered the statement May 11 on behalf of the chancellor at Cheadle Hall, where around 400 students, faculty and staff took part in the sit-in. “In the coming week, I look forward to working with my fellow chancellors in support of a thorough and transparent discussion on divestment from fossil fuels as part of the UC’s approach to combating the climate crisis,” Yang’s statement said. Investments should instead go toward more sustainable companies, said Cassie Macy, a spokeswoman for the student group Fossil Free UCSB that organized the protest. The first step is to get out of fossil fuels, Macy said, but “we’ve shown them that investments in sustainable companies have almost no difference in financial results. So we think that it’s very important that we invest in these companies that will better our future.” The effects of climate change affect marginalized communities most strongly, said fellow spokeswoman Celeste Argueta, including air quality and coastal erosion.

Building A Trump-Free, Fossil-Free Future

Climate March in DC April 29 2017

By Jeremy Brecher for Waging Nonviolence. As the thousands of foot-weary protesters leave the April 29 Peoples Climate March in Washington, D.C. — and its scores of sister marches around the country — one question will no doubt be foremost on their minds: How can a march, or indeed any other action they take, force a reversal in the world’s hurtle to climate doom? After all, a single march, no matter how large, is not going to force President Trump and his administration of fossil-fuel company executives and climate-change deniers to reverse course. They have already cancelled the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, authorized drilling and mining on public lands, and gutted regulations that protect local people and environments against the extraction of fossil fuels. He has cleared the way for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. His allies in Congress are whetting their knives to gut the Clean Air, Clean Water and Environmental Policy Acts. The fossil fuel industry is lining up for permits to build new infrastructure that will accelerate global warming and threaten local environments to boot.

Harvard ‘Pausing’ Investments In Some Fossil Fuels

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By Oliver Milman for The Guardian – Harvard University is “pausing” investments in some fossil fuel interests following a five-year campaign by some students and environment groups to pressure the university to divest itself from coal, oil and gas. The elite university has come under fire for investing its $36bn endowment in a portfolio that contains fossil fuel companies and has until now resisted a concerted divestment campaign that has also targeted other US universities. However, Colin Butterfield, head of natural resources at the Harvard Management Company, said that climate change is a “huge problem” and that “for now, we are pausing minerals and oil and gas.” Butterfield said that Harvard indirectly invests in fossil fuels through outside funds, although the management company has previously signalled that it is moving away from coal due to a lack of profitability. “What I can tell you is, from my area, I could honestly say that I doubt – I can’t say never, because never say never – but I doubt that we would ever make a direct investment with fossil fuels,” he said.

Clean Energy Employs More People Than Fossil Fuels In Nearly Every U.S. State

CREDIT: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

By Natasha Geiling for Think Progress – Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to bolster through his upcoming executive order on energy regulation — clean energy jobs outnumber jobs dealing with those two fossil fuels by 5 to 1. “Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.

Fossil Fuel Industry Hired Guns Now Staffing Trump’s Federal Agencies

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By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – On March 8, ProPublica obtained “beachhead team” rosters with the names of hundreds of temporary staffers the Trump administration has installed in federal agencies, including the Department of Interior (DOI), Department of Energy (DOE), the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and others. A DeSmog investigation shows that this list of staffers, largely undisclosed before this week, includes former operatives allied with Koch Industries, oil and coal industry employees, a former employee of a prominent climate denial group, and an advocate for a pro-trophy hunting organization funded by oil and gas.

The Real Radicals Are Running The Fossil Fuel Companies, But I May Be Facing Felony Charges For Shutting Off Pipeline Valve

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By Emily Johnston for AlterNet – I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately—what we’re willing to risk, and why. I was one of five activists who turned off the major tar sands pipelines coming into the United States on Oct. 11, 2016. As a result, I’m risking prison time, ostensibly for property damage (we cut a few chains to access the valves), but really for being disobedient to business as usual. It’s also possible they’ll file a restitution suit, for temporarily disrupting a pipeline that’s highly profitable for some, at the expense of all others. I took part in the action in full awareness of these risks—in dread of them, to some degree—because of the risk that Enbridge and the other companies engaged in the extraction…

An ‘Undeniable Success’: Divestment From Fossil Fuels Passes $5 Trillion

The Paris climate agreement reached last year "bolstered the economic arguments underpinning divestment," the new report says. (Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr/cc)

By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – The value of funds making the commitment has doubled in size since September 2015. Marking the divestment movement’s “undeniable success,” a new report shows the value of funds controlled by individuals and institutions who have vowed to dump their fossil fuels assets now surpasses $5 trillion. 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said the “news is mammoth.” The report (pdf) by Arabella Advisors for the Divest-Invest Network shows that the value of global funds making the commitment—now at about $5.2 trillion—has doubled in size since September 2015…

Next Standing Rock: Fossil Fuel Battles Loom Across North America

Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline block a highway in near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/James MacPherson

By Natasha Geiling for Think Progress – When news broke Sunday that the Army Corps of Engineers would not grant a permit necessary for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River, the thousands of water protectors, environmental activists, and concerned citizens who spent months protesting the pipeline’s construction erupted in celebration. “They formed a circle — a human circle all the way around the camp — and people were holding hands and singing and praying,” Kandi Mossett, a leader with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said via a Facebook Live video following Sunday’s announcement.

Trump Picks 'Puppet Of The Fossil Fuel Industry' To Head EPA

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By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – Donald Trump has appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The conservative Republican has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and has waged numerous legal wars against the EPA and President Obama’s environmental regulations, including the president’s signature Clean Power Plan. Pruitt, who was elected as Oklahoma’s top legal officer in November 2010, states on his own LinkedIn page that he “has led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law.”

Not Just Dakota Access. Other Fossil Fuel Projects Delayed Or Canceled, Too

A new report, The Climate Deception Dossiers, chronicles how Exxon and other major fossil fuel companies did not take action to disclose or reduce climate risks in the ensuing years, but instead actively misled the public and policymakers about them. (Image: Union of Concerned Scientists)

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – Additional canceled projects have been added to the list of shelved fossil fuel infrastructure plans. These include Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s expansion and Targa’s oil terminal. The Oregon LNG project and pipeline, which had been rejected by local authorities, have also been canceled. The Dakota Access pipeline, which has been in flux, is currently delayed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, pending a review of possible new routes and a more thorough environmental impact assessment. Previously delayed Valero and Phillips 66 oil-by-rail projects have since been rejected by local officials

“We’ve Never Seen Government Stand Up To Fossil Fuel Industry”

Climate justice activist Tim DeChristopher. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

By Dahr Jamail for Truth Out – In 2008, Tim DeChristopher found himself bidding for parcels of public land around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks of Utah at an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction. A climate activist acting as a bidder at the auction, DeChristopher ended up successfully winning 22,500 acres of land by bidding a total of $1.8 million, which he never intended to pay one nickel of, hence effectively killing the auction.

Leading Fossil Fuel Companies Fail Climate Responsibility Test

Oil Prices Rise Despite Saudi Pledge To Increase Production

By John H. Cushman Jr. for Inside Climate News – A methodical review of the world’s dominant fossil fuel producers has documented their poor performance—in some cases, egregious failure— in taking responsibility for their emissions of greenhouse gases and moving effectively to confront climate change. “None of them has made a clean break from disinformation on climate science and policy,” said a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, published by four of its senior climate experts last week.

Trespassing Charges Dropped For 6 We Are Seneca Lake protesters

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By We Are Seneca Lake. READING, NEW YORK — In a decision likely to have broad implications for hundreds of We Are Seneca Lake defenders, Judge David Brockway dismissed trespassing charges against six local business owners due to insufficient evidence. The 12-hour trial took place in the Town of Reading Court on September 30. In addition, four of the business owners were found guilty of disorderly conduct for preventing a vehicle from passing through the gates of Crestwood’s gas storage complex on Route 14 in Reading, NY. Attorney Gibson will appeal that decision. “We saw in the testimony that the officers arrested these people without any direct knowledge that they actually were on private property,” said Sujata Gibson, defense attorney. “We are considering a federal lawsuit to ensure that this type of apparently politically motivated mass arrest and prosecution cannot continue to take place.”

Big Bank ‘Greenwashing’ Exposed As Major Climate Week Sponsors Fund Fossil Fuels

Climate group 350.org separately took Bank of America to task on Monday for "playing a key role in financing dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure like the Dakota Access Pipeline." (Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Big bank sponsorship of Climate Week 2016, which kicked off Monday in New York City, “amounts to little more than greenwashing,” according one environmental organization, given financial institutions’ business-as-usual investment in fossil fuels. Indeed, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) charges three major sponsors—Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of the West (BNP Paribas)—with “helping [to] drive the climate crisis” through their ongoing funding of extreme fossil fuels such as coal and tar sands oil.