Right To Life And Water: Drought And Turmoil For Coke And Pepsi In Tamil Nadu

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By Keith Schneider for Circle of Blue – TIRUNELVELI, India – Just after dusk on a warm mid-January evening, attorney DA Prabakar greeted several visitors on the dimly lit street in front of his home here in southern India. The air was desert-dry and dusty in this rain-scarce river city. All of Tamil Nadu, from Chennai in the north to this city of 500,000 residents near India’s southern tip, has wilted in the state’s worst drought in 140 years. The Thamirabarani River, which runs through the city and is famed for its steady flow even in dry years, meandered through a sickly progression of shallow ponds and mudflats. All of Tamil Nadu, from Chennai in the north to this city of 500,000 residents near India’s southern tip, has wilted in the state’s worst drought in 140 years. A lawyer with decades of courtroom experience, Prabakar was in high spirits despite the wearying dry spell. The law office on his home’s ground floor is a hive of legal activism. He explained that the next morning the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court would consider motions in his high-profile “public interest litigation,” a judicial complaint filed last summer that temporarily halted the city’s Coca-Cola and PepsiCo bottling plants from drawing water from the Thamirabarani.

Huge Victory: Blackfeet Nation To Control Its Own Water After 35 Years Battle

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By Staff for Counter Current News – Harry Barnes, Chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, called it a “historic day for the Blackfeet people,” and well worth the time that Blackfeet staff and leaders had put into the effort the past four decades. “My faith in the wisdom of the people’s vote has come to reality,” he said in a statement. The history of the struggle between the tribes in Montana, and the State of Montana, over water rights began in the 1970s, when the federal government filed court water rights cases on behalf of all Montana tribes. Montana filed competing water rights cases in state court. The U.S. and the tribes challenged Montana’s assertion that it had jurisdiction over Indian water rights on the reservation. What ensued was a history of court battles, meetings and negotiations that eventually led to the compact agreed to by Montana and the federal government. The last step was an April 20 vote by the Blackfeet membership. The compact confirms the Tribe’s water quantity and rights, the Tribe’s jurisdiction and its authority to manage those rights on the reservation. Montana’s legislature ratified it in 2009, Congress approved the bill, and it was signed by President Barack Obama in January 2017.

THAAD Rocket Fuel: Likely Ground Water Contamination Coming To Seongju, South Korea

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By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes – The unwelcome US deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense (MD) system in Seongju, South Korea is not only a significant threat to regional peace but is also a major environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. The reason is that rocket fuel contains a deadly chemical component called perchlorate. And since the Seongju area is a melon farming community the risk of ground water contamination by perchlorate should be alarming to all concerned. Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from military bases and weapons and aerospace contractors’ plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans. In the US scientists have warned that perchlorate could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age. This thyroid deficiency could damage the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated. Reports indicate that 20 million to 40 million Americans may be exposed to the chemical.

#WageLove: Water Activists Build A Global Movement

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes for Truthout – Grassroots efforts by Nicole Hill and Melissa Mays — and the thousands of others fighting alongside them in Detroit and Flint to ensure access to safe and affordable drinking water in Michigan — have galvanized public attention in recent years. But an equally epic battle has been waging in the courts, a slower-paced struggle to stop what is happening in Detroit and Flint and make sure it doesn’t happen elsewhere. Meet civil rights lawyer Alice Jennings. “If you were to actually order a burger with awesomesauce, it would just be Alice Jennings, sitting on your burger,” Nicole Hill told us when we interviewed her in January. Sharp, commanding and full of laughter, Jennings was among the first to recognize the Detroit water shut-offs as a human rights issue, tipped off by early water warrior Charity Hicks. Ever since, she’s been helping to frame the legal issues that will one day ensure your children — or perhaps their children’s children — have access to affordable, clean, safe drinking water, even as this supposedly renewable resource is rapidly privatized. “#WageLove” — named for the hashtag water activists use to commemorate the contributions of Charity Hicks…

Federal Judge Sets Aside $4.2 Million Jury Award For Fracked Water

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By Staff of Energy Justice – U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson threw out the award and ordered a new trial unless the parties can come to a settlement.(Scranton, Pa.) – A federal judge has set aside a 2016 jury verdict and $4.24 million jury award to two couples from Dimock, Pennsylvania after the jury unanimously found Cabot Oil and Gas negligent for contaminating their well water during drilling for natural gas. The plaintiffs in the case are Nolen “Scott” Ely and his family, and Ray Hubert and his family who live next to the Elys. The Ely family has lived in Dimock since the 1800’s. Scott Ely said “The judge heard the same case that the jury heard and the jury was unanimous. How can he take it upon himself to set aside their verdict? It’s outrageous.” The Dimock federal civil litigation, which began under the caption Norma Fiorentino, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation and Gassearch Drilling Services, Inc. in 2009, and concludes under the caption, Nolen Scott Ely, et al., v. Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, had its final verdict in United States District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, located in Scranton, PA.

The Politics Of Water Insecurity

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By Majed Akhter for Al Jazeera – This March 22, World Water Day, we focus attention on global issues of water access. The statistics are not comforting. The poorest ninth of us – about 800 million people – do not have reliable access to clean drinking water. This is the starkest form of “water insecurity” – the inadequate access of individuals and groups to fresh water. The explosive growth rates and technological advancements of the past several decades notwithstanding, we have been unable to provide a global minority – numbering more than the entire population of Europe – the most basic of physiological requirements.

Ten Global Struggles For Public Water

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By Lavinia Steinfort, Satoko Kishimoto and Denis Burke for Occupy.com. Throughout the world there are current battles where people are trying to prevent privatization of their water supply. On this World Water Day, March 22, we bring you 10 inspiring stories of communities and cities working to reclaim public control over water and wastewater services from major private water multinationals. These 10 stories come from Nigeria, Spain, Brazil, Indonesia, Portugal, Montana and California, but this is a global struggle between people, communities and business interests that want to control this vital and essential resource for people.

The Devastating Impacts Of GE Tree Plantations

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By The Campaign to Stop GE Trees. Chile – On March 22nd, World Water Day, the international delegation of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees, the Landless Workers Movement (MST), CEPEDES* and OLCA** presented at the University of Concepción in Concepción, Chile. The all-woman panel reported on the devastating impacts of tree plantations on water, life and communities in Brazil, the danger of GE trees internationally, and the state of GE trees in Chile. This is a critical moment for Concepción, as forest fires have ripped through much of the region, destroying towns, forests, and tree plantations. Concepción is in the Bio-Bio region where 50% of Chile’s tree plantations are grown. Over the last couple of months, tree plantations aided the spread of the wildfires and for the first time in history, marches against the tree plantation industry occurred throughout the country on March 14th 2017.

America Is Suffering From A Very Real Water Crisis That Few Are Acknowledging

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By Farron Cousins for Desmog Blog – One year later, not only is the city still struggling to provide clean sources of water to the Michigan city’s population, but the plight of residents in Flint has opened up the conversation about a water crisis in the United States that very few people even knew existed. The sad story of Flint, Michigan, gained national attention because it was a crisis that was entirely avoidable, at least for the time being. Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was looking for ways to cut costs, so he hired an outside manager to come up with ideas on how to do that. Unfortunately, one of the ideas that was put into action was to change the source of Flint’s drinking water from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, which was known to be heavily polluted. When that contaminated water hit the city’s aging water delivery infrastructure, the chemicals interacted with the lead pipes, causing dangerous levels of lead contamination for residents who did not have water filters.

Water Protector Alliance

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By Staff of Water Protector Alliance – Hundreds of water protectors gathered in peaceful protest singing and praying. Water trucks needed to drill under the river were blocked for hours. For the first time in history Suwannee River State Park was closed due to capacity. Suwannee County Sheriffs, Florida Highway Patrol, Fish & Wildlife Commission and State Park Rangers arrived in large numbers. No arrests were made and no one was hurt. The Floridan Aquifer, water quality, and ecology are being threatened. Communities have mobilized and are on the move, STAND NOW FOR CLEAN WATER!

Activists: Charges In Flint Crisis Won’t Restore Faith In Government

Almost a year after President Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, the crisis continues to affect people there.	
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By Auditi Guha for Rewire – Karina Petri, founder of Project Flint, said grassroots organizations like hers are struggling to find a voice for residents who have given up, some of whom have gone back to using the tainted water because they no longer care about the health consequences. There’s a lot of blame to go around and still no clean water in Flint, Michigan, where four more officials were charged Tuesday for their failure to protect people from health hazards caused by contaminated drinking water, bringing the total charged this year to 13. The charges come as activists in Flint see despair setting in among residents who have lived through the public health nightmare.

Not Just Standing Rock: Water Sources Along Pipeline At Risk

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By David Pitt for Associated Press – DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Native American tribe’s fight over its water source has grown into an international cause, with all attention focused on the Dakota Access pipeline’s route in southern North Dakota. But contractors on the project, which passes through three other states, have been drilling under and through rivers that are equally critical water sources for hundreds of thousands of people. One city managed to avoid the situation – Bismarck, North Dakota, the center of government in the oil-rich state and home to 67,000 people. Others, including Des Moines, Iowa, didn’t, despite protests that led to arrests.

What’s Next For Water Protectors At Standing Rock?

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By Staff of Camp of the Sacred Stones – As we reflect on the decision by the US Army (NOT the US Army Corps) to suspend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) river crossing easement and conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the resistance camps at Standing Rock are making plans for the next phase of this movement. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked people to return home once the weather clears, and many will do so. Others will stay to hold the space, advance our reclamation of unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, and continue to build community around the protection of our sacred waters.

Newsletter - Standing Rock And American Genocide

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. As we write this newsletter, we are driving to North Dakota to volunteer at Standing Rock. We have been wanting to go for many months but could not because of our commitment to organizing to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and our political work outside of Popular Resistance. We were planning to join a team from Baltimore in late December, but recent events made us decide that it was more important to go ourselves now. For a while, a profound sense of the importance of this moment has been growing within us. There are and have been many fights against fossil fuel infrastructure, but this one is different. Given the history of the country, the crises we all face on many levels and the direction that we are going – growing revolt and an increasingly repressive government – the fight at Standing Rock feels like a major turning point.

Guatemala’s Indigenous Water Protectors Organize To Challenge Hydroelectric Projects

Women from along the Cahabón River demonstrate in Guatemala City on October 17 by holding inverted water containers to symbolize the privatization of their water. (Prensa Comunitaria/Nelton Rivera)

By Jeff Abbott for Waging Nonviolence – Thousands of indigenous Q’eqchi, Achí and Pomcomchí Mayas took part in a series of protests on October 17 against hydroelectric projects along the Cahabón River in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. The simultaneous protests, which took place in Guatemala City and the municipality of San Pedro Carcha, aimed to force the government’s hand over a delayed consultation on the project in Santa María Cahabón. “[The company] entered [our community] without advising anyone,” said Bernado Caal Xol, one of the organizers of the movement against the hydro project.