Monday March 10, 2014 – Keystone XL Civil Disobedience Action in Philadelphia, PA

On Monday, March 10, the Philadelphia-area, including Earth Quaker Action Team, will be fulfilling the Pledge of Resistance to commit civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.

There is legal support for this action, including legal representation for the group civil disobedience. Participants who are arrested will be responsible for fines/bail. If you plan to go to Philadelphia, please RSVP Here so the organizers can send you additional details and updates.

There is one final training to prepare for the action on Saturday March 8:

Action Training
Saturday, March 8
1:00 pm – 4:00pm
Arch Street Meetinghouse (Corner of 4th & Arch Streets)

On Monday March 10, while the main action will be for people committing civil disobedience, there will also be roles for people not risking arrest to go and support those participating in the action.

Monday, March 10
Gather at 10:30 am
Arch Street Meetinghouse (Corner of 4th & Arch Streets)

People will meet for final action preparation before heading over to the Federal Building at 6th and Market Streets for the midday action.

For those living in New York City, you may wish to take either Bolt Bus or Mega Bus leaving from Manhattan W. 33rd or 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues to Philadelphia 30th Street Station, or, take New Jersey Transit leaving from Penn Station in Manhattan to Philadelphia 30th Street Station.

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Posted in Action-Alerts, Activist-Community, Events

Photo Op: UFA In Baltimore to Help Stop Fracked Gas Exports

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While we work to stop Liberty Natural Gas off our shore, Maryland fights a monstrous onshore LNG port — Dominion Energy in Cove Point.  One week ago several United for Action members including Edie Kantrowitz, Sharon Goldstein, Meredith Dillon and Ling Tsou traveled to Maryland and joined 800 other protesters rallying to stop the Cove Point LNG Terminal.  Ling wrote about the day’s solidarity: 

Today, February 20th, on a beautiful sunny day, hundreds of people came from all across Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey to gather at the War Memorial Plaza in downtown Baltimore, Maryland to protest Dominion Energy’s application to build the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal on the East Coast to export over one billion cubic feet of carbon-emitting fracked natural gas per day to Asia.  Among the many speakers I was really moved by Lois Gibbs who led the fight at Love Canal.  Lois said something like that facts were good but facts were not enough.  We need to be constantly in their face.  We need to tweet at Governor O’Malley and our legislature every morning and every evening.  We marched and chanted around the block passing the building where the Maryland Public Service Commission began the process to review an essential permit that Dominion Energy needs to build the LNG export terminal.  This is the same building that houses Maryland Governor O’Malley’s Baltimore office.  It felt really good to stand in solidarity with people from many states to show that we care and we do not want the fossil fuel industry to ruin our water, our air, health and lives.  We can not allow any more LNG terminal to be built, not by Dominion Energy at Cove Point, Maryland, and not by Liberty Natural Gas off Jones Beach at the entrance to the New York Harbor.  We are all in this fight together.

Today, Philadelphia’s Protecting Our Waters (POW) posted that four people were arrested in front of Maryland’s Allegany country court house to protest Cove Point.  The protesters wrote eloquently about what moved them to action.  You can read about it on the POW website

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Posted in News

March 7, 2014 – Comment Deadline on Keystone XL Pipeline FSEIS

On January 31, the State Department published its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the Keystone XL pipeline project. Public comments will be accepted until March 7, 2014 at 11:59 pm (EST).  This is the last time the public has a chance to formally comment on the pipeline.  The FSEIS is a step towards ultimate approval of the Keystone XL project.

You may submit your comment electronically by clicking on http://www.regulations.gov, enter the Docket No. DOS–2014–0003 and follow the prompts by clicking on “Comment Now!” to submit a comment.

You may also mail a hard copy of your comment and postmarked no later than March 7, 2014.  To submit comments by mail, use the following address: Bureau of Energy Resources, Room 4843, Attn: Keystone XL Public Comments, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C St. NW., Washington, DC 20520.

Please note that standard mail delivery to the State Department can be delayed due to security screening.

For talking points, we thank Pat Almonrode of 350NYC for sending us the below sample letters:

Adapted from the letter of the Center for Biological Diversity:

(Docket ID: DOS-2014-0003)

Dear Secretary Kerry,

As a person deeply concerned with climate change, I want to thank you for your years of climate leadership during your time in the Senate.  You have been a leader in the fight against climate change for decades, and you’ve spoken out many times about the need to address this issue before it’s too late.  But all of that work will be for naught if you cannot convince President Obama that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is in neither the national nor the global interest.

Despite the compromised FSEIS – compiled, as you know, by a contractor with ties to Big Oil – the evidence is overwhelming that Keystone XL would increase production levels of tar sands oil in Alberta, and therefore significantly add to carbon emissions.  Moreover, the massive investment would lock us into dependence on this dirty fuel for decades, exacerbating carbon pollution just when we badly need to go quickly, decisively in the opposite direction.

Keystone XL would also carry tremendous risk of devastating spills, right in our heartland.  It would pump 830,000 barrels of toxic tar sands oil every day from Canada straight through the United States.  It would endanger water supplies, displace forests and threaten wildlife – including at least 13 endangered species.

The FSEIS shockingly underestimated Keystone XL’s potential to accelerate climate change.  However, even this compromised document acknowledges that tar sands oil is more carbon intensive than regular crude, admitting that “the total direct and indirect emissions” of the project “would contribute to cumulative global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions.”  An honest review would show that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be a significant climate trigger and must not be constructed.

I urge you to continue to study the issue, to extend the public comment period, and finally to convey to President Obama that the construction of Keystone XL is not “in the national interest.”

Adapted from Reuters and ThinkProgress

(Docket ID: DOS-2014-0003)

Dear Secretary Kerry,

The recently released FSEIS for the Keystone XL pipeline – written, as you know, by a contractor with close ties to the oil industry – is flawed in several important respects and should be withdrawn.

Most significantly, the document unrealistically proceeds on the assumption that if the Alberta tar sands oil is not exported via this pipeline, it will just be shipped away via rail; thus, approval of Keystone XL will not significantly increase carbon pollution.

This assumption has been proven false.  An analysis by Reuters found that rail transport of this oil is too expensive to be feasible (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/18/us-usa-keystone-railroads-idUSBRE93H07I20130418).  In fact, one of the crude-by-rail industry’s biggest concerns is that regulators, prompted by a recent series of disastrous derailments, will impose safety measures that could erase any efficiencies that may exist in the rail model (see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/03/keystone-canada-rail-idUKL2N0KX21G20140203).  And clearly, the industry’s very interest in building Keystone XL indicates that the project is seen as essential for getting Alberta tar sands oil to market.

The exploitation of the Alberta tar sands is not inevitable.  If Keystone XL is not constructed, that exploitation – and the resultant, continued rape of vast tracts of pristine Canadian arboreal forest – will be slowed and quite possibly stopped.  And it must be stopped.  As you are well aware, oil produced from the tar sands is some of the “dirtiest” liquid fuel on the planet.  It must remain in the ground, or we will light the fuse to a “carbon bomb” that will mean “essentially game over for the climate,” according to the eminent climate scientist James Hansen (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html?_r=0).

I urge you to continue to study the issue, to extend the public comment period, and finally to convey to President Obama that the construction of Keystone XL is not “in the national interest.”

Adapted from the letter of Moms’ Clean Air Force:

(Docket ID: DOS-2014-0003)

Dear Secretary Kerry,

Stopping one pipeline won’t stop the growth of the fossil fuel industry.  But if you allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, you’ll be encouraging the development of Alberta’s tar sands – some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet – for many decades to come.

The pipeline isn’t the polluter; the development of the tar sands is.  But the pipeline is seen by the industry itself as essential to developing the market for tar sands.

The United States cannot and must not be complicit in the development of this filthy, retrograde fuel.  Keystone XL is about yesterday’s power.  We must focus – as engineers, economists, and parents and consumers – on tomorrow’s power.  Our goal must be to power our country with energy that is clean, affordable, and sustainable.  Allowing construction of Keystone XL will set that goal back for many decades – decades that we just don’t have.

I urge you to continue to study the issue, to extend the public comment period so that all Americans can be heard on this issue, and finally to convey to President Obama that construction of Keystone XL would not be “in the national interest.”

Adapted from the letter of the League of Conservation Voters:

(Docket ID: DOS-2014-0003)

Dear Secretary Kerry,

As a person concerned with climate change, I want to thank you for your years of climate leadership as a Senator.  As Secretary of State, you now have the opportunity to have an even greater impact in the fight to stop and, ultimately, reverse climate change.  One of the main ways you can do that now is by conveying to President Obama that Keystone XL is not in our national interest and should not be allowed to go forward.

The evidence is clear that Keystone XL would accelerate the development of the Alberta tar sands, and thereby significantly add to the amount of carbon pollution we already pump into the atmosphere.  Moreover, the massive investment required to build Keystone XL would lock us into dependence on this dirty fuel for decades, exacerbating carbon pollution just when we have to move quickly and decisively to lessen it.

This dangerous pipeline would also put the water supply of millions of Americans at risk.  Keystone XL pipeline carries a tremendous risk of devastating spills, right in our heartland, by pumping toxic tar sands “dilbit” straight through the heart of United States.  Even a small spill could have catastrophic effects on wildlife habitat, waterways, and ground water – including the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the most important sources of ancient water on this planet.  After a year in which many communities were harmed by spills from existing pipelines, we cannot allow any more of the dirtiest, most toxic oil on earth to spill into our lands and waterways.

Although the recently released Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement downplayed both Keystone XL’s potential to fuel climate change and its immediate threat to the ecosystem, you can set the record straight in your draft National Interest Determination.

At a minimum, you must say that construction of Keystone XL is not in our national interest.  But you should go further, and acknowledge that this pipeline would be an absolute disaster not only for our country, but for our planet.

I urge you to continue to study the issue, to extend the public comment period so that all Americans can be heard on this issue, and finally to convey to President Obama that construction of Keystone XL would not be “in the national interest.”

Adapted from the letter of the National Wildlife Federation:

(Docket ID: DOS-2014-0003)

Dear Secretary Kerry,

The proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a serious threat our efforts to curb climate change.  It is also a direct threat to wildlife and to wildlife habitat.  The evidence is overwhelming that, if approved, Keystone XL would accelerate the exploitation of the Alberta tar sands deposits, devastating crucial habitat areas for at-risk wildlife.

To consider just one at-risk species, the survival of thousands of woodland caribou in Alberta depends on your decision.  The woodland caribou’s boreal forest habitat is already rapidly disappearing due to timber, gas, and tar sands development.  What remains of this fragile habitat will be destroyed by the massively expanded development that will result if Keystone XL is allowed to go forward.

Woodland caribou require large tracts of relatively undisturbed old growth forest for their food and shelter.  If Keystone XL is approved, the resulting increase in tar sands strip-mining would destroy huge swaths of forest, devastating the fragile ecosystem on which the caribou depend.  In fact, if habitat destruction from tar sands is not stopped, scientists predict that some caribou herds in the region could disappear entirely in as little as 30 years – succumbing, as the buffalo, the passenger pigeon, and other once-plentiful species have, to humankind’s rapacious hunger for resources.

The expansion of tar sands development that would result from the approval of Keystone XL would also greatly accelerate the global climate crisis.  Clean energy that benefits people and has much less impact on wildlife is the path forward for economic and energy security in America – not another tar sands pipeline.  Of course, the final decision on Keystone XL will be up to President Obama, but your department, as the lead agency, will point the way.  That way is forward into a future of clean, sustainable energy, not backwards into the fossil-fuel past.

I urge you to continue to study the issue, to extend the public comment period so that all Americans can be heard on this issue, and finally to convey to President Obama that construction of Keystone XL would not be “in the national interest.”

 

 

 

Posted in Action-Alerts, Activist-Community, Events

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson Does Not Want Fracking in His Backyard

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson joins lawsuit to stop fracking near his home. If Tillerson does not want fracking in his backyard, why is it safe to frack near schools, playgrounds, and other people’s homes?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/21/1279443/-Exxon-CEO-Joins-Lawsuit-to-Stop-Fracking-Near-His-Home?detail=email#

Posted in News

John Kerry Calls Climate Change a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”

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Speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry said:
“Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction”. Will he follow his own advice and reject the Keystone XL pipeline?

Read more: John Kerry calls climate change a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”

Posted in News

Wind and solar energy beats fracking by Steven B. Smiley

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“This year marks a major turning point in energy in America. Wind and solar power beats natural gas “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing). With recent cost declines, they are the lowest cost new energy sources.” – Steven B. Smiley

Read the good news: Wind and solar energy beats fracking.

Posted in News

Mass Civil Disobedience Against Keystone XL by Peter Rothberg The Nation

The March 2 sit-in is expected to be the largest act of civil disobedience by young people in the recent history of the environmental movement and it will be led by just the demographic that helped propel Obama to the presidency. The protest, known as “XL Dissent,” is meant to send a clear signal to President Obama that the base that helped elect him sees Keystone XL as a decision that will define his entire legacy.

https://portside.org/2014-02-13/mass-civil-disobedience-against-keystone-xl

Posted in Activist-Community, Events, News

Watch the “Tankers and Turbines” Speakers / Stop LNG Off Jones Beach / Demand Clean Energy

Our deep appreciation goes to Owen Crowley, who single-handedly filmed, edited (incorporating the speakers’ slides), and posted video of UFA’s Tankers & Turbines event that was held two weeks ago.  If you missed the event at Rutgers Church, you can view the various parts of the evening by clicking on the photos below.  Please watch, share, and spread the word that we must get Governors Christie and Cuomo to veto Liberty Natural Gas’ deepwater port application.

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1. Sean Dixon from Clean Ocean Action (see their Port Ambrose fact-sheet here) spoke to the audience about Liberty Natural Gas’ proposed port, how it would bring in tankers as long as the Empire State Building is tall, carrying explosive cargo among the shipping lanes of one of the busiest ports in the country.  Governor Chris Christie vetoed past applications and he and Governor Cuomo can and should nix this one.  Don’t wait to call Cuomo at (212) 681-4580 or (518) 474-8390, or Gov. Christie at (609) 292-6000.

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2.  Fossil fuels are so 20th century!  The Sierra Club’s David Alicea showed the audience why we should support clean energy such as offshore wind rather than continue down the path that has put our ecosystem in such peril.  We need to bear down on policy-makers to rapidly transition to carbon-free energy sources.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 2.01.04 PM3.  The always-elucidating Al Appleton, water and sustainability expert, puts today’s energy crossroads in historical context of both man and planet.  He highlights the fact that if New York state embraces clean energy it will see myriad economic, public health and other benefits.

4.  Also watch the Q&A part of the evening for some excellent points which were raised by audience members, and hear additional speaker insights as to how we can all be more effective advocates.

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Again, many thanks to Owen for these high-quality (the screen capture images here may be blurry, but the video is not!) videos that so expertly capture these important presentations.  Please watch and share widely with your friends, family and colleagues.

Thanks for all you do!

The United for Action Team

Posted in Action-Alerts, Activist-Community, Events, News

Thursday February 20, 2014 – Rally Against Cove Point LNG Export Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland

When: Thursday 2/20/14 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm

 

Where: War Memorial Plaza, Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

 

Dominion Energy wants Cove Point, originally built during the 1970s to import gas, to become the first liquefied natural gas export facility approved on the East Coast. The project would cost upwards of $3.8 billion dollars, require the construction of an energy-intensive plant on-site to liquefy and cool the gas, draw a surge of tanker traffic into the Chesapeake Bay Area and enable the export of over one billion cubic feet of carbon-emitting fracked natural gas per day.

 

Please sign up for a seat on the bus here. The bus leaves 8th Avenue and W. 34th Street in Manhattan, New York City at 7:30 am. The bus will stop in Bloomfield, NJ and New Brunswick, NJ as well on its way to Baltimore.

 

Please get on the bus to Baltimore if you can. We need to draw the line and show that people across our region want clean energy and safe communities, not a mega-export facility for dirty fracked gas!

Posted in Action-Alerts, Activist-Community, Events

Wednesday February 19, 2014 and Thursday February 20, 2014 – New York State Energy Plan Hearings

On January 7, 2014 the New York State Energy Planning Board released its 2014 Draft New York State Energy Plan with comment period ending March 31, 2014.  The Planning Board has scheduled six public hearings in various parts of New York State with three hearings scheduled around the New York City area.

When: Wednesday 2/19/14 at 3:00 pm in Brooklyn, New York City

Where: Brooklyn College, Gold Room, Student Center, 6th Floor
Campus Road & East 27th Street, Brooklyn, NY

When: Thursday 2/20/14 at 10:00 am in Manhattan, New York City

Where: John Jay College, 2nd floor, 524 West 59 Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, New York, NY

When: Monday 3/3/14 at 1:00 pm in Long Island

Where: SUNY Farmingdale, Little Theater at Roosevelt Hall, Melville Road, Farmingdale, New York

While the Energy Plan reaffirms the state’s commitment to 80% greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, with an interim goal of a 50% carbon-intensity reductions by 2030, it does not have a roadmap to show how we can actually get there. The Plan endorses natural gas as a major part of New York’s energy mix, continues support for the expansion of natural gas infrastructure and makes no real commitment on renewables. We need to turn out as many people as we can to attend these public hearings to let Governor Cuomo know that he needs to make a real commitment to stop investing in fossil fuels, including stop the expansion of natural gas infrastructure and LNG port, close down all nuclear power plants and make renewables a top priority. Each participant from the public can give up to five minutes of testimony.  Please bring at least two hard copies of your testimony to submit for the official records. For talking points, you may wish to click on AGREE New York website.  You may also wish to consult the following talking points suggested by the Sierra Club.

Suggested Talking Points:

New York’s Energy Plan has the potential to be a road map for combating climate
disruption, cleaning up harmful pollution and making New York a national renewable energy leader. Governor Cuomo’s Energy Plan must go farther to protect our families from the threat of worsening climate disruption.  The Energy Plan must lay out a path to immediately begin moving New York away from the dirty fuels of the past, like coal, gas and nuclear, and toward the clean, renewable energy solutions of the future.

1. The Energy Plan must include mandates for enforceable interim steps and
targets that will meet the state’s goal of reducing carbon pollution 80% by
2050.

2. New York must turn away from dirty and dangerous energy and double down
on our investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency now.  The Energy Plan must commit to extending energy efficiency programs past 2015 and increasing the state’s renewable energy target to 50% by 2025.

3. Let’s Turn not Burn.  The Energy Plan must follow up on Governor Cuomo’s
landmark commitment to solar (New York Sun) and make a similar commitment to
scaling up investments in clean, renewable wind power both Upstate and off our
shores.  The Governor’s Energy Plan must commit to doubling New York’s land
based wind capacity and invest in offshore wind this year.  Specifically, the state can
purchase offshore wind power to power Long Island from a project under
development east of Montauk point, and move forward with a project proposed by
the New York Power Authority in the New York Wind Energy Area off the
Rockaways this year.

4. New York cannot Frack and Burn to a clean energy future.  To truly combat
climate disruption, the Energy Plan must commit to retiring dirty, outdated and
uneconomical coal and oil plants and move beyond gas to replace aging and highly
polluting generation. Converting dirty and polluting coal and oil plants to gas will do little if anything to reduce the state’s carbon footprint when lifecycle Green House Gas emissions are considered.

5. New York must move away from further increased investments in gas infrastructure and protect our families and water from fracking.  Increasing New York’s reliance on natural gas commits New York to significant investments in unsustainable gas infrastructure that will lock in reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come, burden ratepayers to volatile prices, crowd out opportunities for increased renewable resources and open New York up to the destructive and devastating practice of hydraulic fracturing, which has decimated nearby states.

6. New York State must commit to decommissioning its nuclear power plants
and abandon any plans to increase energy generating capacity from nuclear
sources. The Department of Energy has yet to solve the problem of disposal for the
highly radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants and the ongoing toxic
releases from these plants, both planned and accidental, pose catastrophic risks to
human and environmental health.

7. New York should electrify its vehicle fleet so that reductions in the carbon
intensity of the power sector translate into climate benefits from the transportation sector.

We will provide more information on talking points as we continue to learn about this energy plan.  Please do your best to attend one of these hearings.

Posted in Action-Alerts, Activist-Community, Events