Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Renewable Path at the NY Crossroads is the correct path

June 17 is extremely important for getting the message out that an immediate path to renewable energy is absolutely necessary, and that high volume horizontal and vertical fracking, pipelines, compressors and LNG stations are inexcusable, false bridges to a renewable future. Many New Yorkers concerned with our energy future are meeting up on the Albany East Capital Lawn, on Monday June 17 from noon to 3 pm, and sending out the message that attention must be paid to this urgent NY Crossroads.

The influence of the gas industry is endemic in the New York government and media. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested to the gas industry that they deliver nice messaging about how safe and good fracking is to New Yorkers.

Empire Energy Forum, in cahoots with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, are blanketing New York's Southern Tier (the front line fighting fracking in the state) with robo-calls and flyers. Here is a sample of what Big Gas is sending out.

A resident of  Madison County has received  flyers from Empire Energy, each different.  One represents a purported toxicologist and mother of 5 from Maryland, NY (Otsego County).  "She claims there is no documented incident of groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing in NY or anywhere else…  Inside is a diagram of drilling and the “precautions” taken by the gas industry to ensure safety.  (It is entitled “Shielding ensures safety”).  It lists 3 “facts” – (1) NY already has strict oil and gas regs which are being strengthened and that there is community input, (2) the casing and cementing precautions and (3) drilling wastes will be captured in tanks (never being put in ponds and never touching the ground).  Reuse and recycling of wastewaters and solid wastes.  On the back 50,000 new, good paying jobs, $6M to over $2B in new revenue, reduction in utility bills, vital local support for schools, police and fire protection and public services through oil and gas production revenues.  Then it lists NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation, SGEIS and then Empire’s web page." 

A quick fact check makes it easy to learn of the blatant lies in this mailer. The regulations, which have not been approved, are not strict and use arbitrary setback distances and amounts of dangerous substances allowed. Citizen input is gathered with reluctance and obstruction to ability to report concerns. There are no good safety measures regarding casings; for that fact there are no good safety measures, period. Dumping of vertical fracking waste is done openly by gas companies. Fracking contaminates the water used and there would be little safe reuse of this water.

Occupy the Pipeline is calling for a BAN on HVHF as opposed to accepting a moratorium. A statewide moratorium would leave the matter open. In the US the fossil fuel industry appears to have a free hand in building the infrastructure of their drilling and pipelines and compression and LNG apparatus, even without final approval. An outright ban would prevent this. A moratorium would allow extension of a number of land leases which would soon expire. Some environmental groups are advocating collaboration with the gas industry to have "strong" regulations that would only allow "safe" fracking.

Please be clear. There is no such thing as safe fracking. There are no safe pipelines or compressors. There will be no safe LNG terminals.

Beside explosions, harm from high volume horizontal fracking includes:

  Contamination of ground and other water.

  Millions of gallon of fresh water used and poisoned by each drilling of a well.

  Atmospheric leaks of greenhouse gas methane (much more potent than carbon dioxide) and radioactive
  Marcellus Shale radon.

  Devastation of land and land value, along with the possibility of a gas company deserting a well and leaving 
  the land owner and holder of the land lease liable for liens on the gas company.

  Destruction of public recreation areas by allowance of HVHF on this land set aside for the use of citizens.3

  Exacerbation of  climate change and corresponding erratic weather patterns.

The The New York State Assembly passed a two year HVHF moratorium in early March this year. Thanks to fossil fuel lover Senator Tom Libous and his ilk, the NY Senate has stalled the bill in its chamber. The gas industry insists that local town/village fracking bans and moratoriums are illegal because a few of them have been successfully overturned. Remember that these are local initiatives and can't be judged as a group.The gas industry is backing pro-fracking members of the New York State government to push for an easy in for HVHF.

All this while Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford University have given us a plan for all of New York State to run on renewable energy by 2030. And this sustainable plan would be at a lower cost for the entire state than the $20 billion dollar climate change disaster relief plan (while still retaining addiction to fossil fuels and making worse the climate change disasters the plan is relieving) NYC Mayor Bloomberg just released. Indeed in 2010 Stanford drew up a plan for the entire world to go renewable in 30 years. The cost of renewable energy has decreased over the last decade.

The time is NOW. Please meet with fellow concerned citizens, business leaders, faith leaders, health professionals, students, farmers and more and let New York know - we want renewable energy, not more fossil fuels. Say No to fracking in Albany on June 17.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Poland Farmers Stand Up Against Chevron to Fight Fracking

At times one's own local attempts to stop the use of fossil fuels and move to renewables may overwhelm. Taking a look out, we see friends all over the state, nation and world standing up to big fossil fuel corporations.  In Zurawlow, a small rural community in Poland, a group of approximately 150 farmers has been standing their ground for the last week against multinational Chevron. People are sleeping in fields overnight and blocking areas with cars and trucks. Some farmers are reported injured. Of major concern is the potential contamination and loss of water in this farming area, as well as contamination of the farmland.

Chevron fenced off an area for which they hold a lease for drilling. Some media reports say Chevron owns the land. According to the farmers the right to drill was reversed and further regulations considered two years ago, due in part to protests by the citizens of this and three other areas in Poland where Chevron has leases. The Polish Ministry of the Environment had granted Chevron the right to perform seismic studies on leased land as tests before the actual hydrofracturing took place, but there is no right to fence the land.  The link below are from a French news and a French Environmental website.

Farmers fear that Chevron will start fracking operations although that is not allowed without civil hearing and granting of local permission.  They state that all activity must be declared and approved; Chevron has not completed this process per the farmers.  The lease contract is subject to ongoing legislation regarding regulations of public work. Local government appears to be leaning to Chevron's side. The farmers have been entertaining themselves with music and plan to write and record an anti-fracking song. they have also been watching Lech Kowalski's film "Drill Baby Drill."

Poland's government has been very fracking friendly to various gas companies, in an attempt to become "energy independent" from Russian imports. Hmm, sound familiar? There are plans to limit fracking protests to groups that are at least a year old, limiting the legal reach of groups in newly endangered areas.

Poland's fracking enterprises are troubled in that wells already fracked have not produced according to expectation of this being a particularly rich deposit area. The government is contemplating increased taxes on profits and the severity of regulation appears that it will be greater than expected. Several gas companies have already given up and left Poland, including ExxonMobil, Marathon and Talisman.

Gas corporations are not happy that Poland plans to have a state owned company involved in the gas drilling mix. How dare the country have anything to do with its own natural "resource."

Sadly, the media is not all over this. The farmers are protesting against Chevron's attempted drilling for everyone in Poland. French media seem to have more interest than Polish. Of course, we are familiar with this problem. Occupy Chevron says No Fracking in Poland. Ban Fracking Now in Poland and Everywhere! Let's stand in solidarity with Poland!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Gas. Oil. Pipelines. We keep hearing the pipelines, the fossil fuels are inevitable. Gas and oil are not the only choice. Renewables will sustain us. The fossil fuel industry has been lying to us for years. It is time to stop believing the hype. It is time to tell our representatives that this outdated rush to poison the world must stop. It is time to heed actual science.  Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford provided a plan to move the world to renewables in 2009 and in 2013 have provided a New York plan. The European Union has legislated renewable energy goals which have been a success. The US should drive its energy policy to sustainable energy sources instead of damaging fossil fuels.

President Obama was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 as environmentally friendly. His track record on reducing fossil fuel use is not good. Consider Keystone XL, which is urgently important. If Obama ok’s this pipeline, the game is as well as over.  Canadians don’t want these tar sands piped through their country; why should we have to accept this tar sands bitumen pipeline?

Obama’s new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz has close ties with the fossil fuel industry. He touts natural gas as a bridge fuel and does not exhibit any concern over the harmful effects of High Volume Horizontal Fracking. Under Moniz there is no doubt the billions of dollars of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry will continue, and there is no sign he will make a push for total renewable, sustainable energy.

The Keystone XL is only the steroidally largest pipeline in the works here. There is a massive network of pipelines moving natural gas and oil.  We know of the big spills but there are many smaller spills and explosions. The industry is jonesing to extend this further, “expand(ing) US supply glut” of natural gas, as Bloomberg puts it. There is also the push to start processing Liquified Natural Gas for export. Government representatives are lobbied like mad to continue legislation in favor of the fossil fuel industry pipeline population growth.

We don’t need more fossil fuels. We need to totally concentrate on renewable energy now. Our government representatives are not going to be the leaders in moving us to renewables. We have to spread the word - Renewable, sustainable energy is so right and fossil fuel pipelines are so wrong.

Friday, May 31, 2013

OTP's at the Left Forum next weekend! Come join us!
Panel Discussion: The Necessity of Direct Action
to Prevent Expansion
of Gas and Oil Infrastructure

Pace University, New York City
Room: E321,
Time: Saturday, 8th of June 03:40pm-05:20pm

Because of fracking, New York State is on the front line of a war for the future of the planet. Climate change is escalating. The fossil fuel industry is hell-bent on permanently destroying the environment. Our government is either passive or complicit. No one can save us but ourselves. This panel is an examination of how to get that done.

In this discussion, we’ll cover:

  • A Map of the Problem: Specifics about the various pipelines, compressor stations, cracker distilleries, sand deposits, gas storage areas, water withdrawal areas, etc. criss-crossing the region covering the Marcellus Shale.
  • Activist Cross-pollination: The importance of symbiotic relations between the larger NGOs and the smaller grassroots orgs and groups. 
  • Activist Tools: Since New York State is a backwater and a world capital and everything in between, resources vary at each locale. We must alter our tactics to fit the situation. Tools include: bans and moratoriums, direct actions of many types, social media campaigns, the NYC mayoral race, reconfiguring municipal charters, and many, many more.
  • The Real Solution: An outline of the actualities of renewable energy, conservation, and the demand for a change in our lifestyle. 

Chair, Speakers: Dave Publow -- Occupy the Pipeline (, Patrick Robbins -- Occupy the Pipeline , Pramilla Malick -- Stop the Minisink Compression Station (, Monica Hunken – Occupy the Pipeline, Eric Brandenburg -- United for Action

Left Forum is the largest annual conference of the broad Left in the United States. Each spring thousands of conference participants come together to discuss pressing local, national and global issues; to better understand commonalities and differences, and alternatives to current predicaments; or to share ideas to build social movements to transform the world.

This year's theme of Left Forum is "Mobilizing for Economical/Ecological transformation.”
Speakers include Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone and Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera

*** Please forward widely **** 

Monday, May 27, 2013

TPP - Stop the Pipeline to Ultimate Corporate Power

Fossil fuel corporations exhibit an insatiable quest for profit. Pushing for High Volume Horizontal Fracking wherever there is any shale underground, planning for a vast serpentine network of pipelines across the US to move fracked gas and oil, fighting governmental regulation, insisting their activities are safe and clean even as there are continuous “accidents” spilling oil or causing explosions.  The world is now facing the prospect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Mother of all trade dreams for gas and oil corporations, as well as all other Big Corps. TPP covers all manner of trade and if passed it will set corporate interest above the interest of citizens and their governments (except for the monetary interest of representatives who’ve been paid off.

The early history of the TPP harkens back to the Bush 2 years and Obama took this baton from W and after a brief wait he has run like mad with it. There have been 17 rounds of meetings between the dozen or so countries now involved and the open ended nature of the agreement would allow countries to continue to join after the pact is agreed upon and the seal is set. Obama has expressed a requirement for TPP to be "fast tracked" without the normal path to ratification and implementation, with minimal debate and lack of amendments it would be hurried through with the usual hype that it is good for America without revealing that it is bad for consumers and many aspects of their lives.

The negotiations are as secret as possible. Even the Senate Chairman in charge of the committee with jurisdiction over the TPP is not allowed to read the proposals to the agreement; but the corporate agents have full access. Some parts of the TPP have been leaked, revealing the extensive powers sought for big corporate interest in this agreement.  As noted in a blog post in the Daily Kos, “This document is about reducing the regulation a sovereign entity may apply to an investment to the point that any investment is almost certain to pay out whether by actually carrying out the investment or through reimbursement for not being able to carryout the investment”  Here are some links to get more overall information on the TPP.

TPP passage could place the rights of fossil fuel corporations above current and proposed US laws.  As little consideration FERC and the DOE now seem to have for the public good, TPP would gut concern for citizen and environmental matters. State and local moratoriums against HVHF and any regulations could be considered barriers to gas and oil profits. Compulsory integration is now used in some areas to frack land whose owner refuses to sign a land lease but around which land leases have been obtained.  TPP could allow fracking land without this eminent  “justification.”

The Halliburton Loophole exclusion from the Clean Water Act requirement of listing of toxic chemicals used in fracking will seem insignificant as corporations could claim that restriction of harmful chemical use will restrict their anticipated profits. The world is seeing a fossil fuel pipeline building frenzy, no doubt in anticipation of passage of TPP and other “trade” agreements with only corporate interests addressed. Gas and oil pipelines could be allowed to take citizens’ and public land in the interest of fossil fuel profits.

While it is distasteful to direct anyone to a 1% publication, please hold your nose and read Forbes analysis of why fossil fuel pipelines are so plentiful, necessary, poverty-solving (?) and clean (!?!). This is the type of propaganda faced by world citizens who are concerned about the future. Big money is striving to riddle the world with pipelines and to extract and ship oil and natural gas to every pinch of the globe and the TPP would give unlimited power to profit from this.

There are many reasons to object to passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Granting super power to the fossil fuel industry with the resultant harm to people, animals and the environment is an important reason. Please research the TPP on your own and spread the word. What is not known about it is due to intentional secrecy. The worst thing for TPP is sunshine and transparency. Discuss with everyone you know and find a way to speak out against the TPP. In NYC, on May 28th at 6:30, find out what you can do about the TPP at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church at 1157 Lexington Avenue, between 79th and 80th Streets in Manhattan.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Greenwashing-est Night

The New York League of Conservation Voters is hosting a Spring Gala tonight, May 20, 2013, honoring New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg for being environmentally friendly. While Bloomberg has some green policies, there is a big non-green blot on his record. Bloomberg's push for NYC buildings to convert from #4 or #6 oil to fracked natural gas and the attendant plethora of gas pipelines (built while waiting for permission to be built) including Spectra's on the Gansevoort Peninsula, all touted as Eco-friendly while actually bad for the environment and potentially very dangerous.

If the oil conversion were truly a sustainable plan, various forms of renewable energy would have been forwarded as replacement options as opposed to the extreme push for gas. The methane in natural gas is at least 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Lack of black smoke billowing from chimneys doesn't mean the climate change danger is gone. Natural gas is a fossil fuel and fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale contains radioactive radon. 

The proposed network of pipelines pose a threat to the people and property in New York City as well as the area covered in transporting the gas. A quick Google search will reveal the history of accidents with gas pipelines; imagine an explosion in building dense NYC. Consider also that gas boilers have only one possible supplier, Con Edison, which anticipates ever greater profits under the gas push. Interesting point is that natural gas demand has actually decreased in the last decade, but gas industry push for Liquified Natural Gas Terminals to store and export gas have increase dramatically.

Please make note that several of the patrons of the NYLCV fund raiser are organizations involved in pushing for High Volume Horizontal Fracking in New York State. The gas industry and its friends greenwash their product with millions of dollars spent nationwide advertising the clean niceness of gas with no factual or scientific backup for the green claims.

Fossil fuels are exacerbating climate change and erratic weather patterns. Extraction of fossil fuels from the Earth is a tortuous, polluting process that contaminates our water, air and land and causes health problems and even death for people and animals. There are better answers to our energy needs than fossil fuel use. Please see the benefits of renewable energy sources here.

The misleading perception that NYLCV's policies are environmentally friendly is manipulative because its "Eco-partners" include fossil fuel companies and companies linked to it. NYLCV should divest of these partners
Please find a list of sponsors for the Gala here

and the NYLCV partners here

Please contact NYLCV and tell them to return funds accepted from fossil fuel companies and to separate from such partners in the future.

The way to a green tomorrow is total investment in renewable energy now. It is possible. Please research the fossil fuel hype; natural gas is not a "bridge" to renewable energy but a crutch for fossil fuel continuation. Here you can check out Stamford University's studies to convert NYS and even the world to renewable energy within 2 to 4 decades.

Renewable and sustainable energy is the only path to the future.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

500 in the street yesterday!

Here's the bulletin that has been circulating through the Tar Sands coalition about yesterday's march. With this kind of energy, there's no question we can win the battle for clean energy. Check it out:

Yesterday evening, over 500 people gathered in New York City to greet President Obama as he arrived at a House Senate Victory Fund dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Activists turned out to remind President Obama of his climate commitments and to show the public opposition to Keystone XL and several local natural gas pipelines (Editor's note - Like the Rockaway Pipeline and the Spectra Pipeline!). Citizens from communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy were there to speak to the toll climate change has already taken on New York.
The event was locally led and was co-sponsored by a broad coalition of local and national environmental and social justice organizations, including Sierra Club, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, 350 NYC, 350 NJ,, 99Rise, Brooklyn For Peace, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP), CREDO, CUNY Divest, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Kids Inc., Green Party of NY, Human Impacts Institute, NYC Friends of Clearwater, NYU Divest, Occupy the Pipeline, Occupy Sandy, Restore the Rock, Sane Energy Project, United for Action, World Can't Wait, WESPAC, and You Are Never Alone (YANA). 
Activists gathered in Bryant Park, where Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping kicked off the event, and then the group marched down Sixth Avenue and rallied in front of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Monday, May 13, 2013

THE ROCKAWAY PHOENIX - Sunday, May 19th - Rebuilding the Rockaways

On Sunday, May 19, OWS Environmental Solidarity Working Group and YANA present a rebuilding seminar at the First Congregational Church, Beach 94th Street and the bay, from 2 through 5 p.m. with Sal Lopizzo (founder of YANA), Winnie Wong of Occupy Sandy, Ken Gale of Eco-Logic on WBAI, and JK Canepa of the New York Climate Action Group and OWS-ESWG, OTP, and CARP. 

The East coast of the US was ravaged by Hurricane/Cyclone Sandy six months ago. Unfortunately this type of super storm will become more common as a century of fossil fuel use has exacerbated climate change and the corresponding erratic weather patterns. 

The Rockaway area was devastated in the storm and many people are still struggling to rebuild their homes and manage to afford the costs of heating and cooling them.

We'll start with a film as people come in and write down their questions and situations, and then our speaker, Chris Benedict, green architect of Architecture and Energy Limited, will address them. Architecture And Energy Limited has a unique perspective with “a portfolio of elegant, functional buildings that are healthy, durable and extremely energy efficient, built for the same price as typical buildings.”

The major focus of the forum will be to answer homeowners’ questions by addressing the specific problems of the Rockaways. Please bring your questions and your knowledge to this event.

This program is free and open to the public, especially the people of the Rockaways and Staten Island, and the volunteers who have stepped up to help after Superstorm Sandy.

Some points to be covered:

- How to save up to 90% on fuel costs

- How to make your home more efficient, safe, and sustainable

- Using the right materials for a wet environment (the Rockaways)

- Finding ways to afford it.

YANA and OWSESWG look forward to meeting you and hope to assist in finding good solutions to the Rockaways being better than ever!

Thanks to Alice Zinnes for the great graphic

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Con Edison begins work on extension of Spectra pipeline

WEST VILLAGE, NEW YORK CITY, MAY 12, 2013.  Con Edison has begun work on its extension of the high volume, high pressure Spectra gas pipeline that terminates under the New Whitney museum in New York City's West Village.  Two excavations by contractors along 10th Avenue between Gansevoort and West 14th Street were well on their way yesterday, and workers were cutting pavement at a third site.  In addition, there was reinforcement work by Con Edison contractors across 10th Avenue at West 15th Street, although the relationship of this work to the larger pipeline project is unconfirmed.

The point of connection between the Spectra pipeline and Con Edison's forthcoming extension is a "vault" being built at the base of the New Whitney Museum.  The Con Edison extension is due for completion in the fall of this year, and the contract to build that extension has only recently been awarded, apparently to a local firm.  Separate contractors are building the vault, which appears to be more advanced towards completion.  The New Whitney Museum is itself under construction.  There is a coordination among the Spectra, Con Edison and New Whitney projects that has at times resulted in planned hiatuses in the vault construction.

Please see below a map of existing and future West Village pipeline infrastructure related to the Spectra pipeline, and photographs of the sites labeled red in the map. Except where otherwise specified, the photographs were taken on May 11, 2013.

Map of work sites

Spectra pipeline emerges from the river.  Note in the background the New York City fireboat, moored within the pipeline's fire radius at the Fire Department's Marine Company 1. (This photograph was taken March 30, 2013)

Work on the vault at the base of the New Whitney museum, which is also under construction. This photograph was taken April 6, 2013.

Excavation site 1, near the New Whitney

Excavation Site 2, between Little West 12th Street and West 13th Street

Excavation Site 3, between West 13th Street and West 14th Street

 Contractor truck near Excavation Site 3

"Reinforcement" work on West 15th Street as it crosses 10th Avenue

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Secrets of Death Avenue Walking Tour!

What do you get when you get a room full of environmental activists who happen to be creative, performers, artists, writers, historians and shake it up with a dash of march, dash of education, dash of history and mystery? A New York City theatrical walking tour, of course! 

We sat in a meeting one night deciding our next course of action for educational outreach for this summer since Con Ed will be digging under the new Whitney Museum to start connecting itself to the Spectra Pipeline. Do we march? Not quite effective enough. Do we flyer more? Sure, but we need something with a little more pizzazz. Our wonderful partner George Pingeon is an actual bicycle tour guide in the city of NYC, so JK Canepa and Eric Walton suggested, "Hey why not a walking tour?" Denise Katzman then informed us about Municipal Art Society's event called "Jane's Walk"   So we decided to get to the drawing board and suss out a walking tour designed to be fun, educational, provocative and hard-to-forget.

We had some facts lined up: 

1. 10th Avenue used to be called DEATH AVENUE Why? Well, I don't want to spoil it for you since we are going to be doing this tour hopefully each month coming up, but to give you a little hint: It involves trains killing people and COWBOYS that took matters into their own hands to protect the people.
2. That the Meat Packing District was once home to meat packers that hung carcasses from its awnings over the sidewalks
3. That the restaurant Florent was the *it* spot to hang after late nights for subcultures of society which paved the way for hip designers and artists to come round and give birth to the ritzy place it has turned into today (love it or hate it, it's there)
4. That Jane Jacobs (who is the woman of honor for MAS's "Jane's Walk") used to live in the hood and created a movement to fight Robert Moses' horrible plans to turn lower Manhattan into a huge highway
5. That the Spectra Pipeline carries the torch up 10th Avenue for the previously nicknamed Death Avenue
6. That we had a wicked hurricane (Sandy) that drown the neighborhood just 6 months ago
7. That we have the choice for renewables if we encourage everyone to be the "Jane Jacobs" of their time and stick up for the people, and what is right for our healthy, clean future.

So we sculpted a script around it and here is what you get. I hope you enjoy the pictures and JOIN US for our next tour!

George Kicks Off our tour! Great crowd!
No Walking Tour would be complete without the harassment of the NYPD who decided to trail our tour with several officers for the entire duration! Let's hope they learned something about fracking and this dangerous radioactive pipeline is coming into their precinct.  
One of our favorite Cowgirls, Susanne, who rescues the people when the city's train puts them in harms way.
Photo by Stacy Lanyon

Pitstop at one of our ol' fave dives, Florent
Jane Jacobs , played by Monica, reading to spar with Robert Moses over people's rights to a healthy environment
Robert Moses, played by Joe Therrien, gittin' his arse kicked by Jane Jacobs. Phew!
photo by Stacy Lanyon

We get to meet Joan Baez along the way with all the other West Village artists
And wow! It's Dylan Thomas!
photo by Stacy Lanyon

Uh oh, and then Owen gets a mouthful from Greg Ebel, the CEO of Spectra Energy (played by Marina Tsaplina).
photo by Stacy Lanyon

And then Kim asks "Who's ready to be the next Jane Jacobs and fight this fracked gas pipeline!?"
photo by Stacy Lanyon

We meet Hurricane Sandy, played by Morgan Jenness, 

And we learn about renewables like solar and wind power that are ready to go!
We just need our government to hop on them as fast as they are hopping
on natural gas extraction that is endangering our entire future.

Many folks are ready to look into the future toward renewables.

Thank you to John Duffy, Stacy Lanyon and Erik McGregor for documenting our day.

Video to come soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SPECTRA Pipeline Debated at Monday’s Mayoral Forum

The OtP team was out in force at the New York Mayoral Forum on Sustainability, hosted in The Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Monday night. Nine of the major mayoral candidates were in attendance—Albanese, Carrion, Liu, DeBlasio, Catsimatidis, Lhota, Thompson, McDonald, and Quinn—to answer questions about how they would handle environmental issues as the next Mayor of New York City.
The night started out with what should have been an uncontroversial question. Brian Lehrer (host of the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC) asked each candidate whether they believed that global warming was a real threat that demanded action. To their credit, only one candidate disagreed with this assessment; Mr. Catsimatidis replied that there was still plenty of research needed to answer this question, which drew loud snorts and sighs from the audience (note to Catsimatidis: that line might work with a different audience, but I would imagine that most of the audience on Monday night was familiar with the overwhelming consensus around this issue). Moving on.
The big surprise of the night for OtP was when Lehrer brought up the SPECTRA pipeline. This is certainly the most prominent forum in which the pipeline has been discussed, and it is certainly the first time the issue has been debated in such a prominent forum. Amazingly, Speaker Quinn called for more public input into this issue. Yes, this is the same Christine Quinn who refused to publicize what few hearings were held on this issue, and who has continually refused to comment publically on this issue despite the pipeline being sited directly in her district (note to Quinn: keep your eyes peeled; there will be plenty of “public input” in the next few months, we promise). Thankfully, John Liu and Bill DeBlasio brought some common sense to the discussion. DeBlasio called for a moratorium on fracking, while Liu called the SPECTRA pipeline “a bad deal for New York City.” We couldn’t agree more.
After the debate, OtP got up with banners and masks, and led the crowd in chants against the SPECTRA pipeline, while other members handed out literature and educated the crowd about the pipeline. When we were asked to leave the hall, we kept the party going out in The Cooper Union’s courtyard, having an impromptu dance party and teach-in on the pipeline.
Monday night was a success for lots of reasons—major candidates publically opposed the SPECTRA pipeline, while many candidates gave compelling arguments and strategies for making the shift toward renewable energy. But for these arguments and strategies to be anything more than speeches, we will have to continue to put pressure on each candidate as the race proceeds. Don’t worry—OtP isn’t going anywhere. We’ll see you in the street!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WE ENDORSE the Tar Sands Blockade's Week of Action! March 16-23

We at Occupy the Pipeline are proud to endorse the Tar Sands Blockade's week of action. This week of action will take place from March 16 to 23, and will signal to all who support the Keystone XL Pipeline that we will not stop until they do. Tar Sands Blockade is encouraging folks to target local Trans Canada offices (locations available on the TSB website) and to draw attention to other targets who are providing support to this project.

We support the week of action because we recognize that the development of the Tar Sands and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline represent an unacceptable hazard to our health, our communities and our ecosystem. We stand in solidarity against the sociopathic business model of the fossil fuel industry in all of its incarnations, whether fracked gas, tar sands oil or coal from beneath the mountains. We will be planning our own actions and encourage you to keep checking in if you would like to join us!

If your group would like to endorse the week of action as well, click here:

Monday, February 25, 2013

from EE News


Death on the gas field illustrates high risks of the rush to drill

The ground was like a sponge and the men's legs sank, in places up to their calves. A rumble of diesel engines filled the air. Then, there was a cry: "Back! Go back!"
Charles "C.J." Bevins, a 23-year-old roughneck, was pinned against a trailer by a forklift. The vehicle was partially sunk into the ground. C.J.'s legs dangled like a rag doll's.
The driver hurriedly backed up, and C.J. crumpled to the ground. As the men milled around, unsure how to help, C.J.'s face went white, his lips blue. He looked up at his friend and colleague Steve Riffle, whom he called "Dad."
"Dad, I ain't going to die, am I? I ain't going to die, am I?"
"No, you will be back to work tomorrow," Riffle said. "You will be all right."
C.J. died hours later at a hospital near the rig site in Smyrna, N.Y.
Oil and gas sites are among the most dangerous workplaces in the country, according to federal labor statistics and an ongoing EnergyWire investigation. Multiple pressures weigh on the people who work in this high-risk, high-reward industry, including the need to produce on schedule and keep costs down. The company men and their workers have a "get 'er done" attitude that sometimes leads to safety compromises that go unnoticed and undocumented.
Sometimes events tilt toward tragedy.
It has been more than a year since the accident. C.J.'s sister, Charlotte Bevins, 26, keeps her brother's blue safety helmet in the back seat of her car.
Since C.J.'s death on May 1, 2011, Charlotte has been driving a few of her brother's old co-workers to their rig jobs. Along the way, she quizzes them about the company's safety culture to piece together why, exactly, her brother died.
When a roughneck dies, the local newspaper runs a short obituary. The company pays for a funeral service. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts an investigation and fines the company. In C.J.'s case, the fine was $4,900. Under the state's workers' compensation program, family members get a percentage of the victim's monthly salary.
The process is designed for an efficient cleanup. The company pays its share, and it moves on to drilling the next well.
Moving on is a lot harder for families left behind. No one tells them exactly why their brother, father or husband died. They get a letter from OSHA briefly laying out its findings, but they don't get a copy of the investigation report without filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act. To prove willful negligence in court, a high legal bar in most states, survivors assemble cases based on patchy eyewitness accounts in a notoriously opaque industry. Claims against leaseholders or site operators often drag on, before leading to undisclosed settlements that shed little light on what went wrong and how to prevent other tragedies.
"All this time has gone by, and I still don't know really what happened," Charlotte said in the fall at her home in Buckhannon, W.Va. "You know, I lost my brother. I was on my way to see him, and he was gone. I didn't get to say goodbye."
C.J. was 19 and supporting his girlfriend and her 1-year-old daughter, Reagan Page, when he got his first job on a drilling rig. The Bevinses were homesteaders; they had moved to West Virginia in 1998, bought 42 acres in Upshur County and home-schooled the kids. Without a high school diploma, C.J.'s skills were limited. The highest-paying jobs were in the oil fields or the mines.
On a drizzly autumn day, Charlotte drove along Buckhannon's narrow streets. She pulled up at a small house with white siding and a porch littered with a girl's pink playthings. Justin Shelley, 27, gestured her in.
Shelley had the portly shape of a guy who has been confined to a wheelchair for a year. He was relearning to walk after he and two co-workers smashed their pickup truck into a tree at 60 miles an hour. They had been drinking and driving after a long workday on the rig. One-third of all deaths in the industry are due to motor vehicle accidents.
"I mean, it's a dangerous job, working on a rig is dangerous, it is a risk you take," Shelley said. Young men without a college education view the industry as a way out of a life flipping burgers at McDonald's. The jobs can pay up to $100,000 a year, depending on the position on a rig. The average drilling job involves working 12-hour shifts at 14-day stretches before getting some days off. It pays around $20 an hour and a $200 per diem, plus perks like a late-model Dodge Ram pickup.
Shelley's 4-year-old daughter, Riley, just back from school, clambered onto his lap. He hugged her and said, "This is why I do it.
"I'm not going to let my kids grow up like I did."