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!