Compiled by x344543 - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, March 24, 2017
News of interest to green unionists:
Additional Blow to Agriculture Through RCEP Unacceptable: NOUMINREN - By staff, La Via Campesina, March 21, 2017 - Farmers in Japan have a serious concern that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will damage small family farming and undermine the foundation of steadily feeding rising population in Asia.
Anti-wind bill costs Ohio schools hundreds of thousands of dollars - By Emily Sanders, Think Progress, March 21, 2017 - The plants, which sit at the heart of a region Trump promised to revitalize, generate 3,000 megawatts of energy and employ nearly 500 workers. In a settlement reached earlier this year with groups including the Sierra Club, the company will invest in 300 megawatts of solar and wind projects by 2022 and provide a $2 million fund for the communities affected by the plants' closures.
Arkansas Is Trying Again to Prevent Whistleblowers From Exposing Cruelty to Animals - By By Alicia Graef, Care2, March 21, 2017 - Despite failing repeatedly in the past to pass legislation that would suppress whistleblowers exposing cruelty to animals, lawmakers in Arkansas are back with another bill that's already progressing through the legislature.
Auto workers union takes aim at Trump’s examination of fuel standards - By Mike Blanchfield, The Globe and Mail, March 16, 2017 - The head of Canada's largest private-sector union said Thursday he would fight any attempt to roll back environmentally friendly regulations in the auto industry following Trump's announcement.
Brain Drain: Engineers and Managers Flee Southern Company’s Troubled Kemper ‘Clean Coal’ Plant - By Dan Zegart, DeSmog Blog, March 17, 2017 - With builder Southern Company still promising that the Kemper power plant will go online soon, a group of key engineers and managers who work on the plant's so-far-inoperable gasifier has left the company.
Brazil: As ‘Coup’ Government Targets Retirement Benefits, General Strike Rocks Nation - By the Institute for Public Accuracy, Global Justice Ecology Project, March 17, 2017 - Mendonca said today: “Yesterday, a large demonstration in Sao Paulo took 300,000 people to the streets with the slogan ‘Fora Temer’ [‘Out, Temer’]. He is targeting people’s retirement benefits.”The general strike included bus and metro workers, bank workers, metallurgical and chemical workers, teachers and other public workers all over the country.
California is recruiting disgruntled EPA staffers - By Rebecca Leber, Grist, March 16, 2017 - Picker was far away from his home in Sacramento, where he is the president of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), for meetings with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He decided to try to recruit demoralized EPA staffers, who are facing deep program cuts and controversial new leadership. The EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt, has a long record of opposing the agency’s work.
Caterpillar to shut down Iowa plant, costing 75 jobs - By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, Mining.Com, March 19, 2017 - But the news goes in synch with a business plan unveiled by Caterpillar in 2015. Back then, the giant announced that, in order to save $2 billion per year, it would cut 10,000 positions and close up to 20 facilities in the U.S. by 2018.
Chile: It’s Been One Month Since the Miner’s Strike Began - By ALBA Movements, The Dawn News, March 13, 2017 - The 2,500 organized workers of the Chilean mine La Escondida, the biggest copper mine of the world, reached the first month of strike today, in the middle of the talks paralyzation and of the radicalization of the conflict.
Coal giant to receive award for bankruptcy deal that screwed over its workers - By Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, March 22, 2017 - It’s been a wild year for Arch Coal, the country’s second-largest producer of coal. In January, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; less than a year later, they won approval for a restructuring deal that allowed them to cut millions in debt from their books and emerge relatively unscathed. On Thursday night, as part of the 2017 Distressed Investing Event, Arch Coal will receive an award for that deal, despite the fact that the restructuring benefited company executives while leaving workers and the environment worse off.
Coal mining is in decline everywhere, and that's NOT Obama's fault - By Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, March 14, 2017 - The story of the miners in China, and their attitude toward the mines, is remarkably like those we hear in the United States, but what’s happening in China is not what’s happening here and now—it’s what happened here decades ago.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers news:
Enbridge to cut 1,000 jobs in Houston, Canada after Spectra merger - By Jordan Blum, FuelFix, March 22, 2017 - Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge is cutting 1,000 jobs, largely in Houston and Calgary, after completing its $28 billion acquisition of Houston’s Spectra Energy this year.
German Coal Mine to Be Reborn as Giant Pumped Storage Hydro Facility - By Brian Parkin, Bloomberg, March 17, 2017 - Germany’s decision to turn a coal mine into a pumped storage hydro station may solve two of the most intractable challenges created by its shift to clean power. On a local level, it provides new economic activity in a region where generations of workers have relied on fossil fuel for their livelihoods. On a regional level, it catalyzes the expansion of renewable energy by helping to maintain electric capacity even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.
Global Coal Plant Development Freefall Sparks Renewed Hope On Climate Goals - By Cindy Carr, Ted Nace, Lauri Myllyvirta, End Coal, March 21, 2017 - Big changes like this are wrenching. These closures will put a lot of people out of their jobs. The coal plants shutting down in Ohio are “by far our largest employer and it will absolutely be devastating to our community here in Ohio,” Michael Pell, a community leader, told Reuters. An enlightened government might respond by building new, cleaner power plants and retraining workers for green jobs. After all, clean power is now employing more people than coal.
Inhaling Toxic Smoke From Surgical Procedures Threatens Everyone in the Room - By Bonnie Castillo, National Nurses United, March 15, 2017 - Would you prefer to have surgery in an environment with sterile air — or in a room with air that may contain dangerous chemicals, cellular material, viruses, or bacteria? Most people would raise their hands for the former. Unfortunately, studies have shown that without proper ventilation, everyone in the vicinity during certain surgical procedures — from healthcare workers to the patients themselves — could be inhaling hazardous surgical smoke, or “plumes.”
The International Energy Agency’s New Climate Scenario: At Last, a Step Towards Paris - By Greg Muttitt, Oil Change International, March 20, 2017 - In its analysis, the IEA observes that the extent to which fossil fuel assets will be stranded crucially depends on whether the right decisions are made now. If governments and investors act now to keep the world within climate limits, the transition over the coming decades can be a smooth one. On the other hand, continued investment on a business-as-usual pathway would require more abrupt action at a later date, disrupting economies and costing jobs.
The ‘Job-Killing’ Fiction Behind Trump’s Retreat on Fuel Economy Standards - By John DeCicco, Yale Environment 360, March 20, 2017 - The Trump administration is expected to roll back the fuel economy standards that were a signature achievement of the Obama administration. The move won’t save auto industry jobs, but it will increase air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
La Via Campesina is shocked to learn about the assassination of MST militant, Waldomiro Costa Pereira - By staff, La Via Campesina, March 21, 2017 - Waldomiro Costa Pereira, a historic militant of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) of Brazil, was killed on Monday 20 March by five strangers who invaded the hospital in the city of Paraupebas. Costa Pereira who was in the hospital of the city of Paraupebas, was recovering from an attack of which he was victim.