About Energy Justice Network

Mission | Goals | History | Staff Contacts | Board | Timeline of Accomplishments 

Mission:

Energy Justice is the grassroots energy agenda, supporting communities threatened by polluting energy and waste technologies. Taking direction from our grassroots base and the Principles of Environmental Justice, we advocate a clean energy, zero-emission, zero-waste future for all.

We aim to empower the grassroots through various tools including community organizing support and advice, student organizing, network-building, research on corporations, policies and technologies, limited legal and technical guidance, and our mapping project.

Energy Justice Network goes beyond the demands of the traditional state and national environmental groups. We understand that energy issues have profound impacts on many other environmental issues from agriculture to waste, and recognize that low-income communities and communities of color tend to be the most seriously impacted by polluting energy systems. We support a comprehensive, environmental justice approach. Read more about Energy & Environmental Justice.

Energy Justice is the first national organization to advocate a complete phase-out of nuclear power, fossil fuels, large hydroelectric dams and "biomass" / incineration within the next 20 years. We believe that this is possible, affordable and absolutely necessary. What is holding us back is only a lack of political will.

Goals:

  1. To enable community activists to defeat polluting industries.
  2. To create participant-led grassroots support networks around technologies that community groups are fighting.
  3. To bridge the campus-community divide.
  4. To bring NIMBY groups to a NIABY analysis (not in anyone's backyard).
  5. To reshape the energy and waste industries, eliminating support for false solutions and supporting clean energy and zero waste policies, methods and technologies.
  6. To act as a clearinghouse, providing information to the general public and the media.
  7. To strengthen policies of other organizations, including mainstream environmental groups and governmental bodies.

History:

The idea for Energy Justice Network was conceived by Mike Ewall during a presentation by a state-wide environmental justice network at a national Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) training in Louisiana in 1999. Mike Ewall has been active in student and community organizing since getting involved while in high school in 1990. By 1999, Ewall's experience included successfully stopping a multi-state nuclear waste dump and two incinerators planned for his home state of Pennsylvania, building statewide grassroots community networks and regional student environmental networks, and much more. With his experience in waste issues, and noticing the emerging trend towards the promotion of landfills and incinerators as "green energy" sources, Ewall and his partner, Traci Confer, starting bridging into energy issues while building their statewide work into broader national (and even international) networks.

At the time, hundreds of communities across the country were being targeted with natural gas-fired power plants. With fifty to seventy proposals in Pennsylvania alone, our hands were quite full, but the larger goal of connecting community groups nationally around common struggles remained and developed gradually into several issue-based national and international networks, connected primarily via email mailing lists.

Energy Justice Network's agenda is set by the needs of the grassroots community members who contact us for support. We get a constant flow of calls and emails seeking support and we give as much as we can to all who need help. We have directly advised and supported community activists in nearly all U.S. states and in several other countries.

Since 2001, the energyjustice.net website has served as a valuable resource, used by community activists worldwide to obtain critical information on the hazards posed by a variety of harmful energy and waste technologies. Over time, it has expanded to a vast clearinghouse of energy information, with webpages and factsheets on subjects ranging from waste coal to clean energy solutions. Energy Justice specializes in documenting the harmful effects of combustion technologies that are often promoted as clean, green or renewable, such as the burning of toxic landfill gases, "biomass" and biofuels. On topics as obscure as poultry litter incineration, Energy Justice has become the world's leading information source, with a global network consisting of community groups on four continents.

Our email lists connect activists fighting specific types of industries, allowing them to share strategies and information specific to their issues. This networking also helps community groups move from a NIMBY (not in my backyard) analysis to a more global NIABY (not in anyone's backyard) understanding. Since the 1970s, grassroots community opposition to nuclear reactors, trash incinerators and gas-fired power plants has stopped 60-90% of the proposed facilities in each of these industries, paving the way for clean alternatives to compete. We aim to extend that history of success into the current waves of damaging energy and waste industry proposals. We currently have email networks to connect community groups around nuclear issues, natural gas, coal power plants, waste coal, trash incineration, tire incineration, biomass incinerators, power transmission lines, and ethanol biorefineries. We also participate in other national and global networks around liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, cement kilns and incinerators of all sorts. Our oldest email network, NukeNet, dates back to 1995.

Energy Justice Network is a project of Action Center, Inc., which was incorporated in August 2002 and is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Until 2005, our accomplishments were achieved with an all-volunteer staff. Since 2006, Energy Justice has received support from the Energy Action Coalition, which we helped found in 2004, enabling us to expand our staff and scope.

In addition to the specifics in our history of accomplishments, we have been involved in extensive amounts of student organizing, public speaking and participation in a variety of conferences.