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Energy Justice Network's Accomplishments:
- Grassroots opposition we pulled together in 2011 defeated a plan for a trash gasification incinerator in Cleveland.
- Community groups we helped in Pichidegua, Chile and in North Carolina beat back plans for poultry waste incinerators.
- Formed Allentown Residents for Clean Air, working to stop a plan for an experimental trash and sewage sludge incinerator in this Pennsylvania city's Hispanic community.
- Helped reorganize a community group, the No Incinerator Alliance, in Frederick County, Maryland to stop a proposed trash, sewage sludge and tire incinerator.
- Launched "Frack University" to train students and community activists to stop natural gas fracking.
- Seemingly stopped financing for an incinerator in Ghana
- Presented workshops and trainings at: Mid-Atlantic Black Law Students Association Conference, Rocky Mountain PowerShift, Public Interest Enviro Law Conference, Good Jobs, Green Jobs Philadelphia Regional Conference, Seattle Race Conference: Building Community to End Environmental Racism, the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance's Grassroots Strategies for State Policy on Zero Waste, Climate Jobs, Environmental Justice and Ending Incineration, Heartwood Forest Council, the Grassroots Recycling Network's National Zero Waste Conference, and the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival.
- Grassroots activists in our network defeated biomass incinerator proposals in Port St. Joe, FL; Valdosta, GA; Springfield, MA; Pownal, VT; and Shelton, WA -- the first three of which were challenged as blatant cases of environmental racism. Similarly, Buckeye Forest Council defeated plans to convert Ohio's Berger coal plant to biomass to keep it open; now it'll be shutting down instead.
- Mecklenburg County, North Carolina pulled out of the ReVenture trash gasification incinerator proposal after sustained grassroots opposition we supported early on.
- Eastern Pennsylvania's Delaware River watershed is still free from natural gas fracking after massive political pressure caused the Delaware River Basin Commission to put off its planned vote to lift the moratorium on fracking within the watershed. Direct action training and protests we helped organize contributed to this victory.
- Developed an ambitious Energy Justice Platform, after a year of intense deliberation by our biomass opponents network -- spelling out a vision that moves us beyond nuclear, fossil fuels, biofuels and incineration.
- Helped Howard County, Maryland residents organize against a plan to burn landfill gas for energy at Alpha Ridge Landfill. Residents won testing for toxic chemicals and a commitment not to recirculate leachate back into the landfill, minimizing some of the hazard to the community.
- Mapped out local ordinance preemption issues in most of the country, helping community groups with affordable legal tools they can use to stop polluters at the local level.
- Presented workshops and trainings at: Power Shift 2011, International Extractive Industry Accountability Project conference, Heartwood Forest Council, Shale Gas Outrage, Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival, National Black Law Students Association's Environmental Justice Town Hall, National Lawyers Guild convention, Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and Midwest Power Shift.
- Launched the Energy Justice Communities mapping project! This project, in development for several years, is an online mapping and database project to track all of the existing, proposed, closed and defeated dirty energy facilities in the U.S., the corporations behind them, and the community activists and groups opposing them. This database enables community activists to more effectively share information and connect with others that have experience with similar industrial threats.
- Helped win a major policy victory against "biomass" incinerators in Massachusetts. The Stop Spewing Carbon campaign collected over 120,000 signatures from Massachusetts voters to get an initiative on the state ballot to oppose the use of biomass incinerators to meet the state's renewable energy law (but undermining the state's global warming law). With four major biomass incinerators proposed in the state, the grassroots pressure against them caused the state to commission a study that showed that biomass incinerators are worse than coal or natural gas power plants in terms of global warming pollution. This study and the pressure of the ballot measure caused the state to adopt the nation's strongest regulation of biomass incinerators, effectively stopping their use as renewable energy sources in the state.
- Stopped Fibrowatt from building three large poultry waste incinerators in Page County, Virginia, Surry County, North Carolina and Hart County, Georgia. The Surry County victory came after a three-year struggle, led by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and the Citizens Alliance for a Clean, Healthy Economy (CACHE) after we previously helped stop the same proposal in neighboring Wilkes County. The Virginia and Georgia victories were some of the quickest ever, won by quick citizen uprisings in 4-6 weeks each. See our page on Fibrowatt for more information on these and other battles in our international campaign against poultry waste incineration (now on four continents!).
- Stopped a proposal for the world's largest tire incinerator, after a three-year struggle led by the community group, Keep Erie's Environment Protected (KEEP), that we formed and worked closely with.
- Helped residents of Crawford County, Pennsylvania form a new group, Crawford Area Residents for the Environment (CARE) to stop the above-mentioned tire incinerator when it was re-proposed after being stopped in Erie.
- As of September 2010, eight proposed coal power plants were canceled, abandoned or defeated, including two waste coal burning power plants proposed in Pennsylvania that we had worked to stop since 2004.
- After months of pressuring the EPA Region III Office in Philadelphia to reject mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining permits in West Virginia, activists held a successful protest at the Regional Headquarters. EPA administrators met our demands to have a sit-down meeting with administrators, dig up requested information on criteria for permitting MTR sites, and, within a few weeks (and continued conversations), released new rules on valley fills (the practice of dumping of rock and coal waste in valleys, burying rivers) and halted an already permitted mining project from moving forward! This was the culmination of a series of protests outside the Philadelphia EPA Office.
- Helped residents of Eddystone, Pennsylvania form the Eddystone Residents for Positive Change to block a proposed Camden Iron and Metal scrapyard.
- Our rapidly growing grassroots anti-biomass network saw victories against proposed biomass incinerators in Gretna, Florida, Newport, Delaware, Crawford and Scott Counties in Indiana, four proposals around Traverse City, Michigan and more.
- Our anti-biomass network held its first national lobby day in Congress.
- Presented workshops at the United States Social Forum, the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, the Heartwood Forest Council gathering and the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival.
- In large part due to the activities of those in our No New Coal Plants network, 24 proposed new coal power plants were canceled, abandoned or defeated, including the 1,000 megawatt conventional coal plant proposed by AMP-Ohio for Meigs County, Ohio -- one of the nation's worst clusters of existing and proposal coal facilities. The proposal was withdrawn after extensive efforts by Meigs Citizens Action Now! (MeigsCAN) and statewide campaigning by the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition that we founded and coordinated. Ohio students packed hearings, held marches, wrote letters, organized protests, stopped towns from signing power contracts, and got the state not to consolidate numerous public hearings on the environmental permits (which would have cut back on public involvement).
- Caused the Ohio State University President to resign from the board of Massey Energy -- a mountaintop removal coal mining corporation with a terrible track record -- following months of pressure, including over 6,000 handwritten letters, and meetings with student and community groups.
- Our Biomass Opponents network mushroomed this year into a powerful network of biomass incinerator opponents and forest protection advocates.
- We helped bring together the ClimateSOS campaign to expose the problems with the filthy and ineffective cap-and-trade climate legislation moving through Congress that year.
- Started a new Environmental Justice Law class at the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law
- Helped organize the Energy Action Coalition's 12,000-student strong Power Shift 2009 conference -- the largest student environmental conference in U.S. history -- bringing over 1,000 students and getting many grassroots activists and other cutting edge speakers into the conference agenda.
- Later in the year, helped plan the agendas for ten state/regional Power Shift conferences, getting more grassroots issues onto the student climate activist radar. Our staff presented workshops at four of the events and led the planning of those in Pennsylvania and Ohio, drawing hundreds of students to focus on state-wide issues.
- Launched Pennsylvania's Keystone Environmental Youth Coalition (KEY Coalition), a statewide student environmental network, initially campaigning against natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation, through their Fracking: Quit It Already! Campaign.
- Began the Philadelphia Against Coal (PAC) Coalition campaign, uniting Philadelphia activists working against coal - its financing, mining, burning, and irresponsible waste disposal.
- Launched a new network of opposition to natural gas drilling and other natural gas industry developments. This network was launched from the energy and enthusiasm of the packed natural gas workshop at PowerShift 2009.
- The nation's strongest mercury and dioxin air pollution law, a local ordinance we wrote for Kulpmont Borough, Pennsylvania regulating mercury and dioxin pollution from crematoria and medical waste incinerators, was upheld in federal court when the polluter's five constitutional claims were dismissed in summary judgment.
- In large part due to the activities of those in our No New Coal Plants network, 24 proposed new coal power plants were canceled, abandoned or defeated, including some that our staff actively worked to oppose, including the nation's first coal-to-oil refinery, planned for Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, which we had actively opposed since 1997, the largest college campus-based coal power plant -- a commercial scale IGCC "clean coal" plant planned for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (canceled after sustained student opposition), and the Western Greenbrier waste coal power plant planned for Greenbrier, West Virginia.
- A precursor to the victory against the proposed AMP-Ohio coal plant, the town council of Yellow Springs, Ohio turned down a coal contract with AMP-Ohio.
- Stopped the world's largest "waste tire-to-petroleum" tire incinerator planned by Koach Energy for the City of Chester, PA.
- Helped defeat a biomass incinerator in Tallahassee, Florida.
- Presented workshops at the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival.
- 2007 saw the defeat of a record number of coal power plant proposals (59), largely brought about by activists connected with each other through our No New Coal Plants network. Among many other victories, our network leader, Nancy LaPlaca of Denver, CO, saw the defeat of the proposed "clean coal" power plant she'd been fighting in her home state.
- Helped stop one of the two proposed Cliffside Coal power plants from being built near Charlotte, North Carolina. We worked with students from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Warren Wilson College, as well as environmental groups Appalachian Voices and the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League to target the North Carolina Utilities Commission since they had the power to deny the proposals in the immediate future. Within a few days of starting the campaign, Warren Wilson had tabled twice in their school cafeteria and over 200 young people told the North Carolina Utilities Commission "No New Cliffside Coal Plants." By the end of the month, the North Carolina Utilities Commission announced a denial of one of the two proposed plants and we continue to work with the community activists to stop Duke from building the remaining unit.
- Kulpmont Borough passed the nation's strongest mercury and dioxin law, using an ordinance we developed that requires real-time continuous emissions testing and reporting of mercury and dioxin emissions, and setting strict emissions standards. The ordinance also requires that any air-polluting industry (anything requiring a DEP air pollution permit) be at least 900 feet from a residential property.
- Helped bring together community members in Curwensville, Pennsylvania to fight an ethanol plant proposed to be built 500 yards from the town's combined elementary, middle, and high school.
- Catalyzed the formation of the Mayfield, Pennsylvania 'No Ethanol' group, which is working to fight an unpopular proposal to site an ethanol plant in the town. Members of the group took over their local government through a slate of write-in candidates, and -- with our policy guidance -- are now poised to make some great changes in their community.
- Wrote a Campus-Community Organizing Guide to help students fight effective solidarity battles in support of community struggles against polluting industries.
- Initiated the formation of the Keep Erie's Environment Protected (KEEP) group in Erie, PA – organized to oppose a plan for the nation's largest tire burning incinerator. One of our student organizers worked with students at State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia to set up a solidarity campaign to strengthen KEEP's efforts. SUNY Fredonia students performed an environmental impact assessment of the proposal site and created a documentary on the dangers of tire incineration.
- Helped the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee stop a proposed diesel-fired power plant from being built in their Latino community near Boston. This fossil fueled power plant was proposed by the same company behind the Cape Wind off-shore wind farm proposed in nearby Cape Cod.
- Successfully lobbied the 64 campus State University of New York system to implement the creation of a sustainability working group, to vote on a resolution to cut carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050 on a SUNY level, and to incorporate anti-oppression trainings into statewide student level legislation.
- Created a network of college campuses involved in solidarity efforts with community anti-coal campaigns in Ohio and Southern Illinois.
- Started an email network for community activists opposing power lines.
- Formed the DelCo Alliance for Environmental Justice, a multi-racial, multi-generational student/community coalition addressing environmental racism in the City of Chester in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
- Presented workshops at the 3rd international Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance conference in Spain, the Think Outside the Bomb (student anti-nuclear) conference, the Green Party's national convention, the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival, Energy Action Coalition's 5,000+ student Power Shift conference, the New York State Student Assembly conference, the Southeast Precaution Conference and numerous smaller events.
- Established the "No New Coal Plants" network, which connects over 160 activists fighting coal plants in 36 states, resulting in some amazing examples of cross-country community solidarity efforts.
- Helped form Meigs Citizen Action Now!, a community group in southeastern Ohio organizing around coal issues. Their rural county is surrounded by the nation's worst concentration of existing and proposed coal power plants and numerous other coal industry developments, with four power plants within a ten mile radius of each other and three to five more proposed.
- Wrote an ordinance that was passed in West Reading Borough, PA on July 18th, which set the nation's strictest mercury emissions standard by requiring that any crematorium or medical waste incinerator continuously monitor for mercury, report emissions data real-time to a website, and ensuring that if a single mercury amalgam filling or mercury-containing medical waste is burned, the operator will be fined.
- We were the sole submitters of comments on the expansion of the Sun Oil refinery in southwest Philadelphia. In response, the refinery expansion will now be the first in the nation to be required to use continuous emissions monitors for particulate matter.
- Filed the most extensive public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for funding the coal-to-oil refinery, planned for Schuylkill County, helping further delay the project's funding. Anticipated costs have ballooned from $612 million to $800 million during the time that they've been seeking the $100 million in federal funds delayed in part by our comments.
- Participated in a coalition that successfully stopped the nation's most urban proposal for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal, which would have been located in Philadelphia. It was dealt a major blow by city council with the twelve to two passage of strongly worded anti-LNG resolution on Feb 16th. The talks between the city and the oil company have since deteriorated, and no new oil company has expressed interest in taking on the project.
- Helped residents in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties in Pennsylvania organize to oppose proposed new ethanol biorefineries. The proposal in Luzerne County quickly chose to relocate and in 2007, we organized a group to stop them at their new proposed location.
- We are providing support to numerous other communities struggling against various industries, including those fighting waste coal power plants in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia, incinerators and tire-burning in New York (with a victory that year), poultry waste incinerators in North Carolina and much more.
- Participated in many conferences: spoke at the Heartwood Summit for the Mountains, the Life Beyond Cheap Oil Festival, the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Conference, the North Carolina Climate Challenge Summit, the Philly Beyond Oil 2006 conference (which we helped plan), the Pennsylvania/Ohio/West Virginia Environmental Gathering, the national Green Festival in Washington, D.C., the Think Outside the Bomb conference in New York City, the South Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance's Environmental Health Conference, multiple Energy Action Coalition meetings/trainings, and the Ursinus Clean Energy Conference (which we also helped plan). We also did a lot of student organizing by visiting campuses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
- Initiated the formation of Residents Against the Power Plant (RAPP), a grassroots community group in Washington County, PA that formed to stop a proposal for what would be one of the largest waste coal burning power plants in the U.S. Due to our research, outreach, and advocacy on waste coal burning, two of the three proposals for large new waste coal burning power plants in Pennsylvania had their air permits appealed, which drastically delayed – and may ultimately doom – the financing and development of those projects.
- Initiated the formation of Schuylkill Taxpayers Opposed to Pollution (STOP), a grassroots community group in Schuylkill County, PA formed to stop a proposal for the nation's first coal-to-oil refinery, which would produce so-called "ultra clean fuels." This is a continuation of work we've been doing around this proposed refinery since 1997.
- Initiated the formation of Concerned Citizens Fighting the Boggs Township Dump, a grassroots community group in Clearfield County, PA formed to stop a proposal for a large new landfill.
- The Clean Metal facility in Chester closed. This shoddily-run facility recycled metals out of the toxic ash produced by Covanta's giant trash incinerator in Chester. We had researched and opposed this since 2003. Some of us have been working to support environmental justice for Chester since 1994.
- Supported the Citizens for Safe and Responsible Industry in Corinth, NY in their fight against a second attempt to build the nation's largest trash incinerator in their village, as well as a neighboring proposed facility to compost municipal solid waste and sewage sludge.
- Supported community groups opposing proposals for new landfills in Centre and Schuylkill Counties in Pennsylvania.
- Educated various landfill communities about the hazardous nature of landfill gas, including new research on mercury in landfill gas. This information helped communities groups such as the South DeKalb Neighborhoods Coalition in Georgia, where the largely African-American community is surrounded by eight landfills.
- Began developing a network of community groups fighting ethanol biorefineries, including groups from Oregon to Pennsylvania.
- Began developing a network of community groups in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and First Nations fighting the use of tire-derived fuel (scrap tire incineration). 2005 saw victories against tire incineration in Preston, MN and Newfoundland, Canada.
- Continued development of a network of community groups opposing "biomass" incineration of various sorts. Assisted residents opposing wood waste burners in Arizona, Ohio, Maine and multiple communities in Minnesota and New Hampshire. Assisted groups in Australia, UK, and Scotland in fights against poultry waste incinerators. 2005 saw a victories against a wood waste incinerator in Hinsdale, NH and against a poultry waste incinerator in the Netherlands.
- Traveled to Mexico to present information on the hazards of burning tires and hazardous waste in cement kilns. Starting to strengthen national and global networks among those opposing cement kiln pollution.
- Taught workshops at the Northeastern Climate Conference (Vermont), the True Cost of Coal Conference (Pittsburgh, PA), BioDemocracy 2005, the Philadelphia Beyond Oil Conference, PA Renewable Energy Festival (Berks County, PA) and the Virginia Environmental Forum.
- Prevented Virginia's legislature from moving forward with a plan for what would have been one of the weakest and dirtiest "renewable" portfolio standard laws in the U.S.
- Organized a community group in Pittston, PA that, in short order, stopped a plan for one of the nation's largest trash incinerators.
- Co-founded the Energy Action Coalition, a coalition of over 40 organizations in the U.S. and Canada organizing students and youth around energy and climate change issues.
- Conceived a new legal argument for addressing environmental racism in the courts, after other options have failed. This was attempted by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, on behalf of the community leaders fighting the Harrisburg trash incinerator. While the case was rejected on a technicality (preventing the case from being ruled on its merits), the argument remains untested and may be able to be used in future cases.
- Initiated organizing against the largest proposed waste coal burning power plant in the U.S. (in Greene County, PA), founding the "Truth About Gob" effort. [This project became the second largest proposed waste coal plant when Dominion planned an even larger one in Wise County, VA two years later.]
- Wrote the nation's strongest, cleanest Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation and got it introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate – the first of such policies to be introduced in the state. [Unfortunately, a dirtier version of the bill, introduced shortly after ours, ended up becoming the dirtiest in the nation before passing the following year. We nearly stopped it, but lost. However, about half of the many loopholes we pointed out throughout the legislative and subsequent regulatory process ended up being resolved in our favor.]
- We testified on Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard law, seeking to eliminate all forms of incineration, specifically poultry litter incineration. We were half-successful, in that several limits were placed on these technologies, even though we failed to get them removed completely.
- Testified in the "scoping" phase of the federal Environmental Impact Statement hearings on the first proposed coal-to-oil refinery planned in the U.S. Our testimony here, and later in the Draft EIS hearings, helping delay $100 million in federal funding for the project for over four years, during which time the project's price tag increased by $182 million.
- Worked in a multi-racial coalition with the association of black clergy in the Harrisburg incinerator struggle. We warned city council that borrowing $125 million to rebuild the city's incinerator (which was finally closed this year due to failure to meet new environmental regulations) would plunge the city into bankruptcy. In spite of the coalition effort, city council approved it and – as events unfold – our warning is coming true.
- Participated in the 2nd international meeting of the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), held in Malaysia.
- Alliance for a Clean Environment (ACE) – a group we've assisted for several years – defeated a proposed pipeline to move toxic and radioactive landfill gas from a landfill across town to a poly vinyl chloride (PVC) plastics plant. This five-year battle helped change the landscape in the local industries and may have been partially responsible for the subsequent closure of both the landfill and the PVC plant.
- Participated in the historic Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.
- Developed a statewide network in Pennsylvania to stop the invasion of natural gas power plants. In the following two years, a dozen were defeated by community opposition groups and at least as many were canceled due to changing market conditions.
- In solidarity with our waste activist colleagues in New York City, we got hundreds of community members from Pennsylvania's landfill and incinerator communities to contact the New York City Council – convincing them to adopt various community protections for the transfer station communities in environmental justice communities in New York City as well as for the communities in Pennsylvania and Virginia who are on the receiving end of so much of the city's waste.
- Formed Coalition Against the Incinerator in Harrisburg, PA to seek the closure of the nation's largest dioxin air pollution source – the city's old garbage incinerator (the oldest operating plant in the U.S.), which was a very blatant case of environmental racism.
- A few years after defeating a wood waste incinerator near Philadelphia, and warning our networks about the company, we heard from residents in Minnesota that one of the individuals in the company is now promoting poultry waste incinerators in their state. This began a major research project that grew into our international network to stop poultry litter incineration, with subsequent victories in Delaware, Mississippi, Maryland and the Netherlands.
- Wrote our first exposés on toxic chemicals in "biomass" and landfill gas, and why burning these things ought not to qualify as renewable energy.
- Wrote a controversial series of investigative articles that nationally exposed the consumer fraud involved in the marketing of "green" electricity products, particularly those by Green Mountain Energy, and pointing out the flaws in the Green-e certification process.
- Exposed the nuclear industry's refusal to shut down their reactors early in order to meet federal deadlines for fixing their Y2K computer problems, in spite of evidence of computer lockups and other malfunctions during testing throughout the year. Initiated the nation's only citizen petition for public disclosure of the nuclear industry's Y2K documents.
- Helped multiple communities form opposition groups to stop proposals for large new gas-fired power plants.