I hope you have been enjoying the break, holidays, winter weather and new year. New Year is probably my favorite holiday of the year, and it's not just because of the parties. New Year is a time of serious reflection. A time to look back on the past year and consider what you did, and what kind of impact you are having on the world around you. Here at Energy Justice Network we are proud of the work did in 2010 and eager to raise the bar in 2011. Here are some of our current projects.
Power Shift 2011
It is now officially Power Shift recruitment season! Power Shift will be held April 1-4 in D.C. It is a national youth conference held in D.C. every other year and an incredible opportunity for young people to meet other like-minded young adults. Participants of the summit are passionate about the environment, global climate change, political action, energy issues, policy making and activism, which makes Power Shift an electric place to be.
This year has already started with a bang: in just two weeks over 200 grassroots leaders have signed up to be Power Shift Coordinators! Power Shift Coordinators recruit, raise funds and secure transportation to DC so that their community/campus can participate in this extraordinary event.
If you're interested in becoming a Power Shift Coordinator, sign up here: http://energyactioncoalition.org/powershift2011/organize
CNN report on Power Shift:
Power Shift Video:
EAC Power Shift Blog Post:
Energy Justice Map
At EJN we have embarked on an incredible endeavor: we are mapping all of the existing, proposed, closed and defeated dirty energy and waste facilities in the United States. We are building a network of community groups to fight the facilities and the corporations behind them. We hope that this tool will be a helpful resource to activists, wherever they may be fighting for a clean, zero-emissions future.
Our mapping site goes way beyond mapping, and is fun as well as useful. Not only is this a great resource to visualize the state of dirty energy in America, but it also works as a social network, allowing you to connect with other activists locally and nationally. List your group so other activists will be able to contact you with information, ideas, and encouragement. Post a picture of yourself or a dirty energy facility near you. Track facilities you're interested in or find out about a new proposal and map a dirty facility in your area. Log on to our new mapping site and play around!
You can check out this cool new feature of our site here: http://www.energyjustice.net/map/
Our mapping feature is currently in beta. If you run into any problems, please email us. We are always looking for more feedback.
The Tire Incinerator
The fight continues against tire burning (or “tires-to-energy”). The project – touted as a green energy solution – is a Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) burning facility. It will use two Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) boilers to burn 900 tons of tires a day to heat a boiler to create steam to turn a turbine creating 90MW of electricity. For those who aren't up to date, here is a quick history lesson.
Erie Renewable Energy (ERE), along with partner Caletta Renewable Energy, first proposed their incinerator project several years ago in Erie, PA. After being kicked out of Erie by local opposition and environmental group Keep Erie's Enviornment Protected (supported by EJN), ERE decided to do something really greasy. First, they changed their name to Crawford Renewable Energy (CRE). Then, surprise, they decided the project should be moved to Greenwood Township, Crawford County, PA, where, according to the 2000 census (during better economic times than these), the per capita income for the township was only $14,584.
Let me stop here and point out a few of the many serious problems with this proposal. The 36.5 million scrap tires needed yearly to run the facility, for example, don't seem to exist. The proposed site is adjacent to Conneaut Marsh, a rare wetland, home to our state's largest breeding population of bald eagles. Crawford Renewable Energy isn't even addressing the linguistic problem with its proposal – the use of the word renewable.
No state laws in Pennsylvania or neighboring states qualify energy produced from burning tires as renewable or “alternative” energy. No environmental organizations consider tire incineration renewable. No renewable energy certification programs do. Tires are produced from fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources. It should be clear they are not renewable. Yet dirty energy producers spend lots of money to confuse the conversation and influence the language. Next time you hear the word “renewable,” beware.
In late April, Crawford Area Residents for the Environment (CARE) was formed with the immediate goal of opposing the tire incinerator. Since then CARE has worked to inform the community on the dangers of the project as well as address local and regional officials with concerns. Together, we are doing everything we can to prevent the construction of this incinerator.
Allegheny College decided to step out and facilitate a non partisan debate on this issue. Although in no way affiliated with CARE or EJN we certainly commend CEED for continuing the discussion and educating the public. CARE and EJN will also host a public meeting. While we don't have a date planned yet we hope to get local press to the event and really spread the truth about tire burning with the public.
As you can tell we have been keeping busy and are moving full steam ahead into the new year. We have every intention of continuing to work on these issues, as well as increasing our load. We are going to help support more communities threatened by dirty energy polluters. We are also always looking for volunteers who can support our efforts. If you think you might be interested in helping out, please send me an email and let me know hours you're available to help.
Looking ahead into 2011, I see an exciting opportunity. A brand new year is a clean slate. It is a chance to get active, join a cause, donate time and/or money, come to Power Shift – a brand new year to make a difference.
I hope this year you'll join me!