VICTORY: Environmental Justice and Zero Waste Win over Increased Trash Burning in Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis residents have just stopped the planned expansion of the trash incinerator in their city, and have set their county on the path to zero waste! The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), is capable of burning 1,212 tons of trash a day, but has been limited by permits to burning 1,000 tons/day. The county has been seeking to expand this to burn the full 1,212 tons/day, but just withdrew their request under pressure from the community.

Community organizers made this a defining issue in recent elections and shifted the political climate, getting a majority of Minneapolis City Council and the mayor to oppose the expansion. The county is now moving toward zero waste, with a requirement to start curb-side collection of organics for composting. This new path has some city officials already talking about eventually closing the 25-year old incinerator for good.

Congratulations to Lara Norkus-Crampton RN (Minneapolis Neighbors for Clean Air), Karen Monahan (Sierra Club), Nancy Hone (Neighbors Against the Burner), Alan Muller, Josh Winter (MPIRG), State Rep. Frank Hornstein, Congressman Keith Ellison, Neighbors Organized for Change, and other community leaders who made this victory possible.

Energy Justice played a small role, visiting with local activists last year and supporting them with information, including research showing that this incinerator has the 3rd worst racial disparity in the industry.

This is incinerator victory #2 for 2014, following the last month's victory against the tire incinerator in White Deer, PA. Many more to follow. Stay tuned!

For more info on this victory, see:

Obama's New Year's Resolution? More Fracking.

The 2014 US Climate Action Report to the United Nations is out. The official line from the White House is celebrating how the US is going to meet the 2009 Copenhagen greenhouse gas emissions commitment. However, we read the fine print and here is Barack Obama's fracking plan for electricity generation in 2020:

"Natural gas-fired plants account for 44 percent of capacity additions from 2012 through 2020 in the 2012 policy baseline scenario," from the report.

This is not a happy day if you live in the shalefields, where we've always been just a sacrifice zone for this president. Coal and nuclear generation are also planned for an increase, not decrease. Here's the link to the report. (PDF)

What's your New Year's resolution?

Alex Lotorto is Energy Justice Network's Campus and Community Organizer

Tire Burner Stopped in White Deer, PA!

First major victory of the year... a community we've been supporting since October 2011 to stop a planned tire incinerator just won! In White Deer Township, Union County, Pennsylvania, En-Tire Logistics proposed the White Deer Energy Project, which would have burned tires to power the National Gypsum plant next door. The company pulled out of the project, withdrawing their state permit. See the news here: Tire burner project terminated in Union County. Thanks to Organizations United for the Environment and the Tire Burner Team for their great work on the ground! We'll be working with them to get a local ordinance passed to ensure that this can't ever happen again.

Mapping Race and Income - JusticeMap.org (BETA)

JusticeMap.org (BETA) is an exciting new initiative to map race and income at a very high level of resolution for the entire United States. We're using data from the 2010 Census (race) and American Community Survey (income) and some software (TileMill) to create a series of map layers. The project is supported by the Sunlight Foundation.

(Percent Hispanic, by county)

Thanks for the Support!

Our end of the year fundraising drive raised a record $10,000 in donations!

Thanks to everyone for the support and we will be fighting hard for and with you in 2014.

Baltimore students rally against giant waste incinerator

Yesterday, we joined the high school students in Baltimore for their excellent 100-strong march/rally against a plan for the nation's largest waste incinerator, planned by Energy Answers within a mile of their school in one of the nation's most polluted zip codes. It would burn 4,000 tons/day of trash, tires, shredded cars and wood waste, not far from the nation's largest medical waste incinerator and in the same city as the largest of three trash incinerators that already exist in Maryland.

We were joined by 16-year old Kaya Banton (on right in bottom photo) from Chester, PA, home to the largest existing trash incinerator in the U.S. (burning 3,400 tons/day of waste right across the tracks from residential homes).

Solar Catches on in Iowa

Workers install solar panels on a hog farm near Grinell, Iowa earlier this year. (Photo by Moxie Solar, used with permission)

By Karen Uhlenhuth

December 18, 2013

Midwest Energy News

Iowa is well established as a national leader in wind energy and biofuels. And now the state is poised for serious growth in solar as well.

“The market is exploding in Iowa,” says Tim Dwight, a former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL star who has become one of his home state’s most visible solar energy advocates.

Homeowners, farmers, businesses and at least one school district in Iowa are going solar. Also, over the past year, several municipal utilities and rural electric co-ops have put up solar arrays, inviting customers to buy a share of the power generated.

Battle for Arctic Energy

CNBC

By Reuters

December 10, 2013

Predisdent Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's Military to increase its focus on the Arctic and finish plans by the end of the year to upgrade military bases in the resource-rich region where world powers jostle for control.

Speaking to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin praised the military's work in the Arctic, where Canada said on Monday it was claiming the North Pole as part of an broader claim on the region.

Strip, Chip, and Ship: Exporting Our Forests [The Biomass Monitor - December 2013]

December 2013 issue of THE BIOMASS MONITOR newsletter: “Strip, Chip, and Ship: Exporting Our Forests”

In the December 2013 issue of The Biomass Monitor (the world's leading publication tracking the health & environmental impacts of "biomass" energy):

-"West Coast Wood Exports Undercut Economy and Environment"

-"Biomass Thermal: The Logs that Break the Forest's Back”

-"Outsourcing Forests Costs Thousands of Jobs”

-"Biomass: The Chain of Destruction”

...and much more!!!

West Coast Wood Exports Undercut Economy and Environment [The Biomass Monitor]

West Coast Wood Exports Undercut Economy and Environment

- by Samantha Chirillo, Energy Justice Network

Since the European Union (EU) countries set high carbon reduction standards and counted biomass energy as carbon neutral and renewable, biomass exports from the southeastern U.S. have skyrocketed.

Now, as Japan looks for an alternative to nuclear energy, as U.S. corporations get tax breaks to relocate facilities to the countries of least regulation, as trans-Pacific trade agreements give these corporations power over governments, and as Oregon’s Congressional delegation plans to log more public forest, west coast ports are preparing for log and biomass export expansion. In 2013 alone, log and chip exports from the northwestern U.S. already doubled, according to Public Interest Forester Roy Keene. Exports are the surest path to forest decline, as history has shown, says Keene.  

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