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Spatial Justice Tests

- by Aaron Kreider, Energy Justice Network 
 
One of the main goals of Energy Justice Network's Justice Map project is to demonstrate the role that income and race play in the siting of dirty facilities. You can use Justice Map (by clicking on Advanced Mode) to analyze the race and income of people who live within, say, 1 mile of a facility and compare it to those who live further.
 
If you have a set of facilities (or anything else) that you want to analyze, we have also created a Spatial Justice Test. You can apply this test to our data set of power plants, and answer questions like "Who lives near operating trash incinerators?" Or you can use the test on your own data set.
 

Families Get $4 Million For Fracking Water Contamination

In March, a federal jury awarded a total of $4.2 million to two families from Dimock, Pennsylvania whose drinking water wells have been contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas when drilling for natural gas. 
 
"It's been a battle," said plaintiff Scott Ely, co-plaintiff with Ray Hubert, in a lawsuit against Cabot filed in 2009. "You're up against a multi multi multi million dollar company. We are the lucky ones in the case, but there are still many more families in the Dimock area who are still without the benefit of clean water.” 
 
“This is a huge victory for Dimock families who have been fighting for clean water for over six years," said Alex Lotorto, Shale Gas Program Coordinator for Energy Justice Network. "Finally justice has been served."
 

Constitution Pipeline Permit Denied

- April 22, 2016, Energy Justice Network
 
On April 22, the New York Department of Conservation refused to issue a water quality permit for the Constitution Pipeline, a 124 mile pipeline that would've carried natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania to New York State.
 
Accompanied by heavily armed U.S. Marshals wearing bulletproof vests, a Constitution Pipeline crew began cutting down the Holleran family’s sugar maple stand on March 1. North Harford Maple is a family business owned by Cathy Holleran that produces maple sap and syrup. Cutting was completed on March 4.
 

How To Reduce Premature Deaths Linked to Environmental Risks

[Phasing out combustion-based energy such as fossil fuels and biomass energy can save lives]
 
– by Nancy C. Loeb and Juliet S. Sorensen, April 8, 2016, Truthout
 
Millions of deaths around the world are preventable every year without any additional spending on research for treatment. And the cause has nothing to do with gun violence or war.
 

How To Fight a Pipeline

- by Alex Lotorto, Energy Justice Network
 
Energy Justice Network is on the cutting edge of fighting fracking and related infrastructure in the northeast.
 
It's a special organizing challenge to fight pipelines, as we're fighting a line, not a point, on the map. Companies and agencies won't release data listing all impacted landowners. In Pennsylvania, we have enhanced our outreach by using GIS to overlay company pipeline maps with 911 emergency addresses obtained from each county, allowing us to identify impacted landowners.
 
Along the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in northeast Pennsylvania, we used this information to mass-mail and go door-to-door to over 200 landowners in three counties to inform them of their rights and build a landowner coalition that meets quarterly.
 
Our goal for landowner organizing is to have them each deny survey permission to the company (Williams Partners LLC) so that permit filing can't be completed. Then, we intend to support landowners through eminent domain proceedings by providing referrals to vetted attorneys and appraisers.
 
Media strategy is just as important and we have had a number of human interest stories published in local and national news about compelling cases where landowners are standing up against Williams and other companies.
 
In Pike and Northampton Counties, we appealed the PA Department of Environmental Protection's air permits for twin compressor stations meant to pressurize the Columbia Pipeline 1278 line that transports gas to the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal. Both compressors emit the equivalent of a fleet of idling diesel school buses, making the local air quality especially dangerous for children's developing lungs.
 
During the compressor appeals, Columbia Pipeline motioned to dismiss our case and Governor Tom Wolf's attorneys agreed. However, the judge dismissed their motion and is allowing us to proceed with our arguments regarding best available control technologies, health impacts, local zoning approval, and other important considerations.
 
Most urgently, we're leading the cutting edge battle against the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline, a project of Williams and Cabot Oil & Gas, which is proposed to carry fracked gas from Susquehanna County, PA to Albany, NY and beyond.
 
On January 29, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitted tree cutting to begin in Pennsylvania that must be finished by March 31 to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act as enforced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
 
We have landowners across Susquehanna County who have given our volunteers and staff permission to monitor the pipeline clearing for violations. On one property, where a sugar maple farm is producing syrup this season, we have set up a picket line where we've turned away tree crews for 16 days straight.
 
The picket at North Harford Maple has drawn both the attention of national media organizations like NPR and the Associated Press and legal action in federal court by the company. We're pledging to stick to it for the long haul so stay tuned for more updates!

Water Abuse in the Fracking Process

- by Alex Lotorto, Energy Justice Network

Water is used in shale gas development from cradle to grave, however, most people don't think about it beyond the issues of groundwater contamination.

Procuring and bringing raw materials like silica sand, steel, cement, and fracking chemicals to the well locations requires an incredible amount of manufacturing, transportation, and plant fuel, which are water intensive fuels to produce.
 
Each well requires 5-9 million gallons of water to be fracked. Water is also used to create oil-based drilling muds that are injected downhole when the well is first drilled to lubricate the drill bit. For pipelines, the most prevalent way infrastructure is tested for integrity is hydrostatic testing, where water is used to pressurize the lines and test for leaks.
 
Water withdrawals are approved by states and in some cases by federal river commissions. Because the water is combined with fracking fluid, sand, chemicals, and underground contaminants, much of it never returns to the water cycle. In fact, between 50 to 80 percent of the water used in fracking remains deep underground, forever entombed.

In 2012, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, comprised of governors' representatives from PA, MD, and New York, as well as the White House, approved a three million gallon per day water withdrawal in Jersey Shore, PA that required the removal and relocation of 32 mobile home resident families.

Drought conditions in Texas' Barnett Shale and California's Monterrey Shale regions force residential, commercial, and agricultural consumers to compete with the needs of fracking companies.

If well casings fail or fissures communicate with groundwater supplies, contamination of rural landowners' drinking water can occur. In 2009, 18 water supplies in Dimock, Pennsylvania were found by the Pennsylvania DEP to have been contaminated by drilling mud, fracking chemicals, and methane. Three remaining families are suing the driller, Cabot Oil & Gas, for damages and are going to federal jury trial this November with the support of Energy Justice Network.
 
Waste streams from the drilling create water contamination issues. Increasingly, the industry brags about "recycling" water, or "beneficial reuse," which entails filtering the drilling mud and fracking waste through an accordion press, similar to cheesecloth, to remove the solids. This allows the remaining liquid to be reused with more water in future frack jobs. What the industry doesn't tell you is that the solids are sent to municipal landfills that discharge their leachate into surface waters.
 
Another popular way of disposing of liquid waste from fracking is deep underground injection wells, known as Class II wells, permitted by the EPA. This method of disposal has been linked to earthquakes by Ohio state geologists because the "slick water" as it's known by the industry, can lubricate faults.
 
Finally, water is intensively used by gas power plants that are being built at an alarming rate to generate steam and cool the plant. Cooling water is discharged into surface water and can cause disruption to local ecosystems that are sensitive to temperature like trout fisheries. The consumption of water can also compete with the needs of local water consumers in times of drought, when utilities may be required to raise rates.

Eviction of Mobile Home Park for Fracking Water

- by Alex Lotorto, Energy Justice Network
 
Riverdale Mobile Home Park was located on the Susquehanna River in Piatt Township, Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. Residents were ordered to leave the park in March 2012 by Aqua PVR LLC, a project of Aqua America, a private water utility, and Penn Virginia Resources, a natural gas pipeline company. 
 
The property was purchased in order to build a water withdrawal pump station and water line that would withdraw three million gallons per day for use in hydraulic fracturing by Range Resources, a Texas-based Marcellus shale drilling company. Each shale gas well requires five to nine million gallons of water to force open the rock, allowing the gas to flow out.
 
Aqua America's facility takes 6,000 water truck trips off the road each day, according to Aqua America, which displaced truck drivers, parts suppliers, fuel deliverers, mechanics, and service employees from their jobs in Lycoming County. The Marcellus shale industry hasn't proposed any relief, solution, or alternative to this loss of employment opportunities for Pennsylvania residents. 
 
The facility's two permits were approved by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, a federal commission made up of Governors Corbett (R-PA), Cuomo (D-NY), O'Malley (D-MD), and President Obama.
 
The capacity of the park was 37 units and in March 2012, 32 families lived there. The initial offer from Aqua America included $2,500 for residents to move by April 1 and $1,200 for residents to move by May 1.
 
Immediately after the tragic story of Riverdale hit the press with the help of volunteers, Aqua America extended the deadline for $2,500 in compensation until June 1st.
 
A series of town halls, vigils, and picnics were organized by residents with some help from volunteers from around northeast and central Pennsylvania in opposition to the project. Residents and allies even held protests at Aqua America's headquarters in Bryn Mawr, at their shareholder meeting, and in front of Aqua's CEO Nick DeBenedictis' mansion in Ardmore.
 
Unfortunately, many residents felt forced to leave the park for reasons including fear of losing the $2,500 offer, uncertainty of what Aqua would do on June 1, and termination of their leases.
 
At the time of the final vigil on May 31, only seven families remained at Riverdale. Those families invited and hosted volunteers from all over Pennsylvania and surrounding states that evening to stay until morning when construction was scheduled to begin in an effort dubbed "Hands Across Riverdale."
 
They issued the following demands:
We demand that Aqua America sit down with the residents and their representation to negotiate in good faith a fair deal that...
1. Permits the remaining residents to stay living at Riverdale Mobile Home Park.
 
2. Provides those residents who have left with just compensation to cover their expenses.
 
3. Allows for the return of all residents who have left and wish to return.
 
On June 1, no construction vehicles came and road barricades boldly stated, "We Will Fight For Our Homes" and "Aqua America Kills Community." The following day, Aqua America sat down to negotiate with three pro-bono lawyers representing residents at the company headquarters in Bryn Mawr. A tentative agreement was reached and the residents were informed of the terms the following week. 
 
Details of that agreement are not publicly available at this time but it did include a "gag order," or non-disclosure agreement forbidding the residents and their children from speaking about the incident.
 
For a total of 12 days, Riverdale blossomed once again behind the barricades, despite all the suffering already endured. Volunteers joined to cook, run security shifts to prevent looting, move sheds, salvage building materials, plant a garden, provide child care, leaflet Jersey Shore and Williamsport, and to blast the story of Riverdale all over social networks.
 
On the twelfth day, Aqua America sent a subcontracted security firm to secure the site. Activists blocked the road in defiance, demanding that Aqua America continue to negotiate with residents in good faith. State police arrived on scene and ordered the protesters to move. There were no arrests. A chain link fence across the front of the park was constructed and later, a barbed wire fence surrounding the pump station construction area was added.
 
Round the clock security guards were stationed at the front of the park, which was lit with light towers resembling a prison. Construction proceeded even with the seven families remaining at Riverdale, including four young children. Finally, the $10,000 raised through online crowdfunding helped the residents move and relieved those who had already left with some financial burdens.
 
Former residents are scattered around the area. Many of the seniors were forced from independence into senior care centers. Three senior residents have passed away since, dislocated from the riverside community they chose to spend the rest of their life.
 
Some residents moved their homes to less desirable and more expensive parks, some are renting more expensive apartments and mobile homes, some are on the low-income housing waiting list, and others are staying with family and friends.
 
The story of Riverdale illustrates how little the gas companies, the governors, and President Obama care about the livelihoods of poor people when it comes to fossil fuel extraction.

AUDIO: Energy's Water Footprint in the Western Drought

Drought in the western U.S. is in the news every day, yet most media coverage ignores the impact from water withdrawals for industrial power facilities. While municipal and agricultural use are major drains on limited water resources, so too are biomass, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power facilities. 
 
On August 20, EJN spoke with Stacy Tellinghuisen, Senior Energy/Water Policy Analyst with Western Resource Advocates, about the findings of her report, "Every Drop Counts: Valuing the Water Used to Generate Electricity," discussing the water demands of electricity generating power facilities and lower-impact alternatives.
 

Are Media Outlets Megaphones for Polluters?

Are Media Outlets Megaphones for Polluters?
 
Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 5pm PST / 8 ET
 
Guest Speaker: Steve Horn, Investigative Journalist

Are media outlets doing an adequate job covering the health and environmental impacts of dirty energy corporations and other polluters?

Not according to Steve Horn, a Madison, Wisconsin-based freelance investigative journalist and writer for DeSmogBlog. Steve has found an alarming trend in one-sided media reporting on energy issues, making it difficult for the public to make informed decisions about climate change, air pollution, and our energy future.

Join Steve on Thursday, May 21 at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET to get the scoop on media’s scanty reporting on corporate polluters and what you can do about it.

 

Find audio archives of past calls here

A Dollar a Day Keeps the Smokestacks Away

This is not just another fundraising letter.  We want to remind you of all the services we provide to help YOU protect your community from corporate polluters.  After all, Energy Justice Network exists to empower, inform, advise and support grassroots activists to win victories -- transforming communities from dumping grounds for dirty energy and waste industries into vibrant places where clean solutions can flourish.

We're excited that 2014 has been our best year yet, with 16 victories that we helped make possible.  It's also been our best year for individual donations, totaling about $80,000 so far.  Our goal is to reach $100,000 by the end of the year.  Please help if you can by making a donation of $15-150 for 2015!  We plan to expand our capacity to better serve the many communities seeking our support over the coming year.

How we help you win:

Community Organizing Support and Advice - We've "been there and done that" and can help you get a community group organized and on a path to victory.  We can help with strategy development, outreach plans, how to use open records laws and public hearings to your advantage, social media strategies, corporate research, designing flyers and websites, and much more.

Getting Networked! – We can put you in touch with other grassroots activists who you might want to know in your area, or those elsewhere who have fought the same company, technology or fuel, so you can learn from their experience.  We also use conference calls and email discussion lists to help you connect on specific issues.  We have lists on natural gas, nuclear, coal, several types of incineration (separate lists for trash, biomass, tire and poultry waste incineration), ethanol biorefineries, electric power transmission lines and more.

Information / Research – We document the problems with technologies that communities face, making complex info into useful factsheetspowerpoints and articles available through our newsletter, Energy Justice Now, and throughout our Energy Justice.net and EJnet.org websites.  We have access to legal and science journal databases, and data from industry conferences that we can tap to help you.

Speaking / Trainings - Need a speaker, trainer or workshop presenter?  We do trainings for students, community groups and conferences on a range of topics and skills.  See Mike and Alex's topic lists for a guide.

Limited Legal and Technical Support - We help communities stop polluters with local ordinances, and understand many complex technical and legal issues.

Energy Justice Map - Our interactive mapping site tracks existing, proposed, closed and defeated dirty energy and waste facilities, the corporations behind them, and the people and groups fighting them.  It allows you to share information on polluters you're fighting, let people find your group through our site, and learn what polluters are in (or planned for) your area. 

Our new JusticeMap.org site is the first to enable easy race and class demographic mapping, and is being integrated into our mapping site, so you can easily build environmental justice maps, showing if polluters are targeting low-income or communities of color.  Our newest EJ mapping tool allows you to evaluate environmental justice trends in entire industries.

Policy Analysis and Development - With an eye for loopholes that would allow polluting industries to continue to harm communities, we've pushed to strengthen energy, waste and climate policies at all levels of government, and among our environmental allies.

Working with Students and Youth - We have a long history with the student environmental movement, from working with the Student Environmental Action Coalition since the 1990s, to co-founding Energy Action Coalition in 2004, to founding state-wide student environmental networks in Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Our new Energy Justice Shale Initiative has brought students and recent college graduates together in a group house to work with shalefield residents fighting fracking, compressor stations and pipelines in the most fracked community in the nation, in northeastern Pennsylvania.  

An Energy Justice Shale Convergence is planned for mid-March to train students and others to support local residents in Susquehanna County, PA.  We have other campus organizing resources compiled here.

Activist Calendar - Share your events on our calendar!  It's the only one to organize events by geography, so if you sign up for our map and want event updates by email, you'll see all the major events, and only have to see the local ones for your area.

Action Alert System - Tired of using online petitions like change.org where you don't get all of the contact info from those who sign?  So were we, so we made our own system, which Energy Justice member groups can also use (joining is free!).  You'll get the full contact info from all who sign, and can target state or national legislators by district, or other email targets.  Unlike change.org, the message will go to the target, and direct from the signer's email.  Messages and alerts can include links and images, too!  Contact us if you're interested.


How do we provide all of this with a skeleton crew of two full-time and four part-time people and almost no overhead costs?  Let's just say, we're good at what we do, and are the best investment you can make to support grassroots work over the coming year!  Please make a generous donation of $15-150 for 2015.  Regular, monthly donations (no matter how small) are even better!

...and if we're the ones who should be supporting you, please be in touch and we'll join you on the path to victory!

Happy Holidays!

Mike, Traci, Aaron, Alex, Josh and Samantha

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