Fighting for Climate Justice, in the Streets and in the Court

by Melinda Tuhus, PAR reader and environmental activist

I was one of 15 elders arrested back in June for sitting in rocking chairs in the street for about a half-hour in front of JP Morgan Chase’s credit card headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s an impressive building, with an impressive sculpture of an eagle with outstretched wings flying from a tall pedestal – a perfect spot for two of us to unfurl a big banner calling on President Joe Biden and Chase Bank to do the right thing and stop investing in fossil fuel projects. Chase is by far the biggest investor in such planet- and people-killing practices.

In our trial for disorderly conduct that took place on November 12 – the last scheduled day of the COP 26 global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland – Judge Kerry Taylor allowed the 11 pro se defendants (acting without a lawyer) to submit reports about the climate crisis and the role of banks in funding it.

We pursued a “choice of evils” strategy, which under Dela-ware law allows someone to break the law to prevent a greater “imminent” harm. The prosecutor, who was the arresting officer, kept asking defendants who took the witness stand how their blocking the road prevented “imminent” harm that would justify the inconvenience to motorists who were delayed for a short time. Defendants testified to the drastic “imminent” harms already occurring due to climate change, like the fact that on the day of the protest, temperatures reached 108 degrees in the Northwest, part of a multi-day heatwave that killed at least 600 humans and a billion sea creatures.

Getting this documentation into the record was historic, as judges almost never allow a choice of evils defense – also known as a necessity defense. It was part of our carefully crafted four-prong strategy: presenting the science; present-ing an expert witness who talked about the health impacts of the climate crisis; presenting documentation about the role of banks and Chase Bank in particular in funding the crisis; and presenting another expert witness who testified about the success of taking nonviolent direct action in winning climate concessions from a different bank.
After all that, Judge Taylor found us guilty.

I am more committed than ever to having a regular presence outside the Chase Bank branch in downtown New Haven in the month of December to continue putting pressure on the bank to stop funding fossil fuel projects, as part of a national campaign. Please contact me at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com. Put CHASE in CAPS in the subject line if you would like to help.

For the full story in the New Haven Independent: www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/why_we_rocked_for_climate_justice

North Haven Forum on Climate Change Convenes Forum to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

By Kenny Foscue, North Haven Clean Energy Task Force

One of our North Haven Clean Energy Task Force’s successes is that we meet quarterly with our 1st Selectman Mike Freda and collaborate on campaigns, etc. We recently decided it was time to “circle back” to town residents to make sure they are making the link between human-caused climate change and the many storms, tornadoes and floods that have plagued our town. We wanted to present “news you can use” about what you can do, with a focus on the home.

Last week, we sponsored a forum on climate change, with a focus on Connecticut, with information about what residents could do to reduce fossil fuel use. Robert Klee from the Yale School of the Environment and Yale Law School, and former DEEP Commissioner spoke; Mauro Diaz-Hernandez of the Yale Center on Climate and Health presented on environmental and public health impacts of climate change, and I presented on specific measures and programs for residents. The forum was taped by the local cable TV station and was “not filmed before a live audience” because of COVID concerns. The link is below and also on our town’s home page. We have been promoting it on Facebook and other sites. Please take a look – we think it might be a good model for other towns – a way of trying to make sure we are continuing to “bring folks along.” vimeopro.com/northhaventv/nhtv-on-demand-videos/video/643697440

Nightmare on Grove Street Public Action October 29th, 5pm

Come demand climate action.
Climate Nightmare on Grove Street:
At “Scariest Place in New Haven” – Yale power plant emitting over 100,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Rally includes ghosts and witches and other creepy things….

Special Awards to be presented:
Dracula Award for institution that keeps sucking from future generations and their present GHG emissions will be attacking life for 1000s of years.

Zombie Award for institution that keeps doing same thing and stuck in fossil fuel mindset.
Frankenstein Award for institution that’s not very bright as continues addiction to fossil fuels when clear need to stop or face disaster.

Friday, Oct. 29, 5 p.m.
Grove and York Streets

Please share and invite friends:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVT5sVUsklg/?utm_medium=copy_link
Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/2zNravuNT
and Cool Creepy TikTok Video:
https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8AaYTGu/

It’s No Coincidence that Power Plants Are in Poor Neighborhoods

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

A climate rally in Hartford on Sept. 18 blasted the usual practice of putting power plants and waste processing facilities in minority and poor areas, calling it environmental racism. Speakers, almost all of whom were people of color, spoke from the park’s bandshell, in front of signs that read “Fossil fuels make us sick,” and “End environmental racism.”

They called on Gov. Ned Lamont, who talks “green” but makes no objection to pipelines and fossil fuel power plants, to change his tune.  In particular, speakers mentioned Killingly in the poorer eastern part of the state that will be saddled with another methane-burning power plant if industry and Lamont have their way. It will also pump out massive amounts of global warming gases. About 100 watched from grassy areas not in the surprisingly blistering September sun.

A number of groups had tables or booths at the rally. Promoting Enduring Peace had a booth draped with banners about our bold ideas on climate. Rather than appeal to the fossil fuel companies like Exxon and Shell to go “green,” PEP called for the popular takeover of the whole fossil fuel industry and its gradual abolition. We called for carbon capture by preserving mature trees (like the ones in Remington Woods in Bridgeport) and re-wilding land. We also asked for rationing the use of burned fuels (not only fossil fuels, but so-called “bioenergy”) as long as it’s absolutely necessary to use them.

Earlier in September, a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report revealed that Connecticut is not even on track to meet targets set by the CT Legislature for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The latest figures were from 2018 and showed that emissions actually rose from 2017 to 2018. The elite may think environmental racism keeps them safe, but we are losing the battle for a livable climate and that will be disastrous for all.

To see the video of the rally go to PEPeace.org.

We Are in a Climate Emergency

Melinda Tuhus, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M)

In light of the release of the latest – and grimmest – report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, two dozen New Haveners gathered on the Green on Friday, Aug. 13, to raise the alarm locally.

The report says humans have definitively caused the warming of the planet, that it is accelerating, but that there is still a small window of opportunity to avoid the worst impacts, like global drowning from sea level rise. One banner pointed to the rise in sea level, which could be as much as 30 feet by 2100 without drastic action, putting New Haven and the entire Connecticut shoreline underwater.

Joe Foran came with his eldest son, Joseph, who is 7. Foran said that after listening to dire climate news on the radio every morning, “My two sons were upset and asked me to not play the radio before school.” Later he added, “We are not just avoiding the news altogether. We are struggling as a family with how we tell them the truth in a way that is not overly burdensome to their young minds and young souls. I think the real thing that makes a difference for the kids are actions like today, where they gain their agency and they aren’t just passive victims of the climate madness.”

The other focus of the rally was to point out that Chase Bank is the biggest funder, by far, of the fossil fuel industry and to call on Chase to specifically stop funding Enbridge’s construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline across Anishinaabe treaty territory in northern Minnesota.

As an organizer with CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) I went to Minnesota and was one of 700 people – and counting – to be arrested along the pipeline route.

Eluned Li, a member of Sunrise New Haven, went to Minnesota in June, where she observed peaceful water protectors being abused by the police departments that are paid by Enbridge.

Members of ULA (Unidad Latina en Acción) came, holding a banner featuring Berta Cáceres, an indigenous land defender in Honduras who was murdered for her courageous opposition to a dam project. The climate crisis and the migration crisis are linked, with many ULA members fleeing their homes in Central America due to the ravages of stronger hurricanes and devastating drought.

After the rally, participants carried banners down the block to stand in front of Chase Bank, chanting, “Hey, JP Morgan Chase: bad investment, big disgrace!” and, “If you want it drier, hotter, fund Line 3: wipe out more water!” The company is taking five billion gallons of water for construction in the middle of a drought. Participants passed out flyers asking New Haveners to contact CEO Jamie Dimon.

To get involved, contact Melinda Tuhus at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com or go to the website www.CTClimateCrisisMobilization.org or Facebook page CTClimateCrisis Mobilization.

[A version of this article with the above (donated) photo was published in the New Haven Independent Aug. 15. https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_rally]

Sign New Haven Bike Vision Petition

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

The Mayor and Board of Alders must act rapidly over the next three years (2021-2024) to create an interconnected, protected bike network in New Haven. As the New Haven Bike Vision report shows, there are successful models of street reconfiguration for limited costs, and converting just 6% of City street space to protected bike infrastructure would create an effective citywide bike network. Created in consultation with community members, this bike network would be an important part of a comprehensive redesign of multimodal transit in New Haven that would give residents and visitors safe, healthy, sustainable options to move around New Haven.

For more equitable use of public space, for environmental justice, and because of the climate emergency, we must act now. Sign and more info at:
newhavenclimatemovement.org/new-haven-bike-vision.

Support a Fossil Fuel Power Plant Moratorium to Protect Our Health and Climate

by Melinda Tuhus, climate justice activist

Climate activists around the state are prioritizing a bill (SB 718) in this year’s General Assembly session that would create a moratorium on fossil fuel power plant construction, with an eye specifically to stopping a fracked gas power plant to be built in Killingly, which is nearing final approval by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In a conversation with climate activists on Feb. 17, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christine Cohen, said she was frustrated that, despite a full-court press by those advocates to get a public hearing on the bill in the Energy & Technology Committee, that didn’t happen. She said it might still happen through another bill or possibly by creating some studies to enable the state to take action to stop Killingly, for which the owners of the plant, NTE, have signed a contract with ISO-New England, the regional grid operator. Gov. Ned Lamont says he doesn’t want the plant but that he is stuck with this agreement forged by his predecessor, Dannel Malloy, who was a huge proponent of gas. ISO-NE, on the other hand, says that states always have the final say on siting energy infrastructure.

There are many reasons why the plant shouldn’t be built. Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act, in line with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science, requires that greenhouse gas emissions in our state must be reduced below 2001 levels by 45% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. To achieve these mandated reductions, Connecticut must stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including power plants and pipelines.

Connecticut doesn’t need more dirty energy. Analysis from EIA (US Energy Information Agency) shows Connecticut has been a net energy exporter for a decade.1 Analysis by Synapse Energy shows that a significant surplus of electric capacity exists, and is projected to exist, in New England.2 And DEEP’s Draft Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) says that “Connecticut now hosts a disproportionate share of the region’s fossil-fueled generation”3

To meet our climate goals, including Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 3 calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, we must build clean energy capacity while retiring dirty energy, not building more dirty power. Acadia Center calculated that by 2030 Connecticut and New England would experience a net gain in employment under a No New Gas scenario.4

Finally, fossil fuel generation causes poor air quality and inequitable health outcomes, as these facilities are most often placed in low-income and/or people of color neighborhoods. Killingly ranks well below the state average in income and already has an operating fracked gas power plant.

Take action! Contact the co-chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee and urge them to incorporate the basics of SB 718 in another bill so it has a chance to be voted on. That’s Sen. Norm Needleman (norm.needleman@cga.ct.gov) and Rep. David Arconti (david.arconti@cga.ct.gov).

Footnotes
1. https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=CT
2. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CSC/1_Dockets-medialibrary/Docket_470B/Prefiled_exhibits/grouped/DO470B20190411NAPPSCTestimonyFaganGlickpdf.pdf
3. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/energy/IRP/2020-IRP/2020-CT-DEEP-Draft-Integrated-Resources-Plan-in-Accordance-with-CGS-16a-3a.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1612307098281000&usg=AOvVaw15H4cjW5Hp_vcg_qIRhWGz
4. https://362kp444oe5xj84kkwjq322g-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Acadia_Center_Decline_of_Gas_Brief.pdf

URI Seeks Requests for Free Street Trees in New Haven

Now is the time to request a free street tree for your home!  Thanks to a partnership between the City of New Haven and the Urban Resources Initiative, you can request a tree to be planted for free, as long as you commit to watering the tree to ensure it survives. Planting a tree not only helps to shade, beautify, and add value to your home and the street, but it also provides paid work experience to adults with barriers to employment. URI’s tree experts will work with you to plant a tree that thrives at your location and fits your interests.

The spring planting season is only a few weeks away, so request your tree today! New Haven properties only. To make a request, visit https://uri.yale.edu/get-involved/request-free-tree. For more information, contact: uri@yale.edu or (203) 432-6189.

Mapping Inequality Project: EPA Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series

EPA is launching the Environmental Justice (EJ) and Systemic Racism Speaker Series. The first session March 4, 12 – 1 p.m., will highlight The Mapping Inequality Project, a unique collaboration on redlining and current environmental challenges that provides publicly-accessible digitized versions of redlining maps for about 200 cities. This project has generated trailblazing work in the area of EJ and systemic racism. Two of its founders discuss the genesis, philosophy, methodology, and impact of this game-changing project.

Speakers will be Dr. Robert Nelson, Director, Digital Scholarship Laboratory, University of Richmond and Dr. LaDale Winling, Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech. Moderator is Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor for Environmental Justice, EPA.

Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-mapping-inequality-project-tickets-136940963107

The Environmental Justice and Systemic Racism Speaker Series will illustrate how addressing systemic racism is highly relevant to EPA’s mission. This series explores how understanding and addressing systemic racism and the roots of disproportionate environmental and public health impacts is key to integrating EJ in the policies and programs of EPA and other environmental agencies to achieve environmental protection for all people.

The first five sessions will focus on redlining and current environmental challenges. Future topics will include Title VI and civil rights program, EJ research and analysis, rural inequities, and others. Suggestions are welcomed. Registration information for each session forthcoming.

For more information, please contact Charles Lee (lee.charles@epa.gov) or Sabrina Johnson (johnson.sabrina@epa.gov).
For up-to-date information about Environmental Justice funding opportunities, events, and webinars, subscribe to EPA’s Environmental Justice listserv by sending a blank email to: join-epa-ej@lists.epa.gov.

Connecticut Green Energy News No. 206, Feb. 19, 2012

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA). To subscribe, contact Peter Millman at peter.millman7@gmail.com.

More information is at https://www.pacecleanenergy.org

Five takeaways from Connecticut’s new residential solar program changes

Energy News Network. “After years of debate over reforming the state’s solar program, stakeholders widely praised the new rules released last week. Connecticut utility regulators have reconfigured the state’s residential solar program in an effort to ensure its growth and drive innovation.” Plus: PURA Establishes New Residential Renewable Energy Program (FAQs from PURA)

Could rolling blackouts happen in New England?

NHPR. “I think the biggest single issue is that winter is normal in New Hampshire and across the Northeast. We are used to seeing these types of intense winter storms and multiple low-degree days. The problem in Texas is, that’s not normal there. This is a once-in-fifty, one-in-one-hundred-years type of event. And given that, the overall energy infrastructure system has not been developed and constructed with this type of severe weather in mind.”

Amid unprecedented storm damage, Eversource’s 2020 profits rise to $1.21B

Hartford Business Journal. “Eversource said a lower effec-tive tax rate also benefited its fourth-quarter bottom line.”

Lamont defends environmental, transportation agenda

CT News Junkie. “Lamont dismissed as “nonsense” the idea that drivers and truckers may avoid Connecticut roadways in an effort to avoid new user fees or high gas prices. He said drivers would need to travel through states with even higher fees to avoid Connecticut. You’re paying for that the whole way up the East Coast, it’s only when you get to Connecticut that everybody gets a free ride except for the poor taxpayers of our state,” he said.” Plus: Connecticut Gov. Lamont unveils environmental priorities amid dispute over impact on gasoline prices

As Boston gets on board, community power compacts gain steam

22 News WWLP.com. “…the program is part of the city’s commitment to environmental justice and one of its goals is to make renewable energy more accessible to residents who are socially vulnerable and have likely been disproportionately impacted by climate change…With a lot of aggregation programs we’re seeing them go five percentage points, 10 percentage points, much higher beyond that standard to procure more green electricity for their consumers. And that’s, from a local level, probably one of the most if not the most impactful ways to reduce emissions if you’re trying to meet climate goals.”

Climate, Covid, Capitalism: Connections and Context for the Next Stage of the Fight 2 p.m. Sunday Jan. 24, 2021

350 CT Fights for Climate Justice webinar

 

The fight to end the climate crisis cannot be viewed in isolation from the other major crises through which we are living. The same capitalist policy, and practice that have led us to the climate abyss have also unleashed a world of pandemics and economic hardship for the majority of the planet. All of these crises are are deepened by white supremacy. Come to discuss the context in which we must carry out the struggle for the emergency transition that can save us from an uninhabitable planet.

Panelists include:

Jeremy Brecher, author of “Strike: Commentaries on Solidarity and Survival,” a blog that can be found on the website of the Labor Network for Sustainability: Making a Living on a Living Planet.

Justin Farmer, a former candidate for CT State Senate whose Black Liberation Agenda and stance for ecojustice brought the issues of climate and racism to the fore.

Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at Yale, who worked for 30 year on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power and other organizations.

Elizabeth Henderson, Co-Chair Policy Committee, NY Northeast Organic Farming Association and advocate for an emergency agricultural Green New Deal.

Ben Martin, a leader of 350 CT and the CT Climate Crisis Mobilization who began his work as part of the DC direct action against the Keystone XL pipeline in 2011.

Rob Wallace, University of Minnesota,, author of Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Influenza, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science (2016).

Sponsored by the CT Climate Crisis Mobilization and 350CT

Jan 24, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

Para obtener más información o para pedir traducción al español
Email: contact@350CT.org; Call: (203) 350-3508