Human Resources Director

Contact Email: [email protected]

Post Date: 07.23.21

Job Type: Full-time

Office Location: Washington, DC

Department: Human Resources

Job Description: 

The Human Resources Director will manage the HR processes of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Action. The Director will manage the HR team and assist with labor relations, gathering, collecting, and maintaining documents and records required for contract and policy development, investigations, and negotiations. The HR Director will ensure that FWW hires and retains the most effective staff to accomplish its mission and is in compliance with labor law in multiple locations. A diverse staff is key to FWW effectiveness.

The HR Director is responsible for developing and executing human resource strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. The HR Director provides strategic leadership by articulating HR needs and plans to the executive management team.         

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Supervises all HR activities, communications, reports, requests and documents created and received by the team.
  2. Handles labor relations and human resource inquiries related to policies, procedures, and bargaining agreements.
  3. Support, guide, train supervisors to help maintain effective working relationships with BU members.
  4. Serves as the initial contact and liaison for intake and assessment of employee complaints.
  5. Conducts initial interviews and gathers information for employee relations matters such as harassment allegations, work complaints, or other concerns; informs appropriate staff when additional investigation is required.
  6. Ensure that all personnel files are up-to-date with necessary documents.
  7. Interface between staff and health insurance broker to assist staff in resolving questions.
  8. Ensure pay bands across the organization are up-to-date and equitable.
  9. Work with finance to ensure benefits are accurately charged.
  10. Manage employee onboarding and offboarding.
  11. Responsible for recordkeeping related to hiring, termination, leave, transfer, and promotion particularly as related to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and diversity initiatives.
  12. Collects information and data to assess cost and policy implications of negotiations and disputes. This may include management and union proposals, pay scales and wages, benefits, working conditions, and other mitigating circumstances.
  13. Conducts surveys, interviews, and other research related to human resource policies, compensation, and other labor negotiations; collects information and reports results to Managing Directors.
  14. Maintains knowledge and understanding of laws and regulations related to EEO, collective bargaining, unions, labor relations, and human resources.
  15. Prepares plans, policies, documents, and reports including EEO-1, organizational charts, labor agreements, and employee handbooks.
  16. Assists with preparation of documents and records required for contract negotiations, meetings, and negotiations with employee and labor organizations.
  17. Collaborates with senior leadership to understand the organization’s goals and strategy related to staffing, recruiting, and retention.
  18. Creates recruitment plans, interview schedules and evaluation standards in accordance with HR methodologies and labor laws.
  19. Research compensation standards set by industry and governing bodies in order to create salary structures and administer employee benefits.
  20. Monitors and ensures the organizations compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations, and recommended best practices; reviews and modifies policies and practices to maintain compliance.
  21. Performs other related duties as assigned.
  22. SUPPORTING OUR CULTURE OF PHILANTHROPY: All staff must assist in fundraising and development for the organization. All staff must demonstrate an understanding that our members and supporters make our work (and our salaries) possible and should provide the highest level of customer and member services to people outside the organization. While your job position does not require you to raise any particular amount, you are expected to always be an “ambassador” for FWW/FWA and our work. All staff are expected to help with and participate/attend events and other activities as appropriate that are organized for our supporters and donors. All staff are expected to be cognizant of fundraising opportunities and to share contacts and information that will help build and sustain FWW/FWA.

Requirements

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience required
  • Excellent interpersonal, writing and verbal skills are required
  • Passion for the mechanics of fundraising and building a culture of philanthropy
  • Approach interactions with donors and supporters with a customer-service mindset
  • Ability to work well with a wide range of people, under pressure in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously with close attention to detail
  • Good computer skills are required, including strong proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and Google Docs
  • Experience with Salesforce or similar database, or a demonstrated capacity to learn new technology quickly and effectively
  • Strong interest in and commitment to promoting the goals of Food & Water Watch

QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, the person in this position has a high degree of contact with other staff; a moderate degree of contact with vendors and a low degree of contact with volunteers and donors.

The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.                                                  

Education/Experience: Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Labor Relations, Business or related field required. A minimum of five years progressively responsible, professional experience in collective bargaining and labor relations activities, including two years supervisory experience.

Computer Skills: An individual should be able to work in a computerized environment and have adequate knowledge of word processing, email, internet and spreadsheet software; in particular have coursework or certification in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and proficiency with all other Microsoft Office products.

Click here to apply. Please include your resume, cover letter and three professional references to be considered.

We will review your application and if we feel that your knowledge, skills and abilities are potentially a good match for our organization, we will be in contact with you. Please include a Cover Letter with your submission. Position open until filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Food & Water Watch strives for a diverse work environment and encourages women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals with disabilities to apply.

Help us fix our broken systems and stand up against corporate control. Submit your résumé today!

It’s Time For An Urgent Intervention In The Food System Ruining Our Climate

Categories

Food System

by Mark Schlosberg

Wildfires, heatwaves, hurricanes and droughts: the deadly impacts of climate change are becoming more intense and devastating. While the transition to a real, renewable energy system is imperative to a livable climate future, it’s just as urgent to address the destructive impacts of our industrial food system. The current system is highly concentrated and exploitative, and it’s driving climate change and water shortages.

To address the climate crisis we must break up the big food monopolies and stop the practice of concentrating large numbers of animals on factory farms. The first step is passing the Farm System Reform Act. 

The Relationship Between Factory Farms and Climate Change

Factory farms drive climate change. Raising cows and pigs on factory farms accounts for 14.5% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, the vast majority coming from producing corn and soy to feed factory-farmed animals. In fact, the top 20 meat and dairy corporations together contribute more greenhouse gases than the entire country of Germany, and together the top five contribute more than fossil fuel giants Exxon, Shell, or BP. These meat and dairy corporations are pushing factory farm expansion, further driving up greenhouse gas emissions, while family-scale livestock farms struggle to survive. 

Further, while factory farms drive water shortages through climate-induced droughts, they also directly poison vast quantities of freshwater across the country through the waste they produce. 

Agriculture is the leading known cause of pollution in U.S. rivers and streams and is the second-largest known contributor to the contamination of wetlands. Pollution from animal feeding operations threatens or impairs over 13,000 miles of U.S. rivers and streams and 60,000 acres of lakes and ponds. In one stark example, nearly 500,000 dairy cows on factory farms in Tulare County, California produce more manure waste than the human residents of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. 

We need to break this vicious cycle of factory farms polluting water and driving climate change, which causes water crises for people and the environment. 

An Even More Urgent Case For a Ban on Factory Farms 

Food & Water Watch called for a ban on factory farms in early 2018 because we knew the fragility of our food system. For years, our team has been educating and organizing against extensive corporate control and how it harms family farmers, rural communities, food chain workers and consumers. We knew that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must address industrial agriculture. 

Less than two years later we were proud to work with lead sponsors Senator Cory Booker and Representative Ro Khanna to introduce the Farm System Reform Act in U.S. Congress, a visionary bill that includes a ban on new and expanding factory farms and a phaseout of existing facilities by 2040. Originally introduced in the Senate in December of 2019 and in the House in March of 2020, the Farm System Reform Act helped people to see that a better way is possible — and in fact critical — if we are to protect our water and climate as well as protect food chain workers, and ensure a safe and plentiful food supply. 

And now we’re doing it again — even bigger and bolder than last time.

Introducing the Farm System Reform Act in 2021

In July 2021, Senator Cory Booker and Representative Ro Khanna reintroduced the Farm System Reform Act in the new Congress with three original Senate co-sponsors and a number of new House co-sponsors. The bill is endorsed by a broad coalition of organizations including Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Action, the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Family Farm Action, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Over 100 individual farmers have also already signed a letter in support of the bill, with more joining every day.

This groundbreaking bill has quickly become the north star of the movement to ban factory farms and end corporate control of our food system and should be a key pillar of national efforts to address climate change. In addition to an immediate ban on new and expanding large factory farms and a phase-out of existing facilities by 2040, the Farm System Reform Act would also: 

  • Create a transition program to allow farmers to escape the contract model and shift to more sustainable forms of agriculture
  • Enact a series of market reforms that would make it possible for small growers to compete
  • Hold corporations responsible for their pollution 

The Farm System Reform Act is a bold and yet commonsense approach that would move us toward a food and farm system that works for us — instead of wealthy corporations only concerned with their own bottom lines. It would help to build the kind of resilient, regionally-based food system that we advocate for in our new report, Well-Fed. It would level the playing field for family-scale farms and help rebuild rural America. And it would provide a real solution to addressing the climate impacts of industrial agriculture — instead of more false solutions like factory farm gas (biogas) or carbon markets.

Do you share our vision for a just food system? Send a message to your Senators and Representatives today.

Political leaders need to hear from you. Send a quick message!

Top 5 Reasons Carbon Capture And Storage (CCS) Is Bogus

Categories

Climate and Energy

by Mark Schlosberg and Peter Hart

The idea of using technology to take carbon out of the air may at first blush sound like an attractive solution to our escalating climate crisis. But if you examine the details, the carbon capture “solution” is a mirage. 

Betting on carbon capture as a primary solution to the climate crisis is essentially the same as giving up. The only solution is to rapidly transition to 100% renewable energy in combination with energy efficiency and a less energy-intensive food system. 

Recently, carbon capture has been getting a lot of attention. It is a centerpiece of the oil and gas industry’s greenwashing efforts, the White House includes it as part of its climate agenda, and even some progressive media figures have promoted carbon capture and encouraged the left to embrace it as a so-called solution.

But as attractive as it may sound in theory, there are many good reasons to reject this failed energy-intensive so-called solution. Carbon capture will lock us into decades more of fossil fuels, is not feasible at scale, and diverts money and political attention from the real, bold solutions we need. 

Here are five reasons embracing carbon capture is a fool’s errand. 

1. Carbon Capture is an Expensive Failure

After billions of dollars in public and private investments over decades, there are no carbon capture success stories — only colossal failures. One of the largest was the Petra Nova coal plant in Texas, once the poster child for CO2 removal. But the plant consistently underperformed, before it finally closed for good last year. Another high-profile example — the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico, touted as the largest capture project in the world — may already be headed to a similar fate. 

Between 2005 and 2012, the DOE spent $6.9 billion attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of CCS for coal, but little came of this investment, and between 2014 and 2016, less than 4 percent of the planned CCS capacity was deployed. The Biden administration wants to shift its focus to carbon capture for gas-fired power plants, but there’s no reason to think the outcome will be any different.

2. Carbon Capture is Energy Intensive

Running a carbon capture system is incredibly energy-intensive — it essentially requires building a new power plant to run the system, which would create another new source of air and carbon pollution. That undermines the whole goal of capturing carbon in the first place. While our country emits roughly 5 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, removing 1 billion tons of that through direct air capture would require nearly the entire electricity output of the United States.

It’s also important to consider the scale of what would be needed. The Energy Department recently announced $12 million to fund ‘direct air capture’ projects and touted the possible removal of 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To put this in perspective, the largest corporate polluter in 2018 was responsible for releasing 119 million tons of CO2 equivalent — and that’s only one of them. 

3. Carbon Capture Actually Increases Emissions

A recent review of relevant research shows that due to the large amount of energy required to power carbon capture and the life cycle of fossil fuels, carbon capture in this country has actually put more CO2 into the atmosphere than it has removed. 

That’s not an accident. To the extent that there are successful capture projects, they exist at facilities where the carbon is injected into existing wells in order to extract more oil — a practice known as ‘enhanced oil recovery.’ While an oil company CEO might argue that doubling down on fossil fuels is an effective climate solution, the planet begs to differ. 

4. Storage Presents Significant Risks

There are also other significant risks related to the disposal and storage of carbon. Well failure during injection or a blowout could result in a release of large amounts of CO2;  storage locations can leak CO2,  as they are located close to fossil fuel reservoirs, where oil and gas wellbores provide a pathway for CO2 to escape to the surface.  Those storage leaks could contaminate groundwater and soil; and injection of CO2 could cause earthquakes, which have already been measured at injection sites. 

As Friends of the Earth noted recently, when a CO2 pipeline in a majority Black community in Mississippi ruptured last year, residents had to seek medical treatment, and the incident killed local plants and wildlife. 

5. Carbon Capture Trades Off with Other Critical Solutions

Wishful thinking about carbon capture isn’t just an ineffective response to the climate crisis — it’s dangerous. We have a small window where we can take the bold action needed to avert runaway climate chaos; counting on carbon capture’s effectiveness squanders the opportunity to enact actual emissions reductions (a phenomenon known as “mitigation deterrence”).

The reason that the oil and gas industry loves carbon capture is simple: It extends the fossil fuel era instead of ending it. Already, dirty energy companies are pitching the construction of new pipelines and fracked gas power plants and making totally empty promises about their ability to install capture technology to make them ‘clean.’ If carbon capture continues to fail to work, it doesn’t matter much to the company running the dirty power plant; they will just continue on with business as usual.

So long as fossil fuel companies, government officials, and even some progressive advocates are being fooled by carbon capture, there will be less pressure to actually stop climate pollution by putting an end to drilling and fracking and creating the political will needed for a rapid and just transition to 100% renewable energy.  

Your friends need to read this.

Cookie Policy

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Effective 7/14/21

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Five Things We Learned About Exxon’s Climate Sabotage — and One We Didn’t

Categories

Climate and Energy

by Peter Hart

A headline-grabbing exposé by Greenpeace UK’s Unearthed project has given us a peek at how fossil fuel giant Exxon uses its lobbying muscle in Washington. 

Posing as corporate recruiters, Unearthed recorded a series of interviews with two high-ranking company officials: Keith McCoy, a senior director in Exxon’s Washington DC lobbying team, and Dan Easley, Exxon’s chief White House lobbyist during the Trump years.

Of course, we already knew that companies like Exxon pressure lawmakers to get what they want. But the videos include valuable details about the company’s strategy and the lawmakers who carry water for corporate polluters.

Slashing Climate Provisions from the Infrastructure Plan Was Exxon’s Goal

After unveiling a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, President Biden shifted to backing a weaker ‘bipartisan’ compromise with a handful of senators. Most of the climate-focused proposals were gone — and that’s how Exxon wanted it. McCoy explained that the company specifically lobbied a small group of senators to slash the spending proposal with the hopes that “the negative stuff starts to come out.” The company was motivated by their agenda to block clean energy development, but also the push to raise corporate tax rates.

Senator Joe Manchin is the ‘Kingmaker’ For Fossil Fuel Execs

Most analysts see so-called moderate West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin as the crucial vote on any Senate climate or infrastructure proposal a truly troubling scenario, given his long, sorry track record on climate and clean energy. Exxon is just as aware of this as everyone else; McCoy called Manchin the “kingmaker” and boasted that he is in touch with Manchin’s office “every week.”

McCoy also identified ten other senators “crucial” for advancing Exxon’s agenda: Shelly Moore Capito (R-WVA), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Cornyn (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mark Kelley (D-AZ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Secret Lobbying Push on Forever Chemicals 

McCoy told Unearthed that the company was behind a lobbying effort to stop tighter regulations of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ like PFAS that are contaminating water systems around the country. Exxon, he explained, carried out this agenda through industry trade associations, so as not to further tarnish the company’s reputation.

Exxon, according to McCoy, has already had some success. While the company was alarmed by legislation to rein in PFAS (“We see this legislation, we’re like, holy crap”), McCoy touted that the company was able to slow things down by pushing for a federal government study:

“Lo and behold we got a study, we got it passed and that completely lowered the temperature, there’s been very little talk about PFAS.”

Exxon’s Plastics Pushback Banks On Lawmakers’ Willingness To Believe Them

Exxon is also deeply involved with undermining efforts to rein in plastics pollution a hugely profitable part of the company’s overall business. Instead of any real substantive plan, McCoy explained that it was key that they have  “some talking points” to share with Congress members.  For Exxon, the real goal is to tell lawmakers that, just like with climate change, swift action is simply impossible:

“It’s just like on climate change right… when it started you started to have conversations to say ‘Well you can’t completely change the electric grid from coal and gas into wind and here’s why.’ It’s the same conversation: ‘you can’t ban plastics because here’s why,’  or ‘you can’t, you know, legislate 100% recycling, because here’s why.” 

When it comes to actual legislation, he was clear about Exxon’s priorities:

“We would prefer model legislation that the American Chemistry Council would put forth as opposed to, say, a super progressive member of Congress that puts forth a comprehensive piece of plastics legislation. We prefer it come from us rather than from them.” 

This is why we must fight for genuinely progressive policies that will protect us from further climate chaos, and not the watered-down version industry insiders push via their favored lawmakers. 

Backing a Carbon Tax Was Always a Cynical Ploy

McCoy also explained that the company’s public advocacy for a carbon tax was based on the understanding that the policy would never actually happen:

“Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans, and the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that but it gives us a talking point that we can say, well what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we’re for a carbon tax.”

While this admission surprised some climate watchers and certainly disappointed carbon tax proponents, it was fairly clear that this was the strategy all along. Food & Water Watch has long argued a carbon tax would be regressive and ineffective, and that corporate support for it was a PR stunt designed to blunt more substantive climate action that would actually hurt the interests of fossil fuel corporations.

And Here’s What’s Really Not News

Finding out that a major fossil fuel corporation pressures lawmakers to stop bold climate legislation is infuriating, but entirely predictable. Certainly, that is the case with ExxonMobil; the “Exxon Knew” campaign, for example, featured in-depth reporting on the company’s decades-long understanding of the climate crisis, and its profit-protecting decision to fund so-called ‘climate skepticism’ to undermine a transition off fossil fuels. 

The fact that Exxon plays dirty to keep its climate-destroying stronghold isn’t news. But for once we are hearing an honest explanation of the company’s political strategy, and what it considers to be its key victories. 

Exxon is showing us who they are. We should believe them and fight to stop them.

Your friends should see this.

Biden Climate Watch

Categories

Climate and Energy

President Biden has promised to address the climate crisis, which he has called the “existential threat of our times.” 

His administration claims to be pushing to achieve carbon-free power by 2035, and has set a goal of having a “net zero” economy by the year 2050. And he repeatedly vowed that he would stop fracking on public lands: “No more fracking on public lands. Period. Period.”

And when Biden signed his climate-focused executive orders in January, he declared: “It’s not time for small measures. We need to be bold.”  

But do his administration’s words and actions meet his promises? In short, no. We have receipts and we’ll keep tracking them — check them out below.

During a Senate confirmation hearing, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm argued that fossil fuels aren’t going anywhere: “If we are going to get to net carbon zero emissions by 2050, we cannot do it without coal, oil, and gas being part of the mix.”

When announcing his executive order on public lands drilling, Biden declared: 

“Let me be clear, and I know this always comes up: We’re not going to ban fracking.”

Joe, we already know you don’t support a ban on fracking. You should.

In written answers submitted as part of her Senate confirmation hearings, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm promotes the export of fracked gas as a clean energy solution: 

“I believe U.S. LNG exports can have an important role to play in reducing international consumption of fuels that have greater contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Swapping one form of dirty energy for another is not progress. 

E&E News reports on an Oval Office meeting with labor leaders, one of whom recounts their conversation: 

“I brought up natural gas specifically to him, we spoke about pipelines … and he says, ‘I’m all for natural gas.'”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touts the potential of carbon capture — a false solution that only perpetuates dirty energy and fossil fuel profits:

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that you can’t get to net-zero carbon emissions without carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). We are excited about that. Obviously, it’s still nascent technology in capturing CO2 emissions, but we’ve got to do it on all types of fuel, if we’re going to get to net zero. I’m really excited about it, especially for communities in transition. You think of Appalachia, for example: They have coal; they have natural gas. Those workers, if they’re interested, could shift skills to be able to do installation of this technology. The CO2 pipelines that will be necessary for it could put lots of people to work, so I think it’s a big job opportunity, I think it’s a big carbon reduction opportunity, and we’re going to be bullish about it.”

Many billions have been spent on carbon capture — with essentially zero to show for it. The only people more excited to tout CCUS are the fossil fuel corporations who use it in their greenwashing ads.

Despite his vow to rein in fracking on public lands, Argus Media reports that the Biden Interior Department “has approved 200 drilling permits over the past two weeks… The surge in activity brings the number of approved drilling permits to 229 since Biden took office.”

Reports surface that White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy met privately with oil industry representatives to discuss “shared priorities.” The White House declined to provide a list of the attendees, but did explain that McCarthy “made clear that the Administration is not fighting the oil and gas sector,” and asked the oil industry representatives to present “ideas for addressing the climate crisis and reducing emissions.”

Climate envoy John Kerry tells a finance group:

“No government is going to solve this problem…The solutions are going to come from the private sector.” 

He added: “What the government needs to do is create a framework within which the private sector can do what it does best, which is allocate capital and innovate.” 

Kerry was also quoted as saying, “I think we’re on the cusp of a massive transformation… And ultimately, the market is going to make the decisions, not the government.”

Of course, decisions made by the market are what created the problem in the first place.

The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are appealing a court ruling that found the government failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of issuing new fracking leases in Wayne National Forest in Ohio. Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity told Reuters:

“There’s a wide and dangerous chasm between the Biden administration’s climate rhetoric and its defense of unlawful fracking.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was a surprise guest at an oil industry conference, where she reassured the audience:

 “We want to be a partner. And first, let me be clear, in our position as a global supplier of crude oil and natural gas and other forms of energy, that traditional fossil energy is going to remain important, even as we work to reduce carbon emissions.”

Under the headline “Biden’s Drilling Moratorium Is Not A Moratorium,” the Daily Poster reports:

“the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management has already broken Biden’s campaign promise by approving more than five hundred new drilling permits for previously existing leases since Biden took office.”

According to E&E News, the Interior Department has “issued dozens of oil leases sold in the final weeks of the Trump administration — and could issue over 200 more — drawing the ire of an environmental group that argues the move is a violation of the Biden administration’s leasing freeze.”

Jeremy Nichols of the group WildEarth Guardians told the outlet that a lawsuit is “definitely on the table.”

E&E News reports:  

The Biden administration yesterday advanced a proposal for oil and gas exploration on the back steps of the Dinosaur National Monument, sparking criticism from Utah public land advocates.

The permits were approved two years ago, but thanks to pressure from environmental groups the Trump administration remanded them for additional environmental analysis.

The New York Times reports:

The Biden administration is defending a huge Trump-era oil and gas project in the North Slope of Alaska designed to produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years, despite President Biden’s pledge to pivot the country away from fossil fuels.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited a hydrogen facility in Texas to promote fossil fuels:

“We want to be able to promote and sell clean technologies… That could be natural gas that has been decarbonized, or that could be natural gas where the methane flaring has been eliminated.”

This rhetoric is basically indistinguishable from industry PR. 

Branko Marcetic reports for Jacobin:

According to statistics from the Bureau of Land Management, from the start of February to the end of April, the administration approved 1,179 drilling permits on federal lands, not far from the four-year high of nearly 1,400 approved over a similar three-month period at the end of Trump’s term.

While national media cover a series of intense grassroots actions demanding that the White House stop the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, the administration studiously refuses to comment.  Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that a group of oil executives was having a private meeting at the White House with climate advisor Gina McCarthy. 

Speaking at a nuclear industry conference, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm calls nuclear power “an absolutely critical part of our decarbonization equation” and touts the administration’s nearly $2 billion nuclear power budget request. “The administration is ready to walk the walk,” she added.

“Advanced nuclear holds so much potential,” she said, adding that she envisions small nuclear reactors working with renewables and carbon capture as part of a zero-carbon grid of the future.

This is wildly irresponsible.

The Washington Examiner reports that Andrew Light — Biden’s nominee to be the deputy assistant secretary for international affairs at the Energy Department — wants to see more fracked gas exports: 

“My job in this role is to make sure U.S. gas is competitive around the world…Russia has the dirtiest source of gas right now. We’ve got to make sure ours is cleaner and that ours fill those markets around the world. That’s what I intend to do.” 

He added that he seeks to make the United States the leaders in “abated natural gas technology around the world.” Fracking without the pollution — what a concept. Too bad it’s fiction.

Gizmodo reports that the administration is nominating Neil MacBride for Treasury general counsel — who recently sued the Treasury Department on behalf of Exxon. 

As they note: 

Nominating someone for that role who has fought against fines and regulations on behalf of major companies—including not only Exxon but also automotive corporations, pharmaceutical companies, and the rating agencies and banks behind the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis—doesn’t bode well.

Reporting from a G7 summit focused on climate action, Politico reports that the Biden administration helped to block more forceful action on phasing out coal:

“The Biden administration — fixated on cultivating the Democrats’ razor-thin Senate majority and the coal mining sympathies of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin — was wary of any language specifically clamping down on coal.”

The Energy Department announced $12 million to fund ‘direct air capture’ projects, which it touted as a chance to remove 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. DAC is a highly expensive and mostly theoretical enterprise, but to put this in perspective, the largest corporate polluter in 2018 was responsible for 119 million tons of CO2 equivalent. 

Speaking about the White House’s vision for a clean energy standard, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that fracked gas would qualify if paired with some form of carbon capture:

“I think that if you combined natural gas with carbon removal so that it was really clean and that you had zero carbon emissions.”

There is no such technology to remove emissions from gas power plants. And even if it did exist, that would still leave all of the other associated problems with fracking — methane leakage, water contamination and pollution at the well sites — as well as the other air pollutants created by gas-fired power plants.

At a House committee hearing, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told lawmakers,

 “I don’t think there is a plan right now for a permanent ban” on oil and gas drilling on public lands. Those comments directly contradict Biden’s repeated promises to ban fracking on public lands.

Haaland added that “gas and oil production will continue well into the future.”

A growing, powerful grassroots movement is demanding that President Biden stop the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline under construction in Minnesota. The White House responds by filing a brief backing the Trump administration’s approval of the project. The Justice Department, as Gizmodo reported, “asked the court to reject any more arguments from environmental and Indigenous groups and allow the pipeline to move forward.”  

The case, brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, seeks to challenge a US Army Corps of Engineers water permit. As Tara Houska of Giniw Collective put it, “This is a horrific failure of the government’s duty to tribal nations, to climate science, to the sacred.” 

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm boasts that the White House support for “significant” carbon capture research funding is good news: 

“These kinds of technologies will help for the oil and gas sector to be able to ramp up production, but in a way that’s clean.”

This is welcome news for the fossil fuel industry — which loves to tout carbon capture as a climate solution, even though there’s basically no such thing. Granholm is correct that this could easily ramp up oil and gas drilling — which is the opposite of what we should be doing right now.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality submits a report to Congress laying out the ways it could support the fossil fuel industry’s carbon capture plans. The report envisions an array of options, including efforts to streamline permitting for carbon storage facilities and new pipelines.

White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy released a memo that was intended to demonstrate the Biden administration’s commitment to its climate and clean energy goals. But the memo actually does the opposite.  Instead of explicitly supporting a bonafide standard for clean, renewable energy, the memo touts the leveraging of ‘market signals’ and other technocratic rhetoric that is decades out of date.

According to a report from Bloomberg Government, a draft of a long-awaited White House report on fracking on public lands “falls short of the outright ban,” promised during the campaign, and will only recommend changes to the royalty rates paid by drillers and other minor tweaks. Increasing royalty rates for drilling only entrenches our dependence on fossil fuels.

The Associated Press reports that “approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. public lands are on pace this year to reach their highest level since George W. Bush was president.” The Interior Department approved about 2,500 permits to drill on public and tribal lands in the first six months of the year — more than 2,100 drilling approvals since Biden took office on Jan. 20.

Tell the Biden Administration that our future MUST be fracking-free. Our existence depends on it.

We Can’t Eat Without Bees And Other Pollinators. Protecting Them Is Key.

Categories

Food System

by Amanda Starbuck

Last week, a startup made headlines by claiming it is developing a vaccine that provides domestic honeybees with immunity towards a group of pesticides called organophosphates. The company wants to market the product as a solution to honeybee colony collapse.

Was this an early gift for National Pollinator Week? Hardly. At Food & Water Watch, we know that to truly protect bees from lethal pesticides, the duty falls on our legislators and regulators — not our beekeepers. Moreover, we need to systematically reform our food and farming systems, if we have any hope of saving our precious pollinators. This is why we support legislation like the Saving America’s Pollinators Act. It is also why we are fighting for a just transition to regional, sustainable food systems.

The Humble Honeybee Isn’t The Only Threatened Pollinator  

Honeybees often come to mind when we think of pollinators. But did you know there are more than 100,000 species of animals across the globe that pollinate flowering plants? In fact, the vast majority of crops we eat are not pollinated by domesticated honeybees but by other wildlife, ranging from wild bees and moths to hummingbirds and fruit bats. We need to safeguard all of these unsung heroes that make it possible for us to eat.

Pesticides are just one threat facing pollinators. Climate change is another. Extreme weather destroys plants that pollinators depend on. It also disrupts the timing of plant flowering and the migration patterns of pollinators. Last year, the number of monarch butterflies that over-wintered in Mexico fell by a quarter from the previous year. Our government’s refusal to take bold action on climate change is threatening the survival of monarchs and other pollinators.

Our farming systems are also destroying vital pollinator habitat. Industrial practices like monocropping and chemical pesticide spraying reduce biodiversity. Over the past few decades, the U.S. significantly expanded its corn and soy acreage, mostly for non-food uses like ethanol and livestock feed. This took more land out of conservation reserve, reducing pollinator habitat. And nearly all of these corn and soybean acres are GMO varieties resistant to glyphosate (Roundup) herbicides. Glyphosate use is linked to steep declines in milkweed and other plant species crucial to pollinator survival.

Only a System-Wide Approach Will Save Our Pollinators

First, we can pass the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, reintroduced this week. The bill would immediately cancel the registration of neonicotinoids, a group of pesticides that are lethal to bees. It would also direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create a Pollinator Protection Board. The Board would independently review pesticides for their threats to pollinators and their habitats, and monitor pollinator populations. That way, we can ensure that no harmful pesticides make it into the field in the first place.

Second, we need bold solutions to the climate crisis, including ending fossil fuel subsidies and transitioning to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2030. We cannot hope to protect pollinators if we do not address this imminent threat to all species’ survival.

Finally, Food & Water Watch is advocating for a radical transformation of our food and farming systems, to reduce climate emissions and promote biodiversity. We need to reestablish supply management for commodity crops, to stop the overproduction of corn and soy and end the glut of cheap grain that props up factory farms. We need to realign our farm safety net so that it encourages the adoption of regenerative practices that return biodiversity to the farm. Diverse, integrated crop-and-livestock operations will eliminate the need for pesticides while providing vital habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.We have the blueprints for making this transition happen. Help us celebrate National Pollinator Week by joining with us in demanding bold action to save our bees and other pollinators.

Your friends should see this.

Finance Associate

Contact Email: [email protected]

Post Date: 06.22.21

Job Type: Part-Time

Office Location: Main Office — Washington, DC

Department: Finance

Job Description: 

The Finance Associate is responsible for the accounting function of the Finance Department, ensuring timely completion in accordance with established deadlines and reporting to accounting leadership. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Create Check Requests
  • Print, match and mail checks
  • Review and verify company credit card receipts
  • Process weekly deposits (in-house and bank run)
  • Assist with new vendor vetting procedure and vendor management process
  • Maintain and organize filing systems
  • Assist with annual audit/990 preparation
  • Carry out other projects, as assigned.
  • SUPPORTING OUR CULTURE OF PHILANTHROPY: All staff must assist in fundraising and development for the organization. All staff must demonstrate an understanding that our members and supporters make our work (and our salaries) possible and should provide the highest level of customer and member services to people outside the organization. While your job position does not require you to raise any particular amount, you are expected to always be an “ambassador” for FWW/FWA and our work. All staff are expected to help with and participate/attend events and other activities as appropriate that are organized for our supporters and donors. All staff are expected to be cognizant of fundraising opportunities and to share contacts and information that will help build and sustain FWW/FWA.

To perform this job successfully, the person in this position has a high degree of contact with the Finance Department; a moderate degree of contact with vendors; and a low degreeof contact with other staff.

The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.                                                                                            

Education/Experience: High School diploma, GED, or equivalent; familiar with basic accounting principles. 1 year of experience of accounting is preferred.

Computer Skills: An individual should be able to work in a computerized environment and have adequate knowledge of word processing, email, internet and spreadsheet software; in particular have coursework or certification in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point and proficiency with all other Microsoft Office products

Compensation: $20/hourly

Click here to apply. Please include your resume, cover letter and three professional references to be considered.

We will review your application and if we feel that your knowledge, skills and abilities are potentially a good match for our organization, we will be in contact with you. Please include a Cover Letter with your submission. Position open until filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Food & Water Watch strives for a diverse work environment and encourages women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals with disabilities to apply.

Help us fix our broken systems and stand up against corporate control. Submit your résumé today!

Our Smithfield Lawsuit Exposes Lies About Meat Shortages And Worker Safety

Categories

Food System

by Emily Miller

Of all the dark truths the pandemic has exposed about our society and food system, meatpacking companies’ greed and shocking disregard for workers’ health and safety makes our blood boil the most. And one corporation, in particular, has repeatedly and egregiously lied to the public throughout the crisis to protect its bottom line: Smithfield Foods. 

Food & Water Watch Sues Smithfield For Misleading Claims

At the height of the pandemic, slaughterhouses became ground zero for massive COVID-19 outbreaks. Thousands of meatpacking workers across the country contracted the virus — in some cases, even forcing plants to temporarily shut down. The crisis not only exposed the vulnerability of a food system controlled by a few powerful and highly consolidated corporations, but also accelerated nationwide transmission of the virus.  

Enough is enough. Last week, Food & Water Watch brought suit against the multinational meat processing company on behalf of the general public for its violations of the District of Columbia’s consumer protection law, which prohibits corporate bad actors from lying to consumers for profit. Our Executive Director Wenonah Hauter explains why:

“Corporations like Smithfield routinely choose profit over people. The company utterly failed to protect its workers as the coronavirus spread like wildfire throughout its meat processing facilities, and its fear mongering about meat shortages was designed to exploit consumer panic and boost sales. Smithfield put workers’ lives at risk all in the name of corporate greed and turned already notoriously dangerous workplaces into deadly ones.” 

Smithfield’s False Advertising Campaign Duped Consumers

Our complaint lists in detail the numerous and specific false claims Smithfield has peddled to consumers and the general public about its pandemic response. Here’s a summary of what our lawsuit alleges:

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Smithfield has mounted a distinctly aggressive public relations campaign geared toward leveraging the pandemic to increase its profits. Through advertisements, social media statements, and website representations, Smithfield has adopted a two-step press offensive to mislead consumers and salvage its image — and its bottom line.

First, Smithfield has misrepresented to consumers that a countrywide meat shortage was imminent. This fear-mongering is designed to create a revenue-generating feedback loop; It stokes and exploits consumer panic, in turn causing demand for Smithfield’s meat products to surge.

Second, Smithfield has misrepresented working conditions in its plants in an effort to allay heightened consumer concerns for worker safety. Line-level meatpacking workers, in part due to false fears of a meat shortage, have been required to work in person throughout the pandemic — often in cramped conditions on crowded production lines. Smithfield has repeatedly assured consumers through advertisements and a comprehensive social media campaign that the company is keeping its workers safe. Indeed, the company has prominently featured workplace safety as an integral part of its marketing and branding efforts during the pandemic. 

Here are two facts that are important to understand so that Smithfield is held accountable. 

FACT: OUR MEAT SUPPLY WAS NEVER IN DANGER

However, Smithfield’s messaging could not be further from the truth. To stoke fears of a meat shortage, Smithfield gravely warned American consumers in April 2020 that the nation was “perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.” But at the same time, Smithfield’s foreign exports were surging — with multiple studies showing the company’s pork exports to China hitting record highs that same month. Government data further refute Smithfield’s doom-and-gloom warnings, showing that pork inventory held in “cold storage” warehouses was well into the hundreds of millions of pounds, which analysts have estimated could have kept grocery stores stocked with pork for months, even without any additional production. 

FACT: THE LIVES OF SMITHFIELD WORKERS WERE AT RISK

Smithfield’s reassurances on workplace safety were equally deceptive. On this score, Smithfield’s track record speaks for itself, with company slaughterhouses repeatedly emerging as epicenters for COVID-19 outbreaks. Moreover, Smithfield’s representations to consumers regarding specific workplace safety protocols — depicted in detailed photographs, videos, and promotional copy amplified through Smithfield’s website and social media accounts — are consistently refuted by safety citations issued by government regulators and the accounts of actual Smithfield workers.

In all, Smithfield chose to leverage the pandemic to its advantage. Its PR team loudly beat the drum on issues of enormous significance, exploiting consumers’ fears about meat shortages and calming their concerns about workplace safety. And while the company’s campaign on these fronts has no doubt helped it profit, it is built on a series of egregious misrepresentations, deceptions, and falsehoods. 

What Happens If We Win?

If the court agrees that Smithfield’s repeated and frequent misrepresentations violated D.C.’s consumer protection law, it could not only order Smithfield to publicly retract its lies, but also pay a penalty for its deceit. 

Help our attorneys make Smithfield pay for its pandemic falsehoods!

Midwest Organizing Associate

Contact Email: [email protected]

Post Date: 06.21.21

Job Type: Seasonal

Office Location: Work Remotely

Department: Organizing

Job Description: 

The Organizing Associate will report to the National Organizing Manager and will work with other national organizing staff, and policy and communications staff as necessary. The Organizer will support FWW’s campaign to move federal targets in priority districts on FWW signature campaigns, and support the National Organizing team as necessary. The Organizer will work remotely with volunteers and allied organizations in target districts with the goal of growing FWW’s organizing capacity, building volunteer affinity with FWW, and moving target legislators to support FWW policy goals. The Organizer may also support local or regional campaigns on FWW aligned issues. This position will require flexibility and adaptability as campaign and political circumstances shift. This is a temporary position for 10 weeks (40hrs/week). This is a remote work position — Chicago, IL preferred.                                 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Assisting in building strategic coalitions with labor groups, elected officials, faith-based organizations, citizen activists, businesses, and students. 
  2. Coordinating campaign events to engage citizens and pressure targets. 
  3. Represent Food & Water Watch and recruit new activists at events. 
  4. Assisting in media outreach to educate millions of people. 
  5. Producing online materials such as action alerts, newsletters, and activist guides. 
  6. Researching emerging issues to move campaigns forward and power mapping key targets.
  7. Maintain strong records of work and assist with database development.
  8. Carry out other projects as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS: To perform this job successfully, the person in this position is expected to have a complete understanding of FWW’s Strategic Organizing model and an ability to develop campaign strategy. The Senior Organizer will be expected to work closely with organizing staff, volunteers and allied organizations to ensure campaigns are moving forward to achieve programmatic goals.

The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

  • Strong interest in Food & Water Watch priorities and commitment to social change. 
  • Strong verbal and written communication and time management skills. 
  • Desire to develop campaign and grassroots organizing skills. 
  • Adequate knowledge of word processing, email, internet and spreadsheet software. Experience or knowledge of digital organizing tools is a plus.
  • Applicants must be legally eligible to work in the United States.                                                                                       

Compensation: $15/hourly

Click here to apply. Please include your resume, cover letter and three professional references to be considered.

We will review your application and if we feel that your knowledge, skills and abilities are potentially a good match for our organization, we will be in contact with you. Position open until filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Food & Water Watch strives for a diverse work environment and encourages women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals with disabilities to apply. 

Help us fix our broken systems and stand up against corporate control. Submit your résumé today!