Iowa Legislature Sends Dangerous Factory Farm Biogas Bill to Governor’s Desk

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Food SystemClimate and Energy

Des Moines, IA — Today, the Iowa state legislature passed (38-7) HF 522, sending the dangerous piece of biogas legislation to Gov. Reynolds’ desk for signature. The bill incentivizes the development of factory farm biogas operations at factory farms across Iowa. Factory farm biogas is a costly scheme which relies on public funding to operate at industrial scale. The public funding props up what would otherwise be an entirely unprofitable prospect — using waste from massive factory farms to generate methane gas to deploy into regional pipeline infrastructure.

With the passage of HF 522 and accompanying legislation (HF 694 and HF 789) to support the buildout of biogas in Iowa, taxpayers can expect more factory farms, more pipelines and gas infrastructure, and more dirty energy entrenchment in the state. 

As natural gas companies fight to remain relevant amidst a changing energy landscape, leaders are turning to “renewable natural gas” or factory farm biogas as the way to “save the business.” Iowa’s excessive concentration of factory farms makes the buildout of factory farm biogas particularly appealing to companies seeking to cash in on the new greenwashed energy source.

“When Big Energy and Big Ag team up to sell us a climate-friendly solution, all alarm bells should go off,” said Emma Schmit, Food & Water Watch Iowa Organizer. “Biogas in Iowa is a terrible idea set to bolster out-of-state investor profits at the expense of our climate, rural communities and independent agricultural economy. HF 522 is a dangerous bill that signals what is to come as more and more industries take advantage of Iowa’s lax legislature to push their agendas through, leaving taxpayers footing the bill.”

“In yet another gift to the factory farm industry, the Iowa Legislature has passed HF 522 encouraging more and even larger factory farms in our state.” said Adam Mason, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement State Policy Organizing Director. “After a legislative session in which legislative leadership showed just how out of touch they are, it is shameful that they would open the door to even more factory farms and put our communities, our air and water, and our health at greater risk.”

Gas Campaigner — Belgium

Contact Email: [email protected]

Post Date: 05.14.21

Job Type: Full-time Employee

Office Location: Europe

Department: International

Job Description: 

Food & Water Watch is working to create a healthy future for all people and generations to come — a world where everyone has food they can trust, clean drinking water and a livable climate. Making this happen requires involving people in the pressing issues of our time at the local, state, and federal level, building on one win after another, as we develop a larger movement that has the political power to make our democratic process work.

The gas campaigner at the European office works to stop new gas infrastructure in Europe with a specific focus on methane emissions and EU policies around methane.   

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Coordinate and develop coalitions around gas and methane and implement grassroots organizing and public education campaigns targeting European institutions.
  • Liaise and maintain contacts with grassroots movements across Europe campaigning against fracking, natural gas, gas infrastructure and fossil-gas based hydrogen.
  • In coordination with the rest of the team, build a strong base of organizations and individuals in support of our campaigns against fossil fuels. 
  • Work with the rest of the team to develop strategic campaign plans including long- and short-term goals, strategies and tactics.
  • Maintain familiarity with a diverse set of issues and research products, and respond to information requests from activists, coalition members, policy makers and media.
  • Collect, analyze, edit and produce reports.
  • Develop education materials such as factsheets, action alerts, web site content and newsletter articles on various campaign issues.
  • Provide research on policy and advocacy issues as required.
  • Attend and speak at meetings and public events, as relevant.
  • Organize jointly with other NGOs public events or conferences.
  • Reports to EU Affairs Director.
  • Carry out other projects, as assigned. 
  • Support Our Culture of Philanthropy: Demonstrate an understanding of the essential role of our members and supporters, and consistently serve as an ambassador for FWW/FWA/FWAE and our work. Participate in or attend events and other activities as appropriate that are organized for our supporters and donors. Be cognizant of fundraising opportunities and share contacts and information that will help build and sustain FWW/FWA/FWAE.

QUALIFICATIONS:

 To perform this job successfully, the person in this position has a high degree of contact with colleagues at FWAE and the climate team at FWW, allied Brussels-based NGOs and grassroots groups around Europe; a moderate degree of contact with other staff, journalists and other activists groups around Europe; and a low degree of contact with other international NGOs, members of the European Parliament and officials at the European Commission, industry lobbyists and politicians at national and regional level. 

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 (BA, BS, etc.); 3-5 years of related 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 Power Point and proficiency with all other Microsoft Office products.

Annualized Salary:  35000 EUR

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!

Virginia Activists Highlight Environmental Injustices in Fracked Gas Plant Permitting Process

Categories

Climate and Energy

Charles City, VA — This morning, impacted residents and environmental justice advocates gathered virtually to highlight the accumulated negligence behind C4GT’s permitting processes and the environmental injustices core to the project. On the heels of a Charles City County Administration vote to reclaim the land the power plant plans to develop, and one week after C4GT’s State Corporation Commission’s Certificate of Public Necessity was due to expire, speakers gathered to urge prompt state action to stop the project.

The C4GT plant is the latest in a string of fossil fuel infrastructure projects to enter rocky ground, from the evaporating financial rationale behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline to the corporate interfighting that left C4GT footing the bill in a recent lawsuit loss to Virginia Natural Gas. Despite the limited financial viability of the project, state agencies and lawmakers have been unwilling to take action against the plant.

Speakers highlighted the environmental injustices core to the project, and called on the Department of Environmental Quality to subject the project to their new environmental justice rules.

“For over twenty years, County officials have been concerned with gaining profits through the C4GT power plant. Local government officials have repeatedly told the residents of Charles City County that this project is a done deal — now they are changing their tune,” said Wanda Roberts with Concerned Citizens of Charles City County. “I represent the Concerned Citizens of Charles City County and on behalf of our hundreds of supporters demand action against the C4GT plant. Change does not happen in a day and it is change that we desperately need in Charles City County.”

“The state’s continued negligence to hold C4GT to utmost scrutiny is an injustice to the residents of Charles City County and indeed the state,” said Food & Water Watch Virginia Organizer Jolene Mafnas. “To allow the C4GT project to continue would be to support the irresponsible and incompetent actions of a corporate polluter rather than to protect the health and safety of constituents in Charles City County. We stand with the citizens of Charles City County in demanding prompt action to review the C4GT plant.”

“Fossil fuel projects are predatory in their siting, across Virginia — C4GT included,” said Mothers Out Front Virginia Organizing Manager Kim Sudderth. “If you are black, brown, indigenous, poor, rural or any of the above, I’ve learned that you will be affected by environmental injustice. If the C4GT plant is built, it will give life to other opportunists to prey upon the residents of Charles City now and in the future. We demand that the C4GT plant be cancelled.”

“This project is smoke and mirrors on a corporate level,” said Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice Council Member Barb Adams. “There is waning support even for the Charles City County administration who has declared this a done deal for so many years. We must keep the light on this project and ask the very hard questions of our state agencies as to why they continue to allow C4GT’s scheme to continue.”

“There is no reason for the state regulatory entities — SCC and DEQ — to continue to dilly dally and play with the C4GT corporation,” said Sierra Club Virginia Outreach Coordinator Lynn Godfrey. “This needs to be squashed.”

New footage taken in March of the hasty construction at the C4GT site last December, which the Department of Environmental Quality states maintained the project’s permits, is available at the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4t6t8txfhg7r8v9/AADrpFTSeXJ4OwbH4Xi0EEGfa?dl=0. Photos and images are available for media use with attribution to Ben Cunningham of Blue Ridge GeoGraphics LLC.

A recording of the event can be found at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VA6FkrUWUeqBbO0AStkdbk4SLgEwctEV/view?usp=sharing.

Contact: Phoebe Galt – [email protected]

Blue Communities Water Page Card

Categories

Clean Water

Make your city a Blue Community

Protecting water everywhere starts with us. Learn how you can take back control of your public water.

You can make a difference where you live.

Newark Residents, 40+ Groups Seek to Stop Fracked Gas Power Plant Proposed in Ironbound

Categories

Climate and Energy

Newark residents and a diverse coalition of environmental, faith and social justice organizations called into the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s board meeting today to demand the agency stop their plans for a new fracked-gas power plant at their massive sewage processing facility in Newark’s Ironbound community. 

The speakers called on the commission and Governor Murphy to stop this polluting proposal and redesign their resiliency project using renewable energy. 

“This fracked gas plant will cause further harm to Ironbound residents who have already been unreasonably burdened with an overwhelming number of environmentally hazardous facilities in their area. Governor Murphy had NJ Transit switch from gas to renewables to power a microgrid just a couple miles from here in Kearny, there’s no reason that can’t happen here and it must. Black and brown residents in Newark deserve the same considerations,” stated Maria Lopez-Nunez, Ironbound Community Corporation’s Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy. The sewage plant should have a backup generator in some form but one that improves for our community. They could even cover their pits and put solar panels on them that would also reduce odors too!”

Speakers stated that the project is in direct violation of Governor Murphy’s commitments to protect Environmental Justice communities, as well as the landmark environmental justice cumulative impact law passed last summer. That law, passed after years of organizing by environmental justice communities, is designed to prevent new polluting infrastructure in already overburdened communities. 

Though the environmental justice law was passed last summer, it will be at least another six months until rules go into effect that would require projects to complete a cumulative impacts review.  The law provides NJDEP with additional authority to reject permits for projects that would exacerbate pollution and public health impacts in already overburdened communities.

In the meantime, dozens of new polluting projects are currently seeking permits from the administration before the new law goes into effect. 

“This fracked gas plant directly contradicts Governor Murphy’s policies to deal with environmental justice and the climate crisis! Newark can’t be the dumping ground for everyone else. We need resiliency in the event of another disaster like Superstorm Sandy but the solution can’t be to perpetuate NJ’s legacy of environmental racism. My family and neighbors already suffer from toxic pollution from the nearby port, highways, airport, incinerator, many other smoke stacks and contaminated sites. The Governor and NJ Transit stepped up in the Meadowlands, now PVSC and the governor need to follow suit here, stop this disastrous proposal and redesign it with renewables,” said Kim Gaddy, Newark resident, South Ward Environmental Alliance founder and Clean Water Action national environmental justice director.

The Newark power plant, which would be paid for in large part by taxpayer-funded FEMA dollars, is part of a resiliency project proposed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The storm caused the sewerage plant to lose power, spilling billions of gallons of raw or partially-treated sewage into the Passaic River. The project would provide backup power to the treatment plant when the grid is down, and offset PVSC’s power needs from the grid at other times. 

While advocates understand the importance of building infrastructure resiliency in the face of climate change, they are demanding that this be done using clean renewable energy that will not increase the pollution burden in the Ironbound and surrounding region. Advocates see a connection between this project and the fracked gas power plant NJ TRANSIT had proposed in nearby Kearny to meet similar resiliency goals. After more than 18 months of opposition, NJ Transit announced last fall they would shelve their plans for a gas project and redesign it using renewable energy.

“Residents and advocates secured a huge victory last fall when NJ Transit announced they would stop their proposal for a fracked gas power plant and instead redesign the project using clean renewable energy,” said Matt Smith, Food & Water Watch New Jersey Director and EmpowerNJ steering committee member. “Now another state agency is moving ahead with a major polluting project in an environmental justice community, during a public health crisis, under the Governor’s watch. If Governor Murphy intends to fulfill his commitments to protect public health and fight the climate crisis, he must reject this dirty energy proposal and work with PVSC to redesign the project with clean renewables. NJ Transit did it, they can too.”

 A growing coalition is forming between Ironbound organizations and other groups across Newark and the entire state. More than forty organizations have come together so far to call on the Governor and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission urging them to stop the fossil fuel power plant and replace it with a clean renewable energy solution.

“This plant is completely out of alignment with Governor Murphy’s and President Biden’s commitments to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy”, said Cynthia Mellon, Co-Chair, of the Newark Environmental Commission, board member of the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, and Newark resident. “Anything that uses fracked gas should be scrapped, full stop. Our pollution-burdened city and neighborhoods are already at the limit of what human health can withstand. Clearly, this is an attempt for PVSC not just to meet its resiliency needs, but to generate revenue for the agency at the expense of clean air and healthy lungs for the communities surrounding the propos plant, and before the new environmental protections enter into force. There is no justification for this plant. We can do better, so let’s start doing it.”

Over 80 New York Groups Tell Congress: Leave Dirty Power Out of Clean Energy Standard

Categories

Climate and Energy

Albany, NY — More than 80 New York advocacy and grassroots groups joined more than 650 national organizations in releasing a letter to Congress yesterday calling for a truly clean, renewable energy standard as part of the evolving infrastructure package.

To meet its new climate goals, the Biden administration is expected to back a national Clean Energy Standard (CES), which some advocates argue can pass under existing budget reconciliation rules.

But the groups releasing the letter — including Food & Water Watch, New York Communities for Change, Riverkeeper, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, New York Youth Climate Leaders, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and 350Brooklyn — are critical of current CES plans that qualify fracked gas, carbon capture and storage, factory farm biogas and offsets schemes as forms of clean energy. They point out that these technologies either do not effectively reduce emissions, or create pollution burdens in environmental justice communities, “perpetuating the deep racial, social and ecological injustices of our current fossil-fueled energy system.”

One leading CES proposal, which is outlined in a bill called the CLEAN Future Act, introduced by New York’s Representative Tonko, includes fracked gas and other dirty energy sources as qualifying in their vision for “clean” energy.  

“Clean energy simply cannot include dirty power sources like fracked gas — any attempt to include these backwards energy sources in nationwide efforts to move toward a cleaner future must be rejected wholeheartedly,” said Food & Water Watch New York Senior Organizer Eric Weltman. “New Yorkers are united in their calls on Congressional leaders like Representatives Tonko and Jeffries to stand for a true clean energy future and stand up to oil and gas lobbyists whose only interest is in profiting off the climate crisis they perpetuate. Clean energy must be clean.”

“Fracked gas, ecologically destructive hydro, and waste incineration have no place as part of our response to the climate crisis, especially with true renewables like wind and solar on the rise,” said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. “As New York looks to meet its ambitious renewable energy targets, we need strong federal standards that can separate right from wrong, and that will help correct the deep environmental injustices of the fossil-fuel era.”

“It’s mind-boggling that representatives like Hakeem Jeffries aren’t backing stronger policies than the Clean Energy Standard when their constituents live in communities extremely threatened by climate-fueled heat waves and flooding,” said Patrick Houston of New York Communities for Change. “They have every moral and practical reason to support bolder plans like the Renewable Energy Standard, but continue to lack the political will to do so.”

“At our current rate of global GHG emissions we have seven years left to use up our ‘budget’ before the climate reaches the point of no return. In no way can we afford any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Instead, Congressman Tonko has proposed a ‘Clean Electricity Standard’ (CES) that secures the fossil fuel industry’s grip on our energy production for years to come. The atrocity of more fossil fuel build-out must stop now,” said Sandy Steubing, Facilitator, People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE).

The letter calls for a truly renewable energy standard that reaches the goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, with an emphasis on distributed energy resources and storage. Such a plan should emphasize clean, renewable energy sources and exclude polluting practices and unproven technologies like waste incineration, carbon capture and factory farm biogas. 

Is Biden’s Clean Electricity Standard…Clean?

Categories

Climate and Energy

by Peter Hart

The centerpiece of the White House climate plan is something called a Clean Electricity Standard (CES), which the Biden administration wants to use to reach the goal of 80 percent carbon-free power by the year 2030.

For many Democrats and policy analysts, the CES is not only attractive as a way to reduce emissions — they also believe they have a political path to make it reality. Thanks to Senate budget reconciliation rules, CES proponents argue they can steer around the filibuster and pass a national clean power benchmark with 50 votes in the Senate.

But how clean would a clean electricity standard really be? Most people might assume that  “clean energy” means renewables like wind and solar. Not necessarily. In fact, some of the leading CES proposals rely on nuclear power, fracked gas and complicated pollution trading schemes to reach their goals — calling into question whether these plans are really what they claim to be. 

Fracked Gas and Nukes: Dirty Energy Has No Place In A Clean Energy Standard

For decades, many states already have what are known as renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which set benchmarks for sourcing clean energy. Like the proposals for a national standard, though, these programs can vary widely; some count wood burning or trash incineration as “renewable” power.

A truly clean program for the whole country would, ideally, avoid these dirty loopholes. But some of the leading proposals fail that simple test. The CLEAN Future Act — a bill championed by moderate Democrats as a supposed alternative to the Green New Deal — actually finds a complicated way to give fracked gas power plants “partial credit” as a clean energy source. This nonsensical scheme could form the basis for a national CES. The same goes for factory farm “biogas,” mentioned as a possible renewable source in some CES models — which is a grotesque and absurd reach. 

Some CES plans rely on the idea that gas-fired power plants will eventually be equipped with “carbon capture” technologies that might trap climate pollution before it enters the atmosphere. There are no workable models for this yet; most of the current capture systems used the limited carbon they captured to extract additional oil from wells. 

Also, most CES plans grant nuclear power as a clean power source as well. Given the range of concerns about nuclear power, it is hard to justify its role in any clean energy system. 

Polluter ‘Penalties’ And Credits Schemes: Dirty Dealing Is Part Of A Clean Energy Standard?

A clean standard should encourage clean, renewable energy. That much seems obvious. But some proposals set up complex pollution credit trading systems that will give dirty utilities a way to simply buy credits from utilities that have stockpiled “extra” credits. This is a system that invites abuse of the rules. 

There’s also the matter of what to do with the power companies that choose not to meet the goals. Some CES models allow for “alternative compliance payments,” which are fines paid in lieu of meaningful action. Like permit trading, pollution fines will be attractive to utilities that want to maintain the status quo — especially if it is economically attractive to pursue that course of action. After all, they can just jack up prices for the consumers and create a new line item in their budgets. For those who are determined, it’s simply the “cost of doing business.”

Let’s Set Some Real Standards — A Renewable Portfolio Standard

Instead of passing a CES that allows and rewards the continued use of fracked gas, nuclear energy, and factory farm “biogas,” Congress should pass a real Renewable Portfolio Standard. This RPS must have as its target 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. It must strictly define the acceptable forms of truly renewable energy and must not include any fossil fuels or other props and giveaways to dirty energy. These include:

  • Factory farm “biogas” and other bioenergy including biomass, biofuels, and wood pellets;
  • Nuclear; waste incineration and other combustion-based technologies;
  • New, large-scale and ecosystem-altering hydropower.

Any RPS must also reject all market-based accounting systems like offsets. 

Congress has the opportunity to take the bold action we need to stave off the ever worsening effects of our climate crisis. But in doing so, it must resist the temptation to settle for half measures and new systems that prolong the life of the fossil fuel system. 

Your friends need to see this.

New York’s Utility Shut-Off Moratorium Extended

Categories

Clean Water

Albany, NY — Last night, Governor Cuomo signed S.1453-B/A.6225-A into law, extending New York’s statewide life-saving utility shut-off moratorium, which had expired on March 31. The law extends the statewide moratorium on utility shut-offs, including water, heat, electric, telephone, cable and broadband services until the conclusion of the COVID-19 state of emergency or until December 31, 2021, whichever comes first. For New Yorkers who suffer financial harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the law enshrines a further moratorium extension of 180 days.

Research from Food & Water Watch demonstrated the life-saving effect of water shut-off moratoria during the COVID-19 pandemic, and further studies have shown that the negative impacts of utility shut-offs disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color in New York. Environmental, legal aid, consumer protection and social justice organizations applauded Senator Kevin Parker and Assembly Member Diana Richardson for their leadership on the bill, and commended Cuomo for his signature.

Advocates lauded new strengthened provisions to the moratorium, including:

  • Establishes a moratorium on water liens, which can lead to home foreclosure
  • Gives state agencies authority to enforce the law against public water utilities
  • Increases the frequency of public notification
  • Provides new protections for tenants

“New York’s utility shut-off moratorium has proven to be a critical component of fighting the spread of COVID-19,” said Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Eric Weltman. “While vaccination rates rise, many New Yorkers are still subject to the perils of the enduring pandemic, and all are in need of continual access to water and other essential services to remain healthy. We are proud to see the life-saving moratorium extended, and look ahead to securing the right to water and essential services for all New Yorkers, regardless of personal situation or state of emergency.”

“All New Yorkers need access to clean water, even as many continue to struggle economically due to the lasting impacts of the pandemic. The Governor and Legislature have taken an essential protective step by extending and strengthening the state’s ban on utility shut offs,” said Larry Levine, Director of Urban Water Infrastructure & Senior Attorney at NRDC. “The state’s most vulnerable are helped greatly by new protections against lien sales and foreclosures for overdue water bills, and the state can build on these protections by creating a permanent water affordability program that ensures safe water is always accessible to everyone, regardless of income.”

Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director for NYPIRG, said, “Every New Yorker, regardless of where they live, race, or class, should have access to clean and safe water — this basic need has been strongly highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. No one should fear that their water will be shut off at any time, but especially during a time when hand-washing and practicing proper hygiene is critical to prevent the spread of a deadly illness. NYPIRG thanks the Governor and the Legislature for taking this crucial action to protect public health.”

“Access to water during Year One of the COVID-19 pandemic was vital to stopping the spread and limiting the loss of human life,” said Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York. “PULP thanks the Governor, Senator Parker and Assembly Member Richardson for extending the moratorium for Year Two of the pandemic and making sure that vulnerable New Yorkers have water, telecommunications and energy so they can attend school from home, work from home and get medical care from the safe shelter of their homes. Hand washing fought the pandemic, but water is a human necessity at all times.”

“The Western New York Law Center congratulates the Legislature and Governor for enacting crucial legislation extending and expanding protections to New Yorkers facing water shut offs and debt attributable to the economic deprivations caused by COVID. Untold thousands of New Yorkers across the State will benefit from this law. In the past, Buffalo’s most vulnerable residents have suffered greatly from water shut offs and onerous water debt. The consumer protections in this new law will relieve them of a burden and worry in the immediate future. We look forward to further, long-term remedial legislation dealing with water affordability and rearrange forgiveness,” said Joe Kelemen, executive director of the Western New York Law Center.

Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY, said “This pandemic has brought to light a water affordability crisis not only in New York, but across the country. We are grateful that state lawmakers have both extended and strengthened New York’s moratorium, establishing some of the strongest consumer protections in the country. We are glad that New Yorkers will continue to be protected from harmful shut-offs if they cannot currently afford their utility bills, and we look forward to continuing working to ensure that every New Yorker has affordable drinking water.”

“Governor Cuomo and the Legislature have taken monumental steps to ensure the health and safety of New Yorkers by extending the statewide moratorium on utility shut-offs,” said Kevin M. Quinn, Esq., Supervising Attorney of the Center for Elder Law & Justice in Buffalo, N.Y. “While more and more New Yorkers are being vaccinated, we must remain vigilant in taking necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. An extension of the moratorium will be instrumental in accomplishing this vital goal. We are thankful for the moratorium extension and we look forward to continued efforts to maintain water affordability for all New Yorkers going forward.”

“Freshwater Future applauds Senator Parker, Assembly Member Richardson and Governor Cuomo for their leadership in ensuring all New Yorkers have access to tap water in their homes to fight this pandemic,” said Kristy Meyer, Associate Director at Freshwater Future. “Now we must work together to ensure all New Yorkers have access to safe, clean and affordable water even after the moratorium has expired.”

650+ Groups Tell Congress: Leave Dirty Power Out of Clean Electricity Standard

Categories

Climate and Energy

WASHINGTON — More than 650 national advocacy and grassroots groups sent a letter today calling on Congress to develop a truly clean, renewable, and just energy standard for electricity as part of an evolving infrastructure package.

To meet its climate goals, the Biden administration is expected to back a national Clean Electricity Standard (CES), which some advocates argue can pass under existing budget reconciliation rules.

But existing CES proposals from prominent Democrats allow for filthy and false solutions such as fracked gas, carbon capture and storage, and factory farm biogas, warn groups including Indigenous Environmental Network, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Oil Change International, and The Democracy Collaborative. 

The letter points out that these technologies either fail to reduce emissions or, even worse, create additional pollution burdens in environmental justice communities, “perpetuating the deep racial, social, and ecological injustices of our current fossil-fueled energy system.”

One leading CES proposal, the CLEAN Future Act from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, allows fracked gas and other dirty energy sources to qualify for “clean” energy credits. 

“Counting dirty power sources like fracked gas as clean energy is more than foolish — it is dangerous. There will never be technology that magically transforms these polluting practices, which means we’ll be left in the same place that we started, as the climate crisis only intensifies,” said Food & Water Watch Policy Director Mitch Jones. “The urgency requires clear, honest policies that reject the mistakes of the past and do not sacrifice frontline communities for the sake of political expediency. It’s simple: Clean energy should be clean.” 

“An electricity standard that allows methane gas, biomass and carbon capture and storage only perpetuates the racism and energy violence already baked into the system,” said Jean Su, Energy Justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can’t just build back better. Justice requires we build back fossil free. Proven solutions like distributed solar and storage protect our air, boost climate resilience and safeguard our communities and wildlife. There’s no reason to prop up the ailing fossil fuel and nuclear industries when opportunities for cheaper and safer renewable energies abound.” 

“We need a Renewable Energy Standard, not a fracking energy standard,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “The science and justice demand renewables, not lifelines for fossil fuels and other false solutions like nuclear, biomass and carbon capture.” 

“Climate chaos is hurting local communities across Mother Earth, and we cannot wait for a just transition from fossil fuels. Natural gas, carbon capture storage and other fossil-based techno fixes, bioenergy and biomass, nuclear and other false solutions such as market-based accounting systems like carbon offsets perpetrate dirty and destructive energy generation,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. “This country needs to enact a renewable electricity standard that would champion a just energy agenda creating an ambitious carve-out for rooftop and community solar and wind storage and other distributed energy resources. This has to be linked to reducing waste and energy consumption levels, making electricity affordable, and part of building Indigenous nations, rural and local economies.” 

“CEJA members and partner organizations have long held that a Just Transition to a regenerative, clean energy economy requires addressing the roots of the climate crisis,” said Alexis Sutterman, Program Associate at the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “This means rejecting false solutions — such as gas, biogas, and carbon capture — that prop up the fossil fuel industry at the expense of frontline communities’ health and safety. It also requires building the new through an unwavering commitment to genuinely clean, renewable energy and energy resources that prioritize benefits and opportunities for environmental justice communities.” 

“We need a renewable electricity standard that commits the United States to a transformation of our energy system towards solar, wind, and other renewable resources — not false solutions like carbon capture and sequestration,” said Johanna Bozuwa, Manager of the Climate & Energy Program at the Democracy Collaborative. “In particular, the United States should actively open up space for distributed renewables like rooftop solar so that we are building the most resilient and justice-centered energy system possible.” 

The letter calls for a truly renewable energy standard that reaches the goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, with an emphasis on distributed energy resources and storage. Such a plan should exclude polluting practices and unproven technologies like waste incineration, carbon capture, and factory farm biogas.

A recent analysis shows that over 60 percent of the electricity generated by gas power plants in 2019 could generate clean energy compliance credits even under the most aggressive existing CES proposal. A separate technical report highlights the failure of the CLEAN Future Act to meaningfully reduce emissions over the next decade and beyond.

Newsom Expands California Drought Emergency, Commits $5.1 Billion to Water Infrastructure and Debt Relief

Categories

Clean Water

Sacramento, CA — Governor Gavin Newsom announced an expansion of the drought emergency to 41 of the state’s 58 counties, dedicating $5.1 billion to boost water infrastructure and an additional $1 billion to paying off nearly the entirety of Californian household water debt. Yet, while the governor’s plan includes $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling measures, it does nothing to speed up the process to bring overdrafted water basins into full and sustainable operation. The deadline is currently 2040 for critically overdrafted basins and 2042 for remaining high and medium priority basins.

“It’s gratifying to see Governor Newsom addressing the critical water supply issues in our state and providing much-needed water debt relief, but ultimately his drought relief plan mirrors his approach to oil and gas drilling,” said Food & Water Watch California Director Alexandra Nagy. “The current Sustainable Groundwater Management Act sets a deadline of 2040 to bring our most overdrafted and stressed water basins into sustainable operation. The people relying on that groundwater need it now, not 19 years from now. And just as obviously, the governor could divert the massive amount of water needed for fracking to help Californians going thirsty if he banned the practice now. We need Gov. Newsom to step up his timeline. Our frontline communities shouldn’t have to wait on his political will.”

The dry vast majority of critically overdrafted water basins are in the Central Valley, one of the poorest regions in the country and home to water-intensive extractive practices like fracking and factory farming. Gov. Newsom has committed to banning new fracking permits by 2024, allowing continued fossil fuel extraction and water usage until that time. He has taken no action to ban factory farms or curb their water intake. 

Contact: Jessica Gable – [email protected]