Public Comments Needed to Stop Wood Facility in NC

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If another wood pellet facility moves into NC, residents can expect more air pollution, noisy facilities, increased truck traffic, destruction of native forests and long-term economic consequences.

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From Dogwood Alliance

GE Trees Action Camp in North Carolina Sep 24-27

*Genetically Engineered Trees Action Camp*
Near Asheville, North Carolina

*Sept. 24th through the 27th 2015 With a day of Action on September 28th *

Join GJEP and the Campaign to STOP GE Trees for four days of intensive
training in taking action to prevent the release of GE trees
*Application Deadline: 19th of September*
Apply at

For questions or help applying, please email Ruddy, ( ) or call (716) 931-5833.
*More on the action camp*

*The US South is ground zero for GE trees,* and now more than ever, we need
to come together to save native forests and STOP GE trees.

*GJEP has been organizing to stop GE trees in the South for the last few
years, and now we need your help.*

We have collaborated with activists and groups in the region like Dogwood
Alliance and Indigenous Environmental Network to build momentum against GE
Trees. *The action camp is both the culmination of that work, and the
beginning of the next stage of our organizing in the South.*

Participants of the action camp will be given an overview of the current
state of GE trees, with a focus on the US South, as well as *training in
organizing, direct action, blockades, our rights as protestors, how to use
media and art in protests*, among other critical topics. The goal of the
training is for the immediate and direct use of skills and knowledge gained
at the action camp in protests and organizing against GE trees.

*If you would like to take part in the action camp, *
*apply online at:*

If you cannot participate, but would like to support the action camp with a
donation, you can find options for doing so at

*Global Justice Ecology Project*

Coal Ash Sign Causes Controversy at Sanford Coffee Shop

— Employees of a Sanford coffee shop say they were threatened by the former chairman of the state’s Mining and Energy Commission after placing a sign in their window protesting the proposed storage of coal ash in Lee County.

According to employees, former MEC chairman and current member Jim Womack made a visit to Kathy’s Java Express last week and advised them to take down the sign.

Josie Seeley, who works at the shop, said Womack came in and asked to speak to Kathy Addison, the owner.

“He just came to the back and asked to speak with Kathy,” she said. “Kathy wasn’t there.”

Addison said as the owner, she is just there to run her business.

“He’s not gonna bully me to do it, I mean, make me take the sign out of the window,” Addison said.

“She told him that it was his opinion,” Seeley said. “But we weren’t going to take the sign down.”

According to Seeley, Womack, a former Lee County commissioner, said he would discourage people from doing business at the coffee shop unless the sign was removed.

“I was really upset,” Addison said. “I couldn’t believe that he would do something like that.”

Womack said he wanted employees to have the facts and believed the sign could alienate customers.

A response posted on Womack’s Facebook page said, “I sincerely believe it is the first amendment right of Kathy’s Java Express to put silly signs up in their shop window. And it is also my right to encourage the establishment of a new coffee house in Sanford, one that isn’t prone to ill-advised political escapades…”

Addison says that despite the incident, business has been booming at the coffee shop.

“Since this has happened, I have had so many people come in, it has boosted my business,” she said.

Addison’s daughter filed a police complaint in the case, but authorities say no charges were filed.


Industrial Society & Its Future Reading Group

West Virginia oil train derailment: Fires for hours, dumps oil into river

 by AP

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. (AP) — Fires burned for hours Tuesday after a train carrying 109 tankers of crude oil derailed in a snowstorm alongside a creek in West Virginia, sending fireballs into the sky and threatening the water supply of people living nearby.

Hundreds of families were evacuated and two water treatment plants were shut down after dozens of the cars left the tracks and 19 caught fire Monday afternoon, creating shuddering explosions and intense heat. Part of the formation hit and set fire to a house, and one person was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported, according to a statement from the train company, CSX.

“It was a little scary. It was like an atomic bomb went off,” said David McClung, who felt the heat from one of the shuddering explosions at his home about a half mile uphill. One of the explosions sent a fireball at least 300 feet into the air, McClung added.

Fire crews had little choice Tuesday but to let the tanks — each carrying up to 30,000 gallons of crude — burn themselves out.

The train was carrying volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota’s shale fields to an oil shipping depot in Yorktown, Virginia, using model 1232 tank cars, which include safety upgrades voluntarily adopted by the industry four years ago, the Federal Railroad Administration confirmed.

However, a series of ruptures and fires in recent derailments involving model 1232 cars has the National Transportation Safety Board questioning their safety as well, and the Department of Transportation has drafted new standards being reviewed by the White House budget office.

The West Virginia National Guard was taking water samples to determine whether the oil had seeped into Armstrong Creek, a tributary of the Kanawha River. So far, “we haven’t been able to determine how much, if any, crude oil made it into the river,” but there were no reports of a sheen so far, state Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said.

CSX contractors also were monitoring the air for pollution linked to the fires, and federal railroad and hazardous materials officials were probing the accident, which prompted Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to declare a state of emergency.

All but two of the 109 cars being hauled were tanker cars, and 26 of them left the tracks, the governor’s spokesman Chris Stadelman said.

The ongoing fires prevented state regulators from getting close enough to fully assess the damage early Tuesday, but by 10 a.m., Appalachian Power crews were given clearance to repair a line supplying electricity to about 900 customers.

Snow was falling heavily Monday — as much as 7 inches in some places — but it’s not clear if the weather had anything to do with the derailment, which happened about 1:20 p.m. along a straight stretch of rail about 30 miles southeast of Charleston.

And contrary to initial reports by responders at the scene, none of the tankers went into the water, state public safety division spokesman Larry Messina said early Tuesday.

West Virginia American Water shut down a water treatment plant about 3 miles downstream from the accident site, spokesman Laura Jordan said. Another water plant downstream in the town of Cedar Grove also closed its intake but later resumed operations, Messina said.

The lack of water forced West Virginia University Tech in nearby Montgomery to cancel classes for the rest of the week.

About 85 displaced residents went to shelters set up by CSX and the American Red Cross, Messina said.

The U.S. Transportation Department is weighing tougher safety regulations for rail shipments of crude, which can ignite and result in huge fireballs. Responding to a series of fiery train crashes, including one this spring in Lynchburg, Virginia, the government proposed rules in July that would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry increasing quantities of crude oil and other highly flammable liquids.

Contributors include Pam Ramsey in Charleston, West Virginia; and Joan Lowy in Washington, D.C. Mattise reported from Charleston.

Dominion’s Fracked gas Pipeline Threatens Virginia National Forests & Waterways

McAuliffe defends pipeline support at climate-change meeting

Reposted from Washington Post
September 10, 2014
RICHMOND — During the first meeting of Virginia’s newly reconstituted climate change commission, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) defended his support for a proposed natural gas pipeline, despite concerns from the environmental community.The group met Wednesday, about a week after McAuliffe, amid great fanfare, announced that a consortium of companies led by energy giant Dominion Resources wants to build a 550-mile pipeline through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Environmentalists worry that the pipeline could damage federally protected public lands in the George Washington and Monongahela national forests and indirectly encourage fracking from companies enticed by a cheap, quick way to get their product to market. The National Forest Service is considering whether to make lands in the Virginia lands available for fracking — a practice McAuliffe insisted he would fight.

“They support me on what my decision is. I have told them they will not allow fracking in the national forest,” McAuliffe told reporters outside the meeting. “I do not support fracking as governor of the commonwealth and we’re in mutual agreement on that.”

Calls to the National Forest Service were not returned Wednesday.

The pipeline debate highlighted the competing interests McAuliffe must satisfy.

This summer, McAuliffe reconvened by executive order the Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission. The panel was initially established by former governor Timothy M. Kaine (D), but it went dark under his successor, former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R).

McAuliffe appointed dozens of businesspeople, environmental activists and lawmakers to the commission and charged them with producing a report within one year on ways to combat climate change, which has had particularly devastating effects on the state’s coastal areas. However, when the time came for questions, the first one was about the pipeline.

Henry “Hap” Connors, who sits on the Commonwealth Transportation Board, asked: “Can you give us a little more information about the natural gas pipeline?”

McAuliffe repeated his pitch for the $5 billion project.

“It will be a game changer for the commonwealth on job creation. It will also be very good for our environment,” he said. “This has nothing to do with fracking. That gas is out West. That gas will be taken to Texas or Louisiana or somewhere else. We’re not doing the fracking; I want to be very clear about that … We will take spurs off of this natural gas pipeline to build a huge new manufacturing base.”

In addition, McAuliffe said last week that the pipeline would prevent spikes in energy bills during severe weather and give Virginians “direct access to the most affordable natural gas supply in the United States.” He added that the pipeline would allow Dominion to close old coal-fired power plants, which McAuliffe said emit more emissions than fracking.

Mike Tidwell, founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, disagreed: “There is no question whatsoever that this gas is coming from fracking and fracking drilling vents an enormous amount of methane into the atmosphere — and that’s over 20 years, over 80 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide,” he said.

Although Tidwell called on McAuliffe to withdraw his support for the pipeline, he praised the governor for re-launching the climate change commission.

Another commission member, Cale Jaffe, director of the Virginia office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, said many recommendations of the previous climate change commission would be satisfied by carbon emission regulations released this summer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

The McAuliffe administration is working on a formal response to the proposed regulations that calls for changes that would take into account Virginia’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, such as reliance on nuclear energy.

“What the EPA is trying to do and the goals are laudable, however one size doesn’t fit all,” McAuliffe said. “If some of the [proposed regulations] were left in there, [this] could absolutely cripple our economy.”

Dominion’s Pipeline Plan

Continue reading

Endangered Red Wolf Threatened by North Carolina Hunting Laws

by Tamara / Piedmont Earth First!

redwolfIn North Carolina, the hunting of one predator species may wipe out the last population of Red Wolves (Canis rufus) in the world. While this species of Red Wolf may not be genetically “pure” to some critics, they carry many genes of the original Red Wolf inhabitants who were virtually wiped out through targeted hunting by European colonizers. In an effort to complete the extinction of the Red Wolf, hunters are fighting to take back their manifest destiny right to kill coyotes, a species that has naturally expanded its range from the Western to Eastern United States. The coyote is nearly indistinguishable from the small, reintroduced Endangered Eastern Red Wolf, many of whom are being mistakenly shot and killed even while wearing their radio collars.

Unfortunately, coyotes are threatened not only by hunters who fear predators, but also by the actions of conservationists who view them as dirtying the genetic purity of wolf species. Some nature enthusiasts even use invasion biology terminology such as “foreigner” to appeal to readers’ xenophobia. Coyotes that have established in the Eastern states have been found to sometimes breed with wolves, creating a naturally occurring hybrid species that some call “Coywolves.” These animals are filling a niche, left open by the destruction of wolf populations, now preying on larger species such as deer; they could possibly restore some of the ecosystem balance that was harmed by the removal of top predator species. What is missed by some wolf conservationists is that coyotes are migrating on their own as they search for food and habitat, and the interbreeding of these animals could increase genetic variability and make them more resilient to degraded environments.  One study from the UK states, “We conclude that hybridization can increase evolutionary responsiveness … and that taxa able to exchange genes with distant relatives may better survive rapid environmental change.” (Rike, et al) Climate change and habitat loss, anyone?

We need to oppose both the cultural fear of predators promoted by livestock and hunting interests and the flawed logic of genetic purity, pushed by some conservationists, if we want healthy ecosystems that include top predators such as coyotes and wolves. In the Southeast, the Wildlife Resources Commission has pursued expanding coyote hunting even in areas where it puts Endangered Red Wolves at risk. It’s important for those who care about the red wolf to speak up against daytime hunting in Dare, Tyrell, Hyde, Beaufort, and Washington counties.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold two public hearings in February to receive comments on permanent rules regarding conditional coyote hunting in the five-county red wolf reintroduction area in northeastern North Carolina and the designation of the red wolf as a state-listed threatened species.

The public hearings will begin at 7 p.m. on these dates and locations:

Comments also can be made online or by letter to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1701. Comments will be accepted through March 16, 2015.


Attend the 2015 EF! Winter Rendezvous in CA

February 20-23rd, 2015

What is the EF! Winter Rondy?

Greetings from colonially occupied Chumash territory in what is known as Santa Barbara, California. Here, in this serene meeting of coastal sage scrub and mountainous chaparral, we will be hosting the 2015 Earth First! Winter Rendezvous.

We invite you to join us on the evening of February the 20th and stay til the 23rd for a weekend of workshops and trainings, strategy and fun. As I write this invitation, the western scrub jays debate each other over their foraged breakfast of seeds and insects, the acorn woodpecker drums diligently against the oak, and the exuberant call of one I have yet to identify echoes through the canyon.

All may seem to be as it should, but we know that the extraction industry has over 200 wells proposed in this county alone for fracking and other high intensity extraction. And just south of us, 19 wells are set to be fracked that closely border the Sespe Endangered Condor Sanctuary and the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Between these shores and the Channel Islands that protect us from storm surges, give a resting place to migrating whales and provide a home to a diversity of marine life, we suspect that offshore fracking has already begun. Here in Chumash territory, things seem to be right on the surface, but when you dig a little and scratch away at it’s veil of serenity, you see that these ecosystems are in great danger. Please come and help us build a movement in Santa Barbara that is capable of protecting the richness of it’s wildlife diversity and the stability of it’s ecosystems.

The workshop schedule is still in the works, but you can expect:

• EF! History and tactics
• Strategic direct action
• Santa Barbara fossil fuel infrastructure
• Threats to Sespe Creek/Condor Sanctuary
• Decolonization and collective liberation
• Know your rights
• Navigating conflict in your community
• Genetically engineered trees: a new threat
•Climb training for direct action

And more…contact us if you’re interested in hosting a workshop.
Some things to know before coming to the rondy:

• Come ready to camp
• Bring as much of your own water as possible
• No dogs or pets except service animals
• No drugs or alcohol will be allowed at the event
• Come with the intention to learn organize and build
• Be respectful to the Land and those around you
• Breakfast and dinner will be provided
• Bring your own dishware
• Sliding scale suggested donation of $20-40 (no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
• Directions to the event will be posted to the website a few days before the start

Jason – (714) 721-6937
Alex – (805) 708-7817

Teach-In and Fundraiser for Unis’tot’en Camp Thursday Jan 29

Support the Unis’tot’en indigenous pipeline blockade:

The Unist’ot’en, a clan of the Wet’suet’en Nation have built permanent camps that stand directly in the path of oil and gas pipelines currently proposed to run through Unist’ot’en territory in so-called BC Canada. As long as they stand, no pipelines can be built. There will be a video presentation by a member of Marcellus Shale Earth First! followed by a discussion about the eco-cidal expansion of tar sands and shale gas projects on turtle island.

All money raised will be sent to Unistoten camp for supplies!

Where:  Internationalist Books 101 Lloyd street Carrboro NC

When: Thursday, January 29th at 7pm

Suggested Donation: $1 – $1million

Could separation of powers lawsuit sink NC fracking?

Reposted from the Institute for Southern Studies

With North Carolina expected to begin issuing fracking permits as early as this spring, a conservation group and a landowner have filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the constitutionality of the commission that regulates the controversial gas drilling technique.

The state legislature created the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) in 2012 as an administrative agency in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources but appointed the majority of MEC members. The suit claims this violates the state constitution, which says the “legislative, executive, and supreme judicial powers of the State government shall be forever separate and distinct from each other.”

The plaintiffs are the Haw River Assembly, a nonprofit citizens’ group based in Chatham County, and Keely Wood Puricz, whose property sits next to 100-acre tract leased for gas drilling in neighboring Lee County. The nonprofit Southern Environmental Law Center filed the suit on their behalf this week in Wake County Superior Court. It seeks to void the commission and its proposed rules.

“This attempt by the North Carolina legislature to expand its legislative power and usurp executive authority violates the separation of powers firmly established in our state constitution,” said Derb Carter, senior attorney and director of the SELC’s North Carolina offices. “As a result, we have a commission making important decisions about the future of North Carolina that is ultimately accountable to no one.”

This is not the first lawsuit to target such North Carolina commissions for violating the separations of power provision: In November, Gov. Pat McCrory joined with former governors Jim Martin (R) and Jim Hunt (D) to file a lawsuit over the constitutionality not only of the MEC but also of the Coal Ash Management Commission; the Oil and Gas Commission, which will oversee fracking once it gets underway; and a proposed Medicaid board.

Named as defendants in that suit, also filed in Wake County Superior Court, were six members of the coal ash commission appointed by the legislature; state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger; and former state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who was sworn into the U.S. Senate this week.

“These commissions make government less accountable to the will of the people,” McCrory said at the time. “Citizens and voters must be able to distinguish which branch of government is responsible for making the laws and which branch is responsible for carrying out the laws and operating state government.”

The State Board of Education is also suing the state and the Rules Review Commission over similar concerns.

But the separation of powers lawsuit is not the only problem facing pro-fracking forces in North Carolina: Questions are being raised about the basic economic viability of gas drilling in the state, which is believed to have only limited shale gas deposits.

Jim Womack, a member and former chair of the MEC, last month told the Triangle Business Journal that economic factors were stacked against gas drilling in North Carolina:

“I would say there’s a bit of trepidation right now with the way the international economic landscape is with oil and gas,” he says, pointing to OPEC “flooding the world markets” with crude oil. “Immature plains, like what we have in North Carolina, are really not being seriously looked at.”

An independent energy developer active in North Carolina recently told The News & Observer of Raleigh that getting the industry to look at operating in the state was like “pulling teeth.”

Among the factors discouraging drillers is the state’s proposed $1 million environmental accident bond — the highest in the country. Texas, for example, requires a bond of only $250,000.

Elaine Chiosso, the Haw Riverkeeper and executive director of the Haw River Assembly, said that if North Carolina is going to allow fracking, it needs to put strong regulations to protect communities and water supplies.

“That can only happen through an accountable and representative agency, and the citizens of North Carolina deserve no less,” she said.


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