Friday, May 12, 2023

Industry & Big Greens Stomp On Front Line Communities & Environmental Justice … Yet Again

Of course, you may want to laugh, but at least we are seeing real State intervention happening on environmental issues.

I find that promising because it will up the ante and of course provide another level of lawmakers to appease and or pay.  

environmental husbandry entails several levels.  The biggy, unmentioned is agriculture.  Current practise is evolving toward something better and i expect it to get there. Understand past practise was dubious and contrained by a lack of power.  I actually grew up with all that.

Modernization has been all about horsepower and also chemicals, however delivered. The chemical equation is slowly breaking down and that is good news.

The future will see robotic support as a mainstay and deeply advanced plant and animal husbandry.  All this provides plenty of human inputs as well without the mind numbing drudgery that drove so many away. That is what terraforming terra is all about.

Industry & Big Greens Stomp On Front Line Communities & Environmental Justice … Yet Again


Maya K. van Rossum

Nationwide communities are coming together to demand constitutional recognition of their rights to a clean, safe, and healthy environment, including a stable climate, in the form of state Green Amendments. These Green Amendment proposals include explicit protection for environmental rights, while at the same time empowering environmental justice protections by constitutionally mandating that environmental rights and the state’s natural resources be protected equitably for all communities regardless of race, ethnicity, wealth, geography, or generation. During state legislative hearings considering Green Amendment proposals, environmental justice advocates, Native Americans, environmental leaders, and everyday community members are speaking out one by one about how pollution from industrial operations, mining, oil and gas extraction, toxic contaminated sites and the climate crisis are causing their health, families, culture, and communities to suffer. At the forefront of this national Green Amendment movement are states like New Mexico and Nevada.

Knee Jerk Industry Opposition Was No Surprise – But Big Green Opposition Was

When a Green Amendment was proposed in New Mexico, it was no surprise when the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association opposed that state’s Green Amendment proposal; or even when the Koch Brothers’ backed group, “Americans For Prosperity” (PAC) testified in opposition. However, it was disturbing to watch this year as industrial so-called “clean energy companies”, under the umbrella name Interwest Energy Alliance (IEA), put forth a rash of fear mongering hypotheticals and lies, and suggesting that the environmental rights guaranteed and uplifted by a Green Amendment would undermine efforts to advance clean energy and tackle the climate crisis. In one breath, the industry testifiers asserted they cared about the environment, while in the next they expressed their uninformed stance opposing state Green Amendments and the environmental rights and environmental justice protections they provide. IEA is going so far as to pay for social media ads in opposition to Green Amendments that recognize the basic human right of all people to clean and healthy water, air, and environments.

But the real shocker for many was to see that, among the members of IEA were some notable big green organizations, including Sierra Club National and the Union of Concerned Scientists. It seems incomprehensible that while in multiple states, Sierra Club state chapters are working as part of the Green Amendments movement prioritizing efforts to secure passage of state Green Amendments, Sierra Club National is part of this IEA industry coalition actively working to oppose them – thereby undermining the work, values and goals of their own Sierra Club chapters and members. This situation is eerily reminiscent of a sad chapter in fracking history when state Sierra Club chapters were fighting hard to protect their communities from the ravages of fracking for fossil fuels from shale, while at the same time Sierra Club National was widely recognized as an advocate for the industry. Notably, when Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), another pre-existing member of IEA, learned about the stance that IEA was taking against Green Amendments and the false claims being made about its impacts for advancing good quality, clean and renewable energy projects, NRDC was quick to issue a statement disavowing the IEA position and making clear the valuable strength Green Amendments provide for clean energy and addressing the climate crisis.

The Truth? Green Amendments Actually Strengthen Good Clean Energy

The truth is that Green Amendments will provide powerful strength for supporting good, clean energy projects. First, in the three states that currently have Green Amendments – Pennsylvania, Montana and New York – we are not seeing the environmental rights language being used to challenge good, clean energy projects. The assertions by the IEA industry members suggesting otherwise is simply a whole-cloth fabrication pulled out of thin air. Second, the fact is that Green Amendments are focused on protecting healthy environments including water, air and ecosystems; they often specifically include the right of all people to a stable climate; and they mandate that the state’s natural resources be protected for present and future generations. Green Amendments therefore provide a powerful and positive foundation to support and secure strong, proactive government action needed to uplift and support good clean energy projects and progress in the near term; while at the same time helping to stave off the ongoing proliferation of dirty fossil fuel projects that are putting the environmental rights of present and future generations and environmental justice communities in grave peril.

New Mexico Representative Joanne Ferrary finds it “appalling that so-called clean energy companies would be so insecure in their capabilities to provide environmentally safe and protective energy generation and transmission, that they would vehemently stand in the way of the people of Nevada and New Mexico to be able to secure environmental protections as a Constitutional right for the generations! Even more shocking is that supposed environmental groups such as the national Sierra Club would be part of this interfering blockade of State’s Constitutional Rights to clean and healthy air, land and soil.”

Contrary to the fearmongering of the IEA -- Green Amendments don’t fuel baseless legal claims. In fact, they can help fend off legal challenges to well-sited and planned renewable energy projects by recognizing that environmental degradation and climate change caused by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels inflicts human suffering, irreversible natural resources damage, economic harm, and generational harm. Green Amendments will heighten the legal strength and integrity - including in the face of legal challenges – of government decisions that support appropriately sited, constructed and operated, clean and renewable energy projects.

There is nothing in the experience of Pennsylvania, Montana or New York to suggest that Green Amendment protections will do anything but support the strong and needed progress of clean and renewable energy projects that properly protect our environment.

By recognizing and protecting the rights of all people to clean water and air, healthy ecosystems and environment, and a stable climate, and complementing this recognition of individual rights with a trustee obligation to protect the state’s natural resources for present and future generations, Green Amendments incentivize government support of clean and renewable energy projects, and actually prioritizes clean energy over the perpetuation and ongoing creation of new, dirty, and unnecessary energy projects.

Green Amendments Are Needed to Protect Communities From Environmental Harm

For IEA to suggest that existing laws ensure necessary environmental protection and environmental justice in all circumstances is demonstrably disingenuous. In the face of the shortcomings of our existing environmental laws, the need for constitutional recognition of the human right to a clean and healthy environment is clear and frankly necessary. Nationwide, we see countless examples of environmental racism and communities being harmed by environmental pollution and degradation. These problems existed before and continue to permeate into the lives of communities even since the enactment of those landmark environmental policies like the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. It is a system of regulation pollution, not preventing it - a goal which Green Amendments have footing to make come to fruition. Good companies who truly care are supporting the constitutional recognition of the inalienable human right of all people to the basic essentials of life – clean water and air, healthy soils in which to grow healthy foods, a stable climate and healthy environments that are protected equitably across communities, including for the benefit of future generations.

Green Amendments ensure that environmental protection and environmental justice are always given high priority when government is taking action. In circumstances where existing laws and regulations are unable to ensure equitable protection of the rights of all people to clean and healthy water, air, soils, and environment, including a stable climate, constitutional environmental rights provided by Green Amendments give good government, communities, and truly environmentally minded companies the legal strength they needed to secure these needed protections.

If you stand in opposition to the passage of a Green Amendment – either by outspoken opposition or through silent acquiescence to the false messaging and fear mongering lies of industry – then you do not care about people or future generations. and likely the only green you care about is the one that lines your pockets” ). IEA testifiers and Sierra Club National claim that they care about protecting people’s right to access and benefit from clean and healthy water, air, ecosystems and environment, and that they are dedicated to addressing the climate crisis. I say, prove it! Stand with communities and uplift those voices already shouting across our nation that all people deserve constitutional recognition and protection of their human right to a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Stand with the Green Amendment movement.

Maya K. van Rossum is the founder of the Green Amendment for the Generations Movement and the leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. She has instigated the successful passage of green amendments in New York, Montana, and Pennsylvania.

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