Thursday, December 26, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
In addition to our Democracy Convention video of Earth Democracy sessions, there are also recordings of Debra White Plume speaking at the closing convention, a panel discussion on civil rights and African-American men, and interviews with Medea Benjamin and Dane County supervisor Leland Pan online here. Definitely worth checking out!
Gasland director Josh Fox supports the Global Frackdown from the banks of the Brazos River, in Parker County, Texas. Despite drought conditions, Parker County uses more than 30% of its available water for fracking. Take a look at where the banks of the Brazos are (not to mention the boat launch) and figure out for yourself whether that's the best possible use for an irreplaceable resource.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Sandra Spargo, who has organized a strong campaign in Anacortes, WA, against what would be the largest water bottling plant in the country, has written this letter to the Anacortes City Council asking to formally terminate the agreement. Termination would prevent Tethys, which has backed out of the project, from transferring their end of the agreement to another bottling corporation.
In her letter, Sandra notes that the city's deal with Tethys was made without citizen input, with voters getting just one day's notice on the council vote, and without opportunity for public hearings. The backroom nature of the agreement has led to a need for a fresh start, she asserts.
"Now is the time to rekindle citizen trust, guaranteeing no loophole that will carry mistrust and fear and continue to paralyze our town," she writes. This is an election year, and hopefully a refocus on "the people's business" will lead the council to shut the door on the possibility of massive water takings from the Skagit River.
Monday, September 16, 2013
This short paper from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund outlines attacks on the initiative petition process by pro-fracking forces opposing community rights ordinances. While the paper focuses on Ohio and hydrofracking, this tactic could conceivably be used anywhere where voters organize to control corporate misdeeds through direct-democracy ballot questions.
Few municipalities have the right of initiative petition, so protecting the laws already on the books is doubly important. This November, Ohioans will be convening a founding convention of the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN), with the goal of rewriting the state constitution so that it recognizes the right of towns and cities to self-governance. Similar networks already exist in New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.
In advance of TPP-style talks between the US and EU, corporations are already filing "wish lists" to ditch pesticide and food standard regulations and set up the same "investor-state resolution" mechanisms found in NAFTA and TPP. In this New York Times article Public Citizen's Lori Wallach notes: “What they [multinationals] consider trade irritants, we consider the most important consumer, health, environmental, privacy, financial stability safeguards on either side of the Atlantic." Gutting regulations is "an effort to achieve through trade what that they could not achieve through democratic processes domestically.”
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Tethys Enterprises has given up efforts to build a massive water bottling plan in Anacortes. Kudos to Sandra Spargo for years of diligent watchdogging and organizing through Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin. Sandra brought in some of the area's most outstanding experts on siting, transportation, and water supply issues. Thanks and congratulations to all the Defending Water board members in Anacortes, and to the many people in the community who attended hearings and events, and raised questions about the environmental and community impacts of this project. You can read press releases from Steve Winter, CEO of Tethys Enterprises, and the mayor of Anacortes here.