Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Residents speak out against proposed phosphate mine in Bradford threatening Santa Fe River, tributary and springs

Protesters outside the Bradford Commission meeting. Photo by Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson.
Facing dogged opposition, Bradford County Commissioners voted last week to hire an outside expert to review a proposed phosphate mine that threatens to pollute groundwater, rivers and springs in the region. 

HPS II Enterprises has proposed the mine on 10,000 acres in Bradford and Union counties straddling the New River, a tributary of the Santa Fe.

Bradford County Commissioners listening to testimony.
Photo by Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson.
Close to 130 North Florida residents descended on the rural county, coming as far as Manatee, Polk and Hamilton counties to share their first-hand experiences with phosphate mining. More than 50 people spoke against the project, many telling personal testimonies including damage to the water supply, health impacts and habitat destruction. Last year a giant sinkhole opened at a Mosaic phosphate mine in Polk county that polluted water with radioactive waste.

Sierra Club Suwannee-St. Johns Group Chair Whitey Markle told the commissioners, "You're the first line of defense of your constituents' health and welfare."

Residents united in opposition to the mine. Photo by Jim Tatum.
Residents are gearing up for an impending Bradford County Commission vote on whether or not to approve the project. Union County has declared a mining moratorium as it reviews its land use regulations. Alachua County and five cities within Bradford and Union counties have passed resolutions against the mine.

As protesters raised awareness outside the meeting, inside residents' impassioned pleas made it hard to imagine Commissioners walking away without being awestruck by a sense of responsibility to family, friends and neighbors.

The Bradford County Commissioners listened to all the speakers with patience without divulging their personal opinion of the project. 


A coalition of groups including Our Santa Fe River, Citizens Against Phosphate Mining (CAPM),  Florida Defenders of the Environment and Suwannee-St Johns Sierra Club have united in opposition to the mine.

-- Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club Organizing Representative



Sierra Club Suwannee-St. Johns Group Chair Whitey Markle addresses the County Commission. Photo by Jim Tatum.

Media coverage:


Protester holds sign saying "Dig Life, not Phosphate."

Court Rules Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Failed to Adequately Review Environmental Impacts of Sabal Trail Pipeline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
 
Contact: Doug Jackson, doug.jackson@sierraclub.org
   
Court Rules FERC Failed to Adequately Review Environmental Impacts of Sabal Trail Pipeline
Decision Requires FERC to Fulfill its Duties
 
Washington, DC -- Today, the U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Federal Environmental Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) failed to adequately review the environmental impacts of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the fracked gas Sabal Trail pipeline, which runs more than 500 miles through Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
 
“Today, the D.C. Circuit rejected FERC's excuses for refusing to fully consider the effects of this dirty and dangerous pipeline,” said Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson. “Even though this pipeline is intended to deliver fracked gas to Florida power plants, FERC maintained that it could ignore the greenhouse gas pollution from burning the gas. For too long, FERC has abandoned its responsibility to consider the public health and environmental impacts of its actions, including climate change. Today's decision requires FERC to fulfill its duties to the public, rather than merely serve as a rubber stamp for corporate polluters' attempts to construct dangerous and unnecessary fracked gas pipelines.
 
The judges declared that the environmental impact statement for the Southeast Market Pipelines Project was required to either quantify the impact of GHG resulting from burning the fracked gas transported by the pipeline or explain why it failed to do so.
 
“Floridians, unlike FERC, have been far too aware of the dangers of this fracked gas project since its inception, and that’s why so many of us have spoken out against it,” said Sierra Club Florida Director Frank Jackalone. “That fear was manifested when this project began leaking into our communities the other week, and it’s why a thorough review of this pipeline will show that it must be -- and should have been -- rejected.”
 
Since FERC did neither, the Commission must go back and conduct a new review of the project.
 
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Environmental and Public Interest Groups Condemn Racist Violence and Intolerance in Charlottesville, Virginia



The Sierra Club stands with other progressive groups to condemn white supremacist terrorism in . Our friends at GreenLatinos pulled together this coalition statement yesterday, with groups across the environmental and public interest spectrum.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2017


Ver abajo para versión en español.

Environmental and Public Interest Groups Condemn Racist Violence and Intolerance in Charlottesville, Virginia



WASHINGTON, D.C. — A broad coalition of environmental, public health and public interest groups, including prominent African American and Latino organizations, issued the following joint statement in response to this past weekend’s white nationalist gathering and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and President Trump's inexplicable reversal as to who’s to blame for the violence:


"Our nation witnessed tragic, despicable and completely unnecessary violence in Charlottesville this past weekend. Driven by hatred and racism, these white nationalist and neo-nazi groups and their actions do not represent our values, nor the values of the vast majority of Americans. We also remember the life of Heather Heyer and commit to continuing the struggle she died for.


The behavior of white nationalists is neither acceptable nor normal and we will continue to stand in solidarity against such hatred and in defense of the rights and safety of communities across the country like Charlottesville. We will not tolerate any form of hatred or discrimination and will align ourselves with communities of color and creeds that are the target of ongoing bigotry.


We call on our political leaders to condemn these acts not just today, but every time they happen. President Trump and all political leaders, no matter their party affiliation, have an obligation to stand up against such hate groups immediately and unequivocally. Their voices and words — and lack thereof — matter.


The tragic events in Charlottesville fall on our shoulders as a nation. No one who stands for justice, equality, and human dignity can stay silent any longer. We will stand unified against the white nationalist movement that everyday threatens America’s people and ideals, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. We will ultimately prevail by countering this hate with love."


17 for Peace and Justice
350.org
African American Nature and Parks Experience
Alaska Wilderness League
Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)
Audubon Naturalist Society
Austin 2030 District
Amazon Watch
Azul
Be The Change -USA
Black permaculture network
Bold Alliance
California League of Conservation Voters
California for Chapparal Institute
Care About Climate
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Diversity & the Environment
Center for Environmental Health
Center for International Environmental Law
Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)
Chispa
Citizens' Climate Lobby
Clean Air Council
Climate Hawks Vote
Clean Water Action
Climate Nexus
ClimateTruth.org
Coalition Center for Popular Democracy
Defend Our Future
Defenders of Wildlife
Diverse Environmental Leaders Speakers Bureau
Dogwood Alliance
Dynamic Aptitude
Earthjustice
Earthworks
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Leadership Program
EPCF - Climate Change Disruption
Food & Water Watch
Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks
FootPrint to Wings
Friends of the Earth
Green 2.0
Green For All
GreenFaith
GreenLatinos
Greenpeace USA
Greensgrow
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Federation
IDEASForUs
Imagine Power LLC
Institute for Sustainable Communities
Institute for Sutainable Urban Transformation
Interfaith Power & Light
International Mayan League
La Union Hace La Fuerza
Latino Victory Project
League of Conservation Voters
League of United Latin American Citizens
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA)
Maine Conservation Voters
Mi Familia Vota
Moms Clean Air Force
Mount Moriah FBH Church
Mt Eastern Joy, LLC
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Ocean Protection
National Parks Conservation Association
National Widlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
NCLR Action Fund
Network for Sustainable Financial Markets
NextGen America
Noble Renewables Group of the West
North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)
Ocean Conservancy
Oceana
Oil Change International
Our Climate
Outdoor Afro
Peoples Climate Movement
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Population Connection
Power Shift Network
Public Citizen
Rachel Carson Council
Rachel's Network
Radiance Studios LLC
Rainforest Action Network
Roosevelt Institute
Rural Coalition
Sachamama
Save EPA
Sierra Club
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter
Sunrise
Sustainable Agricultural Education Association
Sustainable Practices
SustainUS
The Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church
The Evangelical Environmental Network
The Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc
The Joy Trip Project
The Praxis Project
The Trail Posse
The Wilderness Society
Toxics Action Center
Union of Concerned Scientists
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
Voces Verdes
Voices for Progress
Voto Latino
Waterkeeper Alliance
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
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PARA DISTRIBUCIÓN INMEDIATA
August 16, 2017


CONTACTO PARA LOS MEDIOS
Yamila Pino, (202) 440-1432 / (202) 660-1433

Grupos ambientalistas y de interés público condenan la violencia racista y la intolerancia en Charlottesville, Virginia



WASHINGTON, D.C. — Una amplia coalición de grupos ambientalistas, de salud pública e interés público, que también incluyen reconocidas organizaciones afroamericanas y latinas, emitieron las siguientes declaraciones en respuesta a la manifestación y violencia de nacionalistas blancos el fin de semana pasado en Charlottesville, Virginia, y el inexplicable revés del President Trump sobre los culpables de los sucesos:


"Nuestra nación ha sido testigo de una violencia trágica, despiadada y completamente innecesaria este pasado fin de semana en Charlottesville. Impulsados por el odio y el racismo, estos grupos de nacionalistas blancos y neo-nazis, al igual que sus acciones, no representan nuestros valores. Tampoco representan los valores de la mayoría de los estadounidenses. También recordamos la vida de Heather Heyer y nos comprometemos a continuar la lucha que le costó la vida.


El comportamiento de nacionalistas blancos no es aceptable. Por tal razón, continuaremos expresando nuestra solidaridad en contra de dicho odio y defendiendo los derechos y bienestar de comunidades como Charlottesville a lo largo del país. No toleraremos ninguna expresión de odio o discriminación y nos unimos a las comunidades de color y de diversos credos que son víctimas de la intolerancia.


Hacemos un llamado a nuestros líderes políticos para que repudien estos actos no sólo en estos momentos sino cada vez que ocurran. El Presidente Trump y todos los funcionarios electos— independientemente de su afiliación política— tienen la obligación de no quedarse callados ante estos grupos de odio inmediata e inequívocamente. Sus voces y palabras— al igual que la ausencia de ellas— importan.


Los trágicos eventos de Charlottesville pesan sobre la nación entera. Todo el que luche por la justicia, igualdad y dignidad del ser humano tiene el deber de levantar su voz. Nos uniremos en contra de lo que representa el movimiento supremacista blanco que día a día es una amenaza al pueblo estadounidense y sus ideales como el derecho a la dignidad, libertad y búsqueda de la felicidad. Al final saldremos victoriosos al hacerle frente a este odio con amor".

17 for Peace and Justice
350.org
African American Nature and Parks Experience
Alaska Wilderness League
Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)
Amazon Watch
Audubon Naturalist Society
Austin 2030 District
Azul
Be The Change -USA
Black permaculture network
Bold Alliance
California League of Conservation Voters
California for Chapparal Institute
Care About Climate
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Diversity & the Environment
Center for Environmental Health
Center for International Environmental Law
Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)
Chispa
Citizens' Climate Lobby
Clean Air Council
Clean Water Action
Climate Hawks Vote
Climate Nexus
ClimateTruth.org
Coalition Center for Popular Democracy
Defend Our Future
Defenders of Wildlife
Diverse Environmental Leaders Speakers Bureau
Dogwood Alliance
Dynamic Aptitude
Earthjustice
Earthworks
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Leadership Program
EPCF - Climate Change Disruption
Food & Water Watch
Footprint to Wings
Friends of Organ Mountains Desert Peaks
Friends of the Earth
Green 2.0
Green For All
GreenFaith
GreenLatinos
Greenpeace USA
Greensgrow
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Federation
IDEASForUs
Imagine Power LLC
Institute for Sustainable Communities
Institute for Sutainable Urban Transformation
Interfaith Power & Light
International Mayan League
La Union Hace La Fuerza
Latino Victory Project
League of Conservation Voters
League of United Latin American Citizens
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA)
Maine Conservation Voters
Mi Familia Vota
Moms Clean Air Force
Mount Moriah FBH Church
Mt Eastern Joy, LLC
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Ocean Protection
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
Natural Wildlife Federation
NCLR Action Fund
Network for Sustainable Financial Markets
NextGen America
Noble Renewables Group of the West
North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)
Ocean Conservancy
Oceana
Oil Change International
Our Climate
Outdoor Afro
Peoples Climate Movement
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Population Connection
Power Shift Network
Public Citizen
Rachel Carson Council
Rachel's Network
Radiance Studios LLC
Rainforest Action Network
Roosevelt Institute
Rural Coalition
Sachamama
Save EPA
Sierra Club
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter
Sunrise
Sustainable Agricultural Education Association
Sustainable Practices
SustainUS
The Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church
The Evangelical Environmental Network
The Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc
The Joy Trip Project
The Praxis Project
The Trail Posse
The Wilderness Society
Toxics Action Center
Union of Concerned Scientists
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
Voces Verdes
Voices for Progress
Voto Latino
Waterkeeper Alliance
WE ACT for Environmental Justice

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