Tag Archives: clean energy

March in Philly July 24 for a Clean Energy Revolution

July 2016 Clean Energy MarchOn the eve of the Democratic National Convention as the national spotlight shines on Philadelphia, thousands of Americans will gather on July 24 2016 to demand bold action be taken to end fracking, keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground and immediately transition toward a truly clean, renewable energy future. Will you be there too?

Together, we will march through downtown Philadelphia to call for:

  • Ban Fracking Now
    A ban on fracking, acid fracking and other unconventional, extreme fossil fuel extraction methods
  • Stop Dirty Energy and Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground
    A halt to the rapid and reckless expansion of gas and oil pipelines, frack sand mining, wastewater injection wells and other dirty fossil fuel infrastructure across the United States
  • A Quick and Just Transition to 100% Renewable Energy
    Bold government policies to build solar, wind and other clean energy sources and energy efficiency measures in order to transition quickly to a 100% renewable energy economy

RSVP to let us know you can join us in Philadelphia!
Sunday 24 July 2016

Request transportation help by contacting Rita email or 732-993-8966. More information at CleanEnergyMarch.org

Tell why clean energy is important to you at a BPU hearing

solar & windThe Sierra Club asks, “Whose energy future will it be, yours or Governor Christie’s?” Join other New Jersey residents and the Sierra Club to speak out for clean energy at a hearing near you. Sign up with the Sierra Club to speak – here.

The state’s new Energy Master Plan (EMP) is being put together right now. The plan can help set New Jersey on a path towards clean energy and make dirty fuel and the climate damage it causes, a thing of the past.

The Board of Public Utilities has been accepting public comments on the plan and are now holding public hearings. These hearings are a rare opportunity to directly impact climate change and air pollution policy in the Garden State. Governor Christie’s 2011 EMP slowed down New Jersey’s clean energy implementation tremendously, but now we can reverse that trend and recover our state’s status as a national frontrunner in renewable energy infrastructure.

This is your chance to show you support more energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in New Jersey like wind and solar. Sign up with the Sierra Club to speak at a hearing near you – here. Once you’ve signed up a Sierra Club staffer will reach out to share talking points and support that will make your attendance a success.

Through August 25 2015, you can also submit a comment to the BPU via the Sierra Club website or send it directly to NJ State. Here are your commenting options:

  • Comment in person at one of the three public hearings taking place on August 11, 13 and 17; or
  • Submit a public comment electronically through the Sierra Club’s website. Please feel free to edit any information which already appears in the Sierra Club’s form by adding to it or you can entirely replace their wording with your own.
  • Send your comment directly to the State of NJ. Written public comments on updates to the 2011 Energy Master Plan can be submitted by close of business on Wednesday, August 24, 2015 to EMPupdate@bpu.state.nj.us

Hearing Details

WHEN: Tuesday, August 11, 1-5pm
WHERE: Seton Hall Law School, 1109 Raymond Boulevard, Newark

WHEN: Thursday, August 13, 2015, 1-5pm
WHERE: State House Annex, Committee Room 11, 125 West State Street, Trenton

WHEN: Monday, August 17, 2015, 1-5pm
WHERE: Stockton College Campus Center, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway

Questions: Contact Christine Guhl-Sadovy at christine.guhl@sierraclub.org

EMP Hearing Resources:

  1. Sign up with the Sierra Club to speak here.
  2. Join the rally taking place outside Newark’s BPU hearing on 11 Aug in support of clean energy, much needed in urban hubs. Download fliers in English and Spanish
  3. BPU Hearing Schedule for the NJ Energy Master Plan 2015
  4. NJ Spotlight article looks at some issues the BPU needs community feedback on

Pinelands Commission rejects South Jersey Gas Pipeline to protect region

Pinelands in a boatOn Jan 10 2014, the members of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission stood up to project this important region for future generations. In a 7 to 7 vote the Commissioners rejected an Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that would have allowed a brand new South Jersey Gas Pipeline across a region that provides drinking water to millions of state residents. The pipeline would have brought more polluting fossil fuels into the Pinelands along with impacts to forests, wetlands, and waterways. The pipeline would have kept the antiquated BL England plant up and running and with this vote today the region will be able to breathe easier with reduced air pollution impacts.

“This is a great victory for the Pinelands and the environment of the region. This is a victory for democracy over bullying, a victory for the Pinelands and more important, for the people. This is the biggest environmental victory under the Christie administration. The Commissioners did not caving to polluters and special interests. Today the Commissioners said the Pinelands are not for sale,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We are proud the Commissioners did their job to protect the Pinelands region, its water supply, and its unique ecosystem from a polluting fossil fuel pipeline. Even with all the bullying and arm twisting, protection of the environment prevailed. With this vote today the Commissioners stood up to protect the Pinelands, ensured better air quality for the region, stopped dirty energy in the region, stopped the potential for LNG exports, and shut down the BL England plant.”

The Commissioners voted down the use of an MOA for the project. Under the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) the Commission can only enter into an MOA with government agencies for projects they are constructing. Opponents of the pipeline have long challenged the legality of entering an MOA with the BPU for the project since the project is being built by a private company, South Jersey Gas, and the BPU is the regulator, not the entity responsible for the project. In exchange for this special exception, SJG was offering the Commission $8 million for mitigation and education projects.

“This is David vs. Goliath, the people and the public good vs. special interests and political patrons. Today the people won and we need to celebrate these victories,” said Tittel.

The ill-conceived project is widely opposed. Four former New Jersey Governors and a number of state legislators had come out in opposition based on concerns with the legality of using an MOA for project approval, the lack of a proven compelling need for the project, the existence of alternatives that do not violate Pinelands regulations, and the lack of public process in the proceedings. Newspapers across the region have written editorials in opposition based on the significant negative impacts associated with the project. The Pinelands Commission received thousands of letters (over 1600 during the official comment period and many more beforehand) and petitions in opposition to the project and hundreds of people spoke out against the project at public hearings before the Commission.

Instead of refueling with fossil fuels, Sierra Club would like to see the site used for clean energy production. This would create jobs and clean energy, improving the environment and economy of the region. Given the location, this would be a great location for infrastructure related to offshore wind production.

“We are glad the Pinelands Commission did their job- protecting the Pinelands region for future generations and not allowing the region to be destroyed for private developments. The Commission upheld the protections that people have worked for so long and so hard to put in place. Despite efforts by Commission staff to ram this project through without full evaluation of the environmental impacts, the Commissioners demanded a higher standard for the Pinelands region,” said Jeff Tittel.

You can also like the Sierra Club on Facebook

ALEC and its legislators want to eliminate home solar and environmental protections

ALEC-coal-members-300x225After this, no one could ever say that ALEC and the politicians guided by it, care more for people than for profits. They boldly assert that betraying the public trust is necessary in order to insure that (their) economic profits remain intact. In a phenomenally informative article, The Guardian tells us about ALEC legislators’ all-out efforts to block clean energy development and the enforcement of clean water protections. They don’t dispute that this will be done at the expense of the environment and climate change reversal, but they care only for the profits they will continue to reap.

Firedog Lake puts it this way

Among the more interesting discoveries by The Guardian: ALEC has plans to attack clean energy from the household-level to the White House-level, working in service to its utility industry members’ unfettered profits.

If you’re interested in a solar roof, you should know that ALEC and its legislators want to eliminate, or severely limit, home solar installations, as they take away profits from the traditional energy companies they own.

Here are some juicy excerpts from The Guardian’s article:

Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalizing individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama’s main channel for climate action.

Details of Alec’s strategy to block clean energy development at every stage – from the individual rooftop to the White House – are revealed as the group gathers for its policy summit in Washington this week. (The ALEC strategy documents obtained by the Guardian are shown in entirety in the full article.)

…Gabe Elsner, director of the Energy and Policy Institute, said the attack on small-scale solar was part of the larger ALEC project to block clean energy. “They are trying to eliminate pro-solar policies in the states to protect utility industry profits,” he said.

The group sponsored at least 77 energy bills in 34 states last year. According to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, the measures were aimed at opposing renewable energy standards, pushing through the Keystone XL pipeline project, and barring oversight on fracking…

In the confidential materials, prepared for the August board meeting, ALEC claimed to have made significant inroads against such clean energy policies in 2013.

“Approximately 15 states across the country introduced legislation to reform, freeze, or repeal their state’s renewable mandate,” the taskforce reported…

It just shows that ALEC uses lawmakers as lobbyists to block climate legislation at every turn,” said Connor Gibson, a researcher for Greenpeace. “They try to undermine the authority of agencies that have the power potentially to control carbon pollution, so whenever there is a new EPA rule that pops up, they re-tool their arsenal of model bills to make sure they are blocking the new rule.”

…Environmental lawyers said the resolution amounted to a “new manifesto” against the EPA regulating carbon pollution. “They don’t want the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ann Weeks, legal director for the Clean Air Task Force…

“They will probably tell you they don’t want the EPA to regulate anything so it is in their interest to turn what the EPA has proposed into something that is grotesque and unreasonable, which I don’t think is true,” Weeks said.

New Jersey’s most infamous ALEC allied politicos are Gov. Chris Christie and Scott Garrett, who bears the distinction of being our state’s Climate Change Denier Congressman.

Protect our world – say goodbye to dirty fuel & coal

The Sierra Club tells us that coal industry is heavily subsidized by American taxpayers to the tune of tens of billions of dollars and it’s clear that this industry’s power is not diminishing. But it should diminish. In fact, it’s so dangerous that it should be done away with altogether. In the process of mining, coal destroys waterways, ecosystems, trees, miners’ health and the health of residents of nearby communities. A well-documented example of this is the tragedy of mountain-top mining in the Appalachian Mountains, a practice which Robert Kennedy Jr., affected citizens and environmental activists continue valiantly fighting to bring to a permanent end.

When it’s burned, coal puts massive amounts of carbon in the air, and this is a main contributor to global warming which brings on drought, soaring temperatures, the rising of seas that will take over island cities and coastal areas, tsunamis, floods and drought. Coal is also a dirty fuel, so burning its puts heavy pollutants in the air that lead to poor air quality and acid rain.

Why aren’t people all over the world staging huge protests to ban coal mining and replace it with clean energy sources? It boils down to this: we’ve been supporting coal so long it’s become sort of a global institution. We can’t imagine a world without a massive coal industry any more than we can imagine a world without gas-powered vehicles, so we protect the industry even though it’s killing both us and our Earth Mother. World citizens protect our institutions. But, the truth is that clean energy is our future: it’s environmentally friendly, health friendly. It’s a massively growing jobs industry, is economically friendly and it’s also cool (in more ways than one). Can you say, win-win-win-win-win? There’s nothing wrong with protecting institutions but they need to work for us. It’s so clear that we need to give up on the old fuels that are destroying us and turn to clean energy with open arms.

For those worried about the impact that embracing clean energy will have on our economy and jobs, just look at the evidence. The Boston Herald reports,

“The growth of Massachusetts’ renewable energy economy is outpacing the overall economy nearly tenfold, according to a new report that measures clean energy sector employment and the number of businesses that use clean energy practices.”

Avaaz is working to prevent horrific environmental destruction in Australia. Please sign the petition.

Australia could let mining magnates build one of the world’s largest coal ports on top of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem – opening access to 8 billion extra tonnes of planet-killing coal and risking the survival of this entire amazing world heritage site.

US laws which address environmental issues are the Clear Air act and Clean Water Act. They need to be strengthened and expanded.

The Clean Water Act
The River Network’s Course on using the Act to protect local waterways
The Clean Air Act
Other Proposed Legislation
2009 Waxman-Market Climate Energy bill (Died)
Everything you always wanted to know about the Waxman-Markey energy/climate bill — in bullet points and ejmatters.org/docs/Waxman-Markey_bill_summary_6-2-09.pdf

H.R. 724, the Security in Energy And Manufacturing (SEAM) Act (sponsored by Congressman Steve Rothman).  If enacted, this legislation would make needed investments in a clean energy economy by rebuilding the U.S. manufacturing sector.  It provides a 30% tax credit or grant to companies that open new or expanded facilities that manufacture a wide range of clean energy products, including wind turbines, solar panels, hybrid vehicle systems, carbon capture and sequestration systems, and biofuel refinery components, among others in the U.S. I strongly believe that this is the path we must take to end our dependence on both foreign and domestic oil and move toward a secure clean energy future. H.R. 724 is currently pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.

H.R. 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011 (co-sponsored by Congressman Steve Rothman). If enacted, this bill would provide a clean, 4-year extension of the existing production tax credit (PTC) for wind, biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower. This tax credit was created in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and has frequently been extended in year-end packages of expiring tax provisions, as well as in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The current incentive is set to expire this year for wind and in 2013 for other renewable energy forms. Historically, at least six to eight months before the tax credit expires, financial lenders hesitate in providing capital for projects because of the uncertainty created by the pending expiration of the credit, stalling projects from coming online. This is why many of my colleagues and I believe it is imperative to pass H.R. 3307 now as our economy continues to recover. If the PTC is not renewed, those projects working under the credit will be reduced in size, will not be completed or will add costs, resulting in higher electricity prices for consumers. This measure is currently pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.