We had a busy November here at CCAN! Your Weekly Climate Insider has taken a hiatus as we’ve been traveling around Maryland and Virginia for some big fall events! The Maryland Crossroads Tour and Safe Coast Virginia Conference were great successes!
After a disappointing (albeit unsurprising) lack of progress at the Warsaw climate talks, Activists and grassroots organizers from around the world protested the talks. Greenpeace Germany’s Martin Kaiser believes “"The climate conference in Warsaw was a waste of energy.”
Dominion had better take its plan off autopilot. The statewide campaign to stop the company's proposed Cove Point facility that would export fracked gas has taken hold. One need look no further than the Baltimore Sun's recent editorial to know that Chesapeake Climate Action Network and its broad coalition have been successful in raising serious questions about a disastrous project that was considered a done deal several months ago. (Read the full editorial here.)
The "stakes are high" but the "ramifications are great," the Sun says in its editorial. It says the project would create demand for more fracking and require a new power plant just to liquefy the gas, as well as more pipelines and compressor stations across the state. It then urges federal regulators to require an Environmental Impact Statement, the most stringent environmental review, rather than the paler Environmental Assessment:
[W]herever one stands on the project — excited about the jobs or fearful of what it may mean for global warming — everyone should agree that the proposal should be thoroughly examined and vetted to understand the potential impact and trade-offs involved. ... Would it slow down the application process? Almost certainly. ... But that seems like a small price to pay. ... FERC owes that much to the people of Maryland, and frankly, given the potential impact on global warming, the rest of the country, too.
The Sun even referred to Cove Point as Gov. Martin O'Malley's Keystone XL pipeline, because of the controversy it has created.
On Saturday, November 16th, more than 120 Virginians came together in Norfolk to launch the next phase of grassroots action to protect Virginia’s coastal communities from climate change. The science is clear: rising sea levels and more powerful storms – driven by our burning of fossil fuels – are already causing frequent flooding and disrupting lives, business and critical civilian and naval infrastructure up and down the coast.
As DeLevay Miner, a local resident featured in the documentary premiered at the conference, Sea of Change, said, “You cannot depend on the history before because everything is changing.”
If this urgent reality was what motivated so many to spend their Saturday at the “Safe Coast Virginia” conference (see pictures here), the question of what we can and must DO about it was the theme that charged the day.
Here are three big takeaways from the conference that will galvanize our action moving forward:
For starters, Cove Point will need a new name. Rising seas from fossil-fueled climate change will eventually submerge the jut of land that gives this area its name.
But that’s only one longer-term consequence of Dominion’s scheme to liquefy fracked gas in Calvert County and ship it around the globe. The company’s planned $3.8 billion facility would change the historic and rural Cove Point area in ways we are only beginning to measure. This project would increase fracking, compressor stations and pipelines, jeopardizing towns all over the Marcellus Shale and wrecking our climate faster. But it would also industrialize the community of Lusby on the Chesapeake Bay.
On July 1st 2013, one of the worst ideas of the year became law in Virginia: the state began taxing climate-conscious owners of hybrid vehicles $64 per year. In response to this absurdity, Democratic Delegate Scott Surovell and Senator Adam Ebbin joined me to protest the tax and announced their intention to introduce a bill repealing it during the 2014 General Assembly session. Yesterday, on the first day to pre-file bills for the upcoming session, the two legislators kept true to their word.
By Arielle Conti, Grassroots Organizing Intern
An eager and energetic crowd packed into The Brown Center's Falvey Hall on Tuesday for the Baltimore Tour Stop of the Maryland Crossroads Tour. After great turnouts in Annapolis, St. Mary's and Silver Spring, Baltimore was the 4th and largest stop of the tour. The turnout proved Marylanders do not want to take the “radical detour” of exporting fracked gas from Cove Point and instead want to continue to see clean energy grow in our state.
The evening began with the soothing, rooted sounds of Artie and the Vipers and kicked off with Mike Tidwell, CCANs Founder and Director, recognizing and rewarding local Baltimore Climate Heroes. Thanks again to Maryland Environmental Health Network, Free Your Voice, and Nina Beth Cardin for all you do to help fight climate change in your city.
As part of our Maryland Crossroads Tour, CCAN is presenting Climate Hero awards to local leaders who have made a difference in the climate movements in their communities and across the state.
Last Thursday when accepting his Climate Hero award, Mike Tabor, local sustainable farmer and environmental activist, raised the issue of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Mr. Tabor shared how FSMA will radically change our food system and limit our food choices if it is funded.
Coastal Virginia is at the center of the fight against climate change. That’s why, this Saturday from 9:30-4:30pm Hampton Roads residents and Virginians from across the commonwealth are coming together in Norfolk for the Safe Coast Virginia Conference. Community and clean energy leaders, scientific experts and climate champions from Virginia and beyond will deliver keynotes and lead discussions about the threat of rising seas and bigger storms and how we can move towards a clean energy future that keeps us safe.
To join us, you can pre-register for the Safe Coast Virginia Conference online until midnight November 14th, or register at the door.
Can we talk?
You say you want to meet with the community, get the facts out about your $3.8 billion plan to export liquefied fracked gas from Cove Point to India and Japan. But where are you?
"We tend to overcommunicate," Bruce McKay, Dominion managing director of federal affairs, said inexplicably on WEAA-FM's Marc Steiner radio program Nov. 11.
We would like to see this "overcommunication" in action.
On the program, McKay said: "But if there's some people that don't feel they've heard enough from us along the way, let us know. We are going through and meeting with every community group that we can."
Dominion's Bruce McKay
OK, Dominion, all you have to do is stop at any home, any gas station, any store in southern Calvert County and ask: "Do you know anything about the $3.8 billion fossil fuel plant Dominion is proposing?" The answer you will likely get is that people know next to nothing. And this is your fault, Dominion. If you have "overcommunicated" with residents, why haven't they heard from you? Leading homeowners associations haven't been contacted by you either.
So, Dominion, we're letting you know. You are failing in the communication department. Calvert County residents, we're letting you know, too. Email [email protected] to let Dominion know you are being kept in the dark.