LTE: One step forward, two steps back for Bay project

The following letter to the editor, written by CCAN fellow Justin Klecha, was printed in the Culpeper Star-Exponent on June 30th. Read more about CCAN’s summer fellows in our June-July newsletter (written right before Justin began). Congrats, Justin!

One step forward, two steps back for Bay project
Justin Klecha, Fredericksburg
June 30, 2010

Culpeper, along with other municipalities across our state, has or is implementing cleaner wastewater technologies in an effort to reduce pollution. The June 25 article, “Cleaner Wastewater,” laid out the details of the improved treatment facilities in Culpeper, stating that the town has “modernized and sanitized its wastewater treatment process for the sake of the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

One step forward!

While at the same time REC’s parent electric cooperative is proposing a $6 billion dollar coal plant just 35 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.

If built it would be the largest coal plant in Virginia producing massive amounts of pollutants, such as mercury, lead and carbon-dioxide, which would undermine projects like the one in Culpeper.

Two steps back Continue reading

Judge Refuses to Jail Climate Activist

In a victory for both the climate and basic decency, a federal judge today refused to put a global warming organizer in jail for simply hanging activist banners in a U.S. Senate office building.

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg rejected a request from U.S. attorneys to sentence Ted Glick to 40 days in jail for two misdemeanors related to peaceful civil disobedience. Last September, Glick, Policy Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, unfurled two large banners in the Hart Senate Office Building saying, “Green Jobs Now” and “Get to Work.”

After receiving hundreds of letters from concerned citizens ranging from NASA’s Dr. James Hansen to actor Danny Glover, Weisberg told an overflowing courtroom audience in D.C. Superior Court that he saw “no useful purpose served by incarceration.” He sentenced Glick instead to a week of community service and a year of probation, plus a $1,000 fine.

The audience cheered and applauded when Weisberg announced his decision.

At the start of the hearing, Glick read a brief statement explaining why he unfurled the banners last September 8th. “Faced with a planetary emergency,” he said, “and as citizens of a democracy, we must nonviolently urge, in the best ways we know how, our elected representatives to do the right thing. That is what I did on September 8th of last year.”

Glick has only two previous convictions related to peaceful acts of civil disobedience.

Weisberg acknowledged the great tradition of nonviolent struggle in America from Thoreau to King. He finally made clear, however, that — by law — it wasn’t the message of global warming that was being sentenced, it was the delivery of that message.

“But on the great scale of things, I don’t think a meaningful punishment would include incarceration here,” Weisberg said.

CCAN director Mike Tidwell said he was very pleased with the decision.

“We’re still not sure why the U.S. Attorney’s office wanted to

Inspiring Va. Awards Celebration last night

Last night CCAN held its first annual Virginia Climate Champions Ceremony at the beautiful St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Old Town Alexandria. We were honored to present “Virginia Climate Leadership Awards” to Congressman Jim Moran; State Senator Patsy Ticer; Supervisor Andrea McGimsey, Loudoun County; Heidi Binko, Associate Director of Special Climate Initiatives at the Rockefeller Family Fund; and Burke resident Edward Jaffee.

From left to right: Supervisor Andrea McGimsey, Grassroots
Leader Ed Jaffee, Congressman Jim Moran, Senator Patsy Ticer.

The speeches were inspiring, the music (by EcoVoce) was great, and the food (courtesy of Restaurant Eve) was delicious. Unfortunately, Heidi Binko fell ill at the last minute and was unable to come. We’ve mailed her her richly deserved award.

Here’s what Congressman Moran had to say:

“Sadly, in the wake of the BP oil spill, the mantra

Lady Gaga and Mike Tidwell make CNN's list of intriguing people

Joining Mike and Lady Gaga on CNN’s “Friday’s Intriguing People” list is Robert Gilmer, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. Gilmer is teaching a course next semester on the Gulf Coast oil disaster dubbed “Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010.” According to the Minnesota Daily, the course will address the current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico by educating students on the history and ecology of the Gulf, the makeup of the Louisiana economy and the impact of past oil spills on humans and the environment.

The class will not have textbooks but Gilmer tells CNN that “Mike Tidwell’s Bayou Farewell: The Race to Save America’s Coastal Cities will definitely be on the [reading] list.”

And that’s why CNN called Mike. Mike’s book, Bayou Farewell, which predicted in detail the Katrina hurricane disaster in 2003, will be reissued in August with a new introduction on the BP blowout tragedy. Mike told CNN that the BP disaster likely will have a bigger impact on coastal people than even Katrina did in terms of its economic and cultural disruptions.

You can read the final chapter of Bayou Farewell, which discusses the size and scope of the drilling operation in Louisiana, on our blog.

And, in case you were wondering, Lady Gaga made the list because she and President Obama are neck in neck in a race to become the first living person with more than 10 million fans on facebook.

Tidwell at TedxOilSpill

You’ve probably heard about TED. TED conferences bring together the world’s leading thinkers and doers for a series of talks, presentations and performances. A small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” TED started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The newest addition to the TED repertoire are the TEDx programs, and one of them is coming to DC on Monday.

TEDxOilSpill will explore new ideas for our energy future, and how we can mitigate the current crisis in the Gulf. TEDxOilSpill will tackle the tough questions raised by the recent and ongoing environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Topics will include mitigation of the spill and the impending cleanup efforts; energy alternatives; policy and economics; as well as new technology that can help us build a self-reliant culture.

What can you expect to see? Speakers at TED events

BP Citizen's Arrest – Friday, High Noon

This Friday at high noon join with CCAN, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Energy Action Coalition,, Hip Hop Caucus and the Center for Biological Diversity as we hold BP accountable for its high crimes and misdemeanors. We need YOU to help us deliver our charges against BP!

Join us from 12-1 outside of BP’s D.C. headquarters at 1101 New York Avenue, NW.

Charge #1: Criminal negligence. BP has a long history of worker, consumer and environmental violations. BP’s culture of negligence, shunning of common safety devices and inability to adequately respond to the mounting catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding communities warrants a citizen finding of criminal negligence.

Charge #2: Unfettered corporate influence. Corporate meddling in the political process has led to oil-friendly regulators and lawmakers, and a blatant disregard for the regulatory process.

Charge #3: Need for clean solutions. Even with increased safety and environmental regulations, oil drilling is still inherently dangerous. The only way to ensure we don’t have any more catastrophes is to stop offshore drilling altogether. Instead, we should pursue clean energy and energy independence.

RSVP on facebook or using this google spreadsheet. Then help us spread the word!