Restore the Delta on the Oroville Dam Emergency

On the Current Situation
We are hopeful that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) can continue to keep the situation at Oroville under control.

We are grateful for all the courageous and hardworking people working day and night to keep the region safe – from DWR employees to public safety officials.

The evacuations seem to have been successfully executed.

List of evacuation centers

List of shelters

On Oroville Dam
Oroville is the primary reservoir for the State Water Project. One-third of Southern California’s water is State Water Project water. Oroville Dam also is the source for a portion of Bay Area water deliveries. Making Oroville safe is essential and must take priority over any other water project in the state.

This Crisis Was Preventable
The Mercury News is reporting that Federal and State officials ignored warnings 12 years ago. Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside. They warned that the spillway could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.

FERC rejected that request, however, after the state Department of Water Resources, and the State Water Contractors argued that they would likely have had to pay the bill for the upgrades. They said the upgrades were unnecessary. The State Water Contractors & Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s outsized influenced on DWR to NOT upgrade the emergency spillway is a story that must be thoroughly investigated once the emergency has passed.

Because of this penny pinching, residents of these water districts will lose a significant portion of their water supply for this year. And almost 200,000 lives in the region downstream from the Oroville Dam have been disrupted, physically and economically (with no clear date set for when they can return home). Another series of storms are expected from Thursday through Tuesday of next week.

Millions of Chinook salmon have had to be relocated from the hatchery, with outcomes of disruption to their life cycle to be seen. Swollen rivers filled with debris can have negative impacts on public safety downstream and on wildlife, as levees will experience extreme pressure from emergency flows.

What Should Be Done?
Safety comes first. Before spending a dime on any gold-plated, taxpayer-backed, water delivery service to agricultural interests, we need to upgrade our 678 high hazard dams in California. Making those facilities safe is now the priority over projects such as the Delta Tunnels that will largely serve industrial agricultural interests in the southern San Joaquin Valley.

We need to remind our state water resources agency that they really work for the people of California, not the water districts.

What about the Delta Tunnels?
The Delta Tunnels are only 10% designed, with no seismic analysis, and no full soil samples, yet DWR is leading the charge for state and federal permits for the project.

Are they going to repeat history with the Delta Tunnels and ignore warnings that the design is flawed? As we now see, bad design can have impacts on human health, safety, and the environment.

Nestle Chairman says Water is Not a Human Right

Link to Article with Video

In a candid interview for the documentary We Feed the World, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck makes the astonishing claim that water isn’t a human right. He attacks the idea that nature is good, and says it is a great achievement that humans are now able to resist nature’s dominance. He attacks organic agriculture and says genetic modification is better.

Nestlé is the world’s biggest bottler of water. Brabeck claims – correctly – that water is the most important raw material in the world. However he then goes on to say that privatisation is the best way to ensure fair distribution. He claims that the idea that water is a human right comes from “extremist” NGOs. Water is a foodstuff like any other, and should have a market value.

He believes that the ultimate social responsibility of any Chairman is to make as much profit as possible, so that people will have jobs.

And just to underline what a lovely man he is, he also thinks we should all be working longer and harder.

Consequences of water privatisation

The consequences of water privatisation have been devastating on poor communities around the world. In South Africa, where the municipal workers’ union SAMWU fought a long battle against privatisation, there has been substantial research (pdf) about the effects. Water privatisation lead to a massive cholera outbreak in Durban in the year 2000.

The Nestlé boycott

Nestlé already has a very bad reputation among activists. There has been a boycott call since 1977. This is due to Nestlé’s aggressive lobbying to get women to stop breastfeeding – which is free and healthy – and use infant formula (sold by Nestlé) instead. Nestlé has lobbied governments to tell their health departments to promote formula. In poor countries, this has resulted in the deaths of babies, as women have mixed formula with contaminated water instead of breastfeeding.

Tell Nestlé they are wrong – water is a human right

There is Europe-wide campaign to tell the European Commission that water is a human right, and to ask them to enact legislation to ensure this is protected.

If you live in Europe, please sign the petition.

Original article published by Union Solidarity International.

TransCanada pitches west-east pipeline

Proposed project would bring crude to refineries in Quebec, Saint John

Link to Article with Videos

CBC News | Apr 2, 2013 9:28 AM ET 

TransCanada Corp. is seeking firm financial commitments from companies seeking to ship crude oil from Western Canada to refineries in Eastern Canada.

The Calgary-based company announced on Tuesday morning a bidding process that will allow interested producers to make binding commitments for space on the pipeline. Companies will have from April 15 to June 17 to enter into long-term commitments to use the pipeline.

The open-season process follows a successful expression-of-interest phase and talks with potential shippers.

TransCanada said if the next phase is successful, it plans to start seeking regulatory approvals later in 2013, and the oil could start flowing to Eastern Canada by late 2017.

The proposal would be to convert 3,000 kilometres of the company’s natural gas pipelines to allow for crude oil to be transported. The company would also be looking at building 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline from Quebec into Saint John.

The pipeline could carry between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the eastern refineries, according to the company.

Premier David Alward called the west-east pipeline proposal an historic initiative. Alward made the comments in front of the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John on Tuesday.Premier David Alward called the west-east pipeline proposal an historic initiative. Alward made the comments in front of the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John on Tuesday. (Robert Jones/CBC)

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Tuesday TransCanada’s announcement was a “positive step.”

“We welcome such proposals, because they can generate thousands of Canadian jobs and long-term economic prosperity — particularly in Quebec and the Maritimes — for generations to come,” Oliver said.

The federal minister said the proposed pipeline project must meet a series of regulatory reviews.

If the project moves forward, Oliver said it would be an important piece of energy infrastructure for Canada.

“Pipelines moving oil from Alberta to Quebec to New Brunswick would be among the most expansive and ambitious stretches of energy infrastructure in the entire world and would contribute to the energy security of Canada and all of North America,” he said.

Officials from the Saint John-based Irving Oil Ltd. have said in the past their refinery could handle western crude oil.

The Irving Oil refinery is the largest in Canada and can process 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Saint John also has a deep-water port and a liquefied natural gas facility.

Oliver said he has recently toured the Irving refinery and the Ultramar refinery in Levis. The federal minister said he plans to tour Suncor’s refinery in Montreal in the coming weeks.

3 days in Alberta

New Brunswick Premier David Alward responded to TransCanada’s announcement on Tuesday morning during a news conference held at the Irving Oil headquarters, calling it an “encouraging step forward.”

The New Brunswick premier said the pipeline proposal is a “historic initiative” for both the province and the country.

“We envision New Brunswick as Canada’s next energy powerhouse and Saint John as the anchor of that powerhouse,” Alward said in front of more than 30 Irving Oil employees.

“If we proceed, this project will strengthen our national and provincial economies and create jobs and economic growth today and for generations to come,” he said, suggesting the project has the potential to be as important to Canada’s economic future as the railway was in the past.

Alward said the pipeline will create high-paying jobs in New Brunswick and will keep workers in the province instead of heading to western Canada to find employment in the oilsands.

“I want to see the day when the mother or father, the son or daughter leave their New Brunswick home in the morning to go to work in the development of natural resources, they will return for dinner that night, not three or four weeks later,” he said.

Alward spent three days in Alberta in February talking to Alberta Premier Alison Redford and oil executives about the possibility of the west-to-east pipeline.

The project has the possibility of creating 2,000 jobs during the construction phase of the pipeline and a few hundred refining jobs after, according to some estimates.

Alberta has been interested in the project, because oil from that province is now being shipped to the United States, where there is a glut. That means oil producers are getting $20 to $40 less per barrel than the world price.

Those lower prices translate into lower royalties for the provincial government, and that is causing a potential multi-billion dollar deficit in Alberta. A pipeline to the Irving Oil refinery would allow Alberta producers to charge the higher world price.

A new pipeline would also alleviate Canada’s dependence on foreign oil and increase the value of Canada’s crude oil through shipping to world markets from the deep-water port of Saint John, said Alward.

Port Saint John president and CEO Jim Quinn welcomed the prospect of playing an integral role in bringing Canadian crude to global markets.

“This opportunity for Saint John and our port is phenomenal,” Quinn said in a statement.

The port, which for 50 years has been handling petroleum cargo for both import and export, currently handles the largest oil tankers in the world, as well as the largest crude carriers, he said.

TransCanada Corp. may build 1,400 kilometres of pipeline, extending its capacity into Saint John. TransCanada Corp. may build 1,400 kilometres of pipeline, extending its capacity into Saint John. (Courtest of TransCanada)

Democracy School in Dover-Foxcroft

This democracy school by CELDF was brought to Dover-Foxcroft by members of Stop the East-West Corridor.  There will be another school on April 5 and 6th, followed by a rights-based-ordinance workshop on April 7th.  Visit our calendar for details.

Citizens and Activists Learn About U.S. Government System

by WABI-TV5 News Desk | March 8th 2013

View Original Article.

Dover-Foxcroft – Concerned citizens and activists had a chance to learn more about the United States government system.

The Daniel Pennock Democracy School was held at the Congregational Church in Dover-Foxcroft earlier this week.

This was the third time the course has been taught in the area by members of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

“Folks come here to learn about the legal structure. How it’s set up and what they can to do to actually take local democracy back and actually make those decisions for themselves”
“It’s about giving them an avenue to follow to be able to get that kind of community established and in place.”

Nat Pop: “So were going actually move now and take a look at the constitution of the United States of America.”

Participant Matthew Newman was paying close attention throughout the session.

“I came here specifically to learn how to write legislation or ordinances for towns along the route so that they can self govern”

In particular, he is concerned with the East West Corridor proposal.

“we should have the right as the community to to say as a community that we don’t want this”

But not everyone is here for the same reason as Matthew,

“We’ve had elected officials folks from all different political backgrounds. Folks come to this school when they either would like to say no to something coming into their community that they don’t want to see that’s going to harm…Or they would actually like to implement a positive policy ”
“I very rarely know what political leanings the people who participate in these democracy schools are. I seldom ask and I seldom find out. It’s really about those members of the communities who see that they perhaps are somehow being restricted from really obtaining the goals they have for their children or their grandchildren”

Caitlin Burchill. WABI TV 5 News. Dover-Foxcroft.

Senator Doug Thomas claims he was threatened

In this article Senator Doug Thomas claims he was threatened by environmental extremists, and that they put fish in his dooryard.  Since then, Thomas’s neighbor came forward to share that a fish truck had spilled fish for about a mile along the whole road, effecting all of them.  This appears to be another attempt by Thomas and EWC proponents to minimize and criminalize Corridor opponents, and create fear in the greater public.  That neighbor has contacted WGME to clarify the situation.  We expect a corrected news story soon.

State Senator Threatened For East-West Highway Support

Link to Video and Original Article.

AUGUSTA (WGME) — Threats and intimidation, that’s what one state senator claims he’s been subjected to, over his support for an east-west highway in Maine.

That project has been talked about for years, drawing support, opposition and controversy at every turn. But one of the most vocal supporters of the project claims the debate is taking a dark turn.

State Senator Doug Thomas: “It’s a great place to represent.  I’ve got Moosehead Lake and Baxter State Park and Mount Khatadin and just wonderful people.”

State Senator Doug Thomas represents Piscataquis county.  His constituents are divided over the proposed East-West highway.  If built, it would cut through the southern end of the county.  Senator Thomas supports the highway because he thinks it will benefit people in northern Maine by linking them to Canada.

Thomas: “They’re our biggest trading partner.  And their economy is thriving while ours seems to be sinking.  And we need to take a look.  We need to be better connected to the Canadian economy.”

Senator Thomas believes radical environmental groups will do anything to stop this highway from being built.  The senator says he met with the head of a radical environmental group and two days later, someone placed dead fish, one every 50 feet or so, in either direction on the road outside his home.  The latest threat came in an email this week.

Thomas: “It said that I needed to be careful for my political future and my business’s future.  And that I should change my position and if I didn’t, it was going to cost me. This is a concealed weapons permit that I’m going after today.  I’m going to defend myself.”

There’s a lot of opposition to the East-West highway.  Environmental groups say it won’t bring in long term jobs, won’t help local economies, and won’t bring in tourists.  Instead, they say it will bring in pollution, and adversely impact Maine’s forests, waterways and wildlife.  Senator Thomas, though, doesn’t believe any of that’s true.”

The senator says it should be up to the people of Maine to decide if the highway should be built, not radical environmentalists.

Earth First is one of the environmental groups working in Maine to stop the east-west highway. We tried reaching them, but did not hear back. However, on its website, Earth First says, quote, “We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, including civil disobedience.”

STEWC has strong presence at Rally of Unity on January 8th!

On January 8th, members of STEWC joined members of over 20 other progressive activist groups in a Rally of Unity at the State House.  It was an inspiring and successful day with over 150 participants, including drumming and dancing led by members of the Wabanaki Confederacy who are also raising awareness on #IdleNoMore.  Thanks to everyone for coming to speak to legislators and share hope for a healthy and prosperous future in Maine, the way life should be!

DSC00148

Click on the following links for video and news coverage:

WERU

Portland Phoenix article by Lance Tapley

WGME Channel 13

Morning Sentinel

 

Here is the press release from the event:

Press Release

On January 8th, 2013 the Alliance for Common Good will hold a “Rally of Unity” in the Statehouse Hall of Flags.  Participants will assemble on the common area outside of the statehouse at 12:00 noon and proceed to the Hall of Flags at 1:00. The “Rally of Unity” is assembling as a unified front to push back against corporate dominance in government. The primary focus is giving voice to ordinary Maine people who are concerned about the fiscal cliff, cuts to social services, the East-West corridor, open pit mining of Bald Mountain, tar sands pipelines, importing out of state waste, and the liquefied propane tank at Sears Island.  All of these issues threaten to irreversibly harm Maine’s people, economy, and environment.

The Alliance for Common Good is a collaboration of over 20 of Maine-based progressive activist groups that agree with these basic principles: We want legislators to prioritize Maine money for Maine people, developing a Maine economy that protects the environment, and getting money out of politics.  On January 8th, individual groups will provide their own message to the public and legislators by theater, song or signage.

It is hoped that all likeminded people will join us at the State House in reminding our newly elected state officials that they have been elected to represent the best interests of all of Maine’s people on this first day of the 126th Legislature.

drummers

The Alliance for Common Good currently includes:

350 Maine, AbilityMaine, Activist Art, Alliance for Democracy, American Friends Service Committee, Americans Who Tell the Truth, Bring Our War $$ Home, Citizens United, CodePink, Defending Water for Life, Don’t Waste ME, Food and Water Watch, Food for Maine’s Future, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Global Network, Industrial Wind activists, Maine EarthFirst!, Maine Greens, Maine Peace Action, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, National War Tax Resisters, Occupy groups statewide, Pax Christi Maine, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Peninsula Peace and Justice, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, Resources for Organizing and Social Change, Social Workers,  Searsport LPG activists, Stop the East-West Corridor, Thanks But No Tank, Veterans for Peace… and growing!