American Jobs Plan offers many opportunities

Once-in-a-generation opportunity for West Virginia

Opinion – Editorial by Evan Hansen, Charleston Gazette – Mail, September 21, 2021

If it seems like it’s flooding more frequently these days, that’s because it is. In the past decade, West Virginia has experienced flooding emergencies almost every year. Many of these floods — such as the recent ones in Morgantown and Huntington — were caused by intense downbursts that climate scientists have warned about for decades.

The new U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report confirms that the effects of climate change are already upon us and that they are rapidly intensifying. But there’s still time to limit the worst effects.

West Virginia’s economic climate is changing alongside the global one. Several coal-fired power plants have been shut down in recent years, and more closures are coming in the next decades. Coal production has fallen, companies have gone bankrupt and miners have lost their jobs. Too many Mountaineers are uprooting and moving elsewhere. In the past decade, we lost more people than any other state.

Despite the flood of changes headed our way, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart a new course for West Virginia.

We find ourselves at an unusual moment in history: President Joe Biden has committed a huge amount of resources to coal communities, we have arguably the most powerful senator in recent memory, and we have little time left to act on climate. West Virginia might never have Washington, D.C.’s ear in the same way again.

We need federal action on climate, to cut down on the frequent flooding in West Virginia, but the solutions need to work for our people and our communities.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Democrat spending plan are the first serious federal efforts to limit the damage from climate change while helping West Virginia’s coal communities thrive in the new economy. In fact, a West Virginia University analysis projected that the American Jobs Plan would create thousands of local jobs, lower energy costs and put approximately $172 million in West Virginians’ pocketbooks annually.

Even with these federal investments, we need to step up at the state level and help the communities hardest hit by the changing economy. In the West Virginia House of Delegates, the Coal Community Workgroup was formed this spring to do everything it can to support the most-affected towns and counties. We’ll be holding listening sessions in coal communities across the state this fall, and we need you to tell us how we can best support coal and power plant workers and diversify local economies.

Some communities might prioritize investments in broadband, while others might focus on water and sewer systems. One community might invest in its local hospital, while another might help its Main Street shops. Some might envision a future that capitalizes on the state’s natural beauty by creating recreational trails, perhaps with the help of a new Civilian Climate Corps. Others might focus on private-sector investments to turn coal into advanced carbon products.

Each community knows its assets and each is the best judge of what it needs to attract new investments that will keep West Virginians from moving away.

The infrastructure bill and the spending plan include significant funding that can begin to make these plans real: billions of dollars to reclaim abandoned coal mines and orphan oil and gas wells; incentives to entice new energy companies to locate in coal country; and long-overdue investments in traditional infrastructure. A significant portion of these funds will be directed to distressed communities right here in West Virginia.

Now that federal and state efforts are moving forward with similar goals, I’m optimistic that we can make progress in ways that seemed impossible just a few years ago. But each community needs a plan to make the best use of available federal money. If local, state and federal leaders work together, we can capitalize on this moment to build economically diverse and climate resilient communities that will weather the coming storms.

>> Delegate Evan Hansen, D-Monongalia, is a member of the Coal Community Workgroup and the Energy and Manufacturing Committee in the WV House of Delegates.

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See also: Op-ed: We don’t have time for another fossil fuel bridge, Seth Mullendore, Environmental Heath News, September 21, 2021

Those holding up carbon capture and hydrogen as new climate solutions are leading us down the wrong path.

Many of the voices holding up carbon capture and hydrogen as new climate solutions are the same voices that fought for the natural gas bridge a decade ago. And, once again, they’re leading us down the wrong path, building a bridge to decades of additional emissions when we’re rapidly running out of time to avoid the most dire impacts of climate change.

As the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made abundantly clear, we don’t have time for another fossil fuel bridge.

>> Seth Mullendore is vice president and project director for Clean Energy Group where he leads projects ranging from advancing customer-sited solar and battery storage in underserved communities to the replacement of power plants with clean technologies.

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Pittsburgh March for Climate Justice

Join Sunrise Pittsburgh, Socialist Alternative, Green New Deal for Pittsburgh, Ohio Valley Environmental Resistance, the Izaak Walton League of Allegheny County, and more!

>> Millions are taking to the streets across the globe for intersectional climate justice on September 24th!

When and Where: Friday, September 24th from 12-3 pm starting at Schenley Plaza and marching to 414 Grant Street in Pittsburgh.

Why: The world is in a state of emergency. Across the globe, the climate crisis is wreaking havoc on our communities, destroying our homes and livelihoods, and leaving death and destruction in its wake. The message is clear: our extractive system has resulted in the greatest crisis we have ever faced, and now we must rise to combat this monster of our own making for all of our futures. We cannot let politics or corporatism convince us that there is no way to stop it, because there is: a just transition from fossil fuels to a regenerative economy.

We know this can’t be done in a day, but the fight has begun and now we must act strongly to show those in power that we are united and will not back down. That is why we are calling on you, citizens, organizations, and communities, to join us in this fight. To be truly united for a future that reflects justice for all.

Sunrise Movement’s Demands:

We are structuring this action so that every organization can bring demands to the table, but each organizations’ demands do not supersede the overall goals of the strike.

Represent Youth in Local Climate Decisions. Pittsburgh politics has failed to be truly representative of all its communities, especially its youth. We want diverse representation at the table and an actual part in the decision-making process- we are not pawns for press points

Ban Fracking! In addition to exacerbating climate change, fracking harms our communities and destroys our county’s beautiful wild spaces. That is why we demand Allegheny County ban all new fracked gas wells and move towards closing all remaining wells while ensuring the protection and new employment of their workers.

Tax Big Business for Green Infrastructure. Big Businesses like UPMC and fossil fuel companies must be taxed to help fund new Green Infrastructure programs; these programs will get us to the 100% renewable energy threshold mandated by the latest IPCC report

Stop Line 3! We are demanding that the US Federal Government halt the ongoing construction of Line 3, an oil pipeline being constructed in Minnesota which will not only potentially leak harmful chemicals into the environment but contributes to fossil fuel infrastructure and the ongoing environmental racism and treaty violations against Native Americans particularly the Anishinaabe. More info: stopline3.org

Just Transition and Clean Jobs for All. We are demanding a Just Transition to 100% renewable energy and a regenerative economy by 2050 and a crucial part of that will be ensuring that all people have clean, green, healthy jobs that pay a living wage.

Fight for Intersectional Climate Justice. We cannot achieve these goals the way we’re fighting now. As a movement, as communities, we must acknowledge the intersectional nature of our struggles and work together towards the goal of a safe, healthy, and regenerative future. We need to put aside the idea that our movements are separate, and address issues of race, class, gender, identity, policing, and government in tandem with our environment.

>> If you want to join us as an individual, we welcome you to take to the streets with us! If your organization would like to join the list of cosponsors, please reach out to this email: pittsunrisemovement@gmail.com about how you can get involved!

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“Hard Road of Hope” Characterizes Coal & Gas Extraction in West Virginia

September 21, 2021

A region scarred by coal production now faces fracking threats From an Article by Maximillian Alvarez, TRNN, September 7, 2021 The Real News Network (TRNN) Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez talks with filmmaker Eleanor Goldfield about her documentary “Hard Road of Hope” and the destruction coal and gas companies have wreaked on West Virginia. In her documentary [...]

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Q/A on Ethylene Oxide Air Emissions in the Kanawha Valley, WV

September 20, 2021

Learn More about Your Exposure to Toxic & Dangerous Chemicals: EPA Virtual Public Hearing on Ethylene Oxide Emissions This Thursday To: Concerned Citizens Locally & Nationally, September 20, 2021 Tune in this Thursday, September 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) [...]

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WEBINAR From MARCH FOR SCIENCE on Upcoming COP26 Meeting in Glasgow, Scotland

September 19, 2021

What You Need To Know About Congress of the Parties # 26 (COP26) Message to Our Friends and Concerned Citizens, This November, the United Nations will convene for its annual climate change conference in Glasgow. Known as COP26, the conference will provide world leaders the opportunity to revise their national climate goals under the Paris [...]

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Real-Time GHG Emissions Monitoring from Space Gives Important Data

September 18, 2021

Data project backed by Al Gore aims for real-time emissions monitoring From an Article by Ross Kerber, Reuters News Service, September 16, 2021 BOSTON — A technology and academic coalition backed by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore this week unveiled data showing fossil fuel producers’ previously unrecorded greenhouse gas emissions, and growing pollution from [...]

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U.S. Climate Change Plans Are “Insufficient” to Meet United Nations Goals

September 17, 2021

Near-Total Global Failure to Meet 1.5°C Climate Change Targets, Analysis Shows From an Article by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, September 15, 2021 A new analysis reveals a near total global failure of governments to have climate action and targets on track for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Released Wednesday by [...]

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Will You HELP! Build New & “Build Back Better” ~ Contact Your Senators Now!

September 16, 2021

Senator Manchin and Senator Capito Need to Hear YOUR CLIMATE CONCERNS >> Greetings from Sandra Fallon, Morgantown, hope this message finds you doing well ~~~ I’m writing to ask for your assistance related to current efforts going on in West Virginia to help get strong climate provisions included in the $3.5T reconciliation budget (President Biden’s [...]

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Persistent PFAS Chemicals are Overdue for Strict Limitations Locally & Globally

September 15, 2021

Global (and local) action on harmful PFAS chemicals is long overdue From an Article by Kristina Marusic, Environmental Health News, September 15, 2021 The scientific community has known for decades that a group of widely-used chemicals is causing health harms across the globe, but effective policies aimed at curbing those impacts lag far behind the [...]

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Dusting Farm Fields with Basalt Dust Now Under Study to Capture CO2

September 14, 2021

Adding Silica Dust to Soil Can Help Get Carbon into the Ground From an Article by Susan Cosier, Yale Environment 360, September 2, 2021 PHOTO — Basalt is spread on the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation’s research cornfields in Illinois. Researchers are finding that when pulverized rock is applied to agricultural fields, the soil [...]

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