The BEAT News

98-year-old woman arrested in pipeline protest: ‘My life has been devoted to trying to wake people up’

A 98-year-old woman with a long history of activism was arrested with seven others Saturday after stopping pipe-laying work in Otis State Forest. Frances Crowe, considered a legend for her peace activism and anti-nuclear efforts, was pushed in her wheelchair to the edge of the open pipeline trench with seven other Sugar Shack Alliance members, causing Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. workers to stop heavy machine work and call police. FROM THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE <more>

NOFA/MASS Now Accepting Workshop Proposals For 2018 Winter Conference!

Are you an innovator in the care and management of holistic, living food systems? Do you work to optimize the ecological health of managed lands? Do you have a particular skill to share that supports a lifestyle interconnected with natural, living systems? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, then please submit a workshop proposal for the 2018 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, to be held January 13th 2018 at Worcester State University. FROM THE NORTHEAST ORGANIC FARMERS ASSOCIATION <more>

Challenges for Electric System Planning Reasonable Alternatives to ISO-NE’s Discounts for Uncertainty

[BEAT note: We need to make sure Governor Charlie Baker, who is still pushing for a pipeline tax on all electric ratepayers to bring in even more fracked natural gas, knows how biased ISO-New England (Independent Systems Operator, the air traffic controllers of our electric grid) is and how that is allowing Big Gas to overbuild at our expense!]

Conclusions: “In 2015, we identified how the ISO’s traditional approach to load forecasting had consistently produced substantial overstatements of future peak loads (summer and winter) and annual energy consumption, despite leading edge changes to their forecasting methodology to reflect state policy driven investments in energy efficiency and photovoltaic resources. PREPARED BY SYNAPSE ENERGY FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE OFFICE OF CONSUMER ADVOCATES <more>

Roundup Revealed: Glyphosate In Our Food System

Glyphosate, the key ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup®, has sparked a battle over the future of food. Over the past decade, it has become the most widely used and heavily applied herbicide in history. The majority of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the U.S. are designed to survive direct applications of glyphosate. As use of GE crops has increased, use of the herbicide has skyrocketed. A lesser-known use of glyphosate is also attracting scrutiny as it becomes more widespread. Glyphosate is increasingly sprayed on crops like wheat, oats, and beans days prior to harvest to desiccate the plants so harvest operations are easier and can be started earlier. Pre-harvest use results in much higher residues of glyphosate in foods. To address this increase in residues, regulators have consistently raised the legal limits of glyphosate on food crops, despite vigorous public opposition. FROM AS YOU SOW <more>

DAPL Ruling: What Was Decided, What’s Next?

The Court decision finding legal flaws in the Army Corps’ permitting process for the Dakota Access pipeline was rightly hailed as a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies, and a vindication of the concerns the pipeline has raised from the very beginning. It is not, however, the last word on the pipeline’s legality or operations, and we continue to face significant headwinds under this administration. On Wednesday, June 21st, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia will hold a status hearing on this case to determine how it will proceed, including next steps to the judge’s decision on whether the pipeline will be switched off while the Corps complies with the Court’s opinion. FROM EARTHJUSTICE <more>

 

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Jobs (click here for full job listings below)

Program and Development Assistant – Schumacher Center for New Economics – Egremont, MA

2017-18 Position Openings with TerraCorps – Various locations

Various Positions – The Manice Education Center (MEC) – Florida, MA

Sierra Club – Temporary Boston Online Organizer – Boston, MA

Volunteer Opportunities in the Berkshires w/The Trustees  Stockbridge & Cummington, MA

Mass Audubon – Berkshire Nature Camp Educators @ Pleasant Valley – Lenox, MA


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98-year-old woman arrested in pipeline protest: ‘My life has been devoted to trying to
wake people up’

HEATHER BELLOW |THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE

SANDISFIELD – A 98-year-old woman with a long history of activism was arrested with seven others Saturday after stopping pipe-laying work in Otis State Forest.

Frances Crowe, considered a legend for her peace activism and anti-nuclear efforts, was pushed in her wheelchair to the edge of the open pipeline trench with seven other Sugar Shack Alliance members, causing Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. workers to stop heavy machine work and call police.

Surrounded by state police after her arrest, fellow activists pushed her uphill through the pipeline easement to the backseat of a sheriff’s cruiser, and when asked how many times she has been arrested, she smiled.

“Not enough,” she said, prompting loads of laughter.

This is the third time Crowe has been arrested since she turned 90, after a long life with numerous arrests.

The arrests Saturday were a third round of peaceful protests since the Kinder Morgan subsidiary began work last month to its $93 million Connecticut Expansion Project, a 13-mile natural gas storage loop, part of which will run through an existing pipeline corridor in Otis State Forest.

Last week 24 activists were in Southern Berkshire District Court for a civil trespassing hearing stemming from those May charges.

The project, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last year, has stirred anger from local residents and activists for many reasons, and particularly because the company – after a court battle with the state – won an easement of roughly two miles of state-owned and protected land.

Crowe, who lives in Northampton, said she’s been at this since 1945, when she was 26.

“I was against Hiroshima,” she said of the American atomic bombing of the Japanese city during World War II.

After becoming a peace activist, and later a war tax refuser, she said she was part of Shut It Down, a group that helped close the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in 2014.

Now it’s hydro-fracked gas she is working against.

“I am very much opposed to taking our fuel out of the ground,” she said. “We can meet our needs with wind and solar. This is the answer for the future.”

“My life has been devoted to trying to wake people up,” she added.

Sugar Shack, a group working for renewable energy, started out in the morning with a theatrical rally at Lower Spectacle Pond to begin their “summer days of resistance.” There they wrote evils like “money in politics” and buried them in a cardboard casket they would later lay down next to the pipeline trench – for which some were arrested – while someone played taps on a trumpet.

Several state police troopers stood near the pond in good spirits, watching the group of around 60. They said they weren’t expecting any civil disobedience. And wasn’t it a glorious day after the hard morning rains, they said – and bug free.

“We just don’t want anyone to get run over here,” said Major Michael Habel, gesturing to all kinds of blocked traffic on this rough rural road. “We understand that they have the right to do this.”

The protesters then walked the road to their staging ground, holding up tractor-trailers carrying pipes and other workers, who rolled down their windows to talk to police.

One spoke his mind.

“They drive 26 miles in their cars to protest gas and oil,” one company contractor was overheard saying, referring to the activists, who are mostly from Franklin County. “If you’re going to protest this you should be a minimalist about what you’re protesting. Our company does solar and wind also.”

Kinder Morgan’s statement on climate change says the company is working toward solutions and expects “that future energy demand will be met in part by a growing proportion of renewable energy sources.”

The company says it is building new natural gas lines “to make access to lower carbon and renewable energy more feasible,” and says it is, among other environmental strategies, “reducing emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases from our operations.”

At the Thoreau Cabin Pipeline Barricade, built by Sugar Shack on private property that abuts the pipeline easement, no one believed the company.

The group sang and cheered as Crowe was arrested.

While six were put in the van headed for jail, Connie Harvard got arrested partly so she could stay with Crowe.

Watching the scene, which again stopped traffic, activist Terran Giacomimi said Crowe was an inspiration.

“She’s a fighter,” she said. “For the people.”

Reach staff writer Heather Bellow at 413-329-6871


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NOFA/MASS Now Accepting Workshop Proposals For 2018 Winter Conference!

Are you an innovator in the care and management of holistic, living food systems? Do you work to optimize the ecological health of managed lands– be they urban micro-farms, municipal parks, academic research fields, commercial farms, homesteads, or food businesses? Do you have a particular skill to share that supports a lifestyle interconnected with natural, living systems?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, then please submit a workshop proposal for the 2018 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference, to be held January 13th 2018 at Worcester State University.
Over a thousand people convene at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference annually — including farmers, gardeners, landscapers, academics, and representatives from farm/food systems agencies– to exchange knowledge with the common goal of improving the health and productivity of the living land. We in the NOFA community believe in the insights and innovation that arise from sharing knowledge across sectors; facilitating such connections is an important goal of the conference. We therefore encourage you to not only consider what you can teach to others in your field (i.e. landscaper-to-landscaper) but what you may know that is of value to someone in another sector (i.e. landscaper-to-farmer).
We hope that you will join us this year, and I look forward to reviewing your workshop p
roposal. Please submit your proposal as soon as possible-early submissions are helpful to our planning process and are more likely to be accepted. We will consider submissions until Friday September 15th when the proposal period will end. You may submit your workshop by completing theWorkshop Presenter Form.
For additional guidance on crafting an excellent presentation, and for more details regarding workshop logistics and parameters, please review Request for Workshop Proposals. Feel free contact the Workshops Coordinator, Caro Roszell, with any questions: 508.360.0874 / [email protected][email protected]
Important Links


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Challenges for Electric System Planning Reasonable Alternatives to ISO-NE’s Discounts for Uncertainty

PREPARED BY SYNAPSE ENERGY FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE OFFICE OF CONSUMER ADVOCATES

[BEAT note: We need to make sure Governor Charlie Baker, who is still pushing for a pipeline tax on all electric ratepayers to bring in even more fracked natural gas, knows how biased ISO-New England (Independent Systems Operator, the air traffic controllers of our electric grid) is and how that is allowing Big Gas to overbuild at our expense!]

Conclusions: “In 2015, we identified how the ISO’s traditional approach to load forecasting had consistently produced substantial overstatements of future peak loads (summer and winter) and annual energy consumption, despite leading edge changes to their forecasting methodology to reflect state policy driven investments in energy efficiency and photovoltaic resources. We closely examined the EE [energy efficiency] and PV [photovoltaic] forecast methodologies and removed some of the discounts that the ISO applies to these two forecasts. Using revised EE and PV forecasts, we improved the overall forecasts of peak loads and annual energy consumption—our results more closely matched historical trends.

“In this 2017 update, we show incremental improvements to the ISO CELT [capacity, energy, loads, and transmission] forecasts based on incremental changes that the ISO has made to their discount factors. But we still find significant gaps between ISO forecasts and historical data. The gaps are greatest for annual energy consumption, more modest for summer peak loads, and smallest for winter peak loads. Most importantly, all three forecasts are on a downward trend when the ISO discounts are removed. The ISO CELT forecasts still show increasing loads, particularly in the outer years of the ten-year forecasts.

“We recommend that the ISO remove most of the discount factors in the EE and PV forecasts as a first step towards better aligning their CELT forecasts with the actual impacts of state-policy resource choices as shown in the historical data. We further recommend that the ISO undertake a comprehensive inventory of new resources that can be updated on a periodic basis; this will require working closely with distribution system operators who must approve the interconnections of distributed resources. Finally, we recommend that the ISO revise its load forecast methodology to better align econometric and historical data inputs to twenty-first century conditions and realities.

“Improved forecasts are critical for both system planning and markets. CELT reports that consistently over-forecast will likely lead to inefficient and unnecessary investments by New England consumers in bulk power system facilities and other infrastructure. Over-forecasting will also encourage the development of generation resources that are unnecessary and unable to be supported by the markets.”


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Roundup Revealed: Glyphosate In Our Food System

FROM AS YOU SOW

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Glyphosate, the key ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup®, has sparked a battle over the future of food. Over the past decade, it has become the most widely used and heavily applied herbicide in history.

The majority of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the U.S. are designed to survive direct applications of glyphosate. As use of GE crops has increased, use of the herbicide has skyrocketed.

A lesser-known use of glyphosate is also attracting scrutiny as it becomes more widespread. Glyphosate is increasingly sprayed on crops like wheat, oats, and beans days prior to harvest to desiccate the plants so harvest operations are easier and can be started earlier. Pre-harvest use results in much higher residues of glyphosate in foods. To address this increase in residues, regulators have consistently raised the legal limits of glyphosate on food crops, despite vigorous public opposition.  

Two years ago, the World Health Organization’s cancer authority classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Many countries, communities, and businesses have taken or are considering action to restrict glyphosate use. However, national regulators in the U.S. and EU have historically maintained that glyphosate is safe. The controversy over glyphosate is located at the nexus of several important trends. Recently, the handful of firms that control world markets in proprietary seeds and pesticides have further consolidated. Some of these companies are staking their futures on new GE crops that are engineered to tolerate not only glyphosate but herbicides that are even more dangerous and volatile. These manufacturers’ goals are in sharp contrast to consumer movements that increasingly value fresh, healthy, and socially beneficial food.

This report tells the story of glyphosate – how and why it is used, what we know about it, and what we do not. It focuses on human health concerns, such as increasing dietary exposures linked to pre-harvest use of glyphosate and the mounting criticism of current U.S. pesticide regulation. The final section outlines our recommendations.

The modern industrial food system, which heavily uses herbicide-resistant GE crops, is increasingly understood to be unsustainable. Investors, companies, and communities will all benefit from a more sustainable food system that will feed the planet today and for generations to come with reduced human and environmental impact. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.


 DAPL Ruling: What Was Decided, What’s Next

BY JAN HASSELMAN | EARTHJUSTICE

UPDATE, 6/21: The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held a hearing to set a briefing schedule for the continuation of the lawsuit, including a timeline for arguing whether the pipeline must be shut down while the Corps attempts to comply with the Judge’s orders. Attorney Jan Hasselman gave an update on Facebook Live following the hearing.

JUNE 15, 2017

The Court decision finding legal flaws in the Army Corps’ permitting process for the Dakota Access pipeline was rightly hailed as a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies, and a vindication of the concerns the pipeline has raised from the very beginning. It is not, however, the last word on the pipeline’s legality or operations, and we continue to face significant headwinds under this administration.

On Wednesday, June 21st, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia will hold a status hearing on this case to determine how it will proceed, including next steps to the judge’s decision on whether the pipeline will be switched off while the Corps complies with the Court’s opinion.

The Court’s latest decision on DAPL breaks down like this: The Army Corps’ permits were legal in some respects and illegal in others. The illegalities stem from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is a law that requires federal agencies to prepare full environmental impact statements (EIS) for federal projects that have significant environmental impacts.

The core of the Tribe’s lawsuit was that the pipeline’s crossing at Lake Oahe on the Missouri River was significant enough to require an EIS. The Trump administration disagrees. It reversed the Obama administration’s decision in December to prepare an EIS, dismissing the risks of an oil spill and the consequences that could have for the Tribe and its rights.

The Court found that the Trump administration decision fell short in three important respects, all of them fundamental to the Tribe’s concerns.

FIRST, it held that the Corps failed to address—or even mention—significant expert criticism of the agency’s oil spill risk review, which found that the Corps’ risk analysis was inadequate in several respects.

SECOND, the Court found that the Corps never adequately considered the impacts of an oil spill on the Tribe’s treaty rights, which includes protecting the Tribe’s right to hunt and fish on tribal lands.

FINALLY, the Court found that the Corps’ environmental justice analysis was unlawful because it adopted a half mile buffer to assess oil spill risks, when studies have shown that, on a river like the Missouri, oil spills could reach far beyond a half mile. Only considering environmental justice implications within half a mile—when the Standing Rock reservation lies 0.55 of a mile from the pipeline—was not reasonable in the Court’s view.

The Court upheld other parts of the Corps’ analysis. For example, the Court found that the Corps did not run afoul of the Tribe’s treaties when it issued its decision.

So what happens next?

There are two big questions ahead. ONE, the Court has returned the permits to the Corps for further review. It did not explicitly direct the Corps to perform an EIS, which means that the agency could simply revise or update its environmental review and again conclude that no EIS is required. If that happens, additional legal challenges are likely. The Tribe believes this court decision should trigger a full EIS, including consideration of route alternatives, just as the Obama administration proposed in December. We invite our supporters to share their views with the Army Corps and the White House that this is the proper path forward.

TWO, the Court has left open the question of the pipeline’s fate while this review process goes forward. Normally, when a permit is issued in violation of NEPA, the appropriate remedy is to “vacate” that permit—i.e., make it invalid in the eyes of the law. That would have the effect of forcing the pipeline company to shut down the pipeline while the review is conducted. However, the Court acknowledged that sometimes permits can be left in place during this period—meaning the pipeline could continue to operate while the review was underway. The Tribe’s position is clear. Until there has been a thorough analysis of the risks and consequences of operating this pipeline—one that actually meets the standards imposed by the law—the pipeline should not be operating. We will make that case as forcefully as we can to the Court, and we expect a decision in the next month or two.

In the meantime, it is important to understand that NEPA, at the end of the day, does not require the government to make the most environmentally-protective decision. It prohibits uninformed decision-making but doesn’t prohibit actions that carry risk.

Ultimately, our collective challenge is to persuade this administration that the pipeline doesn’t belong near the Standing Rock Reservation. Convincing the last administration of this was an uphill struggle, and it will be an even steeper hill to climb under this administration.

But the Tribe is not backing down from this fight. We will continue to push for the pipeline to be shut down, a full and fair environmental review, and a new permit decision that respects the Tribe and its treaty rights, and prohibits the pipeline company from putting all of the risk of this dirty and dangerous project on Native people.

 


Jobs


Program and Development Assistant – Schumacher Center for New Economics – Egremont, MA

The Schumacher Center is looking for an exceptional individual to join our team and support other program staff and the executive director in representing the organization and furthering its goals. A successful candidate will be a detail-oriented team player with proven writing, speaking, and event coordination skills. Full details and how to apply here.

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2017-18 Position Openings with TerraCorps – Various locations

TerraCorps, formerly MassLIFT-AmeriCorps, is an innovative national service program helping communities conserve and secure land for the health and well-being of people and nature. This year we are looking for 36 members to serve in full-time, 11 month positions. Members will carry out capacity building projects; educate or train individuals; recruit, train, manage, and support community volunteers engaged in land-based activities; and identify new individuals and groups to participate in education, recreation, or service opportunities centered around land access and conservation.

Members serve as: Land Stewardship Coordinators, Regional Conservation Coordinators, Youth Education Coordinators, or Community Engagement Coordinators.

These 1,700 hour AmeriCorps positions receive a living allowance, education award, and additional AmeriCorps benefits. The 2017-2018 program will run from 8/28/17 – 7/27/18.

Application specifics, position descriptions, and information about organizations hosting TerraCorps members can be found at here.

Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled. Interviews begin mid-April, and we aim to fill all positions by the end of June.

AmeriCorps programs provide equal service opportunities. TerraCorps will recruit and select persons in all positions to ensure a diverse and inclusive climate without regard to any particular status. We encourage applications from individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations for interviews and service upon request. TerraCorps is a grant program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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Various Positions – The Manice Education Center (MEC) – Florida, MA

The Manice Education Center (MEC) is intentionally located in a unique outdoor setting within the heart of the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. MEC operates several distinctly different seasonal programs that are experientially focused in high-quality environmental education, wilderness camping, and leadership training.

Summer Outdoor educators will lead wilderness expeditions for campers & can expect to guide an average of 6 backpacking and/or canoeing trips, ranging from 2 to 5 days in length.  Expedition locations inlude the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Savoy Mountain State Forest, Taconic Trail, Battenkill River, Deerfield River, & Connecticut River. Educators receive training in backpacking and wilderness navigation, participate in a 2 day professional canoe clinic, & can earn free certifications in Wildernes First Aid and/or Waterfront Lifeguarding.

APPLY TODAY – SEND US A COVER LETTER AND RESUME TO [email protected]

For more details please visit our Jobs page (click here).

Please share this opportunity with your friends and colleagues! If you have any questions about employment in Christodora programs, please contact Matthew Scholl, Programs Director at 413.663.8463 or email us at [email protected]

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Sierra Club – Temporary Boston Online Organizer

The Online Organizing team furthers Sierra Club’s goals by using online tools and tactics to engage members and activists at the local and national level. The team focuses on providing timely, engaging actions that Club activists can use to influence policy decision-making processes, as well as further develop and grow Sierra Club’s activist and volunteer leadership bases. This is a temporary position running June – September 2017. Visit the Sierra Club’s website for all the details.

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 Volunteer Opportunities with The Trustees

“Time travel” with The Trustees, and take our visitors on the voyage with you! Become a National Historic Landmark Greeter at Mission House (Stockbridge) or Tour Guide at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead (Cummington) and share the stories and magic of these special places. No experience necessary. Training provided. Fridays through Sundays. Flexible. Fun. Social. Rewarding.

Visit www.thetrustees.org/volunteer or contact [email protected] or413.532.1631 ext. 3119 for more information.

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