‘Great Day for Clean Energy’ as Supreme Court Gives Renewables a Boost

SCOTUS upholds rule meant to incentivize electricity conservation and idle dirty fossil fuel power plants normally used during periods of high demand

— by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

“Demand response provides tremendous benefits to our environment, helps consumers save money and makes our electricity grid more reliable,” says Earthjustice. (Photo: Image Catalog/flickr/cc)

In a decision heralded as “great news for consumers and the environment,” the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld a rule meant to incentivize electricity conservation and idle dirty fossil fuel power plants normally used during periods of high demand.

As Timothy Cama explains for The Hill, the court ruled (pdf) that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) “did not exceed the authority Congress gave it when it wrote its ‘demand response’ rule, mandating that electric utilities pay customers to reduce use during peak demand periods.”

At the Natural Resources Defense Council blog, senior attorney Allison Clements offered further background:

In 2011, FERC (the agency that regulates our country’s high voltage electric transmission grid) issued a landmark rule called Order 745, which set compensation for demand response in wholesale energy markets. Under the rule, grid operators are required to pay demand response participants the same rates for reducing energy use as those paid to power suppliers for producing energy from resources like coal, natural gas, and wind and solar power. FERC said the rule reflected the common sense view that “markets function most effectively when both supply and demand resources have appropriate opportunities to participate.”

With its ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court essentially affirmed FERC’s position—and in turn, gave clean energy “a huge boost,” Clements said in a press statement. That’s because, she explained, “[i]f grid operators can count on fast-acting customer responses rather than plants that need more advanced notice to come online, they will have greater flexibility to meet electricity demand in situations when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.”

What’s more, said Sierra Club staff attorney Casey Roberts, “demand response programs make energy cheaper, ensure the reliability of the grid, and protect our air and water from fossil fuel pollution.”

As Politico points out:

The agency’s win is seen as a big loss for large “baseload” power sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, which have seen their profits decline over the last several years as electricity consumption has eased and renewables grew. Now they have to compete with industrial customers and others who will at times be paid at market rates to reduce their electricity use without having the costs of operating and maintaining a power plant themselves.

“This is a great day for clean energy and the health of a more affordable, stronger power grid,” added Earthjustice managing attorney of clean energy Jill Tauber on Monday. “Demand response provides tremendous benefits to our environment, helps consumers save money and makes our electricity grid more reliable.”


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Statement from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Photo of Ernest Moniz by John Shinkle/POLITICO

“Today’s announcement between the P5+1 and Iran is a historic accomplishment.  Building on the Lausanne framework, it will ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is – and will remain – a peaceful one, or that the international community will have more than enough time to respond if Iran’s program proves otherwise. This deal will extend the time it would take for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a first nuclear explosive device to a year for at least ten years, from the current breakout time of just two to three months.

Drawing on the vast scientific and technological expertise from across the Department of Energy’s National Laboratory system, Department and Lab experts helped shape the nuclear negotiations through rigorous technical analysis. The Department of Energy backs the deal and stands ready to assist in its implementation.

This agreement will be implemented in phases – with some provisions in place for 10 years, others for 15 and others for 20 or 25 years. Iran has committed to the Additional Protocol indefinitely as part of its adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime.

This agreement is the result of tireless work from our experts at the Department and the National Labs, our interagency colleagues and specifically, Secretary of State John Kerry and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. The U.S. multi-agency delegation worked together collegially and seamlessly, and the P5+1 displayed remarkable cooperation and cohesion throughout this complex endeavor. These are tributes to Secretary Kerry’s personal commitment and leadership.

I also want to thank the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Salehi (MIT PhD ’77) for his dedication to this process. His professionalism, dedication and commitment to advancing Iran’s nuclear science and education programs, while at the same time building the international community’s trust in Iran’s nuclear program, were key to this agreement.

This is a good deal for America, for our allies, and for our global security. Most important, this deal is based on hard science and analysis. The facts of this agreement meet the nuclear objectives set down by President Obama: verification of a peaceful Iranian nuclear program and sufficient lead time if it proves otherwise.”

Chuck Muth’s Shockingly Electrifying Untruths

confusedI read Mr. Muth’s solar untruths with dismay in the March 31-April 2 Humboldt Sun.  Mr. Muth appears to be promulgating ALEC propaganda to bias folks against Solar Energy. Homeowners who don’t have solar panels on their roofs are NOT being ripped off by their neighbors who do. The only true statement in his entire opinion piece was:  “When it comes to electricity generation and transmission, I don’t know a kilowatt from J.J. Watt.”  He should have ended it there.

Instead, Mr. Muth went on to claim, “Net Metering is how those with rooftop solar panels are able to cut their power bills at our expense.”  First off, folks with rooftop solar panels technically, do NOT sell their excess generation to NV Energy. In accordance with regulated installation requirements, every KWH generated must be delivered to the grid for NV Energy (NVE) to use as they see fit.  Secondly, those same folks with rooftop solar panels must then purchase every single KWH their household uses.  The “net” meter keeps track of how much power is delivered to NVE as well as how much is drawn from the grid for household usage.  If a household generates more than what is used, the difference is “banked,” as a credit, for later use.

[(KWHG – KWHU) – KWHB] = KWH Net

If KWH Net = $0, then BILL = Min. Monthly Cost to Serve

  KWHG = Kilowatt-Hours Generated
KWHU = Kilowatt-Hours Used
KWHB = Kilowatt-Hours Banked

Mr. Muth goes on to claim “the power company can purchase or generate electricity at far lower prices from traditional power plants than what the government forces them to pay to your neighbor with rooftop solar panels.”  Umm, wrong!  Electricity generated using solar rooftop panels is far cheaper than what it would cost to have to cycle a large coal-fired generator up and down as electrical demands ebb and flow.  NVE’s peak loads occur during the day, when solar generation is greatest. That’s when demand for electricity peaks — especially in the summer when air conditioners are running full tilt.  It’s ludicrous for Mr. Muth to claim that starting up another coal-fired, turbine generator in the middle of the day to cover maybe just a partial load is cheaper. It’s far cheaper to use rooftop solar-generated power that consumes NO fuel, NO chemicals to clean up the stack gases, NO chemical processes to clean up the water needed to make steam, NO maintenance costs, NO plant personnel costs, NO overhead costs, etc.

Further, Mr. Muth claims, “your electric bill is higher than it should be because your power company is forced by the government to pay an ‘above-market price’ for electricity to your neighbors…” Hello? Your neighbor does NOT sell generation to NV Energy at “above-market” prices. Credit for any excess generation is “banked,” not sold.

I’m not rich. I consider my rooftop solar array an investment in the future.  Yes, Congress appropriated money to be used to provide tax rebates to folks who installed rooftop generation. And yes, I took advantage of those rebates, just as anyone would for any other tax rebate. Plus, because I paid for my installation, I own the “alternative energy generation credits (AEGCs).”  In a given year, if NVE has insufficient AEGCs to meet state/federal requirements, they may offer to buy AEGCs from homeowners. AEGCs are not equivalent to KWHs and offers to buy them have no equivalency to “above-market KWH price.”

Please keep in mind that AEGCs do NOT apply to every rooftop solar array. Many of your neighbors didn’t buy or finance their solar installation themselves. They financed it through NVE (Program used by NVE to meet their alternative energy generation requirements).  They may have panels, but NVE owns all AEGCs for that generation.  The homeowner may be able to “bank” excess KWH generated for use against a later bill, but they own NO AEGCs to sell. So, how is it Mr. Muth thinks they receive “above-market” prices for any solar generation?

Lastly, why is it that Mr. Muth, and his friends at ALEC, are so upset with homeowners who’ve installed rooftop solar?  Corporations have also installed rooftop solar, yet he has absolutely nothing to say about corporations, such as Walmart. Corporations have much larger rooftop solar arrays than any homeowner I’m aware of. If they won’t give up theirs, why should I give up mine?

 

Bio Fuels and Jobs in Your Community

biofuels___09_by_ademcFrom farmers to small business owners, the renewable fuel industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in wages in rural communities across the United States. These are homegrown jobs that can’t be outsourced and that’s good news for our rural economies

While other industries have been shipping jobs overseas, the biofuels sector has been creating jobs and spurring investment right here at home. That’s thanks to the Renewable Fuel Standard.  And, as long as we have a strong Renewable Fuel Standard, America’s rural economies will continue to grow and thrive.

But, there’s a catch.  Right now, the EPA is finalizing a multi-year version of the Renewable Fuel Standard that will determine how much renewable fuel must be blended into the U.S. fuel supply. This will have long-term implications for renewable fuel, and in turn for America’s rural communities. The EPA has to get this right.

Fuels America just released some key facts about the impact of renewable fuel on America’s rural economies. It’s all there: jobs, wages, and economic impact. We need policymakers to understand just how important the Renewable Fuel Standard is to this growing industry, and our economy.

From North Carolina to California, renewable fuel is driving economic growth in rural communities across the country. Since the passage of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005, the renewable fuel industry has grown by leaps and bounds — and along with it the communities that rely on this rapidly growing sector. As the EPA finalizes the 2014 renewable fuel targets, it’s important to remember that:

  • The RFS supports more than 852,000 jobs across the United States.
  • The workers of the renewable fuel sector take home $46.2 billion in wages every year.
  • The direct output of the renewable fuel industry is greater than the economic activity generated by the beef cattle sector.
  • There are over 840 facilities supporting renewable fuel production and distribution; research and development; and other activities throughout the country.
  • Iowa is the top state for biofuels jobs. The renewable fuel sector supports more than 73,000 jobs and $5 billion in wages for Iowa farmers, workers, and small business owners.

With so much on the line, Americans need to know that the President, Congress, and the EPA will stand up for these homegrown jobs — and strong, vibrant rural economies.  Your voice is powerful as well. Use it to help your friends, neighbors, and family members understand how renewable fuel powers rural America.

Not from NV District 2? Go here to find out how the Renewable Fuel Standard has impacted your community. Click on your state and then the district in which you live in that state.

Fueling Corporate Welfare

Giving oil and gas companies royalty-free fuel is a huge waste of taxpayer and finite public resources. But, worst of all, we get nothing but the creation of perennial corporate parasites.
—by

Ryan AlexanderGetting something for nothing is a pretty sweet deal — at least if you’re the one getting something. Not so much if you’re the one receiving nothing in exchange.

Oil and gas companies are extracting gas from federal lands and paying nothing for much of it, according to a new Taxpayers for Common Sense report.

One of our most troubling findings was that gas companies drilling on federal lands have avoided paying over $380 million in royalties on the fuel they’ve extracted over the past eight years.

That’s a lot of money — and it could be a lot more, because it’s based on self-reported data provided by the oil and gas industries.

And it’s a lot of gas.

Oil Rig
swisscan/Flickr

 

By the American Natural Gas Alliance standards, the amount of royalty-free gas either consumed as fuel or lost by operators since 2006 would be enough to meet the needs of every household in New York State for a year.

Like most subsidies for the oil and gas industry, the provision that allows companies to avoid paying royalties on gas they use as fuel for their drilling rigs is decades old.

During World War II, the federal government, in search of more revenue, wanted to start charging oil and gas companies a royalty on the gas they were using as fuel on well sites.

When the industry protested, Congress rolled over. The Mineral Leasing Act was subsequently amended in 1946 — with language directly provided by industry lobbyists — to permanently exempt this fuel from royalty payments.

At the time, Congress presented the change as a way to promote public resource development. The result? Royalty-free fuel for oil and gas companies joined the growing list of financial incentives enjoyed by the most profitable industry in the world.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Department of Interior agency that administers drilling on federal lands, is considering updating the rules for what kinds of gas should incur a royalty payment. BLM should establish a reasonable limit for leaked gas, above which any emissions are considered wasted and not exempt from royalty payments.

The largest component of the lost gas is methane, which leaks from drilling rigs, storage tanks, pipelines, and outdated equipment. This leaked methane not only costs taxpayers in lost royalty revenue, but since methane is a potent greenhouse gas, it also creates climate liabilities down the road.

It costs money to replace leaky pneumatic devices and “high-bleed” compressors, and if the gas these companies are using isn’t costing them anything, there’s less incentive to pay for better equipment.

It’s been almost 70 years since Congress wrote into law the exemption for royalty payments on the gas that companies use as fuel. Maybe it was an important part of the calculation in 1946, but it’s hard to believe it plays a significant role in the decision of where and when to drill in today’s market.

Individual companies must weigh trends in the global price of gas, the location of a drilling site, its distance to the market, the type of formation where the gas is held, how much processing it will need, etc., when considering the profitability of drilling a particular well.

In other words, giving oil and gas companies royalty-free fuel is a waste of taxpayer money. And when you add up the amount of lost revenue, year after year, for all drilling on all federal lands, it comes to a significant loss for taxpayers — and a lot of extra methane for the atmosphere.

With annual budget deficits still in the half-trillion-dollar range, Uncle Sam can’t afford to keep giving freebies to perennial parasites that are some of the most profitable companies in the world.


Ryan Alexander is president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Taxpayer.net.  Distributed via OtherWords.org

Oh Say Can You See Through the Frackers’ Big Lie?

The surge in fracked gas is headed for export and won’t boost the nation’s energy independence.

— by Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower

Big Oil’s frackers are wrapping their shameless profiteering in our flag.

In shale fields across the country, you’ll see fracking rigs festooned with Old Glory, and they even paint some of their rigs red, white, and blue.

This ostentatious patriotic pose is part of the industry’s cynical PR campaign to convince you and me that its assault on our health, water, air, and economic future should be mindlessly saluted, rather than questioned.

Energy Independence! ” is their deafening cry. The so-called shale gas boom, they proclaim, will free America from dependence on foreign producers.

This Fourth of July, can you sing “Oh say can you see through the frackers’ big lie”?

Joel Dyer, editor of the Boulder, Colorado Weekly, has peeked behind their-star spangled curtain. The investigative digger uncovered what he called “one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on America.”

Far from independence, we’re going to get the pollution — while foreigners take the energy. The gas extracted from our fractured land is destined for export. How do we know that?

First, because the industry and its government enablers admit it in their internal communications. Second, guess who’s paying for the fracking of America?

Dyer cites reports by Bloomberg news that China has pumped $5.5 billion into the U.S. drilling boom — not only so it can export the energy back to their people, but especially so the Chinese can “redeploy the best U.S. practices and technologies” back to China.

Other foreign investors fracking us hail from Japan ($5 billion invested so far), India ($3.5 billion), France ($4.5 billion), as well as South Korea, the UK, and Norway.

Norway? Come on, America — don’t let the profiteers wrap you up in our own flag. It’s the Fourth of July — let’s rebel!


OtherWords

columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org.  Photo Credit: www.citizenscampaign.org


Related Posts

A Deadly Power Surge

Fracking might be profitable, but whether it’s good for anything else is doubtful.

— by Jill Richardson

Jill Richardson

Jacki Schilke was suffering from symptoms ranging from rashes, pain, and lightheadedness to dental problems and urinating blood. The formerly healthy, 53-year-old cattle rancher’s body was under assault from a list of toxic chemicals as long as your arm.

But Schilke’s lucky — so far — compared to five of her cows. They died.

Richardson-Fracking-Oly-Pentax

The rancher’s problems might become worse in time, since the chemicals causing her acute problems are also linked to chronic, deadly diseases like cancer.

What’s afflicting Schilke and her cows? The oil and gas drilling craze known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. As The Nation magazine and the Great Plains Examiner reported last year, Oasis Petroleum started fracking on land three miles from her ranch in 2010. Oasis got money, the world got more energy from the gas they drilled, and Schilke got sick. Now, she won’t even eat her own beef.

If the results of fracking were virtually unknown a decade ago, before it became a common practice in states like Pennsylvania and Schilke’s home of North Dakota, there’s no mystery remaining now.

It shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, when you pump a cocktail of toxic chemicals into the ground to dislodge fossil fuels, there’s a cocktail of toxic chemicals in the ground. And some of those toxins don’t stay put. Those toxic chemicals make their way into the water, the soil, and the air, and they’re EXEMPT from regulation under the Clean Water Act.  You can thank Dick Cheney for that reckless action.

And the toxins flow from there — into the living things that rely on the water: the soil, the air, plants, animals, and us. We’re fracking our food.

Yet President Barack Obama is a big fracking supporter. He called natural gas a form of “clean energy” in the big address on global warming he delivered in June, touting the nation’s production of more natural gas “than any other country on Earth.” Then he said, “We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.”

Right. Compared to other forms of dirty energy, natural gas might reduce our carbon emissions. But at what cost?

If our only energy options were oil, coal, and natural gas, we’d be in a rotten Catch-22. Luckily, we have more choices than that. There are growing solar, wind, and geothermal options. Perhaps the most overlooked alternative is increasing efficiency.

I visited the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, two years ago. The school had made a big effort to reduce its energy use. In one building, I saw a hallway that used to have its lights turned on all the time. The builders had never even installed switches to turn them off.

Decades ago, energy was “too cheap to meter.” It seemed cheaper to just leave the lights on all the time than to wire them to be turned off. That’s changed. After some retrofitting, the lights can be turned off.

How many other buildings and homes have no light switches, insufficient insulation, or old, power-guzzling appliances? How many are still being built without taking advantage of the most up-to-date methods that curb energy use?

Obama proudly spoke of doubling America’s use of solar and wind power in the last four years, with plans to double them yet again. He’s right. We increased wind and solar energy from less than 1 percent of our energy in 2007 to less than 2 percent in 2011. (Meanwhile, our reliance on natural gas crept up from 28 percent to 30 percent of total energy consumption, and our total use of energy overall rose in those four years by 9.4 percent — with most of the increase coming from dirty sources.)

Fracking might be profitable, but whether it’s good for anything else is doubtful. Emissions during the fracking process outweigh any benefits of reduced emissions when the fuel obtained is burned. Besides, how does fracking American land make sense if it’s poisoning our food and water supply with chemicals that give us cancer?

Let’s solve our energy problems by increasing efficiency and by turning to truly clean sources of energy: renewable options like solar, wind, and geothermal power.


OtherWords
columnist Jill Richardson is the author of Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It.  OtherWords.org.  Photo Credit:  Oly-Pentax/Flickr

Yes Indeedee, It’s Confirmed: GOP ‘IS’ Out of Touch

GOP Report Shows Party is Out of Touch With Americans on Threats to Democracy: Money in Politics and Voter Suppression

The Republican National Committee released a report on Monday reviewing its losses in the 2012 election cycle and laying out a roadmap for the future of the party.  People For the American Way Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement:

“This report highlights what we already knew: that the Republican party is out of touch with America. Instead of addressing the party’s anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-worker policies that voters resoundingly rejected in 2012, today’s report calls for a complete gutting of campaign finance reform – in essence calling for even more big money to be poured into our elections.  If the Republican party were listening to Americans, they would know that the country supports finding systemic solutions to the problem of unregulated money in our political system.  The answer is certainly not to gut the regulations we already have in place.  Instead, we need to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC and related cases so that we can create more effective regulations to get big money out of our democracy.

“The GOP report’s recommendations on voting rights also underscore a continuing focus on keeping certain voters from the polls.  After an election cycle overflowing with examples of discriminatory voter suppression efforts aimed at historically disenfranchised communities, the report recommends an ongoing focus on so-called  ‘ballot security training initiatives.’  This is simply another phrase for the same voter intimidation tactics used in the name of preventing supposed ‘voter fraud.’  It’s baffling that the GOP thinks it can improve its image with people of color while still working to block their access to the ballot box.

“This report is yet another example that the GOP’s ‘soul-searching’ hasn’t gotten them very far.  It’s time to refocus our efforts on getting the big money out of elections and the voters into the voting booth.”

Ready to go?

Just exactly how much lipstick have they purchased?  Maybeline and Revlon combined couldn’t make enough lipstick to take care of that pachyderm.

Yesterday— the Republican National Committee released its wide-ranging “autopsy” report called the “Growth And Opportunity Project Report.” In it, the party admits to several shortcomings that contributed to the party’s wide losses in the 2012 election. A portion of the report includes market research from voter focus groups around the country. Not surprisingly, when asked to describe Republicans, respondents said that the party was “scary,” “narrow-minded,” “out of touch,” and full of “stuffy old men.”  What’s most interesting is that the report failed to quantify just how out of touch their party has become on a number of issues, from climate change, to marriage equality, to universal background checks, to women’s rights, to the minimum wage, and more.

The GOP thinks they merely have a messaging problem … and just need to change a few words they used to talk about things.  HAH! Now that’s a joke and a half.  Maybe they should look at their 2012 Platform. Better yet, maybe they should look at what is happening in State Legislatures and what members of their party have introduced in the Congress:

  • Restricting access to or insurance reimbursement of costs associated with an abortion;
  • Restricting time frames in which a woman could seek an abortion to 12-weeks and in on case, to 6-weeks from conception;
  • Mandating the use of transvaginal ultrasounds and other medically unnecessary procedures as a means to shame women;
  • Gleefully and gloatingly defunding Planned Parenthood;
  • Attempting to elevate “religious” rights above all others to allow zealots to assert their religious rights to deny all types of service and/or medications should it offend “their” personal religious beliefs, making their beliefs superior to yours;
  • Continually attempting to repeal Obamacare and providing NO replacement;
  • Promoting continued systemic discrimination against the LGBT community, as a whole, via marriage inequality espoused throughout our Nation’s income tax and estate tax structures;
  • Attempting to enact one voter suppression tactic after another to disenfranchise voters as well as restricting early voting opportunities;
  • Continually filibustering one bill after another, even those introduced by Republicans;
  • Blocking Consumer Financial Protection and making multiple attempts to repeal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform;
  • Promoting racial profiling as a means of harassment to convince Hispanics to “self-deport’ ;
  • Promoting Personhood for embryos and essentially demoting women’s status to nothing more than an incubator;
  • Replacing Democracy with Dictatorships (Overseers);
  • Promoting fatherhood visitation rights for rapists.

I’m sure I’ve missed of few other big issues we’ve had to overcome … but need I go on?  There’s a politically incorrect term we frequently used when I was in the Navy to define that kind of behavior.  The term stars with “cluster.”  The GOPs (Grouchy Old Patriarchs) problem is much more than a “messaging” problem.  It’s a policy problem and we should cheer them on  in pursuit of their messaging delusion.  It will most certainly shorten their path to minor party status.  We may have a few challenges to overcome in the short run, but we’ll all be much better off in the long run.

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself,  take your pick, click a pic or two.  Read/compare a few — then compare the numbers.

2012-GOP-Platform GOP Growth Opportunity Rpt 2009-GOP-Path-to-Recovery 2010-GOP-Better-Solutions
GOP 2012 Platform GOP Growth Opportunites 2009 Path to Recovery 2010-Better Solutions
2010-Pledge-to-America Path to Poverty v1.0 Path to Poverty v2.0 Path to Poverty v3.0
2010-Pledge to America P2P v1.0 P2P v2.0 P2P v3.0

Pledge to resist Keystone XL

The clock is ticking — 45 days and counting — on the most important comment period yet for stopping the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The State Department released its latest report on the pipeline last Friday, and it utterly downplays the profound impact Keystone XL would have on the climate. Will you join us in signing the Pledge to Resist the Keystone XL Pipeline?

The pledge reads: “I pledge, if necessary, to join others in my community, and engage in acts of dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could result in my arrest in order to send the message to President Obama and his administration that they must reject the Keystone XL pipeline. “

Take the Pledge to Resist<br />Keystone XL

Last Friday was one of those days that remind us of just how steep a hill to climb this fight against climate change is.  Activists like you sent 75,000 comments last summer against the tar sands. This time, it will take 100,000 to show President Obama how fast our movement is growing.

Even with a president who recently professed a lofty goal of getting all cars off of oil, even with one of our stronger climate-hawk senators as the new secretary of state, the State Department still released a joke of an environmental assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline, taking us one big step closer to approval of this project that should be a no-brainer of a rejection.

Obliviously ignoring the consensus among oil executives, bankers, and environmentalists, who all agree that Keystone XL is central to speeding the extraction of tar sands, the State Department found the project is “unlikely to have a significant impact” on tar sands development. This is coward’s logic.

This assessment was a vehicle for the White House to test the waters and see if the public will stand by, and buy this false and cynical argument that the tar sands will just get burned anyway. That while NASA’s chief climate scientist’s assertion that Keystone XL will spell ‘game over’ for the climate may be true, it is essentially irrelevant. That we should let the bankers and the oil companies profit while the planet inevitably burns.

Well, we won’t. And so, last Friday reminded us of something else, too: those two weeks in August of 2011, when the peaceful and dignified arrest of 1,253 people over two weeks at President Obama’s front door effectively stopped what was considered a virtually guaranteed presidential approval of Keystone XL.

There is still time to convince President Obama to change his mind and reject Keystone XL. But with the president ignoring every possible sign Mother Nature can send, it is once again incumbent upon us to send a message he can’t ignore.

That’s why CREDO is joining with Bold Nebraska, The Other 98%, Hip Hop Caucus, Rainforest Action Network, 350, and Oil Change International to launch the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance. It is time for us to pledge to resist. That is, we are asking you to commit — should it be necessary to stop Keystone XL — to engage in serious, dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could get you arrested.  We need to tell the President and Secretary of State Kerry that they cannot fight climate change while simultaneously investing in one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuels on the planet.  Will you join us in pledging resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline, including — if necessary — pledging to participate in peaceful, dignified civil disobedience?

Sign the petition ►

If tens of thousands of people stand up as President Obama mulls his final decision, and commit to participate in civil disobedience if necessary, we can convince the White House that it will be politically unfeasible to go forward. That is, our goal is not to get arrested. Our goal is to stop the Keystone XL pipeline — by showing enough opposition to Keystone XL that President Obama will reject it. But if he shows clear signs he that he is preparing to approve it, we will be ready.

It goes without saying, this isn’t a usual ask. It is not for everyone. So we want you to carefully consider if this is something you can commit to be a part of.

Here’s exactly what we have in mind: With the release of Friday’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, we will have 45 days to submit formal comments. And comment we will. We will petition, rally, make phone calls, and comment through official channels. But that may not be enough.

The moment of truth will come later, at some point likely in the summer, with the release of the Draft National Interest Determination. If the Obama administration issues a draft finding that Keystone XL is in our national interest, that will trigger action on our pledge to resist.

So we are asking you to pledge, if necessary after the release of the Draft National Interest Determination, to join with others in your community and risk arrest in acts of dignified, peaceful civil disobedience all over the country.  Will you join us in pledging resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline, including — if necessary — pledging to participate in peaceful, dignified civil disobedience?

Sign the petition ►

Most events will be outside of Washington D.C., because this decision will affect all of us where we live. So we want to see the beautiful sight of actions across the nation — including a wide variety of symbolic targets like State Department offices, TransCanada corporate lobbies, Obama Organizing for Action meetings, banks that are financing tar sands oil development, areas ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, and along the pipeline route. Some brave souls have started this work already. We need to support their efforts and make them much, much bigger.

You can pledge to participate or you can pledge to help organize an action in your community. We’ll need tons of volunteers. And soon, we’ll announce organizer trainings so local leaders and activists who want to can get the tools they need to organize an action near them.

You shouldn’t make this pledge lightly. We certainly don’t ask lightly. We ask in the belief that there are tens of thousands of people out there who feel as strongly about this as we do, who believe that these circumstances call for extraordinary action, and want to be part of that action in their community. And we ask with the faith that those who commit to participate and organize actions will participate only in the most dignified manner. After all, we are the conservatives, standing up for a safe and secure future for our families. It is those we protest, those who profit from radically altering the chemical composition of our atmosphere — and the prospects for survival of humanity — who are the radicals.

But what is more frightening than asking you to join us in committing to acts of civil disobedience across the nation, is the prospect of coming up short in the fight against Keystone XL. Our time is short to convince President Obama to change his mind. We do not know how many people’s pledges, and how many pledged actions, it will take to convince President Obama to resist the big money, dirty energy, inside-the-beltway pressure and take a stand to protect our nation from the greatest threat of all.  So we need you. Literally, you might tip the balance.

Sign the petition ►

We hope you can join us. If you are so moved, make the pledge. And share this pledge with friends and family so that those who are ready and willing to be arrested can be counted in the pledge to resist. We’ll send you more information soon.

Becky Bond, Michael Kieschnick & Elijah Zarlin, CREDO Action
Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska
John Sellers, The Other 98%
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Hip Hop Caucus
Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network
May Boeve & Bill McKibben, 350.org
Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International

REFERENCES:

PBO Needs to Put His Appointment Where His Mouth Is

Tell President Obama: Don’t appoint fracking proponent Dr. Ernest Moniz to lead the Department of Energy

President Obama keeps saying we need to confront climate change. Yet it’s rumored he’s considering nominating Dr. Ernest Moniz to lead DOE.  “As a proponent of fracking, Dr. Ernest Moniz is the wrong choice for to lead the Department of Energy. Appoint an energy secretary who will move us away from toxic, climate-heating fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy.”

So why is he considering appointing a major proponent of fracking to lead the Department of Energy?

According to Reuters, President Obama is seriously considering appointing Dr. Ernest Moniz – the director of MIT’s Big Oil-sponsored Energy Institute and a big believer in expanding toxic, climate-heating gas fracking.1

At a time when the last thing we should be doing is undermining our progress against climate change, Moniz is the wrong choice to head one of the most important agencies in the fight for a sustainable energy future.

Tell President Obama: Stop promoting fracking, and don’t appoint Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy!

Moniz’s Energy Institute at MIT is sponsored by the likes of BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco. So it is no surprise that the gas industry and pro-fracking groups welcomed the rumor of Moniz’s appointment to head DOE.2

Moniz is a strong backer of the deeply flawed notion that we should expand our fracking infrastructure and development to serve as a “bridge” to low-carbon sources of energy.

But fracking isn’t a bridge to a better future; it’s an expressway to climate change and toxic pollution. Expanding fracking will worsen its toxic air pollution and increase its huge volumes of toxic wastewater, will increase incidents of groundwater contamination, and will unleash an absolutely catastrophic amount of greenhouse gas3 — not just through burning gas, but through the tremendous leakage from fracking wells of methane, a greenhouse gas that has 20 times the heat-trapping power of C02 over 100 years, making fracked gas as bad for the climate than burning coal.

What’s more, heavy reliance on burning gas slows the implementation of the sustainable carbon-free sources of energy that will put a dent in our climate emissions.

Tell President Obama: Stop promoting fracking, and don’t appoint Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy!

Climate change won’t be solved by tradeoffs, compromises, or moderate-sounding catch phrases like “all of the above.” President Obama cannot make a serious attempt at confronting climate change as long as he is pushing policies to “encourage” fracking and appointing administration officials who will undermine the progress he could be making.

This week, we delivered to the White House our open letter co-signed by over 240,000 people, calling on President Obama to lead on climate change and abandon his “all of the above” energy policy. But he still doubled down in his State of the Union address. By publicly protesting one of his rumored top picks for Energy secretary, we know that he’ll hear the message.

Tell President Obama: Stop promoting fracking, and don’t appoint Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy!

1. “EXCLUSIVE-Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary -sources,” Reuters, February 6, 2013
2. “Will Ernest Moniz be the next Energy secretary?,” Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2013
3. “Bridge To Nowhere? NOAA Confirms High Methane Leakage Rate Up To 9% From Gas Fields, Gutting Climate Benefit,” Think Progress, January 2, 2013