Saturday, November 24, 2012

Richard Fedder: Take Back This Land for You and Me

(In memory of Woody Guthrie)
(New lyrics by Richard Fedder)

As I was hiking and they were drilling
And the sun was shining while the corn was wilting
I made a promise we’re all fulfilling
Take back this land for you and me!

Chorus 1:  
          This land is your land, this land is my land
          From the Shawnee Forest to the southern wetlands.
          From the Wabash River to the Mis-sis-si-ip-pi
          This land belongs to you and me.

In the depths they fracture the shale formations
And claim the bedrock of our proud nation
But up above them, they don’t own nothing
This (whole!) land belongs to you and me.

Chorus 2:   
          This land is your land, this land is my land
          From the Shawnee Forest to the northern tar sands
          From the Hudson Valley to the Texas prairie 
          This land belongs to you and me.

In the forest bottoms, a deer was drinking
As an uncapped well-head was slowly leaking
And the poisoned waters set me to thinking:
Wasn’t this land made for you and me?
Chorus 3:   
          Stop fracking on your land, stop fracking on my land
          From California to the New York Islands
          From the redwood forests to the Gulfstream waters
          Take back this land for you and me!
          Take back this land for you and me.

Posted with permission of Richard Fedder.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

23 Largest Wind Farms In Illinois Bring $6 Billion In Economic Benefits To The State

23 Largest Wind Farms In Illinois Bring $6 Billion In Economic Benefits To The State

Mitt Romney’s campaign says the candidate supports ending the production tax credit for wind — even while supporting billions in tax credits for the Big Five oil companies. Some are now wondering if Romney’s stance on wind will hurt him in the Midwest, where the technology has has such a positive economic impact.
new report released by the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University (ISU) shows why wind is so important to America’s heartland.
The report looked at the 23 largest wind farms in Illinois, finding that they will add almost $6 billion to local economies over their lifetimes and have resulted in the creation of more than 19,000 jobs during the construction periods. The projects will also support 814 permanent jobs in the state.
The report’s authors conclude that these benefits would not be possible without consistent federal and state policy:
A number of factors have caused the rapid growth of wind power capacity in the United States in recent years including federal and state policies… In particular, federal renewable energy production tax credits (PTC) along with state renewable electricity standards (RES) have been the biggest drivers.
The economic analysis details how wind farms benefit landowners, local governments, and school districts.
Dr. Larry Dodds, Superintendent of Ridgeview School District in McLean County, IL, said while the state government had to cut the school district’s budget by almost $750,000 over three years, the wind farms have significantly contributed to the county’s $1.8 million FY2011 tax revenue.
This economic analysis shows once again why Congress needs to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) due to expire at the end of the year.
Wind energy has been increasing in Illinois and across the country. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), 35% of all new U.S. power capacity in the past five years has been from wind power — bringing $20 billion in annual private investment. Yet, Congress is set to let the PTC expire and possibly kill up to 37,000 jobs.
The uncertainty around the PTC is already causing turmoil within the wind industry. Last week, General Electric – the largest U.S. producer of wind turbines – blamed a decrease in sales this past quarter on Congress’ inability to extend the PTC. And the world’s largest producer of wind turbines, Vestas, says it may lay off 1,600 American workers if the credit is not extended.
Matt Kasper is a Special Assistant for Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

End Polluter Subsidies!

End Polluter Subsidies!

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Keith Ellison launched a new piece of legislation that would repeal $113 billion of tax-breaks, handouts, and subsidies for the fossil fuel industry over the next 10 years.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois would swap fragile forest wet lands with Peabody Energy in violation of the Endangered Species Act

Faustian Bargain: Proposal Seeks to Swap National Forest Land for Strip Mining

Shawnee National Forest would swap lands with Peabody Energy

by Common Dreams staff, January 30, 2012
A proposal to swap land from the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois to Peabody Energy has conservationists up in arms.
The Harrisburg, IL,  Daily Register describes the deal this way:Shawnee National Forest (photo: christina rutz)
Ron Scott of the U.S. Forest Service said one parcel of land owned by the federal government has minerals that Peabody desires. Peabody's subsidiary, American Land Holdings of Illinois, spoke with the Forest Service regarding available lands the agency desired that adjoined other Forest Service properties and purchased those with the intent of trading for the piece of federal property. That federal property is 384 acres on both sides of the Saline River in Gallatin County 2 miles west of the Ohio River.
The Forest Service would receive a 481-acre parcel in Pope County north of Lusk Creek, 80 acres in Pope County within the Lusk Creek Wilderness Area surrounding Little Lusk Creek and 270 acres in Jackson County between Fountain Bluff and the Mississippi River. The Forest Service would receive half the mineral rights of the 481-acre parcel where there are no desirable minerals, but no mineral rights on the other two parcels where there are also no desirable minerals, Scott said.
Peabody's goal? Strip-mining for coal.
Conservationists are not happy about the proposal. The Daily Register reports:
Barney Bush of the Vinyard Indian Settlement in Herod said he is in opposition to the plan because he does not want further strip mining in the region. [...]
"Nothing good comes out of a strip mine." [...]
Brian Perbix of the Prairie Rivers Network said his river conservation organization is concerned about a future strip mine's effect on the purity of the river ecosystem.
Perbix said he toured the federal property earlier in the day and is concerned about 50 to 70 acres of forest wetland there.
"It was recognized in the 2006 Forest Plan there was a focus on preserving clean water as well as habitat," Perbix said.
And The Southern Illinoisan offers this succinct take:
"This is by and far the dumbest and worst thing they've ever proposed," said Chairman Jim Bensman of the Sierra Club's Shawnee National Forest Committee. "This exchange is clearly a violation of the Endangered Species Act."
The endangered species in question is the Indiana bat.Hibernating Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) (photo: USFWS/Ann Froschauer)
Two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Cluboppose the deal and have filed a notice of intent to sue the Forest Service today for failing to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Swapping away the homes of endangered bats so that a coal company can strip mine them is unconscionable,” said Mollie Matteson, a bat specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Just two weeks ago, the federal government issued the staggering news that nearly 7 million bats have died over just the past few years from white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has been spreading across the country like wildfire, wiping out bats from Nova Scotia to Tennessee. Now the Forest Service proposes to intentionally put bats in harm’s way?”
Said Jim Bensman, chair of the Sierra Club's Shawnee National Forest Committee: “The Forest Service has a legal obligation to make protection of endangered species a top priority. When the agency found out last summer there were Indiana bats and gray bats on the land, its first move should have been to safeguard that habitat, not move forward with a plan with Peabody to have it strip-mined.”
The Shawnee National Forest is still taking comments on the proposal until tomorrow.