Keystone Environmental Youth Coalition

EmPower The Future

Power Shift 2011-The Greatest Youth Summit EVER! December 13, 2010

Cross-posted from the Energy Justice Network blog.  This post was authored by Ljubica Sarafov, KEY Coalition member.


So lets talk about Power Shift 2011. Power Shift is the name of an annual youth summit focused on climate change policy, which has been held in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other Power Shift Conferences are also being organized in Africa, Japan and India. Energy Action Coalition (which EJN is a part of) organized the first Power Shift Conference in November of 2007 with around 6,000 students and young people in attendance. Due to this high attendance rate it seems that Power Shift became the largest activist youth event on climate change in history.

According to those who attended past Power Shifts, it can be a life changing experience — an incredible and rare opportunity to meet and connect with other young people who are passionate about the same issues. Power Shift isn’t just talk either. It is a space where people find themselves emboldened by numbers. It has led to break out movements and groups. Additionally, on the last day, there is a lobbying component when attendees take to D.C. and take action! In 2007 for example, a rally of between 2,000 and 3,000 people marched on the steps of the Capitol building.

The event has traditionally been attended by various famous and powerful keynote speakers, which included former Vice-President Al Gore in 2007, and Van Jones, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Ralph Nader, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in 2009.

Clearly this conference is an exciting and unique opportunity. However, before we get to ahead of ourselves, we need to plan how to get there. There are important issues to consider. For example: How many people are coming from your school or community? How much will it cost to get you and your group there, back, and fed? What is your school’s budget policy? What kinds of deadlines are we working with? What about transportation? Can you rent vans? Will you need busses? Etc. With all these questions Power Shift can seem less like an incredible opportunity and more like an impossibility.

Fear not friends, for you’re in luck. Thanks to the awesome planning structure EAC has set in place for the event, you’re not alone! I will be available support you; help you figure stuff out; and generally make this trip a success!

So if you’re interested in attending and you haven’t already done so,

please visit: http://energyactioncoalition.org/powershift2011/organize

and sign up to be a coordinator for your school or community.

Or don’t be shy and just shoot me an email at: ljubica@energyjustice.net

Power Shift 2011 is talking place April 15-18 Washington, DC and is being built from the ground up. This year’s Power Shift is going to be the best yet, but we can’t make it happen without you! Please help us by planning and getting involved, and come show the nation how important the environment is to you!

For EJN this is Ljubica Sarafov

Peace.

 

People’s Gas and Oil Summit in Pittsburgh December 3, 2010

Cross-posted from the Energy Justice Network blog.  This post was authored by Ljubica Sarafov, KEY Coalition member.

For those of you who haven’t watched Gasland, I would strongly recommend checking it out. Besides the cool shots and excellent banjo accompaniments, the story at the heart of the film is extremely compelling and well told. There are honest and admirable protagonists in the movie, as well as shadowy corporations. The movie was created by Josh Fox, self-described child of hippy parents who built a house in the woods of North Eastern Pennsylvania where he now lives. Josh first encountered fracking through a letter in the mail offering him around $100,000 total for the right to drill on his land. Fox, unsure about this financial proposal, sets out to find more information. He starts out with a town near him where drilling is already underway and ends up embarking on trips to Wyoming, Texas and other highly drilled areas in the country.

When Fox made the movie, he had to travel all across the country to find the type of information he was looking for, from personal experiences to empirical data, it was all scattered. Luckily for those of us interested in the movement, Earthworks.org decided to hold the National People’s Oil and Gas Summit in Pittsburgh this year, consolidating many of the people and resources which Fox tracked down in the making of his film. We also had the pleasure of meeting other allies, researchers, and activists not mentioned in the film, and the filmmaker himself (while Fox couldn’t be physically there because he was on shoot in Australia, he did take time to skype with us, from a park).

The summit was right in the heart of the Marcellus Shale Natural gas drilling boom region this year, though it is normally held in the west. This served as a stark reminder to all in attendance that the natural gas battle has spread across the country. There were many great speakers and panels, and the range of topics covered was pretty widespread. Here is a list from Earthworks themselves:

  • The BIG PICTURE – where are they drilling, why and who’s next?
  • Natural gas, CLIMATE JUSTICE and PUBLIC HEALTH: life cycle impacts of gas
  • Hydraulic FRACTURING: Full Disclosure, NO Exemptions
  • To lease or not to LEASE; landowner and mineral owner rights
  • CLIMATE CHANGE: Beyond coal, oil and gas: what is our ENERGY FUTURE?
  • MEDIA: reforming the industry one blog, story, movie and wiki at a time
  • Legislate, Litigate, AGITATE: lessons on organizing and civil disobedience

The conference was packed with information. From excellent economic analysis on the market for natural gas, to strategies, to the personal stories shared by some of the brave speakers. We even had an oil industry insider — granted, he was quietly mocked and booed by polite summit goers, due to his lukewarm stance on gas drilling. I was really blown away by how much I was learning. Although sometimes that new knowledge came at the cost of feeling down or overwhelmed, being surrounded by so many activists and people who care was fantastic.

If you are interested in more information about Marcellus Shale, Hydrofracturing, or Natural Gas, here are some links that might pique your fancy.

  • You can check out an entire section devoted to Natural Gas at. http://www.energyjustice.net/naturalgas
  • You can also check out the mapping feature on our site: http://www.energyjustice.net/map, which not only provides you locations of current operating Natural Gas drilling sites, but also proposed and expanding sites and a plethora of other information
  • At the conference there was actually a panel (Web-based Tools for Information Sharing and Documentation) devoted to some other really great ways that people were using the internet and technology to expose fracking sites, landmen, etc.
    • http://www.fractracker.org/ which also deals with mapping fracking sites
    • http://civic.mit.edu/projects/c4fcm/extract-landman-report-card an MIT related project that creates a community for fracked people, and has come up with a report card for landmen. This is really important because it allows locals to share their experience dealing with the landmen. It also gathers all these experiences into really practical data. So that rather than having anecdotal evidence in the fight, we can actually translate it into empirical data, which can be used to change minds and inspire activism.
  • Even though you may not have been there, you can still get some really great information from people like Wilma Subra, personally, on your computer, just by checking out the speaker’s power point presentations online at:http://earthworksaction.org/2010SummitAgenda.cfm#PANEL4
  • Video was taken during the Summit, in which all the speakers were filmed. The summit organizers still haven’t decided if they are going to put up the video on youtube or if they are going to release it in DVD form. Either way, for more updates about that I would check back here:

    http://www.earthworksaction.org/POGsummit2010.cfm

  • Lastly you can hear coverage of the Summit thanks to Rustbelt radio, which covered two stories:

    Rust Belt Radio 11/22/10

–This has been Ljubica Sarafov, campus and community organizer for PA, signing off!

 

 

EPA Hears From Over 150 Stakeholders, Including KEY Coalition Members July 26, 2010

Filed under: KEY Coalition,Marcellus Shale,Updates — KEY Coalition @ 4:00 PM

Cross-posted from the youth climate blog It’s Getting Hot in Here. This post was co-authored by Sasha Shyduroff and Angela Wiley. Both are KEY Coalition members.

On Thursday, July 22, over 1200 people attended an Environmenal Protection Agency hearing in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on the relationship between Hydrualic Fracturing and water; it was the most well attended event of the EPA’s nationwide meetings thus far. The EPA was gathering feedback regarding a peer reviewed study slated to begin in early 2011 that would detail the effects of Fracking on the quality and qauntity of drinking water.  Over 150+ registered speakers provided feedback and comments. Landowners spoke about existing water quality issues they connected to fracking, professionals pointed out the precedent in analyzing dangerous compounds used in fracking fluid, and a handful of industry representatives urged the agency to conduct “scientific” studies “not based on emotion”.

Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition gets front row seating at EPA hearing in Canonsburg, PA.

(more…)

 

Keeping (and Calculating) Tabs on Gas Drilling

Filed under: KEY Coalition,Marcellus Shale — KEY Coalition @ 2:40 PM

Cross-posted from the youth climate blog It’s Getting Hot in Here. Authored by KEY Coalition member Amy Wilson.

In the past decade, our elected officials and regulators opened state forests and impoverished rural communities to natural gas drilling. Environmentalists began talking about animal deaths, land fragmentation, and water, while residents got the short end of the stick. Here’s how it happened in Pennsylvania, and why I think we need to take a look at the economic justice implications of gas drilling.

In 2008, the gas industry had more than 52,000 producing gas wells in Pennsylvania. Between 2003 and 2008, drilling increased 42%, while new enforcement staff hires inched up only 9 percent. My guess is that rates of inspected wells are lower than the unemployment rates; maybe even lower than unemployment rates of the 90s!  The Pennsylvania-based group Damascus Citizens estimates that there are approximately 30 Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) inspectors in the entire state. New York, Texas, and other gas producing states tell a similar story – fewer than 20 enforcement staff in NY are responsible for more than 12,000 wells. In 2008, Texas had 106 enforcement staff responsible for inspecting more 250,000 wells. (more…)