XL PIPELINE DENIED . . . The TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline permit has been DENIED. "This is a victory for our environment and for future generations that will look upon this decision as an important step toward reducing our addiction to oil and moving America and the world toward a cleaner, safer and healthier future with tremendous job-creating opportunities in the creation of renewable energy systems and public transportation for all." --Steve Larrick, Nebraska Green Party elected official, Lower Platte South Natural Resource District. Page down to CD 3 Green Notes for news items about this week's announcement.
HELP GREENS GATHER SIGNATURES . . . The Green Party is now qualified for ballot status this election cycle in all of the four biggest states: New York, California, Florida, and Texas. Nebraska Green Party is gathering signatures so that voters here will also have the choice of voting for the Green Party presidential slate.
In Lincoln, petitions are available at Meadowlark Coffee and Espresso, 1624 South Street. Registered Nebraska voters are invited to stop by for coffee, visit with Adam Hintz from 6:00am to 2:00pm daily, sign a petition, or pick up one to circulate. In Omaha, look for Charles Ostdiek at McFoster's, 38th and Harney, to sign and pick up petitions.
You must be a registered voter to circulate petitions. Fill out a voter registration application online here. If you can help us identify a public place in CD 3 where petitions could be available, if you would like us to mail you petitions to circulate, or to participate in the ballot access process in any way, please let us know by e-mailing mjberry [at] inebraska [dot] com. Let's take Our democracy back from Wall Street!
SAVING AMERICAN DEMOCRACY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT . . . "There's no question that the political tide is turning thanks to Occupy Wall Street--because there's actually a political push to ensure that corporations are NOT people, to overturn the "free speech rights" given to corporations by the Supreme Court's troubling Citizens United decision." Add your voice. Sign the petition. In the House, Representative Ted Deutch's H.J. Res 90, The OCCUPIED Amendment, also says that corporations are not people and they do not belong in our elections. Sign the OCCUPIED petition. Spread the word.
Lincoln area: Congressional District 1
VIGIL AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY . . . Every Monday, noon to 1:00pm, Nebraskans for abolition of the death penalty meet in front of the governor's mansion when weather is good, 1425 H Street, Lincoln. In winter, the vigil is inside the capitol, near the Information Desk. The lunch-hour presence reminds the governor of a constituency that does not want state killings. Weekly vigils have taken place year-round since July, 1991. All abolitionists are welcome to participate for a few minutes, or the hour. Read the January Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty Newsletter here. A recent Omaha World-Herald Editorial, "State looks bad over execution esthetic," by Robert Nelson begins "In the past 12 months, Nebraska officials twice have tried to buy the increasingly hard-to-find drug sodium thiopental for use in executions by lethal injection. Both times, the state has acquired the drug more in a manner you would expect from a desperate drug addict than a state government." Details of the "embarrassment" are explained in the op-ed. And the January 15th Lincoln Journal Star editorialized "It'a time for Nebraska to abolish the death penalty." -- number two on the "Agenda for 2012." Details of Nebraska's ritualized premeditated protocol for state killing are listed in "State prepares for Ryan's execution," also published by LJS on January 15th. Meanwhile, Omaha Senator Brenda Council and Lincoln Senator Danielle Conrad have introduced LB LB276, to "Change a penalty from death to life imprisonment without possibility of parole and change other penalties as prescribed." Letters to editors of local papers statewide are needed in response to the March 6, 2012 execution date for Michael Ryan. Contact information for state senators and other actions are here.
For more information about NADP, click here. "It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind." --George Bernard Shaw
OCCUPY EDUCATION . . . Occupy Lincoln's Occupy Education committee is offering a free and open university with weekly talks/discussions through February 13, 2012. The teach-in workshop schedule is Mondays, 7:00 to 8:00pm at Indigo Bridge Books, 701 P Street; and Tuesdays, 7:00pm at Meadowlark Coffee, 1624 South Street. The Monday ECON 99 Course, "Economics the 1% Doesn't Want You to Know," consists of informal lectures to present basic ideas on the subject of that week, followed by an open discussion. Monday, January 23rd, ECON 99, Part 2: "No Human Rights without Economic Rights" – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Tuesday, January 24th, 7:00pm, "Acquiring Land without Requiring Loans from Big Banks," With Tobias tobiasalexander [dot] busque [at] gmail [dot] com For more information, e-mail Hendrik van den Berg, hvan-den-berg1 [at] unl [dot] edu
LINCOLN PEACE VIGILS . . . Lincoln peace vigils continue at the Federal Building, 15th and O streets, every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:00pm. Contact Mark at 402.499.6672 or e-mail mark [at] weddleton [dot] com for more information.
2012 WINTER LECTURE SERIES . . . Northern Africa from Morocco to Egypt is the topic of this year's Winter Lecture Series at Lincoln's Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street. Each two-hour session starts at 7:00pm. The first hour features a presentation, followed by refreshment break and a half hour of questions and dialogue. On the seventh and final evening, the series will end with a 6:00 dinner and a panel discussion at 7:00pm. The lectures are free and open to the public. Sunday, January 29, 2012, "Historical and Current Tunisia" will be presented by Nejib Ayachi, Director of the Maghreb Center in Washington, DC.
NATIONAL SEED SWAP DAY . . . The 2nd Annual Seed Swap in Lincoln will be Saturday, January 28, 1:00 to 3:00pm, at Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso, 1624 South Street, Lincoln. Bring seeds for vegetables, herbs, flowers, and native plants to share. Please label seeds, and bring extra envelopes, if you have them. There will be guest speakers beginning around 2:00pm. Information will be available about plant selection for our local climate, as well as additional seed sources. Everyone is welcome.
NO MORE PLASTIC BAGS AT OPEN HARVEST . . . Open Harvest Co-Op Grocery, 1618 South Steet in Lincoln, has eliminated plastic bags at the check out registers. From the LJS article, "It is a positive change for the Co-op and hopefully other businesses in Lincoln will consider keeping plastic bags out of their store and out of our landfills." An update on customer response is in a Cindy Lange-Kubick article, "Kicking a (plastic) bag habit" published January 22, 2012.
OCCUPY LINCOLN . . . The Occupy Lincoln camp site is located on Centennial Mall north of the state capitol. The camp has been notified of a March 1, 2012 eviction date. There is a General Assembly three times per week: Sunday, 1:30pm; Wednesday, 6:00pm; and Friday, 6:00 to 9:00pm. The Facebook page is here. The Twitter feed is @OccupyLincoln. For more information, e-mail occupylincoln [at] gmail [dot] com or phone 402.585.5865. Corporate Greed is Revolution's Seed!
RECYCLE TREES UNTIL JANUARY 30 . . . Due to continuing demand, holiday trees may be recycled until January 30 at Hofeling Enterprises, 2200 South Folsom Court, 7:00am to 6:00pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, phone the City Recycling Hotline at 402.441.8215.
Omaha area: Congressional District 2
OMAHA PEACE VIGILS . . . Omaha peacemakers vigil every Wednesday, 4:30-5:30pm, at StratCom/UN-O, 6801 Pine Street, east of the Scott Technology Center on the UN-O campus. Free parking is available at the NE Corner of 67th Street and Pine in a student lot. For more information, phone Jerry Ebner, 402.502.5887. Every Saturday, 1:00-2:00pm, there is a Peace Vigil at 72nd and Dodge Streets. Park next to 72nd Street, in the pet store parking lot. Contact Steve Horn at 402.426.9068 for more information about Saturday vigils.
OMAHA GREEN DRINKS . . . The first Omaha Green Drinks of 2012 convenes Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 5:30 to 8:30pm, at Whole Foods Market Omaha, 10020 Regency Circle, in the education room, across from the coffee bar. Anyone working on environmental issues (green business, architecture, design, clean energy, natural resources, and more) or studying them, is welcome. Walk, cycle, bus, or carpool if possible. Green Drinks now meet regularly in 816 cities worldwide.
OMAHA PEOPLE'S FILM FESTIVAL . . . There is a People's Film Festival every Wednesday evening, 7:00pm, at McFoster's Natural Kind Cafe, 38th and Harney in Omaha. Wednesday, January 25, 2012, the film will be "Children Underground," an Academy Award nominated documentary following the lives of five homeless Romanian children who live in a Bucharest subway. The weekly event is always free and open to the public. A discussion will follow the film. For more information, click here. The People's Film Festival - Expanding Political Consciousness Since 2004.
OMAHA SIERRA JANUARY MEETING . . . "Building Green before 'Green Building'" is the title of this month's Omaha Sierra Club program, Thursday, January 26, 2012, 7:00pm, at First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass Street, Omaha. (Enter north door Education Wing.) Everyone is welcome.
OMAHA SEED SHARE . . . The second annual Omaha Seed Swap is open to anyone who wants to grow their own food in the Omaha metro. There will be common seeds, as well as organic, heritage or heirloom plant varieties at the free seed swap on Saturday, January 28, 2011, 1:00pm to 3:00pm, at the Douglas County Extension Office, 8015 West Center Road. For more information, phone Patty Falcone, Douglas County Health Department, 402.444.7146 or e-mail patty [dot] falcone [at] douglascounty-ne [dot] gov
ENGAGE OMAHA . . . One of the nation's first city-wide, virtual town hall websites, EngageOmaha, is now online. Omaha residents may weigh in on issues for the city to consider. Pick a topic, and join the mix here.
Greater Nebraska: Congressional District 3
KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE UPDATE . . . We did the impossible. Our STOP THE PIPELINE coalition of tireless activists from Nebraska and around the world has done what has never been done before. There has never been a successful pipeline opposition campaign against Big Oil... until now. And pro-pipeline politicians are already conspiring to find ways around the XL permit denial. The White House Statement is here. The Department of State announcement is here.
The Democracy Now! report, "Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline under GOP Deadline, But Opponents Prepare for Long-Term Fight," begins "The Obama administration has rejected the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline that would stretch from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast. We get reaction from Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska and 350.org founder Bill McKibben, an expert on climate change who has led massive protests in Washington, D.C. against the pipeline over the past six months." Video is here. "People Have The Power!"
"President turns thumbs down on Keystone XL," by Art Hovey, was published in Lincoln Journal Star January 19, 2012.
"Obama Rejects the Keystone XL Pipeline and Protects America's National Interest," by Frances Beinecke at the Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard, January 18, 2012 says "...This project wouldn’t have delivered lower gas prices or good jobs, but it would have helped accelerate climate change. Extracting tar sands oil produces three times as much global warming pollution as conventional crude."
Also from NRDC, Peter Lehner writes "Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline, Missing Opportunity to Create 20 Jobs:" "What exactly did President Obama reject when he denied a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline? He denied a Canadian company the right to pipe their oil past Midwestern refineries and ship it overseas, tax-free. He said no to the chance to transport the world's dirtiest oil--it produces three times the carbon pollution and is more corrosive than conventional crude--through a major source of drinking water for the Great Plains. He rejected an opportunity to create about 1 billion tons of global warming pollution. On top of that, he turned down a chance to create 20 permanent jobs. That's the number we're talking about--20 jobs. According to State Department estimates, the Keystone XL pipeline would have created just 20 permanent jobs..."
From 350.org founder and Keystone XL protest leader Bill McKibben's statement on the announcement:"...This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money. We're well aware that the fossil fuel lobby won't give up easily. They have control of Congress. But as the year goes on, we'll try to break some of that hammerlock, both so that environmental review can go forward, and so that we can stop wasting taxpayer money on subsidies and handouts to the industry. The action starts mid-day Tuesday on Capitol Hill, when 500 referees will blow the whistle on Big Oil's attempts to corrupt the Congress." Reporting on Tuesday's protest, "The 99% Strike Back Against Keystone XL next Tuesday in Washington, DC," Climate Progress says "The 350.org demonstration plays up a recently released report showing that the 234 members of Congress who voted to force a decision on Keystone XL cumulatively took $42 million in fossil fuel money." In Vermont, McKibben's home state, The Burlington Free Press proclaimed "McKibben's efforts pay off as Obama kills pipeline."
"Keystone XL Is Dead - Again," by George Zornick for The Nation, January 18th, reports "...Today—less than even one month since the payroll tax cut bill was passed—the State Department announced they were denying the permit. In a statement, President Obama endorsed that decision: “As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.”
Also on January 18th, environmental champion Robert Redford commented on the president's announcement for Reader Supported News: "...His decision represents a victory of historic proportions for people from throughout the pipeline path and all across America who have waged an uphill, years-long fight against one of the most nightmarish fossil fuel projects of our time. But make no mistake: Big Oil is going to fight back hard and fast." Read Redford's latest commentary here.
From Nebraska's Center for Rural Affairs, Johnathan Hladik writes"...The Center for Rural Affairs rallied along with thousands of other Nebraskans during the past year building opposition to the proposed line, attending hearings across the state and expressing concern about the proposed route of the pipeline. Many Center supporters and staff members testified in opposition to the pipeline’s projected route, which would travel through 300 miles of Nebraska, including 92 miles across the Sand Hills, bringing oil from tar sands in northern Canada to refineries in the southern United States. A determined set of individuals and organizations representing varied interests and communities throughout Nebraska played a pivotal role in the final decision."
Glenn Thrush and Darren Samuelsohn reported "Keystone decision a political win-win," for Politico on January 18th: "There was puzzlement, bordering on disgust, in the West Wing on Wednesday at all the professions of shock and outrage at President Barack Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline."
And a surprising report from FoxNews by Sally Kohn lists "Six reasons Keystone XL was a bad deal all along." "... But the fact is, for the good of our country and our economy, rejecting the Keystone XL deal was the best decision possible."
January 21st, Reuters reported "Republicans plot next step on Keystone oil pipeline," saying they "are considering using upcoming payroll tax cut or highway construction bills in order to force quick approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline but have not yet settled on a strategy." "GOP Looks for Keystone alternatives," by Bloomberg, also published in LJS on the 21st, begins "While TransCanada considers its options, congressional Republicans are looking for other ways to push through approval of the pipeline. The House Energy and Commerce Committee may consider legislation as early as next week that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a panel that regulates electricity and natural gas markets, to issue a permit for the pipeline within 30 days of receiving a new application. "
Meanwhile, "DEQ: Nemaha County fuel spill could take two years to clean up and monitor." That was the report by AJ Laukaitis, LJS, on the latest oil spill in Nebraska: "The cleanup and monitoring of a massive December fuel spill from two ruptured pipelines in Nemaha County will last at least two years, a state official said Thursday."
"The President’s denial of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit today represents thousands of volunteer hours and a tribute to the power of organization. My thanks goes to our members, our Board of Directors, our staff, our organizational partners, our elected officials, and the press. A special tip of the hat goes to our landowners who stuck their foot in the ground, would not take the money, had the courage to speak out, and would not back down. It is a pleasure and an honor to work with and for people with their courage and sense of fair play. While this battle is not yet over, I like our field position for the rest of the game." --John K. Hansen, President Nebraska Farmers Union.
“This decision also presents opportunities to develop policies that support native renewable energy, like Nebraska’s abundant wind and solar resources, instead of maintaining our addiction to dirty fuels. Energy from these resources is not only much better for the planet; it will create far more jobs than the tar sands pipeline would have. The tar sands pipeline was being pushed by the same kinds of short-term profiteering and bad energy policies that led to $4 a gallon gas and near economic collapse in the last administration. We do not want to go back down that road.” --Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club.
Sign a giant Thank You card to President Obama here. Fill out an online form with your message by January 28th.
Thank You to EveryOne who joined in this effort to STOP THE PIPELINE. The Coalition will be celebrating this victory together, possibly with a Valentine's Day party. Watch future Green Notes for details.
STOP FRACKING NOW . . . From "Officials Say Fracking Caused Ohio Earthquake," in Reader Supported News, January 2, 2012: "Officials said Saturday they believe the latest earthquake activity in northeast Ohio is related to the injection of wastewater into the ground near a fault line, creating enough pressure to cause seismic activity. The brine wastewater comes from drilling operations that use the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale."
"Ohio earthquake was not a natural event, expert says," by Kim Palmer for Reuters in the Chicago Tribune, January 3rd, reports "A 4.0 magnitude earthquake in Ohio on New Year's Eve did not occur naturally and may have been caused by high-pressure liquid injection related to oil and gas exploration and production, an expert hired by the state of Ohio said on Tuesday."
Petition Congress: "We, the undersigned, call on Congress to pass the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act this year. It's time to hold the oil and gas production industry to the same standards as any other industry to ensure the safe protection of America's drinking water."
PETITION THE EPA . . . Tell the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately prohibit the use of clothianidin and conduct a full scientific review to determine its impact on honey bee populations. Learn more about clothianidin and sign the petition here.
TELL PRESIDENT OBAMA NOT TO CAVE TO MONSANTO AND THE BIOTECH INDUSTRY . . . The Obama administration has unbelievably chosen to approve three biotech crops, Roundup Ready genetically modified alfalfa, Roundup Ready genetically modified sugar beets and a new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production. These decisions are a devastating blow to our democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose how they want to grow food on their land and the rights of consumers who increasingly choose organic and sustainably grown food for its positive health and environmental impacts. Please tell the President it's time to stand up to Monsanto and reject GMO crops.
BUY FRESH. BUY LOCAL . . . . Farmers, gardeners, and craftspeople meet through The Nebraska Food Cooperative, an on-line, year-round farmers' market and local food distribution service offering the best in local freshness. For ordering and pickup schedules, refer to the calendar here. Click here for products and prices from North Star Neighbors, a Cooperative member that doesn't therapeutically medicate or unduly confine animals. Click here for Tomato Tomäto, Omaha's year-round indoor Farmer's Market at 156th & West Center. Shop for fresh foods grown in or very near your own community at Open Harvest, Lincoln's member-owned natural foods retail cooperative at 1618 South Street. Buying local grows family farming, grows the local economy, and is thousands of miles fresher.
HELP NEBRASKA GREENS WITH GOODSEARCH . . . Each time you search the Internet (or shop online at a participating store), a donation can be made to Nebraska Green Party at no cost to you! To help NGP in this way, enter Nebraska Green Party where it asks you to name your cause here. Bookmark the GoodSearch Homepage, or make it your own Home Page. Enter the url you want in the GoodSearch search box. Each time you do, one penny will be donated to Nebraska Greens. THANK YOU for your support!
Remember, every man-made by-product of the petroleum industry could be replaced by hemp. "Help Save the Earth, Time to Substitute Hemp for oil."