Indigenous and Green Groups Fighting Pipeline Urge 2020 Democrats to Take 'NoKXL Pledge'
By Jessica Corbett
Indigenous, environmental and landowner groups fighting to block the Keystone XL pipeline sent a letter Tuesday to the two dozen 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates, urging them to take the "NoKXL pledge" and vow — if elected — to revoke the Trump administration's permit for the tar sands oil project.
Tell the Democratic candidates: Take the "NoKXL Pledge" to stop the #KeystoneXL pipeline: https://t.co/3hu3lQgrye #NoKXLpledge #NoKXL #NoDAPL #StopLine3 #HonorTheTreaties #WaterIsLife #ActOnClimate via @BoldNebraska @janekleeb pic.twitter.com/GPJ8nZsNKZ— Bold Nebraska (@BoldNebraska) August 13, 2019
"There is no middle ground when it comes to protecting the land, water, and climate," Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb said in a statement. "You either stand with family farmers, ranchers, Tribal Nations, and environmentalists — or you stand with fossil fuel corporations who are abusing eminent domain, and trampling on the treaty rights of Tribal Nations."
"Tribal Nations and communities are battling for the survival of our ecosystems and ways of life, and we need a president who will stand with us against Big Oil and the fossil fuel regime," said Dallas Goldtooth, a Keep It in the Ground campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. "Signing the NOKXL pledge is a solid step in the right direction."
The three-point NoKXL pledge, featured on Bold Nebraska's website, states:
- If elected, I pledge to take executive action on Day One to stop any construction on the Keystone XL pipeline — no matter what — and revoke the existing presidential permits issued unilaterally by President Trump for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, sending both projects back to relevant federal agencies to undergo legitimate environmental review and Tribal consultations.
- I pledge to direct all federal agencies (State Dept., FERC, Army Corps) to submit these two projects, as well as all new pipeline and energy infrastructure projects to a true climate test, and reject permits for any project that would exacerbate our climate crisis.
- I pledge to protect the property rights of farmers and ranchers from eminent domain abuse, and to honor the treaties the U.S. government has signed with sovereign Tribal Nations.
Natalie Mebane, associate director of U.S. Policy at 350 Action, called the pledge "a critical step in moving towards stopping all new fossil fuel projects and protecting communities already experiencing the devastation of fossil fuel disasters."
"To build systems that work for all of us, we must keep fossil fuels in the ground, prioritize Indigenous rights, workers, and frontline communities, and hold fossil fuel billionaires accountable for their destruction," Mebane added. "Together we've stopped the Keystone XL pipeline for over a decade. It's time all presidential candidates join us and commit to stopping KXL once and for all."
If constructed, the long-delayed pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily more than 1,000 miles from the Alberta tar sands, across Montana and South Dakota, to Nebraska. In a move that critics decried as a "ridiculous attempt" to skirt the law to benefit a fossil fuel company, President Donald Trump issued an "unprecedented and unilateral" executive memorandum in March, granting TransCanada — now known as TC Energy — a permit for the project.
"Our next president needs to listen to the science that says we can't build new fossil fuel projects and fight climate change at the same time, not the polluters who say we don't have a choice," Greenpeace USA climate campaigner Charlie Jiang said Tuesday. "Reversing Trump's misguided Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline authorizations on day one sends a clear message to the fossil fuel executives that their days of power over the White House are over."
Other groups co-sponsoring the pledge are the Bold Alliance, Nebraska Easement Action Team, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Sunrise Movement, CREDO, Oil Change U.S., Friends of the Earth Action, Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, Climate Hawks Vote, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Progressive Democrats of America, NYC Grassroots Alliance, Earth Action, Bucks Environmental Network, Greenbelt Climate Action Network, Anthropocene Alliance, New York Climate Action Group, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, and Coalition Against the Pilgrim Pipeline.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.