While the hazards of fracking to human health are well-documented, first-of-its-kind research from Environmental Health News shows the actual levels of biomarkers for fracking chemicals in the bodies of children living near fracking wells far higher than in the general population.
The research fills a gap in the science between the health harms experienced by those living near fracking and the known harms caused by fracking chemicals: whether fracking chemicals were actually in people's bodies. They are. Of the southwestern Pennsylvania families who participated in the study, those who lived closer to fracking wells had higher levels of fracking chemicals or their biomarkers than those who lived far away.
One nine-year-old boy had biomarkers for toluene, which can damage the nervous system or kidneys, 91 times higher than the average American. Another had biomarkers for ethylbenzene and styrene, 55 times higher than the average American. Exposure to ethylbenzene and styrene is linked to skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation, reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, and increased cancer risk. The research is part one of a multi-part series by Environmental Health News exploring the multifaceted "body burden" of fracking.
As reported by Environmental Health News:
In Texas, researchers found that babies born near frequent flaring—the burning off of excess natural gas from fracking wells—are 50 percent more likely to be premature. In Colorado, the state Department of Health found that people living near fracking sites face elevated risk of nosebleeds, headaches, breathing trouble, and dizziness. In Pennsylvania, researchers found that people living near fracking face increased rates of infant mortality, depression, and hospitalizations for skin and urinary issues. Studies of fracking communities throughout the country have found that living near fracking wells increases the risk of premature births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraines, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms, skin disorders and heart failure; and laboratory studies have linked chemicals used in fracking fluid to endocrine disruption—which can cause hormone imbalance, reproductive harm, early puberty, brain and behavior problems, improper immune function, and cancer.
"We have enough evidence at this point that these health impacts should be of serious concern to policymakers interested in protecting public health," Irena Gorski Steiner, an environmental epidemiology doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Environmental Health News (EHN).
A man stands with his granddaughter in front of the Murphy Oil site located next door to his apartment in West Adams, Los Angles, California on July 16, 2014. Sarah Craig / Faces of Fracking
For a deeper dive:
- Total Ban on Fracking Urged by Health Experts: 1,500 Studies ... ›
- Every Parent Concerned About Their Kids' Health Should Read This ... ›
- 650,000 Children in 9 States Attend School Within 1 Mile of a ... ›
- Fracking Chemicals Remain Secret Despite EPA Knowledge of ... ›
- Study: Fracking Chemicals Harm Kids' Brains - EcoWatch ›
- Living Near Fracking Wells Is Linked to Higher Rate of Heart Attacks, Study Finds ›
- Fracking Dumps Millions of Gallons of Toxic Chemicals Into Gulf of Mexico ›
Royal Dutch Shell's sale of all its Permian Basin fracking assets to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion may reduce the company's emissions on paper, but nowhere else, experts say.
Shell has come under increasing pressure to reduce its climate pollution, including a landmark ruling from a Dutch court this spring, but selling its Permian oil extraction operations just means it gets the pollution off its own balance sheets – and onto ConocoPhillips'.
"You're not reducing emissions, you're just transferring who produces them," said Arvind Ravikumar, head of UT-Austin's Sustainable Energy Transitions Lab, to The Texas Tribune.
Shell may also hope to do some reputational rehab by selling off its assets in the Permian Basin, specifically. "The Permian Basin has gained a notorious reputation," said Luke Metzer, head of Environment Texas. "Many Wall Street people have said it has a black eye for failing to address methane emissions and flaring."
As reported by The Texas Tribune:
"This is not a symbol of global movement to take climate action," said Kenneth B. Medlock III, senior director at the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University. "This is a symbol of what two different entities viewed was in their own commercial best interest."
For a deeper dive:
- Shell Oil Asks What Public Is Willing to Do to Reduce Emissions ... ›
- In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Rules Shell Must Abide by Paris ... ›
Gone are the days of bulky, power-hungry flashlights requiring pocketfuls of extra batteries. A modern rechargeable flashlight packs a potent lumen output from highly efficient LEDs, drawing their power from lightweight and long-lived rechargeable batteries. They're a fraction of the weight and size of your father's old flashlight and come packed with many useful features, taking handheld lighting places it's never been before.
In this article, we'll discuss the best rechargeable flashlights on the market as well as key features to consider when choosing the right torch for you.
Top Recommendations for Rechargeable Flashlights
When creating this list of best rechargeable flashlights, we considered features including lumens, durability, ease of use, charge time, run time, cost and more. Based on this, here are our recommendations for rechargeable LED lights:
|Best Rechargeable Flashlights||Our Award||Buy Now|
|Renogy E.Lumen 500||Best Solar-Powered Flashlight||Check Price|
|Goal Zero Torch 500||Best Multi-Use Rechargeable Flashlight||Check Price|
|Fenix PD40R v2.0||Best High-Lumen Flashlight||Check Price|
|Petzl Actik Core Headlamp||Best Rechargeable Headlamp||Check Price|
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Best Solar-Powered Flashlight: Renogy E.Lumen 500
Renogy is world-renowned for its innovative solar products, so it comes as no surprise the E.Lumen 500 tops our list of best flashlights. This bright, rechargeable LED flashlight is awesome for its light output alone, but coupled with a robust aluminum construction, useful features and an integrated solar charger, it's an all-around multi-purpose lighting powerhouse.
The powerful headlight and sidelight have seven lighting modes for a variety of lighting needs. The battery is quickly USB rechargeable, but in a pinch, you can charge the flashlight via a built-in solar panel (though you'll need plenty of time to do so). The flashlight also functions as a power bank to keep your electronics juiced. A magnetic glass-shattering hammer attachment and seatbelt cutter make the Renogy E.Lumen 500 perfect for outdoor activities and emergency preparedness.
Charge Time: 1.5 hours via micro-USB; 65 hours via solar power
Dimensions: 9.6 x 3.7 x 2.1 inches
Extra Features: Glass-shattering hammer, seat belt cutter, solar charging capability, mobile device USB charging
Pros: Excellent output, built-in solar charging, dual charging, loaded with useful features, affordable, durable
Cons: Water-resistant but not waterproof, a bit bulky, very long solar recharge time, magnetic hammer attachment prone to falling off, lighting modes can be cumbersome to use, battery not replaceableCustomer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with about 50 Amazon ratings
Best Multi-Use Rechargeable Flashlight: Goal Zero Torch 500
This is about as good as it gets for a basecamp-ready lighting superstar. Goal Zero's Torch 500 is an adaptable flashlight/torch, equipping you with both a 300-lumen spotlight and 300-lumen floodlight, each with three lighting modes. Integrated clips make hanging the Torch 500 a breeze if you're in need of a work light.
The light's 5200 mAh battery takes four hours to charge via micro-USB, and 23 to 46 hours via built-in solar panels. The battery can also charge your personal electronics in the field. Robust weather-proofing and an awesome warranty make the Goal Zero Torch 500 a ready companion for work, play and emergencies.
Charge Time: 4 hours via micro-USB; 23-46 hours via solar power
Dimensions: 8.8 x 2.2 x 4.5 inches
Extra Features: Spotlight and floodlight modes, IP67 waterproof rating, solar charging capability, mobile device powering
Pros: Floodlight and torch with multiple lighting modes, waterproof (IP67), integrated hanging clips, dual charging, built-in solar panels, great warranty, external charging
Cons: Slow solar charging time, a bit bulky, small buttons, lithium-ion battery not replaceable
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with about 60 Amazon ratings
Best High-Lumen Flashlight: Fenix PD40R v2.0
This high-lumen flashlight is the brightest rechargeable flashlight on our list. The Fenix PD40R v2.0 lights up the night with an impressive 3,000-lumen output, enough for a beam distance of up to 442 yards. It features four brightness modes that are toggled with a smart mechanical rotating switch at the head.
The included 21700 battery charges in about three and a half hours, and an optional battery adapter allows you to use common 18650 batteries, giving you more options to keep the lights going. Although it's not quite a tactical flashlight, great features like a battery level indicator, clip and serious weather-proofing make this an awesome choice for law enforcement, security and really, really dark nights.
Charge Time: 3.5 hours via USB-C
Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 1.0 inches
Extra Features: Battery level indicator, IP68 waterproof rating, carrying case included
Pros: Extremely bright, compact, intuitive mode switching, pocket clip, included case and lanyard, replaceable battery, waterproof (IP68), freezeproof
Cons: Lack of backward mode button may be inconvenient for some, poor battery life, expensive
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with about 650 Amazon ratings
Best Rechargeable Headlamp: Petzl Actik Core Headlamp
For hands-free lighting, look no further than the Actik Core. This high-quality rechargeable headlamp is designed and produced by the French mountaineering company Petzl, so you can rest assured it's loaded with features to keep you on the trail longer.
This lightweight LED headlamp throws an impressive 450-lumen beam and features three brightness levels. The battery can last up to 130 hours, and it recharges in just three hours via micro-USB. If you're without a charging cable, just toss in a fresh Petzl Core battery pack or standard AAAs. The headband is removable for easy washing and features reflective accents in case it's misplaced. To cap it all off, a five-year lamp warranty and two-year battery warranty mean the only thing you need to worry about is getting to your destination.
Charge Time: 3 hours via micro-USB
Extra Features: Red light mode for increased night vision, compatible with AAA batteries, IPX4 water-resistant rating
Pros: Compact and lightweight, waterproof (IPX4), multiple lighting modes, removable headband, easy-to-use button, replaceable batteries (either Core unit or three AAAs), excellent warranty
Cons: Plastic design
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with about 3,000 Amazon ratings
How Much Do Rechargeable Flashlights Cost?
The cost of a rechargeable flashlight depends on a number of factors, including lumens, battery capacity, weatherproofing, efficiency, charging methods, materials and more. Most consumer rechargeable flashlights cost $20 to $200, with more expensive options generally having better build quality, design and features. Rechargeable tactical flashlights may cost even more.
How to Choose the Best Flashlight
There's no perfect flashlight for every situation. Consider the following factors when choosing the best rechargeable flashlight for your needs:
- Lumens: Super-bright flashlights often come at the expense of size or battery life. If you require a bright light, balance it with other needs. For most people, 350 to 500 lumens offers more than enough lighting, and all of our top picks can throw this kind of light.
- Design and additional features: Pick a flashlight with buttons that make sense to you. In addition, you should consider other features such as replaceable batteries, clips/hangers, attachments, etc.
- Durability: All of our picks for rechargeable flashlights have some degree of weather protection, but other factors must be considered before purchase. If you expect to put your flashlight through the wringer, pick one that's waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. A flashlight used primarily indoors (e.g., for power outages) may not require the durability of a camping or duty light. For a do-it-all unit, think of the flashlight's worst day and buy one that's up for the task.
- Portability: If you'll be taking your flashlight on the go, it must be lightweight, durable and packable. Be aware that portability may come at the expense of other features, such as battery life, output, durability and more.
- Charge time/run time: Unless you have plenty of time, you shouldn't count on a flashlight's integrated solar panels to keep your light charged. Rechargeable flashlights can reach full charge relatively quickly when plugged in and usually run at least as long as the charge time. Consider how long you go between using the light, and when you do use it, for how long.
- Cost: Higher-end rechargeable flashlights generally come with a steeper price tag (though not outlandishly so), and if you can swing a few extra bucks, they are definitely worth the investment.
FAQ: Best Rechargeable Flashlights
What is the highest lumen rechargeable flashlight?
The Fenix PD40R v2.0 is the brightest rechargeable flashlight on our list with a 3,000-lumen beam throwing over 440 yards.
Which is the best rechargeable torch light?
The Goal Zero Torch 500 is the best multi-use torch light out there. It's packed with awesome features that make it particularly useful for work and play.
Are rechargeable flashlights any good?
Yes. Rechargeable flashlights are standard equipment for law enforcement, military, first responders and outdoor professionals and enthusiasts the world over. They perform just as well if not better than non-rechargeable counterparts.
How many lumens is good for a torch?
Lumen output depends on your needs. For most, 350 to 500 lumens is more than enough for a handheld flashlight. For specific uses, a higher output may be necessary.
The analysis from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Oil Change International finds Indigenous efforts have staved off more pollution than all the cars on the road in the U.S. and Canada, and about equal to 400 new coal-fired power plants.
"From an Indigenous perspective, when we are confronting the climate crisis we are inherently confronting the systems of colonization and white supremacy as well," Dallas Goldtooth, an IEN organizer, told Grist. "It's more than just stopping fracking development and pipelines and it's more than just developing clean energy, it's about actually fundamentally changing how we see the world itself."
As reported by Grist:
The report and data analysis by Goldtooth, Alberto Saldamando, and Tom Goldtooth of IEN and Kyle Gracey and Collin Rees of OCI, is meant to dispel the myth that land defenders and those on the frontlines of the struggles against fossil fuel projects are not making an impact. The work is cause to celebrate, Goldtooth says.
"When you take a step back and look at the work that Indigenous peoples have put in over the years and decades, it really goes to show that we collectively are making a tremendous impact for the benefit of this planet," Goldtooth told Grist.
"It backs up what we've constantly been saying," he added, "recognizing Indigenous Rights protects the water, protects the land, and protects our futures."
For a deeper dive:
- Line 3: Stopping the Next Big Climate Threat Crossing the U.S. ... ›
- 10 Best Books On Climate Change, According to Activists - EcoWatch ›
- Climate and Indigenous Protesters Across 4 Continents Pressure ... ›
- Why Defending Indigenous Rights Is Integral to Fighting Climate ... ›
The athlete, who is a life-long environmentalist, has partnered with financial technology innovator Ando to fight and reverse climate change through sustainable banking. And, he's inviting you, me and everyone who will listen to join him in investing in our collective future.
According to Honnold, the majority of big banks have been bankrolling the polluting fossil fuel industries for decades. In an Oct. 2020 piece penned for Outside magazine, Honnold explained, "When you put your money in a bank it doesn't just sit there — the bank loans up to 90% of its capital to other projects... Six of the top ten institutions supporting increased fossil fuel extraction are U.S.-based."
This has resulted in trillions of bank client dollars being pumped into planet-damaging fossil fuel industries with zero control in the hands of the individuals whose money it actually was, Ando said in an announcement of their partnership with Honnold. The amount tops $3.8 trillion of banking clients' money being invested in fossil fuels in just the five years since the Paris agreement, an Ando representative told EcoWatch.
"It's ironic that most people's money winds up being used for all kinds of projects that they personally would never support," Honnold wrote in Outside. "An individual can go vegan, compost, and turn their thermostat down only to find that the money in their savings account is funding a pipeline or fracking."
In the piece, the legend also drew parallels between his "impossible-dream-turned-real" ascent of El Cap and the global fight against climate change. He called the latter the "apex issue facing our generation — an issue that feels too big and too complex to act on" just as his climb had felt before he conquered it.
Honnold noted that the climate crisis is "all-encompassing" and "urgent" because it will impact almost every other environmental issue. Most scientists agree that as a global community we only have until 2030 to make meaningful changes before the worst effects of warming are permanently baked into our future, he wrote.
Now, through this partnership, Honnold and Ando are inviting people to make one of the most meaningful and powerful changes they can: switching to a sustainable bank like Ando. This will ensure that their money is used as a force of environmental good instead of financing additional fossil fuel extraction.
Ando is a "radically transparent banking service" with a mission to end the banking industry's financing of fossil fuels, the Ando representative said. All customer money run through Ando — including Honnold's and anyone he convinces to create an account — is exclusively invested in carbon-reducing projects striving to reverse the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
"That's what's so exciting about Ando — we invest 100% of deposits into green initiatives like renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Finally, you're in control, able to bank with a company that shares your values and uses your money to help heal the planet," the partnership announcement added.
As a fully transparent bank, Ando allows clients to choose how their money can impact the planet. Ando
As it turns out, swapping to a sustainable bank like Ando allows an individual to have up to 27 times the impact of other environmental actions like going vegan, taking shorter showers, or installing solar panels on their roof, an unrelated study by Nordea Group Sustainable Finance found.
Honnold and Ando hope to mobilize the former's enthusiastic fan base towards their shared mission. Honnold wrote, "The simplest way to reduce energy extraction from the Arctic, tar sands, and via fracking and coal is to decrease the funding to these dirty technologies. Being deliberate and choosing a sustainable bank is key."
The environmentalist and athlete concluded, "After all, your bank is using your money to impact the world, one way or another."
- Climate Change: Everything You Need to Know - EcoWatch ›
- Robert Downey Jr. Announces Sustainable Tech Venture Funds ... ›
- Climate Tipping Points Are Now Imminent, Scientists Warn - EcoWatch ›
- Climate Inaction Will Cost G7 Countries Billions of Dollars - EcoWatch ›
- 13 Must-Read Climate Change Reports for 2020 - EcoWatch ›
By Kenny Stancil
Climate campaigners on Friday cautiously applauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom's moves to cut off new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024 and evaluate phasing out oil production by 2045, while also stressing that the timeline still needs to be accelerated.
The embattled Democratic governor of the world's fifth-largest economy directed the state Department of Conservation's Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to stop new fracking permits and requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) analyze how to stop extracting oil statewide.
"It's historic and globally significant that Gov. Newsom has committed California to phase out fossil fuel production and ban fracking, but we don't have time for studies and delays," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement.
"Californians living next to these dirty and dangerous drilling operations need protection from oil industry pollution today," she added. "Every fracking and drilling permit issued does more damage to our health and climate."
Food & Water Watch California director Alexandra Nagy agreed that the governor's steps were significant and shared Siegel's frustrations with Newsom's refusal to immediately ban fracking by executive action.
"This announcement is a half-measure as it allows continued drilling and fracking for the next two-and-a-half years," Nagy said. "Directing his regulatory agencies to do the work over two-and-a-half years that the governor can do today is more of the dodging we've seen from Newsom during his entire tenure."
Since taking office in January 2019, he has approved 8,610 oil and gas well permits, according to Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker's "Newsom Well Watch" website.
Thank you @GavinNewsom for listening to low-income residents and the communities of color who have been advocating… https://t.co/X3tlpvp8IC— Greenlining (@Greenlining)1619206042.0
Reporting on Newsom's announcement Friday, the Los Angeles Times noted that he's long been under pressure to outlaw fracking:
In September, Newsom called on lawmakers to send him legislation banning the oil extraction practice. That pronouncement was greeted with skepticism by lawmakers who said barring the controversial practice would require more from Newsom than just words.
Sweeping legislation to ban fracking and other "enhanced oil recovery" methods, as well as to mandate health and safety buffer zones around oil and gas wells, failed in the state Senate last week. R.L. Miller, chair of the California Democratic Party's environmental caucus, criticized Newsom for not doing more to support the bill, even though it went far beyond his request for solely a ban on fracking.
Climate, justice, labor, and public health groups in the state continue to call for not only cutting off new fossil fuel drilling permits immediately and phasing out existing extraction but also establishing a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer around oil wells that would—as Oil Change International (OCI) senior campaigner Collin Rees put it—"help Californians suffering from the deadly impacts of neighborhood drilling."
"Newsom's announcement shows the tide is turning swiftly against fossil fuel extraction," Rees also said. "California is the highest-producing jurisdiction in the world so far to commit to a phaseout of oil extraction, and other major producers need to join the state in committing to move beyond oil and gas. Our climate emergency demands bold action, and time is of the essence."
Following today's ban on fracking, @GavinNewsom now has the chance to do what no Governor in California has been ab… https://t.co/R24D72DtTo— Stacey Geis (@Stacey Geis)1619206541.0
While demanding bolder and more urgent climate action, campaigners did welcome Newsom's steps so far as inspirational for other elected officials.
"Stopping new permits for fracking and a plan for phasing out oil production are critical steps in the energy transition," said Matt Krogh, U.S. Oil & Gas Campaign director at Stand.earth, "and the governor should be applauded for that vision."
"This is a huge win for frontline communities and activists who have been fighting the oil industry in California, and an important statement for a world that must leave fossil fuels behind to have a chance at limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees," he added, referring to the more ambitious temperature target of the 2015 Paris agreement.
Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media, said that "California's announcement today is the future of climate action: a clear commitment to keep fossil fuels in the ground... This is exactly the type of commitment that we need to see from the Biden administration and other governments around the world."
Henn, of course, added that "the challenge now is to speed up the timeline so that it meets the urgency that science and justice demand. Drilling for fossil fuels is just as dangerous today as it will be in 2045."
The governor, whose state is bracing for another devastating wildfire season, said in a statement that "the climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day."
"As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children," Newsom added, "I've made it clear I don't see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil."
A great #EarthWeek announcement. CA must move beyond oil. TY Gov. @GavinNewsom for taking action to phase out #fracking in California. This will produce a healthier future for our planet and our communities. https://t.co/kPrkhrpkXu— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) April 23, 2021
Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner Amy Moas said Friday's announcement "signals an important first step by Gov. Newsom towards climate and environmental justice" but falls short of what's needed.
"California already faces the intensifying impacts of the climate crisis, which could get even worse just as the state aims to recover from the pandemic—and Gov. Newsom has a golden opportunity to lead the rest of the country in tackling the number one driver of the climate crisis," she said.
"For Gov. Newsom to reclaim California's title as an innovator and climate leader," Moas added, "he must take bold steps to protect people and the planet from dangerous fossil fuel expansion: by committing to a 2,500-foot buffer zone to protect communities living near drilling, jump-starting investments in a just transition so no workers and communities are left behind by the decline of the fossil fuel industry, and beginning a bold phaseout of fossil fuels today. These are the kinds of solutions we urgently need to address fossil fuel racism, public health disparities, and give workers and communities a chance to live safe, secure, and healthy lives."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
The Trump campaign's efforts to attack President-elect Joe Biden and win Pennsylvania by claiming he would ban fracking failed, while Biden's climate message appears to have boosted turnout, according to reporting from multiple outlets.
Biden not only won Pennsylvania overall, but — while Trump still won in areas with significant fracking operations — Biden improved on Clinton's 2016 performance against Trump in eight of Pennsylvania's top-10 gas-producing counties.
"Climate change as a voting issue has soared in the past five years particularly among Democrats and among independents," Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication, told E&E.
"This absolutely was a crucial issue for constituencies he needed to carry him over the top: young people, Latino voters and suburban women, all of whom care more about climate change than other groups."
For a deeper dive:
- Unprecedented Investigation Finds PA Prioritizes Fracking at ... ›
- Shocking Documents Reveal Fracking Health Complaints Swept ... ›
- Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Much Higher Than ... ›
By Jessica Corbett
Climate justice campaigners plan to descend on Washington, DC in October to protest outside the White House for a week straight, calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and end all new fossil fuel projects.
The Build Back Fossil Free coalition announced the People Vs. Fossil Fuels: Biden's Test demonstrations, to be held October 11-15, in a statement Thursday. The week of action will come just before COP 26, a United Nations climate summit scheduled to begin in Scotland at the end of next month.
The coalition's main message is: "President Biden, you cannot claim to be a climate leader when you are still supporting fossil fuels. Stand with frontline communities, stand with future generations, stop approving fossil fuel projects, declare a climate emergency now."
"As fires burn, oceans rise, and cities flood, we're mobilizing to Washington, DC to demand that President Biden act on climate justice right now," said Joye Braun, a frontline community organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Activists plan to gather in McPherson Square at 8:00 am ET each day, focusing on different themes throughout the week:
- Monday, October 11: Indigenous Peoples Day
- Tuesday, October 12: Fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis
- Wednesday, October 13: Climate chaos is happening now
- Thursday, October 14: We need real solutions, not false promises
- Friday, October 15: We did not vote for fossil fuels (youth-led action)
"The fossil fuel industry has brought devastation to our homelands and it's time that we bring this fight to Biden's doorstep," said Braun. "Despite President Biden's climate rhetoric, his administration has failed to stop major projects like the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, defended oil drilling in the Arctic, promoted fossil fuel exports, and allowed drilling, mining, and fracking to continue on Native and public lands."
"We showed up to vote," the organizer added, referencing last year's presidential election, "and we will continue to show up to make him uncomfortable in his inaction until the drastic needed steps are taken to mitigate climate change and protect Mother Earth."
President Biden needs to STOP approving fossil fuel projects & take the climate crisis seriously, not embrace false… https://t.co/qq2ZzJPduw— Food & Water Watch (@Food & Water Watch) 1633016634.0
Sharon Lavigne, executive director of RISE St. James, one of the groups fighting a proposed Formosa Plastics complex in an area of Louisiana called "Cancer Alley," said that "I'm looking forward to going to DC to speak to President Biden to ask him to refuse all fossil fuel projects."
"If Formosa Plastics is built, it would be a death sentence for the people over here," warned Lavigne, who was honored earlier this year with the Goldman Environmental Prize. "We want to live and we want to breathe clean air."
Siqniq Maupin, director of Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic, who is fighting oil drilling in Alaska, declared that "we're going to make it clear that we're here to protect our land and waters."
John Beard, director of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, which taking on Gulf Coast fossil fuel refineries and export facilities, said that those who gather in DC will encourage the president to "usher in a just transition to a clean, green renewables economy."
The coalition's announcement comes a day after the Canadian fossil fuel company Enbridge revealed that its new Line 3 — a larger replacement for an aging pipeline — is "substantially completed and set to be fully operational" this week, despite ongoing Indigenous-led opposition.
Since taking office in January, Biden has resisted calls from Native American and climate leaders to use his power to stop Line 3. The president has also made various promises to cut planet-heating pollution, from a broad plan to halve all U.S. emissions by 2030 to a methane-focused pledge with European leaders unveiled earlier this month.
The coalition's plans also come as two pieces of legislation intended to deliver on many of Biden's climate pledges — a limited bipartisan infrastructure bill and a broader Build Back Better package — face an uncertain future due to obstruction by right-wing Democrats.
WEST VIRGINIA: Protestors show up at Joe Manchin's yacht with the message: "NO CLIMATE, NO DEAL" https://t.co/APwSwW85YU— People vs. Fossil Fuels (@People vs. Fossil Fuels) 1632863424.0
"President Biden came into office promising bold action to transform our economy with renewable energy and good jobs, but he passed the buck to a dysfunctional Congress," said Jean Su of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Biden has immense executive powers to speed the end of the fossil fuel era and ignite a just, renewable-energy revolution."
Su, director of the center's energy justice program, warned that "without executive action on fossil fuels, there's no way for the president to protect us from the climate emergency. We're calling on Biden to reclaim his power from coal- and gas-state senators and show us he can be our Climate President."
Though Biden, while touring the damage of a deadly storm this month, called the climate emergency a "code red" situation, experts and activists have accused him of not matching that rhetoric with necessary action.
As John Paul Mejia of the youth-led Sunrise Movement put it Thursday: "We are so glad to be joining to descend upon DC and make our voices heard, because we cannot negotiate anymore. This is a matter of life or death."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Despite Pledges on Tribal Relations and Climate, Biden Declines to ... ›
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"This is like a taxpayer bailout to the oil industry to get them to do something they would do anyway," leader of environmental group Dakota Resource Council Scott Skokos told InsideClimate News. "It's like corporate welfare at the highest level."
The $16 million was part of a much larger $221 million in federal relief funds that the legislature voted to reallocate according to the budget approved by the North Dakota Emergency Commission Friday, Inforum and The Associated Press reported. The money was awarded to North Dakota via the CARES Act in March, but the state had not been able to spend it for its intended purpose, Inforum explained. Because there is a year-end deadline for the use of CARES funds, the state had to reassign it or lose it.
However, the $16 million for fracking was the allocation that stirred controversy. That money had originally been intended to clean up abandoned oil and gas sites, InsideClimate News explained. But the approach of cold weather made the completion of the work by the end of the year impossible.
The idea to use that money for fracking grants came from North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. Helms argued that the grants would create jobs and revitalize the oil industry, which was hit hard by the drop in prices at the beginning of the pandemic, according to The Associated Press. Officials also said the grants would boost state revenue, which relies on oil money.
But environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers criticized the decision. The Sierra Club called it "totally inappropriate," while lawmakers said the funds should go to more urgent needs.
"We are at a point now where we are peaking every day as we try to battle this crisis, and I think any of the funds that we use need to be addressed to help us reduce the spread of this virus to help the lives and livelihoods of thousands of North Dakotans," Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, said, as Inforum reported.
Skokos pointed to the irony of using money intended to clean up oil and gas wells to frack new ones. And he said the logic behind the decision was backwards.
"They're giving taxpayer dollars to the oil industry to frack wells with the hope it will bring the state more taxpayer dollars," Skokos told InsideClimate News, "rather than taking the taxpayer dollars and actually using it to benefit taxpayers."
This is not the first time the oil and gas industry has been awarded coronavirus relief. Oil companies have received between $9 billion and $13.8 billion from the federal government in direct aid, according to Bailout Watch.
The news out of North Dakota comes as U.S. residents continue to suffer from extreme weather events made more likely by the climate crisis. Fires forced new evacuations in Southern California this week, and Hurricane Zeta became the fifth named storm of the year to batter Louisiana on Wednesday.
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Los Angeles County supervisors on Wednesday voted to ban drilling in unincorporated areas and to phase out oil and gas drilling.
There are currently 1,046 active wells, 637 idle wells, and 2,731 abandoned wells in unincorporated areas of the nation's most populous county. according to a memo to the board dated June 3, 2021. County Supervisor Janice Hahn praised the plan as "a framework for how we transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy and make sure we bring our labor partners with us."
The Board also voted to create a program to ensure that wells are properly closed and cleaned up, and to expand the county's task force focused on a just transition for fossil fuel workers and communities.
A boy plays basketball in front of an oil well that is covered with large colorful flowers and is located next to Beverly Hills High School. Wells like this are hidden throughout Los Angeles. Sarah Craig / Faces of Fracking
As reported by The Associated Press:
Among the sites is the Inglewood Oil Field, one of the largest U.S. urban oil fields. The sprawling, 1,000-acre (405-hectare) site, owned and operated by Sentinel Peak Resources, contains over half the oil and gas wells in the county's unincorporated areas. The field produced 2.5 million to 3.1 million barrels of oil a year over the past decade, according to the company.
"The goal is to provide direction to county departments to begin addressing the variety of issues, environmental and climate impacts created by these active and inactive oil and gas wells," said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, who represents the district where most of the Inglewood Oil Field is located.
Mitchell, along with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, made the motion to phase out drilling in the county's unincorporated areas.
Inglewood Oil Field is adjacent to several Black communities, including Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights and View Park, where residents have worried about the field's impact on their health and the local environment for at least a decade. Residents have complained of foul odors from the wells and say they have seen oil bubbling through sidewalk cracks in their neighborhoods.
"There are tens of thousands of people who live in very close proximity to oil wells, 73% of whom are people of color," Mitchell said in an interview before the vote. "So, for me, it really is an equity issue."
For a deeper dive:
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By Jake Johnson
On the heels of President Joe Biden's proclamation formally marking Indigenous Peoples' Day, a coalition of Indigenous and environmental leaders on Sunday delivered a blunt message to the White House: "We don't need performative proclamations, our communities are dying."
The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) — a broad alliance of tribes, Indigenous rights groups, labor organizations, and others — said in a statement that since taking office earlier this year, "Biden has consistently fallen short of protecting the water that sustains all life on Mother Earth and continuously failed to honor our treaties."
Specifically, IEN pointed to the president's refusal to block Enbridge's Line 3 replacement project, which Indigenous groups have worked tirelessly to stop for years in the face of brutal police repression and arrests. Oil started flowing through the sprawling pipeline — which could have the equivalent climate impact of 50 new coal-fired power plants — earlier this month, and its opponents have vowed to keep up their legal and on-the-ground fights as the Biden administration continues to defend the tar sands project.
A group of indigenous people and activists raise their fists as they pass sections of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction during the Treaty People Walk for Water event near the La Salle Lake State Park in Solway, Minnesota on Aug. 7, 2021. KEREM YUCEL / AFP via Getty Images
"If Presidet Biden was committed to honoring the treaties and strengthening sovereignty, he would implement a policy of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent by executive authority and act swiftly to mitigate the climate chaos that has engulfed our communities by ending the anti-Indigenous U.S. legacy of fossil fuel extractivism," IEN said. "We have had enough of your empty words. Our communities need clean water, land returned, divestment from the fossil fuel industry, and healing from residential school traumas."
"Proclamations don't erase the police surveillance of Indigenous peoples standing for our land and water, beatings, and imprisonment for those trying to stop pipelines, fracking, [liquefied natural gas], uranium, and other extractive industries from devastating our ecosystems and our bodies and violating our rights," the coalition added. "No proclamations needed until there is justice for the original stewards of these lands."
IEN's statement came just ahead of a five-day "People vs. Fossil Fuels" mobilization targeting the Biden White House over its inadequate climate policies.
While Biden has promised to listen to the science and treat the climate crisis like an "existential threat," he has continued to pursue drilling initiatives that could ramp up U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and intensify planetary warming.
This week, according to organizers, thousands of Indigenous people and their allies in the climate movement are expected to descend on the White House and engage in "mass civil disobedience" to demand that Biden "declare a climate emergency and stop all new fossil fuel projects."
On Monday morning, IEN organizers wrote "Expect Us" on the statue of Andrew Jackson in front of the White House.
"Our people are older than the idea of the United States of America. We are the original stewards of this land and will continue to fight for the natural and spiritual knowledge of our Mother who sustains our life-ways," IEN said in a statement Monday. "We are the grandchildren of the strong spirits who have survived your residential schools, your pipelines and mines, your reservations and relocation and your forced assimilation and genocide."
"We carry the prayers and intentions of our ancestors and are unafraid," the group added. "Another world is possible, may all colonizers fall."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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Employment in renewable energy and battery-related sectors was far more resilient to the shock of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an annual DOE report released Monday.
Overall, one in 10 U.S. energy workers lost their jobs in 2020, with oil and gas workers hit hardest despite billions in bailouts and substantial payouts to executives. Wind energy employment grew by nearly 2%. Jobs in the electric and hybrid-electric vehicle sectors grew by 8% and 6% respectively, and battery storage jobs also increased.
"While we do have work to do to make our energy sector more robust, we also have a lot of work to do in making our energy sector look like America and to make sure that these new clean energy jobs are paying family-sustaining wages, with good benefits and union membership," DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a virtual report release.
As reported by Reuters:
The U.S. energy workforce, from fossil fuels to solar power, shed 840,000 jobs in 2020 as the global health crisis sapped demand for transportation fuels and slowed new projects, according to the annual U.S. Energy Employment Report.
The largest declines were in petroleum and natural gas fuels with a combined loss of 186,000 jobs, or 21% of their workforce, according to the report. Employment in the wind energy industry was among the only sectors to grow, rising a modest 1.8%.
The Biden administration is pushing several initiatives to boost clean energy industries as part of a sweeping infrastructure package being hashed out by Congress, arguing that a transition away from fossil fuels can create millions of good-paying union jobs while countering climate change.
For a deeper dive:
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By Brett Wilkins
Accusing California regulators of "reckless disregard" for public "health and safety," the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday sued the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom for approving thousands of oil and gas drilling and fracking projects without the required environmental review.
The lawsuit claims that the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) failed to adequately analyze environmental and health risks before issuing fossil fuel extraction permits, as required by law. According to the suit, California regulators approved nearly 2,000 new oil and gas permits without proper environmental review.
"CalGEM routinely violates its duty to conduct an initial study and further environmental review for any new oil and gas well drilling, well stimulation, or injection permits and approvals," the suit alleges. "Instead, CalGEM repeatedly and consistently issues permits and approvals for oil and gas drilling, well stimulation, and injection projects without properly disclosing, analyzing, or mitigating the significant environmental impacts of these projects."
We took Gov. Newsom to court for granting new oil and gas permits w/o environmental review. "The governor is openl… https://t.co/AAShi3a1rm— Center for Bio Div (@Center for Bio Div)1614195010.0
The center noted that "despite Gov. Newsom's progressive rhetoric on climate change, he has failed to curb California's dirty and carbon-intensive oil and gas production."
"His regulators continue to issue thousands of permits without review, and the governor has refused to act on his stated desire to ban fracking," the group said in a statement. "Newsom's regulators also failed to meet the governor's deadline to publish a draft health-and-safety rule after vowing to do so before the end of 2020."
Last September, as deadly climate-driven wildfires ravaged large swaths of California and turned skies in the San Francisco Bay Area an apocalyptic shade of orange, Newsom called on the Democrat-controlled state legislature to stop issuing new fracking permits by 2024, drawing widespread rebuke from climate campaigners who argued that now is the time to act.
Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, said Wednesday that "it is completely unacceptable for Gov. Newsom to continue to ignore our flagship environmental law that's meant to protect people from oil industry pollution."
"Newsom can't protect our health and climate while giving thousands of illegal permits each year to this dirty and dangerous industry," Kretzmann added. "We need the courts to step in and stop this."
Deborah Sivas, director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford Law School and an attorney representing the Center for Biological Diversity in the lawsuit, said that "state laws are designed to protect communities and minimize pollution."
"The state can't continue to pretend these fundamental protections don't apply to one of the most polluting and dangerous industries on the planet," added Sivas.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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