When we hear politicians and gas companies extoll the virtues of fracking, jobs created by drilling is usually high on their list of talking points. But the jobs created by fracking are not the kind of quality jobs American workers deserve.
They are not the kind of jobs American laborers have fought and died for throughout our country's history.
They are extremely dangerous, exposing workers to chemicals whose long-term impacts on human health are yet unknown. In fact, the fatality rate of oil field jobs is seven times greater than the national average.
In our new short film, GASWORK: The Fight for C.J.'s Law, we conduct an investigation into worker safety and chemical risk. We follow Charlotte Bevins as she fights for CJ's law—a bill to protect workers named for her brother CJ Bevins, who died at an unsafe drilling site.
We interview many workers who have been asked to clean drill sites, transport radioactive and carcinogenic chemicals, steam-clean the inside of condensate tanks which contain harmful volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other chemicals, and have been told to do so with no safety equipment.
A lot of reporting has been done on the health impacts fracking and drilling have on local communities, but often the story of the workers, the folks who are exposed to fracking chemicals and unsafe working conditions around the clock, goes untold.
GASWORK has rare interviews with oil and gas workers who have come forward to speak out about the unsafe conditions.
One worker from western Pennsylvania told us he was hired by the fracking industry in the early days of the rush to drill the Marcellus Shale to cover up toxic spills in his own community, near the forests and streams where he would hunt and fish, near the front yard where his children play.
The industry won't tell you that the "good" jobs created by fracking are paying men to poison their own communities in order to feed their families. They won't tell you that those jobs are not union jobs and if you get hurt, you are on your own. And they won't tell you that the transition to 100 percent renewables will create hundreds of thousands of safer jobs.
That is one reason we joined workers from the renewable energy industry in an act of civil disobedience on the banks of Seneca Lake in May. Along with 19 others, we blockaded the gates of Crestwood Midstream, a Houston based company whose plan to turn the Finger Lakes into the gas storage and transportation hub for the northeast includes storing gas in rickety salt caverns under Seneca Lake.
One of the men we were arrested with was Joe Sliker, CEO of Renovus Energy, a local renewable energy company. As he stood in front of a large truck being driven by a fossil fuel industry employee, Joe offered the workers at Crestwood a chance to join the energy revolution American workers deserve.
“I'm here to offer them a choice. I'm here to offer all of those people a better job. Today. Right now. Solar is rapidly expanding. These are real, good jobs. We pay better wages. It's safer. We offer full benefits and paid time off and we respect our team," says Sliker.
It was an amazing thing to witness, a table full of job applications, ready for workers who want to switch employers. The solar revolution is ready to build a new workforce right now.
According to a study done by Professor Mark Jacobson at Stanford University, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy would create 174,775 construction jobs and 94,644 operation jobs in New York state alone. The state where Crestwood wants to turn a rural wine making region into a fossil fuel energy hub. The state where C.J. Bevins was killed at an oilrig site.
We know many of the labor laws we have today we're won by fossil fuel industry workers. They risked everything, often facing violent retribution from their own government, because they dared to believe they deserved safe working conditions and fair compensation.
We know we stand on the shoulders of those great men and women and that we must continue the fight for safe, good paying jobs in this country. We must have a fair and just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and support the workers and communities that have for so long powered our lives.
The industry doesn't want you to know that we care deeply about its workers. That we thought about them this past Labor Day Weekend, knowing people are still working unsafe jobs in America today, all the while feeling the warm summer sun and cool breezes that could be powering our country and a new revolution of safe jobs.
We thought about them and all those who came before. The coalminers, the steel workers, the men and women who worked in the factories, they taught us a very important lesson, one that has echoed throughout history only gaining strength as it has been proven to be true again and again.
They taught us that to challenge the powers at be, we must unite.
A new study shows that GASLAND screenings played a pivotal role in growing the anti-fracking movement and passing fracking bans. We believe the number one reason that is true is because those screenings brought people together.
That is why we are asking you to host a watch party of our new short, GASWORK: The Fight for C.J.'s Law.
GASWORK, The Fight for C.J.'s Law, is a new short film by Josh Fox.
Stand with us against jobs that poison workers and communities. Stand with us for safe, clean energy jobs. Stand with us for the energy revolution American labor deserves.
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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.