The "Poison Pill" and the Carbon Tax

The transportation bill passed by the Washington State Senate contains an infamous “poison pill” provision that would move public transit and other multi-modal funding to the roads account if the state passes a low carbon fuel standard. (See http://www.thestand.org/2015/03/fix-fatal-flaws-in-transportation-package/ for background.)

The poison pill was inserted by State Senate Republicans to please the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel industry backers of the GOP, as well as to stymie Governor Inslee’s green energy agenda.

Late last month, Governor Inslee agreed to existence of the poison pill as a condition for getting a deal made.

But the state House needs to agree on identical language. So far, some progressive House members are refusing to accept the poison pill, while some Republican House members are refusing to go along with the 11.7 cent rise in the gas tax.  See Solving or At Least Understanding the Gridlock in Olympia for details.

(By the way, the budget and transportation package agreed to by the Senate raise taxes on the poor and the middle class, while not raising taxes on the coddled rich.)

But if the poison pill is the only blocker for the progressives, perhaps they should relent, because there’s an excellent alternative that appears not to be subject to the poison pill. The revenue neutral carbon tax promoted by CarbonWA, with bipartisan support, is not a low carbon fuel standard and so apparently wouldn’t trigger the fund transfer.

CarbonWA and its supporters are gathering signatures for initiative I-732 that they hope will appear on the November, 2016 ballot.  There are many reasons why a carbon tax makes more sense than Cap and Trade or a Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

sHellNo Nighttime Luminary Flotilla on World Environment Day

Join us this Friday, June 5th, on World Environment Day for an eveningof art-making, inspiration, music, wise words, and creating a communitythat’s acting in harmony with our shared values and visions of betterway forward.

Rent a Kayak to join the Luminous Flotilla
culminating withprocession to the rig and light action! (you can enjoy music beginningat 6pm from the water or on land). Join the Luminary Flotilla

 

  • Paddle with lanterns from 9-10pm
  • On-the-water Light Action near the rig 10-11:30pm

 

Boaters, please email Capt Marnie. Lantern-makers and artists, please email Denise.

(more info on Luminary Flotilla below)


We need kayaks!
Ask everyone you know. Help us sniff out spare kayaksthroughout Seattle and beyond. Click HERE to offer to Loan Kayaks!

We are looking for loaners for the month of June, beginning IMMEDIATELY. We have more Kayaktivists than there are kayaksfor them to use. The success of the Rapid Response Network and ourability to defend the Arctic from Shell’s destructive drilling may hingeupon your assistance locating and coordinating boats to loan us.

We are interested in kayaks for Kayaktivists considering engagement inboth non-arrestable and elevated risk of arrest actions.

Click HERE to offer to Loan Kayaks!

Join the Flotilla Raft up with kayaktivistsFinal Kayaktivist Trainings – Shell could attempt toleave for the Arctic as early as June 10th. Join us and tell all yourfriends to attend these final trainings!

Last Saturday we were joined by participants from Barcelona, Liverpool,London, Canada and people from throughout the Salish Sea.

Stay tuned for more info about the rapid response efforts. . .


Luminary (ˈlo͞oməˌnerē/)- noun

  1. a person who inspires or influences others.
  2. a celestial body, as the sun or moon.
  3. a body, object, etc., that gives light.

Inspire others to join the climate justice movement! Unite with fellowKayaktivists to share your inner light, bask in the moonlight on thewater, and shine a light of truth on Shell’s depraved plans to drill theArctic.

CLICK HERE to RENT a KAYAK for the sHellNO! Luminary Flotilla

Join the Luminary Flotilla!

We are reclaiming the territory of our imaginations and aspirations,creating a Solutionary Culture of resistance and possibility.

Celebrate our collective creative force with this luminous flotilla andvigil for the Earth! Local artists from throughout the region will bedisplaying their magical light works. The event will open with music andhands-on arts projects to “hold the light” for what is threatened byArctic drilling and climate change. Then we paddle to the Polar Pioneer.

Reserve a spot in a kayak and please pay in advance. We are working withAlki Kayak Tours to provide a Pay-What-You-Can Sliding scale opportunity(it costs us $20-30 per person).

Please finish payment after you RSVP. If you need to find it again visitBackbone’s Kayak Training Payment Portal. Thank you in advance!

Once you register we’ll send you some more info, but plan to wearquick-drying clothing like what you might wear to yoga or hiking, aswell as something warm and a windbreaker (Just about anything butcotton).

Make a meaningful contribution TODAY!
If you think this is worthwhile work, we invite you to support our ability to keep doing it. Thanks for sharing in our enthusiasm!


Donate online HERE or send checks to PO BOX 278, Vashon, WA 98070

Successful Climate Justice Activism

Look what we have accomplished together! (see the media roundup below)
Paddle In Seattle
Together we were:

Paddle in Seattle Stranger CoverLed by the beauty and spirit of the moment,

Emboldened by the drums and wise words of the Duwamish and Native Canoe families and the voices of those on the front-lines of the climate crisis,

D
riven by a moral obligation to take principled and bold action in service of a habitable planet and younger generations.

300+ people (and countless others on land) took to the water, paddling straight to Shell’s Arctic destroyer to demand climate justice.

It is in these moments that we solidify the courage to act upon our convictions. The Paddle In Seattle has seized headlines across the world and has inspired others to join the movements for climate justice.

Thank you for sharing in our vision and for striving to manifest it. Collectively we have done something truly beautiful and powerful.

Kayaktivists confront artic destructionNow, we must use this momentum and spotlight to push onward.

Right now, we are resuming kayaktivist trainings and organizing a rapid response network for when Shell dares to leave for the Arctic. We’re also connecting the solar powered People’s Platform with upcoming night-time paddle actions.

 

 

Media Round-Up:

Chief Seattle is Watching banner at Jack Block with Native      Canoes by Alex GarlandThe news from the weekend made national and global headlines in addition to completely saturating Seattle media (best- KOMO 4 TV, KIRO 7 TV, Q13 Fox TV, Stranger, Seattle PI, West Seattle Herald) This has completely changed the conversation around Arctic drilling and rocketed it to being a top national and even international issue. Even Obama found himself extolling the virtues of protecting the Arctic at a USCG Academy commencement address.

Here are a few highlights: on Saturday, the protest was #3 on BBC World News (right beneath the ISIS raid and Morsi’s death sentence, to give you perspective). The Guardian went wild with coverage as well (here, here, here, and here) and it even reached Australia!

The Associated Press story was picked up in nearly every major paper across the country from Atlanta to Minneapolis to Dallas and on ABC and Yahoo news.

The coverage from the NBC affiliate, King 5 TV, was picked up nationally.

The photos were particularly well-traveled with even Leonardo Dicaprio posting the aerial kayak photos on his Instagram.
Paddle In Seattle
Here is a roundup of the photos from Grist.

The speeches all came from native and impacted people telling us powerful truths. In fact, after traveling to Seattle from the North Slope, Mae Hank and Faith Gemmill-Fredson – founder and executive director of the grassroots indigenous network REDOIL- confronted Shell at the AGM meeting in London. Faith spoke directly to Shell shareholders saying “The moral and financial burden of the irresponsible decision to drill in the Arctic is too risky to consider.”

Paddle In SeattleArctic drilling dominated the coverage of the meeting, casting serious investor doubt on the project.

Earlier in the week, Kayaktivists were live on MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, followed by an amazing segment on Rachel Maddow during which she spent several minutes reading out-loud the riveting and terrifying piece “The Wreck of the Kulluk.”

The Monday following the actions, there was even more national coverage. Here are just a few of the highlights: USA Today, NPR, Slate.

Lastly, #ShellNo and “Arctic drilling” were trending on Twitter and Facebook, respectively!

Floating Banner Defend The Arctic Climate Justice Now

New Kayaktivism Training Dates:

 

 

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Donate online HERE or send checks to PO BOX 278, Vashon, WA 98070

[Breaking] Kayaktivists Confront Shell's Arctic Destroyer

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Kayaktivists Take Action, Now It’s Your Turn!

Register for the 100% Corrected Kayak Training Dates & Times
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Today, Kayaktivists from the sHellNo! Action Council confronted Shell’s Arctic Destroyer in the Port Angeles.

Arctic Destroyer Arrives in Port Angeles`

Do you appreciate beautiful, principled, creative action?

Help Backbone Campaign skill-up more Kayaktivists by supporting the kayak safety trainings with a meaningful contribution today.

Donate online HERE or send checks to PO BOX 278, Vashon, WA 98070

Support effective and creative                artful activism by making a meaningful contribution                TODAY!The growing fleet of kayaks took their clarion call to “Save the Arctic” from the land, out to sea, and even the air! Equipped with paddles, PFD’s and a whole lot of heart, they brought their message, “Arctic Drilling = Climate Chaos,” right to Shell. Paddlers probed the 100 yard “safety zone” of the Polar Pioneer, the platform being prepped for Shell’s pillaging of the arctic.

Even an Orca whale joined the protest, albeit in the form of a 10 foot large kite. More unusual sights will follow as the creative, beautiful, and powerful movement grows to preserve the arctic and stop catastrophic climate change.

Join the sHellNo! Action Council!

Take the pledge of resistance!

Become a Kayaktivist!

Sign-up for this weekend’s kayak trainings, and Thursday’s Training for Trainers to become a Action or Safety Lead.

  • Note Ignore other times, 5pm is the official start time! – Intro to Kayaktivism: Saturday April 18th – 5pm – Register HERE
  • Intro to Kayaktivism: Sunday April 19th – 10 am – Register HERE
  • Kayaktivism Training for Trainers: Thursday April 23rd 5pm – REGISTER HERE

Arctic Destroyer Arrives in Port Angeles

Arctic Destroyer Arrives in Port Angeles

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Support Solutionary Rail

Feature Backbone Images
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URGENT: Is one of your WA State Legislators on the House Appropriations Committee?
(ALSO – See Solutionary Rail article at Crosscut.com)

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Friends, Solutionary Rail is one of those rare projects that is nearly bullet-proof for interests across the State regardless of political affiliation. Agriculture, labor, municipalities, and environmentalists and more have reason to unite unite behind this common sense plan. A WSU team wants to do a feasibility study of our proposal. This proviso to allocate $250k for WSU study is in the House Appropriations Committee. Representative Larry Haler (R) has said he would bring this to the budget, but we need to have his back from both sides of the aisles to keep this about a win/win for all of Washington State.Please contact your legislators this coming week, or attend a town hall event this weekend. Here’s a Map of WA State Legislature Town Halls. Here’s an article in Crosscut about our effort and a link to a conference we are co-sponsoring with railroad workers next weekend in Olympia. Print out and bring a copy of the Solutionary Rail feasibility proviso and the new “Solutionary Rail “one-sheet” (front/back).

Language urging support for proviso:

Dear Representative _________ (Appropriations Committee member)

I urge you to take a close look at a budget proviso being offered by Rep. Haler to allocate $250,000 for WSU transport economists to conduct a study of the benefits and costs of a public-private partnership to electrify freight rail along the northern rail route from Seattle to Chicago, allowing higher speed transport of goods to market.

This study would explore the feasibility of a Steel-Interstate Infrastructure Development Authority to use public bonding authority in a public-private partnership with BNSF to make infrastructure improvements to this important rail route.

Bringing this rail route into the 21st century will have important positive benefits for Washington’s agriculture, manufacturing, ports and other of sectors of the Washington State economy. It will also benefit Washington’s municipalities, tribes and workers. The study would determine potential tax-payer savings on highway infrastructure through diversion of freight transport from roads to rails and the potential for increased development and transmission of renewable electric power in the right-of-way. It would also help achieve State climate goals and stimulate rural economic vitality.

Below is a list of the members of the House Appropriations Committee. These are the folks we need to focus on to get a proviso into the budget.

Thank you for doing what you can. This is a pivotal moment for Solutionary Rail, when a few people could make a huge difference. Please send me an email report on what calls, emails or other contact you made.

In Gratitude & Collaboration,

Bill Moyer
Executive Director
Backbone Campaign
o. 206-408-8058
c. 206-356-9980

 

WA GOP: Fund filthy roads first

WA GOP: Fund Filthy Roads First

For background, see Democrats Challenge Republican Two Thirds Rule, Shut Down Senate Transportation Vote

The Democratic amendment, which lost on a party line vote, would have also blocked a controversial GOP amendment that takes all sales tax revenue from transportation projects out of the general fund (about $1 billion) and puts it into the transportation package. The Democrats argue that GOP provision will decimate education funding and social service funding.

Seattle state senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37, SE Seattle) proposed a similar amendment, which also lost along party lines. Her compromise amendment would have also gone along with the GOP change, but only after the legislature came up with a plan to fund K-12 first. Her amendment mocked the GOP “Fund Education First” mantra; the GOP has repeatedly proposed not funding any of the budget until they fund education. “It looks like funding education first is just a slogan and not something they’re actually willing to do,” Jayapal said. In addition to the sales tax change and raiding the toxics account, the transportation package includes a few other things the Democrats don’t like: Only about six percent of the money goes to multimodal projects; Sound Transit got 25 percent less taxing authority than they requested; and the legislation has a provision the Democrats have taken to calling “the poison pill.” That provision says that all the money for pedestrian, bike, and transit (that’s that six percent for multimodal) turns into roads-only money if governor Jay Inslee uses his executive authority to green light low carbon fuel standards.

Activists Confront Keystone XL Threat

May17AuburnWA03I recently joined hundreds of other activists on a video chat hosted by 350.org to discuss recent developments in the saga of the hotly debated and much delayed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. As you probably know by now, TransCanada wants to build the KXL pipeline to transport diluted bitumen (dilbit) from the tar sands of northern Alberta across the US Midwest heartland to the Gulf Coast for sale on the global oil market. TransCanada needs approval from the US State Department and President Obama to construct a pipeline across the US/Canada border. The approval process has been stalled for years due to persistent grassroots opposition and in recent months held up due to a lawsuit brought by landowners in Nebraska who successfully argued in lower courts that the planned route of the pipeline was illegally drawn and granted the builders improper use of eminent domain. While waiting for the Nebraska Supreme Court to decide whether to uphold the lower court’s decision, the permit for the pipeline’s path through South Dakota expired leaving the oil giant facing the dilemma of having no legal route for the pipeline while oil prices on the global market are plummeting cutting into their profit margin for a product that is the most expensive (and filthiest) fossil fuel to extract, transport and refine.

The most recent bit of political drama in this ongoing saga was played out in the lame duck Congress when Mary Landrieu, the embattled Democratic Senator from Louisiana, bet the catfish farm on a Hail Mary attempt to pass a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone pipeline. The bill was defeated by a razor-thin margin of one vote, and Landrieu lost her seat in a December run-off to Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. 350.org credits this victory to citizen activists who made phone calls to fence-sitting senators as well as Occupy-style sit-ins at the offices of Senators Tom Carper of Delaware and Michael Bennet of Colorado at which 350 DC activists were arrested.

KleebOrganizer for 350.org Duncan Meisel introduced Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska. Kleeb informed listeners that the Nebraska Supreme Court decision could come soon, and expressed the belief that whatever the Court decides, the outcome will be bad for TransCanada. If the lower court decision is upheld, there is no legal route for the pipeline through Nebraska, but even if they strike down the lower court, the lawsuit has shone a light on risks to the environment that reveal shortcomings and omissions in the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement which could solidify grassroots opposition and give Obama some political cover for a decision to reject the pipeline. One other possibility is that the Supreme Court could decide that the landowners do not have standing as plaintiffs and that could cause more delays and uncertainly in a legal process that has already held up the pipeline for several months. Kleeb is encouraged that President Obama has recently stated that building the pipeline poses catastrophic environmental risks while offering few jobs or other economic benefit and takes these statements as an indication that the President is poised to reject the pipeline outright if it lands on his desk, as seems likely to happen in the near future.

GoodtoothNext to speak was Dallas Goldtooth, Keystone XL Campaigner at the Indigenous Environmental Network. He described the situation in South Dakota where indigenous Lakota, Dakota and Sioux have strong legal and moral standing in opposing the re-permitting of the pipeline route through their lands. A hearing on January 6, 2015 could see TransCanada’s appeal to extend the permit dismissed on the grounds that the tribes were not properly consulted in the permitting process, a right that is established in federal law and the importance of which was recently cited in a speech by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. If the permit is not extended, a lengthy new feasibility study would be required, giving both native and non-native landowners the opportunity to make their voices and opposition to the tar sands projects heard. Goldtooth and Meisel stressed that tar sands extraction is a vicious process that lays waste to pristine boreal wilderness, endangers wildlife, and is also destructive to human health and society as well. The increase in violence against women near the “man camps” similar projects have already created is a serious problem that bears consideration in the approval process.

Sara Shor, 350.org Keystone XL Campaign Manager, pointed out that Mitch McConnell, who will be Senate Majority Leader in 2015, has pledged to bring up another vote to approve the Keystone XL. We can expect such a bill to be tied to must-pass legislation in the manner seen with partisan give-away riders that were attached to the so-called CRomnibus bill in early December. Any such action, in addition to events unfolding in Nebraska and South Dakota, could trigger calls for activists to participate in anti-KXL actions all across the country and at very short notice. The NoKXL Pledge of Resistance, for instance, is prepared to engage in broadly distributed acts of civil disobedience as soon as the decision lands on the President’s desk. Asked what would happen if, despite all the efforts to oppose the Keystone XL, President Obama does approve the pipeline, Shor replied, “All hell will break loose. This pipeline is not getting built.”

Emboldened by the success of efforts to defeat Mary Landrieu’s last minute legislative maneuvers, opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline such as 350.org and their allies are confident that they have the know-how to handle whatever is thrown at them in the next 2 to 3 months, and they are calling on like-minded folks to join them and build their capacity for effective grassroots action. Visit any of the following websites for more information and to offer your support.

350.org – Stop Keystone XL Team: http://350.org/kxlteam

 

Bold Nebraska: http://boldnebraska.org

 

Indigenous Environmental Network: http://nokxldakota.org

 

NoKXL Pledge of Resistance: http://nokxl.org

Al Gore Praises Inslee's Climate Plan

At the Seattle Westin today, Al Gore spoke to a full banquet room at a fundraiser for Jay Inslee. Gore offered praise for the Washington Governor’s much vaunted plan to combat global warming. Inslee has proposed putting a price on carbon, improving public transportation, encouraging energy efficiency, and increasing use of solar power and electric cars. It remains to be seen how much of this agenda can come to fruition with Republicans still in control of the State Senate.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that taking a strong stand on addressing the climate crisis has now become an effective campaign fundraising technique. Not so long ago, such a topic would have earned barely a mention from an elected official with such a high profile as Inslee. Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth, Earth in the Balance, and other books calling for action to address climate change as well as founder of The Climate Reality Project, called Washington’s Governor the best of all U.S. governors on this critically important issue.

While giving a nod to the importance of fully funding education as mandated by the McCleary decision, Inslee spoke at length about his plans to find “market-driven” solutions to the problem of reducing carbon emissions, telling the crowd of likely Democratic donors the importance of seeing the current crisis as not just a danger to be averted but as an opportunity for Washington State to lead the nation and the world in 21st Century green energy technologies, drawing on our State’s history as a leader in the aerospace and software industries. Gore recited a familiar litany of dire predictions of climate chaos, but he also pivoted to a more hopeful message: the cost of clean energy technologies is dropping at rates much faster than predicted just five years ago. When the former Vice President spoke of the lower cost and higher efficiency of solar panels, a couple at my table who had recently installed solar panels on their home gave each other a quiet high-five. (They also told me that homeowners buying solar panels from a Washington State based company can look to having the cost recouped in the form of lower power bills in no more than five years.)

p4pBut while Gore and Inslee were inspirational, the star of the day was 9 year-old Abby Snodgrass, a member of Plant for the Planet, who has taken it upon herself to help in the effort to plant “a thousand billion trees”. She believes children planting one million trees in every country on earth could offset CO2 emissions all on their own, while adults are still talking about doing it. Each tree binds a CO2 intake of 10 kg per year. Abby called on all the adults to follow her example and choose not to be a bystander just because the climate problem seems too big to solve. Abby is right. The message of the day is that we will never solve the problem of global warming by doing nothing. The scope of the problem requires all of us to work together. The plan put forward by Governor Inslee won’t solve the problem by itself, but like Abby planting dozens of trees, it’s a meaningful step in the right direction.