PROFIT OVER PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS ELIMINATE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE!!!!!! THIS IS WHAT THE TPP WILL PLACE ON STEROIDS!!!!!
TPP is all about law written in a way that policy always leads to maximize corporate profits and as the US becomes a third world wasteland with raw energy resources killing the environment right here in the US,.....we know that neo-liberals working with corporations to write these treaties have no intention of allowing environmental justice into the picture. Yet, neo-liberals like O'Malley always claim they are an environmental candidate!!!! See that progressive bone being tossed?
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL PRIMARIES!
Administration Is Seen as Retreating on Environment in Talks on Pacific Trade Pact
By CORAL DAVENPORTJAN. 15, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is retreating from previous demands of strong international environmental protections in order to reach agreement on a sweeping Pacific trade deal that is a pillar of President Obama’s strategic shift to Asia, according to documents obtained by WikiLeaks, environmentalists and people close to the contentious trade talks.
The negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be one of the world’s biggest trade agreements, have exposed deep rifts over environmental policy between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. As it stands now, the documents, viewed by The New York Times, show that the disputes could undo key global environmental protections.
The environmental chapter of the trade deal has been among the most highly disputed elements of negotiations in the pact. Participants in the talks, which have dragged on for three years, had hoped to complete the deal by the end of 2013.
Environmentalists said that the draft appears to signal that the United States will retreat on a variety of environmental protections — including legally binding pollution control requirements and logging regulations and a ban on harvesting sharks’ fins — to advance a trade deal that is a top priority for Mr. Obama.
Launch media viewer Michael Froman, the United States trade representative, said, “We’re pushing hard.” Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Ilana Solomon, the director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, said the draft omits crucial language ensuring that increased trade will not lead to further environmental destruction.
“It rolls back key standards set by Congress to ensure that the environment chapters are legally enforceable, in the same way the commercial parts of free-trade agreements are,” Ms. Solomon said. The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund have been following the negotiations closely and are expected to release a report on Wednesday criticizing the draft.
American officials countered that they had put forward strong environmental proposals in the pact.
“It is an uphill battle, but we’re pushing hard,” said Michael Froman, the United States trade representative. “We have worked closely with the environmental community from the start and have made our commitment clear.” Mr. Froman said he continued to pursue a robust, enforceable environmental standard that he said would be stronger than those in previous free-trade agreements.
The draft documents are dated Nov. 24 and there has been one meeting since then.
The documents consist of the environmental chapter as well as a “Report from the Chairs,” which offers an unusual behind-the-scenes look into the divisive trade negotiations, until now shrouded in secrecy. The report indicates that the United States has been pushing for tough environmental provisions, particularly legally binding language that would provide for sanctions against participating countries for environmental violations. The United States is also insisting that the nations follow existing global environmental treaties.
But many of those proposals are opposed by most or all of the other Pacific Rim nations working on the deal, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Peru. Developing Asian countries, in particular, have long resisted outside efforts to enforce strong environmental controls, arguing that they could hurt their growing economies.
The report appears to indicate that the United States is losing many of those fights, and bluntly notes the rifts: “While the chair sought to accommodate all the concerns and red lines that were identified by parties regarding the issues in the text, many of the red lines for some parties were in direct opposition to the red lines expressed by other parties.”
As of now, the draft environmental chapter does not require the nations to follow legally binding environmental provisions or other global environmental treaties. The text notes only, for example, that pollution controls could vary depending on a country’s “domestic circumstances and capabilities.”
In addition, the draft does not contain clear requirements for a ban on shark finning, which is the practice of capturing sharks and cutting off their fins — commonly used in shark-fin soup — and throwing back the sharks to die. The dish is a delicacy in many of the Asian negotiating countries. At this point the draft says that the countries “may include” bans “as appropriate” on such practices.
Earlier pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement included only appendices, which called for cooperation on environmental issues but not legally binding terms or requirements. Environmentalists derided them as “green window dressing.”
But in May 2007, President George W. Bush struck an environmental deal with Democrats in the Senate and the House as he sought to move a free-trade agreement with Peru through Congress. In what became known as the May 10 Agreement, Democrats got Mr. Bush to agree that all American free-trade deals would include a chapter with environmental provisions, phrased in the same legally binding language as chapters on labor, agriculture and intellectual property. The Democrats also insisted that the chapter require nations to recognize existing global environmental treaties.
Since then, every American free-trade deal has included that strong language, although all have been between the United States and only one other country. It appears to be much tougher to negotiate environmental provisions in a 12-nation agreement.
“Bilateral negotiations are a very different thing,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, the former head of the United States trade representative’s environmental office. “Here, if the U.S. is the only one pushing for this, it’s a real uphill battle to get others to agree if they don’t like it.”
But business groups say the deal may need to ease up. “There are some governments with developing economies that will need more time and leeway,” said Cal Cohen, president of the Emergency Committee for American Trade, a group of about 100 executives and trade associations that lobbies the United States trade negotiator on the deal. “When you think about the evolution of labor provisions, you realize how many centuries the development of high standards took.”
Since the trade talks began, lawmakers and advocacy groups have assailed the negotiators for keeping the process secret, and WikiLeaks has been among the most critical voices. The environment chapter is the third in a series of Trans-Pacific Partnership documents released by WikiLeaks. In November, the group posted the draft chapter on intellectual property. In December, the site posted documents detailing disagreements between the negotiating parties on other issues. The site is expected to release more documents as the negotiations unfold.
This shows how corrupt Maryland is .......it is unbelivable. Here is a corporation wanting to build a natural gas terminal being given a tax credit and a green light. Also, here we see again, labor is backing this deal because they are desperate for jobs probably not knowing how much it will impact their members as the price of natural gas soars and their communities are open as fair game for fracking sites that kill these communities.
So, we have a neo-liberal working to build fracking and natural gas as a global exporting market for the US because to save it for domestic use only depresses the price and profit for natural gas corporations. As with gas at the pump that goes sky-high and is deliberately being pushed higher in price so fewer people drive.....as with BGE/Exelon merger that has a rate increase that will double the rates for electricity as Exelon has a billion dollar a year profit-margin....labor leaders are pushing to move natural gas into the same money-soaking category for the citizens of Maryland all because it will create some jobs for a few years.
Now, I am not blaming labor as much as the neo-liberals because neo-liberals are deliberately making the job market so tight that people are desperate and give up all their rights and benefits to work. THAT IS THE REASON MARYLAND IS THE MOST CORPORATE OF STATES AND THE HIGHEST IN INCOME INEQUITY.
Board OKs tax credit pact with Dominion Prince Frederick, MD - 11/6/2013
By Marty Madden
Janet Ashby opted to spend her remaining allotted time in meditation during a public hearing when the county commissioners declined to answer her question
While their presence at a previous public hearing affecting the Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant’s expansion plan was mainly as observers, several members of local labor unions stepped up to the plate Tuesday, Nov. 5 to voice support for the project. The public hearing issue this time was a proposal from the Calvert County Commissioners to grant a tax credit and accept a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) from the utility.
In addition to labor’s backing, the plan to add a LNG export component to the Lusby plant received the endorsement of three state lawmakers—two verbally and another via letter.
“We have hundreds of carpenters living in Calvert County,” said labor representative Hank Sorenson, who added the workers “want and need” a major project in their home county.
Electrical workers union representative Steve Zimmerman of Owings said the monetary windfall is needed both by laborers and county government. “We can’t afford to keep losing this money, this revenue,” said Zimmerman.
“There are people hurting,” said Delegate Mark N. Fisher [R-District 27B]. “We have a golden opportunity.”
Both Fisher and Delegate Anthony J. “Tony” O’Donnell [R-District 29C] encouraged the commissioners to not earmark the additional revenue generated by the Cove Point expansion project for new initiatives but rather toward tax breaks for local businesses and property owners.
Earlier in the hearing, County Attorney John Norris read into the record a letter of support from Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. [D-District 27]. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the county,” stated Miller, who observed the Cove Point expansion project would be a larger construction effort than the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge or the Ravens Stadium in Baltimore.
“We have been given due diligence to this project for a long, long time,” said O’Donnell. “Left and right, Rs and Ds, there’s some merit here. This is going to be a big benefit to future generations.”
As they did a week earlier, project opponents also weighed in and again leveled criticism on the county commissioners for their support of Dominion’s plan. County resident Ken Pritchard said the board was about to approve “a sizable welfare check to corporate giant Dominion.
Cove Point Beach resident June Sevilla said the deal with Dominion came with “no re-numeration to citizens for toxic air and water pollution.” Sevilla accused Dominion of dumping chemicals into the Cove Point Marsh and added the liquefaction process “is a lot more toxic. The safety issue and the homeland security issue are real.”
“The Calvert County Commissioners have truly become Santa Claus for Dominion and Scrooges to the rest of us,” said Cove of Calvert resident Jean Marie Neal. She labeled the proceedings “a tax giveaway hearing. Dominion should pay its full tax responsibility just as we do.”
Another project opponent, Janet Ashby, asked the commissioners “what’s the rush?” When Commissioners President Pat Nutter [R] explained the public hearing was not a time for the board to answer questions, Ashby said she would use her remaining time to meditate. The room fell silent until Ashby’s time expired.
When the testimony was over, the county commissioners were ready to have their say.
“Dominion has proven itself to be a good neighbor,” said Commissioner Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R]. “In the end it [project] is going to benefit all citizens of Calvert County.”
Noting the clamor among project skeptics to impel the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to conduct an environmental impact study instead of an environmental assessment, Commissioner Susan Shaw [R] recalled Dominion’s pipeline expansion project during the latter part of the last decade. “FERC took it extremely seriously,” said Shaw. “A complete environmental impact study was done. The environmental assessment is an update of the environmental impact study.”
Shaw said the PILOT and tax credit proposal “is a significant tax benefit because it takes the pressure off the homeowners. We got the best deal from Dominion we could get.”
“I support this project 100 percent,” said Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R], who conceded the three-year construction project at the plant was likely to pose “an inconvenience” for some county residents. “We will minimize the traffic, environmental and health impacts.”
Commissioner Steven R. Weems [R] suggested the board consider establishing an “expansion advisory committee” to discuss the construction project’s challenges.
The commissioners subsequently voted unanimously to approve the ordinance amendment implementing the tax credit and PILOT authority. According to a county government memo, highlights of the pact are:
1. In fiscal year 2018 the county will receive $25 million before the new equipment is taxable. This represents consideration for entering into the agreement.
2. Dominion Cove Point LLC will begin making payments on the expansion equipment when placed in service pursuant to a PILOT agreement. The PILOT will be five years in duration.
3. The PILOT locks in existing equipment value at $15.1 million for the duration of the PILOT; the value of the existing equipment was projected to decline.
4. The tax credit would begin upon expiration of the PILOT, providing a 42-percent tax credit, versus the requested 50 percent requested by the Company, on new and repurposed equipment for the next nine years.
”We think it’s our fair share of taxes,” said Dominion spokesman Dan Donovan following the hearing. Donovan also indicated Dominion would be involved in improvements to Cove Point Road.
The proposed project is still in the permit obtainment stage. When the final permit is issued Dominion will then need to submit an implementation plan to FERC.
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
I am pleading with labor unions and justice organizations working for jobs to not allow neo-liberals making it hard to find jobs press you into these policies that are very, very, very very bad for you and your families in the longer run. Fracking is the worst for communities, for family health, for exploding the cost of natural gas.
NEO-LIBERALS ARE USING LABOR TO PUSH BAD LEGISLATION!!!!!
Battles Escalate Over Community Efforts to Ban Fracking Obama's trip to fracking territory underscores the controversy. Protesters converged on Dimock, Pennsylvania, in 2011 over the effects of fracking on residents' water. Now an increasing number of communities are seeking to ban fracking outright, sparking court battles.
Photograph by Nina Berman/NOOR/Redux
For National Geographic
Published August 22, 2013
As President Obama visits upstate New York and northeastern Pennsylvania this week to discuss his education agenda, a separate issue looms large in the background: fracking, a practice that has transformed Pennsylvania's economy and divided New York, where a moratorium is in place.
Protesters on both sides of the issue are expected to greet the President. And while his trip highlights many unresolved issues related to America's new wealth of natural gas and oil, a growing number of communities are taking matters into their own hands. (Vote: "How Has Fracking Changed Our Future?")
From New York to New Mexico, more than 100 municipalities have passed fracking bans or temporary moratoriums, according to FracTracker, a nonprofit organization that compiles data on the oil and gas industry. The bans often put communities in direct conflict with states over the right to regulate the oil and gas industry. (See related story: "Health Questions Key to New York Fracking Decision, but Answers Scarce.")
A Far-Reaching Debate
At first glance, New Mexico's Mora County seems an unlikely battleground in the fight over fracking, which involves injecting wells with millions of gallons of water and chemicals to release trapped oil and gas.
Located in a rural northern part of the state, the county has fewer than 5,000 citizens, vast tracts of open land, and an unemployment rate nearly twice the national average. Still, despite its need for jobs and economic development, Mora County in May became perhaps the first county in the United States to ban fracking on its land. (See related quiz: "What You Don't Know About Natural Gas.")
John Olivas, chairman of the Mora County Commission, said the ban stems from fear that fracking might harm water wells, which have flowed despite several recent summers of severe drought. "When you talk about an industry affecting our water, that is really all we have," Olivas said.
Many states across the country are in the midst of an energy boom propelled in large part by advanced drilling technologies, which allow companies to access oil and gas that could not be reached in the past. As drillers move into new frontiers, communities concerned over the health, safety, and environmental impact of fracking are passing strict regulations, moratoria, and outright bans, which often wind up in court. It's a trend experts expect will escalate. (See related story: "Natural Gas Nation: EIA Sees U.S. Future Shaped by Fracking.")
"I think we will see more municipalities and communities trying to ban fracking," said Sorrell Negro, a land use attorney in Connecticut who wrote an influential 2012 paper on the topic. In the past, drilling took place mainly on rural land, Negro said, but new technologies and recent shale discoveries have brought drilling into more densely populated areas.
"You are having places like the city of Dallas that have to decide if they are going to allow it in the city boundaries," Negro said. "These issues just have not come up before."
The trend of community bans has the oil and gas industry on edge. "This is an industry that operates on certainty," said Reid Porter, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute. "When you are looking at the planning necessary to make these investments in communities, it's necessary to know what the regulations are."
Industry representatives say drilling takes years of planning and millions of dollars of investment before the trucks arrive. If a local government has authority to ban drilling or enact regulations that make it too costly or cumbersome, drillers say it puts that investment at risk.
"The ability [of municipal governments] to change policy quickly would not elicit any sort of confidence," said Steve Forde, vice president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a trade association that represents energy companies targeting natural gas deposits in the 48,000-square-mile shale formation underneath New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, and West Virginia. The Marcellus shale contains by far the largest known deposits of natural gas in the United States, and has turned the states where it is located into test cases for local control over fracking. (See related blog post: "In Virginia, a Tug of War Persists Over a National Forest Atop Shale Gas Reserves.")
What's unclear is how far energy companies are willing to go to protect their interests. Industry giants ExxonMobil and BP declined to comment on the issue, referring calls to industry trade associations. Shaun Goho, a lecturer and environmental law expert at Harvard Law School, said he expects industry will continue to push states to limit municipal regulation of fracking. "They want the states to handle it as much as possible," Goho said, "not local governments, and not the federal government."
State laws vary on the authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas development. In 2012, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed statewide standards for oil and gas zoning, preempting the rights of municipalities to ban drilling or regulate where wells are sited. A handful of towns challenged the law and won in lower courts. The issue is currently before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. (See related series: "The Great Shale Gas Rush.")
Since 2008, New York has enforced a statewide fracking moratorium while it prepares state regulations. In the meantime, several municipalities have passed bans and moratoria. In May, a mid-level New York appeals court ruled in favor of Dryden and Middlefield, two small upstate New York towns that banned fracking, affirming lower court decisions. Norse Energy, which has since filed for bankruptcy, had sued Dryden over its fracking ban.
Tom West, an Albany attorney who represents Norse Energy in the case, asked the state's high court to review the ruling. West said communities that ban drilling after energy companies buy leases will likely face further legal challenges. "Municipalities will have to think long and hard about that," West said, adding that he would recommend both that landowners and companies sue to protect the value of their mineral rights.
Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm that represents Dryden, said the case tests the rights of communities in the state to determine their future. "They are asking for the right to develop a well anywhere," Goldberg said of Norse Energy. "If they want to go in next to a school, they go in next to a school. If they want to go in next to a hospital, they go in next to a hospital, regardless of what the zoning says."
Battles over fracking are also brewing far from the Marcellus Shale, in western states including Colorado. In December, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association filed a lawsuit that seeks to overturn a fracking ban passed by voters in Longmont, a city of 85,000 northeast of Boulder. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's administration joined the lawsuit on the side of the drillers. In May, the Fort Collins City Council overturned its fracking ban, reportedly over concern over possible industry legal action, according to the Boulder Journal.
Stan Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association, said in most cases Colorado fracking bans are little more than symbolic gestures in communities that have little or no energy development. In Longmont, for example, Dempsey said there was only one drilling operator. Nonetheless, Dempsey said, the industry spent $500,000 to influence the vote in Longmont and will continue to take cases to court.
"All of these communities are going to be sued for taking someone's mineral interests from them," Dempsey said. "I think it's a bit hypocritical for communities saying 'not in my backyard,' but we want the energy in our tanks and we want natural gas to heat our homes. I think so much of the opposition [to hydraulic fracturing] is really about opposing the development of fossil fuels. They don't want any more fossil fuel development, period."
As new technologies allow energy companies to target shale they were unable to drill in the past, experts say the legal challenges over fracking might be only beginning. The next battlefield may be in California, where drillers are eyeing the massive Monterey shale. The 1,750-square-mile formation in central and southern California is believe to contain double the oil of the Bakken shale, which made North Dakota into the second largest producer of oil behind Texas. (See related story: "Monterey Shale Shakes up California's Energy Future")
Because of the unique geology of the Monterey shale, it is unclear whether hydraulic fracturing would be an effective tool for oil production. After several recent legislative bills to halt fracking in California failed, activists started petition drives to block drilling in several cities and counties. If the activism leads to bans, industry watchers expect they will be tested in state courts.
This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.
As an American being forced to watch US media show images of water on fire from methane, ground water made brackish and undrinkable, earthquakes, and devastating pipeline oil spills all involving natural gas drilling......ARE WE STILL LIVING IN A FIRST WORLD COUNTRY? A SECOND WORLD COUNTRY? HOW ABOUT A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY? That's where we are with neo-liberals. You see, when a country resorts to being an energy exporter allowing all kinds of environmental damage all for profits.....your have reached third world Nigerian status.
THIS IS WHAT TPP INTENDS TO PLACE ON STEROIDS AND IS WHY ALL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW DISAPPEARS AND SOME ACADEMIC RESEARCH HIDES THE FACTS.
Look at how a first world country approaches the raping of its environment for profit! Maryland Governor O'Malley and Maryland Assembly leaders are big backers of Maryland as an export terminal knowing exporting places fracking on steroids.
France upholds ban on fracking over fears of environmental damage, despite country's huge shale gas reserves
By Peter Allen
PUBLISHED: 06:47 EST, 11 October 2013 | UPDATED: 06:55 EST, 11 October 2013
France today upheld its nationwide ban on fracking due to fears the process may cause long-term environmental damage.
The move follows a number of high-profile protests against the practice in Britain, where energy firms have been allowed to undergo exploratory drilling.
Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to crack shale rock holding oil and gas reserves deep underground.
Anti-fracking campaigners stage a protest at Balcombe, West Sussex, due to fears over an exploratory oil drilling plant
But despite efforts by US company Scheupbach Energy (SE) to start drilling into France's plentiful reserves, the country's Constitutional Court today upheld a 2011 moratorium on the process.
Socialist president Francois Hollande is opposed to fracking, based on the legal concept of ‘precaution’.
He supports environmentalists who link the practice with a range of problems, including pollution and minor earthquakes.
Marc Fornacciari, SE’s barrister, told the Paris court that ‘there is not a single study showing that fracking presents the slightest risk.’
The Dallas-based company tried to convince the Constitutional Court that the 2011 ban was discriminatory. But Thierry-Xavier Girardot, for the French government, argued the environmental dangers of fracking were ‘sufficiently acknowledged’ to justify a ban.
SE's permit to explore shale reserves in Aveyron and Ardeche in the south of France have been revoked, and the new ruling confirms this.
Police officers escort a vehicle past anti fracking protestors at Balcombe in Sussex
Anti-fracking protesters set up a camp near Balcombe, West Sussex, over the summer as energy firm Cuadrilla drilled for oil.
Cuadrilla has now submitted new plans to carry out 'flow tests' to determine the rate of extraction at the well after test-drilling found oil in rock samples.
Fracking has revolutionised the energy industry in the USA, despite the huge amounts of water that have to be transported to a fracking site, at huge environmental cost.
There are also fears that potentially carcinogenic chemicals can escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. Two small earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude hit the Blackpool area in 2011 following fracking.
A test drilling site for shale gas near Banks on the outskirts of Southport, Lancashire, UK
Environmental campaigners further argue that fracking is preventing energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.
Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: ‘We need a 21st century energy revolution based on efficiency and renewables, not more fossil fuels that will add to climate change.’