In-depth report by Korina Lopez and Ramona du Houx
September 28, 2020
The California Latino community has been disproportionately infected by the coronavirus. Latinos make up 39 percent of the population in the state, but account for 56 percent of COVID-19 infections and 46 percent of deaths, according to the California Health and Human Services secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly. That’s three times the rate as Whites. State officials say, many employers have not reliably provided protective equipment to workers or implemented social distancing or mask wearing rules. This is systemic racism.
Elected Officials to Protect California (EOPCA) insists that the Latino community should not have to suffer in toxic work environments and live in areas of environmental injustice.
Latinos are America’s lower paid essential workers. From grocery store workers, to healthcare technicians, firefighters, transportation workers, maids, janitors and agricultural workers. In order to keep their families from financial ruin most have to continue to work, they don’t have the luxury of choosing to work from home. They work in jobs where social distancing is not a practical option. They live in homes that often are packed with family, and extended family. More.
By Ramona du Houx
WASHINGTON D.C. – On July 22 the United States House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act with a vote of 310-107. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 73-25 last June. The bipartisan legislation will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), while addressing a backlog of maintenance needs for national parks and other public lands. The veto proof bill was signed into law in August.
“As veterans who are lawmakers, protecting our public lands is part of defending our country. We fought to ensure every American enjoys their inherited right to public land access,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, a former Maine state lawmaker, Marine combat veteran, and President of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA). “We are elated to see that the Great American Outdoors Act passed Congress and soon will be law, creating increased prosperity, health, and the freedom to enjoy our nation’s national treasures for generations.” More
Water in Crisis: Part II – Uninhabitable Homes: Climate migrants and the water-driven conflicts that undermine American security
By Brianna Cunliffe, P.E.N. chief investigative reporter
If nothing is done to drastically alter our relationship with fossil fuels, in fifty years nearly a fifth of the world’s population will live in zones so hot and dangerous they will likely become uninhabitable. Thirty years will see over 150 million people displaced by rising seas that swallow up towns and cities. Eight of the nation’s twenty largest metropolitan areas, New York chief among them, are under serious threat. Nowhere is immune. As wells dry up, crops fail, and violence rises — where will these climate refugees go?
We’re beginning to find out. In 2020, wildfires raged across the west, causing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands. Some only escaped with their lives, losing all their earthly possessions. The climate crisis’ implications for Americans have finally drawn worldwide attention.
Globally, people have been forced into exile because of the climate crisis for years. The consequences of these swells of migration are costing nations dearly. Southern Mexico’s already-strained resources are on the verge of collapse with the influx of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from dought-stricken nations like Guatemala. More.
During apocalyptic fires, elected officials call on Newsom to declare a state of emergency for climate crisis
By Ramona du Houx
September 27, 2020
Eerie orange skies smoothing the sun turned day to night as thousands sheltered inside from the smoke or fled deadly fires. Many couldn’t go outside as ash and toxics particles rained down in triple digit weather. This was August in California. Even today fires continue to erupt as dry brush from drought conditions is easily ignited.
According to the California Air Resources Board, the climate crisis considerably increases the frequency and severity of wildfires. This year 26 times more Californian acreage has burnt than in 2019. As of September 14, a total of 7,718 fires have burned 3,451,428 acres, more than three percent of the state’s roughly 100 million acres of land, making 2020 the largest Californian wildfire season in recorded history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The annual number of fires has increased lock step with changing climate. As the temperature has risen there is a direct correlation with the intensity and amount of fires that have increased over a thirty to fifty-year period, according to Miles O’Brian, science correspondent, of the PBS Newshour. Between 1985 and 2015, wildfires in California doubled as a direct result of changing climate conditions. More.
By Ramona du Houx
September 23, 2020
Fifteen nations including Norway, France and the UK, already have adopted bans on new internal combustion engine cars, with various targets from 2025 to 2040. California is the first American state to join them.
While deadly fires were still raging in California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s new electric vehicles (EV) sales goal as part of an executive order to curb climate change. Hence, every new passenger car and truck sold in the state has to be electric by 2035. Still, the order does not prevent Californians from owning gas-powered cars, selling used cars with internal-combustion engines or buying them outside the state.
A 15-year timeline isn’t groundbreaking. The Union of Concerned Scientists calculated that under Newsom’s plan, gas-fueled vehicles could still make up almost half the cars on the road in 2035. More.
By Ramona du Houx
August 12, 2020
In August, The University of Maine announced a collaboration with Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation, and RWE Renewables, the second-largest company in offshore wind globally, to develop UMaine’s floating offshore wind technology demonstration project off the coast of Maine. The design was innovated at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites incubator program that produced the project’s unique floating -platform technology.
The newly formed company, called with New England Aqua Ventus, LLC (NEAV) will invest the $100 million to build and deploy a full-scale, floating wind farm at the site, about 14 miles off Maine’s coast.
“The experience and investment that RWE and Diamond Offshore Wind bring are really unparalleled in the strength they will give to the project,” said Habib Dagher, executive director of the University of Maine Composites Center, leader of program and its technology. “And, if all goes well, it will be mean we will get the first full-scale floater off the US into the water within three years.” More.
By Ramona du Houx
September 19, 2020
New Jersey became the first state in the nation to require mandatory permit denials if an environmental justice analysis determines a new facility will have a disproportionately negative impact on an overburdened community. Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation (S232) into law on September 18, 2020 after twelve years in the making.
“Today we are sending a clear message that we will longer allow Black and Brown communities in our state to be dumping grounds, where access to clean air and clean water are overlooked,” said Governor Murphy. “This action is a historic step to ensure that true community input and collaboration will factor into decisions that have a cumulative impact for years to come. I’m incredibly proud that New Jersey is now home to the strongest environmental justice law in the nation.” More
October 3, 2020
By Christopher Douglass
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics has warned that, “states and local governments are going to have to curtail spending very quickly,” unless funding arrives soon from the federal government. Zandi stated that “it’s vitally important” that Congress enacts a second stimulus package and that funding for state and local governments should be on the “top of that list.” Without a stimulus Zandi thinks, “the odds of a double-dip recession are high.” The stakes are only going to increase as state and local governments strain under increasing pressure of mounting debts and limited funds.
Moody’s report found that state and local governments are reaching a critical breaking point. Forty-two states will “need to fill budget gaps of 5-percent or more; 34 states would need to fill gaps of 10 percent or more.” More.