Pipeline opponent needs our support

Dear Friends,

In the past three weeks, unlikely coalitions have stopped two pipelines: Palmetto in Georgia and Kinder Morgan in New England. These victories are very encouraging to those of us fighting to stop Bakken, and we need to keep pushing:

– Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to do a full Environmental Impact Statement.
– Circulate our letter to President Obama asking him to tell the Corps to do its job.
– Support legal action defending landowners standing up to Dakota Access.
– Support tribal actions, including the Run for Your Life.
– Prepare for the possibility of civil disobedience.

There’s one more critical action you can take: Support elected officials who’ve stood with us against Dakota Access and against the politicians bought and paid for by Big Oil’s tainted money.

The most vocal, consistent Iowa House member standing against the Bakken pipeline is State Rep. Dan Kelley of Newton. Dan has been with the people in this struggle, and now has a well-financed opponent.

Please take a few minutes to go to Rep. Dan Kelley’s website and make a contribution. He’s up against the very forces we’ve been fighting. Dan’s running a strong campaign, and donations from the grassroots will allow him to buy brochures, yard signs and other materials he needs to get his message out.

And Dan’s message is our message: “It’s clear that the IUB is listening to power and money instead of the people of Iowa, so it’s time for the Legislature to step forward and clarify that eminent domain must only be used for a genuine public purpose,” and “I’m proud to have been the first Iowa legislator to join The Climate Mobilization, a full-scale effort to combat the causes of climate change and to champion realistic solutions.”

So please, go to Dan’s website today and either send him a check or click the “Donate” button. It’s only six weeks until the June 7th primary election, so Dan needs your help ASAP.

On today’s Fallon Forum, we discuss:
– The refugee crisis in Europe, with Michael Luick-Thrams
– How the national political establishment continues to mess with Iowa’s US Senate race
– The frightening number of high school science teachers who deny climate change
Run for Your Life, with Donnielle Wanatee
– Climate catastrophe in the Mekong Delta . . . and possible lessons for the Mississippi Delta

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Exxon Fights Back

Dear Friends,

Here’s the mug I use to drink my strong, black tea every morning.Mug The quote by Gandhi does as much to jump-start my day’s work as the tea itself: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

(For what it’s worth, that mug also serves as the receptacle for my cheap, dry red wine. Just my rebellious, urban redneck nature, I guess.)

The world is rich with inspiring quotes from Gandhi. Here’s one relevant to today’s conversation: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

When it comes to the campaign to expose Exxon for flagrantly lying about climate change, we’ve arrived at “fight.” Last week, the fossil-fuel-financed fringe struck back, lobbing alarmist accusations at Big Environment (that’s me) for colluding with Big Attorneys General (like Iowa’s Tom Miller) to make Lil Ole Exxon look bad.

But it gets even better. Our campaign to shed light on what Exxon knew, when they knew it, and to what extent they lied about it is, apparently, not just a threat to Exxon but an existential blow to the very foundation of America’s liberty.

That bastion of independent journalism, The National Review, had this to say: “What’s at stake here is nothing less than the rule of law and the maintenance of a free society, one in which people, think tanks, and businesses are not subject to prosecution for political activism on contentious public-policy questions. This is an attack not only on the First Amendment but on the entirety of the political process itself.” (See article here.)

Wow! Yes, little-known fact: We Big Enviro types hate freedom and the First Amendment.

Like I said, this fight has begun in earnest, and Exxon’s well-financed defenders will stop at nothing to paint those of us taking on Exxon as evil and anti-American.

So, what can YOU do?

1. Sign the petition calling on Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to launch an investigation into Exxon’s climate fraud.

2. Thank Miller for his leadership taking on Big Tobacco years ago, and ask him to apply the same level of passion and diligence to holding Exxon accountable. Attorneys general in New York, California, Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands have launched investigations, and more are likely to follow. Here’s the main phone number for the Attorney General’s office: 515-281-5164. (Yes, I know phone calls are so last millennium. And simply because of that, the personal, nostalgic touch of a phone call is very effective.)

3. Learn more about the campaign to expose Exxon. Check out the work of Inside Climate News, the folks who were nominated for Pulitzer Prize for their research into what Exxon knew. Click here.

And if you need more motivation than the desire to rein-in climate change and hold a deceitful corporation accountable, just remember the Exxon Valdez, a tragedy that, 25 years later, Exxon has yet to pay for the long-term damage it did to Alaska’s environment. (See Climate Progress story here.)

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Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Tell the Corps to do its job!

Dear Friends,

Pipeline fighters know the important role President Obama played in helping defeat the Keystone XL Pipeline. Today, four of us stepped forward with a letter to the President imploring him to exert the same type of leadership on the Bakken Pipeline.

I’m grateful to the collaborative effort that helped draft this letter: Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska and president of Bold Alliance, Dallas Goldtooth, coordinator of Indigenous Environmental Network and Frank James, director of Dakota Rural Action.

Below is the text of the letter we sent today to President Obama. If it is successful at persuading the President to insist that the Army Corps of Engineers conduct an Environmental Impact Statement, it could have a decisive impact on the Bakken Pipeline.

With that in mind, I have two important asks for you today:

1. Share the link to the full letter (complete with logos and contact detail for signatories) on Facebook, Twitter, or through your preferred social media venue. Click here for the letter.

2. Share the press release with one or more of media contacts. Click here for press release.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dear President Obama,

Your rejection of the Keystone Pipeline was truly historic, and we again commend you for that bold act of foresight and leadership. Your decision sent a strong statement about the importance of protecting land, water and property rights. It also conveyed the message that climate change is a clear and present danger demanding America’s full commitment to ending our reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Again, we thank you.

With that frame of reference, we ask you in the strongest possible terms to exert the same clarion leadership with regards to the proposed Bakken Pipeline. Over the past twenty months farmers, ranchers, landowners, tribal leaders, property-rights advocates, environmentalists, attorneys, local elected officials and climate activists in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois have done everything possible to stop Dakota Access from building the pipeline.

In Iowa on March 10, despite overwhelming public opposition to the use of eminent domain for a private company (74% in a poll last year), and despite eroding public support for the pipeline itself (support dropped from 57% in 2015 to 47% in a recent poll), the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) issued Dakota Access a permit to build the pipeline, granting it the authority to use eminent domain. But that permit came with six conditions that Dakota Access had to meet before it could begin construction.

On April 9, the IUB determined that those conditions had been met, but made it clear that Dakota Access could not begin construction until the Army Corps of Engineers completes work on “issues that include endangered species, environmental issues, cultural resources and historical preservation.” [Bakken pipeline set to get a green light, Des Moines Register, April 9, 2016]

Two critical items are missing from the Corps’ intended course of action:

(1) Failure to properly consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on the pipeline’s impacts;

(2) A comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes the pipeline’s impact on climate change.

Regarding the failure to properly consult, as mandated by section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), revised regulations 36 CFR Part 800, the Corps is mandated to initiate consultation with tribes whose historic properties may be affected by the pipeline route. This includes consulting and coordinating with the aforementioned tribes on the identification of historic and tribal properties that may be adversely affected by pipeline construction and route. This entire process has not occurred properly.

Regarding the Environmental Impact Statement, letters to the Corps from the Environmental Protection Agency on March 11, Department of Interior on March 29, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on March 15, all make it clear that the Corps’ efforts have fallen short.

Specifically, the Department of Interior’s letter to the Corps requests an “EIS to fully evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.” We concur.

A full Environmental Impact Statement, that is comprehensive to include climate change and cultural resources, is warranted for the entire 1134-mile pipeline route.

We respectfully request that you and your Administration make clear to the Corps that nothing less than a full EIS is demanded and expected.

Again, thank you for your strong leadership on renewable energy, climate change and a range of pressing environmental concerns. We are confident that your voice in this matter will further define your legacy as a President who acted with great foresight not just on the Keystone XL Pipeline but on the Bakken Pipeline as well.

Sincerely,

Ed Fallon, Director, Bold Iowa
Jane Kleeb, Director, Bold Nebraska & Bold Alliance
Dallas Goldtooth, Coordinator, Indigenous Environmental Network
Frank James, Director, Dakota Rural Action

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Podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum can be heard here, and include:
– Human trafficking, with Robert Brownell and Kellie Markey
– Bakken Pipeline delayed
– The New Grassley
– Fight for $15, with Bridget Fagan of Iowa CCI
– War on the Amazon

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, list live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Dems’ caucus review panel a joke

Dear Friends,

Last fall, Dr. Andy McGuire, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), approached me to discuss how to build a bridge to progressives and other disaffected voters who’d left the IDP. A few weeks later we met over lunch at Hoq Restaurant, where Dr. McGuire offered to convene a statewide meeting to hear the concerns of these voters. We stayed in touch and agreed to move forward with the idea after the Caucuses.

On February 1st, the Iowa Caucuses saw a virtual tie between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, followed by a slew of complaints about cramped venues, long lines and other glitches. That led to a clamor across Iowa and beyond to examine what went wrong and institute reforms. The IDP announced a task force. I told Dr. McGuire on two occasions I was willing to serve on it, and received encouraging responses that she would get back to me.

Well, she didn’t get back to me. A caucus review panel was indeed established, and its membership announced last Saturday.

Disaffected voters are nowhere in the mix. Of the committee’s 25 members, nearly every appointee is an IDP insider.

And the goal of the committee? As quoted in the Des Moines Register (April 2): “{P}arty officials — including those now serving on the committee — have all but ruled out major changes to the Democratic caucus process.”

That’s code for, “We’ll pretend to care, but let’s stack this committee to make sure nothing of substance gets done. And let’s minimize exposure by sending-out the press release on Friday — the slowest news day of the week.”

Like the Democratic National Committee and, presumably, state Democratic parties around the country, the IDP doesn’t get it. If Dr. McGuire was sincere about wanting to rebuild the Party and stem the hemorrhage of voters from its rolls, setting-up a rubber-stamp committee of insiders only digs the Party’s hole even deeper.

How deep is that hole?

– In Iowa in 2009, there were 111,000 more D’s than R’s.
– There are now 28,855 fewer D’s than R’s.
– “No Party” voters have solidified their spot as the largest voting block.
– Five of Iowa’s six congressional representatives are Republican.
– The Iowa House is solidly Republican.
– The Democratic majority in the Iowa Senate is razor thin.
– Four of six statewide elected offices are held by Republicans.
– Even my chickens have switched their affiliation to “No Party.”

If Party officials think they can woo back disgruntled former Dems with platitudes and rhetoric, they should think again. Want examples of what’s actually working?

Bernie Sanders. Look at the enthusiasm and political revolution his candidacy has sparked! Though it makes the corporate element of the Democratic Party quake in its gucci boots, THIS — not your phony caucus review panel — is the future of politics in Iowa and America.

– Speak-truth-to-power grassroots organizations like Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. These folks have a solid string of victories for the people Democrats say they represent, but too often don’t.

– New grassroots efforts like the Bold Alliance, which is building rural-urban coalitions to oppose Big Oil and the abuse of eminent domain while working for clean energy solutions.

On June 7th, I’ll vote in the Democratic Primary for Rob Hogg for U.S. Senate and Desmund Adams for Congress. On June 8th, I’ll switch my voter registration back to “No Party” . . . unless Party officials demonstrate that they’re prepared to change their ways.

I’m not holding my breath.

Listen to the Fallon Forum Mondays, broadcasting live from the Cultural and Culinary Cross-roads of America (a.k.a., Des Moines, Iowa) from 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM and online. The number to call to add your voice to the conversation is (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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