Stop Monsanto’s risky GM wheat tests
On May 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the discovery of unapproved, Monsanto-bred genetically modified wheat in an Eastern Oregon field. Japan stopped immediately a shipment of U.S. wheat and Korea began testing.
The mere hint that GM wheat is grown in our fields could wreck our overseas market, where over half of all U.S. wheat is sold. Overseas wheat buyers don’t want GM wheat. Where GM foods are labeled, consumers don’t buy them.
Despite the risk to the U.S. wheat market, Monsanto has planted acres of open-air GM wheat test fields in North Dakota and Hawaii for the past two years.
The Oregon discovery sheds light on our nation’s woefully inadequate regulation of GM crop field trials.
Biotech companies like Monsanto are essentially self-regulated. USDA requires almost no information or review of company plans to prevent GM contamination to obtain a permit.
Farmers risk economic disaster if Monsanto’s experiments go wrong. If any GM wheat is grown here and gets into commercial channels, our overseas customers will buy all their wheat from countries they can trust to sell them 100% GM-free wheat - like Australia and Ukraine.
Urge USDA to get control of experimental, unapproved GM crops that threaten the livelihoods of all farmers. You can use the message below or edit it as you see fit.
Tell the Dept. of Energy: Clean Up Before Start Up!
The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced considerations to kick-start uranium mining on thousands of acres across Western Colorado.
Their Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) recommends continued uranium exploration and mine development in Mesa, Montrose and San Miguel Counties. The 31 leases cover 25,000 acres of public land, including tracts that surround the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers.
Decisions made in this document will govern uranium leasing in our area for the next 10 years. Under the DOE’s preferred alternative, scores of existing leases could operate alongside 19 new mines during peak operations, opening this area up to its full leasing potential. Meanwhile, over 1,200 abandoned uranium mines remain unreclaimed, leaving behind toxic soils and radioactively polluted waters.
Our region has already carried the disproportionate burdens of an industry that has left behind a legacy of toxic waste and radioactive contamination that is still being remediated by taxpayer monies. Any future uranium development should only be done in a manner that protects public health, safety and welfare. We believe that a different future is possible for Western Colorado by putting people back to work cleaning up old mine sites and developing our potential as a renewable energy producer.
Given our communty's long history with uranium, it is critical that local voices are heard in this process.
Please join us and tell the DOE that we can do better for Western Colorado!
Yes to HB2922! Health Care for ALL Oregon!
HB 2922 – AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL OREGON PLAN ACTA hearing on HB 2922 (Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Plan Act) is scheduled for May 13th, 1:00 p.m. by the House Health Care Committee in Salem. HB 2922 establishes the Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Plan, operated by Oregon Health Authority. It provides comprehensive health care coverage to all individuals residing or working in Oregon. Supplants coverage by private insurers for health services covered by plan. Click here for full text. Learn more about the bill from Health Care for All Oregon here.
Email your legislators now to support HB2922.
Label GE Food
In the United States, we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. If you are like me, you want to make up your own mind about what kind of food to serve your family, you want to know what’s in it, and you want to know how it was made.
Last month, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act was introduced in both the Senate and the House.
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labels to let us know if the food we buy has genetically modified ingredients. The FDA won’t require labels unless Congress tells them to.
That’s why 10 Senators, including Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and 22 Representatives, including Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jared Polis (D-CO), have sponsored new federal legislation that would require the labeling of all GE foods.
Without mandatory labeling of GE foods, we have know way of knowing if we are buying and eating genetically modified food from the grocery store. Public opinion surveys consistently show overwhelming public support (near 95%) for labeling GE food.
Sixty-four countries have mandatory labeling of GE foods, including Korea South, Japan, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, South Africa, Australia, and the entire European Union. It’s time for the U.S. to join virtually every other developed nation and require labeling of GE food for consumers.
Tell Congress to pass a GE food labeling bill in 2013—Support the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act—and thank those Senators and Representatives for co-sponsoring this important legislation. You can use the message below or change it as you like.
Make Your Voice Heard on the Oregon State Budget
We know that as a state we can make choices that reflect our priorities and none more so than the choices we make about the budget. As the Human Services Coalition put it in their recent action alert, "now is the time to put all our options on the table — we must look at tax expenditures, consider recommendations to make government more efficient, look at using a portion of the rainy day fund or examine other ideas to balance the budget."
The budget isn't terribly exciting but it has big impacts on many of the things we hold near and dear such as OSU Extension services and our social safety net. It also affects bills we hope will pass such as HB2649, Farm to School funding, HB2700, Aggie Bonds, and HB3260, the Health Cost Study Bill.
Email the members of the Joint Ways & Means Committee to ask them to keep OSU Extension Programs like Master Gardeners and Family & Community Health Program well funded. Express your support for bills like HB2649, Farm to School funding, HB2700, Aggie Bonds, and HB3260, the Health Cost Study Bill. Just tell YOUR legislators what you think it important to fund, not fund and reform as they balance the budget.
SD Tourism: No Uranium Mining in the Black Hills
Powertech - a foreign company - is moving ahead with plans to open a uranium mine in the southern Black Hills. If their permit application is accepted, the mine will use up vast amounts of groundwater, pollute important aquifers, and likely spread toxic, radioactive materials across the Black Hills. Who would want to take a vacation in that setting?
Please sign our petition to SD Tourism Secretary James Hagen demanding that he take a stand against the mine and protect South Dakota's reputation as a tourist destination. We need your signature by June 30, 2013 so we can deliver it before the crucial permit hearing in Rapid City in October.
SB633 Oregon GMO Pre-emption Bill
The Oregon Senate Rural Communities and Economic Development Committee voted 3-2 to pass SB633 through committee. This bill would pre-empt all local (county and city) laws and ordinances intended to set limits on "the display, distribution, growing, harvesting, labeling, marketing, mixing, notification of use, planting, possession, processing, registration, storage, transportation or use’ of genetically modified (GMO) seeds or foods."Now that it has passed through the Senate committee, this bill will be up for a vote before the Oregon Senate as soon as next Monday, April 15. If you think counties should be able to have some control over GMO production locally, contact your State Senator today and urge them to vote no.SB633 is specifically intended to pre-empt a Jackson County ballot measure scheduled for a vote on the May 2014 ballot. This measure was brought forward by organic farmers and their supporters and would establish a county-wide ban on the planting of GMO crops. It was put forward in the wake of issues in recent years with crop loss due to genetic cross-contamination with GMO crops, and a lack of state level action to address the concerns. SB 633 is also intended to prevent future efforts in other counties or cities to set limits or appropriate regulations on GMO crops and foods.
Study all effects of exporting LNG
The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) is studying whether this country should sell fracked liquefied natural gas (LNG) to overseas buyers. This study, however, is not examining the effects fracking has on our clean water, clean air, and public health, or on the water available for other uses, including domestic consumption, agriculture and other industry. DOE is only looking at the economics of exporting fracked LNG.
The natural gas industry sees big profits selling fracked LNG to foreign buyers - regardless of the consequences to the water, air, and people living near gas drilling.
Tell President Obama and DOE to evaluate all the impacts of fracking on our communities as it decides whether to export fracked LNG to foreign countries.
You can personalize the message below to send it to President Obama.
Send Kitzhaber A Valentine - Break Up With Coal Exports!
Valentine's Day is a great time to express your love for the people and places that you care about- like the East Oregon! This Valentine's you can demonstrate your love for our region by taking action to protect it from damaging coal exports. Before we give the green-light to big coal, we deserve to know the impacts on health, safety, agriculture and rural economies from this unprecedented experiment. And that's why we're asking for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Send Governor Kitzhaber a Valentine telling him to say NO to coal export!
This February 14th marks the two-year anniversary of a New York Times story revealing that Ambre Energy, an Australian coal company, had lied to decision-makers about the intended size of their proposed coal export terminal in Longview, WA. Now, Ambre Energy has two proposed coal export facilities up for review: Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, WA and the Morrow Pacific Project in Boardman, OR. Combined, these projects would transport 52 million tons of coal per year through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
By April 1st, Governor Kitzhaber will determine whether to issue a state permit to Ambre Energy allowing construction on the Morrow Pacific coal export facility. While federal permits would have to be issued before construction could begin, it would be the first permit issued on any of the five recently proposed coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest, and set a precedent for opening the door to coal export through the Gorge.
Please show your love for the Gorge by sending Governor Kitzhaber a Valentine and tell him to deny the permit!
The Morrow Pacific Project would export a total of 8.8 million tons of coal through Oregon each year. This is nearly 2.5 times the amount of coal burned in Oregon each year at the Boardman coal-fired power plant. This coal would be transported 900 miles in uncovered coal trains from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana to the Port of Morrow where it would be transferred to barges and barged down the Columbia River. This would more than double current barge traffic on the Columbia, disrupting East Oregon grain exports, tribal fishing and tourism dollars.
We know that Governor Kitzhaber loves the Gorge and does not want it to become the coal chute of the nation, but in order to make this decision - he needs to hear from you! Send Governor Kitzhaber a Valentine and ask him to show his love for the Gorge by saying NO to coal exports!
He only has until April 1st to make this decision - will you send him a Valentine today?
Bangs Canyon: Put Brakes on More Motorized Trails
Ask the BLM to set aside the Responsible Recreation Foundation's (RRF's) plan for more motorized trails in Bangs Canyon until the BLM completes revision of its master plan for the whole Grand Junction area.
Insert additional paragraphs if you have personal knowledge of the area or other points to make.
Tell the BLM to put the brakes on this plan!
DEQ: Don't Sacrifice Clean Air & Water for DIRTY COAL
Ambre Energy is checking off the boxes on their application for their Morrow-Pacific coal export project. Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is now reviewing three permits from Ambre to export U.S. coal overseas.
Our message to DEQ is clear: Concerns about the impacts of coal exports on health, safety, agriculture and rural economies need to be adequately addressed. We need a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will look at the cumulative effects of these proposals.
Send a comment to DEQ Director Dick Pendersen and Governor Kitzhaber today.
DEQ is a regulatory agency whose job is to protect the quality of Oregon's environment. We have until December 20th to ensure that coal exports will not hurt East Oregon’s agriculture economy, environment, and threaten public health and safety.
There are many concerns about the impacts of coal exports on communities in the Columbia River Basin - a huge swath of land covering areas from Prineville, Oregon to Wenatchee, Washington.
Due to the unique landscape of this region, the basin is subjet to regular air inversions. In the wintertime, these inversions place a lid on its entire geographical expanse, clearly defining a single coherent airshed. This means dust, pollution and other particulates remain stagnent in the air, essentially keeping this in our airshed for weeks. If these coal export proposals go through, this entire region will be paying the price with serious potential harm to all living populations.
Thank you for your continued dedication to this issue. We are excited for the chance to show DEQ how dedicated we are. You can use the message below or change it as you see fit.
The Oregon Department of State Lands is also accepting comments on their permitting for the Ambre proposal through January 3, 2013. Ask the DSL to "...deny the removal-fill permit for Ambre Energy's Coyote Island Terminal, LLC proposal." Click here to submit your comment: http://www.statelandsonline.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Comments.frmAddComment&id=49123
Drilling and Neighborhoods Don't Mix - Take Action Today!
Amid growing public concern, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has proposed revising the old standards for how far oil and gas operations should be from homes, schools and neighborhoods. We're glad the state recognizes the problems created by drilling in and near our communities, but their solutions fall short. The Commission’s proposal fails to deliver the balanced, common-sense protection for public health and welfare that Coloradans expect and demand. Instead, the proposal simply locks in place the existing 350-foot minimum distance between drilling and homes.
It is time for Governor Hickenlooper to lead on protecting citizens and the environment from the threats of oil and gas drilling. Take action now by sending a letter to Gov. Hickenlooper and Matt Lepore, Director of the COGCC, telling them that drilling and neighborhoods don’t mix.
Please consider adding some of you own thoughts to the letter below.
Pinon Ridge Comments to Judge Dana
Judge Richard Dana will be the independent hearing officer for the formal hearing on the Pinon Ridge uranium mill application by Energy Fuels on November 7 - 13 in Nucla, Colorado. Please urge Judge Dana to deny the mill application or impose strong safety and financial security requirements.
You can modify the sample letter below before sending it to Judge Dana via email. Additional talking points are available on WCC's website.
Coal Means Higher Costs, More Delays for Local Ag
In Eastern Oregon we don’t live in coal country but we may soon. Major US coal companies are proposing toexport millions of tons of coal annually, impacting rural communities from the plains to the ports. Companies aim to ramp up extraction on public lands in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana; to ship coal hundreds of miles by rail and barge to northwest ports; and then export it by ship thousands of miles across the Pacific for coal-fired power plants in Asia. According to Heavy Traffic Ahead, a report commissioned by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, up to 60 unit trains a day to and from the West Coast would be required to transport an estimated 170 million tons of coal a year. The proposal includes exports of about 8.8 million tons of coal per year from the Port of Morrow at Boardman.This proposal threatens human and environmental health, public safety, property values and climate change. It also threathens to impact local agriculture. For northwest grain growers and others who use the rails and barges to get to market, a huge increase in rail and barge traffic could hurt the bottom line. The Columbia River Gorge rail lines and many rail lines that feed them are already at capacity and have significant delays during harvest season. Increase coal exports could increase demand and price for shipping as well as availability.
The Oregon Department of State Lands is accepting comments on the coal exports proposal through October 31. Comments must focus on how coal exports effect Removal-Fill Law in waterways. One of the concerns that can be considered under Removal-Fill Law is “The project will unreasonably interfere with navigation,…” Arguably, heavy barge traffic and river congestion would unreasonably interfere with navigation.You can make comments directly to the Department of State Lands and we need our agricultural organizations and agencies on board too. Please urge the Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Wheat Growers League and Oregon Wheat Commission to submit comments as well to ensure this proposal doesn't hurt local growers.