OK Greens to screen ‘Tar Creek’ documentary with filmmaker Q & A

tar creek film coverFilm examines Oklahoma’s Tar Creek toxic mining disaster

Written and directed by Oklahoma native Matt Myers, ‘Tar Creek‘ is a moving testament to the strength, courage and fortitude of native peoples and ordinary Oklahomans. The film documents the human consequences of the No. 1 Superfund site in U.S, located in Picher, Oklahoma. Because of irresponsible mining and government oversight, the people of that area suffered health, developmental, social and economic effects and eventually had to be removed from the area, often without adequate compensation or means to reestablish their lives, homes and businesses elsewhere. As Myers says in the narration of the film, “Environmental problems are people problems.”

The Green Party of Oklahoma will host this new, independent documentary film, with Myers as our guest, for a special screening on Wednesday, April 21 from 6 to 9 pm at the Norman Public Library, 225 N. Webster. A Q&A session will follow the film.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. A donation for the filmmaker is optional but encouraged.

Future screenings are planned in OKC and across the state; contact us for details.

A flyer for the film can be viewed and downloaded, printed and distributed.

View trailer.

Report from REVOLUTION, first Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference

Environmental writer John Sutter attended and wrote up a report for the Gazette

How could wind power evolve in Oklahoma’s future?

Last week, a group of politicians, ranch owners and energy industry types met in downtown Oklahoma City to discuss not only what the future wind power industry might look like in this state, but also how to get there, where “there” is and what obstacles stand in the way.

More than 1,000 people registered to attend REVOLUTION, the inaugural Oklahoma Wind Energy Conference, which was held at the Cox Convention Center Dec. 2 and 3.

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OK Greens speak against Red Rock coal-fired power plant

Journal Record cover on coal plant

GPOK members Jean McMahon and Huti Reynolds have been in contact with the Eco Action Committee of the Green Party since they heard from the Oklahoma Sustainability Network last January that a 950-megawatt coal-fired power plant was in the works to be built at Red Rock, Oklahoma.

They got support and resources from a great group called the National Energy Justice Network, the only national group dedicated to no more coal plants.

July 1, they heard from James Branum, GPOK state Secretary, and Fannie Bates, an Oklahoma City activist:

What is arguably the most important environmental decision made by/for the current generation of Oklahomans is about to happen and I am, as usual, amazed/chagrined that it is going virtually unnoticed. First the immediate facts which OG&E has made public:

On Monday, July 2 and Tuesday July 3, Oklahoma Gas & Electric will be before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission seeking pre-approval to build a new coal-fired power plant at the existing Sooner Power Plant near Red Rock, Oklahoma. The hearings begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be held in Courtroom 301 on the third floor of the Jim Thorpe Building at 2101 N. Lincoln in OKC. The proceedings will be adjourned for the July 4th holiday and will reconvene on Monday, July 9. All interested parties may appear at the hearings to make public comments.

It proposes to build what it “contends” (OG&E’s language)is a “state-of-the- art” 950 megawatt coal-fired power plant in collaboration with PSO (Public Service Company of Okla.) and the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA). These three entities will share costs and ownership of the plant (OG&E 42%, PSO 50%, and OMPA 8%), which is estimated to cost approximately $1.8 billion to build. OG&E will build the plant and operate it when it is complete.

According to OG&E, rate changes to recover the cost will be phased in from 2007 to 2012-average cost per month increase for OG&E customers is estimated to be “a cumulative total” of $4.66 per month.

OG&E lists the following contact information regarding the application: OG&E at 1-800-272-9741. The Commission’s web site is www.occeweb. com or you can send written comments addressed to:
OG&E Red Rock Approval
c/o Office of General Counsel
Oklahoma Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 52000
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2000

The Chairman of the Corporation Commission is Jeff Cloud. Bob Anthony and Jim Roth are the other two commissioners. Their address is as above.

So Huti and Jean rushed down to Oklahoma City on July 2. The OG&E lawyer noticed their Green Party T-shirts and spoke with them, as did the judge, “for some time,” Jean reports.

“I think the main point is, however she (the judge) decides, it will be contested. She apologized that public comments had been postponed for that day.”

Jean and Huti returned the following Monday for the public portion of the hearing — Jean in her famous polar bear suit that got some media attention. “We made our public statements. I believe it was useful for the Green Party to get info out via the media that environmental groups in Oklahoma do oppose coal-fired plants Our fellow citizens may think everyone loves coal by listening to the corporate press.”

Here is statement from the Green Party:

The U.S. is blessed with tremendous renewable energy potential, enough to meet the entire electric demand of the country. We call for a Manhattan Project-level of commitment to developing clean renewable energy technologies—technologies that do not create pollution in the course of generating electricity. These can include wind, solar, ocean power, geothermal, and small-scale hydro. Since even clean renewable energy can have negative environmental impacts, care must be taken to minimize such impacts. Clean renewable energy does not include nuclear power, any sort of combustion or process in which by-products are ultimately combusted, or hydroelectric dams that block entire rivers.

The period for public input closes July 23. It is unknown when the decision will be made.

Global Warming Emergency, yet denials persist

Recent studies show that climate change is accelerating and serious points are being passed much sooner than expected. It will soon be too late.

Steven D at Booman Tribune has collected the latest reports into a grim picture:

We’ve Passed the Tipping Point on Global Warming

[…] We are witnessing changes that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. Changes that were not predicted to occur for several more decades are showing up now, as you read these words of mine. Temperatures and sea levels rising faster than our climate change models predicted. Glaciers vanishing before our eyes. Ice melting in the interior of Antarctica in a region the size of California, where ice has never melted before in recorded history.

[…]

All while Exxon continues to pour millions of dollars into the coffers of conservative think tanks which seek to deny that global climate change is occurring. All while the Bush administration continues to mount a diplomatic offensive to prevent any global action on steps to reduce carbon emissions and other green house gases. […]

Also at the top of the list of those willfully ignoring reality and refusing to act (except to make things worse!), is Oklahoma’s Senator Inhofe.

Click through to the original post for links to studies, articles, reports and other documentation.

Bush’s “war on wildlife”

The Center for Biological Diversity has just released a new report “Politicizing Extinction: Bush’s Dangerous Approach” which details the current administration’s negligence regarding species protection.

Bush Administration Sets All-time Record for Denying Protection to Endangered Species: Zero New Listings in Past Year
Report Documents Rampant Executive Interference in Protection of Rare Wildlife

WASHINGTON— Today marks exactly one year since the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service last protected any new U.S. species under the Endangered Species Act. Fittingly, on this same day, the House Natural Resources Committee is holding important oversight hearings on implementation of the Endangered Species Act by a recalcitrant Bush administration. The last time the agency went an entire year without protecting a single species was in 1981, when the infamous James Watt was Secretary of Interior. There are currently 279 highly imperiled species that are designated as candidates for listing as threatened or endangered and that face potential extinction.

“The Bush administration has closed the doors on endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With the pressing threats of rapid habitat destruction and global climate change, it’s an outrage that not a single new species has been protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an entire year.” Continue reading