Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for March, 2014

Pittsburgh ‘New Economy’ Gathering a Success, New Projects in the Works

Posted by carldavidson on March 23, 2014

In addition to the account below of the points made by featured speaker Gar Alperovitz, Beaver County’s Carl Davidson joined with Rob Witherell of the United Steel Workers in leading a workshop on the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain and their growing influence in the US, including cooperative enterprises in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Heard off the Street: Economist touts employee-owned companies

By Len Boselovic

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 23, 2014 – Political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz was in Pittsburgh last week, promoting the idea of rebuilding communities through cooperatives, employee-owned companies and other economic models that he believes would create a more democratic, equitable, sustainable economy.

“One of the things about employee-owned companies that people don’t focus on is that they don’t move,” he said. “There’s a lot of reasons why this new model makes economic and political sense.”

Mr. Alperovitz, who was the featured speaker at a three-day event celebrating Pittsburgh’s new economy, said many of the topics discussed during the event can be traced back to Youngstown, Ohio, in September 1977, when Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced it was closing its mill there. The news devastated the Mahoning Valley economy, putting 5,000 steelworkers out of work and marking the start of seismic upheavals that wrought havoc in the Mon Valley and other Rust Belt communities.

“Youngstown faced the problems other cities are facing now,” said Mr. Alperovitz, who was enlisted in an ill-fated attempt by the mill workers to buy their company.

Even though the effort failed, he said, it laid the groundwork for future employee buyouts, cooperatives and other forms of collaborative ownership that are helping to revive communities following the Great Recession.

“All of that is traceable to that fight,” he said.

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Posted in Cooperatives, Economy, Organizing, trade unions, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

Wake up the Neighbors! Bring the Doubters to Get the True Story on Fracking

Posted by carldavidson on March 23, 2014

Triple Divide Gasland PDF 2 flyer Sewickley

Posted in elections | 2 Comments »

Arrogance of Power: Frackers Gagging Susquehanna Citizen From Speaking Out

Posted by carldavidson on March 21, 2014

An Injunction Against the First Amendment

By Walter Brasch

Beaver County Blue via Moderate Voice

March 20, 2014 – Vera Scroggins of Susquehanna County, Pa., will be in court, Monday morning.

This time, she will have lawyers and hundreds of thousands of supporters throughout the country. Representing Scroggins to vacate an injunction limiting her travel will be lawyers from the ACLU and Public Citizen, and a private attorney.

The last time Scroggins appeared in the Common Pleas Court in October, she didn’t have lawyers. That’s because Judge Kenneth W. Seamans refused to grant her a continuance.

When she was served papers to appear in court, it was a Friday. On Monday, she faced four lawyers representing Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., one of the nation’s largest drillers. Seamans told the 63-year-old grandmother and retired nurse’s aide that to grant a continuance would inconvenience three of Cabot’s lawyers who came from Pittsburgh, more than 250 miles away. He also told her she might have to pay travel and other costs for the lawyers if she was successful in getting a continuance.

And so, Cabot presented its case against Scroggins.

The lawyers claimed she blocked access roads to Cabot drilling operations. They claimed she continually trespassed on their property. They claimed she was a danger to the workers.

Scroggins agreed that she used public roads to get to Cabot properties. For five years, Scroggins has led tours of private citizens and government officials to show them what fracking is, and to explain what it is doing to the health and environment.

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Posted in Civil Liberties, Environment, Fracking, Marcellus Shale, Women | Leave a Comment »

Environmentalists Call for Ban on Fracking in Ohio After Earthquakes

Posted by carldavidson on March 19, 2014

Photo: Environmental groups are calling for a ban on fracking in Ohio after a series of small earthquakes erupted near an active fracking site last week.

By Mike Ludwig
Beaver County Blue via Truthout

March 18, 2014 – Ohio regulators ordered the Texas-based firm Hilcorp Energy to shut down its fracking operations in rural northeastern Ohio after five temblors ranging from 2.1 to 3.0 in magnitude were recorded March 10 and March 11 in the area. The US Geological Survey reported that the epicenter of the first and largest quake was directly below a landfill where Hilcorp was fracking. Local residents felt the quakes but did not report any serious damage.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), which regulates oil and gas production in the state, said initial data indicated that the earthquakes were not related to drilling wastewater injection wells, which have been linked to small earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma and other states. If investigators link the quakes to Hilcorp’s production operations, it would be the first time that the fracking process has directly caused documented earthquakes in Ohio, if not the entire United States.

Fracking involves forcing millions of gallons of water and chemicals into underground wells to break up rock and release oil and natural gas. Wastewater that returns to the surface during the operation often is disposed of in underground injection wells. Ohio has become a popular destination for the waste, and more than 180 injection wells store waste across the state.

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Posted in Environment, Fracking, Marcellus Shale | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

‘New Economy’ Events in Pittsburgh, March 21-22

Posted by carldavidson on March 17, 2014

We Need a New Economy

East End Food Coop is one small piece of the ‘new economy’

By Molly Rush
Post-Gazette Op-Ed

March 17, 2014 – More and more people have come to distrust our economic system. Low wages, job insecurity, underemployment and loss of pensions stress the social fabric. Compounding the effects on our communities is a growing distrust of a political system driven by the power of major financial donors to candidates and officeholders.

The billionaire Koch brothers, for instance, not only have a war chest of $400 million for targeted campaign contributions, but they also manipulate public discourse by underwriting so-called think tanks that justify legislation benefiting Koch investments in extractive industries, petrochemicals and poisonous pesticides.

The Koch brothers are just one powerful vested interest bent on confusing the public about complex political and social challenges. Add the power of banks and mega-corporations to stack the deck against small businesses and families, and you have a collision between the public good and an unsustainable economy. It is no wonder that so many people feel overwhelmed and discouraged.

“What Is to Be Done?”

That is the title of a book by political economist Gar Alperovitz. He is behind what is being called the New Economy, which is taking root around the United States and right here in Western Pennsylvania.

The idea is to develop an economy that gives people a decent livelihood in a thriving community. We already have the makings of a new economy here in Western Pennsylvania due to some creative initiatives now underway.

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Posted in Community, Cooperatives, Economy, Organizing | Leave a Comment »

A Few Green Jobs Coming Our Way? Push The Budget Through…

Posted by carldavidson on March 9, 2014

Obama proposal sets aside more funds for Mon River, Olmsted lock projects

20140305Locks1 Overlooking the landside lock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and barge industry executives walk atop the Charleroi Lock and Dam during a tour of the Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 of the lower Monongahela River in June 2012.

Overlooking the landside lock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and barge industry executives walk atop the Charleroi Lock and Dam during a tour of the Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 of the lower Monongahela River in June 2012.

By Len Bolselovic

Beaver County Blue via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 4, 2014 – President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget includes $9 million for continuing long-delayed work on a vital lock and dam project on the Monongahela River, more than four times the funding it received in the current fiscal year.

The White House budget proposal also includes $160 million for continuing construction at an Ohio River infrastructure project plagued by massive cost overruns. Paying for that project, located about 600 miles down the Ohio from Pittsburgh at Olmsted, Ill., has prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from providing additional funding for the Mon River work and other projects.

The barge industry and the federal government evenly split the cost of major lock and dam construction projects overseen by the Corps. The industry’s share is generated by a tax barge operators pay on the diesel fuel they use.

But river industry officials have complained about covering cost overruns at Olmsted, where the price tag has ballooned from $775 million when Congress authorized the project in 1988 to $3.1 billion.

More than half of the 200-plus locks and associated dams overseen by the Corps were built more than 50 years ago, which is how long they were expected to last.

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Posted in Green Jobs, Infrastructure, labor, Obama | Leave a Comment »

 
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