Alliance for Democracy

Alliance for Democracy e-News: July 22, 2010‏

Posted in Alliance for Democracy, Democratize the Grid, Feed in Tariff, Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy, Water by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on July 25, 2010

Below is the latest national Alliance for Democracy e-news letter which includes a note about our Portland chapter efforts, our somewhat successful effort, for a Feed In Tariff in Oregon.  This has been part of our campaign to Democratize the Grid and bring Power for the People instead of large national and/or multi-national corporations.

I say somewhat successful effort because the rules which came out of the Public Utility Commission did not meet the requirements for a true Feed In Tariff based on the German model. Because of these rules, Oregon’s program does not encourage maximum production of roof top solar because it only allows payment by the utility to cover the electricity used by the home owner.  A true Feed In Tariff would require that the utility purchase all electricity produced by the system, not just what was used.

But we will continue our efforts until we have the German model successfully implemented in Oregon.  More on those efforts and how you can help later.

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter, 503.232.5495

Alliance for Democracy e-News
July 22, 2010   Please forward widely
In this issue:

  • ASAP Actions: Support the Universal Right to Water and Sanitation,
    Urge Your Member of Congress to Sign On to the “FRAC Act,” and send Elizabeth Warren to the CFPB
  • Portland (OR) AfD Celebrates a Giant Step Toward “Democratizing the Grid”
  • Voices of Oklahoma Heading to the Airwaves
  • AfD at the USSF: The Issue Behind the Issues is Corporate Domination
  • Upcoming Events: Peace Conference, Day of Action Against Arizona Immigration Law, and Rally with the Monahans in Kansas City

ASAP Actions:
Call UN Ambassador Rice–Demand US Support to the Right to Water and Sanitation
An historic UN General Assembly resolution titled “The Human Right to Water and Sanitation” has been officially tabled by at least 23 co-sponsoring member states and the government of Bolivia. The United States is not yet co-sponsoring. Before the end of this week, please contact Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, and urge US support for this resolution.

The date set for UN member states to consider this resolution is Wednesday, July 28th. We need it to pass with a strong majority so we need to join people from across the world in acting quickly and collectively!

Calls are needed before the end of this week, as part of the International Week of Action on the Right to Water and Sanitation.  Call the U.S. Delegation’s Opinion & Comment line at 212-415-4062 and leave a message for Ambassador Rice.

Tell her that the right to safe drinking water and sanitation is fundamental to human rights and to the health of every person on the planet. Yet 1.2 billion people are without access to clean water and 2.6 billion are without access to basic sanitation. Climate change will make the global water crisis far worse. Passing this resolution is a critical step toward making access to water and sanitation recognized as a fundamental human right by the UN.

For the current text of the Resolution and background information, please see Thank you!

Tell Key Senators that Elizabeth Warren is the Best Pick to Head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
We hope you took action on the alert we sent out Monday calling for President Obama to appoint Elizabeth Warren as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you did, thanks! If not, there’s still time to weigh in–check out this action, and call today.
Read this article to learn why Timothy Geithner and the corporate CEO members of the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that lobby for free trade and across-the-board deregulation are so opposed to Warren–a proven advocate for the people over Wall Street fat-cats. Check out Michael Moore’s recent interview with Warren if you doubt she’s on “our side.”
We agree with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive voice in economic policy debates, that the financial reform bill Congress passed is a small step in the right direction. Given how the US financial industry has damaged the US and world economy, we have the right to more robust reform,  and must take every opportunity to win it. A first step is to get Elizabeth Warren, current Chairwomen of the Congressional Oversight Committee, appointed head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Support the “FRAC” Act – HR 2766 to Protect Public Health and Drinking Water
Please call your representative and urge him or her to sign on to Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)’s HR 2766 – the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2009 (FRAC Act). Help end the natural gas industry’s toxic assault on clean drinking water, the environment, and public health.

Pressured by industry lobbyists, in 2005 Congress passed a law exempting gas companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This bill would restore that needed regulation.

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” involves drilling into and then fracturing natural-gas bearing rock with a combination of compressed water and toxic chemicals to release gas deposits that can’t be extracted through conventional drilling. Today, new territory in 34 states has been opened to extensive drilling, including the Marcellus Shale, a vast formation that underlies most of New York and Pennsylvania.

Fracking is profitable for energy corporations and for property owners who sell mining rights to their land, but its highly toxic side effects include polluted water–to the point of bursting into flame, as well as serious public health risks from the unknown substances in the chemical mix.

For more info, see this post on the AfD blog. You can also check out the film “Gasland”, an award-wining documentary on fracking and its risks, and watch a Q&A with director Josh Fox here and here.
If you live in New York State, or have friends or family there, learn more about the Marcellus Shale and gas drilling at Shaleshock, and join the call for a state-side moratorium

Portland (OR) AfD Celebrates a Giant Step Toward
“Democratizing the Grid”

Thanks to long, hard work by the Portland Alliance chapter and Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy (OREP), Oregon is now the first state to have a statewide feed-in tariff program, a pilot program that will help make solar power local and affordable by guaranteeing homeowners a fixed price for the electricity their panels generate.

OREP, for which AfD acts as the fiscal sponsor, has been involved in this effort to “democratize the grid” for the past year and a half, first working with the Oregon legislature and then with the state’s Public Utility Commission.

According to David Delk, AfD co-chair and Portland chapter president, local solar makes sense because the energy is being generated where it will be used. Big solar and wind projects on remote sites require building additional expensive and environmentally destructive grid capacity, and up to now, such projects have benefited large multinational corporations while leaving the average Joe outside looking in.

Interest was widespread, and applications from homeowners piled up quickly for the 75 available places in the pilot program. By the second day, all the allotments were filled.

Portland media noted OREP’s significant involvement in the process and quoted organizer Judy Barnes in a front page June 30th article announcing the program, and Mark Pengilly, an AfD supporter and a key activist working with Judy, was quoted in the next day’s business page article.

The pilot program isn’t perfect, and David says that local activists will continue working until the state of Oregon gets it completely right. For more information, visit Oregonians for Renewable Energy Policy and watch a video interview featuring Judy Barnes on the topic of feed-in tariffs at the AfD blog (the interview was taped prior to the program being established, but still answers many questions you might have.) If you’d like more information on the project, email Judy at

Voices of Oklahoma Heading to the Airwaves
It’s official–on May 26, Voices of Oklahoma Community Radio and Web Magazine received FCC permission to build a new radio station in Norman, Oklahoma. Congratulations to Mary Francis, longtime AfD member, and Michael Givel, former AfD council member and Voices of Oklahoma Board Member, on winning FCC approval.
Visit their new website and watch results of the vote for their call letters. Voices of Oklahoma is now starting a Capital Campaign to raise money to build and run the station. Hurray for community news over for-profit corporate news!

AfD at the USSF: The Issue Behind the Issues is Corporate Domination
Thanks to our members’ support, the Alliance had a strong presence at the US Social Forum in Detroit, June 22-26. We collaborated with a wide spectrum of groups on workshops and People’s Movement Assemblies, highlighting the ways that corporate rule deforms debate on healthcare, protection of water, economic justice, and trade. Read more at our blog, including pictures of workshops and tabling.

In between workshops by Nancy, Bonnie, Barbara and Jim, we tabled on behalf of Move to Amend, talking with activists from across the country about corporate personhood and the need for a constitutional amendment to ensure that constitutional rights are not applied to non-human entities. We answered a lot of questions, gave out a lot of bumper stickers, signs, fliers, and copies of the latest Justice Rising on the courts and corporations, and built connections with other Move to Amend coalition groups, too–proving the democracy/end corporate rule movement is alive, well, and making the connections we need to be inclusive, active, and unstoppable.

Jim Tarbell, editor of Justice Rising  was able to connect with several potential contributors for the next issue of our journal, focusing on the solidarity economy and due in your mailbox mid-September.

We thank the members who contributed to help get us and our materials to Detroit. It’s not too late to help us out–contribute online here or mail a contribution to Alliance for Democracy, PO Box 540115, Waltham, MA 02454–please write “USSF donation” on the memo line of your check–and thank you!

Upcoming Events:
July 23-25, National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now
Albany, New York

Antiwar and social justice activists will meet to collaborate on ending US wars, interventions, occupations, and attacks in the Middle East and beyond, to demand immediate and total withdrawal of US military, mercenaries and contractors from Afghanistan and Iraq, and to redirect war spending to peaceful needs, including compensation to those peoples attacked and occupied by the US. For registration and other information, see the conference website.

July 29: National Day of Action against SB1070–Arizona’s Immigration Law
We urge you to participate in local actions condemning SB1070 set to take effect on July 29th. We call for an end to racial profiling, criminalization and economic policies that permit the corporate person freedom to cross borders with impunity, while the rights of natural persons who cross borders to find work are trampled. We call for immigration and trade policies that promote human dignity and economic justice. For too long “free trade” policies have undermined small businesses and farmers on both sides of the border, while immigration policy–or lack thereof–has exploited people desperate to earn a living.

For an examination of what corporate power has done to distort the immigration debate, see the Summer 2008 issue of Justice Rising: “Immigrants: World Citizens or Corporate Slaves,” online here.
If there are no planned events in your area, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has action items on their website here, as does Alto Arizona, here.

Monday, August 9: Rally with the Monahan Brothers to End Corporate Personhood
6:30 pm, Mill Creek Park at West 47th Street and J.C. Nichols Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri

Laird and Robin Monahan continue their cross-country trek to focus attention on the Citizens United v. FEC decision and the need to strip corporations of constitutional rights. Following on the successful rallies at state capitols in California and Colorado, the brothers will speak in Kansas City Missouri. For updates, keep an eye on the Alliance blog or the brother’s website.

Urge your KC area friends to sign up to the Alliance mailing list so they’ll be in the loop, too.

As a member or supporter of the Alliance for Democracy, you’ll receive regular updates on our work and action alerts in support of our campaigns and those of allied groups. If you’d like to unsubscribe from our e-mail newsletter or the Action Alerts, please click on the link below. Thanks for your ongoing interest and support of the Alliance!

The Alliance for Democracy
PO Box 540115, Waltham, MA 02454 781-894-1179 *


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