Tag Archives: Dallas

Texas Sierrans join with hundreds of activists to stop a “NAFTA of the Pacific”

Sierra Club, Texas AFLCIO, Texas Fair Trade Coalition, CWA, and Occupy Gather at Trade Rally

(Rally in Addison, Texas)

This past weekend in Addison, Texas, a north Dallas suburb, more than 300 environmental activists, labor unionists, public health advocates, human rights supporters and members of the Occupy movement joined together to prevent a  “NAFTA of the Pacific”. The rally demanded the release of the draft text of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

The American people have been denied the right to see the text of the TPP that could weaken environmental rules, increase fracking and exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), lower labor standards and wages, outsource more jobs, increase medicine prices, throw out food safety policies, ban Buy American rules, and allow multinational corporations to challenge and overturn U.S. federal and state laws in private trade tribunals that operate entirely outside of  U.S. court system.

(Sierra Club’s Ilana Solomon gets crowd to shout “hell yeah” to supporting American-made solar & wind products)

A very big “thank you” to the Dallas and Ft. Worth Sierra Clubs for taking time to learn about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and for attending our events. Another shout out to the Lone Star Chapter interns who helped make over 300 calls to Texas Sierrans about the threats TPP could pose to environmental, labor, health, and consumer regulations in the U.S.

Trade is an issue that crosses all political and issue campaign boundaries. Whether you care about clean air, saving American jobs, fair access to medicine, or holding Wall Street accountable, the fight for fair trade is a much-needed unifying battle that can help us build coalitions that can win the change we want to see.

Thanks again for all your support and hard work, and stay tuned for some next steps as we prepare to mobilize solidarity actions during the next round of negotiations in early July in sunny San Diego, California.

In solidarity,

Dave Cortez
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
TX BlueGreen Apollo Alliance
 
Ilana Solomon
Sierra Club Labor & Trade Program
 
Bob Cash
Texas Fair Trade Coalition
 

(Dallas and Ft. Worth Sierrans stand with officers and staff from CWA District 6 and Local 6215. Credit: Herb Keener)

Gala, Rally and March Videos:

The Yes Men honor US Trade Rep. Ron Kirk
with the “2012 Corporate Power Tool” award:
http://www.yeslab.org/tpp
Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzbYwDx1cqU&feature=relmfu 
Becky Moeller, Texas AFLCIO
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwv4iGQ2iYs&feature=relmfu
Brent Taylor, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNuLlQ7IfZQ&feature=relmfu
Claude Cummings, Jr. and Nancy Hall, Communication Workers of America
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCVsE-KLOBo&feature=relmfu  
Sanya Reid Smith, Third World Network
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AsohjpdMEQ&feature=player_embedded
Judy Lerma, National Nurses United
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIUNY17A0os&feature=relmfu
Parks Stearns, Occupy Dallas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btLWzLn47eA&feature=relmfu
Lori Wallach, Public Citizen/Global Trade Watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCAOPhTs-MU&feature=relmfu
Arthur Stamoulis, Citizens Trade Campaign
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af0cwrchN2I
Thanks to all our rally sponsors who worked so hard to make this a successful event: Austin Central Labor Council, Citizens Trade Campaign, Code Pink, Communications Workers of America District 6 and Local 6215, Dallas AFL-CIO Council, Dallas Peace Center, Friends of the Earth, International Association of Machinists, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and IBEW Local 20, Elevator Constructors Local 21 International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Local 745, MoveOn.org Dallas, National Family Farm Coalition, National Nurses United -Texas,  North Texas Jobs with Justice, Occupy Austin, Occupy Dallas, Occupy Texas, OPEIU,  Public Citizen, Lone Star and National Sierra Club, Texas AFL-CIO, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Texas State Building Trades Council, United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers,  United Students Against Sweatshops, Welcoming Immigrants Network and many others.


Dave Cortez
Coordinator
Texas BlueGreen Apollo Alliance
512-477-6195 (office)
Twitter: @TXBlueGreen
www.texasbluegreenapollo.org
David.Cortez (at) SierraClub.org
Check out our green jobs plan for Texas: The Texas BlueGreen Apollo Program
And a National, 21st Century jobs plan: 
Jobs21! – Good Jobs for the 21st Century 

Have You Hugged a Train Lately? National Train Day is May 12th.

Celebrate the fun and excitement of trains this Saturday! There are local events in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio,  Jefferson, and Giddings–as well as other places across the country if you are not lucky enough to be in Texas.

National Train Day poster

Ever since my first trip at age 6, I’ve considered it the most civilized way to travel. Stretch your legs, get up and walk around any time, recline you seat without squeezing the person behind you… you can’t do these driving a car or taking a plane. Plus the U.S. Department of Energy says passenger trains are 20-50 percent more fuel efficient than planes or cars on a per-passenger mile basis. Relax and breathe easier on a train!

We can and should take pride in our trains. The United States has the most miles of track of any country in the world and Texas has the most miles of any state. Though the current levels of service don’t match up to Europe or Asia, we can change that.

Head over to the National Train Day website to find out more and to share your story about what trains mean to you. Share your stories here, too!

Bonus points if you ride your bike to the station!

-Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

We Won’t Get Fooled Again: How Unfair Trade Threatens Texas’ Environment

Why should any Texas enviro care about trade? Let me tell you a bit about what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is, and why you should be concerned as a boot-wearing Southern green activist.

Today through May 18th in Dallas, as negotiators representing nations and corporations from across the world meet behind closed doors for the 12th round of talks on the TPP, a coalition of union members, environmentalists, occupiers, and consumer advocates will be there to shine a light on the backroom deal.

The TPP is a massive, new international trade and investment pact between the United States and countries throughout the Pacific Rim like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, Australia, and eventually Japan.  Instead of being debated out in the open, the TPP has thus far been negotiated in the shadows. Approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been given special “cleared advisor” status to review negotiating documents and advise negotiators.  Meanwhile, the general public has been barred from even reviewing what U.S. negotiators have proposed in our names.

So how does this tie into the Texas environmental community? Texas is home to the Barnett and Eagle Ford shales – some of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. Countries participating in TPP negotiations rely heavily on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), and stand to benefit from provisions in TPP that would open the floodgates for expanded US production and exports of LNG.  In a recent  letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the Sierra Club’s natural gas and labor & trade departments urged Kirk to ensure that the TPP does not allow for export of substantially increased quantities of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) without proper analysis and adequate protections for the American public.

Furthermore, we are concerned about language in previous FTAs that lets foreign corporations sue governments directly — in private and non-transparent tribunals — for unlimited cash compensation over almost any domestic law (environmental or otherwise) that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune discussed this issue in a recent blog post citing:

“By the end of 2011, corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill) had brought 450 disputes worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the governments of 89 countries. Many of those cases directly targeted environmental and other public interest laws.”

If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come rally and march with us in order to let negotiators know that Texans want fair trade that protects both our environment and workers, and that we won’t get fooled again by bad trade deals.

TPP Out of the Shadows!

Rally and March for Good Jobs, Affordable Medicine & a Healthy Environment

Saturday, May 12 * 1:00pm

Addison Circle Park * 15650 Addison Rd * Addison, TX

https://www.facebook.com/events/429902193705698/

Click here to reserve your free seat on a bus from San Antonio or Austin


Dave Cortez
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
512-477-6195 (office)

David (dot) Cortez (at) SierraClub (dot) org

Dallas Doesn’t Need Another Highway: City Council Member Speaks Up

Scott Griggs, Dallas City Council Member, doesn’t think the Trinity Tollway in Dallas will fix the congestion problems in the city. With seven major highways already in the downtown area, it’s clear that more roads won’t fix the problem.

As quoted in the Dallas Morning News,

We are so addicted to the automobile. Adding lane capacity is like an obese person buying a bigger belt and saying he doesn’t have a weight problem.

Dallas Evening Rush Hour Traffic (Photo: Justin Cozart)

Dallas Evening Rush Hour Traffic (Photo: Justin Cozart)

Though he’s in the minority on this issue, Griggs understands that the solution to congestion is to get some of the traffic onto other modes. Moving people by transit and goods by freight rail costs far less, has a lower environmental impact, and would create more long term jobs than a new tollway.

If you’re in the Dallas area and would like to attend the Public Hearing for the Trinity Tollway, it’s on May 8th  in the arena of the Dallas Convention Center, located at 650 S. Griffin Street in Dallas, Texas, 75202. An open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. A formal presentation will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a public comment period.

-Kari Banta, Transportation Associate.

DART’s Green Line gets kudos from USDOT

You know you’ve got a good thing when US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood comes to check it out in person–and then blog about it. Along with Federal Transit Administration Director Peter Rogoff, LaHood toured the economic development in Dallas that is coming as a result of the light rail line.

Dallas is expecting an estimated 48,000 long term jobs created by development along the light rail line. That’s beyond the jobs directly created by the rail from engineering, construction, maintenance, operations, etc. Since these jobs are right by the rail line, chances are the workers will choose to ride. Just the thought of that makes me breathe easier!

While we’re talking about jobs, investment in rail and federal requirements to use American made products means the potential for jobs in the manufacturing sector. Though DART doesn’t currently use American made trains, other cities do. New street car lines also contribute to demand. Secretary LaHood blogged about this, too.

Why is a Sierra Club blog talking about jobs? We’re part of the Blue Green Alliance.

Kari Banta, Transportation Associate