Thanks to Jordan Winquist for supplying the audio and description.
At National Lawyers Guild Convention (10/25/13)
The workshop dealt with the struggle against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and aimed to draw lessons from the successful attempt by Puerto Rican activists to block the $800 million Via Verde Gasoducto in 2012. Pipelines are already being built as we await Obama’s indecisiveness on KXL, and activists with NLG representation have been arrested all over the country. Also, KXL is extremely important, but it is just one of many critical climate and environmental justice issues. Our colleagues from the front lines gave us a report on how the NLG can help fight extractive industries and support a burgeoning global Green Movement.
Emily J. Yozell is a U.S. attorney who has been based in Costa Rica since 1988. She was active in Central American human rights investigations and litigation throughout the 1980s. She served as local counsel for Latin American banana farm workers suing U.S. based multinational fruit and chemical companies in the U.S. for toxic tort injuries from pesticide abuse during the 1990s. She continues to assist communities affected by agrochemical toxic contaminations and has been active in the successful campaign to declare Costa Rica free from oil development and Carbon Neutral by 2021.
Speakers (in order)
Pedro Saadé is founder and head of Environmental Law clinic at University of Puerto Rico. He is a long term activist and environmental lawyer who represented those opposing the Gasoducto Via Verde. He is also involved in the current fight against the incinerator in Arecibo, a still pending matter.
Since 1983, Joe Heath has been the General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation, the Central Fire of the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] Confederacy. Joe’s work for them is primarily environmental, focusing on the Clean Water Act, Land Rights Action, protection of sacred sites, repatriation of cultural patrimony, and Indigenous
rights in the United Nations. Joe Heath has been a National Lawyers Guild member since 1971, when, in law school, he began to help resist the state’s cover up of the Attica Prison rebellion. Joe has worked extensively in the massive grass roots resistance to fracking in New York.
Dean Hubbard is Labor Director of the Sierra Club and was one of the leads in organizing Power Shift. He is familiar with the labor split on environmental issues from his experience getting unions to oppose KXL and dealing with the costs of solidarity between those unions and the people involved. He addressed job loss/
disruption from the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy. His focus is on the question of how we build a broader coalition FOR a transition to a sustainable economy for the planet and its people.
Mariel Nanasi is the Executive Director of New Energy Economy and worked on a recent effort in Boulder, CO to create a public power utility. She will talk about how they just got the utility to agree to close half of the coal plant (900 megawatts) by 2017. Her next legal/political fight is about replacement power and stranded costs: this issue will be faced by all communities that are closing coal. She also works on a “SOL not coal” initiative that spreads energy democracy and installs solar with strategic partners (Native communities, government, and underserved Latino communities).