Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Program Topic: Two unsuccessful legislative attempts to block tar sands pipeline and metallic mining; developments in global retailers reaction to Bangladesh building collapse
Key Discussion Points:
a) This week, the Maine legislature’s Natural Resources Committee watered down a bill that would have set a two year moratorium on pumping of tar sands oil through the Montreal Portland Pipeline, 76% owned by Exxon Mobil. Changes were made to the bill after the Maine Attorney General’s office claimed such a moratorium would interfere with federal interstate commerce laws.
b) A bill (LD 1059) that would have reversed last year’s legislation that opens Maine to open pit metallic mining did not pass out of committee this week. Instead, LD 1302 was voted out of committee, a bill that only seeks to mitigate environmental damages. Though 350 Maine and others did not support this compromise, other environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Council of Maine did.
c) Over 30, primarily European, clothing companies have signed onto a legally binding building and fire safety agreement for their Bangladesh factories. It requires independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory factory building renovations, an obligation that brands and retailers underwrite the cost of repairs, and a genuine role for workers and unions. Us companies, such as Walmart and Gap have not signed on, making them the continued target of labor rights campaigns.
A) Bob Klotz, organizer with 350 Maine Team, www.350maine.org
B) Liana Foxvog, organizer with International Labor Rights Forum, Sweatfree Communities campaign
C)Update on Coal is Stupid blockade in Somerset, MA