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Why we do what we do: To decrease human suffering and to promote human values of equality and justice.

Activate Magazine is an on-line publication that focuses on Social Justice, Activism and Politics but also features Music Reviews. Some of the work here may come with a defiant sneer and others with brutal cynicism but it all comes with a sense of genuity. Not all the viewpoints or perspectives here represent the values or ideals of Activate Media. That being said we try to be fair in journalistic principles.

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Water Rights Group Calls on Newark Officials to Resist Privatization of City’s Water Supply Amid Lead Crisis

Water Rights Group Calls on Newark Officials to Resist Privatization of City’s Water Supply Amid Lead Crisis

“While city and state officials must respond to the current crisis with urgency, they must also protect their water system from predatory corporate operators.”

By Julia Conley

Pointing to the public health crisis that ensued in Flint, Michigan after the city turned over control of its water to the state, water rights advocates called on leaders in Newark, New Jersey to retain their authority over the city’s water as they confront their own lead crisis.

Reports of lead levels well above the EPA’s safety standard of 15 parts per billion surfaced earlier this month, prompting Newark city officials to distribute bottled water to residents.

“The lead crisis in Flint was precipitated by a state takeover of the water utility, so it cannot be considered a remedy for Newark’s problems. The state should not take control away from the city’s democratically elected officials.” —Mary Grant, Food & Water WatchState Assemblyman Jamel Holley on Wednesdaycalled on Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to declare a state of emergency and hand over control of the water supply to New Jersey’s government, but critics quickly urged the city to consider the crisis in Flint, which exposed thousands of people to toxic levels of lead.

Flint’s lead crisis was traced to the city’s use of the Flint River for its drinking water to save money—a decision made after the city was put under state control in a receivership due to debt. The city’s contract with Veolia, the largest private water supplier in the world, also caused “Flint’s lead poisoning problem to continue and worsen” through the company’s “negligence and fraud,” according to a lawsuit filed by the Michigan attorney general in 2016.

Giving control to an outside entity could soon give way to privatization of Newark’s water, which could have ramifications for residents long after the lead crisis is brought under control.

“The lead crisis in Flint was precipitated by a state takeover of the water utility, so it cannot be considered a remedy for Newark’s problems,” said Mary Grant, director of the Water-for-All program at Food & Water Watch. “The state should not take control away from the city’s democratically elected officials.”

Baraka responded to Holley with a clear rejection of the proposal, saying, “The city of Newark is not interested in turning over our water source to any outside entity.”

The current water crisis reportedly resulted from the 39,000 filters officials distributed throughout the community following tests in 2017 that showed high lead levels. The filters were meant to be a stop-gap measure until the city could replace 18,000 lead pipes which caused the neurotoxin to leak into the water supply, but more recent tests suggested the filters had failed.

The very existence of the crisis reveals that privatizing the water supply, which could quickly result from turning it over the state control, would harm residents, said Food & Water Watch.

“One needs only to look at neighboring communities in New Jersey to see that private companies like Suez also struggle with replacing dangerous lead pipes,” said Grant. “And privatization would have the added burden of raising water rates for Newark residents for decades to come. While city and state officials must respond to the current crisis with urgency, they must also protect their water system from predatory corporate operators.”

Instead of looking for alternatives to the city’s management of its own resources, Food & Water Watch said, officials should join the group in calling for the passage of a federal law to guarantee safe drinking water to all Americans.

The WATER Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability) Act, proposedby Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), would repair water infrastructure across the country.

“Ultimately, a federal solution like the WATER Act would give Newark the resources needed to address the real issue: lead service lines,” said Grant. “Renewed federal support can help communities across the country replace these pipes and update infrastructure to give all Americans access to safe, clean drinking water.”

Source: Water Rights Group Calls on Newark Officials to Resist Privatization of City’s Water Supply Amid Lead Crisis | Common Dreams News

‘Game-Changer’: Sanders Unveils Green New Deal Plan Detailing 10-Year Mobilization to Avert Climate Catastrophe, Create 20 Million Jobs 

‘Game-Changer’: Sanders Unveils Green New Deal Plan Detailing 10-Year Mobilization to Avert Climate Catastrophe, Create 20 Million Jobs

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of America—and really, in the history of humanity.”

By Jake Johnson

Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the United States and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday unveiled a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.

“If fossil fuel executives and lobbyists reading Sanders’ plan are scared, they should be.” 
—Jack Shapiro, Greenpeace

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of America—and really, in the history of humanity,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement.

“When we are in the White House,” said the Vermont senator, “we will launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a 10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change, justice, and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.”

Sanders’ plan for an aggressive 10-year mobilization to combat the climate emergency comes amid warnings from the international scientific community that global greenhouse gas emissions must be slashed in half by 2030 to avert planetary catastrophe.

Across the world, Sanders noted on his website, there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence testifying to the severity of the climate crisis and the urgent need for bold action.

“The Amazon rainforest is burning, Greenland’s ice shelf is melting, and the Arctic is on fire,” Sanders wrote. “People across the country and the world are already experiencing the deadly consequences of our climate crisis, as extreme weather events like heat waves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes upend entire communities, ecosystems, economies, and ways of life, as well as endanger millions of lives.”

To confront the emergency, Sanders’ Green New Deal plan would:

  • Reach “100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by at least 2050”;
  • Invest $16.3 trillion in creating 20 million jobs, developing sustainable infrastructure, and supporting vulnerable frontline communities;
  • Assist international efforts to reduce carbon emissions by providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund and rejoining the Paris climate accord;
  • Ban fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining, and imports and exports of fossil fuels;
  • “Prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused”; and
  • Ensure a fair and just transition for workers currently employed by the fossil fuel industry.

According to the Sanders campaign, the senator’s plan would “pay for itself over 15 years” by forcing the fossil fuel industry to “pay for their pollution,” eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, slashing military spending that is dedicated to “maintaining global oil dependence,” raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and more.

Read the full text of the campaign’s Green New Deal plan here.

“Bernie promises to go further than any other presidential candidate in history to end the fossil fuel industry’s greed, including by making the industry pay for its pollution and prosecuting it for the damage it has caused,” reads the campaign’s website.

“Any serious plan to address climate chaos must start with a ban on fracking and a halt to all new fossil fuel development. Sanders understands this, and he has set the bar for worthwhile climate policy discussion.” 
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Action

“And most importantly,” the website continues, “we must build an unprecedented grassroots movement that is powerful enough to take them on, and win. Young people, advocates, tribes, cities and states all over this country have already begun this important work, and we will continue to follow their lead.”

Jack Shapiro, senior climate campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said, “If fossil fuel executives and lobbyists reading Sanders’ plan are scared, they should be.”

“Sanders has talked the talk on climate change from day one of his campaign. This plan shows he’s ready to walk the walk, as well,” Shapiro said in a statement. “At this point in the race, speeches and half-measures don’t cut it.”

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Action, applauded Sanders’ proposal as a “game-changer.”

“With this aggressive and inspired plan, Senator Sanders has set a clear benchmark for meaningful climate and energy policy in the presidential race and beyond,” said Hauter. “This plan includes the bold action and rapid timelines required to adequately address the magnitude of the climate crisis we face.”

“Most importantly,” Hauter added, “this plan would ban fracking, the toxic, polluting drilling method responsible for almost all oil and gas production in America today. Any serious plan to address climate chaos must start with a ban on fracking and a halt to all new fossil fuel development. Senator Sanders understands this, and he has set the bar for worthwhile climate policy discussion, here and abroad.”

Source: ‘Game-Changer’: Sanders Unveils Green New Deal Plan Detailing 10-Year Mobilization to Avert Climate Catastrophe, Create 20 Million Jobs | Common Dreams News

‘Cruel Beyond Imagination’: Trump Reportedly Set to Unveil Plan to Detain Immigrant Families Indefinitely

‘Cruel Beyond Imagination’: Trump Reportedly Set to Unveil Plan to Detain Immigrant Families Indefinitely

“The Flores Settlement is crucially important for the humane treatment of immigrant children, and Trump is again trying to kill it.”

ByJake Johnson

President Donald Trump on Wednesday is reportedly planning to unveil a set of rules that would terminate an agreement limiting the amount of time the federal government can detain immigrant children and families, opening the door to indefinite detention.

The expected move, condemned by rights group RAICES as “cruel beyond imagination,” would scrap the 20-day limit on detention of immigrant children established under the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA).

“The Trump admin wants to indefinitely detain vulnerable families despite the irreparable trauma it will cause to children and babies.” 
—Congressional Hispanic Caucus

“The Flores Settlement is crucially important for the humane treatment of immigrant children, and Trump is again trying to kill it,” RAICES tweeted. “Please get the word out. We must #SaveFlores.”

The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that the White House’s plan to terminate the FSA “is President Donald Trump’s most aggressive—and most legally suspect—attempt to circumvent legal protections for undocumented children since his disastrous ‘zero tolerance’ policy resulted in the separation of thousands of immigrant families.”

“The FSA created stringent standards regarding the detention and release of undocumented children in U.S. government custody,” according to The Daily Beast. “Most notably, the federal government is required to release children into the custody of licensed care programs within 20 days, as well as to place children in the least restrictive setting possible, with access to sanitary facilities, medical treatment, and contact with family members.”

On Twitter, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called the Trump administration’s reported plan “appalling.”

The plan, reportedly a “top priority” of xenophobic Trump adviser Stephen Miller, is expected to come just days after a federal appeals court dismissed the Trump administration’s argument that detained immigrant children are not necessarily entitled to soap, toothbrushes, and other basic hygiene items under the terms of the Flores Agreement.

Trump’s rules are expected to face a flurry of legal challenges.

Source: ‘Cruel Beyond Imagination’: Trump Reportedly Set to Unveil Plan to Detain Immigrant Families Indefinitely | Common Dreams News