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VW's rigged emissions hurt disadvantaged communities most

Today the California Air Resource Board will meet with VW to figure out next steps in light of the company's mass cheating on emissions. So who was hurt most by the scandal? This interactive map created by Kevala Analytics for California Clean Energy Fund and Stop Fooling California shows that while diesel VW owners live in wealthy neighborhoods, their pollution doesn’t. Low-income communities and communities of color, who are often closer to freeways, were hit hardest by the rigged VW Diesel.

                                 

How can Volkswagen make good? For starters, the company could expand clean transportation infrastructure to low-income communities, says the California Clean Energy Fund and Greenlining in an op-ed
                                 

Frack watch

  • Los Angeles, one of the most densely populated cities in the country, has a drilling problem. One third of the residents live within a quarter mile of oil drilling sites, and a new lawsuit alleges that the city hasn’t done its part to protect the poor. Poor, predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods shoulder a disproportionate brunt of environmental hazards and noise pollution due to the city “rubber stamping” drilling applications and applying regulations in a discriminatory fashion, according to the lawsuit from youth groups and community organizations against the city of Los Angeles.
                                  
  • Move over California – thanks to fracking, Oklahoma is the new earthquake capital of the country, reports KFOR.
  • A friendly reminder during a drought: Every Fracking well requires an average of 5-10 million gallons of clean water & poisons it FOREVER.
 

Big Oil “oopsies”

  • At a California state hearing, groups addressed how poorly Plains All American responded to the Santa Barbara spill in May that poured 140K gallons of oil into the ocean and onto beaches up and down the state. In fact, the company denies responsibility for the large concentrations of tar balls that washed up on Southern California Beaches. In Plains All American’s defense, they’ve probably been busy with the handful of oil spills they’re responsible for across the country since May. 
  • The Santa Barbara oil spill is now impacting schools, reports the Santa Barbara Independent. With all the city’s money going towards cleanup efforts, the Goleta Union School District could suffer from lost tax revenues to the tune of $26 million dollars over three years. 
                                                         
  • Environmentalists aren’t the only ones who care about oil spills: the Rhode Island pension fund lost $4 million because of the Plains All American Pipeline spill in Santa Barbara this May and BP’s 2006 oil spills in Alaska. The state’s employee retirement system is suing both companies as a result. CalPERs and CalSTRs must be feeling pretty good about divesting from coal right about now.  
                                                         
  • An oil field worker in Bakersfield was killed when a piece of heavy equipment he was using hit a natural gas line on Friday the 13th, reports Bakersfield Now. The incident destroyed a nearby house, where two women and an infant escaped but needed burn treatments at a local hospital. 
  • Remember the SoCalGas leak from a 40-year old pipeline that couldn’t be contained? Three weeks later, the leak is still leaking strong. It's what leaks do.
                                                         

Crazy train

A total of 18 oil train cars went off the tracks in Wisconsin last weekend in two separate of derailments. Thirty-five homes were evacuated when 13 crude-carrying cars went off the track, spewing oil into the soil. Five ethanol cars also spilled over 20k gallons of noxious fuel before the crew could stop the flow, reports Reuters. All part of supplying 'safe' energy!
                                                         

 

Lobbying: California’s ethics watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, is pushing a major regulatory change that for the first time would require interest groups to disclose how they spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns and other efforts to influence state policy. In part, this was inspired by the Western States Petroleum Association’s astronomical lobbying figures in Q3, 91 percent of which was listed under “other payments to influence,” reports the SacBee.
                    
#KeepItInTheGround: Investors looking to ditch their stocks in high-carbon U.S. companies can steer dollars to Etho Capital's first-of-its-kind investment fund. The fund eliminates fossil fuel producers entirely and considers only companies with cleaner-than-average carbon footprints, reports International Business Times.
                    
Even when you take into account battery production and power plant emissions, electric vehicles are the lowest polluters on the road, reports the LA Times. They produce the equivalent pollution to a hypothetical 87-mpg fuel economy car - and it's just getting better!
                    
Public lands: Thanks to public pressure, the Bureau of Land Management has postponed leasing 73 thousand acres of public land to oil and gas extractors.
Subsidies: New research from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Oil Change International reveals that G20 country governments’ are propping up the production of oil, gas and coal to the tune of $452 billion a year, and undermining the world's effort to combat climate change in the process. Check out their amazing video to see more.
                    
Power Plan Pay Off: Turns out, there's an uncanny correlation between politicians who take major campaign contributions from polluters and those that oppose the Clean Power Plan. Forty-nine senators are co-sponsoring a measure to repeal the CPP. On average, the senators have each taken $1 million from big polluters during their careers. Just a coincidence??
                    
It's getting hot in here: As the Indian summer continues, it’s clear 2015 will become the hottest year on record.
                    
Climate change will push over 100 million people into extreme poverty in the next 15 years, according to a new World Bank study. Warming temperatures could cause higher rates of diseases like malaria, decrease global crop yields by five percent, and bring more extreme weather events, straining economies and communities.
                    
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