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Wed Dec 23, 2020, 11:53 AM

Why the South Is Organizing Its Own Green New Deal

LAKE CHARLES, LA.—After Hur­ri­cane Lau­ra hit in late August, a local chem­i­cal plant erupt­ed in flames. The fire, one of 31 post-Lau­ra oil and chem­i­cal leaks report­ed, sent up plumes of smoke and chlo­rine gas. Louisiana offi­cials told res­i­dents (many of whom had lost pow­er or their homes) to shel­ter in place and turn off their air con­di­tion­ing in the sum­mer heat to avoid the fumes.

“How do you shel­ter in place with no shel­ter?” KD Minor, a com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er from Lake Charles, asked dur­ing a vir­tu­al con­fer­ence in August. Minor began coor­di­nat­ing relief before Lau­ra hit, pro­vid­ing res­i­dents with gas mon­ey to evac­u­ate. Oth­ers matched her con­tri­bu­tions, and “$5 turned into $1,000,” which Minor dis­trib­uted through For­ev­er Cal­casieu, a mutu­al aid net­work. Minor is still help­ing peo­ple get assis­tance as hur­ri­canes bat­ter the region.

Lau­ra wasn’t the first storm to expose over­lap­ping vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in the Gulf South—where thou­sands of oil and gas wells, refiner­ies and petro­chem­i­cal plants sit in a storm path super­charged by the emis­sions of the fos­sil fuel indus­try—nor will it be the last. While res­i­dents of Texas, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sip­pi, Alaba­ma, and Flori­da are build­ing mutu­al aid net­works, they’re also mak­ing longer-term plans, like the Gulf South for a Green New Deal.

Like the nation­al Green New Deal (GND) res­o­lu­tion, the Gulf South GND pro­pos­es slash­ing plan­et-warm­ing emis­sions through an ener­gy tran­si­tion with well-pay­ing union jobs, hous­ing, trans­porta­tion and health­care for all. But the Gulf South plat­form goes fur­ther, call­ing for an end to pipeline con­struc­tion, divest­ment from region­al mil­i­tary instal­la­tions and repur­pos­ing fos­sil fuel infra­struc­ture for renew­able ener­gy. It also demands food sov­er­eign­ty, repa­ra­tions for Black, Brown and Indige­nous peo­ple, and the redis­tri­b­u­tion of unpol­lut­ed lands to mar­gin­al­ized groups.

Read more: https://www.texasobserver.org/why-the-south-is-organizing-its-own-green-new-deal/

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