GPUS Steering Comm Conference Call Minutes – March 24, 2013
I. CALL SETUP & BACKGROUND
a. Facilitator – Jody Grage
b. Roll Call -Budd Dickinson, Farheen Hakeem, Karen Young, Steve Welzer, Susan Chunco, Jeff Turner, Charles Ostdiek
Absent – Darryl Moch, AJ Segneri
c. Agenda revisions: Susan – elections database inquiry from Mike Feinstein;
Charles – add EcoAction proposal to send letter about XL Pipeline to State Dept. (see below)
Jeff – finance item from New Orleans Greens
Consensus to add these.
II. TREASURER’S REPORT & FINANCE ITEMS – Jeff
a. Cash report to date report sent; money coming in from last mailing on same track as successful mailings last year; paid basic bills for March and 2nd payroll of month, $7500 in general fund as of Friday; $500+ will be transferred to reserve for ANM registrations; paying RedSun half of Nov-Dec bill.
b. New Orleans Greens donation
They want to close local account set up after Katrina ($376) and have no state organization;
Jeff suggests we put it in reserve for LA when revived; Karen apply to expenses, Charles & Budd agree with Karen; will be discussed on FinCom including wider application of decision including state sharing money not receivable by states.
c. Two new FinCom members to be approved – waiting for bio for Cheryl Wolfe (?). Henry Bardell (NY) to be approved for another term.
III. VOTING QUEUE – Budd
In the queue:
697 – Debriefing about GPUS Presidential Campaign. Voting 4/1-7
Received for the queue: None
IV. DISCUSSION OF FAILING STATE PARTIES – Karen
LA and OK are examples. SWG survey is giving us info on state parties; what can be done to revive states or allow them to cease operating and clear the way for new energy; what should GPUS as a whole be doing? should each SC member be liaison to a number of states?
AC researching other states as far as deactivating; Delegates listed need to be contacted. Seems like good role for SC, could divide US into sections – though problem if expected to be on state listservs; could be a committee but there isn’t one now; could be state next door to struggling state party.
Discussion could be continued on future call, including role of SC. Jody will work with Budd on results from updating delegate list.
V. UPDATE FROM THE STRATEGIC PLANNING WORKING GROUP – Karen
640 survey responses of rank and file, 18 from state leadership (Karen, is this 18 states or 18 leaders?) Working on focus groups of African Americans, Hispanics, and youth. 7 April deadline extension. Budd asked about Hispanic Caucus. Karen said we have not heard from them. (AC hasn’t taken up revising caucus process; maybe Darryl & Diversity Committee could.)
VI. INTERN(S) IN OUR NATIONAL OFFICE – Karen
From volunteer email – application from student in PA with good background and references, American University, Interfaith Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, development/fundraising, etc.; also one from MD to follow up on with software experience and European background. Approval by consensus to empowered Karen to select an (unpaid) intern (or more if possible) and supervise them for this summer.
VII. FOLLOWUP ON LAST MEETING’S FUNDRAISING DISCUSSION – Budd
Facebook fundraising – Dave S and Starlene discussed this; Goal of $22,000 may be too high. Karen
has written fundraising letter, leading up to earth day – 43rd anniversary so aiming for 430
new sustainers; pledge drive approach, maybe do once a quarter; suggestion to have options
besides monthly – quarterly or annually.
$2500 from Stein donor on Friday.
Maybe intern can be directed into fundraising activities.
Karen talking to Jill – scheduled for this coming week with Ben, too; staff done end of March, major donors?; expecting audit will be difficult and include fines maybe including GPUS.
Ads for Green Pages – Mike Feinstein posted 2002 discussion history re: biasing the publication and increase staff needs.
Corporate donations – still a question of why we don’t and effects if we did; vetting businesses problematic.
VIII. ELECTIONS DATABASE INQUIRY – Susan
Mike Feinstein asking who handling this now; how to add candidates and improve it.
Darryl reports that “The CCC is handling the elections database. Holly is the timeframe committee member lead on this and works with Brian (so the records are maintained within national GPUS ) and with David D. to keep web updated. Info for this should go to Holly and Brian who then send to David.”
IX. ECO-ACTION Letter on XL – Charles
Budd forwarded letter from Audrey of EcoAction to SC on Friday. See below. Charles has read it and asks for approval. Consensus to send letter.
X. LIAISON REPORTS – 25 minutes
Karen – Outreach Committee meeting next week; AC discussing more formal process and criteria for disaffiliating and inactive states; Merch – nothing lately.
Charles – BRPP – no activity; IC – FPVA dues about $1000; Global Greens dues also. Discussion of relationship between the two and accountability.
Steve – Media sent initial advisory about ANM; BAC – VA lowered signatures for pres from 10,000 to 5,000, NEV reorganizing; Charles says NEB has good news.
XI. NEXT MEETING – April 14 (in 3 weeks, the 2nd Sunday, per decision to meet on 2nd and 4th Sundays)
*Subject:* [Ecoaction] FAST-TRACK PROPOSAL: Green Party of the United States Comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL Pipeline Project
No objections having been heard within three days, the Ecoaction Committee hereby approves the letter addressed to the U.S. State Department (DOS) in opposition to the draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) approving construction of the northern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
I am now forwarding the letter to GPUS Secretary Budd Dickinson requesting that he ask the Steering Committee to amend its agenda for the SC conference call on Sunday, March 24 to consider disseminating the letter in accordance with GPUS Rules and Procedures, ARTICLE IV: STEERING COMMITTEE ENDORSEMENT PROCESS/ ENDORSEMENT PROCESS FOR TIME SENSITIVE REQUESTS. The deadline for submitting comments on the SEIS to DOS is April 15, 2013.
Co-Chair, Ecoaction Committee
U.S. Department of State
Attn: Genevieve Walker, NEPA Coordinator
2201 C Street NW, Room 2726
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Ms. Walker:
The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) registers its opposition to the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) released by the U.S. State Department (DOS) for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project on both ethical and environmental grounds.
First, GPUS understands that DOS, which was responsible for reviewing the project on behalf of the federal government and lacking the in-house expertise to do so, recruited fossil fuel consultant Environmental Resources Management (ERM) to draft the required environmental impact statement. GPUS is concerned about the conflict of interest presented by the fact that TransCanada paid ERM an undisclosed sum to produce the SEIS. While it may be commonplace for industries to pay consultants to review projects subject to U.S. government approval, the scale of this project and its potential adverse environmental impact required DOS to hire a consultant with no financial ties to the project sponsor. In other words, the consultant hired to draft the SEIS should have been paid by DOS, not TransCanada.
GPUS also deplores the fact that DOS omitted the amount TransCanada paid ERM from documents published on its website, as indicated by a Grist article published on March 6, 2013:
The failure of DOS to report what TransCanada paid ERM shows more than the appearance of a conflict of interest. DOS’ deliberate withholding of information relevant to the SEIS is contrary even to the /de minimis /legal standards governing conflict of interest in the U.S.today and constitutes a betrayal of public trust.
Second, ERM’s conclusion that the project has no significant environmental impact, because tar sands crude will be transported one way or the other or that other alternatives may produce even more impacts, turns the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on its head. NEPA requires an assessment of the project’s benefits in light of its own costs, not just the costs of some other proposed project, such as transporting diluted bitumin (dilbit) by rail car instead of pipe.
Furthermore the costs of pipeline spills from crude oil consisting of benzene laced dilbit have already been documented. “Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks” issued by NRDC, NWF, Pipeline Safety Trust and the Sierra Club in February, 2011, reported that a July, 2010 pipeline rupture dumped 840,000 gallons of dilbit into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, causing 60 percent of the people in the vicinity to experience “respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms consistent with acute exposure to benzene and other petroleum related chemicals.” The spill required “over 150,000 feet of boom, 175 heavy spill response trucks, 43 boats, and 48 oil skimmers” to clean up. The dollar cost of the cleanup has been estimated by the Canadian pipeline owner Enbridge at $550 million, and the crisis is not over. In fact on March 14, 2013 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered Enbridge to dredge the Kalamazoo River of the the gooey, toxic sludge that sunk to the bottom of the river and has yet to be removed.
It also bears mentioning that Exxon Mobil spent $135 million to clean up a July, 2011 pipeline rupture that dumped 63,000 gallons of crude oil along 70 miles of the once pristine Yellowstone River in Montana.
In light of the obvious financial conflict of interest in TransCanada’s payment of an undisclosed sum to ERM to produce an SEIS on its behalf and in light of the massive costs associated with remediation of dilbit spills, GPUS believes that the finding of no significant impact is unwarranted and urges DOS to employ a consultant directly with no ties past or present to TransCanada to produce a final SEIS for the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
Secretary, Green Party of the United States