PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO BAIL FUND FOR JUSTICE FOR MIKE BROWN PROTESTORS

Please donate HERE to the bail fund to help release those arrested in Ferguson protests standing for Justice for Mike Brown! 

Since the killing of Mike Brown, dozens of people have been arrested by the Ferguson police for participating in protests. This bail fund has been set up to support all people currently in jail.

All people, regardless of their charges, have a right to legal representation. We know that currently public defenders are overworked. If you are a lawyer and are interested in doing support for those arrested, please email join@organizemo.org. If you are interested in helping with jail support as a volunteer, please email join@organizemo.org. If you know people who are currently in jail, also please email join@organizemo.org.

According to the law, each person is innocent until proven otherwise; however, this is not how the system plays out on a day-to-day basis, particularly for communities of color. Mike Brown’s murder is only the most recent reminder that the United States criminal justice system is at war with many of our communities. We see daily that the criminal justice system impacts people of color much more severely than white people -- in 2012 alone, 313 Black men and women were extrajudicially killed by police, security guards, and vigilantes.

These deaths are also part of a broader system of exploitation and injustice under the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), which has led to the exponential growth of the United States inmate population and the influence of private prison corporations that make enormous profits off of the backs of people of color. Because of the PIC, the United States houses nearly 25% of the entire world’s prisoners, 60% of whom are people of color.

One small way that we can fight the PIC is to assert the right of every individual, regardless of the crime, to proper legal representation and due process. No matter where you are, this is an immediate and tangible way that you can stand for justice for Mike Brown and support the members of the Ferguson community. We cannot afford to wait until this happens again. Help us take collective action now.

This fund is set up through Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), a community group in St. Louis. All funds are being used for jail support.

Please donate HERE to the bail fund to help release those arrested in Ferguson protests standing for Justice for Mike Brown! 

 

 

 

 

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Peabody Demands that EPA End Carbon Regulations—MORE Responds

MORE’s Statement in Response to Peabody’s Demand that EPA End Carbon Regulations

Today, Peabody Energy, based in St. Louis, testified in an EPA hearing in Washington DC. Fred Palmer, the Vice President of government relations, testified and demanded that the EPA withdraw its proposal to regulate carbon emissions. In response, Peter Thacher with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment released the following statement:

Peabody Energy’s testimony today demonstrates this company’s purposeful ignorance toward the detrimental effects that climate change will have on St. Louis and the Midwest, such as increased heat waves and extreme weather events. While Peabody says they care about “energy poverty,” Peabody’s behavior in St. Louis says otherwise. Peabody has received millions of dollars in tax breaks meant to go to the disadvantaged St. Louis public school system even as they have created no new jobs at their headquarters. Instead, they used their tax breaks to put in a new office gym and build out their CEOs office. When citizens in St. Louis have tried to redirect tax dollars to help create green jobs, Peabody blocked these efforts. Peabody’s “energy poverty” rhetoric is just their newest attempt to lock us into a future of climate change and obscure the harm coal causes; in fact, the “energy poverty” corporate PR campaign is even brought to the public by the same advertising firm who helped the tobacco industry obscure how smoking cigarettes caused cancer.

Article from St. Louis Public Radio outlining Peabody's position on Carbon Regulations: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/peabody-asks-epa-withdraw-carbon-emissions-proposal#.U9fijhUjSLk.twitter

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Governor Nixon Signs the Peabody-Slay Amendment

Take Back St. Louis Statement on Governor Nixon’s Signing of SB 672

Today, Governor Nixon signed SB 672, a bill that contains Amendment 135.980. Amendment 135.980 bans the City of St. Louis from restricting through ballot initiative public financial incentives for coal mining companies for two years. In response, the Take Back St. Louis campaign put forth the following statement:

Today, as the Slay-Peabody amendment is signed into law, Mayor Francis Slay has picked his side of history -- and it’s the side of Big Coal. In the process, Mayor Slay has attempted to silence the voices of over 22,000 St. Louis residents who signed the Take Back St. Louis initiative, depriving them of a vote on stopping giving incentives to coal companies to create a green economy. Instead, Mayor Slay has made it clear that his allegiances are to Peabody, not to his constituents. Mayor Slay and Peabody lobbyists worked hand in hand, whipping votes to pass this amendment. It is clear who our Mayor works for -- and even more clear the work that we need to do to make St. Louis a city that works for everyone, not just Big Coal.

Despite this amendments, restrictions on incentives to coal mining corporations are just a small piece of the Take Back St. Louis initiative. The Take Back St. Louis initiative is fundamentally about what kind of local economy we want to have -- one that continues to give huge tax breaks to big corporations or one that invests in a local green economy. The conversation about the future of our economy is one that over 22,000 people who signed the Take Back St. Louis initiative want to have. Over the next months, that conversation -- about how to create an economy that works for everyone, that keeps resources local and that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels -- will continue regardless of the Slay-Peabody amendment.

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Take Back St. Louis Appeals Judge's Ruling on Ballot Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2014

Contact: Arielle Klagsbrun, arielle@organizemo.org

Take Back St. Louis Files Appeal On Permanent Injunction Ruling for Ballot Initiative

ST. LOUIS -- The Take Back St. Louis coalition filed a notice of appeal with the Eastern Missouri court of appeals yesterday challenging a judge’s granting of a permanent injunction on a municipal ballot initiative. The Take Back St. Louis initiative was removed from the April 8th ballot by the granting of a temporary restraining order. The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, represented by a former Peabody lobbyist, finding that the initiative’s directives on the local allocation of tax increment financing (TIFs) conflicted with state law. The Take Back St. Louis coalition is looking to place the issue on the November ballot.

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Announcing the Big Mountain Training Camp

Cross-Posted from Black Mesa Indigenous Support (www.supportblackmesa.org)
MORE is proud to be supporting the BIG MOUNTAIN SPRING TRAINING CAMP from May 16-23rd on Big Mountain in Arizona. More information is below but please call our office (314-862-2249) if you are interested in coming to the training camp as we are beginning to organize caravans from St. Louis to Black Mesa. 
MAY 16th-23rd, 2014
BIG MOUNTAIN, DINEH NATION
#Honor40Years  #Not1MoreRELOCATION   #KeepitintheGround

“What we are trying to save—the Female Mountain—is alive. She is alive, she has blood flowing through her veins, which is the Navajo Aquifer, and the coal they are digging is Her liver. They are destroying Her.”–Marie Gladue, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

“We need to exercise our right to be human. To gather on the land and have our words be heard by the ground, the trees, and each other.”–Louise Benally, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

During this moment of peak visibility around climate change, we extend this invitation for a training camp on Big Mountain. We’ll gather to honor 40 years of Indigenous resistance to cultural genocide, forced relocation, and large-scale coal mining.

*APPLICATION LINK AT BOTTOM OF EMAIL* DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS TUESDAY APRIL 22 AT MIDNIGHT (PST)

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Columbia Petition asks for a hearing on expensive coal power from Prairie State

When Peabody Energy presented its plan to build a massive new coal plant, it marketed it as a source of reliably cheap power and a wise way to meet growing energy needs in an unstable market. But the prices, which have been spiking well over $100/MWh some months, are a far cry from the $45/MWh that Columbia and other purchasers were promised.

Since coal already costs us so much by causing health problems, climate change, and regular ash and slurry spills, the fact that ratepayers are footing the bill for Peabody's unrealistic project adds insult to injury. 

A new petition asks the City of Columbia to hold a hearing about how their contract to buy Prairie State electricity will affect the town, which is projected to lose $56 million in five years paying for power that is far above market prices. The petition calls for an open discussion in which citizens can ask questions and critics and proponents of the plant can both present their views.

Sign the petition here.

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Let's Take It Downtown: Challenging Energy Extraction Companies at their Headquarters

This statement, written by MORE member Dan Cohn, was written last week on the day of his court date. It is cross posted from Hands Off Appalachia: http://handsoffappalachia.com/2014/01/13/lets-take-it-downtown

On November 25th, 2013, I was arrested for hanging a large banner off a construction crane in downtown Stamford, CT. Today, I’m back in Stamford going to court, where I am facing a felony charge.

I went to jail in November to expose UBS, the Swiss investment bank and wealth management firm headquartered in Stamford, as one of the most prolific financiers of coal companies that practice mountaintop removal (MTR) strip mining in central Appalachia. We were there to make sure UBS can no longer hide from the desolation and desecration entailed by their financial backing of coal companies. 

Where I live in St. Louis, MO, energy extraction is an abstraction for most folks. Yet, our city is home to five major coal companies and a huge regional gas utility that adores fracking for shale gas. For those of us like myself who don’t live in the shadow of extraction, we must confront extraction companies on our home turf if we are to stand in solidarity with the folks fighting them in their backyards, as well as those on the frontlines of climate impacts.

We can go after their corporate headquarters in at least two ways. The first is to drag these companies’ names through the mud. Most of them make a habit of sprinkling philanthropic breadcrumbs here and there in an attempt to show that they are “good” corporate “citizens.” Executives and upper management actually spend time deciding how to build this positive public perception of their company to minimize the risk to their reputation with investors and financial analysts, not to mention the general public. We can directly hamper that effort by exposing them as the socially indifferent, fundamentally ecocidal, shareholder value-driven machines they really are. It’s no coincidence that I was arrested the day after Stamford’s annual Thanksgiving-time parade of giant balloons and family fun, the UBS Parade Spectacular.

 

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MORE's 2013 Work

As 2013 comes to a close, we took some time to reflect on MORE's accomplishments this year. Below, you’ll find a full list, but here are some highlights:

  • We led the coalition to collect 36,000 signatures to qualify the Take Back St. Louis Ballot Initiative to realign our city’s investment priorities away from extraction corporations and into sustainable development. St. Louis residents will go to the polls on the initiative on April 8, 2014.
  • We fought foreclosures, keeping people like Rose Bess in her home. Rose runs a home daycare and looks after many of her neighbor’s children. When Bank of America tried to evict her, we used direct action and mobilized community support and elected officials to keep her in her home.
  • We worked with groups from West Virginia and Black Mesa, Arizona to pressure King Coal in its hometown, connecting struggles with those impacted by the mining of Peabody and Arch Coal. 
  • We started Participatory Budgeting St. Louis to allocate tax dollars more democratically. There is now a pilot program up and running in the 6th ward.

We need your help to continue to fight corporations who consistently place profits above people and the environment. As we gear up for these campaigns and many more in 2014, we are counting on you.

 We thank you for giving your time and volunteer hours this past year. As 2013 ends, we’re also asking for your financial support. Can you give $20, $50, $100 or even $250 this year?

You can also send a check to MORE at 438 N. Skinker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130, or call our office at 314-862-2249. Thank you for considering a donation to MORE this year – any amount helps to sustain our work. 

With hope for a just 2014,

 The MORE Staff 

P.S. Your donation will go towards building a local movement to end corporate welfare and invest in green jobs. If you can’t donate money at this time, we are also in need of laptops!

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St. Louis Companies Responsible for 1.27% of GLOBAL Carbon Emissions!

MORE Statement on New Study Showing Peabody Energy Responsible for 0.86% of Carbon Emissions

A new study released yesterday in the Guardian has found that 90 companies are responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial age. The study, done by Richard Heede at the Carbon Accountability Institute in Colorado, puts significant emphasis on the role of investor-owned, state-owned and government-run companies in causing the climate crisis. According to the study, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company headquartered in downtown St. Louis, has caused 0.86% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Peabody is the highest-ranking investor-owned coal producer on the list. Arch Coal, also headquartered in St. Louis, has caused 0.41% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These numbers do not include the amount of fossil fuel reserves that companies including Peabody and Arch are sitting on and hoping to burn.

In response, Zach Chasnoff with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) released the following statement:

This study is an important step in recognizing just who is to blame for the climate crisis - Peabody and Arch and their CEOs Greg Boyce and John Eaves. It is time that these CEOs not only stop their dangerous business of causing climate change but also get serious about the reparations they must pay. In the aftermath of the supertyphoon in the Philippines, we call on CEO Greg Boyce to give 0.86% of Peabody’s revenue to relief efforts - equal to Peabody’s role in causing the climate crisis.

Individuals in our city are responsible for 1.27% of global carbon emissions, while the region’s population is only 0.04% of global population. Clearly, these individuals have a vastly disproportionate impact on the world than our city’s size. It is disgraceful that Peabody is commended by our city government, the United Way and Washington University when Peabody is responsible for hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves and all the human suffering that goes along with the climate crisis. As citizens in St. Louis, we must urge them to stop mining coal immediately. On April 8, 2014, city residents will get to vote on the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative to ensure that the city of St. Louis never subsidizes Peabody’s coal mining again.

 

 

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Aldermen Cave and Pass $7 Million TIF to Help Laclede Gas Move Three Blocks

Aldermen Cave and Pass $7 Million TIF to Help Laclede Gas Move Three Blocks

Despite Citizen Objections and Outcry, TIF Passes the HUDZ Committee

ST. LOUIS -- Today, the aldermen on the Housing, Urban Development and Zoning (HUDZ) Committee passed 6-1, with 1 abstention, the TIF package for Laclede Gas’ developer, the Koman Group, for the GenAmerica building. Alderwoman Phyllis Young was the sponsor of the bill. While HUDZ committee members had pledged opposition to the bill, only Alderwoman Tyus stood strong to vote against it.

Community members affiliated with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) testified at the hearing and asked alderpeople to vote ‘no’ on the proposal. Many cited conditions in Northside neighborhoods in comparison to development incentives going downtown as reasons for opposition.

“Alderwoman Young said that the GenAmerica building is so nice because you can see straight through the big windows. Well in historic North St. Louis where I live, I can see straight through the vacant lots, broken windows and derelict buildings. I am asking you all to think about who you represent here. We need tax money for our communities,” said Ann Shirley Crenshaw, of North St. Louis.

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