WORC reacts to court win on country-of-origin labeling

A federal appeals court upheld rules yesterday that require labels on meats to list where the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered. The American Meat Institute (AMI) led the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new rules requiring country-of-origin labeling of meat and poultry products.

WORC joined with R-CALF USA, Food & Water Watch, and South Dakota Stockgrowers Association to file an amicus curiae brief supporting the new rules against AMI’s lawsuit. Mabel Dobbs, a rancher from Weiser, Idaho, and Chair of WORC’s Ag and Food Campaign Team, issued the following statement on behalf of WORC:

“This court decision is a great win for consumers and independent farmers and ranchers who have pushed for labeling for over a decade. The ruling preserves the ability of consumers to make informed choices about the meat they buy and consume and of America’s independent livestock producers to differentiate their meat products from their foreign competitors.

“Let’s hope AMI gets the message that USDA has the authority to ensure consumers have access to this information and that farmers and ranchers support country-of-origin labels.”

Global Weirding

“Global Weirding.” That’s what rancher Mark Fix calls the tornado, storms, and wildfires that have plagued his ranch near Miles City, Montana recently. Mark was in Denver yesterday to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what he thinks about its Clean Power Plan to control carbon pollution from power plants.

Joining Mark, a member of the Northern Plains Resource Council, in Denver were Rein van West with the Western Colorado Congress and Shannon Anderson and Deb Theriault with the Powder River Basin Resource Council.

They told EPA, in person, to

  • Adopt strong carbon pollution standards.
  • Propose tough standards to reduce venting and leaking of methane, an even more harmful greenhouse gas.
  • Set more ambitious goals to switch from carbon-spewing fossil fuels to energy efficient and clean, renewable sources of energy.

You can support Mark, Rein, Shannon, and Deb — and action to stop global weirding — by sending your comments today. Let’s make sure EPA gets the message! Go to WORC's Action Page.

Unfair pricing practices fuel coal exports, shortchange the American public

Despite explosive growth in U.S. coal exports in recent years, and mounting evidence that coal companies plan for even faster export growth, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ignores exports when setting the selling price of publicly owned coal, according to a new report by Sightline Institute, produced in collaboration with WORC, Northern Plains Resource Council, Powder River Basin Resource Council, and WildEarth Guardians.

The report, “Unfair Market Value: By Ignoring Exports, BLM Underprices Federal Coal,” documents how coal companies operating in the Western United States have bought federally owned coal for pennies per ton, and are now reselling that coal on international markets for hundreds of times more than they bought it for. The report argues that BLM has consistently sold publicly owned coal to private coal companies at unreasonably low prices—thereby boosting profits for the coal industry while shortchanging the American public by millions of dollars per year.

Employment opportunities in the WORC network
WORC announces transition of Executive Director Patrick Sweeney

WORC announced today that Patrick Sweeney will transition from his position as the organization’s Executive Director on January 1, 2015 and phase out his employment at WORC over three years.

Sweeney will serve as a part-time senior advisor and focus on special projects, WORC’s civic engagement and voter participation programs and consulting on fundraising with the new executive director, the directors of the seven member organizations, and WORC’s development staff.

At its June Board meeting, WORC’s Board of Directors adopted a leadership transition plan that names John Smillie as the new Executive Director effective January 1, 2015. Smillie currently serves as WORC’s Campaign Director. A graduate of Stanford University, Smillie was an organizer and research coordinator for the Northern Plains from 1979 to 1986 and has been with WORC since 1986.

The Board promoted Kevin Williams to be Director of Organizing and Campaigns, also effective January 1, 2015. Williams earned a Master of Science Degree in Forest Resources from the University of Idaho. Williams joined the WORC staff in 1995 and is currently WORC’s Organizing Director. From 1984 to 1994, he served on the staff of the Western Colorado Congress, the last eight years as Staff Director. Western Colorado Congress, also one of WORC’s member groups, is an alliance for community action empowering people to protect and enhance their quality of life.

Read news release.

Organizing & leadership trainings this summer

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Clean up methane emissions

Urge the Environmental Protection Agency to propose standards to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production — the second largest contributor to climate change.

Pound for pound, methane traps even more heat than carbon pollution, and the oil and gas industry is the nation’s biggest methane polluter.

Go to WORC's Action Page.

Voices from the Bakken - Fighting Back

A snapshot of residents defending their water, land, communities, and families from the harmful effects of booming oil drilling in the Bakken region of northwest North Dakota.

Hydraulic Fracturing Photos

John Fenton and his
neigbors deal with the impacts of gas
drilling and hydraulic fracturing daily.
Click on Learn More to
view photographs.
Who's Your Farmer?

Powder River member Audrey Malan gives thanks for local food and local producers in a High Plains News radio commentary.


Member Group News

More work urged on waste dumping – Dakota Resource Council pushed state regulators to do more to stop illegal dumping of filter socks. (Bismarck Tribune, July 10, 2014)

Dakota Rural Action takes role in SD electrical scene – State agency grants commenter status to Dakota Rural Action in a electricity rate increase application by Black Hills Power. (Aberdeen News, June 25, 2014)

Turner: To Wyoming Gov. Mead: Please look past coal - Rancher and Powder River member LJ Turner urges Wyoming governor to “keep in mind folks like me who have been bearing that burden of externalized property damage and health costs and how we need you to stand up for our property rights and to hold coal producers accountable for the full costs of coal.” (Casper Star-Tribune, June 10, 2014)

More Member Group News


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