Creating Partnerships with the Former Soviet Union
The Center for Safe Energy (CSE) addresses the most urgent needs of citizen-based organizations in the former Soviet Union (FSU). Since 1989, the Center has actively formed partnerships with environmental citizen groups around energy issues across Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. CSE supports its partners by sending experts to provide technical assistance in the FSU and organizing professional delegations to the US.
In the Field 2013
Program Director, Melissa Prager, and CSE Energy Consultant, Professor John Perkins led a delegation of five US experts to Ukraine to share with NGO and local government leaders the US experience with environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing and positive examples of its alternative. Our three-day conference, co-organized by CSE and Ukraine’s EcoClub Rivne, included Kari Matsko, a software engineer from Ohio who has struggled with severe health issues as a result of living only 2,500 feet from a fracked gas well. Unlike other members of her community, she didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement. Kari speaks up for the thousands of those who cannot by sharing the truth about health impacts of extracting gas by injecting highly pressurized water mixed with harmful chemicals to fracture shale rocks. Our Ukrainian counterparts were able to learn about these truths, which helped shape their own campaigns in their struggle to fight against fracking in Ukraine. Thanks to Kari’s leadership and founding of the People’s Oil and Gas Collective, in 2010 the state of Ohio improved its oil and gas laws, which had not been changed since 1965!
Dr. Larysa Dyrszka joined our delegation to Ukraine to provide the medical truths of fracking. A pediatrician and member of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Health Energy , she shared the results of on-the-ground public health assessments and how here in the US, we have a long upward battle against big industry claims that fracking is “safe”.
Jason Edens and Maria Sanders offered alternatives for a more sustainable future. Edens’ experience with pioneering a program to offer low-cost solar thermal heating to the cold climates of rural Minnesota . Sanders gave examples of how citizens and local government can work together for sustainability and energy efficiency, drawing on her experience leading energy andclimate planning initiatives in California. Professor John Perkins, who recently joined the CSE staff as our Energy Consultant, provided a larger context for addressing energy issues in both countries, reminding us that we have to look at energy systems as a whole, with efficiency and renewable technology being most important. Ukraine, and the rest of Europe, looks to the US as the only example of a developed fracking industry and hears little of the opposition. Unfortunately, because of its desire to become energy independent from Russia, the Ukrainian government closed a deal with major oil and gas companies to pursue fracking contracts
Along with the disappointing decision to pursue fracking in Ukraine, the fight for democracy and justice can be seen today, in Ukraine’s bloody crackdown of Euromaidan. Public health systems are very weak, and without that, environmental and health impacts will not be tracked. This makes continuing the work of our delegation even more urgent now.
You can access our Ukrainian partner's posting about the exchange here.
In the Field 2012
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Reactor
On October 1, CSE Director, Enid Schreibman and Former Member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Peter Bradford participated in the U.S.-Russian Nuclear Roundtable Discussion “Nuclear Power and World Tendencies” in St. Petersburg, Russia.
As Russia deals with the questions of decommissioning nuclear reactors, Professor Bradford shared his experience with our battle here in the U.S. to close the Vermont Yankee reactor. CSE Russian partner and recipient of the Nuclear Free Future award, Oleg Bodrov organized a roundtable at the St. Petersburg department of Central Institute for Continuing Education and Training of Rosatom employees to discuss public participation and the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in both the U.S. and Russia. Oleg participated in a previous delegation to Vermont, facilitated by CSE, where he noted that the Vermont Yankee reactor bears the same environmental risks as Russia’s Sosnovy Bor Chernobyl-like reactor and that we must protect the future generations from these risks.
Here is a link to the Voice of America article in Russian about the roundtable discussion: http://www.golos-ameriki.ru/content/russia-us-nuclear-power-roundtable/1518415.html.
In the Field 2012 - Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, Professor Bradford, CSE partner Kaisha Atakhanova, and CSE Director Enid Schreibman were part of a video conference “Year after Fukushima: Current Challenges and Future Energy for Kazakhstan” with nuclear experts from Japan, Russia, and Germany. Our Kazakh partners then used the information to inform the press and public in Kazakhstan of the real dangers of nuclear throughout the world. As a result of the roundtable, our Kazakh partners wrote their demand for a moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan! Read more on our news page.
Also this year in Kazakhstan, we helped our partners to address air pollution in Temirtau, one of Kazakhstan’s most polluted regions. A young woman from the local government’s environmental department participated in a CSE delegation in Berkeley in 2011. As a follow up this year, we brought to Temirtau a U.S. expert on air pollution monitoring who helped develop a partnership between the local government and NGOs in Temirtau to combine efforts for ongoing air pollution monitoring. The scientific data from pollution monitoring will be a powerful tool for our partners’ advocacy campaigns, allowing them to document the impacts of pollution in their regions in Kazakhstan and present a compelling case for reducing pollution.
A Tribute to Fran Macy
A Remarkable Life 1927-2009
Francis Macy was a dedicated environmentalist, energy activist and citizen diplomat, whose ground-breaking work inspired fresh collaborative ventures with the former Soviet Union.
The Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Earth Island Institute’s Center for Safe Energy since 1995, he trained hundreds of activists in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan to address the environmental legacy of the nuclear arms race and the Chernobyl disaster. Initiating scores of professional delegations and exchanges between Americans and their counterparts in the former Soviet Union, in the areas of psychology, environment, and citizen organizing since 1983, Macy’s work empowered the rise of non-governmental organizations--a strong contribution to the health of post-Soviet life. In 2005, he was awarded the Nuclear Free Future Lifetime Achievement Award. More…
Please visit Fran’s memorial site at www.francismacy.com.
Continuing Fran’s Legacy
His legacy is being carried on as CSE continues to organize delegations from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.