2015 Annual Report

  • The New Progressive Alliance (NPA) continued to expand our organizational outreach and are now allied with 24 other national and international organizations.
  • Facebook likes (readers who subscribe to our articles) have grown steadily and by the end of the year exceeded 1,500.
  • NPA co-founder Anthony Noel is stepping away from the day to day activities of the NPA to pursue other interests, but will continue to help the NPA in other ways.
  • We are happy to announce that the United Nations will take a first look at the NPA as an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) from January 26 - February 4, 2015. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) share many of the same goals as the Unified Platform.  This is a multi-year process that we have been working on since 2011.
  • We now have our charter, all Annual Reports, and all Public Comments in full on our webpage under “More.” Because all Public Comments in full are on the webpage, they will only be given a brief description in the Annual Reports from now on.
  • In 2015 we set a record for public comments with a total of 29. That is more than any other year so far.
  • In January we wrote the Environmental Protection Agency about classifying highly toxic coal ash as a hazardous waste instead of ordinary household waste. Coal ash is highly toxic and classifying it as hazardous waste would have required federal enforcement and stricter rules. Classifying it as solid waste (akin to household garbage) means enforcement will be left to states and private citizens by lawsuits. This has traditionally proved to provide inadequate protection.  Our website has a listing of all our Public comments in full.     
  • In January we wrote to the Texas Land Commission to urge them to withdraw the lawsuit to invalidate the vote of Denton to ban fracking. In Denton, flares burn off benzene––a known carcinogen. Wells have exploded, spewing toxic fracking chemicals into neighborhoods. Ozone levels exceed standards for safety. Because the incoming Texas Land Commissioner is George P. Bush - nephew of former president George W. Bush - and the Bush family is invested in the fracking industry, we may not be successful but we believe in holding to the principles of the Unified Platform.
  • In January we wrote to the Commission on Presidential Debates. The League of Women Voters originally arranged the debates and ran a tight ship from 1976 to1988. As a nonpartisan organization, it was ardent in affording equal time to all candidates. In 1988 the republicans and democrats plotted secretly to exclude League of Women Voters. In disgust and to their everlasting credit in choosing honor over corruption, the League of Women Voters exposed the telltale embarrassing memorandum and resigned as hosts of the Presidential Debates, correctly citing this "fraud on the American voter." We urged the Commission on Presidential Debates to expand the eligibility for Presidential to be more in line with the League of Women Voters standard.
    • In December 2014 we joined with 50 other organizations in supporting a Unity Statement of Principles to combat the undue influence of money in politics. This closely aligned with points 8 (election reform) and 9 (corporate accountability/reform) of the Unified Platform. By January 2015 in time for the fifth anniversary of Citizens United the number had increased to 131 signing organizations in support of the Unity Statement of Principles. (The full statement is in the 2014 Annual Report and Public Comments 2015 on our website.) This was officially released in January 2015 in time for the fifth year anniversary of the Citizens United case.
    • In January Green Party Green Party candidate Didier Ortiz  running for Fort Lauderdale City Commission District 3 has endorsed the Unified  Platform and earned our initial conditional endorsement. 
  • In January on the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. FEC decision, the New Progressive Alliance with 28 other organizations supported legislation to help correct the corruption the case exacerbated. This is closely aligned with points 8 (election reform) and 9 (corporate accountability/reform) of the Unified Platform.
  • In February the New Progressive Alliance filed a Public Comment with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing opening up the eastern coast of the United States to the same type of off shore drilling that caused the Deepwater Horizon tragedy whose adverse effects we are still feeling.
  • In February the New Progressive Alliance urged the Export-Inport Bank of the United States not to finance Australia’s Abbot Point coal port expansion both because the port expansion and the coal mines that would feed it would gravely damage the local environment including the Great Barrier Reef and because it would accelerate climate change. It would gravely damage the local environment including the Great Barrier Reef because of the resultant dredging and ship traffic. It threatens one of the world’s most biodiverse and fragile ecosystems under protection as a World Heritage Site. The coal industry is embarking on a project that would also do grave damage to the Great Barrier Reef by massively expanding the port at Abbot Point and building new coal mines in Queensland, Australia. Burning coal is one of the highest forms of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Coal pollution already worsens air quality resulting in more asthma attacks, heat-related deaths, and respiratory complications. Carbon pollution contributes to warmer temperatures which is speeding the spread of infectious diseases. Coal Plants also emit   mercury, sulfur, arsenic, cyanide, soot, and lead which have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities. Coal companies are not responsible for these health effects or for clean up when coal ash spills and destroys water supplies. This deal would pave the way to double coal production in Australia -- already one of the world’s biggest coal exporters -- in the midst of this climate emergency. The climate impacts would be catastrophic, as building out Abbot Point would mean a dramatic expansion of coal mining in Australia's Galilee Basin, one of the world's largest stores of carbon. The planned mega-mines would be among the largest in Australia, and would dramatically increase greenhouse gas pollution. The coal industry needs international bank funding to make their reckless new project happen. U.S. taxpayer dollars should not fund this project. Both U.S. banks – including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley – as well as global banks including HSBC, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank - have refused to finance this project. The New Progressive Alliance hopes the Export-Import Bank of the United States will follow their example.
  • In February the New Progressive Alliance joined with other organizations in opposing Chevron's use of dark money in the political process. This falls well within the Unified Platform's position on election reform and corporate accountability.
  • In February along with 63 other organizations, we asked Pfizer to end its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC.  ALEC —which brings state legislators and corporate lobbyists behind closed doors to discuss proposed legislation and share lavish dinners—threatens our democracy. This recent exodus of corporations so far is in part due to concerns over ALEC’s extreme views and agenda. That extreme agenda includes denying the science of climate change, blocking access to affordable healthcare, defunding public services, privatizing public schools, curtailing workers’ rights, and opposing net neutrality.
  • In February the New Progressive Alliance with 49 other organizations urged President Obama to issue an Executive Order to require corporations with business before the government to be transparent about their electioneering activities. This would allow voters to see for if their representatives or senators owe Big Business any big favors. We need more transparency of money in politics and we need to end pay-to-play favoritism in government contracting. Otherwise this cycle of corruption virtually guarantees that parasitic corporations will keep siphoning our tax dollars into profit-driven boondoggles, even as congressional austerity extremists clamor for cuts to programs that assist struggling Americans.
  • In March the New Progressive Alliance submitted a Shareholders United Public Comment with the support of 19 other organizations. It starts in the Maryland legislature and we will work to spread the demand for corporate transparency in political contributions to other states and the nation.
  • The only new nuclear plants being built in the United States now are in Georgia. Following the examples of over half a century of history of nuclear power, they are behind schedule and over budget. In March 2015 the New Progressive Alliance wrote the Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Environmental Protection Division – to oppose Plant Vogtle’s water withdrawal permit. For reasons of both water pollution (The Savannah River is rated as the country's third most toxic river) and water deprivation in a state subject to droughts the Plant Vogtle water withdrawal permit request in its current form should not be approved.
  • In March the New Progressive Alliance joined 58 other organizations in supporting preserving the United States Postal Service. The United States Postal Service is an absolutely necessary part of our infrastructure as described in point ten of the Unified Platform. Unfortunately, it is threatened by narrow monied interests aimed at undermining postal services and dismantling this great public institution. A Congressionally-manufactured USPS "crisis" imposed an unfair crushing financial mandate on the Postal Service that no other government agency or private company is forced to bear. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 mandates the USPS to pay approximately $5.5 billion per year to fund future retiree healthcare costs 75 years in advance. Without this unreasonable burden, the USPS would have enjoyed an operating surplus of $600 million in 2013 and over $1.4 Billion in 2014. The public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit.
  • In March the New Progressive Alliance along with 34 other organizations endorsed the general goals of the “Beyond Extreme Energy,” the specific goals in regards to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the pledge to use nonviolence activism.
  • As of March NPA now also has a presence on Ello under goNPA. This is in addition to our Facebook presence. Ello is similar to a no-advertisement Facebook.
  • In March Green Party candidate Steve Alesch  running for re-election as Warrenville Park District Commissioner in Wisconsin  has endorsed the Unified  Platform and earned our initial conditional endorsement. 
  • In April the New Progressive Alliance was designated a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with special consultative status. We have been working on this for years and are very proud. 
  • In April we submitted our first written statement to the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs (ECOSOC) for the 2015 ECOSOC High-Level Segment (HLS) for NGOs in ECOSOC consultative status. The UN is changing from the 2000 - 2015 eight Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) to goals for the future. (The eight MDGs are to eradicate e