Press Union of Liberia 50th Anniversary Statement

first_imgEsteemed Members of the Press Union of LiberiaVeteran members of the Press Union of LiberiaSurviving Organizers of the Press Union of LiberiaCompatriots in the march for a better LiberiaMy fellow citizensLadies and GentlemenToday had promised to be a very exciting date on the calendar of the Press Union of Liberia – 50 years on the struggle to ensure a free and responsible media landscape – 50 years of standing up to power, demanding and insisting upon the right to freely express ourselves, in so far as this expression was not tearing down bridges and creating division.Unfortunately, the difficult and cruel army of the ebola virus disease has restricted our desire to celebrate this day, given the wily disruption it has posed in our country and the sub-region.Further on the account of the ebola situation, all aspects of Liberian life have gradually ground to a halt. Schools are no longer open – children are lazying home; non-essential staff – whether from government service, NGOs, factories or other work places – have been ordered to stay away from work; Hospitals are operating at less than a quarter of their potentials, restoring such previously ignored diseases as mainline killers. In other instances, basic health services no longer run, and people are living until they die. Now in our country, the most significant activity that keeps working is the search for food – to survive.In the few instances where some work is going on, the preoccupation is on addressing the ebola situation. Today, every newspaper story has an ebola angle and every development grant is now directed at ebola.Now, given the gravity of the ebola situation and the risks involved with holding a normal celebration, the Press Union of Liberia has dedicated the observance of its 50th Anniversary to a nationwide Media Ebola Awareness Day.While we are joining the rest of the people of Liberia in talking about the gravity of the ebola situation, we also like to pay tribute to the men and women who, on this day in 1964, set forth the challenge to organize a body to protect the rights of journalists in this country, coordinate space for a free, independent and impartial media in Liberia, and at the same time chart their role in the development of the Liberian state, especially towards ensuring freedom of speech, the actualization of democracy and ensuring a guarantee of freedom, justice, equality and development in our country.The task set forth by those our compatriots have today bloomed into a most respectable organization – which cannot be ignored in anything good that has come out of Liberia.While our notes will continuously refer to E. Reginald Townsend, Henry B. Cole, Chauncey Cooper, Aston King and J. Persey Gumel, I nonetheless like to reference Tuan Wreh, who would go on to become a professor of law, but especially because he has provided for Liberian journalism students one academic text that provides a clearer idea of what journalism was in the days the Press Union of Liberia was organized. I also noted the longevity of James E Dennis, who has survived his contemporaries, and has given us the opportunity to think of the men who led the struggle.I also like to recognize Kenneth Y. Best, who has remained in the newsroom, even at the ripe age of 75.I wouldn’t forget T Nelson Williams, Sr., who led the organization of the Department of Mass Communications at the University of Liberia, providing for once an opportunity for Liberian journalists to gain academic qualifications here at home.But among all, our hero remains Stanton A. Peabody, who had the audacity to describe members of the House of Representatives in the best disposition of his thoughts, risking contempt and jail, raising the conviction of Liberian journalists to hold together and resist intolerance and alarm that speech must for once be free, especially within the realm of public service.Regrettably, despite a revolutionary coup in 1980, a new democracy-based constitution in 1985, despite ravaging wars that reorganized the entire state in 1990 and again in 2003, the very contempt of 1964 remains ridiculously unclarified in 2014.This simply says that the purpose of the Press Union of Liberia is just as relevant today (perhaps more) as it was 50 years ago.Across these years, the work of the Liberian media – now away from just newspapers and radio as in 1964 – has become even more challenged.The rights to freely speak, think and write – as guaranteed by the constitution have often been suppressed by various methods. At one point it was fancy to lock journalists up. As sensitivity grew and there is now the resort to court of laws to prevent that, other measures grew. Those have included shutting down, burning and in some instances torture and death.In more recent years, printing establishments were warned against printing certain papers, and as more papers have metamorphosed to owning printing presses, multiple, crime-based lawsuits are cropping up, with intent to shut down media houses.In still other cases, media houses have been shut down on claims of hate crimes, and at times just short of seditionIn all of these, our observation is that governments – in and out – have simply not come to grips with the reality that none can stop others from disagreeing in words, unless they have the capacity to stop others from thinking. Because the latter is impossible, efforts to prevent people from disagreeing is but a failed venture that only contributes to the evolution of conflict in our society.Ladies and Gentlemen:Given that we have dedicated our 50th Anniversary to the fight against ebola, we are keen not to get involved with rhetoric that will take over the recognition we are giving to the fight. Nonetheless, it is fair to note that the fight against ebola can only succeed when the various parties are confident that we are all in it together. That means, principles are standard and do not sway from case to case.We have a situation here, where all ebola deaths are buried en masse, and then burnt. Note is taken of the Ugandan Doctor from Redemption Hospital and the Catholic Priest. In the future – perhaps with better knowledge – some deaths are allowed special burial rites.At one point, all unexplained deaths will be treated as ebola deaths. A lot of loved ones were allowed to be carried away by a burial, then a burning team. At some point, the ratio changed, and the death certificates began. With deaths extending into the families of lost ones, an alarm has sounded.While crying aloud about denial and traditional practices, and telling all relatives and friends to accept the ebola reality, a new row has come forth when deaths in high quarters are cited to be ebola.There must be one standard that will instead get appreciation from all. Otherwise, those who have also doubted the circumstances of ebola in the first place will always have reason to maintain their doubts.On the other hand, the ebola situation has brought more challenge to the role of the media in reporting occurrences in our society. The state of emergency and yet unexplained restrictions introduces a tricky situation for a battle that must be fought inclusively. While media has pledged to work along in providing public education, the yet unknown keeps media in a position of fear, not sure of what happens next.In all of these, the Press Union has become a victim, observing 50 years of existence with a closure of a fearless newspaper outside of due process. As difficult as we find this, we still look forward in confidence to a High Court ruling on a number of constitutional issues that will effectively open up the space for freedom and justice for journalists and others in the wider Liberian society.So, as we arrange the 50th anniversary, our admonition is for journalists to strengthen their drive into making their journalism one that tells the entire Liberian story in a factual and inclusive manner. Our admonition is for journalists to take the greater responsibility of making their journalism enviable, stepping up to the challenge to ensure opportunities for all.On the other hand, after 50 years, and after a number of transformation in Liberia, it is time that the government – including the legislature, the judiciary and of course the executive – take additional efforts to tolerate dissent and disagreement. This is the purpose of journalism, and of democracy and human rights. Appreciation of free expression is more of the issues and expressions that one find especially offensive. The wider the diversity in our thought and speech, the better we can work together to find a common ground.We will continue working to improve the quality of journalism in Liberia; We will continue with our self-regulatory mechanism to show greater accountability by Liberian journalists to their audience, but we demand that going beyond fifty years – there must be increased opportunities to make journalism the pivot of our democracy, our governance system and stretching out accountability in Liberian society.Our disagreement with journalists should not be expressed through the power we wield, to the extent of violating rights and ignoring guarantees of freedom and accountability.Thank You!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Miners reject Govt’s below-market prices proposal

first_img…say move is to subsidise failed Gold Board which lost B in 2 yearsIn addition to removing a range of concessions afforded to the mining industry and increased taxation and regulation that will certainly kill the already struggling local mining industry, the Government is now mulling giving miners below-world-market prices for their declared gold.The move has since seen the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) coming together in swift condemnation and calling on the Government to immediately remove “from consideration the idiotic proposal to force local gold miners to accept three per cent less than the world market price for gold produced”.The bodies in a joint communiqué issued publicly on Thursday said, “No miner, under any circumstance, will support this proposal…Our two associations are united in this position.”The GGDMA and the GWMO in their joint missive sounded the alarm, saying they wish to “inform all miners that the Government of Guyana is seriously considering a scheme, which would force small- and medium-scale gold miners to sell their gold for three per cent less than the world market price to the Guyana Gold Board.According to the stakeholders, at current market prices, miners will lose $8000 for every ounce of gold sold.The Natural Resources Ministry has since responded, making it clear that “the discussion on asking gold miners to pay a percentage below the London Fix price for gold has been ongoing for many years”, but “no decisions have been taken on this as the matter is before the Cabinet”.The GGDMA and the GWMO lamented that the move was in fact geared at ensuring that the Guyana Gold Board stayed afloat.“We, the miners, see this as another move designed to cripple local small- and medium-scale miners in a continued move by the current Administration to miniaturise the local sector.”It was observed too that under the proposed pricing arrangement foreign companies that mainly export their gold would have won, since they would be exempt.“It is a fact that the Gold Board, due to mismanagement, lost over 10 billion of taxpayer dollars during the period of 2012 to 2014 and now the Government want miners to subsidise this failing institution,” the missive to stakeholders said.According to the miners’ representatives, “buying gold from local miners at the fixed world market prices has been the norm for the Guyana Gold Board and gold dealers in Guyana for over 20 years.”The two bodies have since suggested that if the Guyana Gold Board—which has been plagued by corruption allegations in recent years—cannot run its operations and be profitable, in contrast to the privately licensed dealers, it should cease operations immediately.The GGDMA and the GWMO used the opportunity to recall that Government has already proposed to remove all assistance to the industry, including VAT relief, fuel relief, duty-free vehicle concessions and tax relief on spares and mining equipment.They said, “This, along with potential hikes in rentals, more stringent regulations and additional taxation will certainly kill the already struggling local mining industry.”No consultationsIt was deduced that this new burden will see miners now paying out almost 10 per cent or $25,700 for every ounce of the gold they produce to the Government of Guyana.The proposal, according to the two mining representative bodies, has been tabled without any consultation with miners or the mining associations.“The GGDMA and the GWMO are deeply concerned with these developments from an Administration, who, thus far, has made only empty promises and has made life harder for the small and medium-scale miners.”It was pointed out too that despite all the rhetoric about consultations, “this proposal was secretly developed”.The two entities have since adopted a position of suspicion regarding all previous consultations and asked the Government, “Can we now trust your word?”The GGDMA and the GWMO in their statement has since demanded an immediate end to the proposal and “a commitment from the Government of Guyana that they are serious about meaningful consultations”.The GGDMA and the GWMO said they would be meeting with miners across Guyana to inform them about the impending changes and to discuss how they would affect their livelihood, with an outreach programme planned for the coming week.Reiterating their position, the GGDMA and the GWMO said: “We are fully opposed to this proposal, which is under active consideration at the Cabinet level and we urge the Government of Guyana not to take this foolish measure.”The representative bodies added that the measure would not create jobs and would, in fact, kill employment and spending.“It will plunge the already stagnant economy further down the spiral. Mining is the leading economic driver of the Guyanese economy and this proposal will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”The mining representatives used the occasion to observe that no other Private Sector industry currently provides more employment than mining, adding that “crime is tied to unemployment, and in an already slow economic situation, killing off the mining sector will not solve the current problems Guyana faces, but it will magnify them”.They lamented that the Government, through the Guyana Gold Board, is planning to squeeze blood out of the miners.It was also recalled that the Ministry of the Presidency has indicated that it would be applying more stringent measures to the industry and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon is on record saying they will put measures in place to ensure the survival of the Guyana Gold Board.According to the GGDMA and the GWMO, “we did not anticipate that miners would be robbed of an additional three per cent to maintain the Guyana Gold Board’s incompetence…We will not be burdened with the bill for the Guyana Gold Board.”last_img read more

Grande Prairie RCMP advise public of potential frauds and scams

first_imgAccording to RCMP, they have bee receiving numerous reports in relation to a variety of scams and frauds. Police say a majority of the scams reported involved fraudsters stating they are the CRA and instructing the citizen to send money owed to prevent arrest. – Advertisement -Other fraudsters try to obtain personal information, such as SIN, Passport, or Drivers licence numbers. GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Grande Prairie RCMP are reminding local residents and business owners to be cautious of potential scams and frauds. center_img Police advise the public to use extra caution any time they are asked for money and reminds you that the CRA or any other Government department does not demand money transfers over the phone. For further information to protect yourself and your business, you can visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at or call1-888-495-8501. Advertisementlast_img read more

Liverpool must make it into CL, says Salah

first_img0Shares0000The Reds sit third in the Premier League standings with a one-point lead over Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s match against West Ham.LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 24 – Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has set his team a clear target for the season: qualification for next year’s Champions League.The Reds sit third in the Premier League standings with a one-point lead over Chelsea ahead of Saturday’s match against West Ham. “We must finish in the top four, it is not optional, we have to work hard and fight for it,” Salah told Sky Sports. “We have fantastic players, manager and fans, everyone deserves it.”The Egyptian has 22 league goals already this season and explained how he slots into manager Jurgen Klopp’s tactical setup.“We change the system every game, so sometimes I play second striker and sometimes I play on the right and sometimes I play on the left,” he added.“So he helped me to improve myself and to do what I am doing now, so I am happy about that. I have the freedom to do whatever I want, but we are 11 players, so I have to defend, do my work, attack, defend, everything.“I always start on the right, and we change during the game. Sometimes we play 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2 and I play second striker or I play striker. So it depends on the game and what the manager wants.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

‘Big things to come from him next season’- Leeds United fans hail new hero

first_img1 Leeds players celebrate with Chris Wood It’s been a while since Leeds United fans had something to celebrate but fans at Elland Road are getting excited after beating Everton 2-0 in a pre-season friendly.Academy product Alex Mowatt got the first but Whites fans were hailing new striker Chris Wood as he thumped home the second from long range.The New Zealander, who joined from Leicester City in a deal worth around £2.5million, appears to have made a big impact on his new supporters with his performance.You can see what they had to say on Twitter below…last_img

American Mayor tells Donegal companies his city is open for business

first_imgThe Mayor of Worcester in the US, Joseph Petty, has told Donegal companies that they are open to business.Mayor Petty welcomed civic leaders, businesses and officials from the North West region of Ireland who arrived in Massachusetts yesterday to showcase the region as a prime location for business and to look at new opportunities for companies wishing to expand their business trade links in the US market.In his welcoming address Mayor Petty said Worcester was open for business to companies from Ireland North West and praised the co-ordinated efforts of both Councils and the support agencies in putting forward a strong case for building relations between Ireland North West and Worcester, and the wider Massachusetts region. The delegation which is jointly led by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock, the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey, along with officers from both Councils, local businesses and participating organisations such as Udaras na Gaeltachta, Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the North West Regional College.While the visit has a trade and investment focus, it also features strongly on education and culture and the good work that has been done over the years to develop linkages between the City of Boston and the wider Massachusetts knowledge corridor.Speaking following their arrival in Worcester, Seamus Neely CEO with Donegal County Council said the 17 companies who joined the delegation had added a new dimension to the joint delegation. They include companies from the digital tech, education, agri-food sectors and creative industries who are delighted to get the opportunity to source business in US export markets.Derry City and Strabane District Council CEO John Kelpie said the collaboration between all agencies was key to promoting Ireland North West as a good place to do business. During their visit, the delegation will launch a new video and brochure showcasing the North West region as a location for business and investment and will attend meetings with businesses, potential investors and key influencers, as well as visit a number of sites such as Harvard and the State House and will participate in the Golden Bridges Conference.One of the businesses included as part of the delegation is Qubizm, which creates radical and innovative resources for the teaching and learning of mathematics. The company’s founder Franz Schlindwein, himself a former secondary head of mathematics, is confident this US visit will allow him to showcase his first product – Izak9, to the US market, highlighting the importance of making math education more fun and rewarding for students, especially in the context of the challenges currently faced by US schools in delivering the common core math curriculum. While Izak9 is already getting some traction internationally, he is very keen to explore the opportunity the US market presents and to meet with organisations and individuals involved in math/STEM education, especially the teaching universities.Another company that has travelled as part of the delegation is Modern Democracy, a Derry based digital technology provider that produces a unique digital democracy platform and consultancy packages to help electoral service professionals improve and transform service delivery. The company’s founder Siobhan Donaghy says the US trade visit is the perfect platform for the company to meet with decision makers in electoral management in the US and to look at competitors operating in the US. She says: “It is our vision to become the leader in the digital transformation of democratic services nationally and internationally and being part of this NW trade mission is a key opportunity for us to showcase our innovative solutions and share our expertise with the elections industry in the US. We are really excited about the meetings that have been set up for us and are very keen to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to sell our products directly to State and City government election officials.”John McNamara from Sendmode at CoLab LYIT specialises in mobile marketing, mobile vouchers and SMS marketing. He says he plans to use the visit to research the feasibility of the US market and its potential to help maintain growth in his business.Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Hilary McClintock says the mission will build on the region’s cultural, political and economic linkages while the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Terence Slowey says it will allow the region to tell its unique story and showcase the area’s attributes as a good place to do business. For further information visit>.The companies travelling as part of the delegation are as follows:GoWalkTalk; Gartan Technologies; Irish Gap Year; Irish Fish Canners; Qubizm; SLM Connect; Consilium Education; SLM Connect; Oideas Gael; Hanna Hats; Kelsius; Sendmode; Modern Democracy; Kinnegar Brewing; Studio Donegal; O’Donnell’s Bakery; Randox; Donegal Socks; O’Neill’s Sportswear.Follow us on twitter @dcsdc @donegalcouncil #IrelandNWMass2016 American Mayor tells Donegal companies his city is open for business was last modified: November 14th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Has Mo Salah revealed the reason for his poor form this season?

first_img Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City How Everton could look in January under Ancelotti with new signings predicted Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT whoops SORRY 3 latest Salah appears to still have his shoulder strapped up 3 revealed tense changes Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? REVEALED Did Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah reveal the reason for his poor form this season during the Reds’ Champions League defeat of Paris Saint-Germain?Salah, the Egypt forward, has failed to properly get going this term after his mesmerising, goal-filled 2017/18 campaign. Salah’s season has been well below the standards he set last season center_img gameday cracker Guardiola-inspired tactics: Is this how Arsenal will line up under Arteta? Is this incident the source of all Salah’s recent problems? Most read in Premier League silverware The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? The suggestion behind Harry Kane’s poor form is that he has not overcome an ankle injury suffered earlier this year, and maybe Salah is not performing up to scratch due to the exact same reason. England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion “Harry Kane has been in the newspapers about his form, it’s all been Harry, Harry, Harry, and yet Mo’s level of performances are clearly nowhere near last year.“You look at him winning all the Player of the Year awards but then getting injured in the Champions League final last season, it’s all gone backwards from there.“He had a disappointing World Cup and he hasn’t really got going this season.”Salah’s downturn in form does seem to stem from the Champions League final, when Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid after the forward was substituted in the first half due to injury. A clash with Sergio Ramos, the defender, left Salah with a shoulder injury, and it appears he is still suffering with the problem.Television cameras caught Salah changing his shirt during Liverpool’s defeat of PSG, played on Tuesday, and he appeared to still have strapping on his left shoulder – perhaps he has not fully recovered? Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update 3 He has scored two goals and assisted a further two in just six appearances, but the 26-year-old looks out of sorts whenever he takes to the field.Salah’s performances are somewhat mirroring those put in by another one of the Premier League’s best goalscorers – Harry Kane.Kane, the Tottenham star, has endured an uncharacteristic dry spell this term, and be’s been criticised week after week for failing to find the back of the net.Salah has avoided any real criticism, though talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino offered his view on the Egypt international’s performances.“It’s been a tricky last few months for Mo Salah,” Cascarino said, “but it’s going under the radar slightly because Liverpool have won every game.last_img read more


first_imgJoe McHugh TD has said that CoLab in Letterkenny is leading the way for Donegal’s next generation.Deputy Joe McHugh at the CoLabDeputy McHugh was at CoLab on Friday to participate in an online referendum debate on the web forum.Deputy McHugh’s contribution to the hour-long debate was broadcasted from the ERNACT facility in CoLab on the Letterkenny Institute of Technology campus. The facility contains a number of businesses including 3D Publishing, Customer Service Excellence and Donegal Daily.Joe McHugh TD said “CoLab in Letterkenny was buzzing today with large numbers of energetic business people who are at the cutting edge of new Irish technology. It was heartening to meet and observe the people who are leading the way for Donegal’s next generation.“The observable can-do attitude, the new thinking and the progressiveness at CoLab are uplifting amd encouraging.“I am grateful to ERNACT for allowing me to use modern facilities there to contribute to the online interactive debate, and I would like to commend ERNACT for the work that it does to promote technology solutions in the Northwest. “CoLab, with its partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology, is leading the way for Donegal’s next generation.”CoLAB IS LEADING THE WAY FOR NEXT GENERATION – McHUGH was last modified: September 28th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CoLabjoe mchugh tdSlugger O’Toolelast_img read more


first_imgUnited Healthcare Group, in Letterkenny have shown their support for Donegal stars Eamon McGee and Christy Toye ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC final against Kerry. Management at the business contacted CBM to have a poster made showing their support for their colleagues ahead of the All-Ireland final on Sunday.CBM who specialize in producing all types of signs, banners and posters created a brilliant poster, which portrays the overwhelming support from all the staff at United Healthcare towards their colleagues and both minor and senior Donegal teams. CBM have been inundated with all sorts of requests to design posters, signs and banners for businesses who want to show their pride in the achievements of both Donegal minor and senior panels.CBM Signs themselves are proud to show their support for the Donegal GAA squads, and have kindly and consistently donated to the Donegal GAA training fund.With every purchase of a “UP DONEGAL SAM” sticker, €5 goes towards the Donegal Training Fund.Manager of CBM Signs Bernard Gallagher told Donegal Daily, “We launched the campaign and did a one day special in Ballybofey at the last Donegal meet and greet. “On that day we decided to contribute €10 from every “UP DONEGAL SAM” sticker sold towards the Donegal GAA training fund.“It was a complete sell out in the end up and since then we’ve had a steady stream of supporters looking for all types of signs, banners & crests.“We decided to make the donation to show our support for what the lads have achieved this year.Bernard who credits the incredible success of his business to his wife Emma, says the demand for posters and signs from Donegal fans wanting to show their support has been unbelievable.Bernard added, “As a local Donegal company we feel it is only right that we give back to the County training fund. “As yet again this year they have given the county another great year to remember!“Here’s hoping both teams can win on Sunday, and make it a truly incredible double.“Tir Chonaill Abú!CBM SIGNS are located on the Port Road just across from the LYIT and are open every week day 9:30-6:00pm and Saturday 9:30-4pm. If you want signs, posters or banners – Tel: 074 91 60044 or email info@cbmsigns.ieLETTERKENNY BUSINESS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR DONEGAL COLLEAGUES WITH MASSIVE CBM SIGNS.IE POSTER was last modified: September 19th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessCBM Signs.ieFeaturesnewslast_img read more

Henry Gifford Continues His Case Against LEED

first_imgSometimes it seems as if debates about how best to increase the energy efficiency of buildings – and about the relative importance of energy efficiency in green building – are bound to outlive the buildings themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course, for people who want to see green building flourish while building science and building materials improve.One of the developments sparking long and fevered discussion on these subjects is the lawsuit filed against the U.S. Green Building Council by Henry Gifford, an occasional GBA contributor and the owner of Gifford Fuel Saving consultancy. Gifford’s suit, originally filed in October as a class-action, was amended in February to focus on claims of false advertising, deceptive practices, and illegal monopolization, while its original common law, racketeering, and class-action components were dropped. Three plaintiffs also were added to the complaint. Alleging that USGBC misrepresented the performance of LEED certified buildings and altered study results to support its performance claims, Gifford’s suit seeks an injunction against USGBC and monetary damages for lost sales and profits.USGBC answersUSGBC responded in April with a motion to dismiss the amended suit, claiming that the plaintiffs lack standing (i.e. they weren’t among the people actually deceived by USGBC’s building-performance claims) and can’t prove that they were harmed by the organization’s allegedly illegal conduct. USGBC’s argument generally holds up, argues Shari Shapiro, a LEED Accredited Professional and an attorney specializing in green building law, renewable energy, and sustainable buildings. But in one of a series of posts about the suit on her Green Building Law blog, Shapiro also notes that USGBC’s motion to dismiss also claims that the group’s marketing targets building industry and real estate professionals. That claim, she says, is contradicted by the LEED for Homes online scoring tool, announced in the spring, which does indeed market LEED for Homes certification directly to consumers.“Making factually unsupported arguments may weaken the punch of the USGBC’s clearer grounds for dismissal,” she writes, “and provide a toehold for the Plaintiffs to plant seeds of doubt about the rest of the USGBC’s arguments.”Flawed comparisions?That’s some of the legal background to the drama. A broader perspective on the discussions it has precipitated – and a reminder of the durable nature of the debate about energy efficiency, LEED certification, and green building practices – is offered in an article published June 13 by, a news site that specializes in nonpartisan coverage of social concerns.The story points out that the assertions in the suit hinge in large part on Gifford’s analysis of a 2008 study comparing predicted energy use in certified buildings with actual energy use, and with a national average for existing buildings. Conducted by USGBC and the New Buildings Institute, the study drew on data from the Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey of 2007. NBI concluded from the data that LEED buildings are, on average, 25% to 30% more efficient than the national average. By contrast, Gifford’s analysis of the information concluded that LEED buildings are, on average, 29% less efficient.Gifford complained that the study erred by examining performance data only from 121 LEED-certified buildings with willing operators, the Miller-McCune story notes. Also of concern to Gifford is that the study compares data from LEED-certified buildings to data from a range of existing buildings rather than those built after USGBC got rolling in 2000.A path to LEED refinement?Gifford’s criticism has prompted plenty of discussion on building sites, including GBA and, whose editorial director, Tristan Roberts, pointed out to Miller-McCune that many older buildings, particularly those built before 1960, are more efficient than newer ones.In at least one case, Gifford’s complaints prompted yet another analysis of the NBI study. John Scofield, a physicist at Oberlin College, also concluded that LEED-certified commercial buildings are not necessarily more energy efficient than conventional buildings, although his conclusion is based on the fact that LEED tracks site energy (via utility bills), rather than source energy (the on- and offsite energy costs), as a principal measure of building efficiency. Another flaw in LEED, Scofield says, is that had been awarding points for energy efficiency based on projected energy use rather than relying entirely on measurements of the building’s performance once construction was complete.USGBC, since 2009, has in fact moved to implement verification of performance, even though the performance data is not, at this point, being released to the public. In any case, the upshot of the challenges and analyses is that they’ll likely lead to productive changes in the long run, and green building will continue to become a bigger part of the national conversation.last_img read more