Category Archives: Actions / Protest

“Protect the Sacred:” Indigenous people unite against Keystone pipeline

From left: Casey, Dwain & Carter Camp at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. (Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz/ Waging Nonviolence)

Activists at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. (Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz/ Waging Nonviolence)

Indigenous people in Oklahoma took a united front against the Keystone XL pipeline, whose proposed route will trespass upon sacred ritual and burial grounds. Already many of these people, especially those living in Ponca City, struggle daily with pollution-related health issues from nearby refineries. The repercussions of another pipeline, especially one that threatens to degrade their heritage, are simply unfathomable. Interviewed in an article by Crysbel Tejada and Betsy Catlin on the website Waging Nonviolence, longtime activist Casey Camp-Horinek states:

Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week. Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.

A massive ConocoPhillips oil refinery towers over Standing Bear Park, named in honor of the  Ponca chief who led his people on the Trail of Tears. Every year, that refinery pumps 2,000 lbs. of chemicals into the air.

“We live in a situation that could only be described as environmental genocide,” said Camp-Horinek. Beyond the refineries, she explained, “We also have had the misfortune of living on top of a spider web of pipelines as a result of ConocoPhillips being here.”

The toxins released are filled with benzene, which the CDC lists as potentially causing leukemia, anemia and can decrease the size of ovaries. In response to these issues and the Keystone threat, the Indigenous people of the area are planning their resistance and have drafted a new treaty called “Protect the Sacred.”

They have also created the “Training for Resistance” tour, “which is making its way across Greater Sioux nations, territories and reservations to educate and equip people with the necessary tools for resistance. The trainings, which began in March on the Pine Ridge reservation, focus on direct action and teach-ins on tar sands and the Keystone XL, with roots in the Lakota way and tradition.”

Read the full article here and discover how Indigenous people plan to fight back against the Keystone XL, another form of genocide — environmental genocide — faced by nations of people whose history is riddled with the same unjust treatment.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Tar Sands

Three arrested blockading train tracks in Pacific Northwest, protesting oil-by-rail expansion

Three Seattle area resident blockade train tracks at the Tesoro’s Anacortes Refinery. Photo credit: @SeattleActivist

Three Seattle area resident blockade train tracks at the Tesoro’s Anacortes Refinery. Photo credit: @SeattleActivist

On Monday, July 28th, three locals locked themselves onto train tracks in Anacortes, Washington to protest oil-by-rail shipments.

The protesters blocked the tracks at an oil refinery owned by Tesoro, which is planning to expand.

They were particularly inspired to act after an train full of Bakken field crude oil headed to the Anacortes refinery derailed in Seattle last week, another in a series of such accidents that have been devastating throughout the US and Canada.

According to EcoWatch:

The protestors were demanding an immediate end to the shipment of Bakken oil through Northwest communities, all new oil-by-rail terminals proposed for the Northwest and Clean Air Act violations by oil refineries.

The protest lasted four hours and stopped one train. They were later arrested.

Two of the protesters are part of Rising Tide Seattle, including Ahmed Gaya. At a recent protest, Gaya described the current expansion of fossil fuels and coastal refineries in the Pacific Northwest: “Our region is under attack from thousands of tank cars carrying bombs rolling through our communities.”

 

 

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Oil, Tar Sands

A question of local bans: Two accounts of the South Portland, Maine block on tar sands

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Citizens in favor of the ban during the South Portland City Council meeting. Logan Werlinger/Portland Press Herald

Last week, there was quite a bit of coverage on the ordinance passed by the South Portland, Maine city council, blocking Canadian tar sands oil from its port.

The measure would prevent ExxonMobil from reversing the flow of its current pipeline, which now brings oil into Canada, so that it could bring Alberta tar-sands oil to the port for export on a global market.

The block is called the ‘Clear Skies’ ordinance, as a response to the local environmental damage that would be caused by processing the tar sands to be ready for export. As Katherine Bagley reports in Inside Climate News:

The council and allies fought the pipeline plan because of the risk of toxic spills and air pollution [...]. Dozens of heavy chemicals are added to bitumen extracted from tar sands to help the peanut butter-like substance flow through pipes. Before the mixture can be loaded onto tankers, these chemicals must be burned off, releasing toxins including benzene, a human carcinogen, into the air. The export hub in South Portland would be located just steps from an elementary school, a popular waterfront park and residential neighborhoods.

While many see this as a successful local response, others take up the broader context: In particular, Katherine Bagley quotes financial and oil industry insiders who point out that the oil corporations can simply find other ports.

But these insiders have a real vested interest in downplaying the effectiveness of local resistance. Bagley’s article also indirectly shows how resistance starts stacking up:

With access to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast limited because of delays with the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, the East Coast is largely seen as the remaining option to export Alberta’s oil sands via pipeline—and the Portland-Montreal line is the only existing route connecting Alberta to Maine.

While Bagley’s article includes important questions about efficacy, having so many industry insiders declaring the South Portland victory “hollow” might just be a sign of their own fears, which is good.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Tar Sands, Uncategorized

Utah Tar Sands Resistance

fe1768d42035b27d1d3c190903e37054_normalYesterday, about 80 activists formed a blockade to halt construction of a tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah. The mine is being built by US Oil Sands, a Canadian company, and would be the first in the US. The action was led by the Climate Justice Summer Camp, which was holding a two-week direct action camp nearby.

The mine is located on traditional Ute hunting lands and in the Colorado River Basin, which provides drinking water to 40 million people. As Peaceful Uprising argues,

Tar sands and oil shale mining and refining, if allowed to begin in the U.S., would rob us of our water rights. The Colorado’s flow is diminishing, not increasing, and these mining and refining processes require massive amounts of water. This inescapable reality would cause widespread conflicts over water, as water rights were seized from farmers and communities. We will not allow tar sands and oil shale profiteers to seize the water that rightfully belongs to everyone.

During the protest, those locked to equipment were arrested along with other supporters, leading to 21 arrests total, and protesters were faced with police brutality. To follow the events of the blockade and give support, go to the twitter feed for Utah Tar Sands Resistance and donate on their website: http://www.tarsandsresist.org/ or here.

For background, check out our KPFK interview from March with Melanie Martin, from Peaceful Uprising. 

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Breaking Action Alert: Enbridge Blockaded

17 July 2014.  Source: Swamp Line 9 via Earth First! newswire

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Individuals from Six Nations and their allies have interrupted work on a section of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. The work stoppage began around 10am this morning. Individuals involved asked workers to leave, asserting that the land is Haudenosaunee territory guaranteed under the Haldimand deed, and that Enbridge’s workers were present without consent or consultation.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Tar Sands, Uncategorized

On Bill McKibben’s ‘call to arms’ for the New York climate summit

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, from the Venezuela Social Pre-COP

Today’s blog post is not addressing directly what is happening here in Venezuela at the SocialPreCOP, but something on the minds of many people here–the next step in the series of climate meetings/actions this year.  That is the upcoming climate march planned for New York City on September 21st, two days before UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru. Part of the objective of the Venezuelan government at this SocialPreCOP meeting is to come away with a set of demands from people gathered here that they can take to this exclusive summit.

The September climate march was called for by Big Green NGOs 350.org and Avaaz, who have thrown copious quantities of cash at it. But many environmental and climate justice organizations and alliances based in the New York/New Jersey region and across the US have demanded a seat at the organizing table to ensure that the voices of front line and impacted communities are heard, despite their small budgets.

The demands of the march: there will be none. That’s right. The march will simply bring together an estimated 200,000 people to march through the streets of New York and then…  There will be no rally, no speakers, no strong political demands.  Just people showing up with the overarching message that the world’s leaders should take action on climate change.

Please.

What kind of climate action should be taken is a question that has long been debated by climate justice activists, organizations, social movements and Indigenous Peoples all over the world for decades.   “Climate action” can include things like geoengineering schemes–manmade manipulations of nature on such a massive scale that the impacts can’t possibly be known, but could definitely be catastrophic.  They can also include actions already taking place, such as the building of vast hydroelectric dams that flood vast expanses of land and displace thousands of Indigenous Peoples or land-based communities. Climate action can also include ongoing grabbing of land for the development of vast plantations of oil palm, GMO soy or non-native trees for so-called bioenergy.

So no, not all “climate action” is created equal.  A lack of clear justice-based and ecologically sound demands in this “historic” march will leave a vacuum.  And no vacuum remains empty for long.  It’s simple physics.  The media will not cover a march with no demands. They will find a message.  And likely, as so often happens, those with the connections and the money will win the messaging game.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Posts from Anne Petermann

EarthWatch: Irene Majorie/ Portland Rising Tide

Our weekly “Earth Watch” our guest is Irene Majorie with Portland Rising Tide. Why did she lock herself to metal and a 55-gallon barrel filled with concrete? What are the dangers of transporting oil by rail?

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

 

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Confronting Canada Day rally and march in Vancouver

By Zig Zag, July 2, 2014. Source: Warrior Publications

Confronting Canada Day march down Commercial Drive, July 1, 2014.

Confronting Canada Day march down Commercial Drive, July 1, 2014.

Approximately 100 people attended a “Confront Canada Day” rally and march in Vancouver, BC, on July 1, 2014.  The rally began at Clark Park in East Vancouver with Natives drumming, singing and speaking against the colonial history of Canada.  There was also a contingent of anarchists dressed in Black Bloc and carrying black flags.  The group then marched down Commercial Drive behind a large black banner that proclaimed “Decolonize Means Attack”, chanting slogans such as “No pipelines on stolen Native land” and “Fuck Canada”  with fireworks and flares being lit periodically. Continue reading

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