Category Archives: Ending the Era of Extreme Energy

MICATS protest Line 6B pipeline yesterday (Aug. 25)

from the MICATS twitter feed

from the MICATS twitter feed

The MICATS protested Enbridge’s Line 6B yesterday (Monday, August 25). Two members locked themselves to a construction truck leaving a storage facility in Oxford, Michigan, which caused a bottleneck of all the other trucks behind it. According to the MICATS Youtube page of the protest:

At 7:30am on the morning of Monday, August 25th, 2014, two protestors with the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands locked themselves with bicycle U-locks to a truck while it was exiting a pipeline storage facility ran by Precision Pipeline. Precision was hired to work on the expansion of Enbridge Line 6B, the same pipeline which ruptured in 2010, spilling 1 million gallons of toxic tar sands into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo river. That spill is now commonly known as the largest in-land tar sands spill in US history.

Instead of choosing to double-down on clean-up efforts for that spill, 4 years later the spill is still not clean and Enbridge is dragging their feet. Meanwhile, Enbridge is expeditiously expanding its tar sands pipeline infrastructure throughout the midwest as well as all over the continent. Today, Duncan and Dylon took action in opposition to Enbridge’s criminal dealings with dirty tar sands. Direct action is a crucial tactic that must be utilized when the common systems of governance fail to protect us or recognize our basic rights.

Check out their video of the protest!

Common Dreams also ran a great story on the protest, the history of Line 6B, and the MICATS demands.

Earth First! Newswire ran the MICATS statement, which includes a link to their Donate page.

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

Recent developments in the fight against mountaintop removal, Maria Gunnoe letter to Obama

Maria Gunnoe and mountaintop removal via EcoWatch

Maria Gunnoe and mountaintop removal via EcoWatch

On Friday, Jeff Biggers for EcoWatch reported on a federal judge ruling that the US Army Corps of Engineers does not have to consider studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal when issuing permits.

Biggers notes that this comes just a couple of weeks after Maria Gunnoe, an organizer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, sent a letter to Obama urging him to renew funding for exactly such studies that were being conducted by the USGS, until funding was withdrawn last year.

Gunnoe Appeals to President … Judge Dismisses Health Studies on Mountaintop Removal
By Jeff Biggers, EcoWatch. August 22, 2014.

In a breathtaking but largely overlooked ruling this week, a federal judge agreed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may disregard studies on the health impacts of mountaintop removal mining in its permitting process, only two weeks after Goldman Prize Award-winning activist Maria Gunnoe wrote an impassioned plea to President Obama to renew withdrawn funding for U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on strip mining operations and redouble federal action to address the decades-old humanitarian disaster.

Read the whole article and Maria Gunnoe’s letter here.

Find out more about Maria Gunnoe and the New Voice’s Speakers Bureau on GJEP’s website.

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution

Oregon denies permit for coal export terminal, cites damage to Indigenous fisheries as key in decision

Image used by Columbia Riverkeeper.

Image used by Columbia Riverkeeper

Oregon’s Department of State Lands denied Ambre Energy a permit needed for a proposed coal terminal to export coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. While a range of environmental groups helped put pressure, the state agency singled out the damage that would have been caused to tribal fisheries by the terminal. 

Oregon Department of State Lands rejects Ambre Energy coal export permit, dealing major blow

By Rob Davis, The Oregonian. August 18, 2014.

Oregon’s Department of State Lands on Monday dealt a serious blow to Ambre Energy’s proposed coal terminal, denying a key permit needed for a project to export 8.8 million tons of coal annually to Asia.

The state agency said despite a two-year review, Australia-based Ambre Energy hadn’t done enough to analyze alternatives that would avoid harming tribal fisheries at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, where the company had proposed to build a dock to load coal onto barges.

[...]

Tribes that rely on Columbia River fisheries had opposed the terminal, saying it would destroy protected tribal fishing areas. The state concurred, saying a “small but important long-standing fishery” at the project site would be harmed.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and the project’s most prominent opponent, praised the decision.

“Columbia River tribes have fundamental rights to these fisheries,” he said, “and projects that may interfere with these rights or affect important public resources are held to appropriately high standards.”

Tribes also applauded the rejection.

Read more at The Oregonian.

The image comes from Columbia Riverkeeper: Read more from them here.

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Filed under Coal, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples

Privatization of Communal Lands for Energy, Agriculture, and Strategic Geo-Political Control Driving Indigenous Peoples Resistance

A detailed article published this week in Truthout makes a clear case for the link between privatization and commodification of lands, U.S. military and geopolitical goals, and indigenous peoples resistance and struggles in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Privatization of lands for giant energy farms such as wind, and large agricultural developments including biomass, and genetically modified organisms including food products and trees are deep concerns of the Global Justice Ecology Project.

In Oaxaca, a caravan of activists arrives to support those resisting the construction of the wind farm, in the face of more than 500 policemen attempting to take control of the territory. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)

In Oaxaca, a caravan of activists arrives to support those resisting the construction of a giant wind farm, in the face of more than 500 policemen attempting to take control of the territory. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)

 “Communal Lands: Theater of Operations for the Counterinsurgency”

By Renata Bessi, Santiago Navarro F. and Translated by Miriam Taylor, Truthout  

In 2006, a team of geographers from the University of Kansas carried out a series of mapping projects of communal lands in southern Mexico’s Northern Sierra Mountains. Coordinated by Peter Herlihy and Geoffrey B. Demarest, a US lieutenant colonel, the objective was to achieve strategic military and geopolitical goals of particular interest for the United States. The objective was to incorporate indigenous territories into the transnational corporate model of private property, either by force or through agreements. Demarest’s essential argument is that peace cannot exist without private property.

According to researcher and anthropologist Gilberto López y Rivas, “The agents on the expeditions consider the types of communal property in these lands, both collective and autonomous, to be an obstacle for the development plans currently being very aggressively executed, where there is capital from mining companies, pharmaceuticals, energy companies, among others,” he told Truthout. This is despite the fact that these communal lands in Mexico, for example, were recognized after the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and are lands that indigenous communities have possessed since time immemorial.

As the ideologue of these expeditions, Demarest considers collective land ownership to be the birthplace of delinquency and insurgency, and thus believes that collective property must be destroyed. He graduated from the School of the Americas, which is under the administration of the US Army and was founded in 1946 in Panama, with the objective of training Latin American soldiers in war and counterinsurgency tactics. In recent years, graduates from the School of the Americas have participated in assassinations in Colombia, formed part of the drug trafficking organization The Zetas, in Mexico, and were involved in the coup in Honduras in 2009, as was demonstrated by activists through a School of the Americas Watch lawsuit against the Department of Defense in February 2013. “Demarest is one of the coordinators of these expeditions. He was trained in the School of the Americas, later served as military attaché for the United States Embassy in Guatemala in 1988 and 1991, where a counterinsurgency project was implemented that caused terrible massacres of indigenous populations,” says López.

Read the full Truthout article here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Uncategorized

Clayton Thomas-Muller on his hopes for The Peoples’ Social Forum

The Peoples’ Social Forum will be held in Ottawa, Ontario from August 21st through the 24th. According to its website:

The Peoples’ Social Forum (PSF) is a critical public space aimed at fostering activist involvement of individuals and civil society organizations that want to transform Canada as it exists today. It is a space for social movements to meet and converge, for the free expression of alternative ideas and grassroots exchanges. It seeks to inspire practical involvement in social movements and develop networked action strategies aimed at fostering the convergence of struggles, toward building a broad strategic alliance against neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies in Canada. Social justice, Original Peoples rights, sustainable development, international solidarity and participatory democracy at the centre of its concerns.

[...]

The PSF is part of the global movement of social forums that have emerged at different levels since the first World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Porto Alegre (Brazil) in January 2001.  The last World Social Forum was held in Tunis in March 2013and the 2015 one will also be organized in the same city.

Clayton Thomas-Muller leads the march out at the Copenhagen climate conference.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Clayton Thomas-Muller leads the march out at the Copenhagen climate conference. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of our board of directors and a speaker in our New Voices Speakers Bureau, wrote an excellent essay for rabble.ca on his hopes for the Peoples’ Social Forum. Clayton is a facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental justice and Indigenous rights. He is the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign of the Polaris Institute and is an organizer with Defenders of the Land and Idle No More.

As social movements, we have a shared intention to walk away from the Peoples’ Social Forum with serious commitments in terms of resources from unions, who have always been a great partner to the First Nations. Harper has been a revolutionary who has moved aggressively to implement his destructive neoliberal vision on many fronts. First Nations have been one of the key targets of this government, as it cannot abide the idea of collective rights that impede the power of governments, corporations, and private wealth alike. Whether it is in education, land rights or self-determination, Harper’s government is desperate to fast track its assimilation agenda.

We all know what kind of movement it will take to confront this vision — a movement that is like Idle No More was when it first started, but deeper, sustained, more focused and more strategic. We know from wide-ranging consultations with the member communities of Idle No More that they are ready to fight, as long as it is strategic, intelligent and effective. We have an incredible legacy of collaboration to build upon. We need to shift the narrative. We need to lay out a clear and strategic movement that can tactically build a strong base. At this year’s social forum, Idle No More, the Quebecois Student Strikers and Canada’s labour movement can do just that.

Read the whole essay at rabble.ca

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Events, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples

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

Obama’s policies of extreme energy extraction take another step

A number of news sources reported this weekend on the White House approving the use of underwater sonic blasts to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a step in the process to large-scale offshore oil drilling in federal waters.

The Washington Post reported:

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed but ultimately decided to approve this exploration in the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida.

The sonic blasts are, of course, just the very start.

Energy companies need the data as they prepare to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when current congressional limits expire.

Offshore Oil Rig. Reuters.

Offshore Oil Rig. Reuters.

Oil companies, with the government’s blessing, plan to drill offshore all along the East coast, with only the North East off limits.

A quote by an engineer for American Petroleum is particularly ominous:

 

“One thing we find is, the more you get out and drill and explore to confirm what you see in the seismic, you end up finding more oil and gas than what you think is out there when you started,” Radford said.

Florida communities have pushed back, in particular:

Florida has already felt the devastating effects of an uncontrolled oil release with the Deepwater Horizon event, of which cleanup efforts are still ongoing,” said John Morris, a county commissioner whose constituency includes the beach town.

However, the drilling would happen on federal waters, outside of reach from any local ban. While the article emphasizes the devastating effects of sonic booms on marine life and possible pollution from drilling, the dangers of such deepwater drilling extend even further. The thoughtlessness is mind-boggling, unless the whole thing is seen as desperate attempts in the era of extreme energy.

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Oil

US pushing tar sands into Europe despite EU proposed block

IPS reports on US efforts to push tar sands oil into the EU despite resistance in Europe.

Newly publicized internal documents suggest that U.S. negotiators are working to permanently block a landmark regulatory proposal in the European Union aimed at addressing climate change, and instead to force European countries to import particularly dirty forms of oil.

Thousands of acres of trees and plants, in an area the size of Florida, must be stripped away and the ground torn apart to mine for tar sands oil.

Thousands of acres of trees and plants, in an area the size of Florida, must be stripped away and the ground torn apart to mine for tar sands oil.

Current negotiating texts for the TTIP talks are unavailable. But critics say the negotiations are forcing open the massive E.U. market for a particularly heavy form of petroleum known as tar sands oil, significant deposits of which are in the Canadian province of Alberta.

The oil industry has repeatedly expressed concern over the European Union’s potential tightening of regulations around transport fuel emissions, first proposed in 2009 for what’s known as the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Yet according to a report released Thursday by Friends of the Earth Europe, the sector now appears to have convinced the U.S. government to work to permanently block the implementation of this standard.

 

 

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Mining, Tar Sands, Uncategorized