Category Archives: Land Grabs

Black Mesa Navajo face ‘scorched earth campaign’ spurred by coal mining interests

Black Mesa banner during impoundments,(WNV / NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

Black Mesa banner (WNV/NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

In Waging Nonviolence, Liza Minno Bloom reported on recent federal campaigns to forcibly impound sheep herded by Navajo living in the Hopi Partition Lands (HPL) of Black Mesa in NE Arizona. (Yep, impound, like a car, for us city folk.)

The government claims that the livestock were impounded because there are too many and they were overgrazing and harming the land, but the weight of history and the violence of what’s currently happening suggests a different reason.

The sheep being impounded from the communities on Black Mesa indicate the continued use of scorched earth policies by the federal government and the continued use of Black Mesa as a resource colony for ever more unsustainable Southwestern cities.

More specifically, Minno explains the history and current state of Peabody Energy on the land, going back to the 1970s when the Partition Lands were created, forcing relocation off of the HPL and ushering the way for a grab of the coal-rich land. The herders facing the pressure continue to live on these lands despite the forced relocation.

She also clarifies that Peabody Energy now wants to expand mining into the areas used by the Navajo herders that are being targeted.

The three families targeted so far need to pay about $1000-2000 to get their sheep back, but also have to sign a condition of release and sell the majority of the sheep right away.

Minno writes,

Currently, Peabody seeks to combine the Kayenta Mine [their current coal mine] and the NGS [Navajo Generating Station] leases under one renewal permit that would allow the facilities to continue operating past their 2019 deadline for expiration. Since, according to the Department of the Interior, the Kayenta Mine lease area will provide only enough coal to power NGS until 2026, part of the lease renewal includes expanding mining into the lands adjacent to the Kayenta Mine and reopening the defunct Black Mesa Mine — the equipment for which remains intact on Black Mesa. Instead of calling it a re-opening of the Black Mesa Mine, however, they are referring to the expanded permit area as the Kayenta Mine Complex. Were this approved, it would mean further incursion into the HPL, which is occupied by the Dineh relocation resisters and their sheep. This explains the impetus for the impoundments.

The history Minno gives going back to the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act is definitely required reading, but most important is what’s going on right now and the work needed to keep the coal in the ground and the herders on the land.

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Filed under Climate Justice, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Photo Essay: The Pillaging of Paraguay

Woman holds photo of baby whose condition is blamed on agrotoxins, during rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 Dec 2014.  PhotoLangelle.org

Woman holds photo of baby whose condition is blamed on agrotoxins, during rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 Dec 2014. PhotoLangelle.org

“All signs show that Paraguay, both its territory and its population, are under attack by conquerors, but conquerors of a new sort. These new ‘conquistadors’ are racing to seize all available arable land and, in the process, are destroying peoples’ cultures and the country’s biodiversity — just as they are in many other parts of the planet, even in those areas that fall within the jurisdiction of ‘democratic’ and ‘developed’ countries. Every single foot of land is in their crosshairs. Powerful elites do not recognize rural populations as having any right to land at all.” – Dr. Miguel Lovera

Photographs by Orin Langelle. Analysis at the end of the essay by Dr. Miguel Lovera from the case study: The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay. Dr. Lovera was the President of SENAVE, the National Plant Protection Agency, during the government of Fernando Lugo.

To view the entire photo essay click here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biiotechnology, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Frontline Communities, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pesticides

Senate Defense Bill Would Give Precious AZ Land Over for Copper Mining

AZ Mining Reform photo

AZ Mining Reform photo

Our friends at IEN called our attention to this issue. First, some background:

In 2011, Rep. Paul Gosar introduced a bill that would give 2,000 acres of Arizona land long federally protected to a global mining company Resolution Copper – a Rio Tinto venture — in return for 5,000 acres of company land.

Moreover, the land Rio Tinto would get is home to the ecologically and culturally precious Oak Flat, Devil’s Canyon, and Apache Leap. The area is sacred for the San Carlos Apache Tribe who have held ceremonies there for centuries. It is also ecologically rich; for example, Devil’s Canyon contains a rare Sonoran Desert riparian forest with year-round running water.

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Filed under Land Grabs, Mining, Politics

Truthout | Palm Oil and Extreme Violence in Honduras

A Corporation Dinant worker repairs an irrigation system for oil palms in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras' northern coast, August 26, 2011. The violence over land titles in Bajo Aguan is the most volatile example of the social divide that burst into view a few years ago. (Photo: Edgard Garrido Carrera / The New York Times)

A Corporation Dinant worker repairs an irrigation system for oil palms in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras’ northern coast, August 26, 2011. The violence over land titles in Bajo Aguan is the most volatile example of the social divide that burst into view a few years ago. (Photo: Edgard Garrido Carrera / The New York Times)

The Inexorable Rise and Dubious Reform of Grupo Dinant

By Jeff Conant, Truthout. 8 December 2014 [News Analysis]

As one of the fastest growing global commodities, palm oil has recently earned a reputation as a major contributor to tropical deforestation and, therefore, to climate change as well.

About 50 million metric tons of palm oil is produced per year – more than double the amount produced a decade ago – and this growth appears likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Because oil palm trees, native to West Africa, require the same conditions as tropical rainforests, nearly every drop of palm oil that hits the global market comes at the expense of natural forests that have been, or will be, burned, bulldozed and replaced with plantations.

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Filed under Forests and Climate Change, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Palm Oil, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, World Bank

Population increase spikes land grabs from Wall Street and China

There are more than 7 billion people on this planet, and our population is growing faster than most projections predicted. According to an article on Farm Land Grab, this means that land and water are becoming more valuable commodities, carrying a future price tag that governments and global businesses are trying to get in on as early as possible. Reporter Brad Plumer explains why population growth has inspired  corporations to jump on international land grabs that destroy ecosystems, devastate indigenous people and further accelerate the destruction of climate change.

Infographic: www.farmlandgrab.org

Infographic: www.farmlandgrab.org

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Land Grabs

Papua-Wide meeting calls for 10 year Moratorium on Plantation and Forestry Industries

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The below press release and letter was originally posted 12 November 2014 by awasMIFEE!, a group of independent activists in the UK in solidarity with the people of the Merauke and elsewhere in West Papua threatened by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) mega-project for the pulp and oil palm industries.

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Filed under Demands, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Palm Oil, Tree Plantations

Carbon Capture and Storage–A Bioenergy Myth!

Biofuelwatch co-director and GJEP partner Rachel Smolker has posted an important article on Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) at the Washington Geoengineering Constortium website.

Smolker’s piece continues to build on and share her extensive knowledge and critique of bionenergy strategies touted by industry as “climate solutions.” Smolker makes a clear case that these strategies are false solutions to climate change and that environmental thinkers should not naively buy into these strategies.

The Washington Geoengineering Consortium is an initiative of the Global Environmental Politics program in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. They are concerned with the social, political, and legal implications of geoengineering technologies.

Activists drop a banner and lockdown at Forth Energy's offices in 2012. Photo: bioenergyaction.com

Photo: bioenergyaction.com

‘UNCERTAINTIES’ IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT, WHEN IT COMES TO BECCS

By Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch, 10 November 2014.

In 2012, Biofuelwatch published a report titled “Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage: Climate savior or dangerous hype?” We had long been working to reveal and oppose large scale industrial and commercial scale bioenergy in various forms ranging from ethanol refineries to soy and palm oil biodiesel to coal plants converting over to burn wood. We had argued that corn ethanol would drive biodiversity loss, cause food prices to rise and contribute to chronic hunger, while failing to reduce emissions, as it has in fact done. We argued that burning wood as a substitute for coal would create a new driver of deforestation, even as protecting forests and ecosystems was recognized as a “best line of defense” against climate change. We pointed out that large scale bioenergy was incompatible with the simultaneous push to quantify, commodify and protect land based carbon sinks and their “services” (often for the dubious purpose of providing offsets to polluters…). We highlighted the human rights impacts, as land grabs for bioenergy escalated in Africa and elsewhere. And we argued over and over that the carbon consequences of bioenergy were far from “climate friendly” or “carbon neutral,” a myth that has been perpetuated by industry proponents and even parroted by many naive environmentalists.

 

Washington Geoengineering Consortium definitions of geoengineering here.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Carbon Trading, Confronting Government Agencies, Corporate Globalization, Dr. Rachel Smolker, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Geoengineering, Land Grabs

New report shows land grabbing is on the rise, risking lives of Indigenous Peoples

Out of Washington, D.C., comes a new report from the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), showing an alarming increase in forest and nature reserve land grabbing. Giant corporations enter into these land agreements with governments without any communication with or consideration for the people living in these areas.

Photo: Amantha Perera/IPS

Photo: Amantha Perera/IPS

According to the report, indigenous people live on 99 percent of the land being taken, and almost all of these communities are ignored when the deals are made. The result? Devastation, destruction, and, in some cases, violent clashes.

They say the land is ‘uninhabited’ but indigenous communities disagree

by Amantha Perera, Farm Land Grab, 30 October 2014

[…]

But while companies and governments enter into agreements on lands as if they were not inhabited, when work begins on commercial projects it invariably collides head-on with communities who call the same land their traditional home.

The financial damage resulting from such confrontations can run into millions. A recent paper by the U.S. National Academy of Science noted that one company reported a loss of 100 million dollars during a single year, due to stoppages forced by company-community conflict.

The company was not named in the report. “An economy wide valuation of ‘environmental, social and governance risks’ across the Australian Stock Market in 2012 by Credit Suisse identified 21.4 billion Australian dollars in negative share-price valuation impact,” the paper, entitled ‘Conflict Translates Environmental and Social Risk into Business Costs’, claimed.

RRI’s Ogden said that despite such losses, the global trend still was to sideline indigenous communities when entering into concession agreements. “They remain invisible in most of these contracts.” Such invisibility on paper can be deadly on the ground. In South Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, serious violence erupted between police and activists during a protest that took place a fortnight ago, Mina Setra, deputy secretary general of Indonesia’s Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), told IPS.

Get the rest of the story on Farm Land Grab.

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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs