Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is on the Board of Directors of Global Justice Ecology Project.
–The GJEP Team
23 May 2013 Source: Canadian Dimension
Our Last Best Hope to Save our Water, Air and Earth
By Clayton Thomas-Muller
Years ago I was working for a well-known Indigenous environmental and economic justice organization known as the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). During my time with this organization I had the privilege of working with hundreds of Indigenous communities across the planet who had seen a sharp increase in the targeting of Native lands for mega-extractive and other toxic industries. The largest of these conflicts, of course, was the overrepresentation by big oil who work— often in cahoots with state, provincial First Nations, Tribal and federal governments both in the USA and Canada—to gain access to the valuable resources located in our territories. IEN hired me to work in a very abstract setting, under impossible conditions, with little or no resources to support Grassroots peoples fighting oil companies, who had become, in the era of free market economics, the most powerful and well-resourced entities of our time. My mission was to fight and protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from toxic contamination and corporate exploration, to support our Peoples to build sustainable local economies rooted in the sacred fire of our traditions.
My work took me to the Great Plains reservation, Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold to support a collective of mothers and grandmothers fighting a proposed oil refinery, which if built would process crude oil shipped in from a place called the tar sands in northern Canada. I spent time in Oklahoma working with Sac and Fox Tribal EPA under the tutelage of the late environmental justice warrior Jan Stevens, to learn about the legacy of 100 years of oil and gas on America’s Indian Country—Oklahoma being one of the end up points of the shameful indian relocation era. I joined grassroots on the Bay of Fundy, in an epic battle against the state of Maine and a liquidified natural gas (LNG) producer who wanted to build a massive LNG terminal on their community’s sacred site known as Split Rock. The plant, had it been built, would have provided natural gas to the City of New York for their power plants.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, Water
May 21 2013. Source: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
The Hague, Netherlands - Today members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the Native Village of Point Hope, Alaska attended the Royal Dutch Shell AGM to confront the Chairman and Board over Shell’s decision to pursue highly risky ‘extreme energy’ projects without adequate consultation and accommodation of Indigenous communities. Projects such as Arctic off-shore drilling and tar sands will have little long term benefit for the company, and expose it to reputational damage, political and financial risk, including litigation.
“The ACFN leadership has made a commitment to protect our lands, rights and people currently being threatened by tar sands development. Our leadership has repeatedly tried exploring amenable agreements and options with Shell regarding their current tar sands proposals for the Jackpine expansion and the Pierre River mine projects. We want to work directly with the company to adequately identify direct impacts and solutions. However, Shell has repeatedly denied our requests and we have been disappointed by their inability to make concessions to work with us,” stated Eriel Deranger, member and Communications Coordinator of the ACFN. “Today I brought forward our concerns to Shell’s Board about current and proposed tar sands projects and the lack of adequate consultation.[i] I sincerely hope the Board keeps its word to speak with their Canadian president to address our concerns and potentially adjust the environmental impact assessment process. If Shell continues to move forward in project development without working directly with our community it will continue to lead toward more delays in project approvals, litigation and severe financial risk for Shell,[ii]” continued Deranger. Continue reading
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has always maintained that the only solution to prevent runaway climate chaos is to confront the root causes of the problem. Economic domination and the spread of neoliberalism, through free-trade agreements like NAFTA, are the driving forces preventing real solutions to climate change. These agreements, and the institutions like the WTO and World Bank that support them, have us in a chokehold of the entrenched powers of the global economic elite. GJEP has witnessed this dynamic of top-down control first hand, from the local level all the way to the halls of the UN climate negotiations. Until we cast away the chains of free trade agreements and the neoliberal doctrine, our communities will continue to suffer, pipelines or not.
-The GJEP Team
By Farron Cousins, May 13, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
As the public anxiously awaits the U.S. State Department’s final decision on the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the discussion has largely ignored the elephant in the room: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)
Thanks to NAFTA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the State Department will likely be able to do little more than stall the pipeline’s construction. In its simplest form, NAFTA removes barriers for North American countries wishing to do business in or through other North American countries, including environmental barriers. The goal of the agreement was to promote intra-continental commerce and help the economies of all involved in the agreement.
Before diving into NAFTA, it’s important to take a look at what the State Department and the media have done so far in regards to Keystone XL. Before she left office and was replaced by John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ties to the project were almost too many to count. Most notable was the fact that many of her former staffers and associates were lobbyists for Keystone, and they had a direct line into both Clinton and President Obama.
It is likely a result of these connections that the State Department’s environmental assessments were strikingly flawed and inadequate. As the NRDC pointed out, many of the so-called “standards” that the State Department put in place regarding the pipeline were simple “smoke and mirror” schemes to distract the public, and they failed to do their due diligence by considering alternative paths for the pipeline. Furthermore, climate impacts from operation and construction were almost completely ignored.
May 16 2013. Source: Market Wired
Gitga’at First Nation reminds Enbridge that Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tanker project is not welcome in Gitga’at territory
HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Gitga’at First Nation has instructed Enbridge to leave its territory after the company and a team of oil spill response surveyors showed-up uninvited, during the nation’s annual food harvesting camp, a time of rich cultural activity and knowledge sharing.
Enbridge representatives were instructed to leave Gitga’at council chambers and Gitga’at territory, Wednesday morning, after councillors voiced their displeasure at not being consulted on an Enbridge oil spill response survey.
The dust-up comes on the eve of final oral arguments before the Joint Review Panel, which is reviewing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“Despite an ongoing review process, Enbridge has entered our territory and begun project work before their proposed oil tanker and pipeline project has even been approved,” said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga’at First Nation. “This is disrespectful to the Gitga’at First Nation, the review process, and the people of British Columbia, who oppose oil tankers in our coastal waters.” Continue reading
By Crysbel Tejada and Betsy Catlin, May 8 2013. Source: Waging Nonviolence
From left: Casey, Dwain & Carter Camp at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. Photo: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz
On cloudy days, heavy smoke fills the air of Ponca City, Okla., with grey smog that camouflages itself into the sky. The ConocoPhillips oil refinery that makes its home there uses overcast days as a disguise to release more toxins into the air. These toxins are brimming with benzene — a chemical that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can cause leukemia, anemia and even decrease the size of women’s ovaries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008 the ConocoPhillips refinery released over 2,000 pounds of this chemical into the air in Ponca City.
“Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week,” explained Casey Camp-Horinek, a Ponca woman and longtime activist. “Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.”
The refinery is located only 1,000 yards behind Standing Bear Park, which is named after the Ponca chief who, in 1877, led his people on their Trail of Tears, from the Ponca homelands in northern Nebraska to present day Oklahoma. But the park is more than a memorial to the distant past. In 1992, the oil giant’s tank farm spilled and contaminated ground water in a nearby predominantly Ponca neighborhood. As a result, ConocoPhillips agreed to purchase the contaminated land and tear down the 200 homes that were on it. In its place, the company built Standing Bear Park — a bitter testament to the Ponca people’s history of forced relocation and genocide. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Tar Sands, Energy, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Oil
By Steve Horn, May 3, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
Double-dipping is a “no go” in the real world of eating chips and salsa with a circle of friends but an everyday reality in the world of lobbyists and PR professionals.
Enter double-dipper Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director for President Barack Obama who now runs the firm SKDKnickerbocker (Squier Knapp Dunn), a firm that ”brings unparalleled strategic communications experience to Fortune 500 companies, political groups and candidates, non-profits, and labor organizations.”
Dip one: TransCanada Corporation, which SKDK does public relations work for, as revealed in an Oct. 2012 New York Times investigation. TransCanada is the multinational corporation currently building the contentious southern half of theKeystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline, following the dictates of a March 2012 Obama Administration Executive Order. Within months, the fate of the border-crossing Alberta to Port Arthur, TX KXL export pipeline will also likely be decided by the U.S. State Department.
Dip two: Another SKDKnickerbocker client is the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Petroleum Institute trade association equivalent for the freight rail industry. Even without KXL – as covered previously on DeSmogBlog - tar sands crude can be moved to targeted markets via freight rail (coupled with pipeline capacity increases of other tubes and potential barging along Lake Superior).
Note: You can donate to the activists’ bail fund, and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, here
-The GJEP Team
April 29, 2013. Source: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance
Earlier this morning two Texas residents locked themselves to machinery being used to construct TransCanada’s dangerous and controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Spaulding, OK through Muscogee Creek Nation land by treaty. Benjamin Butler and Eamon Treadaway Danzig took action today to prevent the Cross Timbers bioregion from being poisoned by this inherently dangerous tar sands pipeline, just as the surrounding wetlands and residential areas have been poisoned as a result of Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline rupture near Mayflower, Arkansas. Recent Tar Sands spills in Minnesota and Arkansas, as well as an explosion at a Tar Sands refinery in Detroit have highlighted the urgency in stopping Tar Sands extraction and transportation.
Butler and Danzig are acting as a part of Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a growing coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to stopping the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure throughout the Great Plains. Their actions follow the escalating number of work-stopping actions that have occurred in Oklahoma this past month. Both anti-extraction activists cite concern of the effect a spill will have in the Cross Timbers bio-region that they call home. Their action comes in the wake of the rupture of Exxon-Mobile’s Pegasus pipeline which spilled Tar Sands bitumen in neighboring Mayflower, Arkansas. In addition to the high rates of sickness that the surrounding community displayed, the spill in Arkansas has polluted Lake Conway and has had devastating effects on local wildlife. The permanent effect on people’s livelihoods and the health of affected ecosystems remains to be seen.
“This pipeline is essential for continued tar sands exploitation which poses an imminent threat to the health of indigenous communities near the point of extraction, fence-line communities around the toxic refineries, and ultimately the health of every living being along the route,” said Benjamin Butler, who was born at Tinker Air force Base in Oklahoma. “I believe in a more beautiful world, one where the profits of a corporation don’t outweigh the health of the people and the planet.”
By Brendan Demelle, April 24, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
Enbridge’s Line 2 pipeline has leaked an estimated 600 gallons of crude oil at its pump station near Viking, Minnesota. Line 2 was built in 1956 and has a history of spills. Regulators ordered Enbridge to reduce its Line 2 operating pressure in October 2010 following the company’s Kalamazoo River tar sands spill.
The Enbridge Viking pump station also receives oil from the Alberta Clipper (aka Line 67 pipeline) that carries heavy crude oil and tar sands bitumen from the Alberta tar sands region south from Hardisty to Superior, Wisconsin and refineries in the midwestern United States. According to a link provided by Enbridge subsequent to this story’s original posting, Line 2 begins in Edmonton and carries petroleum products, including crude oil, from Edmonton to Superior. Both lines pass through the Viking pump station.
The U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center website reports the details of theincident, which happened last night:
“1044848″,”1044848″,”1044848″,”INCIDENT”,”23-APR-2013 17:09″,”THE CALLER REPORTED THAT A LEAK ON A PRESSURE TRANSMITTER RESULTED IN A RELEASE OF CRUDE OIL.”,”FIXED”,”EQUIPMENT FAILURE”,”23-APR-2013 15:45″,”18060 203TH ST NW”,”MN”,”VIKING”,”MARSHALL”,”ENBRIDGE ENERGY”,”SOIL”,”OIL: CRUDE”
DeSmog was alerted by the Indigenous Environmental Network, which is en route to the spill site to gather more information. Stay tuned for updates to this post below.
By Colin Nickerson, April 21, 2013. Source: The Boston Globe
A tanker prepared to offload crude oil recently in the deep-water port in South Portland, Maine. Photo: Fred Field
Over seven decades, the Portland pipeline has propelled some 5 billion gallons of crude oil across the mountains and beneath the pristine waters of northern New England to refineries in Quebec.
Aside from a few small spills years ago, the 236-mile-long colossus of steel pipes and powerful pumping stations boasts a sterling record. In the upcountry towns through which it passes, the underground pipeline has drawn little notice since it was constructed in 1941.
By Erin Flegg, April 20, 2013. Source: Vancouver Observer
Photo: Erin Flegg
In the latest step toward opposing oil pipelines at every port in Canada, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation of Burrard Inlet signed on to the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred yesterday. The nation held a press conference at the Sheraton Wall Centre where newly elected Chief Maureen Thomas signed the document, witnessed by the president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs Stewart Phillip and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo.
The West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit followed the signing. The theme of the event was urgency, with several leaders touching on the need to oppose development at a grassroots level.
Stewart Phillip told reporters and community members assembled that the First Nations of BC are committed to using the legal system to defend their constitutional rights, but that’s not the only strategy they’re using.
“More importantly, we have committed to standing shoulder to shoulder on the land itself.”