Indiana: Action against Duke Energy’s involvement in Mountaintop Removal and Plan Puebla Panama

Action against Duke Energy: Against Plan Puebla Panama and Mountain Top Removal

Approximately ten demonstrators shut down the Bloomington office for Duke Energy yesterday for a few minutes before pushed out by loyal company managers. The action was in response to Duke Energy’s involvement in the recently revived Plan Puebla Panama- a globalization infrastructure scheme that will destroy communities across Mesoamerica. The demo also occurred in solidarity with communities in Appalachia that continue to be devastated by Mountain Top Removal, a practice which Duke Energy relies upon to continue their production of electricity for profit.In both Mesoamerica and Appalachia, threatened communities have taken up a struggle to defend their lives and homes, a struggle which continues to challenge the ability of multinationals to extract profit from suffering and from ecocide. Its offensive (though we are not surprised) to find that those involved in such projects of death can continue to do business with no consequences whatsoever. Thus, Duke Energy can now count upon the fact that they will face demonstrations until they withdraw completely from the PPP and from Mountain Top Removal. In addition to the demonstration, concerned locals have also begun an effort to share information about Duke Energy’s bloody hands via posters and flyers.


Masked protesters visit offices of Duke Energy
Mystery trio with noisemakers protest forest destructionBy James Boyd 331-4370 | jboyd@heraldt.comThree masked protesters entered a Duke Energy office Wednesday morning, deploying noisemakers and screaming anti-deforestation messages to the employees.

According to police logs, the incident happened at 1100 W. Second St., shortly after 10 a.m. The protesters – two men and one woman – entered the front lobby and used several noisemakers that made “popping” sounds.

“We did have some individuals who did enter our office,” Duke Energy spokeswoman Angeline Protegere said late Wednesday.

“All were wearing masks, as well as having noisemakers. They were disruptive, and we escorted them out of the office.”

Police officers attempted to find the protesters, but were unsuccessful. The three rode off on bicycles, Protegere said.

According to the police logs, the three made statements protesting the destruction of forest areas, although it was unclear what exactly they were referring to. No one was injured, Protegere said, and business went on as usual after they were escorted off Duke Energy property.


Duke Energy: Destroying Communities for Profit from Appalachia to
Central Americaby Mary GrainsIntroduction to the Plan Puebla Panamá

Duke Energy and other corporations like it have big plans for Central America and southern Mexico. Backed by the rulers of the United States and Mesoamerica alike, companies such as Duke are scheming how to open up what is now wilderness and indigenous lands for a profit-and fuel-hungry dominant culture. They will use the rhetoric of “economic progress” but their true intention is decimating the local Earth-based cultures. These transnational corporations and governments are willing to sacrifice pristine ecosystems on which many of the indigenous still depend in order to create “free trade zones”. There they can mass produce commodities and energy destined for First World markets and made by the hands of those who once lived off the land in the South. In order to establish these zones, the corporations and government responsible need infrastructure: they need roads, ports, canals, railways and airports on which to transport the goods from production to market, hydroelectric dams and fossil fuel burning plants for electricity to run factories, and a myriad of other constriction projects that will combine to devastate an inconceivable amount of land and utterly ruin the autonomous cultures that currently live there. The name for this vast and destructive development project is Plan Puebla Panamá, and it is a crucial aspect to the incorporation of Central America into the ever-expanding and consuming global economy.

The Plan Puebla Panamá was originally sponsored by Mexican ex-President Vincente Fox and backed by the U.S. in 2001 and since endorsed and funded by various organizations such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The PPP has recently been re-introduced as a means to help integrate the Central American states into the North and Central American Free Trade Agreements and the eventual Free Trade Area of the Americas. It is designed to stretch all the way from Panama, through the entire Central American isthmus and to Puebla, Mexico where it splits into two massive highways and eventually links up at the Matamoros / Brownsville, Texas border crossing. There it will meet the proposed “NAFTA Superhighway” Interstate 69, which is planed to cut through the U.S. heartland (including Bloomington, Indiana) and eventually connect with similar roads in Canada — thereby providing a quick and profitable trade route which will be destroying forests and displacing communities all the way from Canada to South America. The planners also hope to include cross continental railroads, gigantic air and seaports, and- perhaps most significantly- hundreds of dams to harness the “untapped” power of previously-pristine rivers.

By forcing the indigenous to give up their traditional and sustainable lifestyles, to leave their land and enter into factories, the PPP will at once create a new labor force and provide the infrastructure necessary for globalized trade. They may use the language of development for progress and people, but in reality what does the PPP look like? The electricity is not being created to power the homes of the people who live there – it is being made so that rich multinationals can get richer off factories with little or no standards. The dams – which alone will potentially displace millions of rural subsistence farmers- are producing electricity for sale to U.S. companies like Duke. Neither do the goods these factories will produce in any way help the people who will be working in them. What they will make at the expense of their local ecosystems, resources and labor will immediately be sent to benefit the wealthy elite of countries like the United States as it seeks hemispheric hegemony. U.S. corporations – including Duke – will not just be benefiting economically from the PPP. They have also taken an active role in the planning and funding of the construction projects.

The people of Central America cannot eat roads, nor can they grow food in a sweatshop or fish on a hydroelectric dam. But to corporations like Duke Energy, devastating poverty translates to “cheap and easy labor force” and biodiversity simply means “potentially profitable resource extraction.” Make no mistake: Plan Puebla Panamá is ecocide and cultural genocide.

Duke Energy

Duke is an electricity provider based in North Carolina, with active divisions in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Aside from their economic and strategic involvement in the PPP and their dirty policies abroad, Duke doesn’t have such a great reputation here either. Just as the PPP destroys habitats and displaces people in Central America, corporations like Duke are also pushing for and profiting from the annihilation of the most biodiverse ecosystem in this country. With its insatiable thirst for cheap energy, Duke is pioneering for the leveling of the entire Appalachian mountain range in order to scoop out the world’s dirtiest fuel source – coal. To get at this coal Duke and their partners are driving out families from their homes, depriving them of their cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, blasting off the tops of mountains, digging out the insides, ruining habitat for wildlife and forever altering a once beautiful and proud region – and dumping the toxic waste and poisonous dust in elementary school playgrounds. Communities across West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina have already been dispossessed and poisoned by this practice for years. To look even further, the carbon that Duke burns is ultimately tied into the undeniable reality of climate change which dauntingly threatens to destroy more than just the gorgeous mountains and rich cultures of Appalachia and Central America.

No matter how “green” they attempt to paint themselves, Duke will always be stained with the black sludge of coal waste and the blood of the poor throughout this hemisphere. We must recognize their “development” plots for what they are- mass murder- and their excuses about the possibility of “reduced emissions” for what they really are – lies that will allow them to continue pushing the world toward disaster. The people of typically impoverished but resource-rich areas like Central American and Appalachia are already facing the brunt of the assault, and it is clear to us that Duke is leading the charge. We cannot compromise with Duke; we must demand nothing less than a total withdrawal from the Plan Puebla Panamá and a permanent end to all forms of strip mining. Let us stand aside no longer. For the wilderness, for our homes in Indiana and Appalachia, and in solidarity with the people of Mesoamerica – we must act to shut down Duke Energy now!

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