2 arrested protesting Home Depots involvement in Chilean mega-dams

Denver, CO- Two Earth First! activists were arrested at a Home Depot last week in Glendale, CO. The arrests followed a banner being hung off the roof of a Home Depot store reading “Dam Home Depot, NOT Patagonia!” Supporters of the arrested activists demand that Home Depot cut all ties to companies involved in the HidroAysen megadam project in Patagonia.

The banner-drop action was intended to remind both the public and the company: “We’ve fought The Home Depot before and won.” Almost ten years ago, Earth First! groups around the country joined with Rainforest Action Network and others forced Home Depot to adopt wood product policies that removed old growth from their shelves. But their ongoing economic involvement with the Chilean interests that are proposing to dam wild rivers with the HidroAysen project in Patagonia shows their commitments to ‘green business’ practices to be merely empty Public Relations maneuvering.

International Rivers, an organization working to protect rivers and defend the rights of communities that depend on them, explains that:

“The HidroAysen project involves 3 dams on the Pascua River and 2 dams on the Baker River that would flood globally rare forest ecosystems and some of the most productive agricultural land in the Aysen region. Electricity from these dams would be sent thousands of kilometers north to serve Chile’s biggest cities and its mammoth copper industry. More than 1,500 miles of transmission lines would require one of the world’s longest clearcuts-much of it through untouched temperate rainforests found nowhere else on the planet. US retailer The Home Depot is the largest buyer of timber products from the main Chilean interest promoting the dams. The Home Depot has been asked by thousands of people, including socially responsible investors, to stop buying timber from suppliers that plan to destroy the rivers and forests of Patagonia.”

According to Ron DeFeo of Home Depot (from a blog post this morning): “we don’t think it’s our place to weigh in on an issue that we have no expertise or influence over.” While DeFeo denies the company’s involvement and refuses to accept the research of International Rivers, his blog post admits that “the president of our supplier’s parent company owns shares, along with his family, in one of the companies that would work on the project.”

Earth First!, which is more of a movement than an organization, has
autonomous groups around the world who target corporations that are
responsible for devastating the planet. The movement currently has a
national Roadshow crossing the country to mobilize people to take
action against companies like Home Depot, which is currently featured
on their website www.earthfirstroadshow.wordpress.com

More information about this campaign at:
http://internationalrivers.org/patagonia

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