February 6, 2015 **Interviews available Contact: Laurel Sutherlin, 415.246.0161 email@example.com Pennie Opal Plant, Idle No More SF Bay, 510-390-0386
Twelve Arrested at Anti-Fracking Protest in San Francisco
SF action comes a day before large planned march and rally to take place in Oakland aimed at pressuring Governor Brown to end fracking in California
Photos from the action: http://bit.ly/1yQBkZy
San Francisco—Twelve anti-fracking activists were arrested in front of Governor Jerry Brown’s San Francisco offices Friday to call on Governor Brown to ban fracking, halt the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and expedite the transition to 100 percent renewable energy in California. Activists from local labor and climate justice groups blocked the doors to all three entrances of the Earl Warren State Supreme Court building, which houses Brown’s San Francisco offices, while others blocked traffic and locked down to a 16-foot high wooden oil derrick (with one person perched on top of the derrick itself.) Indigenous activists with Idle No More held a round dance in front of the building, while members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship sat in on the Warren building front stairs. Among those arrested were activists from three generations of the same family, from ages 18 to 85.
The direct action opens a weekend of protests calling on Brown to fulfill his stated commitment to leading on climate change by banning fracking in California. On Saturday, thousands will march in Oakland in support of a California fracking ban. The San Francisco direct action on Friday escalates pressure on Brown, who has been dodging the issue for years.
“Humanity can live without fossil fuels. We cannot live without clean water. The fracking industry is poisoning the water that is necessary for life to exist. State regulators have let us all down by irresponsibly allowing the fracking industry to pollute natural water systems that were to be set aside for human consumption. It’s time for everyone to rise up and demand a stop to the corporate give-a-ways. Idle No More SF Bay is here today to rise up for the future of life on Mother Earth,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay.
“We are taking direct action as food service workers to say ‘Don’t Frack Our Food.’ Fracking poisons the food that we eat, that we feed to our families, and that we serve to our customers. The oil industry is affecting our communities. It’s happening in our backyards, not the bosses’ backyard,” said Veronica Garcia, organizer with UNITE HERE 2850 who participated in blocking the McAllister Street entrance to the Warren building. UNITE HERE 2850 represents food service and hospitality workers in the East Bay and North Bay.
“Jerry Brown says Buddhism has taught him a respect for life. If that’s true, how can he allow fracking to continue in California? Between the harsh chemicals, the excessive use of water during a drought, and notoriously dangerous conditions for workers, fracking kills precious beings,” said Dawn Haney, Co-Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
“In Buddhism we have a concept called ‘ahimsa,’ or non-harming,” said Buddhist Peace Fellowship Co-Director Katie Loncke. “In the face of disproportionate pollution in poor communities and communities of color, we find it necessary to engage in ‘militant ahimsa’: nonviolent action that tries to stop harm from happening. This is our way of compassionately confronting government bodies and corporations who are choosing to harm the earth and living beings through fracking.”
“Our political leaders are profiting from Big Oil’s business as usual, and the only way they will ever stand up for what’s right is if we make it absolutely impossible to continue on our current course. We must force the political class into a choice between ending the war against the earth and communities on it, or filling the jails with people leading with their conscience.” said Scott Parkin, a local climate activist and participant in today’s actions.