GTN Xpress Gas Pipeline Expansion Approved & Soon Challenged

cross-posted from Wild Idaho Rising Tide

For Immediate Release

Contact: Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Stop GTN Xpress coalition colleagues in linked/enclosed media releases


On October 19, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Xpress methane pipeline volume expansion across Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, ignoring regional concerns about its climate, health, and safety impacts and neglecting proper tribal consultation, despite strong comments to FERC from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Please see the linked media releases of FERC case intervenors Columbia Riverkeeper and Rogue Climate, providing statements on behalf of the Stop GTN Xpress coalition of Northwest environmental, health, and faith advocacy groups.

In response to this FERC decision, upholding unprecedented community, tribal, and state and federal government opposition to this proposal by TC Energy, the Canadian owner of the rejected Keystone XL and rupture-prone Keystone tar sands pipelines, the grassroots, climate activists collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are hosting a week of actions protesting GTN Xpress in Athol, Kennewick, Boise, Spokane, and Sandpoint, on Saturday, October 28, through Saturday, November 4. We will offer information and invite participation of inland Northwest residents and media at these events on Monday, October 23.

FERC Approves GTN Xpress Despite Opposition from Communities, Tribes, U.S. Senators, West Coast Governors, October 19, 2023 Rogue Climate

FERC Approves GTN Xpress: Legal Challenges to Come, October 19, 2023 Columbia Riverkeeper


Media Contacts: 

Audrey Leonard, Columbia Riverkeeper: (541) 399-4775

Diane Hodiak, 350 Deschutes: (206) 498-5887 


FERC Approves GTN Xpress Despite Opposition from Communities, Tribes, U.S. Senators, West Coast Governors

Grassroots Opposition Groups Vow to Challenge FERC’s Decision Which Comes in the Wake of Two Recent Major TC Energy Pipeline Failures


Bend, Ore. (October 19, 2023)—Local and national organizations leading the fight against the controversial GTN Xpress Project blasted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approving TC Energy’s request to push more fracked gas into the Northwest through the aging GTN pipeline.

Despite opposition from U.S. Senators Merkley, Wyden, Cantwell, Murray, Padilla; Congressman Blumenauer and Congresswoman Salinas and Jayapal; the Attorneys General of Oregon, Washington, and California; the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission; Governors Jay Inslee and Tina Kotek; four state representatives; dozens of grassroots organizations; and thousands of community members in the Northwest, FERC rubberstamped TC Energy’s GTN Xpress Project.

FERC’s approval came without any meaningful acknowledgment of TC Energy’s latest, fiery pipeline explosion in Strasburg, Virginia in July 2023. Late last year, another TC Energy pipeline failed and spilled 588,000 gallons of crude oil into a Kansas creek. A broad coalition of organizations had called on FERC to consider the safety implications of pushing more fracked gas in a decades-old pipeline system, but FERC ignored them.

Members of the coalition opposing GTN XPress immediately announced their intention to challenge FERC’s approval by filing a Petition for Rehearing.

“FERC failed to listen to Senators, Governors, State Attorneys General, Tribes, and the public in its rubber stamp of unnecessary fracked gas in the Northwest,” said Audrey Leonard, Staff Attorney of Columbia Riverkeeper. “The Commission’s decision violates the public interest and common sense, and we will file a petition for rehearing challenging this project. Since the analysis for this project was published, two major TC Energy pipelines have failed, causing safety hazards and spilling fossil fuel. If this were to happen in dry, rural, fire-prone lands or in the residential areas where TC Energy’s GTN pipeline is located, it would be catastrophic.”

“In recent months, thousands of people have urged FERC to take seriously the public safety, climate, and environmental justice implications of this proposal, and they failed to do so,” said Hannah Sohl, Executive Director with Rogue Climate. “FERC’s decision to rush this decision in the immediate wake of another TC Energy pipeline failure and fire is extremely concerning.”

“The GTN Xpress proposal would lock in a huge new influx of fracked gas for decades at the very moment that our communities are experiencing accelerated climate change impacts such as frequent drought and summers of smoke,” said Satya Austin-Opper, of 350 Deschutes. “And this pipeline runs right through our community. I’m worried about how devastating the impact would be if the pipeline were to fail, which is certainly a possibility given the unsafe track record of TC Energy’s other aging pipelines.”

“FERC’s decision to certify this project goes against the health and well-being of Washingtonians and the residents of the greater Pacific Northwest Region,” says Max Savishinsky, Executive Director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This pipeline presents immediate risks to health and safety through leaks and explosion risk as well as long term consequences to our health through the exacerbation of climate change.”

“Given the recent news from the IPCC that the world needs to peak GHG emissions before 2025 at the very latest, nearly halve GHG emissions by 2030, and reach net-zero CO2 emissions around mid-century, the proposed GTN XPress project would be a step in the completely wrong direction,” said Selden Prentice, federal policy lead for 350 Seattle. “This project must be stopped!”

“TC Energy’s proposal to push additional methane gas through a six-decade-old pipeline threatens communities across Idaho and the Northwest,” said community organizer Helen Yost of Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “FERC mostly ignored the health and safety impacts of GTN pipeline expansion under the rural agricultural and public recreation areas that sustain the Idaho economy. Considering TC Energy’s massive pipeline ruptures from increased volumes and its negligent safety record, Idahoans cannot trust GTN Xpress to responsibly provide energy that benefits our growing population.”

“Today’s decision to approve the GTN XPress expansion project is a major disrespect of and threat to our communities and our climate, and goes against the will of thousands of people and elected officials across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California,” said Dineen O’Rourke, Campaign Manager at 350PDX. “The GTN XPress pipeline expansion is the opposite of what the Northwest needs — we need investments in cleaner and safer energy, not an increase of polluting and explosive fracked gas through aging pipelines.”

“With this decision to approve the GTN Xpress expansion, the Biden administration is again failing on its promises to protect environmental justice communities and the climate. Any expansion of fossil fuels is incompatible with a livable future,” said Oil Change International’s US Program Co-Manager, Allie Rosenbluth. “Oregon and Washington must continue to rise to the challenge and safeguard the health and well-being of communities and the climate by challenging FERC’s approval of this unnecessary and dangerous gas expansion.”

“Sacred texts are full of people wondering how long pain and suffering will continue for the most vulnerable. Today, when FERC chose the path of profit over people, these wonderings were repeated yet again. FERC’s decision risks community safety, threatens sacred lands, playgrounds, community centers and more, and goes in the opposite direction of clean, sustainable energy for all,” said Rev. AC Churchill, Executive Director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light. “We must reject proposals that willingly sacrifice the health and well-being of our communities and, instead, work towards a clean energy infrastructure that ensures equal access and deep respect for all, particularly our most vulnerable in the human family.”

“FERC’s alarming decision to approve the GTN Xpress Project blatantly disregards concerns from community advocates and hundreds of health professionals in Oregon and within our region.” Said David De La Torre, Healthy Climate Program Director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This irresponsible decision will have implications on the health and wellbeing of communities, as well as lasting impact on generations to come. As wildfires and extreme heat events continue to increase in frequency, straining health services and the wellbeing of Oregonians, it is imperative that we not continue to approve proposals that accelerate the climate crisis. We don’t need more fracked gas being pumped through our state and communities.”

“Devastating climate change impacts around the world, TC Energy’s July 2023 gas line explosion in Virginia, and record heat across the U.S. throughout this summer capped by a record-breaking September are but the latest examples of how we should be switching to renewable energy instead of locking in increased greenhouse gas emissions and projects that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Marc Yaggi, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance. “The approved expansion of the GTN pipeline is unconscionable and we stand by our Coalition partners’ demand for FERC to reverse course and do what is right for the people and the planet.”

Groups and individuals who intervened in the FERC proceeding, including Columbia Riverkeeper and Rogue Climate, will file a Petition for Rehearing.




Three Activists Detained at Climate Protest at Beale Air Force Base

cross-posted from Indybay

Yuba County, California: Three climate activists were detained at Beale Air Force Base after an unnecessary show of force by military police in response to activists crossing the demarcation line at the Schneider gate.


At 7:15am on Thursday the 19th of October, two youth climate activists associated with the group Occupy Beale gave a speech decrying the imperialist military-industrial complex which is responsible for countless ecological atrocities, energy consumption, and carbon emissions.

The speech first started with a youth activist giving a statement of solidarity with the people of Palestine and saying that the climate crisis can only be won when everyone is free, including the people of Palestine. After the statement about Palestine, another youth activist called out Beale Air Force Base commander Geoffery Church for his empty promises about “listening to the community” and wanting to make a base that works on “community values”. This youth activist then went on to call out the entire institution of the US military as an imperialist machine that destroys the environment and is inherently antithetical to community values.

From there the activist called for the immediate removal of Beale Air Force Base and the shifting of all of its funding towards fighting the climate crisis. After that the first youth activist took the megaphone back and put out a call to action for other young people to join the fight for the climate, and called for an immediate escalation of the fight for the future.

This escalation took an immediate step as four activists, banners in hand, marched across the demarcation line at the Schneider gate of Beale Air Force Base. The military police soon after attempted to forcibly remove the activists from the base by aggressively shoving and pushing them back towards the line. After this unnecessary show of force the military police attempted to close the gate to the base, but did so incorrectly allowing the activists to stand in a blockade across the line. With the activists now blocking the gate from being shut the military police grabbed three of them and handcuffed them before shutting down the gate.

The three detained activists were then marched into the gate building where they were held for over an hour. Outside of the gate eight other climate activists renewed the blockade in front of the now closed gate and held the line until the activists were released. Of the three activists detained, two were members of the youth, with one being a minor and in little over an hour they were released with two being charged with trespassing charges, and the third getting off without a charge. The activists were met with cheers as they were released across the gate, which remained closed for a significant amount of time afterwards.

Outside of the gate the eight climate activists sang songs for the environment and held banners and signs in front of the gate forming a blockade of the closed gate. Among them included three people with guitars playing revolutionary songs and an activist in an elephant costume with a sign saying “Militarism = the Elephant in the Climate Room”.

The activists had originally arrived the night before and set up an occupation camp outside of the gate, with banners and signs being put along the side of the road, and on parked cars. Despite floodlights, and several CHP visits the activists held the camp and sang songs long into the night not leaving until after the action the following morning.

The court date for the detained activists has yet to be assigned, but when it is it will most likely be at the federal courtroom in Sacramento, and we’ll pack the room and make the whole world know that the people stand with climate justice, and against imperialism and militarism.

Below is the statement read by the youth activists.

“Last July, Colonel Geoffrey Church addressed Yuba City’s City Council as the new Beale Air Force Base commander and urged civilians to hold him and his personnel accountable. “I really hope that we represent the best ideals of which you could see from members of the military. If we’re not, then please by all means let us know and we’ll be more than happy to correct it…. We truly do want to be good members of your community and look forward to serving the public.” Unfortunately for Colonel Church, everything his organization and those who serve it represent is antithetical to community values. We are here today to voice our outrage at how America’s armed forces have avoided accountability for contributing to global climate disaster.

The US Department of Defense accounts for approximately 80% of domestic energy consumption and over half of federal emissions. It is the world’s largest institutional consumer of petroleum. Our military industrial complex as an entity on its own is responsible for more greenhouse gas pollution than the majority of entire nation states, with a greater annual output of CO2-equivalent than 171 countries.

Climate change, overwhelmingly a product of American interests, is a tangible threat to humanity that will only compound over years of inaction. The Air Force’s current climate goals include net zero emissions by 2046. That timeline is unacceptable. Decades of systematic environmental destruction have already occurred. 3.6 billion humans currently live in areas highly susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change. 2 billion lack safe drinking water. A quarter of a million preventable deaths from water- and foodborne disease, malaria, undernutrition, and disasters such as floods are projected every year until we commit to immediate radical transformation of priorities and operations. Climate-related tragedy, though it has historically disproportionately affected populations in the Global South who bear the least responsibility for contributing to this crisis, is already starting to affect more and more Americans. We experienced 23 separate climate disasters in January to August of 2023, surpassing the previous year’s count in only a few months and causing 253 direct and indirect fatalities. We, the youth, are forced to bear witness to catastrophe as our leaders prioritize war and profit over our futures every single day. We cannot allow this.

We cannot accept inaction and we cannot accept delayed action. Promises to strive for net zero air force emissions within a decade or two are empty, meaningless promises and the idea that we would settle for anything less than expedited demilitarization and a massive investment in climate protections is insulting. But here’s a meaningful promise to you: we will escalate this issue until we see immediate, impactful results. We will continue to hold you and your associates accountable until you acknowledge and abandon your role in global disaster. We promise no peace until justice is served on behalf of our planet and the billions jeopardized by American interests. No peace for the cowardly cogs of the imperialist machine who speak of honor and yet betray themselves by their complicity in the most unforgivable, dishonorable venture in all of human history. We promise that your memory will be a legacy of lies, spinelessness, and violence on a scale unimaginable.

President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, United States Air Force Chief of Staff General David Allvin, Beale Air Force Base Commander Colonel Geoffrey Church, and everyone in every rank of every sector of the United States military:

Let it be clear that we thoroughly refuse to operate within the framework of political debate. To entertain debate on issues of life and death is to concede to a bureaucratic process that smothers the sparks of revolution before they can ignite any meaningful change. We are uncompromising in our pursuit of climate justice and the dismantling of American imperialism, and we will take any action necessary to defend the future of humanity. We are not afraid, because we have nothing left to lose but our chains. We have no desire for the short-term comfort earned by complacency in the desecration of our planet. No amount of empty promises, propaganda, repression, or violence can stop us from advocating for justice. “Climate action now” is a demand, not a request, and it is a demand that we will amplify by any means necessary.

We demand a cease of operations and the evacuation of all personnel and weapons and vehicles of American imperialism from Beale Air Force Base. We demand the return of the land to Indigenous stewardship. We demand that our government immediately invest the financial resources wasted on maintaining Beale Air Force Base into halting and reversing climate change. We deserve a safe and sustainable future and we refuse to sacrifice our environment for war.

This struggle is greater than me, it’s greater than any single one of us, and for our mission to succeed we must fight together. We must stand together against imperialism and capitalism. Today we are escalating this fight to show the people that we cannot stand by in fear, because that is how the forces of oppression and exploitation win. To all the young people out there, to all those who are too scared to act, to all those who fear for their future: we can win, but only together. This is a call to action because we can’t do this alone – although right now we may be divided, when we organize together we can take down this empire of hate, violence, and destruction. Siblings, comrades, fellow workers, people of this Earth, join us – because we, the 99%, are the climate revolution.

We will now hand Colonel Church this letter to let him know how he fails to represent the ideals we wish to see from the most well-funded sector of our government, and we hope that in alignment with his commitment to our community he’ll be more than happy to correct himself.”

Five arrested in bold actions against the Mountain Valley Pipeline

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Appalachians Against Pipelines Mass direct actions shutting down construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) at two locations. People have swarmed both sites, and a total of four people locked-down to construction equipment. Five were arrested. Police are trying to disperse the crew that has shut down pipeline construction on… Continue reading

No to APEC Coalition Calls on San Francisco City Officials to Defend Free Speech and Right to Protest at APEC Summit

The No to APEC Coalition Calls on San Francisco City Officials to Defend Free Speech and Right to Protest at APEC Summit

Mayor London Breed and Secret Service to Announce Security Plans and Exclusion Zone for APEC  on October 18 

SAN FRANCISCO- The No to APEC Coalition demands immediate action by Mayor London Breed, the federal government, and all San Francisco elected officials to reaffirm long standing support for civil and human rights, rights to free speech, protest, and dissent during the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) “Economic Leaders’ Week” and “CEO Summit,” in November 11-18, 2023.

“The Department of Homeland Security has designated the APEC Summit as a ‘National Special Security Event.’ The Secret Service is creating a protest exclusion zone around the Moscone Center, where the event will take place, which threatens to prevent the public from exercising its First Amendment right to protest within sight and sound of the APEC and CEO summit delegates. The constitutional right to come together, speak out, and be heard must not be repressed under the pretext of security. We will be preparing legal action as necessary to fight for the people’s rights to free speech and assembly,” said Center for Protest Law and Litigation attorney Rachel Lederman.

“This declaration in effect militarizes San Francisco and puts local police under the overall control of the Secret Service.  The declaration of the summit to be ‘a potential target for a terrorist attack or civil disruption’  is a deliberate attempt to criminalize and chill the exercise of our constitutionally protected rights to free expression and protest. This reflects a dangerous, increasingly common trend by federal, state and local authorities throughout the country and internationally to discourage and repress dissent through intensified surveillance, censorship, and criminalization of peoples’ right to protest,” said Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco, a member organization of the national No to APEC Coalition.

The “No to APEC Coalition,” is working to oppose APEC’s promotion of reducing wages, destruction of the environment, and extraction of resources for corporate profit. APEC promotes neoliberal “free trade” policies which have systematically violated human rights globally, imposed by authoritarian governments such as that of the Philippines and Perú which will be participants in the upcoming summit. Victims of these regimes reside here and are vulnerable to reprisal by their apparatuses of repression. The coalition, of over 100 organizations, includes unions, environmental justice organizations, migrant and diasporic communities from countries that are part of APEC, and more.

“From Indonesia to Ecuador to the Philippines and now to San Francisco, people all over the world have protested APEC since its inception because of the role it plays in exploiting workers and the environment. As we approach the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this December, we urge the City to stand with the people and free speech over profit and harsh repression. Mayor Breed should not betray San Francisco’s legacy as a sanctuary city and champion of rights by sweeping away unsheltered, immigrant and other vulnerable residents inside the ‘exclusion zone’ for the sake of hosting APEC’s lavish, weeklong summit in the South of Market,” said Rhonda Ramiro, Chair of the International League of People’s Struggle-US and a  convener of the No to APEC Coalition.