Right now, ten people are facing felony charges from an action that took place in Salt Lake City this past July against the proposed Inland Port. Many more have been charged with misdemeanors from that action and others while the Port Authority Board evades the public process and continues to push this polluting project towards fruition.
Back in the summer, groups opposed to the Inlet Port organized the action and adjacent rally to raise awareness of the devastating public health impacts of the proposed inland port, and its inherent environmental racism and classism, particularly to the communities surrounding the 16,000 acres set aside for the project. These neighborhoods include Rose Park, West Valley City, and Poplar Grove–communities of predominantly poor and low-income Latinx, white, and other people of color who already experience disproportionate pollution, policing, and other forms of disenfranchisement.
As Adair Kovac, one of the protesters and a member of civil resistance group Civil Riot said at the time: “Nonviolent direct action can shine a light on the grave injustice being done by the powerful elite with this destructive development, through the harm it will cause to the surrounding communities, wildlife habitats, and the planet. The violent response from the police yet again proves that law enforcement serves and protects the wealthy and their property and interests, not the majority of people.”
From the press release of the action: “Grounded in a tradition of Indigenous resistance and Civil Rights movements, the action was an escalation of attempts made by impacted community members to reach Derek Miller, chairman of the Utah Inland Port Authority board, and other wealthy, politically connected stakeholders who support the port. Participants in the action have also testified at public hearings, submitted written comments, and supported the civil suit filed against the port by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.”
Now those in resistance to Salt Lake City’s Inlet Port are in danger of jail, big fines or other ramifications from the actions.
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Wingdale, New York – This morning impacted residents and supporters from across the Northeast, including local farmers, used a tractor blockade and climbed a 275ft tall smokestack to halt construction of the Cricket Valley fracked gas power plant.
Photos Erik McGregor
“Our valley has a lot of important resources, everything from our children, an elementary, middle and high school, to some of the largest freshwater deposits in New York State and our local farms, all which need clean air to survive and thrive,” said local farmer Ben Schwartz and one of the four people who climbed the smokestack.
Construction of the 1,100 megawatt fracked gas power plant, one of the largest in the Northeast, is nearing completion and once up and running would cover the local community in 279 tons of nitrogen oxides, 570 tons of carbon monoxide, and more than 60 tons of sulfuric acid pollution. Local residents are particularly concerned that its location in the Harlem Valley, a narrow north-south corridor, will engulf the region with pollution. It will also emit 6 million tons of greenhouse gasses.
“New York State has taken a climate leadership position via the CLCPA by mandating that New York State reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2040. But right now the CLCPA is just a piece of paper, waiting to be turned into reality,” said Bill Kish, Stop Cricket Valley. “Bringing new fossil fuel plants like Cricket Valley online now makes no sense and only sets New York further back, reducing the likelihood that we’ll meet our ambitious goals while damaging our community’s health and our already stressed ecosystems.”
The plant is located close to the Connecticut border and residents there are also very concerned about the fracked gas pollution. The Connecticut residents had no say in the approval of the plant and now are forced to monitor their own air quality.
Photos Erik McGregor
“As a Connecticut resident, I am very upset about Cricket Valley Energy Center. The pollutants released in the air will travel into New Milford and be trapped due to topography,” said Cindy Davis, Western Connecticut Clean Air Action. “The pollutants released contain detrimental chemicals contributing to asthma, birth defects and other health problems. The plant was already approved and in construction when Connecticut residents learned about the plant.”
The shutdown was followed by a family friendly rally calling on Governor Cuomo to shut the plant down for good.
This is the perfect opportunity for Governor Cuomo to be a true climate hero. Cricket Valley was proposed before the science on fracking and the environment was clear,” said Jess Mullen, Coordinator of New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. “However, it’s clear now. With the recent Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, Cuomo has voiced desire to take the climate emergency seriously. Shutting down Cricket Valley will be the determining factor of the legacy he will leave.”
Climbers were still in the stacks as of 2:30pm. Updates on number of arrests will be sent as they come in.
Activists with Portland Rising Tide and the Mosquito Fleet prevent the bulk carrier Patagonia from docking at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., on November 5, 2019. The protesters are against the ships’s cargo they say is bound for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project in Canada which will carry oil sands bitumen from Edmonton, Alberta to the coast at Burnaby, British Colombia for export to markets in Asia and the US. (Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)
Young climate activists chain selves to Washington pier amid pipeline delivery
Protest comes amid effort to disrupt 700-mile Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Young activists interrupted the delivery of a controversial pipeline to a port in southern Washington at daybreak on Tuesday, once again taking the lead in the climate fight.
Tuesday’s protest by Portland Rising Tide was part of a continuing effort to disrupt the opening of project that expands a pipeline running from Edmonton, Alberta, to the coast of British Columbia and would open export markets to hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands.
Climbers flanked by kayaks chained themselves to a pier on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, intending to intercept the delivery of pipe manufactured in India for the project.
The group of protesters included 22-year-old Kiran Oommen, a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit Juliana v the US, which takes aim at the American government’s complicity in promoting a fossil fuel energy system and other practices that facilitate the climate crisis.
Oommen, who is joined by 20 other young plaintiffs in the litigation, was among those who chained himself to a dock. By 8am, he and other activists were being threatened with arrest as an arriving bulk carrier sounded its foghorn and a growing crowd of stalled workers gathered on the pier, one shouting: “Trump! Four more years!”
Before climbing a ladder and chaining himself to the pier, Oommen said past action to lobby, to vote and to use the courts to compel action on climate change had been unsuccessful so far.
“The point that my generation is at, we don’t have time to wait for systems that haven’t worked for decades,” he said.
The linking of a Juliana plaintiff with direct action against fossil fuel infrastructure signifies more than individual frustration with inaction on climate. It denotes the rising sense of urgency among young people to remedy a crisis that afflicts them all.
“I fear for my future. It’s zero hour and I can’t watch the Earth die around me. I don’t want to be 30 and telling my kids that I didn’t do anything,” said Lydia Stolt, who risked a college scholarship to be among those locked to the pier.
Oommen’s four-year-old court case been the subject of repeated, and unusually aggressive, emergency petitions by the federal government intended to halt the suit, which has missed three trial dates so far.
“Part of why I’m here is to just give them a little reminder that they can play with us in the system, but we don’t have to stay in the system to have our voices heard,” Oommen said.
Tuesday’s action took aim at the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a 1,150km (about 700-mile) Canadian project that will boost the capacity of oil transport from the Alberta tar sands to the coast of British Columbia.
The $7.4bn expansion is projected to triple the 300,000 barrels of oil currently transported from Edmonton and would carry heavier oils with higher potential to emit greenhouse gas, making it what many activists consider a potential climate tipping point.
The project was initially proposed by Kinder Morgan in 2012, and the Canadian government approved it, but it was delayed by opposition from First Nations and environmental groups and lawsuits from provincial and municipal governments in Canada. The project was acquired by the Canadian government, which continues to fund the expansion, in summer 2018.
The action by Portland Rising Tide, the local affiliate of the North American direct action group, was the culmination of an international effort to track shipments of the pipe from India through the US into Canada. Greenpeace provided technical assistance, while support from the north came from Mosquito Fleet, an oil and gas direct action group, and First Nations peoples who oppose the pipeline.
Cedar George-Parker, 22, a member of the Tulalip and Tsleil Waututh tribes, said First Nations communities had staunchly opposed the pipeline, which crosses indigenous lands.
He said a study had determined a spill could sicken 1 million people within 24 hours. He also noted potential impacts on the salmon in the Fraser River watershed and orcas in the Salish Sea from increased tanker traffic.
“In Tulalip, the orca is on the crescent [flag], so it’s who they are,” George-Parker said. “We have to do something to save them. They can’t speak English … they can’t go to the legislative building.
Grand Opening of MN JPMorgan Chase Branch Disrupted by Climate Activists, Students
World’s worst banker of climate change under fire for its massive financing of fossil fuels and Line 3 pipeline
Saint Paul –– As the newest Chase branch in Minnesota opened its doors for the first time, activists and students from Macalester College staged a rally and “die-in” in the lobby, demanding that the world’s worst banker of climate change defund fossil fuels. The action follows a blitz of demonstrations across the country this year targeting Chase Bank; from Chicago, to NewYork, to Seattle, to Los Angeles, to San Francisco.
“As a young person who will be inheriting this uncertain future, I know climate action is needed now,” said Andrew Vrabel Miles, a 23 year old senior at nearby Macalester College. “Chase bank, which is opening a branch right by my school, has taken no action to defund climate change by defunding fossil fuels and major fossil fuel infrastructure projects like the Line 3 pipeline. We demand Chase stop destroying our future!”
According to data from Rainforest Action Network’s Banking on Climate Change 2019 report, since the Paris Agreement, JPMorgan Chase has provided $196 billion in finance for fossil fuels. Chase is the world’s worst funder of fossil fuels and the world’s worst funder of fossil fuel expansion –– by a large margin. Additionally, Chase is one of several banks currently lending to three different active Enbridge pipeline-related loans, totaling approx. $5.4 billion.
“We are taking action today because Chase needs to be held accountable for its outsized role in
the climate crisis,” said Ethan Nuss with Rainforest Action Network. “Our very future is
contingent on an immediate end to the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure. We
won’t stop taking action until Chase takes real tangible action on climate.”