Elliston Virginia: Pipeline Fighter Locked Down at Mountain Valley Pipeline Boring Site

cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

HAPPENING NOW! A pipeline fighter locked herself to MVP equipment near a boring site under the Bradshaw Creek and Bradshaw Road in eastern Montgomery County. Come out and show your support! Happening near 3001 Bradshaw Road, Elliston VA.

This is the second action in a week. Last week’s action saw security and pipeliners lock arms around an excavator in an attempt to keep us from getting close enough to machines that they had to ‘legally’ stop construction.

You can also check out the background on the campaign to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline on the Final Straw Radio and the Green and Red Podcast.

Chemical Leak and Fire at Marathon Oil in Garyville, La

cross-posted from Lousiana Bucket Brigade

“We are disgusted to hear of yet another chemical leak & fire, this time at Marathon Oil in Garyville, just a month after Dow’s explosion in Plaquemine. The fire was caused by a leak of naptha, a toxic form of raw petrol distilled from crude oil that may contain carcinogens.

The petrochemical industry is here in LA for one reason only: to make as much money as possible. As long as our state continues to look away from fires and mushroom clouds, accidents will continue.

Workers and residents are left to bear the brunt of the industry’s negligence and predatory expansion that continue to jeopardize our health and safety.

St. John’s govt. is already parroting Marathon’s claims that the chemical release & fire are contained and no off-site impacts are detected. This release is obviously far from contained. Nearby residents are reporting aggravated asthma and other respiratory symptoms.

St. John the Baptist Parish, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and all state officials owe Louisianans much more than simply broadcasting Marathon’s press release.

We will not stand for the continued spread of misinformation and attempts to cloud the truth—that the toxic chemicals in these refineries are hazardous to our health, and that the chemical industry routinely misleads us to evade accountability after major accidents.

We cannot permit more facilities that will continue to endanger workers and communities. What a disaster this is, and how dangerous for the workers in these plants. They deserve so much more.”


Grist: As Chicago broils, neighbors find ways to keep each other cool

cross-posted from Grist

As Chicago broils, neighbors find ways to keep each other cool

“We’ll be back out there tomorrow doing the same thing.”

A massive heat dome covered the central part of the United States on Thursday, stretching from Omaha, Nebraska, down to New Orleans, putting 143 million people in 19 states under heat alerts.

In Chicago, temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 120 degrees on Thursday, which is the highest heat index the city has recorded, according to CBS Chicago. Hot weather that dangerous hasn’t roasted Chicago since its infamous 1995 heat wave, which killed more than 500 people over five days. This comes after a record-breaking hot day on Wednesday at 98 degrees with a heat index of 116 degrees.

It feels as if most of the United States has been under a heat advisory at one point or another this summer, with Arizona and Texas especially hard hit. Temperatures have been breaking records all over the world, with July setting records as the hottest month that the planet has seen in 120,000 years.

The past few days have seen heat creep up into uncharted territory, with places like Lawrence, Kansas, recording a heat index of 134 degrees, earlier this week. An analysis of data from the nonprofit research organization First Street Foundation found that the next few decades will see the emergence of an “extreme heat belt” stretching from northern Texas up through Illinois and parts of Wisconsin. By 2053, these areas will experience temperatures above 125 degrees, according to the research.

In pockets of Chicago, though, the heat is bringing people together with neighbors who are looking out for one another and offering water, fans, and information about the city’s cooling centers. This is despite the fact that cooling centers have been historically underutilized.

In Pilsen, a Latino neighborhood on the city’s Near West Side, a bookstore offered up its space as an unofficial cooling center.

Mandy Medley, a co-owner and worker at Pilsen Community Books, said that it was intrinsic to the bookstore’s mission to provide resources in a city that has few public restrooms and rest areas.

“I think it’s a natural extension of the role we try to play in the community,” Medley said. “We’re open to the public, we have one of the very few public restrooms available in the neighborhood.”

Medley also mentioned that the store regularly tries to remain open to community members — even when there isn’t record-breaking heat outside.

“In general, the store is a place where people can come hang out, it doesn’t have to just be during extreme weather,” said Medley. “We don’t force people to spend money or stay here only a certain amount of time. It really is open anytime.”

Elsewhere in Pilsen, Rabbit Schoen, an organizer with Rising Tide Chicago, an organization focused on fighting climate change, helped hand out frozen water bottles to people who were unhoused living under a highway underpass.

“So the main things are just getting items to people who are in our neighborhoods and communities that are unhoused, who are at most risk of heatstroke, or heat exhaustion, or even heat death,” said Schoen. “The simplest way to do that is give people cold water.”

Additionally, Rising Tide volunteers have been working with homeless people to allocate necessary resources beyond the heat wave, since people who are unhoused remain vulnerable to other climate events, like wildfire smoke, long after the heat has subsided.

While scientists are hesitant to say that individual climate events like this one are tied to climate change, heat waves in general are highly correlated with the global warming caused by burning fossil fuels, according to Jonathan Patz, a professor of health and environment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The climate crisis from burning fossil fuels that’s heating the planet, this is exactly what you expect: more frequent and more intense heat waves,” said Patz. “All these extremes have been anticipated from human-induced climate warming for decades, you know, so we’ve been talking about this for a long time.”

During the scorching hot temperatures, a community group called My Block, My Hood, My City had volunteers that were crisscrossing the city’s neighborhoods on the South and West sides to pass out cases of water bottles and box fans to elderly folks in need.

“Our main thing is taking care of people no matter what. And we know that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are the senior citizens,” said Stephen Gilbert, director of youth and community development at My Block, My Hood, My City.

The group had nearly 400 requests for water and fans across the city, which they pivoted all their resources to try to meet.

“We don’t have a capacity to drop off 400 fans and waters today alone, we dropped off as many as we could,” said Gilbert. “And we’ll be back out there tomorrow doing the same thing.”

Humboldt, CA: Beating PG&E And Defending the Redwoods in Humboldt

cross-posted from It’s Going Down 

Report on successful redwood forest defense campaign in so-called Humboldt County.

It’s official, we beat PG&E. When they came to cut in Humboldt Redwood State Park we held the line and turned the tide of destruction. The corporation has now publicly confirmed what we have been hearing, that the EVM Enhanced Vegetation Management project is over, and it’s a stark failure. Due to our 4 month long direct action campaign in the fall and winter of 2021-22, many hundreds of trees have been saved across Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Day after day we took action, often in the pouring rain and sometimes snow, carefully and consistently occupying the ‘drop zone’ under trees in the park that PG&E contractors were actively trying to cut. There were usually five to ten of them for every one of us yet we held our ground. Our numbers varied from 8-25 while the workers numbered 25-100. Forest defenders often faced the threat of injury or death from falling branches cut by intentionally reckless tree-trimmers as well as accidents like when branches or whole trees were dropped on the power lines. In one instance in November 2021 a falling Douglas fir snapped the power lines after the employee cutting it made a grave error. The live wires landed on Mattole road, slithering and sparking, narrowly missing many forest defenders and company employees. In the howling wind and rain the entire work site came to a standstill as every person became distinctly aware of their own mortality.

Forest defenders were there every day from early October ’21 to February ’22 except for when the road was blocked by snow. We were waiting for them there in the morning, and we made sure not to leave before they did. We chased them by truck, Prius, motorcycle and foot, shutting down worksites over miles as an amorphous swarm of coordinated autonomous animals.

Our actions did not rely on anybody else’s strategy, be it in the courtroom or in the news, nor did it require special gear, advanced training, or meticulous planning.

PG&E managers on site often encouraged reckless behavior in the name of productivity when they believed no one else would find out. Forest defenders learned to protect ourselves while occupying the drop zones with practices like safety briefings, consistent communication with workers on site, taking video and use of neon vests and hard hats. Other tactics included, to a lesser degree, tree-sitting and slowing or stopping convoys of work vehicles.

Many trees were also spared in other places where PG&E’s vegetation removal crews were unable to reach in time. Hoping to overwhelm us, PG&E created a virtual army of cutting crews redirected from places like Briceland, Petrolia, and Avenue of the Giants. Many large trees remain intact in these places, often still marked with yellow paint by the surveyors directed to carry out the misguided and ruinous EVM strategy.

In conclusion, we were successful beyond our wildest dreams at saving old-growth trees on public lands and countless other trees across Humboldt. Although Humboldt Redwood Company continues to log Rainbow Ridge nearby and PG&E is still targeting old-growth trees and seeks to spray poison around power poles, hundreds of irreplaceable trees and the creatures living in them remain thanks to the people who put themselves on the front lines and those who supported them.

To support ongoing action to protect ancient trees from PG&E and HRC donate on Venmo @forestdefense and/or contact forestaction@riseup.net.