RTNA Statement on Being Removed from the Mountain Valley Pipeline SLAPP Suit

On February 23, 2024, the Rising Tide North America’s legal team successfully fought back against Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) frivolous attempt at an SLAPP suit against land defenders and organizations, when a VA judge (removed) Rising Tide from the case. Rising Tide North America issued the following statement:

“Rising Tide North America is a grassroots organization made up of ordinary people fighting for a better and healthier world. We are glad that MVP’s attempts to curtail free speech and intimidate failed in this case.

When fossil fuel companies feel threatened, they try to attack our basic right to protest. That’s what MVP is doing — and unfortunately, dozens of individuals and additional organizations remain in their crosshairs. We continue to stand with all those facing MVP’s SLAPP suits and resist all attempts at intimidation.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline would harm local communities, disrupt ecosystems and drinking water and continue to fuel the climate crisis. Appalachians have made it clear where they stand — yet Moutain Valley Pipeline and politicians continue to push this disastrous project. We will continue to support all local communities fighting back against fossil fuel extraction.”

Rising Tide North America Statement on Mountain Valley Pipeline SLAPP Suit

Rising Tide North America issued the following statement on the frivolous litigation being brought by Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) against land defenders and organizations:

“This lawsuit is MVP’s latest attempt to intimidate public participation and subvert free speech.

Across the country, fossil fuel companies like MVP are increasingly turning to SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) suits to hang on to their failed business practices that exploit the land, make people sick and destroy our climate.

Rising Tide North America is a grassroots organization made up of ordinary people fighting for a better and healthier world. We resist all attempts to intimidate land and climate defenders and subvert free speech — especially those made by multinational giant corporations profiting off of the destruction of local communities.”

Port of Newcastle blockade climate protesters face court over November 2023 Rising Tide action

cross-posted from ABC

A NSW magistrate has told protesters involved in a demonstration that ground coal exports to a halt in Newcastle that it was clear they acted out of “genuine desire” to bring about change.

The protest, organised by the group Rising Tide in November, saw hundreds of people block Newcastle Harbour for 30 hours over two days in the name of climate change.

The authorised action was to finish at 4pm on November 26, but many protesters defied police orders and remained on the water.

More than 100 people were arrested and charged with operating a vessel to interfere with others’ use of the water.

Two protesters faced the courts in November where they were fined around $600 each.

The remaining 99 were listed in Newcastle Local Court today and included students as young as 20 and age pensioners in their 80s.

Aerial view of a group of kayakers

Hundreds of protesters blocked the Port of Newcastle using canoes and kayaks in November.(AAP: Rising Tide)

Magistrate Stephen Olischlager said many of the protesters had done outstanding work in their communities and had a genuine concern for the environment.

“[This was] not selfishly motivated,” he said.

“[They are] valuable contributors to society, persons who are intelligent … and making a real contribution to society.”

Police prosecutor Harry Hall had argued the protesters should be convicted as the unauthorised part of the protest was unsafe and took away police resources from other areas.

“Entering a busy shipping lane places lives at risk,” he said.

Busiest coal port in the world

The Port of Newcastle exports more than 150 million tonnes of coal each year, making it the world’s busiest coal port.

Magistrate Olischlager said, while it was a fundamental human right to protest, people did have to consider the broader impact on the community.

“There was a large vessel due to leave the port and there was some delay caused,” he said.

Despite this, those who pleaded guilty this morning left court without a conviction or fine, as Magistrate Olischlager said they had shown good character.

“Offences of this nature are [often] committed by persons who are of good character,” he said.

“It is a strength of those characters, which on this occasion [means] these are matters that can be dealt with by not proceeding to conviction.”

An older man outside of court.

Reverend Alan Stuart, 97, was the oldest person to take part in the protest.(Supplied: Rising Tide)

Journalist, age pensioners and students charged

Among those facing court today was a writer for Sydney Criminal Lawyers, Paul Gregoire.

He had attended the protest as a journalist but got “caught up” in the action.

He pleaded guilty in court today and was granted a conditional release order without conviction.

“I’m sorry to have wasted the court’s time but I thought it was a necessary, important cause,” he said.

“The climate crisis is escalating, so I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth was and show solidarity with the activists.”

A man standing outside of court.

Paul Gregoire was not handed a conviction at Newcastle local court.(ABC Newcastle: Keira Proust)

Newcastle local Bryce Ham, 20, was among those who did not receive a fine or conviction.

“It’s a great sign that peaceful protest in Australia is still strongly respected by the courts,” he said outside of court.

“This is the biggest civil disobedience action for climate justice in Australia’s history.”

Some of the 99 matters are expected to be moved to another day given the sheer number of people who attended court today.

PODCAST: The United Nations Climate Conference Agrees to Transition Away From Fossil Fuels. What Now? w/ Tina Gerhardt

cross-posted from the Green and Red Podcast

The most recent United Nations Climate Conference resulted in an agreement between nearly 200 nations about the next steps in dealing with the climate crisis. It included for the first time ever language around transitioning away from fossil fuels. Heralded in some quarters as “the end of the era of fossil fuels,” critics say the deal is filled with loopholes that will undermine efforts to combat the climate crisis. The final text fails to explicitly call for a phaseout of fossil fuels, language sought by over 100 countries.

Listen in: https://bit.ly/48n0KGp

In our latest episode, Scott talks with journalist and author Tina Gerhardt (@TinaGerhardtEJ) about COP28, the negotiations, the agreement, industry influences, peoples’ movements influences and what it all means.

Bio// Tina Gerhardt is an environmental journalist who covers the UN climate change negotiations, climate change and sea level rise, each with a focus on environmental justice. Her writing has been published in Grist, The Guardian, The Nation, Orion and Sierra Magazine. She is author of Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean (University of California Press, 2023).