Two Water Protectors Lock Down to Enbridge Line 3 Excavators Blocking Active Construction

cross-posted from the Ginew Collective

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: giniw@protonmail.com
November 18, 2020

Two Water Protectors Lock Down to Enbridge Line 3 Excavators Blocking Active Construction

(Two Inlets, MN) This morning, two water protectors locked their bodies through the treads of excavators working on a pump station for Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline, as dozens of others rallied in support.

Last week, Democratic Governor Tim Walz’ administration approved the last major permits needed by Enbridge, a Canadian multi-national seeking to build the Line 3 expansion project to carry Alberta tar sands to the shore of Lake Superior. The administration approved sending up to 1M barrels of tar sands per day through 212 water bodies and 818 wetlands in Anishinaabe treaty territory of northern Minnesota.

On Monday, the 12 of 17 members of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned, calling the permit approvals a continuation of Minnesota’s “war on black and brown people”. George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earlier this year.

When asked why they would take such a risk to their safety and freedom, Betsy Foy, 20, (St. Paul), said, “I grew up in Nebraska hearing about the devastation the Keystone pipeline would cause, so when I moved to Minnesota and learned about Line 3, I felt called to take action. Even if I can’t stop something on my own, it’s vital to have many people in the movement standing in solidarity.”

Mira Grinsfelder, 24, (St. Paul), said, “Having grown up on occupied Anishinaabe and Dakota land, I feel a responsibility to defend that land and the rights of the people who have a relationship to it. If the US government won’t defend Anishinaabe treaty rights, we will. If the Minnesota government won’t protect the water, we will.”

Cops raid protest camp in Capitol Forest, lone man in canopy continues to block logging

Cross-posted from the Chameleon Blockade

For Immediate Release: 

Contacts: Chameleon Blockade, (360) 209 6426, chameleonblockade@protonmail.com

Ian Frederick, (360) 474 2387

Nathan McKay, mckayresources@protonmail.com

Cops raid protest camp in Capitol Forest, lone man in canopy continues to block logging

Capitol State Forest, WA – Early Wednesday afternoon, a convoy of trucks from at least four different law enforcement agencies parked on a logging road for an unannounced raid on a camp of forest protection activists, sweeping the camp away and leaving one man in the forest canopy tied to a contraption that continues to impede work on the controversial “Chameleon” timber sale. The officers came from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol, the state Fish and Game Department, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the agency which planned and sold the timber sale and manages all of the Capitol State Forest. Law enforcement temporarily closed the roads to through traffic while they cleared the activists from the camp.

Alex Johnson, 29, a teacher from Olympia, was on the ground making coffee when the cops arrived. “There were just so many of them,” he said. “It seems like a lot of force to bring to deal with two unarmed civilians eating lunch.”

The two activists were briefly detained before being allowed to walk away while the officers attempted to negotiate with the remaining “tree-sitter” who continued to block the logging road. The DNR law enforcement eventually brought in spotlights and a generator and began to prepare for an extended siege of the tree-sit, which Mr. Johnson predicted would last a long time.

“I think these cops underestimate John’s commitment and endurance,” he said. “He thought hard about this before doing it, and he’s prepared to stay for quite a while. He’s one of the most stubborn guys I’ve ever met, and I tried to tell the cops that but I don’t think it’s sunk in for them yet.”

Johnson was referring to his friend in the canopy, John “Tree’Angelo” Barksdale. Mr. Barksdale, 34, an outdoor educator from Tumwater, has watched with dismay over the past several years as the DNR has systematically clear-cut most of its remaining old-growth stands. An avid hiker, he’s seen many of his favorite local trails turned to moonscapes.

“Unit 1 of Chameleon is some of the most intact forest, the best habitat left across one hundred thousand acres,” Barksdale said. “If we want all this to actually be a forest and not just an oversized tree plantation, we need to save at least something. We can’t clear-cut all of it.”

Barksdale has used years of climbing experience to erect a unique “dunk-tank” platform atop an old-growth douglas-fir tree, tied to an abandoned Ford Explorer parked across the proposed logging road. If the car moves, his platform drops. It’s about one hundred feet down to the steep slopes of the forest below. Barksdale claims to have plenty of food and water and says he is prepared to wait out the DNR indefinitely.

“I’ve always wanted to tree-sit,” he says. “I love trees. I love camping. I can work remotely out here and attend Zoom meetings from right here on the platform. It’s super dreamy up here, and I’m trying to save these trees. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”

The protest camp, which was started ten days ago by a few friends of Mr. Barksdale, quickly picked up support from local hunters, fishermen and ATV users concerned about the health of the forest. Protectors of the Salish Sea, an indigenous water advocacy group, held space with songs and prayers at the blockade on Saturday. Multiple community groups across Thurston County have come out in support of the blockade and are calling for the cancellation of the timber sale.

“Governor Inslee claims to be the ‘climate Governor’, and even ran for President of the United States on a platform based on tackling climate change, yet he continues to allow the Department of Natural Resources to clearcut our state’s forests despite their potential to mitigate the climate crisis,” said Nathan McKay, a landscape architect from Lacey, Washington. “If Inslee was really a climate leader, he would call off this timber sale, and protect our forests for their carbon sequestration and storage potential.”

A rally is planned for today, Thursday, October 8, at 3pm at the gate of the logging road leading into the timber sale. Community members are invited to witness the siege and see the ancient trees in the proposed clearcut.

Forest Defenders hold blockade to stop logging of the ‘Chameleon’ Timber Sale

Forest Defenders hold blockade to stop logging of the ‘Chameleon’ Timber Sale

Contact: Chameleon Blockade – chameleonblockade@protonmail.com 360-209-6426

The Capitol State Forest, WA – Forest Defenders launched a blockade on Monday to prevent the clear-cut logging of a 100-year-old forest west of Olympia on the traditional territory of the Chehalis people. The forest, part of the critically endangered Puget Lowland Eco-Region, was auctioned off by the Department of Natural Resources as the “Chameleon Timber Sale” to the Elma based Murphy’s Logging Company. Protesters have set up a blockade preventing road building and logging in one of the largest and most biodiverse units of the timber sale. The site is home to a late-successional Douglas Fir forest (over 100 years since it was last logged), which is gaining old growth characteristics that support endangered wildlife. Continue reading

Idaho: Regional actions commemorate Lac-Mégantic and Mosier oil train disasters

cross-posted from Wild Idaho Rising Tide.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 24, 2020

Media contact:

Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide

wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com, 208-301-8039

June 25 to July 2: Stop Oil Trains 2020

Regional actions commemorate Lac-Mégantic and Mosier oil train disasters

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), 350 Seattle, Occupy, and allied, inland Northwest activists invite participation in the seventh annual, Stop Oil Trains week of events on Thursday, June 25, through July 2, honoring the 47 lives lost and downtowns devastated by oil train derailments, spills, fires, and explosions in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, in Mosier, Oregon, on June 3, 2016, and potentially in all rail corridor, frontline communities threatened by the risks and pollution of crude oil pipelines-on-rails.  Since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, dozens of similar accidents have wrecked public and environmental health and safety and the global climate – more than in the previous four decades.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and Union Pacific Railroad haul up to 30 trains every week of volatile, Bakken shale oil and sinkable, Alberta tar sands, along and over invaluable, Northwest rivers, lakes, and tributaries.  More than 90 percent of these shipments traverse railroad bridges above downtown Sandpoint and Spokane and almost one mile over Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, Pend Oreille.  Adjacent to this current rail line, BNSF has commenced driving 1000-plus piles into train-spewed, lake and stream bed, coal deposits, threatened bull trout critical habitat, and regional, lake and aquifer water, to construct three permanent, parallel, second (and later third) railroad bridges, two temporary, work spans, and two miles of doubled tracks, for bi-directional, more derailment-vulnerable, oil and other train traffic.

In appreciation and solidarity with indigenous and grassroots, fossil fuels resistance across North America, concerned citizens continue to actively oppose coal, oil, tar sands, and hazardous materials trains, through public vigilance, education, demonstrations, comments, hearings, and litigation during the last decade.  Event organizing groups welcome everyone at these summer activities sharing effective skills and coordinating powerful actions that demand immediate bans of further fossil fuels infrastructure, extraction, transportation, and production.  For additional event and ongoing issue information, see the attached flyer and visit WIRT facebook and website pages.

https://www.facebook.com/events/290068958800089

https://wildidahorisingtide.org/2020/06/22/stop-oil-trains-2020

Train Watch Workshop

Thursday, June 25, 6 pm, Sandpoint

David Perk of 350 Seattle will present an interactive, registration-required, teleconferenced, training session describing methods for documenting and reporting regional, westbound, fossil fuels-by-rail traffic, and providing images, insights, and resources online and at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street.

Spotlight Message Projection

Friday, June 26, 9 pm, Sandpoint & Saturday, June 27, 9 pm, Spokane

Occupy and WIRT volunteers will briefly display spotlighted, environmental and social justice messages on tall, downtown buildings within “bomb train blast zones,” while discussing Northwest fossil fuels issues with resident and visitor passersby observing the light show.

#No2ndBridge Outreach & March

Saturday, June 27, 9 am to 1 pm & 2 pm, Sandpoint

WIRT will host an outreach table under the Farmin Park clock at Third and Main streets, during Farmers Market, circulating the #No2ndBridge petition and other material, and offering updates on Northwest oil and coal trains, terminals, and railroad bridges.  Starting at 2 pm, protesters of oil trains and railroad bridge expansion will gather and walk with COVID-19 face masks, signs, and banners to Dog Beach Park and the U.S. Highway 95, pedestrian Long Bridge.

#No2ndBridge Petition Delivery

Week of Monday, June 29, Coeur d’Alene & Sandpoint

Volunteers will bring the hundreds of signatures and remarks of the print and online, informal Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, to the federal, state, and local agencies responsible for permit decisions and insufficient reviews of the significant, harmful impacts of BNSF’s intensifying, north Idaho, bridge and track construction and operation.

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/petition-to-deny-revoke

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Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) confronts the root causes of climate change, water degradation, and air pollution, by asserting direct actions and promoting locally organized solutions, in solidarity with frontline communities of resistance and an international, volunteer, grassroots network of activists.