Protestors Blockade Chevron HQ’s in San Francisco

Contra Costa Times article

http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/16938763.htm

Protestors Blockade Chevron HQ’s in San Francisco

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By Sophia Kazmi
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

Public protests in San Ramon and Lafayette on Monday slowed traffic and galvanized opinions on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

In San Ramon, traffic on city streets and northbound Interstate 680 slowed to a crawl when protesters brought their message to the gates of oil giant Chevron’s headquarters in Bishop Ranch. And Monday evening in Lafayette, an estimated 350 people attended an anti-war rally at the crosses display. Both events were peaceful.

In San Ramon, dozens of people stood for about four hours outside Chevron’s gates, denouncing its interest in the Iraq war and the company’s alleged destruction of the climate and the environment around the world.

“We came here to hold Chevron accountable for their actions,” said Joshua Russell of Oakland, a member of the Bay Rising Affinity Group.

Some protesters carried signs, others were chained to black oil drums painted with statements such as “Stop the Iraqi oil theft.” Some sang, others wore giant heads of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Protesters were angry about a draft oil revenue law being discussed in Iraq’s parliament that could allow foreign investment in Iraq by allowing regional oil companies to sign with foreign oil companies for exploration and development. Many said this law would reduce the control the country has on its oil fields and that foreign companies would not have to hire Iraqi companies or Iraqi workers.

Iraqis “need to take whatever is theirs,” said Sureya Sayadi of San Ramon. “It’s not for America to decide. It’s not for Chevron to get.”

The peaceful group — no arrests were made Monday — also took on global warming, saying companies such as Chevron are not doing enough to stop it. And, fast forwarding to the future, protesters held a funeral procession for earth’s last piece of ice.

Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson said Chevron is not involved in Iraqi oil production; rather, it is providing technical assistance in developing that country’s oil industry.

Chevron issued a short statement about Monday’s protest, saying it “strongly supports anyone’s right to express their opinions,” and adding, “Around the world Chevron has an excellent reputation as a company that operates responsibly while producing critical products that improve people’s lives.”

About 20 police officers watched the crowd, mostly to ensure the safety of the protesters, said Jimmy Lee, Contra Costa sheriff’s spokesman.

By the end, protesters said they had a successful day and felt as though they had made a difference.

“We were able to disrupt a day at Chevron headquarters, and none of us are going to jail,” Russell said.

Things got more heated in Lafayette, where an evening vigil to remember war dead attracted at least 350 war protesters and supporters who verbally sparred at the hillside of crosses that has become a symbol for the country’s divided views.

Both sides tried to drown the other out, with supporters of the Iraq mission hollering “Shame on you” and protesters countering with “Shame on Bush.”

“Thank God for those men and women who are willing to put it on the line,” said Lafayette resident Charles Haig to cross supporters. Haig’s son, David, is serving in Iraq.

Cross organizer Jeff Heaton, who stepped up to a microphone amid shouts of “traitor,” said soldiers’ deaths “will not be in vain if we see to it that their deaths and injuries inspire us to change the course of history.”

The names of soldiers on crosses, which had been a source of friction at a March 8 rally, were removed this past weekend. A few remained in cases where families requested it.

Staff writers Katherine Tam and George Avalos and the New York Times contributed to this story. Reach Sophia Kazmi at 925-847-2122 or skazmi@cctimes.com.

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11 protesters arrested at West Virginia’s governor’s office

from http://itsgettinghotinhere.org

occupation      arrest

TAKE ACTION!
Call Governor Manchin’s office: 1-888-438-2731 (toll free) or 1-304-558-2000.
Send a FAX 1-304-342-7025 – instructions on how to send a free fax from the web below!
Email the Governor’s office: Governor@WVGov.org.

Charleston, W. Va.-Eleven parents, community leaders and student activists were arrested today while sitting in at the office of West Virginia Governor Joe Mancin. Their sit-in was spurred by a recent decision by the State Mine Board to approve a second coal silo nearMarsh Fork Elementary School. Protesters were treating roughly and dragged through puddles of mud. About 40 protesters remain in the governor’s office. Marsh Fork Elementary located near Sundial, WV currently sits 225 feet from a coal silo. Residents say Governor Joe Manchin is shirking his responsibility for the health and safety of the students.

The coal silo operated by Massey Energy releases chemical-laden coal dust into the air which is poisoning the air that school kids have to breathe. Independent studies have found coal dust throughout the school. The school is also 400 yards downstream from a 385 foot tall seeping toxic coal waste sludge dam with a nearly 3 billion gallon capacity, over 20 times the volume of the Buffalo Creek sludge dam disaster that killed 125 people in 1972. A 1,849-acre mountaintop removal mine surrounds the sludge dam and much of the nearby area.

“Governor Mancin seems to believe that all he has to do is make promises while the children who attend Marsh Fork continue to breathe in coal dust,” says Bill Price of
Charleston, WV. “We are not interested in promises. We want a new school for these kids so that they do not have to breathe in polluted air while they are trying to learn.”

“This is exciting that students and community members have joined together to demand a safer school for the kids who attend Marsh Folk Elementary,” says Sarah Kidder, a student at Glenville State College and a key protest organizer. “These kids should not have to endanger their lives simply by going to school and having to breathe in air polluted by coal dust.”

Massey has been attempting to build a second coal silo near the school, but the WV Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2005 rejected Massey’s permit request for the second silo. On Tuesday, March 13, the state Surface Mine Board overturned the DEP’s order that blocked the silo.

“The situation at Marsh Fork is an embarrassment to West Virginia,” said Lindsey Warf of
Bluefield, WV. “People from other states can’t believe this is happening in the
US.”

Contrary to Massey’s public claim that the silo would reduce coal dust, their 2005 air quality permit application associated with the second silo’s operation predicts an increase in coal dust emissions by three and a half tons of dust per year.

TAKE ACTION!
Call Governor Manchin’s office: 1-888-438-2731 (toll free) or 1-304-558-2000.
Send a FAX 1-304-342-7025 – instructions on how to send a free fax from the web below!
Email the Governor’s office: Governor@WVGov.org.

TALKING POINTS
* The kids at Marsh Fork Elementary need a new school in their own community now more than ever.
* Every child deserves a safe and healthy school in their own community.
* Forget a new silo – build the kids a new school!
* Massey’s own air quality permit predicts an increase in the amount of coal dust (3.49 tons per year) emitted by operating a second silo.
*Neither the state Department of Education nor the US Environmental Protection Agency determined coal dust levels in the school. The EPA’s test was not done during normal operation of the coal plant.
*The state has the money for a new school and the Raleigh County Board of Education is willing to accept it.
*The sludge dam just 400 yards above the school holds 20 times the volume of the Buffalo Creek sludge dam disaster that killed 125 people in 1972.

More Background

Marsh Fork Elementary School sits just 225 feet from a coal loading silo that releases chemical-laden coal dust and 400 yards from a 385 foot tall leaking sludge dam with a nearly 3 billion gallon capacity. Independent studies have shown the school to be full of coal dust.

Massey Energy who owns the coal processing facility has been attempting to build a second coal processing plant near the school for years, but community opposition, action and research led the Department of Environmental Protection to reject Massey’s permit request for the second silo.

On Tuesday March 13 the state Surface Mine Board overturned the Department of Environmental Protection order that blocked the silo.
Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/ypx39z

Community members have been working for years on getting a new school for the children that attend Marsh Fork Elementary in their community so that they don’t have to breathe coal dust and toxic chemicals daily. The grandfather of a recent Marsh Fork graduate walked from West Virginia to DC to raise support for a new school and to meet with Senator Byrd to request a new school in the community. And elementary students around the world have written letters to Governor Manchin and collected pennies to help build a new school.

Find out more here:
surprise delivery of letters to Governor Manchin: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/1033
Governor avoids meeting with children: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/1010
Pennies of Promise launch with deliver of pennies to the capitol: http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/322
Ed’s walk from WV to DC: http://duke.securenet-server.net/~mnoerpel/pennies/blog.php
Send a free web based fax:

To send a written fax, go to and fill out the following information. http://faxzero.com/

Sender Information

Fill out Name: YOURS

Company: Put Anything

Number: 3048549101

Email : YOURS

Receiver Information:

Name: Governor Joe Manchin

Company: People of West Virginia

Fax Number: 3043427025

Fax Information: Type your message or attach a saved document: Include name and address on fax if from WV

Using Google Earth to See Mountaintop Removal

Google Earth Highlights Destruction
By BetaNews Staff, BetaNews
March 12, 2007, 12:48 PM
[original article]

While Google Earth has primarily been touted for its uncanny ability to take users on a tour of the world’s most beautiful sights right from their desktop, a new feature added Monday highlights the immense destruction human beings leave in their wake.

Environmental advocacy group Appalachian Voices has joined to Google to deliver a special interactive layer for Google Earth that tells the stories of over 470 mountains that have been destroyed from coal mining, and its impact on nearby ecosystems. Separately, the World Wildlife Fund has added the ability to visit its 150 project sites using Google Earth.

INSTRUCTIONS on How to See Mountain Memorial in Google Earth’s “Featured Content” Menu
Once you have Google Earth open on your computer, open the “featured content” folder in the “layers” menu at the bottom left portion of your screen. The first item inside the “featured content” menu is called “Global Awareness.” Open that folder and you will see a folder called “Appalachian Mountaintop Removal” with a little blue and white flag icon net to it. Check the box next to this folder to turn on the layer and then double-click the icon to be taken to the memorial. Clicking on “User’s Guide” will help you make the most of your visit to the National Memorial for the Mountains.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: The Oil Museum

[this is reposted from the excellent Art for a Change Blog]
Photo by Gary Leonard

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), after receiving $25 million dollars from the multinational oil company BP (British Petroleum), plans to dedicate a new entry gate and pavilion to the energy Goliath. To be christened the “BP Grand Entrance”, the construction is nothing more than an edifice to big oil and the clearest example yet of the increasing corporatization of the arts in America.Historically, the largesse of wealthy benefactors has always played a role in the arts, with the names of well-heeled patrons gracing museum wings and collections. But there is something unseemly about naming part of an art museum after a transnational oil conglomerate – especially when considering the increasingly toxic role of oil companies in today’s world. President of BP America, Bob Malone, said the donation represents the energy giant’s “commitment to the arts” – but scrutiny of the oil-smeared endowment reveals a public relations campaign designed to erase public memory of BP’s dirty doings. Continue reading