Massive Banner Hung across Bay Bridge Demands Pres. Biden and APEC Leaders End Expansion of Fossil Fuels
San Francisco – Activists with the Oil and Gas Action Network have hung a massive 75-foot banner across the Bay Bridge during peak rush hour in advance of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco next week. The banner is viewable to motorists traveling west-bound from Oakland towards Treasure Island.
The banner reads “Biden & APEC: End Fossil Fuels” – calling on world leaders to honor their commitments to the Paris climate accord, which makes clear that we must rapidly phase out fossil fuels. The action is part of a wave of protests that will sweep San Francisco next week as the APEC summit brings 21 heads of state, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and 1,200 CEOs together to negotiate international trade policy.
President Biden has come under consistent fire for his administration’s approval of massive new fossil fuel projects, including the Willow Pipeline in Alaska and the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia. Additionally, under President Biden, U.S. exports of crude oil are at historic levels, surpassing the Trump-era record. APEC member countries cover nearly 60% of the world’s energy economy, and proposals such as the controversial Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) liquified natural gas terminal in Louisiana are focused on supplying export markets across the APEC region.
Organizers say that the U.S. must end fossil fuel production domestically, and support global efforts to remedy the historic inequities of pollution and exploitation of workers.
“Our collective humanity is at stake. Corporations and global leaders have been exploiting people and the planet for profit with the military as their enforcers. We refuse to allow President Biden and other APEC leaders to continue business-as-usual in the face of record-breaking extreme weather and the existential threats of the climate crisis. They must prioritize a rapid transition away from fossil fuels, and center the voices of frontline communities in building a new clean energy economy,” said Khrizia Velacruz with Oil and Gas Action Network.
In September, 75,000 people marched in New York at the United Nations General Assembly, explicitly calling for an end to the fossil fuel era. The UN Secretary General has stated that fossil fuels were “…incompatible with human survival” and that we must “leave oil, coal and gas in the ground where they belong” – echoing the consensus from the world’s leading scientists
“The Bay Area is taking a stand against the politicians and corporate interests who are directly responsible for the social and environmental ills plaguing our world today. Their greed and self interest coupled with their complete disregard for a vibrant future is the backdrop for the many overlapping injustices we’re seeing today from ongoing genocide, to utter environmental destruction and the persecution of the working class,” said Nik Evasco, Climate Organizer with the No2APEC Climate Bloc.
“Over 40 climate justice organizations have come together to demand Biden and APECleaders take bold action to combat climate change. We need to end climate pollution,globalize climate justice, and stop trade attacks on climate action,” said Will Wiltschko,coordinator of Bay Climate Action.
A coalition of several hundred organizations are expected to protest APEC next week, with concernsranging from climate change, workers’ rights, economic inequality, human rights, and more. Local residentsand the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have raised concerns about the local impacts of the meetingsthat will make significant parts of the city inaccessible. Both the San Francisco and Alameda County laborcouncils have passed resolutions critical of the APEC summit as well. Major protest movements include:
APEC is a group of 21 member economies, including the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia,Australia, the Philippines and more, aimed at promoting free trade throughout the Asia Pacific region. Amajor focus of the APEC meetings next week is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) – a new tradeproposal that, if enacted, would set rules governing roughly 40% of the global economy. However, civilsociety groups across the region say that APEC meetings are putting corporate profits ahead of concernsaround climate change, workers’ rights, economic inequality and more.
For images and updates about this action and other APEC protests, please visit:
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Pro-Palestinian protesters descended on a port in Washington in an attempt to block the purported shipment of United States weapons to Israel.
Over 100 protesters gathered at the Port of Tacoma early on Monday morning for a “block the boat” demonstration. An earlier protest organized by the same group, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), also attempted to block the ship from leaving the Port of Oakland in California days earlier.
— Rising Tide North America (@RisingTideNA) November 6, 2023
Protests against U.S. aid to Israel have been ramping up as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues. Israel has come under increasing international pressure to enact a ceasefire or a humanitarian pause since launching a ground assault on Gaza.
The Gaza Health Ministry says that over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict as of Monday, according to the Associated Press. Israeli officials report that over 1,400 people were killed in Israel, mainly during the initial surprise attack by Hamas on October 7, the AP said.
Protesters were reportedly working to cause a traffic jam and block gates that could be used to load the MV Cape Orlando, which AROC claimed would “be loaded with weapons and military equipment in Tacoma” before heading to “a final destination in Israel.”
Newsweek was unable to verify AROC’s claims about the MV Cape Orlando, although the vessel is a cargo ship that is used by the U.S. military‘s Ready Reserve Fleet.
“The Department of Defense [DoD] is aware of the incidents in question—and we work closely with interagency partners, to include the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement—as appropriate—to ensure the security and safety of military assets and personnel operating at commercial port facilities,” Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen said in a statement emailed to Newsweek.
“The vessel is currently under the operational control of U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is supporting the movement of U.S. military cargo,” he added. “Due to operational security, DoD does not provide further transportation, movement details or information regarding the cargo embarked on these vessels. We have no further information to provide at this time.”
Newsweek reached out to the Port of Tacoma and the U.S. Coast Guard for comment via email on Monday.
Other images shared from the protest showed demonstrators holding signs featuring messages including “no aid for Israel,” “free all Palestinian prisoners,” and the controversial slogan “from the river to the sea.”
Real Change staff reporter Guy Oron said in a post on X that more than 500 people had joined in the protest.
Another post by the Tacoma chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America advertised early morning “block the boat solidarity shuttles” to ferry protesters to the port on Monday.
AROC executive director Lara Kiswani, a Palestinian-American, previously told San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO-TV that she hoped “workers in Tacoma will not load that military cargo” and that the “people of Tacoma will show up to protest this genocide.”
“We’re hoping… workers around the world will continue to stop ships like this anywhere they may be found,” she said. “We are simply trying to call for an immediate cease-fire and stop the aiding of the genocide of my people.”
MEDIA ADVISORY: APEC Meeting in San Francisco
BAY AREA CLIMATE JUSTICE SPOKESCOUNCIL
Scott Parkin, 415-235-0596, sparki@riseup.
Week of Protest at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco; Spokespeople Available to Address Climate Justice Aspect
The No to APEC Coalition, consisting of over 100 community, grassroots, and labor organizations, will mobilize against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Heads of State meeting in San Francisco November 11 – 15th ahead of the official closing of APEC activities on November 17th.
We encourage media to include APEC’s negative impact on the climate crisis in your reporting. Below are two contacts who can provide quotes and further information on climate/environmental justice and indigenous rights:
President Biden will meet with global leaders and business executives from 21 participating member economies who expect to establish major “informal” international trade deals that lower labor and environmental standards to dangerous levels for local and indigenous communities around the Pacific Rim.
The U.S. will host this summit for the first time in almost a decade under the theme of “sustainability” and yet participating companies such as Amazon and Microsoft have an ongoing legacy of causing extreme environmental harm. A 2021 report from Environment America found that Amazon destroys unused and unsold products every day by the thousands and Microsoft’s global water consumption increased by 34% according to their own report released in September. The summit is also happening with the backdrop of increased U.S. military presence in Asia, competition with China, inflation and the next wave of the new COVID-19 strain, creating further hazardous conditions for workers and the environment globally.
Thank you for covering the climate crisis.
See additional resources: https://linktr.ee/
For Immediate Release
Contact: Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Stop GTN Xpress coalition colleagues in linked/enclosed media releases
On October 19, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Xpress methane pipeline volume expansion across Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, ignoring regional concerns about its climate, health, and safety impacts and neglecting proper tribal consultation, despite strong comments to FERC from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Please see the linked media releases of FERC case intervenors Columbia Riverkeeper and Rogue Climate, providing statements on behalf of the Stop GTN Xpress coalition of Northwest environmental, health, and faith advocacy groups.
In response to this FERC decision, upholding unprecedented community, tribal, and state and federal government opposition to this proposal by TC Energy, the Canadian owner of the rejected Keystone XL and rupture-prone Keystone tar sands pipelines, the grassroots, climate activists collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are hosting a week of actions protesting GTN Xpress in Athol, Kennewick, Boise, Spokane, and Sandpoint, on Saturday, October 28, through Saturday, November 4. We will offer information and invite participation of inland Northwest residents and media at these events on Monday, October 23.
FERC Approves GTN Xpress Despite Opposition from Communities, Tribes, U.S. Senators, West Coast Governors, October 19, 2023 Rogue Climate
FERC Approves GTN Xpress: Legal Challenges to Come, October 19, 2023 Columbia Riverkeeper
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Audrey Leonard, Columbia Riverkeeper: (541) 399-4775
Diane Hodiak, 350 Deschutes: (206) 498-5887
FERC Approves GTN Xpress Despite Opposition from Communities, Tribes, U.S. Senators, West Coast Governors
Grassroots Opposition Groups Vow to Challenge FERC’s Decision Which Comes in the Wake of Two Recent Major TC Energy Pipeline Failures
Bend, Ore. (October 19, 2023)—Local and national organizations leading the fight against the controversial GTN Xpress Project blasted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approving TC Energy’s request to push more fracked gas into the Northwest through the aging GTN pipeline.
Despite opposition from U.S. Senators Merkley, Wyden, Cantwell, Murray, Padilla; Congressman Blumenauer and Congresswoman Salinas and Jayapal; the Attorneys General of Oregon, Washington, and California; the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission; Governors Jay Inslee and Tina Kotek; four state representatives; dozens of grassroots organizations; and thousands of community members in the Northwest, FERC rubberstamped TC Energy’s GTN Xpress Project.
FERC’s approval came without any meaningful acknowledgment of TC Energy’s latest, fiery pipeline explosion in Strasburg, Virginia in July 2023. Late last year, another TC Energy pipeline failed and spilled 588,000 gallons of crude oil into a Kansas creek. A broad coalition of organizations had called on FERC to consider the safety implications of pushing more fracked gas in a decades-old pipeline system, but FERC ignored them.
Members of the coalition opposing GTN XPress immediately announced their intention to challenge FERC’s approval by filing a Petition for Rehearing.
“FERC failed to listen to Senators, Governors, State Attorneys General, Tribes, and the public in its rubber stamp of unnecessary fracked gas in the Northwest,” said Audrey Leonard, Staff Attorney of Columbia Riverkeeper. “The Commission’s decision violates the public interest and common sense, and we will file a petition for rehearing challenging this project. Since the analysis for this project was published, two major TC Energy pipelines have failed, causing safety hazards and spilling fossil fuel. If this were to happen in dry, rural, fire-prone lands or in the residential areas where TC Energy’s GTN pipeline is located, it would be catastrophic.”
“In recent months, thousands of people have urged FERC to take seriously the public safety, climate, and environmental justice implications of this proposal, and they failed to do so,” said Hannah Sohl, Executive Director with Rogue Climate. “FERC’s decision to rush this decision in the immediate wake of another TC Energy pipeline failure and fire is extremely concerning.”
“The GTN Xpress proposal would lock in a huge new influx of fracked gas for decades at the very moment that our communities are experiencing accelerated climate change impacts such as frequent drought and summers of smoke,” said Satya Austin-Opper, of 350 Deschutes. “And this pipeline runs right through our community. I’m worried about how devastating the impact would be if the pipeline were to fail, which is certainly a possibility given the unsafe track record of TC Energy’s other aging pipelines.”
“FERC’s decision to certify this project goes against the health and well-being of Washingtonians and the residents of the greater Pacific Northwest Region,” says Max Savishinsky, Executive Director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This pipeline presents immediate risks to health and safety through leaks and explosion risk as well as long term consequences to our health through the exacerbation of climate change.”
“Given the recent news from the IPCC that the world needs to peak GHG emissions before 2025 at the very latest, nearly halve GHG emissions by 2030, and reach net-zero CO2 emissions around mid-century, the proposed GTN XPress project would be a step in the completely wrong direction,” said Selden Prentice, federal policy lead for 350 Seattle. “This project must be stopped!”
“TC Energy’s proposal to push additional methane gas through a six-decade-old pipeline threatens communities across Idaho and the Northwest,” said community organizer Helen Yost of Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “FERC mostly ignored the health and safety impacts of GTN pipeline expansion under the rural agricultural and public recreation areas that sustain the Idaho economy. Considering TC Energy’s massive pipeline ruptures from increased volumes and its negligent safety record, Idahoans cannot trust GTN Xpress to responsibly provide energy that benefits our growing population.”
“Today’s decision to approve the GTN XPress expansion project is a major disrespect of and threat to our communities and our climate, and goes against the will of thousands of people and elected officials across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California,” said Dineen O’Rourke, Campaign Manager at 350PDX. “The GTN XPress pipeline expansion is the opposite of what the Northwest needs — we need investments in cleaner and safer energy, not an increase of polluting and explosive fracked gas through aging pipelines.”
“With this decision to approve the GTN Xpress expansion, the Biden administration is again failing on its promises to protect environmental justice communities and the climate. Any expansion of fossil fuels is incompatible with a livable future,” said Oil Change International’s US Program Co-Manager, Allie Rosenbluth. “Oregon and Washington must continue to rise to the challenge and safeguard the health and well-being of communities and the climate by challenging FERC’s approval of this unnecessary and dangerous gas expansion.”
“Sacred texts are full of people wondering how long pain and suffering will continue for the most vulnerable. Today, when FERC chose the path of profit over people, these wonderings were repeated yet again. FERC’s decision risks community safety, threatens sacred lands, playgrounds, community centers and more, and goes in the opposite direction of clean, sustainable energy for all,” said Rev. AC Churchill, Executive Director of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light. “We must reject proposals that willingly sacrifice the health and well-being of our communities and, instead, work towards a clean energy infrastructure that ensures equal access and deep respect for all, particularly our most vulnerable in the human family.”
“FERC’s alarming decision to approve the GTN Xpress Project blatantly disregards concerns from community advocates and hundreds of health professionals in Oregon and within our region.” Said David De La Torre, Healthy Climate Program Director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This irresponsible decision will have implications on the health and wellbeing of communities, as well as lasting impact on generations to come. As wildfires and extreme heat events continue to increase in frequency, straining health services and the wellbeing of Oregonians, it is imperative that we not continue to approve proposals that accelerate the climate crisis. We don’t need more fracked gas being pumped through our state and communities.”
“Devastating climate change impacts around the world, TC Energy’s July 2023 gas line explosion in Virginia, and record heat across the U.S. throughout this summer capped by a record-breaking September are but the latest examples of how we should be switching to renewable energy instead of locking in increased greenhouse gas emissions and projects that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Marc Yaggi, CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance. “The approved expansion of the GTN pipeline is unconscionable and we stand by our Coalition partners’ demand for FERC to reverse course and do what is right for the people and the planet.”
Groups and individuals who intervened in the FERC proceeding, including Columbia Riverkeeper and Rogue Climate, will file a Petition for Rehearing.
- FERC Meeting Summary, October 2023
- Safety background
- Climate background
- Demand/Need background
- Video about GTN XPress proposal
- Proposed Pipeline Expansion Could Upend Three States’ Climate Plans, DeSmog, July 20, 2023
- Map of GTN Pipeline
- Webinar recordings of February 13, 2023 “People’s Hearing”