Activists Occupy Montana Capitol Building

Helena, MT – On the morning of July 12th, six activists from Earth First! and Northern Rockies Rising Tide have risked arrest by occupying Governor Schweitzer’s office in an act of non-violent civil disobedience.  The activists have locked their arms in a mock oil pipeline made out of PVC plastic pipe.  In the wake of the Silvertip spill, Governor Schweitzer has publicly chastised Exxon Mobil, while simultaneously continuing to promote the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, megaload shipments bound for the Alberta Tar Sands and other extreme fossil fuel projects throughout the state.

“If the Governor has his way, Montana will be transformed into what is essentially an energy extraction colony for Big Oil.  The Silvertip spill is simply a short preview of what this would mean for the lives and livelihood of all Montanans,” says Great Falls native Peter Dolan, one of the eight occupying the office.

Activists inside the Capitol are also demanding that Schweitzer stand up to TransCanada and other international criminal organizations by publicly opposing Alberta Tar Sands exportation.  This project is widely known as the most destructive energy process on the planet by leading environmental organizations.  According to a recent report by University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering professor John Stansbury, neither TransCanada nor the regulators evaluating the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have properly considered the risks.  Stansbury said TransCanada underestimated both the frequency of spills on the pipeline and the severity of the worst-case scenario spills.

“As the recent Exxon Mobil pipeline disaster has made clear, Governor Schweitzer is attempting to turn Montana into an extraction state, while at the same time publicly proclaiming his supposed support for clean energy, protecting the environment and building healthy communities.  It’s one or the other. You can’t be clean and dirty at the same time,” according to Bozeman’s Erica Dossa, who also took part in the action.

Earth First! was named in 1979 in response to a lethargic, compromising and increasingly corporate environmental community.  Earth First! takes a decidedly different approach towards environmental issues by using all the tools in the toolbox, ranging from grassroots organizing and involvement in the legal process to civil disobedience.  Northern Rockies Rising Tide is the Missoula based chapter off the international, decentralized, grassroots movement Rising Tide.  They are an all-volunteer network of groups and individuals who promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis and take direct actions to confront the root causes of climate change.

Report back from A20 Day of Action against Extraction

On April 20th, communities marked the 1-year anniversary of the start of the Gulf Oil spill. Across North America and as far as Helsinki and Wellington the destruction wrought by BP, Halliburton, TransOcean, and a complacent government was not just remembered, but resisted.

Equally important, Rising Tiders and our allies demonstrated to communities, energy companies, and government agencies that it’s not just this oil spills, but the toxic coal pollution, gruesome tar sands pits, the poisons of natural gas fracking, and many other types of extraction that poison people and the planet that must come to an end. A wrap up video is below:

 

This is just a partial list of communities that marked the anniversary with action:

Athens, GA; Biloxi, MS; Chicago, IL; Fort Worth, TX; Gizborne, New Zealand; Helsinki, Finland; Hood River, OR; Ithaca, NY; Kalamazoo, MI; London, ON; London, UK (multiple actions); Moscow, Idaho; New Orleans, LA; New Plymouth, New Zealand; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Vancouver, BC; Victoria, Australia; Washington, DC (multiple actions); and Wellington, New Zealand.

Below are some photographic highlights! If you missed the day of action, there’s no better time then the present to get involved with the Rising Tide – a summer of action against dirty energy extraction and burning is right around the corner!

 

About seven members of Board Riders Against Drilling demonstrated what it would be like to swim in a sea covered in oil, in a national day of action commemorating the first anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Co-founder and spokesman Dominico Zatata, from Mount Maunganui, said the day was an opportunity to highlight the issues surrounding offshore oil drilling and create public awareness and protest the action occurring in the Western Bay of Plenty.

On Wednesday, several dozen protesters marched through downtown Fort Worth, waving signs and chanting anti-drilling slogans that reflected concern over air and water pollution.

The anxiety centers on a recently expanded drilling method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is now used in more than half of new gas wells drilled in Texas. This practice — which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals far underground to break up rock and extract gas — is common in the Barnett Shale, a major shale-gas field around Fort Worth.

The protest, organized by the group Rising Tide North Texas, is the latest sign of a backlash against drilling in Texas. Yard signs saying “Get the Frack Out of Here” and “Protect Our Kids/No Drilling” have appeared in some yards in Southlake, a Dallas suburb. A few communities have declared a temporary moratorium on drilling permits, and Dallas set up a task force last week to examine drilling regulations within its city limits.

More than one-hundred people turned out in Wellington to protest against oil exploration off the east coast of New Zealand by Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

People from the East Cape Maori tribe, Te Whanau a Apanui, were supported by Maori from around the country, environmentalists, activists and concerned New Zealanders.

A large crowd of fishermen and concerned residents gathered beside the shrimp boat docks on Biloxi Bay Wednesday to mark the one year observance of the BP oil spill.

About 50 Vietnamese fishermen were a part of the group. They carried protest signs urging BP to restore the gulf and pay their damage claims.

Following on the massive sit-in at the Department of the Interior on Monday, activists in Washington DC joined collectives from around the country to take action today for the Rising Tide Day of Action against Extraction.

The activists tied a banner around the doors of the DC Government Affairs offices of British Petroleum to send them a message on the anniversary of the start of the Gulf disaster that corporate polluters will be held accountable.

six activists with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Rising Tide North America, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Backbone Campaign were arrested after climbing the fence to Midwest Generation’s controversial Crawford coal plant in Little Village. The activists unfurled a 7’ x 30’ banner atop a 20 foot tall sprawling coal pile that feeds the power plant, which reads: “Close Chicago’s Toxic Coal Plants.”

The groups are demanding the closure of the plant just one day before the much-anticipated Clean Power Ordinance hearing, which could force the plant to undergo major modifications to upgrade their pollution controls.

LVEJO, Rising Tide and RAN Chicago are calling for the closure of Chicago’s two toxic coal-fired power plants, the Crawford plant in Little Village and the Fisk plant in Pilsen, both owned by Midwest Generation. These two plants are Chicagos largest sources of particulate air pollution. In the last three years alone, these plants combined have spewed over 45,000 tons of pollution into the air, compromising the health of all Chicagoans.

Day of Action Photos from Gisborne, New Zealand (where Petrobras is currently exploring for deep sea oil & gas)

Cascadia Rising Tide protest in Hood River Oregon in opposition to shipments of drilling and refining equipment up the Columbia river for use at the Alberta Tar Sands.

Wednesday (20 April) artists from art activist group Liberate Tate are staging a performance in the Tate Britain on the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

A naked member of the group has had an oil-like substance poured over him by silent figures dressed in black and wearing veils, and is now lying in a fetal position on the floor in the middle of the exhibition Single Form. Dedicated to the human body, Single Form is one of a series of ‘BP British Art Displays’ staged throughout the galleries of Tate Britain.

Attendees of the “ Gulf Coast Leadership Summit” received a pleasant surprise this morning upon hearing a representative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announce a ban on toxic dispersants — as well as a free health care plan for spill and cleanup victims. Even more surprising: a BP co-presenter expressed regret for his company’s past actions, and said the oil giant would foot the bill for the new health care plan.

But the news was too good to be true. Surprise turned to confusion when an intensely irate BP representative barged into the room and interrupted the press conference. Comedy ensued as the two reps pointed fingers at each other, each claiming to be the real BP employee. Members of the press, confused, attempted to discover who was real and who wasn’t.

The answer was: except for the audience, everyone was a fake. The impostors Dr. Dean Winkeldom and Steve Wistwil, both Gulf Coast residents, collaborated with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an organization whose goal is to create sustainable communities free from industrial pollution. The organization decided to create a hoax to publicize what should be happening in response to the emerging health crisis.

Over 50 people braved sub-zero temperatures and pouring rain to become a lively torrent of ‘human oil’ rushing through downtown streets today, forcing wildlife and residents to flee for their survival and Enbridge workers to scramble to save their public image.  The large-scale street performance, organized by Climate Justice Montreal, dramatized the hidden dangers of pipeline construction and dirty oil extraction.

The pipeline breach occured at approximately 12:30 pm at the corner of Sherbrooke and McGill College.  A sea of human beings dressed in black garbage bags and covered in sticky crude rushed southwards crying chants of “This Bullshit, Get Off It, Planet Over Profit” and “D-I-R-T-Y Enbridge Got No Alibi, They’re Pipeline’s are DIRTY!”  As the crowd moved on, the spill only gained in intensity as the dragon spewed balloons full of sticky crude in its trail.

A PR team in Enbridge outfits rushed ahead of the torrent trying to downplay the dangers of the oncoming tide with statements such as “there is nothing to worry about here,” “Enbridge has only the highest standards in safety monitoring and control,” and “please return to your energy-intensive lifestyles.”  This time, Enbridge’s campaign of greenwashing could not keep the human and environmental costs of their pipelines out of the public eye.

In fact, organizers brought attention to Enbridge’s track-record of failing to protect the environment and ensure the safety of communities.  “Just last year, an Enbridge pipeline spilled 20,000 barrels of oil into rivers in Michigan. We don’t want that to happen here,” said Robin Reid Fraser, a member of Climate Justice Montreal.  The group is targeting Canadian energy giant Enbridge in opposition to its proposed Trailbreaker pipeline project which plans to bring 200,000 barrels/day of Alberta tar sands crude through Montreal.

 

 

21 Arrests at Dept. of Interior Occupation!

 

 

Residents from Gulf Coast, Appalachia and interior West join students and
climate justice activists in calling for more action on extractive industry.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Scott Parkin; on site mobile- 415-235-0596;
Henia Belalia; on site mobile- 510-529-8927
Email— extraction@risingtidenorthamerica.org

Photos available at www.risingtidenorthamerica.org

6:40pm (EST) UPDATE: Police are reporting 21 people have been arrested, including youth and adults from across the country. Residents of Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Vermont, Georgia, Washington DC and California were among those arrested while occupying the Department of Interior offices.

Washington D.C.— Over a thousand climate activists marched from Lafayette Park to the Department of the Interior’s headquarters in Washington D.C. today. Reclaim Power coincided with the end of Powershift, a mass youth climate conference, and came only 2 days before the anniversary of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster. As many as 300 protesters ran inside the headquarters in a Wisconsin-style occupation calling for the abolition of offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction. In an act of civil disobedience, young and old alike occupied the lobby for over an hour, smiling and singing protest songs.

donate for legal support for arrestees at the 4/18 sit-in at the D.O.I.

The Dept. of Interior has oversight over two agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the Office of  Surface Mining (OSM), which are responsible for the BP Oil Spill, mountaintop removal coal mining and tar sands oil drilling in southern Utah. Furthermore, the Dept. of Interior just opened up over 7,000 acres of land to industry for coal extraction in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

“Our demonstration today is to show that Wyoming might be small in population but mighty in heart,” said Kevin Uransky, a resident from Wyoming’s coalfields and member of High Country Rising Tide participating in the sit-in. “We don’t want to just stand by and allow big corporations to destroy our homes, our way of life, and some of last open, beautiful, and undeveloped terrain left in the United States. We want to show that Wyoming has a voice not to be drowned out by those of more represented states, we have a voice, we have an opinion, and we want to be heard.”

 

Reclaim Power is being led by residents of residents of the Gulf Coast, Appalachia and the interior West – regions directly impacted by heinous oil, gas and coal extractive industries. Participants are calling for the Obama Administration and the federal agency to phase out harmful mining and drilling practices and facilitate transitions to sustainable local energy systems.

“The Dept. of Interior has been allowing the killing of my community and Appalachia’s mountains by the coal industry for decades,” said Junior Walk  from Boone County, West Virginia. “King Coal has poisoned Appalachia with toxic water, toxic air and toxic waste. It’s time for real action, not merely political posturing. I commend these fiery activists taking risks and making change for our communities and the climate.” “For all practical purposes, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast function as a third world resource colony within the US. For a hundred years, our people and ecosystems have been sacrificed to provide cheap energy and big profits,” said Devin Martin, a native Cajun from southern Louisiana. “We

pay for the hidden costs of oil and gas with our health and our lives through air pollution, oil spills, and a completely corrupted state government. We already lose a football field of coastal marsh every 38 minutes, and now rising sea levels from climate change will put my home, including New Orleans, under water permanently.”

Reclaim Power also seeks to highlight the ruthless manner in which extractive industries are allowed to treat workers and the communities they operate in. Obama’s Dept. of Interior allows the fossil fuel industry to run amok over ecosystems, communities, workers and local economies. Last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and spilled over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The results have devastated local economies, fisheries and wetlands. Mountaintop removal is
a radical form of coal mining in which up to 800 feet, sometimes more, of densely forested mountaintops are literally blown up to reach thin coal seams. Already, over 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams have been lost due to this devastating mining practice. It has been recently discovered that oil companies in southern Utah greatly expanded the acres of land to be developed for tar sands extraction from 60 to over 30,000.

The 758 million tons of coal to be extracted from the four competitive leases in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin will be the equivalent of 300 new coal-fired power plants.

Today’s march and sit-in are a preview to Rising Tide North America’s “Day of Action Against Extraction” happening April 20th, on the anniversary of the BP Oil Spill. The day of action will feature protests by Gulf Coast residents fighting offshore drilling, Appalachians resisting mountaintop removal coal mining, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York residents opposing natural gas hydrofracking, Canadians fighting tar sands mining in Alberta, as well as other community groups engaged in fights against extractive industries. Protests are also planned for the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

Demands from today’s Reclaim Power action and the April 20th Day of Action
Against Extraction include:

  • An immediate phase out of fossil fuel extraction and a just transition to truly sustainable forms of energy
  • Community control over natural resources
  • Recognizing the sovereignty of indigenous nations and their right to control resources on their lands.
  • Reparations from both state and corporate entities that have profited from extraction in order to fund ecological restoration, full health coverage, and sustainable livelihoods in impacted communities.

For more information please visit extractionaction.net

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Rising Tide North America is an all volunteer climate justice network with
over 50 chapters and local contacts that works to confront the root causes
of climate change.

 

donate for legal support for arrestees at the 4/18 sit-in at the D.O.I.