Rising Tide Chicago Disrupts Heartland Institute’s Climate Denial Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Contact:  Josh Trost, 312 343-8259 email:thisperfectworld@yahoo.com

Rising Tide Chicago Action Video

“HEARTLAND’S LIES DESTROY OUR PLANET,” CLIMATE ACTIVISTS SAY
Activists protest “climate denier” mis-information at Heartland
Institute’s annual climate change conference

CHICAGO—Today, two climate action advocates with the group Rising Tide
Chicago challenged the nation’s biggest climate denier organization on its
home-turf – a national conference taking place in Chicago organized by the
now infamous Heartland Institute. The two activists displayed a banner
during the Conference which read “Heartland’s Lies Destroy Our Planet.”
The Protesters were escorted out of the building by security while
chanting.

The action came at the end of the second day of Heartlands “6th Annual
Climate Conference.” The fossil-fuel industry-funded Heartland Institute
is a self-proclaimed “think tank” fueling the climate change denial
industry to work against the public interest.

“I’m willing to risk my arrest, because if Heartland Institute gets its
way, it could be the end of civilization as we know it,” stated Alice
Coffey an activist who risked arrest at today’s event.

“Anyone who can deny climate change has never been to Texas where there is
an historic record drought caused by the climate crisis,  or Arizona,
where we no longer have monsoon season, but haboob season – just wind, and
dirt and heat, but no rain,” said Ian Fecke-Stoudt, who also participated
in the climate confrontation.

A second group held a rally outside the event earlier in the day.  Scores
of activists demonstrated outside the Hilton Hotel protesting the
Institute and the Conference while a banner was dropped from a hotel
window.

“The Heartland Institute exists to spread climate disinformation to
protect the profits of the few,” said Josh Trost of Rising Tide Chicago.
“Climate Deniers have no right participating in policy discussions.
Daily, the global scientific consensus strengthens as planetary health
indicators decline. Each lie is a theft from the remaining time we have to
act to limit escalating climate chaos.

“For the sake of the future of humanity, we demand the Heartland Institute
to respect the global scientific consensus and stop disseminating climate
lies,” Trost said.

James Hansen quoted in The Guardian said, “[Climate change] can’t be fixed
by individual specific changes; it has to be an across-the-board rising
fee on carbon emissions,” said Hansen. “We can’t simply say that there’s a
climate problem, and leave it to the politicians. They’re so clearly under
the influence of the fossil fuel industry that they’re coming up with
cockamamie solutions which aren’t solutions. That is the bottom line.”

In May 2012, DeSmog Blog reported that the Heartland Institute had added
the Illinois Coal Association (ICA) as a new “Gold Sponsor” for its 2012
ICCC-7 climate conference. ICA joined following the Heartland’s leaked
documents and Unabomber billboard campaign. In Heartland’s leaked 2012
Fundraising plan, Murray Energy gave $100,000 in 2010 and was expected to
give $40,000 in 2012; the company’s subsidiary, The American Coal Company,
is a member of the ICA.

The Heartland Institute has lead many mis-information campaigns which have
included:

  • Denying the harmful effects of tobacco
  • In 2010 the Institute defended BP during its infamous oil spill in
    the Gulf of Mexico
  • The Institute opposes the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact,
    which was signed into effect in December of 2005 by the governors of eight
    states that border the great lakes, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois,
    Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York, and the premiers of
    the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The compact was proposed in
    light of the unprecedented low levels of water in the lakes, which are now
    at the bottom end of the historical fluctuation range of 4-6 feet. In
    order to mitigate diminishing water levels, the compact will limit the
    consumption of water from the Great Lakes to areas within these eight
    states, or to areas outside of the boundary only by petition subject to
    strict regulation.

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Rising Tide is an international, all-volunteer, grassroots network of
groups and individuals who organize locally, promote community-based
solutions to the climate crisis and take direct action to confront the
root causes of climate change.

Tar Sands Megaload Fight Moves West To Spokane

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 21, 2012

Contact:
Justin Ellenbecker, Occupy Spokane: ellenbecker22@yahoo.com, 509-599-4549
Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com, 208-301-8039

Photo:See available Facebook photos here

*Washington/Idaho Megaload Resistance*

At about 11:30 pm on Sunday night, May 20, a dozen activists from Occupy
Spokane and Wild Idaho Rising Tide converged in Spokane, Washington, to
protest megaloads of oversized equipment bound for Alberta tar sands
operations from the Port of Pasco.  ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil has been using
Highway 395, Interstate 90, and city streets in Spokane and Spokane Valley
since mid-October to transport road damaging shipments weighing up to
400,000 pounds and stretching over 200 feet long.  Diverted in Idaho from
their originally intended Highway 12 route by court challenges and from
their alternative Highway 95 path by Moscow area protests, these pieces of
a tar sands/bitumen processing plant will expand Canadian carbon fuel
extraction, American dependence on oil, and continental greenhouse gas
emissions, while reaping hefty profits for one of the wealthiest
corporations on Earth.

From the pedestrian walkway over East Third Avenue near South Regal Street,
Spokane climate justice activists draped banners asserting “No Dirty
Energy,” “Occupy 99%,” “Climate Killers,” “Highway to Hell,” and other
statements (see photos).  While waiting for the megaload convoys’ arrival,
they observed flaggers and warning signs posted along Third Avenue, support
vehicles cruising the area, and up to six Spokane city police cars parked
near the demonstrators.  Between midnight and 1:00 am on Monday, four
megaloads traversed Third Avenue, narrowly fitting under the pedestrian
overpass and between parked cars and activists with protest signs lining
both sides of the street.  Convoys consisting of Washington state trooper
escorts, flagger vehicles, and pilot trucks displaying illuminated
“oversized load” signs accompanied a silver, cylindrical module, two large,
blue, trailer-like boxes, and a frame structure full of pipes and parts.  A
protester later saw another megaload among a cluster of vehicles similarly
leaving the interstate at the Altamont Street exit in Spokane and the
Barker Road off-ramp in Spokane Valley.

Recognizing the international impacts of these transports, citizens
throughout the Northwest will continue to coordinate and organize
demonstrations to oppose and impede tar sands megaload traffic, to prevent
increasing carbon emissions causing global climate change and to dissuade
investors in such dirty energy schemes.  The mostly foreign-owned
corporations who have mined only two or three percent of the Alberta tar
sands are advancing the second fastest rate of deforestation in the world,
as they consume more energy, mostly derived from natural gas, than tar
sands fuels ultimately yield.  Their largest industrial project on Earth
pollutes exorbitant volumes of fresh water and deposits heavy metals,
carcinogens, and oil across vast swaths of Canadian boreal forests and
wetlands.  Resident First Nations villages practicing subsistence
lifestyles suffer rare cancers and disproportionate deaths, as the single
greatest contributor of atmospheric carbon in North America bodes “game
over” for the Earth’s climate.

People interested in upcoming expressions of First Amendment rights through
anti-megaload assemblies in the Spokane area can contact Occupy Spokane
and/or Wild Idaho Rising Tide for more information about the time and
location of protests.

St. Louis 99% Protests Peabody Coal Shareholder Meeting, Demand Company Pay Fair Share

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2012

CONTACT: Cathy Sherwin – 314-452-2179

St. Louis 99% Protests Peabody Coal Shareholder Meeting, Demand Company Pay Fair Share

New Wave of 99% Activism Hold Mega Corporations Accountable Over Tax Dodging

(St. Louis) – Today the 99% of St. Louis joined growing national protests at corporate shareholder meetings today by voicing disapproval of tax dodging practices both inside and outside the Peabody Coal shareholder meeting.  Several frustrated shareholders attended the meeting while over one hundred other protestors rallied outside, brandishing signs that highlighted the impact of corporate tax dodging on federal program spending in Missouri.

We are here today to stand up against corporate power,” said Colleen Kelly.  “Rather than contributing to the common good, corporations would rather buy off politicians and make obscene profits.  That cannot stand; we are here today calling for a different kind of society.”

Over the past three years, Peabody Energy made $1 billion in domestic profits, but paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2008 and 2009, and $0 in state income taxes in 2008 and 2010. According to the corporation’s annual report, it plans to pay a tax rate of about 26% this year—well below the federal rate of 35%. In addition, 2 of the last 3 years Peabody has paid more to lobbyists and groups like ALEC than taxes.

If Peabody Coal had paid its fair share in 2010, 326 more children could have had access to the Head Start program, 280 Missourians would have had the medical care they needed, or Missouri could have seen an increase of over $30,000 in disability compensation for veterans.

“I pay my taxes-Peabody Coal should too,” said Zach Chasnoff, a local small business owner,  “Peabody’s refusal to pay its fair share of taxes has real consequences for communities like mine – cuts to critical public services that keep out communities safe, serve our veterans and seniors, and make sure our kids get the quality education they need.  If Peabody Coal wants to be a world-class company, it should act like one by paying its taxes instead of lobbying for tax loopholes at the expense of our communities.”

With the economy continuing to punish working people and big corporations like Peabody Coal proving themselves unaccountable to the concerns of the 99%, working people and homeowners are descending on shareholder meetings to confront CEOs and other members of the 1% over their economic concerns.  Activists with the 99% Spring have disrupted or shut down several corporate shareholder meetings, including confronting executives with questions about compensation, lobbying, and tax dodging.  Here’s coverage from the GE shareholder meeting in Michigan and Wells Fargo in California.

After last year’s Occupy protests, this spring has seen a new wave of protests from voters and taxpayers against the rich corporations and politicians who have created an economic emergency for the 99%. The protests are being organized by The 99% Spring, a loose coalition of community and faith groups, unions, and progressive advocacy organizations.

For more information, visit www.the99power.org and www.99uniting.org.

F.B.I. Targets Peaceful Anti-Fracking & Rising Tide Activists, Washington Post Reveals

March 11, 2012
For Immediate Release
Rising Tide Press Contact:
Scott Parkin, 415-235-0596 (mobile)
sparki@risingtidenorthamerica.org

F.B.I. targets peaceful anti-fracking and Rising Tide activists, Washington Post reveals

Rising Tide North Texas subject of intimidation campaign by federal government

In today’s Washington Post, it was revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been investigating peaceful climate and anti-fracking activists as a threat. In response to anonymous complaints Rising Tide North Texas, a part of the Rising Tide North America network, has been the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. The FBI has visited and called for an interview Rising Tide organizer, University of North Texas (UNT) student and a marine veteran of the Afghan war Ben Kessler, as well as UNT philosophy professor Adam Briggle.

“If all I have done to be investigated as a threat is to peacefully express my opinions, then we are in serious trouble,” said Ben Kessler. “Activism is not terrorism. The only dangerous threat in North Texas is the threat that hydro-fracturing, or “fracking,” has on the health and lives of the residents of our communities.”

The article also revealed cooperation between the F.B.I. and local police in Moscow Idaho around repeated protests organized by Wild Idaho Rising Tide around the tar sands heavy haul truck shipments.

Here is the article:

As eco-terrorism wanes, governments still target activist groups seen as threat

By Juliet Eilperin, Updated: Saturday, March 10, 5:12 PM

Ben Kessler, a student at the University of North Texas and an environmental activist, was more than a little surprised that an FBI agent questioned his philosophy professor and acquaintances about his whereabouts and his sign-waving activities aimed at influencing local gas drilling rules.“It was scary,” said Kessler, who is a national organizer for the nonviolent environmental group Rising Tide North America. He said the agent approached him this past fall and said that the FBI had received an anonymous complaint and were looking into his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” The bureau respected free speech, the agent told him, but was “worried about things being taken to an extreme level.”

Even as environmental and animal rights extremism in the United States is on the wane, officials at the federal, state and local level are continuing to target groups they have labeled a threat to national security, according to interviews with numerous activists, internal FBI documents and a survey of legislative initiatives across the country.

Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad (R) signed a law this month, backed by the farm lobby, that makes it a crime to pose as an employee or use other methods of misrepresentation to get access to operations in an attempt to expose animal cruelty. Utah passed a similar bill, nicknamed an “ag-gag” law, on Wednesday. Last month, Victor VanOrden, an activist in his mid-20s, received the maximum sentence of five years in prison under a separate Iowa law for attempting to free minks from one of the state’s fur farms.

At the same time, though, acts that might be defined as eco-terrorism are down. In recent years, the broad definition has included arson, setting mink free at fur farms, campaigns to financially bankrupt animal testing firms and protests in front of the homes of some of those firms’ executives.

Michael Whelan, executive director of Fur Commission USA, estimated that in the 1990s “there were close to 20 attacks per year on our farmers” and that since 2003 there have been fewer than two attacks a year on American mink farms.

“Overall we’ve seen a decline in activity, in terms of violent criminal activity,” FBI intelligence analyst Erin Weller said in an interview.

FBI officials say two factors contribute to the reduced threat.

One is their successful prosecutions of several activists, in particular the 15 convictions in 2007 for members of the Earth Liberation Front. The national sweep of radical environmentalists was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated 2011 documentary “If a Tree Falls.” Not only did several ELF members get long prison sentences — Stanislas Meyerhoff got 13 years — but also many activists testified against others to get lighter punishments.

“That’s had an impact on the movement as a whole,” Weller said.

The second factor is that environmental and animal rights activists may view a Democratic administration as more sympathetic to their goals and be less inclined to take radical steps.

“Obviously if you think there is going to be support for your position, you’re going to use legal means rather than illegal means,” Weller said.

Despite the decline in activity, the level of scrutiny has continued, say several who track state and federal enforcement.“There’s been very little change under the Obama administration,” said Will Potter, author of the book “Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Movement Under Siege.” After factoring in several state initiatives on top of federal enforcement, Potter said, “The political climate as a whole has gotten a lot worse.”
Read the rest of the article here

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