Lifelong Oklahoman Youth Pastor suspended from KXL Construction Equipment, locked to machinery.

TSB OKBREAKING: Lifelong Oklahoman Youth Pastor suspended from KXL Construction Equipment, locked to machinery.

Earlier this morning, Stefan Warner, a youth pastor who was born and
raised in Harrah, OK, locked himself to machinery being used to build the
toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through Creek land by treaty near
Schoolton, OK. Warner is taking action to protect the North Canadian River
and
the health of the towns and land it runs through from being irreversibly
damaged by diluted bitumen (tar sands) leaks and spills, as well as to
send a clear message that the current day colonialism and disregard for
the health and sovereignty of indigenous peoples in Alberta and along
the pipeline is unacceptable—from a Christian perspective, as well as a
human perspective.

Tar sands pipelines have a horrendous track record: the existing
Keystone 1 pipeline leaked twelve times in its first year, and at least
thirty times to date. In 2010, the added dangers of tar sands pipelines
were demonstrated by Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline spill of over a million
gallons of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The
Kalamazoo Tar Sands spill is the costliest inland spill in United States
history, draining the oil spill coffers and placing the $800 million and
rising price tag onto the backs of local and federal taxpayers. But it
is not the monetary burden that weighs heaviest; the toll on human life,
health and local ecosystems is immeasurable, and in the immediate, the
toxicity of the diluted bitumen and undisclosed proprietary chemicals
has proven devastating.

In addition to the immense dangers posed by the Keystone XL, TransCanada
has been misrepresenting the economic effects of the pipeline. The
majority of construction jobs are temporary and have been filled by
Wisconsin-based contractor Michel’s, not Oklahomans and Texans. Despite
TransCanada and the State Department’s rhetoric of energy independence,
the diluted bitumen transported by the Keystone XL is destined for
export to foreign markets after being refined in Gulf Coast refineries,
and the National Resources Defense Council asserts that the KXL will
increase domestic gas prices.

“I grew up in a town where the North Canadian River runs right through,
and we can’t let the North Canadian become another Kalamazoo ,” said
Oklahoman youth pastor Stefan Warner. “I figure folks have to take action to
stop our beautiful Oklahoma from being marred by a foreign corporation,
and stand up to fight big corporations who think that poisoning people
and stealing land is acceptable so long as they make a profit.”

Warner is acting with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a coalition of
Oklahomans and allies fighting to prevent construction of the Keystone
XL which will bring dangerous and toxic diluted bitumen from the
biome-consuming Tar Sands gigaproject to refinery communities in the
Gulf. This action comes in the wake of dozens of similar actions which
have actively fought construction of the Keystone XL in Oklahoma and
Texas. In light of reports of shoddy welding by TransCanada
whistleblower Evan Vokes and the recent release of photographs depicting
holes in the weld of a pipe buried in Texas, the struggle to keep the
Keystone XL from being completed is even more urgent.

Controversial Oil Pipeline Lawsuit Settled in Texas

For Immediate Release

January 24, 2013

Contact:

Kerul Dyer, 415-866-0005

Lauren Regan, 541-687-9180

Controversial Oil Pipeline Lawsuit Settled in Texas

Determined activists to press on with resistance to pipeline construction

Eugene, OR–Twenty-nine individuals and organizations named in a civil lawsuit filed by the notorious Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, agreed under duress today to settle, under threat of expansive injunction terms. The far-reaching Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) was filed on the heels of record numbers of non-violent protests in Texas opposing the controversial XL Pipeline construction.

A SLAPP is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.In this case, named defendants, Tar Sands Blockade, Rising Tide North America and Rising Tide North Texas agreed to settle the unconscionable SLAPP suit filed against them by a profiteering multinational Canadian corporation.

Under threat of far more draconian injunction terms, the parties signed a settlement that enjoins those parties from trespassing or causing damage to Keystone XL property including the easements within private property boundaries, often acquired by TransCanada by taking advantage of impoverished property owners within the States of Texas and Oklahoma.

“This is a David versus Goliath situation, where an unethical, transnational corporation is using its weight to crush First Amendment rights of people speaking out and resisting the irreparable destruction that will result from construction of this highly controversial XL Pipeline.” said Lauren Regan, veteran attorney with the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) who coordinates legal representation for the grassroots network of activists subject to the lawsuit. “But the resistance to the pipeline is growing, not shrinking; it’s coming from everywhere.  This is a national and global issue that will effect us all.”

Today’s SLAPP lawsuit controversy comes amid a heated national debate about the construction of the full Keystone XL pipeline, which if completed could transport 1.1 million gallons of oil through America’s heartland every day. The portion of the pipeline stretching from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Texan Gulf Coast is known as the XL Pipeline (or Gulf Coast pipeline). If both the northern Keystone portion and the remaining XL Pipeline were constructed, Canadian tar sands oil would be transported to the Gulf Coast.

“TransCanada’s lawyers, guns and money aren’t going to extinguish the rising momentum of resistance from the Gulf Coast to Alberta’s tar sands against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Scott Parkin of Rising Tide North America. “Climate change is the most critical issue of our time. Compromised institutions advancing vulgar systems of fossil fuel exploitation will not deter our resolve.”

Tar sands oil may be the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, producing a barrel of tar sands oil creates three to four times more climate pollution than the equivalent amount of crude produced in Canada or the US. In February, leading environmental organizations including the Sierra Club will push for mass civil disobedience against the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and further extraction of the Alberta tar sands oil.

“Despite the impacts that the new oil pipeline will have on our climate and our health, activists resisting the pipeline must endure physical harm, lengthy incarcerations and felony charges – and now civil lawsuits, at the hands of TransCanada,” continued Regan. “The people have not been deterred by the company’s attempt to restrict their right to protest, however, it has only emboldened their convictions.

In addition to the civil lawsuit, TransCanada has allegedly and repeatedly violated the law by obtaining “common carrier” status in Texas to force acquisition of private property, often from low-income families. Eyewitness accounts also suggest that representatives of the pipeline company even encouraged police officers to use controversial pain compliance technologies like tasers and chemical weapons like mace against non-violent activists.

The CLDC provides pro bono legal representation to activists like those in Texas resisting the construction of the new section of pipeline. The organization helps coordinate attorneys and their allies to defend civil liberties of citizens and offers legal rights workshops for activists across the country.

“At each attempt TransCanada makes to chill the citizens’ rights to protest the XL Pipeline, the people’s lawyers will stand up to defend them in court,” said Lauren Regan. “The survival of our species in the wake of global climate change deserves nothing less.”

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The Civil Liberties Defense Center focuses on defending and upholding ?civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, and legal support and assistance. http://cldc.org

 

RAMPS: Navaojo And Appalachians Join St. Louis Residents In Confronting Peabody Coal Executives

From RAMPS

ST. LOUIS, MO — About one hundreds of protesters are gathered in downtown St. Louis today outside of the Peabody Coal corporate headquarters. St. Louis locals were joined by Navajo residents from Black Mesa, Ariz., Appalachians from coal-burdened West Virginia, and supporters from across the United States to demand the cessation of strip mining and accountability for land and people.  Navajo residents of Black Mesa, Don Yellowman and Fern Benally are demanding to speak with Peabody CEO Greg H. Boyce and have a letter detailing their concerns.

Protesters including representatives from Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival, Black Mesa Indigenous Support, Veterans for Peace, SEIU and other labor unions are refusing to leave until Peabody executives meet with them.   Banners have been dropped from two nearby buildings reading, “Stop the War on Mother Earth.  Peabody: Bad for St. Louis, Bad for the Planet” and “Peabody Kills.”

Peabody, the largest coal company in the U.S., operates massive strip mines on Black Mesa, Ariz., ancestral homelands of the Navajo people. Tens of thousands of Navajo families have been forcibly relocated in order to clear the land for Peabody’s strip mines; this constitutes the largest forced relocation of indigenous peoples in the U.S since the Trail of Tears. To this day, Navajo and Hopi people are engaged in resistance to the forced relocation and mining practices threaten the land and livelihood of future generations.

In nearly 45 years of operation, Peabody’s mines on Black Mesa have been the source of over 325 million tons of carbon dioxide discharged into the atmosphere#. The strip mines have damaged countless graves, sacred sites, and homes. 70 percent of a once-pristine desert aquifer has been drained for coal operations. The remaining groundwater is polluted, causing devastation to a once-flourishing ecosystem.

“The mine affects lots of ways of life. It’s destroying the places that have names. Everywhere you go here, every place has a name: names I learned from my grandparents, names that have existed for hundreds of years.  A lot of those places and knowledge of those places and cultural values are being destroyed by the mine. It’s destroying our way of life,” says Gerold Blackrock, a resident of Black Mesa.

Peabody’s strip mines harm the health of communities wherever they operate, from Black Mesa to Appalachia. Appalachian miners’ hard-earned healthcare benefits and pensions are threatened by Peabody’s business practices. “Peabody and Arch dumped their obligations to retired miners into Patriot.  This was a calculated decision to cheat people out of their pensions,” said retired United Mine Workers of America miner Terry Steele.

“Enabled by the City of St. Louis, Peabody’s corporate executives hide out in their downtown office building, removed from the destruction they cause in communities across the nation,” said Dan Cohn, St. Louis resident.  In 2010, the Board of Aldermen, in conjunction with the St. Louis Development Corporation, gave Peabody a $61 million tax break, including $2 million that was designated for the St. Louis City Public Schools.

“Peabody’s everyday business contributed to this summer’s triple-digit heat waves and historic drought. St. Louis residents are here today to stand in solidarity with the other communities that Peabody impacts and demand that our city stops subsidizing the unjust relocation of indigenous people and climate change. We need our taxpayer development dollars to be invested in green jobs, not corporations who have no regard for human life,” Reggie Rounds, a MORE member, said.

MORE is currently collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would force the city of St. Louis to divest public money from fossil fuel corporations and switch over incentives to renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. The St. Louis Sustainable Energy ballot initiative has gained the support of numerous local social and environmental groups, small businesses, and 6th Ward Alderperson candidate Michelle Witthaus, who was present at today’s protest.

Today’s action is part of a growing movement for indigenous self-determination, and against exploitative business practices that destroy communities and land.

Activists Disrupt Arch Coal Corporate HQ In St. Louis

arch prayCREVE COEUR, MO —  Seven affiliated with the RAMPS campaign (Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival), MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) and Mountain Justice are locked down to a 500-pound small potted tree in Arch Coal’s third-floor headquarters while a larger group is in the lobby performing a song and dance.  Additionally, a helium balloon banner with the message “John Eaves Your Coal Company Kills”, directed at the Arch Coal CEO was released in at the Arch Coal headquarters.

Seven protesters locked down outside the corporate office of Arch Coal.

“We’re here to halt Arch’s operations for as long as we can. These coal corporations do not answer to communities, they only consume them.  We’re here to resist their unchecked power,” explained Margaret Fetzer, one of the protestors.

Arch Coal, the second largest coal company in the U.S., operates strip mines in Appalachia and in other U.S. coal basins. Strip mining is an acutely destructive and toxic method of mining coal, and resource extraction disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.

“From the Battle of Blair Mountain to the current fight with the Patriot pensions, the people of central Appalachia have been fighting against the coal companies for the past 125 years. The struggle continues today as we take action to hold Arch Coal and other coal companies accountable for the damage that they do to people and communities in Appalachia and around the world. Coal mining disproportionately impacts indigenous peoples, and we stand in solidarity with disenfranchised people everywhere,”  Dustin Steele of Mingo County, W.Va. said.  Steele was one of the people locked in Arch’s office.

Mingo County is representative of the public health crisis faced by communities overburdened by strip mining.  A recent study of life expectancies placed Mingo County in the bottom 1 percent out of 3,147 counties nationwide.

Arch’s strip mines not only poison communities, but also seek to erase the legacy of resistance to the coal companies in Appalachia. Arch’s Adkins Fork Surface Mine is blasting threatening to blast away Blair Mountain—the site of the second largest uprising in U.S. history and a milestone in the long-standing struggle between Appalachians and the coal companies. 

The devastation of Arch’s strip mines plague regions beyond Appalachia.  Arch’s operation in the Powder River Basin is the “single largest coal mining complex in the world.”  Producing 15 percent of the U.S. coal supply, Arch is a major culprit of the climate crisis.

NASA scientist James Hansen describes the burning of coal as a leading cause global climate change.  The Midwest region faces serious public health impacts from climate change due to “increased heat wave intensity and frequency, degraded air quality, and reduced water quality” according to recently published data from the National Climate Assessment.