Climate justice activists blockade Vermont Gas headquarters in protest of fracked gas pipeline

sara vtClimate justice activists have blockaded the main entrance to Vermont Gas’s headquarters and dropped a massive banner from the roof, demanding the company immediately cancel its plans to build the fracked gas pipeline.  Police are on scene, and the company’s retail offices are effectively shut down for the day.

Sara Mehalick, a resident of Plainfield, Vermont, has locked her neck to the main entrance of the building, effectively blockading the doors shut.  She released a statement about why she undertook today’s action:

Today I’m taking action because Vermont Gas is intent upon shackling our communities to fossil fuels, and condemning us to irreversible climate change.  We have a responsibility to the communities whose land, water, and air are being poisoned by fracking, and we’re determined to make sure that this fracked gas pipeline does not move forward.  Today we’re here to tell Vermont Gas to cancel their construction plans, or expect to see growing resistance.

RT VT2Jonathan Shapiro, with Rising Tide Vermont, said “Climate change is already driving heat waves, torrential rains, and flooding in the Northeast, which is only predicted to worsen in the coming years.  In this context of mounting climate crisis, building new fossil fuel infrastructure is an exercise in complete lunacy and must be stopped.”

Eleven Arrested At Peabody Coal’s Annual Shareholder Meeting

peabody AGM11 Activists Arrested At Peabody Coal’s Annual Shareholder Meeting in Clayton

Community members from St. Louis, Black Mesa, and Rocky Branch Unite to Hold Peabody Accountable for Destroying Communities  

ST. LOUIS–Today, for the second time in less than a week, activists were arrested at a Peabody Coal demonstration. 75 people rallied at Peabody’s annual shareholder meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton. Members of the local Take Back St. Louis campaign were joined by Dineh (Navajo) Peabody resisters from Black Mesa and residents from Rocky Branch, Illinois who are currently fighting Peabody’s mine expansion there.

Representatives from Take Back St. Louis, Justice for Rocky Branch, and Tonizhoni Ani had bought shares of Peabody in order to attend the shareholder meeting and voice their concerns to CEO Greg Boyce, but were not allowed into the main meeting room with Peabody executives. When they were placed in an “overflow room,” they walked out of the meeting. The entire rally then marched to the entrance of the Ritz Carlton to deliver a letter outlining the group’s demands to Greg Boyce. Eight people were arrested while trying to enter the Ritz Carlton to deliver the letter. Two other people were arrested attempting to enter the shareholder meeting from the overflow room.

Today’s protest comes less than a week after Wash U Students Against Peabody’s 17 day sit-in ended when seven students were arrested trying to enter their Board of Trustees meeting to encourage Peabody CEO Greg Boyce to resign from the University’s Board of Trustees.

“I am here today to continue to spread the message that the Wash U Students Against Peabody started spreading with their actions over the past weeks,“ said Marshall Johnson, Black Mesa Resident and member of Tonizhoni Ani. “We need to stand up to Peabody on Black Mesa and here in St. Louis so our children and grandchildren and all future generations can have clean water and clean air. I am grateful to Wash U students for standing up for a respectful future for us all.”

Recently, Peabody has been engaging in unprecedented attempts to undermine St. Louis’ local democracy. In late March, Peabody sued to keep the citizen-driven Take Back St. Louis initiative off the ballot and away from voters. The ballot initiative would stop the city’s policy of giving Peabody and other big corporations large tax breaks. Now, in the past few days, Peabody’s lobbyists and Mayor Slay’s lobbyists have inserted amendments into Missouri Senate Bill 672 that would ban the city of St. Louis from “by ballot measure impos[ing] any restriction on any public financial incentive authorized by statute.” The amendment is a blow to local control, stripping the city of the ability to determine its own tax regulation.

“The ballot initiative process exists so that we as city residents can bring our concerns to our government and other city residents. Peabody Coal and Mayor Slay are blatantly attempting to subvert our local democratic process,” said Joretta Wilson, member of the Take Back St. Louis campaign. “We collected 22,000 signatures to put the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative on the ballot, and now Peabody and Slay’s lobbyists are trying to make the initiative illegal before St. Louis residents even get a chance to vote on the initiative.”

Today’s demonstration united the local Take Back St. Louis campaign with communities fighting Peabody across the nation, including Dineh (Navajo) resistors from Big Mountain/Black Mesa in Arizona, and the Justice for Rocky Branch campaign in Southern Illinois. For decades, these communities have experienced Peabody using its financial power to influence democracy and ensure continued profits without concern for human lives, homes, and futures.

“I am here today to ask Mr. Boyce why our homes and our land are being destroyed for Peabody’s bottom line, “ said Judy Kellen, one of the Rocky Branch residents who tried to enter today’s shareholder meeting.  “Peabody is making profits at the expense of our future and the health of future generations.”

This year marks the 40th year of Indigenous resistance by the Diné (Navajo) communities of Big Mountain and Black Mesa, Arizona to forced relocation from ancestral homelands due to Peabody Coal’s massive strip mining. The effects of the relocation meet all the criteria of the UN’s internationally recognized definition of cultural genocide. Diné (Navajo) resistors on Black Mesa are planning a one-week training camp starting May 16th to demand “not one more relocation” of Indigenous people by Peabody. Members of the Take Back St. Louis campaign will be traveling to Black Mesa for the camp, continuing the increased unity amongst groups fighting Peabody across the country.

More information on Take Back St. Louis is available here:

More information on the Big Mountain Training Camp is available here: Big Mountain Spring Training Camp

Photos are attached. Video available upon request.

Activists are available for interviews all day.


Rising Tide Chicago: Citizens Dressed as Elves Set Up Frack Rig on Governor Quinn’s Lawn

RT ChiFrom Rising Tide Chicago

Citizens Dressed as Elves Set Up Frack Rig on Governor Quinn’s Lawn

Chicago, IL —Monday morning four concerned community members dressed as elves visited Governor Quinn’s Chicago residence and set up a hydraulic fracturing rig

with a large red bow attached on the front lawn.  The “elves” said they were delivering a present from Santa who has been nervously watching the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking inch closer and closer to becoming reality in Illinois during the past year.

The elves delivered the frack rig because people that live far away from where fracking is planned are the ones making the decision to bring the dangerous practice here. “We are delivering this rig today because if Governor Quinn and the other people that have opened up our state to fracking had to live next to fracking and had to obtain their water from a well I think they would not bring fracking to our state,” said Mike Durshmid of Rising Tide Chicago.

Hydraulic fracturing is an environmentally damaging practice of obtaining natural gas in which large amounts of water, sand and chemicals are combined and then forced deep underground to break shale rock to release trapped oil and gas. Fracking has been linked to earthquakes and air and water pollution in Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, states that have been using the practice for some time.

The climate implications of fracking were front and center during the delivery as the elves spoke about how their home, the north pole had been irreversibly damaged due the loss of ice. They also drew the connection to climate related disaster like Hurricane Sandy and the extreme drought that Southern Illinois experienced a few years ago and how these events would become more frequent and intense if we continue to emit more greenhouse gases like the methane that is released during hydraulic fracturing.

“We just can’t afford to allow the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and must find a way to live that does not put continued economic growth above preserving a habitable planet. For this reason we must stop fracking from starting in Illinois and also work to make larger systematic changes” said Angie Viands of Rising Tide Chicago. The frack rig delivery, organized by Rising Tide Chicago, comes on the heals of several public hearings on hydraulic fracturing in the state that drew many hundreds of residents expressing their concerns about the practice and some vowing to resist it if it comes to Illinois.



Wild Idaho RT: Tar Sands Megaload Resistance Solidarity

WIRTCross-posted from Wild Idaho Rising Tide

Updates and additions to Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests!

Over the last month by Christmas Eve, Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes, Rising Tide groups, and allied organizations and activists have staged dozens of actions escalating Northwest resistance against tar sands mining and megaload exploitation of indigenous and public lands and people.  At least five Umatilla-led protection ceremonies in Pendleton, four Port of Umatilla protests and blockades, three Portland and Seattle area office occupations of megaload hauler Omega Morgan and designer Resources Conservation Company International, two blockades in John Day, Hermiston and Stanfield protests, a Portland visit to the Oregon Department of Transportation, and a light brigade overpass action have resulted in nineteen mostly illegal arrests of activists at the four blockades [1].

Activists with 350, All Against The Haul, Blue Skies Campaign, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, Montana Indian Peoples Action, five Rising Tide groups, and multiple indigenous tribes are planning protests in Umatilla, Oregon, Missoula and other locations in Montana, and in or near Marsing, Mountain Home, Bellevue, and Salmon, Idaho, over the next month [2-7].  In the wake of years of relentlessly meeting every Highway 12 and 95 tar sands facilities shipment in Idaho with resistance, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies will not stand down, despite recent, illegal, and unethical police attempts in John Day to dissuade further First Amendment-protected expressions of citizen dissent of the state/corporate fossil fuel agenda [8].  As news of Rising Tide and allied protests has spread through some of the most popular Idaho media outlets over the past month, we are calling Oregonians, Idahoans, and Montanans to rise up against tar sands megaloads [9].

These heat exchanger cores of wastewater evaporators are likely the remnants of the ten in-situ tar sands mining modules that Omega Morgan tried to transport in August to Canada, up Highway 12 through Nez Perce resistance – manufactured at the General Electric plant in Port Coquitlam, B.C., disassembled (not made) in Portland, and barged to the Port of Umatilla.  Rising Tide groups in Missoula, Moscow, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane have struggled against these components of tar sands extraction since early 2010.  Understanding their ultimate implications for vast ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos, we cannot in good conscience stand aside while some of the wealthiest corporations profit at the expense of millions of people and species and the habitats that sustain them [10].  As our Oregon colleagues develop a seventh lawsuit against megaload incursions of the Northwest, we invite everyone to participate in the following actions.

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests!

After a presumed five-day journey across Oregon extended into three tumultuous weeks of delays wrought by wild weather and passionate protesters, the first of three Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaloads traveled along the Snake River and entered Idaho on Sunday night, December 22-23 [1, 11].  Local scouts reported its passage south and east from the Vale, Oregon, weigh station to the Marsing, Idaho, area.  As described in a December 13 event announcement, 350 Idaho and WIRT will stage protests across southern Idaho, contingent on the travel schedule of the three pieces of extreme energy mining equipment [12].  Although social and other media initially blocked organizational attempts to share information about these civil displays of discontent, regional networks have fostered interest among megaload-impacted communities, who have expressed enthusiasm in engaging in these two-state events.  With all of these stakeholders, we will continue work to stop Alberta-bound machinery that accelerates tar sands extraction and transportation and accompanying environmental and human health devastation.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of megaload protesting and monitoring activities on the WIRT website and facebook pages.  Please bring your family, friends, and neighbors, and come prepared with protest signs, banners, and equipment, musical instruments, voices, and chants, audio and video recorders, cameras, notepads, and your spirit of solidarity, regional resistance, and freedom of expression.

* Boise carpools to Marsing and Mountain Home: Contact Ann Ford of 350 Idaho at or 208-344-4675.  Meet at the Shopko sign/parking lot at 2655 South Broadway Avenue, tentatively at 8 pm MST on Friday, December 27, and later dates.

* Marsing protest: Also meet at the Marsing Elementary/Middle School parking lot, 205 Eighth Avenue West, Highway 78, at 9 pm on Friday, December 27.

* Mountain Home protest: Also meet at the Pilot Travel Center, 1050 Highway 20 at Interstate 84 Exit 95, at a date and time to be arranged (TBA).

* Wood River Valley (Bellevue) protest: Meet to carpool in the Atkinsons Market parking lot, 757 North Main Street in Bellevue, or at the Timmerman Junction rest area, on the southwest corner of the U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho Highway 75 intersection, at a TBA date and time.

* Salmon protest: Meet at the Stagecoach Inn, 201 Riverfront Drive, at a TBA date and time.

* Spokane carpools to Missoula and Montana at a TBA date and time: Contact Terry Hill of Spokane Rising Tide at

* Megaload monitoring at various locations: Contact WIRT at 208-301-8039 and

* Contributions for organizer, monitor, and protester travel and potential legal expenses: Donate through WePay at or send checks to P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, ID 83843.

Solidarity with Umatilla Tribes, Resist the Megaload!

On Sunday night, December 22, the second Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload in Oregon left the Port of Umatilla and stopped near Pendleton on Monday morning.  Portland Rising Tide is calling on all supporters and allies from across the region, to join a special demonstration and ceremony in Pendleton, led by members of the Confederated Umatilla Tribes, when the transport resumes travel on Monday evening [13].  Please bring your friends and family to this unforgettable holiday action, provide your own food, fuel, and possible lodging, RSVP if you plan to attend and carpool, and circulate this event announcement via facebook, email, Twitter [14].

Carpools from Portland to Pendleton are meeting at 1 pm at 4105 North Haight Avenue, at the corner of Mason and Haight streets in Portland.  In Pendleton, people are gathering at 5:30 pm at the Wildhorse Casino Business Center, 46510 Wildhorse Boulevard.  At the casino, participants will discuss the action plan and prepare for gathering at the nearby megaload, to bear witness to its departure en route to expanding tar sands mining operations.  Organizers do not anticipate anyone risking arrest at this ceremony, but ask participants to share their support and solidarity through their physical presence among a frontline community resisting tar sands development.  Portland comrades will rejoin carpools at around 9 pm.

Our amazing Portland Rising Tide and allied friends still need financial support for legal expenses and organizing against the megaloads.  They have raised almost $16,000 but will need $20,000 to offset already incurred expenses.  Please donate and encourage your associates to do the same [15].


[1] Oregon Resistance (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Megaload Shipment Poised to Enter Southern Idaho (December 10 KBOI TV Boise)

[3] Giant Heat Exchanger Will Soon Pass through Idaho (December 10 Idaho Press-Tribune)

[4] Over the River and Through the Woods (December 11 Boise Weekly)

[5] Megaload Inching Closer to Idaho (December 13 Idaho Mountain Express)

[6] String of Protests Scheduled for Mega-Load’s Journey through Southern Idaho (December 14 Boise Weekly)

[7] Idaho Issues Permit for Megaload to Cross State, Climb Lost Trail Pass (December 21 Missoulian)

[8] Op-Ed: Yes, Virginia, There is a Police State (December 21 Huntington News)

[9] Top Ten Idaho Newspapers and News Sites (All You Can Read)

[10] Megaload Facts (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[11] Megaload to Cross into Idaho by Monday Morning (December 22 Twin Falls Times-News)

[12] Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (December 13 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[13] Solidarity with Umatilla Tribes, Resist the Megaload! (December 22 Portland Rising Tide)

[14] RSVP for Action at Second Megaload in Pendleton (Portland Rising Tide)

[15] Megaload Support – Portland Rising Tide (WePay)