Dallas, TX: Protestors Lock Themselves Inside of Hilton in Protest of ALEC Convention

For Immediate Release:

July 30, 2014

BP RTContact: Jonathan Adams, Blackland Prairie Rising Tide, 817-676-4913,

jonathanadams624@gmail.com

This morning, two community members from the organization Blackland Prairie Rising Tide locked themselves to stair banisters inside of the Hilton Anatole hotel at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual national convention in Dallas, Texas. Subsequently, two more protesters dropped a banner from a banister in the hotel lobby reading “We Suffer, ALEC Profits.”

Beginning on Wednesday, thousands of business executives as well as local, state and national politicians attended the annual convention, which will last until Saturday morning. The members of Blackland Prairie Rising Tide are airing a multitude of grievances that relate to ALEC’s secretive practices, which include ‘wining-and-dining’ politicians in order to promote legislation written by corporations.

ALEC has written legislation that aims to privatize public services such as prisons, toll roads, and education. Many of the organization’s bills are written as ‘model bills’ that are meant to be replicated around the nation. Recently, the group introduced the controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in several states. The laws were brought to public attention by the shooter George Zimmerman in the infamous Trayvon Martin case.

Locally in Dallas, billionaire investors are using ALEC legislation to privatize the independent school district and transform it into a for-profit institution. This legislation works by promoting voucher programs that drain public schools of resources by using taxpayer dollars to subsidize private school profits and specifying that those schools must remain unregulated. In addition the bill works to deem public schools “educationally bankrupt” to rationalize giving taxpayer dollars unregulated schools

Cien Fuegos Carmona, a local anti-police brutality community organizer, locked himself inside of the hotel citing concerns of wealth disparity and oppressive governments that lead him to protest today. “Poor folks are always doing the work and the rich are always exploiting and looting our collective dreams,” said Carmona.

ALEC continues to subvert our democracy from behind closed doors, launching a series of corporate-funded attacks on the overall quality of life for the general public without input of those affected for the last four decades,” said Whytney Blythe, a local community activist and organizer who also locked herself inside of the hotel. “Some of the bills ALEC has sponsored includes: the racist Arizona SB 1070, the controversial Stand Your Ground Law and the Minimum Mandatory Sentencing Act, exacerbating the failed ‘War on Drugs’ and boosting the ever-growing prison population all in the name of profit. They actively fight against an established living wage for workers while simultaneously minimizing worker’s rights and manipulating national and state legislatures to inhibit a wide array of efforts to protect the environment as well as public health. The grave danger ALEC poses to our collective wellbeing is severe and we refuse to remain casualties in the name of greed any longer.”

The organization is now seeking donations for costs and plans to uphold a sustained local campaign in relation to local environmental concerns and free trade agreements.

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Three Jailed in Oil Train Blockade at Anacortes Tesoro Refinery

setac

Blockade at Anacortes Tesoro Refinery near Seattle.

For Immediate Release

7/28/14

Seattle, WA: The activists arrived at the Tesoro Refinery tracks at about 7:45am this morning, and finally released themselves shortly after noon, at which time they were taken into custody; the barrels remained on the tracks for about another half-hour while the police awaited equipment to remove them. About thirty supporters had surrounded the blockade; all eventually moved down the hill when police insisted, but remained nearby until the police cars drove off.

Both the arrestees and their supporters stressed the irresponsibility of the fossil fuel companies in sending massive amounts of such dangerous fuel through rural and urban communities across the country.

“Last Thursday’s derailment in Seattle was the last straw. If federal and state regulators won’t stand up to the fossil fuel companies endangering our communities, then we, the people of those communities, will do so,” said Jan Woodruff, an Anacortes retiree, as she sat on the tracks with her arm in a barrel filled with poured concrete. Woodruff was one of three people arrested after several hours of blockading the track, with an oil train right at a stop right behind them.

Retired lawyer Annette Klapstein of Bainbridge was another of the three; “Tesoro and the others are bad actors. If any other group of people exposed us to these risks, they’d be locked up,” she said. “This kind of resistance may seem extreme, but these are extreme times…and the resistance to this craziness won’t end with us.”

Rising Tide Seattle member Adam Gaya, the third arrestee, made a similar point. “People are on the alert: an industry willing to sacrifice the planet to catastrophic climate change doesn’t see a few vaporized towns and cities as ‘significant’. Fossil fuel companies can expect to see more actions like this one, focusing on the most egregious violations of common sense and moral responsibility.”

All three were released on their own recognizance at the end of the day.

Seattle Residents Blockade Tracks To Protest Dangerous Oil-By-Rail Projects

seattle

Lockdown at the Anacortes Refinery near Seattle.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Emily Johnston, 206-660-4210

7:45am, Monday, July 28, 2014, Anacortes Tesoro Refinery

*Anacortes – *Three residents of Anacortes and Seattle are currently blockading the oil train facility at Tesoro’s Anacortes Refinery by locking their bodies to barrels full of concrete. Supported by local residents, the three are demanding an immediate halt to the shipment of explosive Bakken oil through Northwest communities, the rejection of all new oil-by-rail terminals proposed for the Northwest, and an end to the refinery’s repeated violations of the Clean Air Act.

“Thursday’s derailment was the last straw,” says Jan Woodruff, an Anacortes resident. “If Federal and State regulators won’t stand up to the fossil fuel companies endangering our communities, then we, the people of those communities, will do so.”

Last Thursday, July 24th, an oil train bound for Tesoro’s Anacortes Refinery derailed in Seattle, highlighting the dangers posed to Northwest communities. Between nine and sixteen oil trains travel through Seattle and Mount Vernon every week – about five of which are bound for the Tesoro refinery. The day before Thursday’s frightening derailment, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and all nine City Council members sent a letter to the Department of Transportation asking for an immediate halt of oil-by-rail shipments through Seattle.

Despite the extreme controversy over the transport of explosive Bakken Oil, all three of Washington’s oil-by-rail terminals were permitted without full environmental review or robust public consultation, through an obscure local process called a “mitigated determination of non-significance.” The same process was used to approve terminals at the Port of Gray’s Harbor and Shell’s Puget Sound Refinery before being reversed by legal challenges and public opposition.

“It’s no surprise that an industry willing to sacrifice the entire planet to catastrophic climate change doesn’t see a few vaporized towns and cities as ‘significant’” says Adam Gaya, a Seattle resident and member of the group Rising Tide Seattle. “With recent disasters and the accelerating climate crisis we shouldn’t even be considering new oil infrastructure.”

Tesoro’s Anacortes Refinery is no stranger to accidents. In 2010 it was the site of an explosion that killed seven workers; the company was later determined to have committed 39 “willful” and five “serious” violations of safety regulations. Both Anacortes refineries are also longtime Clean Air Act “High Priority Violators”, and Tesoro has announced that new railcars it purchases will be equipped to transport tar sands bitumen. Refineries that process tar sands have higher emissions of pollutants like sulfur dioxide and are more prone to explosions.

“Tesoro and the others are bad actors. If any other group of people exposed us to these risks, they’d be locked up,” says Annette Klapstein, a retired lawyer from Bainbridge Island. “This kind of resistance may seem extreme, but these are extreme times…and the resistance to this craziness won’t end with us.”

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At Least 19 Arrested As Tar Sands Opponents Shut Down Utah Mine Site

protectOpponents enforce shutdown of Utah tar sands mine today

Cross-posted from Peaceful Uprising

Follow @peace_up_ and @tarsandsresist on Twitter for updates.

July 21, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PR SPRINGS, Utah–About 80 climate justice land defenders right used their bodies today to halt construction of a tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of Utah.

The action is the culmination of a week-long direct action training camp within 2 miles of the mine. Participants of Climate Justice Summer Camp traveled from numerous organizations, states and sovereign tribal nations to learn direct action skills and build networks.

In recent weeks, Calgary, Canada-based US Oil Sands began a new and devastating phase in construction of the first tar sands mine in the United States. Nearly 80 acres of forest and sage land have been leveled.

US Oil sands has construction permits on 212 acres of pristine wilderness and strip mine land leases on 32,000 acres. Opponents say the traditional Ute hunting lands leased by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Land Administration are too fragile and damage would be irreversible.

Numerous states and local governments question the wisdom of tar sands and oil shale projects in the Colorado River Basin. That system—which provides drinking water to 40 million people in the US, Mexico and native communities—is already severely over-tapped and endangered by industrial waste contaminants.

“Indigenous people’s sacred lands for hundreds of generations here would be destroyed after a few generations of American settler colonialism,” says Jessica Lee, on behalf of the land defenders. “US Oil Sands perfectly demonstrates capitalism’s brazen disregard for the climate crisis, human and tribal rights and rights of the planet itself to be free of dangerous corporate parasites.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency this month joined the crowd demanding answers from the tar sands company. EPA’s letter indicates US Oil Sands may need tribal authorization for their project due to lease acres bordering and sometimes occurring in “Indian country.”

EPA also has concerns about toxic and hazardous waste from the project. The construction site is immediately upstream of one of the major river systems of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, the stunning Willow Creek Canyon area. The company has never sought Ute Tribal Government approval.

What is Climate Justice?

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