Megaload Protestors Take-Over Bellevue Office

bellvue

Rising Tide Seattle outside GE’s offices in Bellvue, WA.

Megaload Protestors Take-Over Bellevue Office

*Contact: Karen Looney, Spectrum@riseup.net <Spectrum@riseup.net>,

312-813-6306 *

*Thursday, December 12, 2013*

BELLEVUE, WA –  Today, over a dozen protestors with the group Rising Tide Seattle took over the offices of a General Electric subsidiary to protest their role in the tar sands oil extraction project in Canada. Protestors are concerned about equipment designed by General Electric’s “Thermal Products” business for use in heavy oil extraction in the tar sands. The equipment is currently being transported across eastern Oregon on an oversized load, referred to as “megaloads”. Protestors delivered a letter and occupied the office disrupting work for about an hour.

“By designing and shipping this tar sands equipment General Electric is facilitating the genocide of first nations communities in Alberta, destruction of the Boreal forest and catastrophic climate change,” said Karen Looney, a spokesperson for Rising Tide Seattle.

The object of today’s protest is an oversized load, referred to as a ‘megaload’, carrying an “evaporator” designed by GE for use in the Alberta tar sands oil project, which environmentalists call the most destructive project on earth. General Electric has contracted with Hillsboro based Omega-Morgan to move three megaloads in December and January, the first of which is now on the road in eastern Oregon.  The shipment weighs 450 tons and measures 378 feet long, 22 feet wide and over 18 feet tall and is only permitted to travel between 8 PM and 6 AM.

A coalition of environmentalists and members of the Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes is attempting to stop the megaloads from reaching their destination. Last week the megaload was stopped at the Port of Umatilla when two men locked themselves to the trucks hauling the equipment. The following day Cathy Sampson-Kruse, a grandmother and member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla was arrested for attempting to block the load by laying down in the road.

“People are going to use every tool they have to stop these dangerous Megaloads. From legal challenges to civil disobedience,” said Looney

Inside General Electric’s offices protestors activists as janitorial staff offered to “greenwash” the company’s image. One participant held a banner reading “GE: Cleaner GEnocide”. General Electric claims that its controversial “evaporators” make tar sands operations more efficient by recycling water.

“General Electric’s main contribution to the tar sands is helping to engineer a more efficient genocide on the land and people of Alberta,” said Kyle Miskell, one of the participants in today’s protest.

Controversy has followed attempts to move tar sands megaloads through the northwest over the past three years. Last August a megaload carrying similar equipment designed by GE faced four nights of protest and blockades crossing the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho. 28 Tribal Members were arrested as part of the blockades including 8 members of the Nez Perce tribal council. Following the blockades legal challenges secured a court injunction preventing further megaloads from crossing the reservation on Highway 12 until a study on their impacts is completed.

Activists and tribal members are exploring their options for a legal challenge to the megaload’s permit and preparing for more sustained civil disobedience to stop the shipments from moving. While today’s protest in Bellevue was going on another group visited the Hillsboro, Oregon offices of hauler Omega-Morgan.

“People across the northwest are working together to stop our region from being turned into a superhighway for the fossil fuel industry,” said Miskell. “We are putting together the infrastructure to block these shipments and any new fossil fuel infrastructure that manages to get permitted for our region.”

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Rising Tide Toronto: Environmental justice activists shut down Line 9 construction site in Toronto

torontoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2013

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Amanda Lickers, Member of Six Nations of Grand River: 705-957-7468, amandalickers@gmail.com
Vanessa Gray, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines: 226-349-6073

Environmental justice activists shut down Line 9 construction site in Toronto

#LockDownLine9 • Location: Pineway Blvd, just north of Finch

Toronto, Ontario. Members of Rising Tide Toronto have shut down the construction for Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline in North Toronto, locking down to equipment to prevent further work on the line.

“The National Energy Board has not approved the reversal of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline. Amidst outstanding land claims and treaty violations all along the route, there has been no consultation with First Nations. This pipeline must be decommissioned and construction towards this project must stop.” – Amanda Lickers, Member of Six Nations of Grand River

“We are taking a stand today because this project will facilitate the expansion of the tar sands. Moreover, this reversal puts the millions of people along line 9 route at risk.” – Meghan Mills, Rising Tide Toronto

“The health of Aamjiwnaang is suffering from the effects from Canada’s Chemical Valley as a result of Environmental Racism. We need to act now in defence of the land we depend on before Enbridge permanently destroys our territories. This is a human rights issue that effects future generations of all peoples.” – Vanessa Gray, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines

Line 9 Facts: 
  • Every First Nations band council that intervened in the NEB process said that they had not been consulted in accordance to the Canadian consultation.
  • NEB has not yet approved the Line 9 reversal. If the NEB recognizes the Canadian constitution, they are obligated to not approve this proposal.
  • Enbridge said it will idle Line 9 if its application to reverse and expand the pipeline is rejected by the National Energy Board.
  • Enbridge’s Line 9B is the first pipeline proposal to come under the authority of the new rules hidden in Harper’s omnibus budget Bill C-38 passed in July 2012.
  • Enbridge refuses to carry $1 billion in insurance to cover the costs of a possible spill, arguing that it is unnecessary. Meanwhile, clean up for Enbridge’s Kalamazoo disaster has cost over $1 billion in an area with a population of 7,000.
  • By Enbridge’s own admission, their computation pipeline monitoring system “will not detect a leak below 70.5 [cubic metres], 443 [barrels] over a two-hour period”.
  • Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector says the probability of Line 9 rupturing is “over 90%.”

Two Lockdown to Controversial Tar Sands Megaload Shipment Stopping Departure from Port of Umatilla as Tribal Members and Climate Justice Groups Rally Nearby

megaload pdx rt12/1/13
Media contacts:
Trip Jennings, Portland Rising Tide – TripJennings1@gmail.com - 541.729.3294
Jim Powers - jp@ccpvideos.com - 541.829.2114

Umatilla, OR – Sunday: Near the Port of Umatilla two people locked down to a megaload of equipment bound for the Alberta tar sands halting its planned
departure at 10:00 PM as tribal members and climate justice groups rallied nearby. The equipment, a 901,000 lb. water purifier 22 feet wide, 18 feet
tall and 376 feet in length was met by fifty people and was prevented from departing as scheduled. It had planned to leave the Port of Umatilla, head
south on 395, then east on 26 on Sunday night.

This week’s protest was larger than a similar protest last week as news of the shipment has spread throughout the region. An estimated 50 people
greeted the megaload with signs as it’s schedule departure time neared. Before it could depart two participants locked themselves to the trucks
hauling the megaload, the first time they have been blockaded in this way. This is the first of three megaloads the Hillsboro, OR based shipping
company Omega Morgan has scheduled to move through the region in December and January. Similar loads sparked major protests moving through Idaho and
Montana including a blockade by the Nez Pierce tribe in August.

Groups organizing the protest, including chapters of Rising Tide and 350.org, oppose the shipments due to the final use of the equipment in the expansion
of the Alberta tar sands. This expansion would supply oil for the controversial Keystone XL and other pipelines and many have called the tar
sands most destructive industrial project on earth. Umatilla Tribal Member Shana Radford said, “We have responsibility for what happens on our lands,
but there are no boundaries for air, the carbon dioxide this equipment would create affects us all. The Nez Pierce tribe said no to megaloads, and
so should we.”

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) have stated concerns due to the lack of consultation about the project headed
through their ceded territory as required by law. The shipment would also cross Warm Springs tribal land where members have stated opposition as well.

Warm Springs tribal member Kayla Godowa said, “It’s our duty to protect the native salmon runs in this area. They want to make this a permanent heavy
haul route without even consulting our tribes. Loads like this are unprecedented here. What if a bridge collapses? And what about the impact
to native communities being destroyed by the tar sands where this equipment will end up? We can’t just look the other way while native lands and the
climate are being destroyed. We have to stand up.”

High resolution photos available at:

Photo (first lockdown):
http://portlandrisingtide.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-1.jpg

Photo (rally):
http://portlandrisingtide.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-2.jpg

Photo (second lockdown):
http://portlandrisingtide.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-3.jpg

Photos may be used with attribution to Portland Rising Tide.

Info: www.PortlandRisingTide.org <http://www.portlandrisingtide.org/>

Facebook live updates: PortlandRisingTide

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Protesters Hold UBS Accountable for Funding Mountaintop Removal in Series of Protests

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11/25/13
Contact: Mathew Louis-Rosenberg
Phone: 304-860-5041
Email: snollygaster@gmail.com

Protesters Hold UBS Accountable for Funding Mountaintop Removal in Series
of Protests

Stamford, CT – Early this morning, three activists hung a huge banner reading “UBS. Stop Funding Mountaintop Removal” off of a crane constructing the 66 Summers St building in downtown Stamford.   Later in the day two activists entered the UBS headquarters in Stamford, locking themselves to a bannister and hanging a banner reading “UBS. Divest from Mountaintop Removal”, while others locked themselves to the outside doors of the building.   The protests are a part of the Hands Off Appalachia, a sustained campaign to get UBS to end all financing of companies conducting mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.

“Over the last two years, I have visited UBS’s offices over 30 times pleading with them to stop the destruction of Appalachian communities. Today, I’m not asking anymore.  I’m demanding an end to UBS’s financing of mountaintop removal.” said Ricki Draper of Knoxville, TN who is locked inside the UBS headquarters.

Mountaintop removal is an extreme form of strip-mining in which coal companies blast up to a thousand feet off the top of a mountain to extract thin seams of coal.  The resulting rubble is often placed in the valley below burying headwater streams.  Over 1 million acres of forest in Central Appalachia have been destroyed and over 2,000 miles of streams have been buried by this practice.  Recent research has linked mountaintop removal to increased rates of cancer, birth defects and cardiovascular disease in communities near these mining operations.  UBS is a top funder of companies that conduct mountaintop removal such as Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal, and Arch Coal.  On Friday, organizers with Hands Off Appalachia met with UBS executives at their office in Stamford to discuss UBS’s existing policy on mountaintop removal.

“[At the meeting] I was ‘reassured’ [by UBS executives] that UBS’s policy on mountaintop removal was sufficient enough to protect my people.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  The reality is that their ‘policy’ is nothing more than an excuse to remove themselves from the truth that as UBS profits, my people suffer,” said Adam Hall of Glen Daniel, W.Va. who blocked the entrance to UBS’s headquarters today.

UBS’s existing policy claims to “recognize the potential environmental, social, and human rights impacts of this industry sector” and take into consideration “concerns of stakeholder groups”, but UBS officials have never traveled to Appalachia to witness the impacts or met with impacted community members until last Friday.  The policy also claims to take into account regulatory compliance, but UBS financed Massey Energy and oversaw their merger with Alpha Natural Resources even after Massey was fined $20 million by the EPA for over 4,600 violations of the Clean Water Act.

Started in Knoxville, TN, the Hands Off Appalachia Campaign has spent two years engaging with UBS about their funding of the destruction of Appalachian through this extreme form of strip mining. HOA has organized dozens of actions and protests at local UBS offices all over Appalachia and the Southeast.

This summer, HOA escalated their campaign against UBS when three organizers blocked the entrance to the Knoxville UBS branch, the point of inception for the campaign. This action was the thirty-third time in sixteen months that campaign organizers had visited that office. On the heels of that action followed a blockade at UBS’ North American Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. There, four organizers with Hands Off Appalachia and Capitalism vs. the Climate, a climate justice direct action group based in Connecticut, took a stand against UBS in solidarity with communities in Appalachia. This action launched the northeast leg of our campaign against UBS. Yesterday, activists with the campaign picketed UBS’s Parade Spectacular in Stamford, handing out leaflets and displaying a large banner
reading “UBS Stop Funding Mountaintop Removal.”

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