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.

Six Arrested Inside “Public” Enbridge Hearings In Vancouver

Six People Arrested Inside Enbridge Hearings
Group directly intervenes in proceedings and raises climate issues while condemning process

Video available upon request.

Vancouver, BC / Coast Salish Territories – This morningsix people directly intervened in the Enbridge pipeline joint Environmental Assessment and Energy Board hearings and put climate change on the agenda . The group managed to make their way past police undetected and into the secured 4th floor of Vancouver’s Sheraton Wall Center.  Once inside they revealed shirts emblazoned with messages like “Stop The Pipelines” and proceeded to use police tape to cordon off the hearing area as a “climate crime scene”.

Climate change is killing thousands of people every year, primarily in developing countries and Indigenous communities that are the least responsible for creating this problem.  Despite this fact, the Joint Review Panel has instructed those participating in the hearings not to talk about climate change. This is a shockingly irresponsible move consideringCanada’s tar sands contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. New fossil fuel pipelines are an irresponsible step in the wrong direction.” said Sean Devlin.

The impacts of climate change have been drawing global attention recently, between Hurricane Sandy, unprecedented deadly typhoons in the Philippines and previously unimaginable temperature records in Australia.  In this urgent context the JRP has designated climate change and the carbon emissions of Canada’s tarsands “outside of the panel’s mandate”,  a move that officially discourages intervenors from raising these critical issues during their oral statements.

Enbridge and the federal government are using their position of authority within this process to coerce members of the public into silence on these issues. The majority of First Nations and settler communities in the province oppose fossil fuel pipelines. We respect those who are voicing their opposition to the pipelines inside the hearings, but the hearing process is meaningless, especially since Harper has changed the law, giving his cabinet final say on pipeline projects.” Said Fiona De Balasi Brown.   

Today marks the second day of the Joint Review Panel hearings in Vancouver and the second day that the members of the public have crossed police lines to make their opposition heard.  On Monday more than a thousand protesters peacefully forced their way past police onto the Sheraton property drumming so loudly the noise could be heard inside the hearings.  Public outrage has been emboldened by a decision to exclude the public from the hearings in Vancouver, a move the BC Civil Liberties Association criticized yesterday as “potentially unlawful”.

Media inquiries

Maryam Adrangi: 604.762.0536

Sean Devlin: 778.321.7306

Two People Barricade Themselves Inside Keystone XL Pipe To Halt Construction

For immediate release December 3, 2012 Contact: Kim Huynh, Tar Sands Blockade, 940-268-5375, *kxlblockade@gmail.com *

Check the live blog for breaking updates and video: http://tarsandsblockade.org/14th-action/

Photos with visuals inside and outside the pipe will be available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarsandsblockade/

Two People Barricade Themselves Inside Keystone XL Pipe To Halt Construction

Using Completely Unprecedented Technique, Blockaders Barricade Unburied Segment of Pipe in Solidarity with Anti-Extraction Struggles Across North America

*WINONA, TX – MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012 7:30 AM –* Several protesters with Tar Sands Blockade sealed themselves inside a section of pipe destined for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to stop construction of the dangerous project. Using a blockading technique never implemented before, Matt Almonte and Glen Collins locked themselves between two barrels of concrete weighing over six hundred pounds each. Located twenty-five feet into a pipe segment waiting to be laid in the ground, the outer barrel is barricading the pipe’s opening and neither barrel can be moved without risking serious injury to the blockaders.

The barricaded section of the pipeline passes through a residential neighborhood in Winona, TX. If TransCanada moves ahead with the trenching and burying of this particular section of pipe, it would run less than a hundred feet from neighboring homes. Tar sands pipelines threaten East Texas communities with their highly toxic contents, which pose a greater risk to human health than conventional crude oil. TransCanada’s existing tar sands pipeline, Keystone XL’s predecessor, has an atrocious safety record, leaking twelve times in its first year of operation.

“TransCanada didn’t bother to ask the people of this neighborhood if they wanted to have millions of gallons of poisonous tar sands pumped through their backyards,” said Almonte, one of the protesters now inside the pipeline. “This multinational corporation has bullied landowners and expropriated homes to fatten its bottom line.”

Recently, over 40 communities worldwide planned actions with Tar Sands Blockade during a week of resistance against extreme energy extraction and its direct connection to the climate crisis. A growing global movement is rising up against the abuses of the fossil fuel industry and its increasingly desperate pursuit of dangerous extraction methods.

“I’m barricading this pipe with Tar Sands Blockade today to say loud and clear to the extraction industry that our communities and the resources we depend on for survival are not collateral damage,” said Collins, another blockader inside the pipe and an organizer with Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS) and Mountain Justice, grassroots campaigns in Appalachia working to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.

“This fight in East Texas against tar sands exploitation is one and the same as our fight in the hollers of West Virginia. Dirty energy extraction doesn’t just threaten my home; it threatens the collective future of the planet.”

“At this late stage, doing nothing is a greater danger than the risks of taking direct action to stop destructive projects like Keystone XL,” said Ron Seifert, a spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade. “That’s why folks working with groups like RAMPS, the Unist’ot’en Camp fighting a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia and Tar Sands Blockade are willing to use everything including their own hands and feet to ensure we all have a safe climate and healthy, thriving communities.”

Today also marks day 5 of the Houston Hunger Strike in which Gulf Coast activists with Tar Sands Blockade are going without food to demand that Valero divest entirely from the Keystone XL pipeline and invest in the health and wellbeing of the communities it’s poisoning.

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Tar Sands Blockaders Lock Themselves to Trucks Outside Valero’s Houston Refinery

Check our live blog for breaking updates.

Photos and video with great visuals will be available here.

*Tar Sands Blockaders** Lock Themselves to Trucks Outside Valero’s Houston Refinery*

*Activists Begin Sustained Hunger Strike, Demand That Valero Divest from Keystone XL Pipeline*

*HOUSTON, TX – THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 8:00AM –*-Longtime Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr. have locked their necks to oil tanker trucks destined for Valero’s Houston Refinery in solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade’s protests of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Valero Energy Corp. is among the largest investors in TransCanada’s toxic tar sands pipeline that will terminate near the community of Manchester, located in the shadow of Valero’s refinery. Not only are Wilson and Lindsey blockading the Valero refinery, the two lifelong friends have also vowed to begin a sustained hunger strike demanding that Valero divest from Keystone XL and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of Manchester.

With a 90% Latino population, Manchester’s relationship with the Valero refinery is a textbook case of environmental racism. Residents there have suffered through decades of premature deaths, cancers, asthma and other diseases attributable to the refinery emissions. With little financial support for lawsuits and without the political agency necessary to legislatively reign-in criminal polluters like Valero, the community suffers while Valero posts record profits.

“All my life the Gulf Coast has been an environmental sacrifice zone, and enough is enough,” declared Diane Wilson, who spent over twenty years organizing to stop chemical plants from dumping toxins directly into Gulf waters. “Keystone XL will bring to dirtiest fuel on the planet right down to the Gulf, where already overburdened communities like Manchester will be forced to suffer even more. After decades of toxic air in Manchester, I refuse to just let them continue to punish this community. I won’t eat until Valero divests from Keystone XL.”

Wilson, a fourth-generation Gulf Coast shrimper, is no stranger to civil disobedience. After years of fighting industrial pollution in her hometown of Seadrift, TX, her willingness to use civil disobedience in the struggle for clean water and the successes it wrought for her community changed the landscape of environmental justice along the Gulf Coast.

Newly designated by the Waterkeeper Alliance as the San Antonio Bay Waterkeeper, Bob Lindsey Jr. was born and raised in Calhoun County, which has highest rate of cancer of any county in TX. Lindsey also has a shrimping heritage stretching back five generations. His sister has had four episodes of cancer, and his father and nephew both died of rare disorders while in their forties. All of these diseases are traceable to the chemical facilities around which Bob’s family members lived and worked.

“Me? I’m healthy. They’re the ones I’m fighting for. We have to be prepared to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves or who are too afraid to fight for themselves. That’s why I’m here.”

“Diane and Bob’s decision to hunger strike in protest of TransCanada’s Keystone XL and challenge Valero’s longstanding disregard for the health and safety of the people of Manchester pushes the boundaries of the Gulf Coast environmental movement yet again, explains Ramsey Sprague, a Louisiana Gulf Coast-born Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “Manchester deserves justice as do all communities treated as energy sacrifice zones. Corporations like Valero and TransCanada cannot seem to function without violating the health and safety of the people everywhere from Alberta to Manchester.”

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