Convergence In Support of Eco-Prisoners & Against Toxic Prisons

June 11 – 13, 2016 in Washington D.C.
International Days of Action Everywhere
FTP imageFOR OVER A DECADE, June 11th has been a day of action in solidarity with environmentalists and anarchists imprisoned for their actions in defense of the Earth. The day has its origins in an international outcry over the extreme and unprecedented sentencing of Jeffrey Luers to 22 years in prison for damaging several SUV’s at a car dealership. Since its inception in 2004, the June 11th day of action and other acts of solidarity have been instrumental in winning shorter sentences or early release for eco-prisoners, including Luers himself as well as Eric McDavid, who was entrapped by an informant. Yet committed earth defenders such as Marius Mason, targeted in the FBI’s “Green Scare,” are still serving harsh sentences in maximum security prisons for taking direct action against earth destroying industries.
MEANWHILE IN APPALACHIA, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) plans to build a massive maximum security prison, on top of a former mountaintop removal coal mine in Letcher County, Eastern Kentucky, surrounded by sludge ponds and coal processing and transport operations. This amounts to an environmental justice nightmare, where prisoners who are disproportionately low-income and people of color face toxic conditions behind bars.
It also happens that this prison site is about a mile as the crow flies from a rare and very biodiverse pocket of Eastern old-growth called the Lilley Cornett Woods. Learn more in the December 2105 issue of the Earth First! Journal.
As of December 2015, the BOP got over $400 million approved for the prison’s construction. The newly-formed Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) is organizing to stop it, and looking to grow a coalition of opposition.
STOPPING ONE PRISON IS NOT A MAGIC BULLET to ending the U.S. police state, the one that gave way to world’s largest prison nation and in turn serves as the apparatus of repression that keeps the planet shackled to industrial capitalism…
But it’s a pretty good place to build from. In particular, it is a powerful place that the environmental movement can express solidarity with the growing rage over the racist criminal justice system.
The goal of gathering in D.C. is to converge for a series of actions that can put dual pressure on both the BOP and the EPA regarding this proposed prison, and environmental justice issues related to prisoners in general, while continuing to fight for the release of eco-prisoners in the spirit of June 11th. We also hope to see this effort build stronger bonds between the eco-defense movement and the movements against police and mass incarceration.
We envision a gathering June 11th to 12th for networking, strategizing and organizing, culminating with a mass action on Monday the 13th.
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE THE IDEA, but can’t make it to D.C., there are other options. For example, the BOP has regional offices in 5 other locations.
Additionally, the PR company that is contracted to produce the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the BOP’s Letcher prison is called Cardno, and has offices in most every U.S. city, and other cities all over the world. This is the same firm that was contracted by the U.S. State Department to produce an EIS for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
In many ways, the prison experiences of activists like Luers, Mason, McDavid, and others such as Daniel McGowan, Rebecca Rubin and Tim DeChristopher, have provided courage and inspiration rather than the desired effect of intimidation. They also gave the environmental movement an inside look at the prison epidemic in the U.S. With the steady stream of urban uprisings against the police state, there has never been a better time to organize at this intersection of ecology and incarceration. We hope you’ll join us.
Get in touch if you are interested in helping to organize this J11/FTP convergence or if you are part of a group who wants to co-sponsor it. More details are forthcoming. Contact: FightToxicPrisons@gmail.com
Co-sponsoring groups include Earth First! Prisoner Support, Rising Tide North America, Appalachia Resist!, Jericho D.C., Prison Ecology Project and others TBA.

Help RAMPS get a campaign house!

Our long time friends and allies in the climate justice struggle have finally found a place to call home in Whitesville, West Virginia! For that last five years RAMPS has been a central part of organizing to end Mountaintop Removal, bringing drinking water to families whose water had been poisoned, supporting prisoners in West Virgina jails, and consistently being committed to supporting local community struggles and needs.

If you can spare a couple bucks this season, please support this great band of misfits.

Thier full request is below.

Sincerely,

Rising Tide

RAMPS is putting down roots: We’re buying a house!
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RAMPS is buying a house!
And we need your help to make it happen.

Our new home!
It’s true. We’re about to buy a campaign house in Whitesville. This is a huge opportunity for us to deepen our roots and to grow our reach.

Since RAMPS’s inception, a major impediment to our work has been the lack of a home base with adequate housing and work space. For years we’ve lived and worked out of a crumbling, one-room former post office building here in Whitesville. After 5 years making do, we are thrilled to be moving onward and upward — and across the street!

Donate Now:

Check out our online fundraiser, and read our full description of how this new living, working, and organizing space will bring our projects to the next level.

As our supporters, allies, friends, and previous donors, you have done so much for us in the past. Thanks for all your support so far — we wouldn’t be here without you. Now we’re asking you to give generously to help us take this next big step.

We’ve got a killer lineup of perks available, to say “thank you” for your donations:
Image of persk: new RAMPS poster, handmade lip balm, and fresh ramps in the mail
There are lots of other perks available. Click here to make a donation and claim your perk!

We’re so excited that this is finally happening. We can’t wait to grow into this new space, and we hope you’ll come visit us there.

Huge thanks to everyone who donated their crafts, foods, art, time and energy to make this happen, including: Cotten’s Comforts, Oakwyn Farm, Erin McKelvy, Willie Dodson, Carol Judy, the Beehive Collective, Bec Young & Justseeds, Chad Cordell, and surely others we’re forgetting. Special thanks to our lenders and lead donors!

For the land and people,

RAMPS
P.S. Can you also help us spread the word in your circles? An easy way to do this is to share the fundraiser on your own FB page (and ask your friends to support us too!).

Even better, will you forward this email to few family members or friends who might be interested, with a quick personal description of why you’re supporting us?

Actually this isn’t copyrighted at all. Written in 2015 though.
You’re on this list either because you signed up on our website, on paper at an event, told us you wanted on the list, or are an ally in our movement.

Our mailing address is:
RAMPS Campaign
PO Box 63Whitesville, WV 25209

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Activists Shut Down Line 9 in Sarnia

On December 21st individuals shut of the flow of oil on Enbridge’s line 9 pipeline.

At 7:30 in the  morning, individuals used the manual hand wheel at a valve site to shut off the flow of oil through line 9 as an act of protest. They then  locked themselves on site to prevent the operation of the pipeline.
Line 9 is a highly contested tar sands pipeline that began shipping crude earlier this month between Sarnia and Montreal. Those involved assert that the operation of line 9 is a violation of indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights. “It’s clear that tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide.” Vanessa Gray asserts. “I defend the land and water because it is sacred. I have the right to defend anything that threatens my traditions and culture.”
Line 9 has faced opposition from several of the 18 First nations along its route. Chippewas of the Thames first nation is currently challenging the pipeline in Supreme Court, on the basis of non-consultation.
“The fact that line 9 is currently in operation really just adds to the urgency for people to act. I’m here because the negative impacts of the oil industry are taking place right now, every day.” Says Stone Stewart, another of the individuals secured within the valve site.
The tarsands are known to be the second leading cause of deforestation in the world and permanently contaminate over 7 million barrels of water every day. Locally Aamjiwnaang first nation experiences skewed sex ratios and high rates of respiratory illness because of nearby petrochemical refineries.
“The crown is failing in their obligation to consult with first nations about pipelines.” Sarah Scanlon, one of the individuals involved. “As settlers it’s our responsibility to respect Indigenous land rights and support those protecting the land and water on the frontlines.”

Grandparents “Rock to Block” Fracking Wells Near Schools with Rocking Chair Blockade

Older Generation Stands Up to Protect School Children
Check out http://threeriversrisingtide.org/grandparents-rock-to-block-fracking-wells-near-schools-with-rocking-chair-blockade/ for updates and photos!

Middlesex Township, Butler, PA – A group of grandparents and seniors shut down an unconventional natural gas drilling (fracking) site near the Mars Area School District with a “rock to block” rocking chair blockade on Monday, December 21. Rex Energy is currently drilling unconventional horizontal hydraulic fracturing gas wells (“fracking”) on the Geyer well pad. The well pad will contain a controversial cluster of wells located about a half mile away from 3,200 students at the Mars Area School District campus. Gas wells and related infrastructure such as processing plants, compressor stations and pipelines emit harmful air pollution, and have the potential to cause water pollution and safety risks. Children are especially vulnerable to environmental hazards. There is also a real safety risk due to accidental explosions and fires.

The group blocked the entrance to the Geyer well pad site because it is the only recourse left to protect the children of the Mars Area School District, as well as all children put at risk when gas wells and infrastructure are placed nearby schools. This blockade is a stand against the gas industry’s reckless rush to frack in pursuit of profits over the health and safety of the children nearby and against politicians who have persistently failed in their duty to act in the public interest over special interests.

Michael Bagdes-Canning, a Butler County grandparent of three, stated, “Since neither the government officials, Rex and others in the industry, or lease holders will act to defend the health and welfare of our communities, our grandchildren, and future generations, we decided to stand up for them by sitting down (in the rocking chairs).”
Laurel Colonello, a Middlesex Twp. grandparent, stated “It is not ok that this toxic industry has moved into our community. The gas industry and local officials have consistently chosen wealth over the health and safety of our community, especially our children.”
Rex Energy called the Adams and Middlesex township police demanding that the grandparents be arrested and removed. Police refused to arrest anyone because there was no no-trespassing sign at the gate. Rex energy shut down operations for the day, installed a brand new no trespassing sign (but on the side that we were looking at it didn’t say anything) and went home. The rocking chair blockade stayed up a few hours and when it was clear Rex wasn’t coming back the grandparents packed up.

The grannies see “rock to block” as a Holiday gift to all children who will be exposed to the health and safety risks inherent in fracking and who in turn will pass on a tainted land and degraded environment to their own children. The group of rockers believe we are all stewards of the environment; to quote an old Native American saying expresses, We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

If Rex restarts operations at the Geyer well they can expect to hear from some angry grandparents who are hell-bent on protecting their grandchildren.