FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 21, 2012 Contact: Justin Ellenbecker, Occupy Spokane: firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-599-4549 Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide email@example.com, 208-301-8039 Photo:See available Facebook photos here *Washington/Idaho Megaload Resistance* At about 11:30 pm on Sunday night, May 20, a dozen activists from Occupy Spokane and Wild Idaho Rising Tide converged in Spokane, Washington, to protest megaloads of oversized equipment bound for Alberta tar sands operations from the Port of Pasco. ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil has been using Highway 395, Interstate 90, and city streets in Spokane and Spokane Valley since mid-October to transport road damaging shipments weighing up to 400,000 pounds and stretching over 200 feet long. Diverted in Idaho from their originally intended Highway 12 route by court challenges and from their alternative Highway 95 path by Moscow area protests, these pieces of a tar sands/bitumen processing plant will expand Canadian carbon fuel extraction, American dependence on oil, and continental greenhouse gas emissions, while reaping hefty profits for one of the wealthiest corporations on Earth. From the pedestrian walkway over East Third Avenue near South Regal Street, Spokane climate justice activists draped banners asserting “No Dirty Energy,” “Occupy 99%,” “Climate Killers,” “Highway to Hell,” and other statements (see photos). While waiting for the megaload convoys’ arrival, they observed flaggers and warning signs posted along Third Avenue, support vehicles cruising the area, and up to six Spokane city police cars parked near the demonstrators. Between midnight and 1:00 am on Monday, four megaloads traversed Third Avenue, narrowly fitting under the pedestrian overpass and between parked cars and activists with protest signs lining both sides of the street. Convoys consisting of Washington state trooper escorts, flagger vehicles, and pilot trucks displaying illuminated “oversized load” signs accompanied a silver, cylindrical module, two large, blue, trailer-like boxes, and a frame structure full of pipes and parts. A protester later saw another megaload among a cluster of vehicles similarly leaving the interstate at the Altamont Street exit in Spokane and the Barker Road off-ramp in Spokane Valley. Recognizing the international impacts of these transports, citizens throughout the Northwest will continue to coordinate and organize demonstrations to oppose and impede tar sands megaload traffic, to prevent increasing carbon emissions causing global climate change and to dissuade investors in such dirty energy schemes. The mostly foreign-owned corporations who have mined only two or three percent of the Alberta tar sands are advancing the second fastest rate of deforestation in the world, as they consume more energy, mostly derived from natural gas, than tar sands fuels ultimately yield. Their largest industrial project on Earth pollutes exorbitant volumes of fresh water and deposits heavy metals, carcinogens, and oil across vast swaths of Canadian boreal forests and wetlands. Resident First Nations villages practicing subsistence lifestyles suffer rare cancers and disproportionate deaths, as the single greatest contributor of atmospheric carbon in North America bodes “game over” for the Earth’s climate. People interested in upcoming expressions of First Amendment rights through anti-megaload assemblies in the Spokane area can contact Occupy Spokane and/or Wild Idaho Rising Tide for more information about the time and location of protests.
Portland Rising Tide dropped an anti-tar sands banner today from the Burnside Bridge. The group is acting in solidarity with communities, organizations and individuals resisting tar sands development across North America.
Rising Tide’s action comes on the heels of the 2-week Tar Sands Action campaign in Washington DC. 1,253 American’s were arrested in an act of civil disobedience at the White House to send a message to President Obama, asking him to stand up to Big Oil and deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline permits.
The Keystone XL pipeline is required for Big Oil to profit off of the social and environmental disaster that is the Alberta tar sands. Current tar sands mining has brought increased cancer rates, polluted water, and mass die-offs of birds and fish in the largely First Nation communities of northern Alberta.
Tar Sands Action organizers have put a call out for activists to hold the date October 7th for further action. This is the final Congressional hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline. Regionally, people are encouraged to visit their local Obama 2012 headquarters and inform staffers that you will withhold your support in the upcoming presidential elections until the pipeline is stopped.
From St. Louis to DC and Beyond: Why Shouldn’t We Be Risking Arrest? Great new blog by Arielle Klagsbrun, one of the Midwest Rising 15.
From Midwest Rising to the Tar Sands Action, Civil Disobedience as Tactic for Change « It’s Getting.
Last Saturday, while listening to the “Why Direct Action?” panel at the Midwest Rising Convergence, I whispered to my close friend Todd sitting next to me, “I think I’m going to risk arrest on Monday.” He responded, “Why shouldn’t you?”
Anyone Else Not Surprised that the Corporate News Network Missed the Real Story on Mountaintop Removal?
CNN Tries, Fails to Cover Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
It’s not often that cable news covers complex environmental or labor issues, so I was hopeful when I heard that CNN’s Soledad O’Brien was doing a piece on the battle over Blair Mountain for the CNN In America series. I wrote about this site of a historic labor battle that coal companies are seeking …