8 Water Protectors Blockade Line 3 Fueling Station
(Park Rapids, MN) Thursday morning, 8 water protectors locked to one another with barrels of concrete and a piano blockaded an Enbridge fueling station and worksite as dozens more held space.
As piano music floated through the early morning light, Water Protectors sang and uplifted the Native-led struggle to protect Anishinaabe territory, sacred wild rice, and stand with Mother Earth. Line 3 poses a 10% expansion of tar sands production; tar sands is the dirtiest fossil fuel on earth.
The location is near the proposed crossing by Line 3 through the Shell River, one of many river crossings sought by Enbridge, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Last weekend, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar visited the Mississippi headwaters and the Giniw Collective encampment, one of several along the route.
Many of the Water Protectors onsite traveled from the northeast to act in solidarity with Anishinaabe peoples here in Minnesota.
Tyler Schaeffer said, “I’m profoundly concerned about the future of life on our planet and my deepest desire is for future generations to grow up safe in a world that hasn’t been wrecked by greed and shortsightedness. Where water is clean to drink. Where we’ve come back to balance and honor the earth as sacred. It’s time we follow the lead and wisdom of indigenous peoples with humility and courage.”
Reina Palm, a teacher from mid-coast Maine, said, “I am here first and foremost to follow indigenous leadership. I am 24 years old and my whole life I have felt the pull and beauty of our world and home. I remember being 4 years old and learning about climate change and the destruction of land and peoples and being deeply frightened. It is only becoming more urgent and necessary to act. Line 3 travels through so many wild lands, waters, and indigenous homes. It draws a clear picture of destruction in its path. I know it is easy to feel vulnerable, scared, tired, and discouraged. But together we can with the power of community and love, stop line 3.”
Noah McKenna, a landscaper from Massachusetts said, “When government fails to honor treaties and ensure a just transition, we must act directly. I am honored to put my body on the line in solidarity with indigenous resistance to protect mother earth and all of our futures. Together we can stop line 3!”
Jay O’har, a Quaker from Portland, ME, said, “As a person of faith I am moved to action by a call from indigenous leadership to protect the water and defend treaty rights from a government corporate power that continue to perpetuate the false doctrine of discovery and supremacy. For me this is a call to shared liberation to stop Line 3 and build a new relationship to the earth and among all people.” Jay continued, “Our group is here to follow indigenous leadership, defend life, stop line 3, and embody as much love as possible. We are a network committed to climate action and racial justice. We follow BIPOC leadership whenever we can and practice reparations.”
Ethan Hughes said, “I have two daughters and I care about all children’s future. I will do anything I can to protect life while following BIPOC leadership. Risk aversion leads to great harm.” Ethan continued, “I was a marine biologist and educator when I saw the ocean collapsing, I became a water protector. I also follow indigenous leadership because they hold and have fought to protect for 100s of years a wisdom much more profound than science. A wisdom humanity desperately needs at this time for our collective survival and liberation. I am also here for my daughters and all children. Line 3 represents the destruction of the Mississippi watershed, breaking the treaties, oppression of indigenous people, speeding up the climate crisis, and sixth mass extinction. It is time to risk everything for love and justice. Together we will stop line 3.”
Briana Halliwell, a Quaker from New England Yearly Meeting, said, “I travelled from Maine to stand in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of northern Minnesota in resistance to the Line 3 Pipeline expansion that cuts through hundreds of miles of Anishinaabe treaty territory. I am here to life up the voices of the people, animals, landscapes, and watersheds whose voices have historically been unrecognized, erased, or not understood by the patriarchal dominant culture of separation and white supremacy that founded this country and continues to destroy, not honor or create life.”
Erin, a farmer and educator from Massachusetts, said, “I am here as an act of love for my godkids and the land that raised me. I am here to do all I can to give our communities a chance to survive and to minimize suffering. I am here as a small step to address the devastation caused by white settlers and to the native peoples of this place. Line 3 is one of the largest fossil fuel pipeline projects in the world, and is slated to carry tar sands oil, polluting MN and adding to the devastation of the climate chaos. I am here because stopping line 3 is one of the highest impact things we can do to address climate chaos and uphold US treaties. Together we can stop line 3.”
Dan Truesdale of Southwest Michigan said, “I am here to stand in solidarity with indigenous leadership to honor the earth. We need climate justice and racial justice now and together we will stop line 3.”
Shawn Gregory, a community worker from Southeast Texas, said, “I just care so much about the health of people who I love, especially my nephew and future generations. I don’t want to live with regret, so I have to act in whatever way I know how to stop Line 3 and follow the leadership of indigenous communities. Together we will stop line 3.”
Cops raid protest camp in Capitol Forest, lone man in canopy continues to block logging
Capitol State Forest, WA – Early Wednesday afternoon, a convoy of trucks from at least four different law enforcement agencies parked on a logging road for an unannounced raid on a camp of forest protection activists, sweeping the camp away and leaving one man in the forest canopy tied to a contraption that continues to impede work on the controversial “Chameleon” timber sale. The officers came from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol, the state Fish and Game Department, and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the agency which planned and sold the timber sale and manages all of the Capitol State Forest. Law enforcement temporarily closed the roads to through traffic while they cleared the activists from the camp.
Alex Johnson, 29, a teacher from Olympia, was on the ground making coffee when the cops arrived. “There were just so many of them,” he said. “It seems like a lot of force to bring to deal with two unarmed civilians eating lunch.”
The two activists were briefly detained before being allowed to walk away while the officers attempted to negotiate with the remaining “tree-sitter” who continued to block the logging road. The DNR law enforcement eventually brought in spotlights and a generator and began to prepare for an extended siege of the tree-sit, which Mr. Johnson predicted would last a long time.
“I think these cops underestimate John’s commitment and endurance,” he said. “He thought hard about this before doing it, and he’s prepared to stay for quite a while. He’s one of the most stubborn guys I’ve ever met, and I tried to tell the cops that but I don’t think it’s sunk in for them yet.”
Johnson was referring to his friend in the canopy, John “Tree’Angelo” Barksdale. Mr. Barksdale, 34, an outdoor educator from Tumwater, has watched with dismay over the past several years as the DNR has systematically clear-cut most of its remaining old-growth stands. An avid hiker, he’s seen many of his favorite local trails turned to moonscapes.
“Unit 1 of Chameleon is some of the most intact forest, the best habitat left across one hundred thousand acres,” Barksdale said. “If we want all this to actually be a forest and not just an oversized tree plantation, we need to save at least something. We can’t clear-cut all of it.”
Barksdale has used years of climbing experience to erect a unique “dunk-tank” platform atop an old-growth douglas-fir tree, tied to an abandoned Ford Explorer parked across the proposed logging road. If the car moves, his platform drops. It’s about one hundred feet down to the steep slopes of the forest below. Barksdale claims to have plenty of food and water and says he is prepared to wait out the DNR indefinitely.
“I’ve always wanted to tree-sit,” he says. “I love trees. I love camping. I can work remotely out here and attend Zoom meetings from right here on the platform. It’s super dreamy up here, and I’m trying to save these trees. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”
The protest camp, which was started ten days ago by a few friends of Mr. Barksdale, quickly picked up support from local hunters, fishermen and ATV users concerned about the health of the forest. Protectors of the Salish Sea, an indigenous water advocacy group, held space with songs and prayers at the blockade on Saturday. Multiple community groups across Thurston County have come out in support of the blockade and are calling for the cancellation of the timber sale.
“Governor Inslee claims to be the ‘climate Governor’, and even ran for President of the United States on a platform based on tackling climate change, yet he continues to allow the Department of Natural Resources to clearcut our state’s forests despite their potential to mitigate the climate crisis,” said Nathan McKay, a landscape architect from Lacey, Washington. “If Inslee was really a climate leader, he would call off this timber sale, and protect our forests for their carbon sequestration and storage potential.”
A rally is planned for today, Thursday, October 8, at 3pm at the gate of the logging road leading into the timber sale. Community members are invited to witness the siege and see the ancient trees in the proposed clearcut.
“Yesterday, on day 619 of the Yellow Finch tree sits blockading the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline — representatives of MVP met with representatives of the local soil and erosion control board on Yellow Finch Road.
Residents of the blockade greeted the meeting in the road with banners proclaiming, “STOP WORK” and “DOOM TO THE PIPELINE.” The DEQ representative showed little concern for the sediment accumulation that was pointed out by local representatives, and DEQ seemed overall frustrated by any requests made of MVP in the meeting.
MVP’s head of security Shithead Steve and his sidekick Willy were present to supervise the meeting and generally bring down environmental conditions wherever they go.”
Activists with Portland Rising Tide and the Mosquito Fleet prevent the bulk carrier Patagonia from docking at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., on November 5, 2019. The protesters are against the ships’s cargo they say is bound for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project in Canada which will carry oil sands bitumen from Edmonton, Alberta to the coast at Burnaby, British Colombia for export to markets in Asia and the US. (Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)
Young climate activists chain selves to Washington pier amid pipeline delivery
Protest comes amid effort to disrupt 700-mile Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Young activists interrupted the delivery of a controversial pipeline to a port in southern Washington at daybreak on Tuesday, once again taking the lead in the climate fight.
Tuesday’s protest by Portland Rising Tide was part of a continuing effort to disrupt the opening of project that expands a pipeline running from Edmonton, Alberta, to the coast of British Columbia and would open export markets to hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands.
Climbers flanked by kayaks chained themselves to a pier on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington, intending to intercept the delivery of pipe manufactured in India for the project.
The group of protesters included 22-year-old Kiran Oommen, a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit Juliana v the US, which takes aim at the American government’s complicity in promoting a fossil fuel energy system and other practices that facilitate the climate crisis.
Oommen, who is joined by 20 other young plaintiffs in the litigation, was among those who chained himself to a dock. By 8am, he and other activists were being threatened with arrest as an arriving bulk carrier sounded its foghorn and a growing crowd of stalled workers gathered on the pier, one shouting: “Trump! Four more years!”
Before climbing a ladder and chaining himself to the pier, Oommen said past action to lobby, to vote and to use the courts to compel action on climate change had been unsuccessful so far.
“The point that my generation is at, we don’t have time to wait for systems that haven’t worked for decades,” he said.
The linking of a Juliana plaintiff with direct action against fossil fuel infrastructure signifies more than individual frustration with inaction on climate. It denotes the rising sense of urgency among young people to remedy a crisis that afflicts them all.
“I fear for my future. It’s zero hour and I can’t watch the Earth die around me. I don’t want to be 30 and telling my kids that I didn’t do anything,” said Lydia Stolt, who risked a college scholarship to be among those locked to the pier.
Oommen’s four-year-old court case been the subject of repeated, and unusually aggressive, emergency petitions by the federal government intended to halt the suit, which has missed three trial dates so far.
“Part of why I’m here is to just give them a little reminder that they can play with us in the system, but we don’t have to stay in the system to have our voices heard,” Oommen said.
Tuesday’s action took aim at the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a 1,150km (about 700-mile) Canadian project that will boost the capacity of oil transport from the Alberta tar sands to the coast of British Columbia.
The $7.4bn expansion is projected to triple the 300,000 barrels of oil currently transported from Edmonton and would carry heavier oils with higher potential to emit greenhouse gas, making it what many activists consider a potential climate tipping point.
The project was initially proposed by Kinder Morgan in 2012, and the Canadian government approved it, but it was delayed by opposition from First Nations and environmental groups and lawsuits from provincial and municipal governments in Canada. The project was acquired by the Canadian government, which continues to fund the expansion, in summer 2018.
The action by Portland Rising Tide, the local affiliate of the North American direct action group, was the culmination of an international effort to track shipments of the pipe from India through the US into Canada. Greenpeace provided technical assistance, while support from the north came from Mosquito Fleet, an oil and gas direct action group, and First Nations peoples who oppose the pipeline.
Cedar George-Parker, 22, a member of the Tulalip and Tsleil Waututh tribes, said First Nations communities had staunchly opposed the pipeline, which crosses indigenous lands.
He said a study had determined a spill could sicken 1 million people within 24 hours. He also noted potential impacts on the salmon in the Fraser River watershed and orcas in the Salish Sea from increased tanker traffic.
“In Tulalip, the orca is on the crescent [flag], so it’s who they are,” George-Parker said. “We have to do something to save them. They can’t speak English … they can’t go to the legislative building.