Protesters Arrested Stopping Work at Denton’s New Fracking Site

day 2MEDIA RELEASE: June 2, 2015

Contact: Elida Tamez, 940-367-2159

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Protesters Arrested Stopping Work at Denton’s New Fracking Site

DENTON, TX – June 2, 2015 -Today, three more citizens of Denton were arrested in an act of civil disobedience after refusing leave Vantage Energy’s new fracking site. Gathering with several dozen other community members at the site, the three intentionally refused to leave the driveway to the drilling area after police dispersal orders were issued with the intention of stopping work.

“I want to enforce our fracking ban and I believe that democracy is not being served,” said Elida Tamez, a former University of North Texas employee who was among those arrested, “I’m very angry at the state legislature because the people have voted and majority rules. I’m doing it because I feel that it is a very unjust situation at hand.”

Today’s action taken by the three citizens comes just a day after three others were arrested for also refusing to leave the site. The ongoing protests come just after the passage of HB 40, which overturned Denton’s ban on hydraulic fracturing. In November the citizens of Denton voted for the ban in a landslide vote. Less than 48 hours after the ban was declared unenforceable, Colorado based Vantage Energy announced that they would bring fracking back to Denton at the site located directly across the street from a neighborhood and several businesses.

day 2 2“I chose not to move after receiving a dispersal order from the police. I participated in civil disobedience not only because of environmental and health reasons but also because of the threat to our democracy that HB 40 poses,” said Jonathon Vann, a long-time resident and Frack Free Denton volunteer arrested today. “The will of the people must be respected and that is why I refused to stand aside today.”

Despite claims to be a “good neighbor” to the people living near the site, community members are concerned with the company’s record on public safety. On May 7 it was a Vantage well that was struck by lightning in Denton, which then burned off for over 7 hours while firefighters awaited Vantage’s emergency response team. On April 11, a serious mishap happened during the fracking process in Arlington, Texas causing a blowout at the well and forced 115 homes to be evacuated.

“Last November I took part in one of our country’s most authentic expressions of democracy. A popular referendum,” said Rodney Love, a longtime resident and small-business owner. “Despite overwhelming odds, our city voted to restrict future hydraulic fracturing within our city limits. We chose together to protect our water, air, and the health of our children. I stand with my fellow citizens to protect our right to decide what is best for our community within a free democracy.”

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Seattle: #YouShellNotPass Blockades Shut Down Terminal 5

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pics via Brandon Hill

#YouShellNotPass Blockades Shut Down Terminal 5 At The Port Of Seattle

Seattle, WA, Hundreds of people blockaded the gates to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle, stopping work on Shell’s Arctic Drilling rig Polar Pioneer.

“Everyone is out here today, we have scientists, teachers and city councilmembers risking arrest because they understand the severity of this moment,” said Sarra Tekola a student with Divest University of Washington who recently won a vote to divest their school’s endowment from Coal. “Climate change isn’t a polar bear issue it’s a human rights issue, climate change displaces people from their countries, 40 years ago desertification kicked my father out of his country in Ethiopia and it’s going to get worse. This is our lunch counter to sit on, this is our history to be made, we hold the world in our hands.”

A loose network of several dozen groups calling themselves the sHell No! Action Council (SNAC) organized today’s action. SNAC has focused their opposition to Arctic Drilling on the impacts of Global Warming on the impacts on peoples in the Global South and indigenous communities.

“For the past few years, the Philippines has ranked highly as a country most vulnerable to climate change. My heart fills with dread every time I hear another news report on an extreme weather event in the Philippines, where my family still lives” says Bayan PNW Coordinator Katrina Pesta*ño*. “As the U.S. consumes 20% of the world’s energy resources, we Filipino Americans believe it is our duty to organize for more renewable energy sources and against activities that would extract fossil fuels from the earth,” added Katrina. “Islands like the Philippines continue to disproportionately face the brunt of disaster brought on by global climate change.”

City Councilmember Kshama Sawant joined hundreds of Seattlites prepared to risk arrest in today’s action. While the majority of participants were local, some travelled from as far as the east coast and the gulf south.

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via Brandon Hill

“Just last week I was at a rally in front of a polluting Shell asphalt
refinery in Saint Rose, Louisiana. Neighbors there are sick from Shell’s pollution. Shell cannot safely operate the facilities it already has. There’s no way this company should be allowed to drill in the Arctic,” said Anne Rolfes, a New Orleans resident participating in today’s action.

Others traveled from Alaska to show their opposition to Shell’s plans, including a number of Alaskan Native activists.

“I’m here as an Inupiaq person to support and stand with the activists and kayaktivists in the effort to keep the Arctic Ocean free of drilling for oil. Quyanaqpak for helping protect our way of life,” said Allison Warden, who travelled to Seattle from the Arctic for this weekend’s events.

Part of the group locked down are the Seattle Raging Grannies. “My generation is responsible for the way things are and we owe it to our children and grandchildren to stand up to make a change and protect their future” said Annette Clapstein.

Zarna Joshi dressed in a sari and holding a sign that says Vande Mataram, I bow to my mother, said. “I will not allow the future of our planet, my mother, to be destroyed by this greedy, short sighted, capitalist system that is utterly failing the people.” She says she wants to invite her Indian brothers and sisters to join in this fight for our future.

Organizers with the sHell No! Action Council say the process they used to organize their protests was just as important as the outcomes. The council called mass meetings and used a spokescouncil modeled off the planning for the 1999 WTO protests. Over 200 people participated in democratic planning for today’s actions.

”Today we’re not just shutting down Shell, we’re challenging corporate capitalism, imperialism and colonialism with a vision of people power and true mass democracy,” said Ahmed Gaya an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle, one of the groups participating in the sHell No! Action Council.

Pictures Available Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132256949@N04/sets/72157650744653893/
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*Spokespeople*
Katrina Pestano, Bayan PNW Coordinator – 206-403-0349
Joaquin Uy, Bayan PNW – 206-427-2999
Sarra Tekola, Divest University of Washington (UW) – 206-718-7347
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade – 504-452-4909
Jill Mangaliman, Got Green Executive Director – jill@gotgreen.org
JM Wong, Parisol – dameimee247854@gmail.com
Ahmed Gaya – Rising Tide Seattle, 773-960-2587
Emily Johnston – 350 Seattle, 206-407-5003

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Union Member Risks Arrest at Arc Logistics, Opposes TPP and Fossil Fuel Exports

close-up-300x170Portland, OR. Tim Norgren of Stevenson, WA and Laborers International Union of North America member is locked to a barrel at Arc Logistics Partners’ Portland Terminal to draw a clear connection between fossil fuel exports and trade agreements like the TPP, and to call for action to put a stop to both. Tim is supported by the climate justice group Portland Rising Tide.

The crowd is gathered at Arc Logistics to support Tim and draw the connections between existing & proposed fossil fuel infrastructure and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive trade deal being pushed by many politicians including Democrats Senator Wyden, Representative Blumenauer, Representative Bonamici, and President Obama. Many environmental and labor groups oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the grounds that it is written and promoted by the fossil fuel industry and American Legislative Exchange Council, gives multinational corporations more rights than communities here in the US, sends jobs overseas, and jeopardizes worker and environmental protections around the Pacific Rim.

The AFL-CIO opposes the TPP and is holding a rally today at 4:30pm at the Sentinel Hotel to tell President Obama, who is in Portland to speak on trade agreements, to stand up for workers and the environment. “I’m locked down today in part because climate change is an issue of survival inextricably linked to so-called ‘free trade’ globalization efforts like the TPP. While many of us strongly appreciate President Obama’s willingness to bring the climate crisis into the national debate, he has been unwilling to connect major fossil fuel exports to the TPP or veto the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Tim Norgren.

With proposals by major Alberta Tar Sands investor Pembina Pipeline Corporation for a propane (derived from fracked gas in Alberta, Canada) export terminal in Portland, the Jordan Cove Natural Gas terminal proposed in Coos Bay, a proposed natural gas terminal in Warrenton, as well as already-operating Arc Logistics and Port Westward oil-by-rail terminals, Oregonians are concerned that the Trans Pacific Partnership will promote more export terminals, send domestic energy overseas to fuel jobs in countries with lower workers’ rights standards, and hasten climate change. At a time when scientists tell us we need to leave most fossil fuels in the ground to prevent disastrous climate change and runaway global warming, this is completely unacceptable.

Tim hopes this action will send a message to union leaders and politicians alike that everyday workers want sustainable jobs. “I’m also taking this action to let my union, the Laborers International Union of North America, know that it has rank and file members who are willing to stand up not only for prevailing wage contracts, but for the survival and rights of all workers, rather than support those who would see minimum wage remain at poverty levels while jobs are freely outsourced to foreign factories with subsistence wages and no safety or emissions standards whatsoever. All they offer us in return is a chance to build infrastructure for an economy based on environmentally destructive resource extraction, and that’s just not sustainable.”

People gathered today at Arc Logistics spoke about being inspired by resistance from other communities in the Pacific Northwest, and hope that local governments can be leaders in stopping fossil fuel exports. “In Seattle, the Mayor recently took a strong stance against Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet and hopes to stop drilling in the Arctic entirely. We can only hope Mayor Hales will do the same, reverse course, say no to the Pembina propane export terminal and begin the process of dismantling all current fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland,” said Rising Tide organizer Jonah Majure.

Portland Rising Tide will be hosting a legal defense fundraiser for Tim at 7:30 pm on May 22nd at Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Ave, Portland OR).

Media Contact: Jonah Majure: 623-262-3063

Oil Train Opponents Blockade Tracks At Port Westward, OR

Oil Train Blockade

Clatskanie, OR—Climate justice activists, local Clatskanie farmers, and oil train opponents from all over Columbia County are blockading the tracks that lead to Port Westward on the Columbia River. The blockade consists of a 20-foot-high tripod of steel poles, its apex occupied by 27-year-old Portland Rising Tide activist Sunny Glover. Any train movement would risk her life, as would any attempt to remove her from the structure. A banner suspended from the tripod reads: “Oil trains fuel climate chaos.” She has vowed to stay as long as she is able.

Donate to help Rising Tide Portland keep blockading!

Massachusetts-based Global Partners ships oil by rail from the fracking fields of the Bakken Shale to the blockaded facility. From there, it is loaded onto oceangoing vessels bound for West Coast refineries. The facility was constructed with public clean energy loans and tax credits to manufacture ethanol in 2008. The owners declared bankruptcy almost immediately, and in a twist of savage irony, it became a crude oil terminal.

“Fossil fuels are catastrophically destructive,” Glover said. “Extraction ravages land, water, and the health of local communities – transport results in deadly explosions, toxic spills and dust – and as they are burned, the Earth is forced ever deeper into immense climate instability. Fossil fuel production is violence, and on an incredibly vast scale.”

Dozens are joining Glover on the tracks. The increase in US oil production in recent years, and the consequent rise in oil train traffic, has outraged a diversity of groups and communities. Rising Tide activists, hoping to deter the most severe effects of climate change, are demanding a rapid dismantling of fossil fuel infrastructure throughout the region and the world. Residents of areas effected by oil train traffic are horrified by the propensity of Bakken crude trains to derail in fiery explosions—a May, 2014 emergency order by the US Department of Transportation describes the trains as an “imminent hazard.” Residents of the patchwork of farms, dikes, and waterways north of Clatskanie are fighting to protect agricultural land and salmon habitat from industrialization.

“When the crude oil trains began rolling through Columbia County, we had no prior warning—not from DEQ, not from the Port of St. Helens, not from the county, and not from the State of Oregon,” said Nancy Whitney. “With the close proximity of our towns, and particularly our schools, and considering the track record of crude oil derailments, my fear is that the potential devastation from leakage or explosion could be astronomical—and it will happen unless these trains are stopped.”

This is the fifth oil train blockade in the Pacific Northwest since June.

“This is only the beginning,” said Noah Hochman. “We will continue to blockade until it is financially, logistically, and politically untenable for oil trains to threaten climate and communities.”