Eleven Arrested At Peabody Coal’s Annual Shareholder Meeting


peabody AGM11 Activists Arrested At Peabody Coal’s Annual Shareholder Meeting in Clayton

Community members from St. Louis, Black Mesa, and Rocky Branch Unite to Hold Peabody Accountable for Destroying Communities  

ST. LOUIS–Today, for the second time in less than a week, activists were arrested at a Peabody Coal demonstration. 75 people rallied at Peabody’s annual shareholder meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton. Members of the local Take Back St. Louis campaign were joined by Dineh (Navajo) Peabody resisters from Black Mesa and residents from Rocky Branch, Illinois who are currently fighting Peabody’s mine expansion there.

Representatives from Take Back St. Louis, Justice for Rocky Branch, and Tonizhoni Ani had bought shares of Peabody in order to attend the shareholder meeting and voice their concerns to CEO Greg Boyce, but were not allowed into the main meeting room with Peabody executives. When they were placed in an “overflow room,” they walked out of the meeting. The entire rally then marched to the entrance of the Ritz Carlton to deliver a letter outlining the group’s demands to Greg Boyce. Eight people were arrested while trying to enter the Ritz Carlton to deliver the letter. Two other people were arrested attempting to enter the shareholder meeting from the overflow room.

Today’s protest comes less than a week after Wash U Students Against Peabody’s 17 day sit-in ended when seven students were arrested trying to enter their Board of Trustees meeting to encourage Peabody CEO Greg Boyce to resign from the University’s Board of Trustees.

“I am here today to continue to spread the message that the Wash U Students Against Peabody started spreading with their actions over the past weeks,“ said Marshall Johnson, Black Mesa Resident and member of Tonizhoni Ani. “We need to stand up to Peabody on Black Mesa and here in St. Louis so our children and grandchildren and all future generations can have clean water and clean air. I am grateful to Wash U students for standing up for a respectful future for us all.”

Recently, Peabody has been engaging in unprecedented attempts to undermine St. Louis’ local democracy. In late March, Peabody sued to keep the citizen-driven Take Back St. Louis initiative off the ballot and away from voters. The ballot initiative would stop the city’s policy of giving Peabody and other big corporations large tax breaks. Now, in the past few days, Peabody’s lobbyists and Mayor Slay’s lobbyists have inserted amendments into Missouri Senate Bill 672 that would ban the city of St. Louis from “by ballot measure impos[ing] any restriction on any public financial incentive authorized by statute.” The amendment is a blow to local control, stripping the city of the ability to determine its own tax regulation.

“The ballot initiative process exists so that we as city residents can bring our concerns to our government and other city residents. Peabody Coal and Mayor Slay are blatantly attempting to subvert our local democratic process,” said Joretta Wilson, member of the Take Back St. Louis campaign. “We collected 22,000 signatures to put the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative on the ballot, and now Peabody and Slay’s lobbyists are trying to make the initiative illegal before St. Louis residents even get a chance to vote on the initiative.”

Today’s demonstration united the local Take Back St. Louis campaign with communities fighting Peabody across the nation, including Dineh (Navajo) resistors from Big Mountain/Black Mesa in Arizona, and the Justice for Rocky Branch campaign in Southern Illinois. For decades, these communities have experienced Peabody using its financial power to influence democracy and ensure continued profits without concern for human lives, homes, and futures.

“I am here today to ask Mr. Boyce why our homes and our land are being destroyed for Peabody’s bottom line, “ said Judy Kellen, one of the Rocky Branch residents who tried to enter today’s shareholder meeting.  “Peabody is making profits at the expense of our future and the health of future generations.”

This year marks the 40th year of Indigenous resistance by the Diné (Navajo) communities of Big Mountain and Black Mesa, Arizona to forced relocation from ancestral homelands due to Peabody Coal’s massive strip mining. The effects of the relocation meet all the criteria of the UN’s internationally recognized definition of cultural genocide. Diné (Navajo) resistors on Black Mesa are planning a one-week training camp starting May 16th to demand “not one more relocation” of Indigenous people by Peabody. Members of the Take Back St. Louis campaign will be traveling to Black Mesa for the camp, continuing the increased unity amongst groups fighting Peabody across the country.

More information on Take Back St. Louis is available here: www.TakeBackStLouis.com

More information on the Big Mountain Training Camp is available here: Big Mountain Spring Training Camp

Photos are attached. Video available upon request.

Activists are available for interviews all day.

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Portland Rising Tide Occupies Department of Environmental Quality

(Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)Portland Rising Tide responds to the Global Call for 10 days of Action from Earth Day to May Day by joining other groups who together represent the public’s interest in opposing polluting fossil fuel export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.

About 70 people occupied the lobby of the DEQ and called out local toxic polluters, including ESCO and Precision Castparts (which was recently named the #1 toxic air polluter in the country).

As Governer Kitzhaber recently said in his speech on April 19th to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, “The time has come to end all coal exports in the Pacific Northwest” to stop “the very real consequences of climate change”, as we are “the last generation that can do something about it.”

Rising Tiders say we need to stop much more than coal, and are concerned about the 15 coal, oil, and gas terminals being proposed in the Pacific Northwest that would harm our coast, the Columbia River, local communities, and the global climate.

Some handed out notices that the DEQ was being dissolved, and offering guaranteed employment with the People’s Agency, where their job would be to enforce a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure by denying all permits for coal, oil, and gas export proposals.

They also made a group phone call to Morrow Pacific CEO Clark Moseley, informing him that the DEQ had just been dissolved, that his three permits for a coal export facility at Boardman recently issued by the DEQ have been revoked (issuing what they called a “notice of termination”), and that any pending future permits have been summarily denied. They then left a message on his cell phone for his records.

There is majority public opposition to exporting global climate crisis and suffering the local health and ecological consequences of fossil fuel terminals. Portland Rising Tide illustrated this tension with a crowd representing the People’s Agency, participating in a tug of war with the Department of Destruction, in the DEQ’s downtown lobby.

Portland Rising Tide’s skepticism of state regulatory agencies protecting us from fossil fuel devastation is fueled by the DSL allowing Ambre Energy 7 extensions to their deadline despite what even Kitzhaber calls ‘repeated failures’ to supply information regarding their project’s legality.

“This process shows that the permitting process is essentially one of approval – with illegal and destructive projects delayed, but never denied,” said Karen Coulter.

Furthermore, ODOT recently issued illegal permits for Omega Morgan’s hauling of tar sands megaloads through the ceded lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, despite substantial public and Umatilla opposition.

More recently, ODOT officials were caught lying about the volume of oil trains rolling through Oregon with their tacit consent. In the ensuing public scandal, they announced their refusal to give the public *any *further information on oil trains.

“We’re here today to show that the public can’t trust the regulatory agencies to protect our ecosystems and future. We have to show each other what it looks when the people take charge, and confront the root causes of climate change,” said Wes Kempfer, a participant in the political theater.

Fully two-thirds of the greenhouse gas pollution in the US is legally permitted by regulatory agencies1 <#sdfootnote1sym>. Oregon’s DEQ has already proven their willingness to allow this destruction in Oregon – handing out three permits for Ambre Energy’s coal export facility in Boardman, Oregon.

“I agree with Kitzhaber that it is time to get past 19th century fossil fuels, but it is equally necessary to move beyond the illusion that regulatory agencies are really protecting ecosystems and the public interest,” said Rising Tide member Stephen Quirke. “In fact, we cannot have one without the other.”

“It’s no mystery that climate change follows from the regulatory agency jigsaw puzzle approach to ecological protection, which has too many missing pieces, and doesn’t really fit together,” said Katherine Cotrell, another Rising Tider. “The public needs to intervene if we want a sane response to this truly insane situation.”

In response to the revelation that the Clatskanie oil train terminal was carrying 6 times more than their permit allowed, DEQ charged Global Partners LP $117,000, but failed to halt the oil trains rolling along the Columbia, through rural communities, and ultimately through Portland.

This is the equivalent of one penny per barrel of illegally shipped oil, being transported in the most dangerous way possible. In response to journalist inquiries, ODOT’s rail division announced they would no longer request reports of hazardous oil moving by rail, since they knew it would “not be protected” from the public.

They were over-ruled by the their director and Governor Kitzhaber one day after Rob Davis covered the story. This is just one more reason we cannot trust the regulatory agencies.

The DEQ is currently reviewing air quality permits for Jordan Cove LNG, after FERC gave their approval. DEQ appears set to approve these permits—they say it pollutes less than the Weyerhauser paper mill that used to be on the site.

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The fight against fossil fuel extraction has never been so fierce. All over North America, a spirit as old as the forests and mountains is sweeping our movement.  From the Appalachian Mountains to the great plains of Oklahoma to the Salish Coast on the Pacific Ocean, a great resistance to mining and drilling, fracking and mega-pipelines and export terminals has formed in defiance of Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Gas.

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Rising Tide North America has been central to building that resistance. Seeking to connect the dots between climate change and social justice, we have built a network throughout North America that has not only fought on the frontlines of climate justice, but challenged the root causes of climate change.

In 2013, our network did some amazing things:

  • We grew both deeper and wider. Not only have we added new chapters in places like Olympia, WA, Toronto, ON and Denton, TX, but our existing network has taken on hard campaign fights in places like southern Utah and St. Louis, MO.

  • In Idaho, Montana and Oregon, Rising Tide chapters joined with Indigenous allies on the Nez Perce and Umatilla reservations to challenge large tar sands refining equipment being shipped overland to Alberta.

  • In November, Appalachians and climate activists took action against Swiss banking giant, UBS, one of the biggest funders of mountaintop removal coal mining, at its U.S. headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Sixteen activists spent days in jail calling on UBS to divest from the destruction.

  • Finally, we’ve discovered that our bold and effective organizing has attracted the attention of both state and corporate security institutions. From TransCanada and Strafor to the federal government, efforts to intimidate us into sitting down and shutting up have grown. But, if anything, that intimidation emboldens us. It encourages us to push harder.

As we enter into 2014, we’re asking you to make a small donation to Rising Tide North America to keep our momentum building.

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Rising Tide North America

Portland Rising Tide: 15 Activists Arraigned, Total Bail Set At $150k Following Blockade Of Tar Sands Megaloads

BAILOUTCross-posted from Portland Rising Tide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12/18/13

Media contacts:

Trip Jennings, Portland Rising Tide – tripjennings1@gmail.com – 541.729.3294

David Osborn, Portland Rising Tide – david@portlandrisingtide.org – 503.516.8932

15 ACTIVISTS ARRAIGNED, TOTAL BAIL SET AT $ 150,000 FOLLOWING BLOCKADE OF TAR SANDS MEGALOAD MONDAY

John Day, OR: The people arrested Monday night blockading the tar sands megaload were arraigned today in the Justice Court of Grant County. Fourteen were charged with five misdemeanors, one with six and the minor arrested in the action was released Monday. Each person has had bail set at $ 10,000 for a total of $ 150,000. The arrests stem from the two blockades that were set up Monday night using two disabled vehicles to stop the controversial, 450-ton, 376-foot long tar sands megaload transported by Omega Morgan, which was delayed for several hours.

The action Monday was the sixth regional action against the Oregon megaloads in two weeks. The actions started when two were arrested successfully preventing the megaload from leaving the Port of Umatilla on December 1st. A member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla was arrested December 2nd trying to block the megaload. Office occupations and disruptions have taken place at Omega Morgan’s offices in Fife, WA and Hillsboro, OR, as well as the General Electric subsidiary that designed the machinery moving towards the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta.

Those arrested Monday included support personal not involved in the action. Of those arrested 12 were not involved in the blockade and were standing on the side of the road to take photographs, document the police response and provide medical assistance if needed. They were not given cease and desist orders, nor told to leave by the police prior to being arrested. Police also used violence on the individuals that were part of the blockade in an attempt to coerce them into unlocking themselves.

“I was away from the actual blockades and present to support the people taking action. I was arrested without warning and charged with the same thing as those who locked down”, said Johnathan Batchelor who was arrested, “This aggravated and inappropriate response is the opposite of what is needed. The real criminals are Omega Morgan and the companies involved in the tar sands which fuel the climate crisis”.

Omega Morgan says this is the first of three megaload shipments through the region. Former routes through Idaho were blocked by an injunction filed by the Nez Perce Tribe, following major protests in Idaho and Montana. Similar opposition from the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla is growing in Oregon and Gary Burke, Chair of the Umatilla Reservation’s Board of Trustees, recently delivered a letter to Governor Kitzhaber expressing opposition to the megaloads due to lack of consultation with the tribes and the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change.

Portland Rising Tide, a member of an alliance of groups organizing against the megaloads, continues to mobilize support for ongoing opposition to these and any future megaloads. During the summer some 400 people signed a pledge expressing willingness to participate in non-violent civil disobedience and direct action to address the climate crisis. “We will continue to resist the tar sands megaloads and all other fossil fuel infrastructure, including the oil, coal and gas terminals proposed for the NW, “ said David Osborn of Portland Rising Tide, “All new fossil fuel extraction must be halted, communities are being destroyed and the climate is being imperiled. The equipment transported by Omega Morgan will expand the tar sands and devastate communities in northern Alberta and throughout the world. It is immoral and we will do everything we can to stop it.”

Photos available from freelance journalist Alex Milan Tracy of December 1st and 12th actions:

http://www.demotix.com/news/3398176/activists-prevent-megaload-bound-tar-sands-leaving-umatilla#media-3398116

http://www.demotix.com/news/3487848/omega-morgan-closes-after-tar-sands-protesters-enter-facility

Photos of Monday’s action will be forthcoming when the cameras are released by the Grant County police.
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