Sandpoint, ID: Protest of Fossil Fuels Train Pollution

cross-posted from Wild Idaho Rising Tide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2020

Media contact: Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide. wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com, 208-301-8039

Saturday Protest of Fossil Fuels Train Pollution

February 1, 10 am rally & carpool at Sandpoint City Beach Park, & 11 am march from Bonners Ferry Visitors Center

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), #No2ndBridge, and regional climate activists are hosting a Fossil Fuels Train Pollution Protest in Bonner and Boundary counties on Saturday, February 1.  Participants are gathering at 10 am around the City Beach Park pavilion in Sandpoint, Idaho, for a brief, information sharing rally.  Carpoolers are next traveling to the Gateway Visitors Center in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, to march at 11 am and return to Sandpoint by 1 pm.

This community event commemorates the one-month anniversary of the January 1, rockslide derailment and January 26 removal and current disassembly of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, mixed freight train locomotive that submerged and leaked at least 2,100 gallons of diesel fuel and engine oil into the Kootenai River near Moyie Springs, north Idaho.  Resistance to ongoing, coal, oil, and hazardous materials train pollution and derailment risks and impacts to public and environmental health and safety is increasing across the Idaho Panhandle.  Rural, rail corridor residents continue to oppose bridge, track, and operations expansions that compound these threats, such as BNSF’s inherently perilous, present and proposed, fossil fuels pipelines-on-rails across north Idaho, along the Kootenai River, and almost one mile over Lake Pend Oreille.

After dozens of derailments along waterways and deadly and injurious railroad collisions in north Idaho and western Montana during the last decade, frontline activists are demanding that multiple government agencies provide to the public and enforce several measures, to prevent and remediate the ecosystem and economic devastation imposed on rural communities by the Kootenai River wreck and similar disasters.  Through comment letters, they are requesting derailment oil spill information, independent water quality and environmental monitoring, protection of native and endangered fish and wildlife, a Federal Railroad Administration incident investigation and penalties, and railroad operation revisions and locomotive recovery plans.

Protest organizers ask that participants dress for winter warmth and dryness, bring friends, family, and creative, relevant signs and banners, assist with event transportation, and sign the Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project [1].  Contact WIRT for further event and emerging issue information, also described through the linked event flyer and announcements [2] and compiled photos and updates [3] on WIRT facebook and website pages.

[1] Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project

https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/petition-to-deny-revoke

[2] Fossil Fuels Train Pollution Protest

https://www.facebook.com/events/538778857035285

https://wildidahorisingtide.org/2020/01/27/fossil-fuels-train-pollution-protest

[3] BNSF Kootenai River Wreck and Spill 1-1-20

https://www.facebook.com/pg/wildidaho.risingtide/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1610550912427743

West Virginia: “STOP MTR” Banner Deployed on Mining Site

pic via Appalachians Against Pipelines

cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines and RAMPS Campaign

This week, folks with Appalachians Against Pipelines and Ramps Campaign deployed a STOP MTR banner adjacent to an active mountaintop removal coal mine. This drone footage shows the destruction of a mountain in Boone County, WV.

See drone footage here.

Trish McLawhorn, who was on site at the action, is a citizen monitor for Mountain Valley Watch, Preserve Bent Mountain, and POWHR Coalition (Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights). “I am someone who strives to further educate and inform communities about, while actively opposing, environmentally destructive projects such as the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines,” Trish explained. “Those projects are currently causing irreparable harm and devastation to endangered species, as well as the desecration of stolen lands across territories now referred to as West Virginia and Virginia.

“As such, it was especially heartbreaking to visit, learn about, and bear witness to first hand mountaintop removal operations currently underway and happening for years in Appalachia. These forced alterations of the land to the detriment of the wild, precipitation cycles, and those who inhabit the valley below, are astounding and should never be exacted upon these beloved mountains. The implications of such mining processes are profound, forever altering the flow of water and vital functions of the ecological systems in place.

“The disruption of the natural world in this manner, as well as all other violent methods of fracturing our foundations, only strengthen my resolve and should compel every one of us, ever more deeply, to defend all that we love in Appalachia and beyond.

pic via Appalachians Against Pipelines

“Whether we are residing in communities fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, or mountaintop removal coal mining, many are finding ways to continue to reach out, support one another, educate ourselves, and inform those around us about how these struggles are all connected. I encourage folks to become involved, both locally and in areas outside of impacted blast and incineration zones. We must continue our work to defend, support, and protect life, especially those most vulnerable, regardless of whether we are directly or indirectly impacted.

“These are the places we have called home for generations. Threats to our collective survival are truly what we are up against … this is what we have ALWAYS been up against! We must continue fighting to protect these spaces for generations to come, and we must honor our ancestors with action. We must never back down!”

Clyde Bowe, a lifelong resident of the Coal River Valley, remembers hunting and root digging on White Oak for decades before it was stripped: “They shouldn’t be stripping that mountain like that. That’s bullshit. I’ve lived here my whole friggin’ life. You can’t go up there and root dig anymore, or see live trees, ‘cause they’ve stripped it. They should’ve left it the hell alone, the way I see it.

“They’ve gotten rid of all the game and killed everything off — that used to be good hunting up there. They should leave what’s there the hell alone, and shouldn’t continue. We should make them stop, is the way I see it.”

A note on scale — the banner shown in the beginning of this video looks tiny compared to the massive machines on the mine site. But in reality, the total length of the banner is over 80 feet and is being held by 14 people. The extent of the devastation on the mountain is difficult to comprehend.

 

Germany’s biggest CO2-Polluter RWE Claims 2 Million Euros from climate activists

Europe’s largest CO2 emitter, the German energy company RWE, sues
climate activists for 2.07 million Euros for compensation.

Cologne, 05/29/2019:
The German power company RWE sues climate activists for 2.07 million
Euros for compensation. At the time of the 23rd UN Climate Conference in
Bonn in on 15 November 2017, the activist group “WeShutDown” blocked
conveyor belts and diggers in the Weisweiler coal power plant. With the
blockade, the activists achieved an almost complete shutdown of
Germany’s fourth biggest power plant.

Now, RWE is apparently trying to deter the anti-coal movement, demanding
large scale damages from activists for the first time. But the affected
activists will not let RWE intimidate them: “The claims by RWE cannot
stop our movement. Climate change is not waiting. Coal-fired power
plants must be shut down immediately and for good. As long as that is
not achieved, there will be blockades and other actions.” says activist
Cornelia.
The activists have filed an objection against the lawsuit.

The activist also face a criminal court case. It has been scheduled now
for july 10th, 15th and 17th. The process will take place in Eschweiler,
and deals with legal accusations such as disturbance of public supply
and trespassing. The activists announce that they will use the attention
raised by the lawsuit to accuse RWE of the worldwide destruction of
livelihoods and to spread their demand for an immediate coal phase-out.

A journalist, who accompanied the action in Weisweiler, is also being
sued. RWE even tries to deny his status as a Journalist.
The activists reject the plans of the German government to run
coal-fired power plants until 2038: “Burning coal for another twenty
years is madness. The capitalist economic system is based on the
illusion of perpetual growth. That’s why we have to overcome it”, says
Moritz.

RWE, whose three large lignite-fired power plants Weisweiler,
Niederaussem and Neurath alone emit about ten percent of German CO2
emissions, is increasingly targeted by climate activists and
initiatives. The activists declare themselves to stand in solidarity
with the internationally known occupation in the nearby Hambach Forest,
which protects the ancient forest from the biggest RWE lignite mine.

**The activists can be contacted for interviews or further questions.

Contact: +491779037423 e-mail: wedontshutup@riseup.net twitter: @we_shut

Press review of the action and the campaign against the lawsuit (german
only):http://wedontshutup.org/pressespiegel/

fotographs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/147051632@N03/

http://wedontshutup.org/en/press-releases/

West Virginia: 24 Arrested at the Gates of Toxic Rockwool Factory

pic via DC Media Group

Yesterday in Jefferson County, WV, over 300 community members showed up to take their concerns over toxic air and water pollution from a Danish Rockwool insulation factory straight to its gates.

Twenty-four people sat in and were arrested at the gates of the proposed Rockwool insulation plant. Local police barred the press and legal observers from video taping or photographing the arrests.

They are choosing to make us their guinea pigs, they are choosing to put us in harms way, they are choosing to save money by using coal and gas and putting children in direct harms way its disgusting and I’m 100% against this factory, we will stop it,” Scott Sarich said, a protester and a parent.

The company is building an insulation manufacturing plant that will spew hazardous toxins into the community’s air and water.

Local, state and federal officials have secretly committed over $37 million for incentives to a Danish corporation that would impose a polluting factory and significantly deteriorate our land, air and water. The factory site is within 2 miles of public schools attended by 30% of the county’s students. The pollutants emitted by the factory include phenol, formaldehyde, methane and PM 2.5 that affect the kidney, liver, brain, heart and lungs.  Furthermore, the 1400 acre industrial zone will use large amounts of water, coal and fracked gas in its operation.

To date, the WV Dept. of Environment has issued all the necessary permits for construction and operation, and the project has been supported by Senator Joe Manchin. (Shocking, we know.)

This is one of many mass arrests fighting the project organized by Resist Rockwool in recent months. Previous actions included sit-ins at Manchin’s D.C. office and the Danish embassy in D.C.