Oakland residents deliver “coal” to developer to protest coal export plan

tagami 2FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2015

Contact:
Jess Dervin-Ackerman, jdervina@gmail.com, (510) 693-7677

Ethan Buckner, ethanbuckner@gmail.com, (612)718-3847

Oakland residents deliver “coal” to developer to protest coal export plan

Demonstration calls on local developer to reverse plan for coal exports at
former Oakland Army Base

***High-res photos from this morning’s demonstration***:
http://bit.ly/1IBa8r4

***High-res video footage from the protest***: http://bit.ly/1FaXI5m

Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA—Oakland residents, elected officials, and
members of local labor, climate justice, and environmental organizations
rallied this morning to oppose developer Phil Tagami’s plan to ship coal
through the city of Oakland. Activists wearing hazmat suits dumped a large
pile of charcoal in front of the Rotunda building at Frank Ogawa Plaza,
where Tagami’s offices are located, to pressure Tagami to withdraw the
proposal. Tagami recently announced plans to transport coal from Utah
through Oakland by rail to a new bulk export facility at Oakland’s former
army base. Tagami’s plan has drawn extensive criticism from local community
and environmental groups, as well as from the City Council and Mayor Libby
Schaaf.

“From extraction to transport to burning, coal allows toxic chemicals to
enter into communities and the environment, causing climate disruption and
deadly diseases. Coal is bad for the climate, community and worker health,
and the environment, and both Oakland and California have standing policies
opposing the export of dirty energy. We call on Mayor Libby Schaaf and the
Oakland City Council to uphold the commitments they have made to keep
Oakland free of dangerous fossil fuels,” said Jess Dervin-Ackerman,
Conservation Manager for the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter

“As a parent of two young children, I’m not going to sit back and allow our
city to become a shipping hub for something that poisons our air and
contributes to even more climate chaos for my kids to deal with. I believe
that Oakland needs to, and will, join communities in Oregon and Washington
in refusing to sell out our kids’ health so some big companies in Utah can
make a profit,” said Carolyn Norr of Families Against Fossil Fuels.

tagami 3“As a nation, we view ourselves as a world leader of democracy and human
rights, so we should be exporting clean 21st Century renewable energy
technologies to the developing countries, not dumping toxic 19th Century
fuel on them. There is more at stake than just squeezing the last few bucks
of profit out of fossil fuels. Our entire way of living is at stake if we
continue to gamble with the impacts of CO2 on global warming and climate
change. Our communities deserve better than the trade of a few jobs in
exchange for millions of tons of toxic chemicals rolling past our windows.
This is about profit, pure and simple, and very little of that money will
wind up in West Oakland pockets,” said Brian Beveridge, Co-Director of West
Oakland Environmental Indicators Project.

“We are standing at the crossroads of history. Oakland can choose the path
of exporting coal, the path of condemning our children to an unlivable
planet, or Oakland can lead California in building a resilient and just
local economy based on community-owned and controlled clean energy that
creates thousands of family-sustaining, union jobs. We shouldn’t have to
choose between good jobs or our survival, the health of our children and of
the Earth. With East Bay Community Energy, Alameda County’s Community
Choice energy program that we hope will launch in 2017, we can have both,”
said Colin Miller Co-Director of Bay Localize and Coordinator of the Clean
Energy & Jobs Oakland Campaign.

Tagami, who is president of California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG),
previously promised not to allow the export facility at the former army
base be used for exporting fossil fuels. Today’s action will be the first
event in a campaign to push Tagami to keep his promise and reverse plans
for coal exports in Oakland. Coal exports threaten public health, worker
safety, and the global climate.

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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

Rising Tide North America Statement of Solidarity with Anti-Fossil Fuel Activists in the Northwest

wild-idaho-rising-tide-on-cornerRising Tide North America Statement of Solidarity with Rising Tide and Anti-Fossil Fuel Activists in the  Northwest

In response to the recent news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continues its harassment of climate activists in Idaho, Washington and other parts of the Northwest, Rising Tide North America issued the following statement:

We believe that the extraction of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and tar sands oil, and the expansion of pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, is a dangerous threat to our communities, our wild places and the climate. We further believe that grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action are bold and effective tools used to stop these threats.

The FBI’s recent harassment of activists and organizers in Idaho and Washington is nothing less than a concerted effort to intimidate and stifle dissent. It’s ridiculous that the FBI spends its time and resources investigating peaceful environmental activists, while the corporations responsible for oil spills, water and air pollution, toxic environmental racism and climate change continue to run amok.

We stand in solidarity with our friends and allies with Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and others in the Northwest, who’ve taken courageous stands against the Keystone XL pipeline, tar sands heavy haul shipments, natural gas extraction and coal exports. Furthermore, we stand in solidarity with all communities that have chosen to take a stand against this horrible industry and protect a livable future.”

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Rising Tide North America is continental network of climate justice groups and individuals challenging the root causes of climate change and for social, environmental and climate justice.

Stand with Poisoned Inmates

Graphic by Adam Peck via Think Progress.

This is climate injustice.

In January, thousands of gallons of the toxic coal cleaning chemicals contaminated the drinking supply for 300,000 people and hundreds of inmates at the South Central Regional Jail (SCRJ) in Charleston, WV, were deprived of access to enough safe water.

Many inmates suffered from illness and injury from dehydration or chemical exposure. Some even faced violence and legal repercussions for seeking medical help and for asking for clean water to drink. You can hold SCRJ accountable and ensure the basic human rights for inmates if you speak out right now!

Click here to demand basic human rights and safe water access for inmates at West Virginia’s South Central Regional Jail.

Our allies with West Virginia Water Hub and Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS) met and corresponded with more than 50 inmates, and based on their stories, it’s clear that this failed crisis response is just the latest example in a larger pattern of abuse, violence, and negligence by the jail’s staff and administration.

WV Water Hub and RAMPS are amplifying the voices of inmates and exposing this horrendous abuse in order to force a response from prison authorities.

Add your voice: sign RAMPS’ petition to demand basic human rights for inmates in coal country.

RAMPS has stated that they are acting “in solidarity with broader movements of resistance to the growing prison state and poisonous extractive industries.” Combined, the systems of state repression and fossil fuel industry profit are creating a perpetual crisis. Like RAMPS, our movements must respond in kind and directly confront fossil fuel expansion, challenge the political power of that system, and act in solidarity with those facing the brunt of the crisis.

That is climate justice.