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.

Hooray for Scrappy Climate Action!

What a month!

Scrappy resistance to fossil fuels, its financiers and the politicians that love them has hit new levels with the goal of meeting the scale of the climate crisis with equal amounts of people powered momentum. As a result, climate and anti-fossil fuels action, both large and small, has spread globally.

The climate uprising centered around Extinction Rebellion has shaken the political establishment in London and iis spreading to other parts of the world. But we mustn’t forget that for decades, we’ve seen communities in countries like China and India rising up by the tens of thousands against mining and polluting power plants. And for more than a decade in North America, an Indigenous and frontline-led effort against coal, oil and gas have fought hard against mountaintop removal, coal mining, fracking and pipelines.

Now, today, a new report says that over 50% of new pipelines globally are being built in the U.S. and Canada. Report co-author Ted Nace said “This is a whole energy system not compatible with global climate survival. These pipelines are locking in huge emissions for 40 to 50 years at a time, with the scientists saying we have to move in 10 years. These pipelines are a bet that the world won’t get serious about climate change, allowing the incumbency of oil and gas to strengthen.” At the same time, a new phase of infrastructure fights with state governments passing anti-protest laws throughout the country. In North America, we’re in for a long struggle to counter climate change and extraction.

The past couple of weeks have seen scrappy action hit western governments, banks and carbon intensive industries most responsible for climate change again.

In the U.S.:

  • Anchorage, Alaska: Trouble-makers with Alaska Rising Tide dropped off a banner in protest of the government’s move to mine the state’s Pebble Mine.
  • Appalachia: In Virginia, the Yellow Finch tree-sit has stopped the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in its tracks for over 200 days.  An epic battle has lasted for over a year where scrappy action that has included multiple landowner-led tree-sits, monopods, equipment lockdowns, bird-dogs of corporate CEOs and politicians and an impressive grassroots organizing effort. The MVP has been delayed for at least a year and the campaign is far from over.
  • Austin, TXXR Austin occupied a JPMorgan Chase branch with three members super gluing themselves inside the branch.
  • “Bank on Climate” Day of Action—In 22 cities, Rainforest Action Network and 350 Seattle organized rowdy actions in 22 cities against top climate financiers JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. From corporate office occupations in Boulder, San Francisco and Minneapolis to the shutdown of all 44 Chase branches in Seattle to a banner hang at Grand Central Station in New York to the bird-dogging of Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. (and much much more), the funders of the climate crisis are receiving well deserved heat.
  • Eugene, OR—XR Eugene teamed up with Cascadia Forest Defenders to launch a tree-sit in in town to draw a connection between forest destruction and climate destruction.
  • Los Angeles—Two members of Extinction Rebellion Los Angeles super-glued themselves to the top of the NBC/Universal Studios globe demanding that NBC (a major media outlet) prioritize climate change as a daily news topic and reject fossil fuel commercials. Four members of the team were arrested and charged with felonies.

    Two climate activists super glued to the top of the Universal Studios globe in Los Angeles.

  • NYC— Climate activists with Extinction Rebellion NYC shut down traffic outside New York City Hall Wednesday, partially blocking access to the Brooklyn Bridge and staging a die-in to demand radical action on climate change.
  • Portland, OR— Eleven people were arrested after building a garden in the train tracks as a creative blockade against the Zenith export terminal.
  • Washington D.C.: And in the U.S. capital, two of our comrades with Beyond Extreme Energy occupied to top of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) building for six hours demanding a “Federal Renewable Energy Commission.”

Elsewhere:

  • London: In meeting the crisis at the scale that is needed, Extinction Rebellion UK occupied London for ten days. They’ve shut down traffic routes, disrupted the “Tube,” protested Heathrow Airport and targeted politicians and bankers. With over 1000 arrests, the Met Police found themselves with full jails and crowds of more willing participants.
  • Paris: More than 2,000 climate activists held a nonviolent blockade of France’s environment ministry just outside of Paris on Friday, calling out government complicity with fossil fuel companies and the banks that fund them. Climate activists are calling it one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in French history. The blockade also successfully targeted French oil giant Total; Société Générale, an investment bank that funds dirty energy projects; and a state-run electric utility that relies heavily on nuclear power.

    Climate activists sit in at French environmental ministry in Paris. Pic via Democracy Now!

  • Rotterdam: Today, over 40 climate activists occupied the Engie coalfired power station
  • The rest of world : In other cities around the world, Extinction Rebellion has disrupted business as usual in India, Germany, Spain, Denmark and more.

As Paul Street recently paraphrased radical historian Howard Zinn:

“Howard Zinn was right. It’s not just about who’s sitting in the White House or the Governor’s mansion or the Mayor’s office or the city council seat.  It’s also and above all about who’s sitting in the streets, who’s disrupting, who’s monkey-wrenching, whose idling capital, who’s occupying the pipeline construction sites, the highways, the workplaces, the town-halls, the financial districts, the corporate headquarters, and universities beneath and beyond the biennial and quadrennial candidate-centered big money big media major party electoral extravaganzas that are sold to us as “politics” – the only politics that matters. This is true about fighting racist police violence. It’s true about labor rights and decent wages.  It’s true about all that and more and it’s true about saving livable ecology.”

We’re up against some very bad players. The worst in the world. Maybe the worst in the history of the world. It’s time for serious organizing and hardscrabble actions.

See you in the streets.