BREAKING: Climate activists launch daring occupation of the California PUC, calling for agency to shut down all gas storage facilities

SAN FRANCISCO – Two Bay Area residents have occupied the ledge above the entrance to the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today to protest the PUC’s failure to protect the Golden State from the climate and health impacts of methane from underground natural gas storage facilities.
A well blew out at SoCalGas’ Aliso Canyon facility near Porter Ranch on October 23, 2015. Since then, 96,000 metric tons of methane have escaped into the atmosphere, the equivalent of an additional 505,000 cars on the road for a year. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more climate-intensive than carbon dioxide. While SoCalGas reported last week that the leak had been plugged, the Aliso Canyon leak has been responsible for 25% of the state’s daily greenhouse gas emissions.
Aliso Canyon is one of 12 underground natural gas storage facilities in California, and one of 326 nationwide that use depleted oil and gas wells for storage for urban customers.
“While plugging the leak at Aliso Canyon has been a good step, today we are demanding that the PUC shut down all gas storage facilities; until they do, we are occupying the PUC,” said Christy Tennery-Spalding from Diablo Rising Tide, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America.
The PUC is one of two agencies responsible for oversight of underground natural gas storage facilities. The leaking well had not been inspected since 1976. The CEO of SoCalGas reported to the LA Weekly that a safety valve on the well had been removed in 1979.
“It is unconscionable that these regulators are putting people at risk while giving companies a pass. The last time Aliso Canyon was inspected by the PUC was the last time Jerry Brown was governor,” said Kelsey Baker, from Occupy San Francisco Environmental Justice, currently occupying the ledge over the PUC’s headquarters entrance.
SoCalGas is a division of Sempra Energy and uses the Aliso Canyon facility to store natural gas for delivery to 12 natural gas power plants and 21 million consumers in Southern California. Since the blowout, 10,000 of Porter Ranch’s 30,000 residents have fled the community. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, requiring the several state agencies to take urgent action.
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Diablo Rising Tide is the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America. Rising Tide North America is an all-volunteer grassroots organizing network in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confronts the root causes of climate change with protests and events. You can find out more at www.diablorisingtide.org.

Climate Justice Activists Protest and Occupy French Consulate in San Francisco

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Hi-Res Pictures Here

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Climate Justice Activists Protest and Occupy French Consulate in San Francisco

Activists occupy lobby calling on French government to lift ban on climate marches at U.N. climate talks, act on climate change.

SAN FRANCISCO–At 930am this morning, a group of eight  Bayparis SF 5 Area protesters entered the lobby of the French Consulate in San Francisco’s financial district to speak with the consular general. The demonstrators  dressed in blue, covered their mouths with French flag tape to call attention to the repression of climate organizers during the ongoing United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) talks in Paris. Another 20 people rallied outside the consulate doors with signs and banners. The protest calls on the French government to lift a prohibition of public marches during the COP. The group called on the French government  to stop the acceleration of global climate disruption by pushing for a strong international agreement to regulate carbon emissions.

Citing concerns about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, on November 19 the French government announced a ban on public gatherings and protests, interrupting a Global Climate March planned for 29 November, at which 200,000 people from around the world were expected to march. A December 12th climate mobilization was banned as well.  Under a veil of national security, French police  wrongly placed 24 French climate organizers under house arrest and began turning back international activists at its borders. On November 29th, French police attacked peaceful protesters at the Place de Republique with tear gas, pepper spray and violently arrested over 200 people.

Protesters at today’s San Francisco action say that France’s heightened security rules endanger citizens’ ability to participate meaningfully in these international climate talks.

‘Many political leaders now acknowledge Climate Change presents a real security threat to the future of nations.” said protest organizer Lynn Stone, with local climate justice group Diablo Rising Tide. “Stifling free speech during the Paris climate talks is a tragic mistake. Paris should not fear and restrict climate justice protesters when the real threat is climate change.”

The talks in Paris come at a critical juncture in world history as more action is needed on climate as storms, floods and droughts increase in intensity each year. Despite the obstacles faced by protesters in Paris, an additional  700,000 people are estimated to have marched in cities throughout the world last weekend calling for heads of state and COP negotiators to rise to the occasion of the climate crisis. Over 50 major cities saw huge demonstrations.

In Oakland, on November 21st, over 5,000 marched for climate action after hearing the same call to action. Action oriented climate justice groups like Diablo Rising Tide have vowed to pressure corporate and political leaders on the issue of fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure and combustion in Northern California.

protest CJ Paris“As a coastal region and a hotbed of environmental innovation, these climate talks are especially relevant to life in the Bay Area,” said Scott Parkin, also with Diablo Rising Tide. “Numerous Bay Area organizations have sent representatives to Paris to join others from around the globe, and the recent crackdown prevents citizens here and around the world from making their voices heard.”

On September 28th, Diablo Rising Tide organized Flood Wall Street West which saw over 250 people march to the offices of Chevron, Wells Fargo and Bank of the West in San Francisco’s Financial District.. The mass civil disobedience shut down the corporate headquarters of Bank of the West for the day and led to the arrests of a dozen climate activists. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of French bank BNP-Paribas, a lead financier of the coal sector in France.

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Diablo Rising Tide is the Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America network. Rising Tide is an all-volunteer climate network in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico who confront the root causes of climate change with protests and grassroots organizing.The larger Rising Tide network spans four continents and works with activists in North and South America, Europe, and Australia.

 

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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