Oklahoma “Glitter’ Activists Found Not Guilty!

okOklahoma “Glitter’ Activists Found Not Guilty!

Reposted from Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance

Judge Phillipa James announced today a Not Guilty Verdict in regards to last month’s Disorderly Conduct trial of local environmental activists Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner. Stephenson and Warner were arrested nearly two and a half years earlier when glitter spilled off of a Hunger Games-themed banner that the activists hung in the open-to-the-public atrium of the Devon Energy building. The glittery banner read, “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor.”

At their trial, Stephenson and Warner explained that the banner was intended to highlight the disproportionate ways in which oil and gas development occurs. Stephenson explained, “Our intent was to highlight that the odds are never in our favor, our being the people’s favor.” Stephenson explained that oil and gas development disenfranchises communities of color and low-income, rural communities, a practice commonly referred to as environmental racism. Stephenson told the courtroom, “The purpose of the demonstration was to raise awareness about Devon Energy’s involvement in tar sands extraction and the environmentally racist nature of tar sands extraction.” Warner contributed that the large tax incentives that oil and gas corporations receive have exacerbated our current economic crisis in Oklahoma. Additionally, oil and gas corporations gain wealth from hydraulic fracturing, while homeowners are forced to pay for earthquake damage that results from the disposal of fracking wastewater.

The activists’ lawyer argued that Stephenson and Warner’s actions were a form of protected free speech. Judge Philipa James found that Warner and Stephenson were both engaged in political protest and that the evidence presented by both the defense and the City of Oklahoma City established that there was no “public alarm” caused by the protest activity.

For interviews or questions, contact: Moriah Stephenson (405) 283-6140

Oklahoma Glitter Environmental Activists Headed To Trial!

okvia Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance

Oklahoma Environmental Activists Headed To Trial

Contact: Stefan Warner
Phone: 405-283-6140
Email: gptsrmedia@gmail.com
Date: 6/27/2016

On December 13th, 2013, Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner were arrested while taking part in a non-violent peaceful protest. The two activists were taken into custody after hanging a glittery Hunger Games themed banner in the open-to- the public atrium of the Devon Energy Center. The activists were booked into the Oklahoma County Jail under the felony charge Terrorism Hoax, which carries up to 10 years in prison. The activists’ arrest gained international media attention due to the severity of the arresting charge. Documents obtained by journalists proved that the Joint Terrorism Task Force, TransCanada Corporation, and the Oklahoma City Police had met together prior to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to strategize ways to prosecute environmental activists as terrorists. The terrorism hoax charges have been dropped, but Stefan Warner and Moriah Stephenson will stand trial for misdemeanor disorderly conduct on June 30 th at 8 am in the Oklahoma City Courthouse. A charge which their lawyer argues is still a violation of free speech.

The glittery banner in question read, “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor.” The banner highlights the disproportionate ways in which oil and gas development occurs, granting power, wealth, and access to oil corporations while disenfranchising communities of color and low-income- rural communities. The reality that “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor” has become even more clear in recent years as the State’s budget deficit has resulted in funding cuts for public education and public needs programs while continuing to offer tax incentives to large oil corporations. Warner and Stephenson had no intention of causing panic or alarm, they simply were using free speech to highlight the similarities between The Hunger Games series and our everyday lives in Oklahoma: a small group of people profit off of the resources and labor of many, while exploiting marginalized communities. These activists wanted to highlight at least three primary injustices perpetrated by Devon Energy: 1) Devon Energy is
involved in extracting and transporting tar sands oil, the heavy and toxic crude that the Keystone XL pipeline carries from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to be sold on the global market, 2) Devon Energy’s practice of tar sands extraction is environmental racism, most negatively impacting low-income, indigenous communities in Canada and across the U.S. such as the Lubicon Cree First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation 3) Devon Energy lobbies for and receives large tax incentives which have resulted in the disastrous budget deficit Oklahoma is currently facing.

In all of these ways the dominance of the oil and gas industry and the failure of the Oklahoma state government to
diversify the economy create a situation in which “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor.” These activists’ arrest highlights another way that “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor,” violation of free speech. The odds are not in our
favor when the oil and gas industry is protected when environmental catastrophe or economic crisis occurs, but
individual residents are persecuted for spilling glitter from a banner.

Stephenson and Warner invite community members to be present at their trial on June 30th at 8 AM.

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Twenty Arrested Sowing Seeds on Country’s First Tar Sands Mine

utah 1Twenty Arrested Sowing Seeds on Country’s First Tar Sands Mine

via Canyon Country Rising Tide & Wasatch Rising Tide

PR SPRINGS, UT: Thirty people walked onto one of the country’s first tar sands mine and sowed seeds to regrow land destroyed by tar sands – a fossil fuel more polluting than coal and oil. With butterfly puppets, songs, and banners, protesters trespassed onto the mine site and took the remediation of the stripped land into their own hands with shovels, pick axes and seed balls.

Evidently displeased with the sowing of native grasses and flowers, law enforcement intervened to arrest 20 of the planters, who banded together and sang until arrest. The action was planned by the Tavaputs Action Council, a coalition of grass roots social justice groups of the Colorado Plateau, and came as the conclusion to a 3-day event dedicated to celebrating land and biodiversity. Over 100 people participated, camping on public land next to the tar sands mine and attending workshops, panels, and music shows. People came together to hear about indigenous resistance to fossil fuels and colonialism, and to imagine a more equitable future together.

Canadian mining company US Oil Sands has leased 32,005 acres of public lands for oil shale development. In the future, 830,000 acres of public land could be at risk of irreversible tar sands strip mining in the western United States. Tar sands requites large quantities of water for processing into crude oil, putting extra pressure on a water system already under threat of running dry.

Kate Savage, Tavaputs Action Council: “By taking action today, we are creating in the present the future we are dreaming of. This means trespassing against US Oil Sands and other fossil fuel companies that want to make our future unlivable.”

Raphael Cordray, Tavaputs Action Council: “We took action today to tell US Oil Sands that we are here to stay and will not be intimidated by oppressive law enforcement and corrupt companies. Tar sands spells disaster for people and planet, and today we said: not in our name.”

Kim, Nihigaal Bei Iina: “We must remember that if we do not fight we cannot win, we don’t even have a chance of winning. By planting seeds we have a chance of winning another round for mother earth, we still have more battles to fight within us. These seeds planted will harvest another generation of fighters and warriors.”

“The boom and bust failures of coal, tar sands, and oil shale show that we cannot rely on the fossil fuel industry to provide long-term jobs and a steady economy.  We are demanding a “just transition” away from subsidizing dirty energy and towards a stable and sustainable way of living,” says Moab resident and CCRT member Melissa Gracia.  “That is an enormous task and yet people all over the world are rising to the occasion.  We need policies and institutions to support a just transition and we are building the people power to make it happen.”

According to Will Munger, “All across the region people are facing a similar situation. Take for example the recent bankruptcy of Peabody Coal.  They must be held accountable for their destruction of indigenous land on Black Mesa and we must ensure that the CEO’s don’t bail with bonuses while workers and local communities suffer.  We must take the money generated by the fossil fuel industry to repair the land and water while supporting local communities’ transition away from a fossil fuel-dependent economy.”

The Tavaputs Action Council supporting the Reclamation Action includes Canyon Country Rising Tide, Peaceful Uprising, Utah Tar Sands Resistance, Climate Disobedience Center and Wasatch Rising Tide.

Media Contact : Melissa Graciosa, Canyon Country Rising Tide; Tel: 503-409-7710 email: ccrt@riseup.net

Secondary Contact: Natascha Deininger, Wasatch Rising Tide, Tavaputs Action Council; Tel: 435-414- 9299; Email: wasatchrisingtide@gmail.com

FOR PICTURES: http://www.canyoncountryrisingtide.org

Website: www.reclaimtarsands.org

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.