Call Omega Morgan & Tell Them To Stop Shipping The Tar Sands Megaloads!

Tar Pit #3Call Omega Morgan CEO John McCalla  at 503-647-7474 right now with a message: I oppose  tar sands mining and I want you to stop shipping equipment to process it.

Big Oil has been moving massive equipment for a tar sands oil development in western Canada.  The “megaload” shipments have been challenged in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, and now eastern Oregon.

Climate activists object to the shipments for their potential to worsen global warming, and tribal members say they’re worried about the possibility of environmental damage in eastern Oregon, where they assert a treaty interest and say they weren’t adequately consulted.

Last week, three people were arrested while blockading these megaload shipments near Umatilla, Oregon.  More blockades are expected this week, and we’re calling on people from all over North America to help us tell shipping company Omega Morgan to stop shipping the tar sands megaloads.

Call Omega Morgan CEO John McCalla  at 503-647-7474 right now with a message: I oppose tar sands mining and I want you to stop shipping equipment to process it. 

You can use these talking points on the call:

  • *I oppose the tar sands megaloads because tar sands will spill into our water supply and soil and cook our climate.
  • *I oppose the tar sands megaloads because tar sands pollution will harm communities from Alberta to those near refinery sites in Houston.
  • *I oppose the tar sands [megaloads] because [they] will only serve to line the pockets of oil industry executives, while landowners from Texas on up to the Canadian border will pay the price for their greed.

If you cannot reach CEO McCalla, call Holly Zander, Omega Morgan’s press spokesperson, at 503-360-7144.

After you call tell us how it went in this short survey.

Two Lockdown to Controversial Tar Sands Megaload Shipment Stopping Departure from Port of Umatilla as Tribal Members and Climate Justice Groups Rally Nearby

megaload pdx rt12/1/13
Media contacts:
Trip Jennings, Portland Rising Tide – TripJennings1@gmail.com - 541.729.3294
Jim Powers - jp@ccpvideos.com - 541.829.2114

Umatilla, OR – Sunday: Near the Port of Umatilla two people locked down to a megaload of equipment bound for the Alberta tar sands halting its planned
departure at 10:00 PM as tribal members and climate justice groups rallied nearby. The equipment, a 901,000 lb. water purifier 22 feet wide, 18 feet
tall and 376 feet in length was met by fifty people and was prevented from departing as scheduled. It had planned to leave the Port of Umatilla, head
south on 395, then east on 26 on Sunday night.

This week’s protest was larger than a similar protest last week as news of the shipment has spread throughout the region. An estimated 50 people
greeted the megaload with signs as it’s schedule departure time neared. Before it could depart two participants locked themselves to the trucks
hauling the megaload, the first time they have been blockaded in this way. This is the first of three megaloads the Hillsboro, OR based shipping
company Omega Morgan has scheduled to move through the region in December and January. Similar loads sparked major protests moving through Idaho and
Montana including a blockade by the Nez Pierce tribe in August.

Groups organizing the protest, including chapters of Rising Tide and 350.org, oppose the shipments due to the final use of the equipment in the expansion
of the Alberta tar sands. This expansion would supply oil for the controversial Keystone XL and other pipelines and many have called the tar
sands most destructive industrial project on earth. Umatilla Tribal Member Shana Radford said, “We have responsibility for what happens on our lands,
but there are no boundaries for air, the carbon dioxide this equipment would create affects us all. The Nez Pierce tribe said no to megaloads, and
so should we.”

The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) have stated concerns due to the lack of consultation about the project headed
through their ceded territory as required by law. The shipment would also cross Warm Springs tribal land where members have stated opposition as well.

Warm Springs tribal member Kayla Godowa said, “It’s our duty to protect the native salmon runs in this area. They want to make this a permanent heavy
haul route without even consulting our tribes. Loads like this are unprecedented here. What if a bridge collapses? And what about the impact
to native communities being destroyed by the tar sands where this equipment will end up? We can’t just look the other way while native lands and the
climate are being destroyed. We have to stand up.”

High resolution photos available at:

Photo (first lockdown):
http://portlandrisingtide.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-1.jpg

Photo (rally):
http://portlandrisingtide.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-2.jpg

Photo (second lockdown):
http://portlandrisingtide.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-3.jpg

Photos may be used with attribution to Portland Rising Tide.

Info: www.PortlandRisingTide.org <http://www.portlandrisingtide.org/>

Facebook live updates: PortlandRisingTide

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Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands: Open Letter to the Anti-Tar Sands Movement

micats-1Open Letter to the Anti-Tar Sands Movement

Dear Movement,

We think it’s time for us to have a conversation: a conversation that can help us address the work we need to do in order to build the true grassroots power than can dismantle the oppressive system that tar sands companies and people in power have worked so hard to profit from. For the past four years we’ve heard “leaders” like Bill McKibben call on us to take action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and we’ve responded, dutifully travelling to DC to march and protest as a group. We’ve also watched as decision makers have continuously stalled and appeased this movement by refusing to approve the full pipeline, while still consenting to the production, transportation, and refinement of this toxic substance in more and more places across the continent. It is time for us to do more than submit public comments to a system incentivized to ignore us, or chain ourselves to symbols that will look good for the media. The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands is writing this open letter to call for a dialogue and action around developing an anti-tar sands movement that focuses on the root causes of this issue and unites communities and groups in a common goal to stop tar sands in its entirety.

It has been incredibly powerful and inspiring to hear so many different voices from those fighting the tar sands system this weekend at Power Shift, but we need to be able to hear each other more – more loudly and more often. We cannot ask our brave leaders whose homes and families are being threatened by poison and destruction to appear in our program, speak to us at this conference, and form a public face for our work if we are not going to embrace their fights wholeheartedly into our movement. We cannot truly believe that we are going to make a difference if we do not acknowledge the true scope of this problem, the need to engage in work that is driven and led by the community and our potential to be our most powerful by working together in a just and compassionate manner.

The constant focus of the tar sands narrative around the President as the ultimate decision maker is both disempowering to communities bearing the burden of existing infrastructure, and disrespectful to those who have been disenfranchised and marginalized by the industrial-capitalist paradigm perpetuated by all leaders within the current system.  This sort of rhetoric feeds a privileged narrative at the exclusion of frontline communities that are seen as merely an excess of “human capital” by the system of which the President is the figurehead.

We are from the occupied territory called “Michigan,” where tar sands oil is still poisoning ecosystems, water, and humans three years after the largest inland oil spill in our history. In addition to this ongoing destruction, our elected officials are allowing Enbridge to expand this same pipeline to more than double its capacity, all while opposition to the kxl has gotten stronger. While kxl is a large part of the problem, it is time for the mainstream movement’s figureheads to stop exclusively referring to this pipeline and discouraging us from working on other tar sands issues. With urgency and strength, we implore all tar sands activists and organizations to reframe this movement to something that is more than a convenient political symbol and into something that can stop the amoral and unlawful devastation of life and our responsibility to it.

In solidarity and frustration,

The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands

RTNA Analysis: The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation

Originally posted in Earth Island Journal

The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation

Yes, Keystone XL is horrible – but so are plenty of other fossil fuel infrastructure plans

By Arielle Klagsbrun, David Osborn, Kirby Spangler and Maryam Adrangi

Architecturally, a keystone is the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place. Without the keystone, the building blocks of an archway will tumble and fall, with no support system for the weight of the arch. Much of the United States climate movement right now is structured like an archway, with all of its blocks resting on a keystone – President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

This is a dangerous place to be. Once Barack Obama makes his decision on the pipeline, be it approval or rejection, the keystone will disappear. Without this piece, we could see the weight of the arch tumble down, potentially losing throngs of newly inspired climate activists. As members of Rising Tide North America, a continental network of grassroots groups taking direct action and finding community-based solutions to the root causes of the climate crisis, we believe that to build the climate justice movement we need, we can have no keystone – no singular solution, campaign, project, or decision maker.

The Keystone XL fight was constructed around picking one proposed project to focus on with a clear elected decider, who had campaigned on addressing climate change. The strategy of DC-focused green groups has been to pressure President Obama to say “no” to Keystone by raising as many controversies as possible about the pipeline and by bringing increased scrutiny to Keystone XL through arrestable demonstrations. Similarly, in Canada, the fight over Enbridge’s Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline has unfolded in much the same way, with green groups appealing to politicians to reject Northern Gateway.

However, the mainstream Keystone XL and Northern Gateway campaigns operate on a flawed assumption that the climate movement can compel our elected leaders to respond to the climate crisis with nothing more than an effective communications strategy. Mainstream political parties in both the US and Canada are tied to and dependent on the fossil fuel industry and corporate capitalism. As seen in similar campaigns in 2009 to pass a climate bill in the United States and to ratify an international climate treaty in Copenhagen, the system is rigged against us. Putting Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the keystone of the archway creates a flawed narrative that if we, as grassroots groups, work hard enough to stack the building blocks correctly to support them, then elected officials will do what we want. Social change happens when local communities lead, and only then will politicians follow. While we must name and acknowledge power holders like Obama, our movement must empower local communities to make decisions and take action on the causes of the climate crisis in their backyards.

Because of the assumption that the climate movement can trust even “sympathetic” politicians like Obama, these campaigns rely on lifting up one project above all else. Certain language used has made it seem like Keystone XL is an extreme project, with unusual fraud and other injustices associated with it. Indeed the Keystone XL project is extreme and unjust, as is every fossil fuel project and every piece of the extraction economy. While, for example, the conflict of interests between the State Department, TransCanada and Environmental Resources Management in the United States, and Enbridge and federal politicians in Canada, must be publicized, it should be clear that this government/industry relationship is the norm, not the exception.

The “game over for climate” narrative is also problematic.  With both the Keystone and Northern Gateway campaigns, it automatically sets up a hierarchy of projects and extractive types that will inevitably pit communities against each other. Our movement can never question if Keystone XL is worse than Flanagan South (an Enbridge pipeline running from Illinois to Oklahoma), or whether tar sands, fracking or mountaintop removal coal mining is worse. We must reject all these forms of extreme energy for their effects on the climate and the injustices they bring to the people at every stage of the extraction process. Our work must be broad so as to connect fights across the continent into a movement that truly addresses the root causes of social, economic, and climate injustice. We must call for what we really need – the end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction. The pipeline placed yesterday in British Columbia, the most recent drag lines added in Wyoming, and the fracking wells built in Pennsylvania need to be the last ones ever built. And we should say that.

This narrative has additionally set up a make-or-break attitude about these pipeline fights that risks that the movement will contract and lose people regardless of the decision on them. The Keystone XL and Northern Gateway fights have engaged hundreds of thousands of people, with many embracing direct action and civil disobedience tactics for the first time. This escalation and level of engagement is inspiring. But the absolutist “game over” language chances to lose many of them. If Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline, what’s to stop many from thinking that this is in fact “game over” for the climate? And if Obama rejects Keystone XL, what’s to stop many from thinking that the climate crisis is therefore solved? We need those using the “game over” rhetoric to lay out the climate crisis’ root causes – because just as one project is not the end of humanity, stopping one project will not stop runaway climate change.

The fights over Keystone XL and Northern Gateway have been undoubtedly inspiring. We are seeing the beginnings of the escalation necessary to end extreme energy extraction, stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, and make a just transition to equitable societies. Grassroots groups engaging in and training for direct action such as the Tar Sands Blockade, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, the Unist’ot’en Camp, and Moccasins on the Ground have shown us how direct action can empower local communities and push establishment green groups to embrace bolder tactics. Our movement is indeed growing, and people are willing to put their bodies on the line; an April poll by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication found one in eight Americans would engage in civil disobedience around global warming.

However, before the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway mainstream campaigns come to an end, we all must recognize the dangers of having an archway approach to movement building. It is the danger of relying on political power-holders, cutting too narrow campaigns, excluding a systemic analysis of root causes, and, ultimately, failing to create a broad-based movement. We must begin to discuss and develop our steps on how we should shift our strategy, realign priorities, escalate direct action, support local groups and campaigns, and keep as many new activists involved as possible.

We are up against the world’s largest corporations, who are attempting to extract, transport and burn fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate, all as the climate crisis spins out of control. The climate justice movement should have no keystone because we must match them everywhere they are – and they are everywhere. To match them, we need a movement of communities all across the continent and the world taking direct action to stop the extraction industry, finding community-based solutions, and addressing the root causes of the climate crisis.

Arielle Klagsbrun is an organizer with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and Rising Tide North America, and is a 2013 Brower Youth Award winner. David Osborn is climate organizer with Portland Rising Tide and Rising Tide North America. He is also a faculty member at Portland State University. Maryam Adrangi is a campaigner with the Council of Canadians and an organizer with Rising Tide Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. Kirby Spangler works with the Castle Mountain Coalition and Alaska Rising Ride.