Portland Rising Tide: 15 Activists Arraigned, Total Bail Set At $150k Following Blockade Of Tar Sands Megaloads

BAILOUTCross-posted from Portland Rising Tide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12/18/13

Media contacts:

Trip Jennings, Portland Rising Tide – tripjennings1@gmail.com – 541.729.3294

David Osborn, Portland Rising Tide – david@portlandrisingtide.org – 503.516.8932

15 ACTIVISTS ARRAIGNED, TOTAL BAIL SET AT $ 150,000 FOLLOWING BLOCKADE OF TAR SANDS MEGALOAD MONDAY

John Day, OR: The people arrested Monday night blockading the tar sands megaload were arraigned today in the Justice Court of Grant County. Fourteen were charged with five misdemeanors, one with six and the minor arrested in the action was released Monday. Each person has had bail set at $ 10,000 for a total of $ 150,000. The arrests stem from the two blockades that were set up Monday night using two disabled vehicles to stop the controversial, 450-ton, 376-foot long tar sands megaload transported by Omega Morgan, which was delayed for several hours.

The action Monday was the sixth regional action against the Oregon megaloads in two weeks. The actions started when two were arrested successfully preventing the megaload from leaving the Port of Umatilla on December 1st. A member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla was arrested December 2nd trying to block the megaload. Office occupations and disruptions have taken place at Omega Morgan’s offices in Fife, WA and Hillsboro, OR, as well as the General Electric subsidiary that designed the machinery moving towards the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta.

Those arrested Monday included support personal not involved in the action. Of those arrested 12 were not involved in the blockade and were standing on the side of the road to take photographs, document the police response and provide medical assistance if needed. They were not given cease and desist orders, nor told to leave by the police prior to being arrested. Police also used violence on the individuals that were part of the blockade in an attempt to coerce them into unlocking themselves.

“I was away from the actual blockades and present to support the people taking action. I was arrested without warning and charged with the same thing as those who locked down”, said Johnathan Batchelor who was arrested, “This aggravated and inappropriate response is the opposite of what is needed. The real criminals are Omega Morgan and the companies involved in the tar sands which fuel the climate crisis”.

Omega Morgan says this is the first of three megaload shipments through the region. Former routes through Idaho were blocked by an injunction filed by the Nez Perce Tribe, following major protests in Idaho and Montana. Similar opposition from the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla is growing in Oregon and Gary Burke, Chair of the Umatilla Reservation’s Board of Trustees, recently delivered a letter to Governor Kitzhaber expressing opposition to the megaloads due to lack of consultation with the tribes and the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change.

Portland Rising Tide, a member of an alliance of groups organizing against the megaloads, continues to mobilize support for ongoing opposition to these and any future megaloads. During the summer some 400 people signed a pledge expressing willingness to participate in non-violent civil disobedience and direct action to address the climate crisis. “We will continue to resist the tar sands megaloads and all other fossil fuel infrastructure, including the oil, coal and gas terminals proposed for the NW, “ said David Osborn of Portland Rising Tide, “All new fossil fuel extraction must be halted, communities are being destroyed and the climate is being imperiled. The equipment transported by Omega Morgan will expand the tar sands and devastate communities in northern Alberta and throughout the world. It is immoral and we will do everything we can to stop it.”

Photos available from freelance journalist Alex Milan Tracy of December 1st and 12th actions:

http://www.demotix.com/news/3398176/activists-prevent-megaload-bound-tar-sands-leaving-umatilla#media-3398116

http://www.demotix.com/news/3487848/omega-morgan-closes-after-tar-sands-protesters-enter-facility

Photos of Monday’s action will be forthcoming when the cameras are released by the Grant County police.
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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