Help Make Climate Justice A Reality In 2013!

scenes from a tree sit-2Donate to Rising Tide North America and Help Make Climate Justice a Reality in 2013

Our climate movement is fierce.

And we’re not afraid to stand up to the worst drilling and mining companies on the planet.

Over six years ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Rising Tide North America emerged as a radical force in the climate movements. Seeking to connect the dots between climate change and social justice, we have built a network throughout North America that has not only fought on the frontlines of climate justice, but challenged the root causes of climate change while there.

Donate to Rising Tide North America and help make climate justice a reality in 2013.

2012 has been a watershed year for the climate movements. Community led campaigns against fracking have sprouted up in OH, PA and NY. Appalachians occupied and shut down the largest strip mining site in West Virginia. Climate activists joined up with Texas landowners to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.

At the center of each of these environmental mobilizations and campaigns have been Rising Tide chapters and activists. This year, we’ve:

 

  • Started new chapters from Alaska to Santa Cruz, CA to Toronto to Vermont to the Florida Keys.
  • Worked with the Tar Sands Blockade in a direct action campaign to stop the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Trained and organized activists for civil disobediences at the Mountain Mobilization in West Virginia, the Coal Exports Action in Helena, Montana and many other events.
  • Coordinated with the “Summer of Solidarity” which included actions against fracking, mountaintop removal and tar sands.


As we begin 2013, we’re asking you to make a donation to Rising Tide North America to keep our momentum building.

Whether its $5, $50 or $500, we’ll take whatever you can give. We’re an all-volunteer network of activists and we don’t take money from large foundations or celebrity donors. We only have you.

Please donate and help us build this movement.

Two People Barricade Themselves Inside Keystone XL Pipe To Halt Construction

For immediate release December 3, 2012 Contact: Kim Huynh, Tar Sands Blockade, 940-268-5375, *kxlblockade@gmail.com *

Check the live blog for breaking updates and video: http://tarsandsblockade.org/14th-action/

Photos with visuals inside and outside the pipe will be available here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarsandsblockade/

Two People Barricade Themselves Inside Keystone XL Pipe To Halt Construction

Using Completely Unprecedented Technique, Blockaders Barricade Unburied Segment of Pipe in Solidarity with Anti-Extraction Struggles Across North America

*WINONA, TX – MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012 7:30 AM –* Several protesters with Tar Sands Blockade sealed themselves inside a section of pipe destined for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to stop construction of the dangerous project. Using a blockading technique never implemented before, Matt Almonte and Glen Collins locked themselves between two barrels of concrete weighing over six hundred pounds each. Located twenty-five feet into a pipe segment waiting to be laid in the ground, the outer barrel is barricading the pipe’s opening and neither barrel can be moved without risking serious injury to the blockaders.

The barricaded section of the pipeline passes through a residential neighborhood in Winona, TX. If TransCanada moves ahead with the trenching and burying of this particular section of pipe, it would run less than a hundred feet from neighboring homes. Tar sands pipelines threaten East Texas communities with their highly toxic contents, which pose a greater risk to human health than conventional crude oil. TransCanada’s existing tar sands pipeline, Keystone XL’s predecessor, has an atrocious safety record, leaking twelve times in its first year of operation.

“TransCanada didn’t bother to ask the people of this neighborhood if they wanted to have millions of gallons of poisonous tar sands pumped through their backyards,” said Almonte, one of the protesters now inside the pipeline. “This multinational corporation has bullied landowners and expropriated homes to fatten its bottom line.”

Recently, over 40 communities worldwide planned actions with Tar Sands Blockade during a week of resistance against extreme energy extraction and its direct connection to the climate crisis. A growing global movement is rising up against the abuses of the fossil fuel industry and its increasingly desperate pursuit of dangerous extraction methods.

“I’m barricading this pipe with Tar Sands Blockade today to say loud and clear to the extraction industry that our communities and the resources we depend on for survival are not collateral damage,” said Collins, another blockader inside the pipe and an organizer with Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS) and Mountain Justice, grassroots campaigns in Appalachia working to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.

“This fight in East Texas against tar sands exploitation is one and the same as our fight in the hollers of West Virginia. Dirty energy extraction doesn’t just threaten my home; it threatens the collective future of the planet.”

“At this late stage, doing nothing is a greater danger than the risks of taking direct action to stop destructive projects like Keystone XL,” said Ron Seifert, a spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade. “That’s why folks working with groups like RAMPS, the Unist’ot’en Camp fighting a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia and Tar Sands Blockade are willing to use everything including their own hands and feet to ensure we all have a safe climate and healthy, thriving communities.”

Today also marks day 5 of the Houston Hunger Strike in which Gulf Coast activists with Tar Sands Blockade are going without food to demand that Valero divest entirely from the Keystone XL pipeline and invest in the health and wellbeing of the communities it’s poisoning.

###

Tar Sands Blockade: TransCanada Actively Encouraged Torture Tactics to be Used on Peaceful Protestors

Yesterday two Texans, Shannon Bebe and Benjamin Franklin, were subjected to torture tactics at the hands of police under the active encouragement of TransCanada senior supervisors. Bebe and Franklin were exercising their constitutional rights to nonviolent protest when they locked themselves to Keystone XL construction machinery outside Winnsboro, Texas and delayed construction for most of the day. Police began using aggressive pain compliance tactics when a senior TransCanada supervisor named John arrived and actively encouraged it. Torture tactics included; sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of Tasers, all while blockaders where in handcuffs.

Immediately following TransCanada’s consultation, law enforcement handcuffed the protesters’ free hands to the heavy machinery in stress positions and then subjected to repeated torture tactics by four police officers while TransCanada employees stood by and watched.

With the news that their friends had been tortured with TransCanada’s approval, the eight original tree sitters were bravely joined by another, expanding the tree blockade further as TransCanada’s clear-cutting heavy machinery rapidly approaches. Construction is roughly 300 yards away from the tree blockade. All refuse to come down until TransCanada halts its dangerous pipeline project.

Extraordinarily, despite their torture, the two endured for over five hours, affirming their courageous stance that taking action now is less of a risk than doing nothing. Watch the coverage on Democracy Now!

“As someone who has a religious dedication to nonviolence, I have a duty to assist nonviolent tactics. This is a path to change that works. Despite everything that happened at the direction of TransCanada, I don’t regret my involvement at all. I encourage everyone to persevere in the face of this type of sheer brutality. To follow one’s moral compass in spite of extreme challenges is the way we move forward towards a more humane, tar sands-free planet,” Franklin said after he was tortured Tuesday.

A plain-clothes police officer was among the aggressive officers to implement torture tactics. He put Franklin in a chokehold cutting off his breathing, and bent him over backwards in an attempt to make him pass out. Franklin reports difficulty swallowing because of bruises sustained to his esophagus.

The most physically aggressive was the ranking officer, a Lieutenant with the Wood County Sheriff Department under the observation of TransCanada employees. He twisted and contorted the tube that Bebe and Franklin had locked their arms into, cutting off circulation to their hands and cutting abrasions into their hands and forearms.

Franklin and Bebe then describe pepper spray as the most painful part of their ordeal. Police sprayed into their lockdown tube, and the chemicals burned their already-open wounds.

Fortunately they were able to make it through their mutual torture by intimating personal reassurances to each other. Franklin and Bebe say they were able to endure the pain knowing that they were in it together. Despite the immense pain our brave blockaders remained locked to the machinery for several hours – determined to stop this toxic tar sands pipeline.

After the pepper spray didn’t work the police again conferred with TransCanada employees before sending someone back to the police car to bring a taser. Franklin and Bebe were each tased for one second. Then Franklin was tased for 5 entire seconds. He described the pain as immense and almost physically unbearable.

They were eventually removed when it was clear that TransCanada was willing to do whatever it took to increase pain levels to physically unbearable levels.

After the torture session ended, John, the senior TransCanada supervisor openly congratulated the aggressive Sheriffs Department Lieutenant on a “job well done.” To which the Lieutenant replied: “if this happens again we’ll just skip to using pepper spray and tasing in the first 10 minutes.”

The level of brutality inflicted on peaceful protestors Tuesday demonstrates TransCanada’s blatant disregard for the safety of our friends and family. Police worked hand-in-glove with TransCanada supervisors to torture nonviolent protesters. Tar Sands Blockade pledges to resist all forms of violent intimidation with our sustained campaign of peaceful nonviolence to stop the dangerous tar sands pipeline for good. We will not be deterred.

Two People Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery to Defend Eight People in Tree Village

Two People Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery to Defend Eight People in Tree Village

Two Texas-born Tar Sands Blockaders have locked themselves to a critical piece of machinery for Keystone XL construction in order to protect a tree village occupied by eight people in the tar sands pipeline’s path of devastation outside Winnsboro,Texas. The two landowner advocates and climate justice organizers are risking arrest to delay deforesting work along the Keystone XL pipeline’s path, which threatens to destroy a magnificent tree village on property that TransCanada now claims ownership of through court action. The machinery involved, a backhoe, was being used to build a bridge across a gully in the massive path of destruction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. WIthout the bridge construction has effectively been halted for the day.

TransCanada’s heavy machinery has clear-cut its way within just over 300 yards of the 80-foot tall tree house village occupied by landowner advocates in the pathway of Keystone XL just outside Winnsboro, Texas. The eight people in trees have held strong despite the advancing roar of TransCanada’s clear cutting machinery and are determined to hold their blockade as long as needed.

This action is to protect the eight people sitting in trees, as their blockade enters its second day – the longest halt to construction since Tar Sands Blockade, which organized the tree sit, began in August.

Lake Dallas, Texas-born blockader Shannon Bebe, 26, has united with Houston-native and small business owner, Benjamin Franklin, 34, to support rural and neighboring communities who feel abused by TransCanada’s extremely aggressive land grabs and threatened by their toxic pipeline’s diluted bitumen slurry.

Franklin, whose family traces its lineage to pre-independence Texas, relates, “As someone who has a religious dedication to nonviolence, I have a duty to assist nonviolent tactics. This is a path to change that works. I had a childhood spent in the piney woods of Texas, and they contain a beauty that haunts me, still. Driving up here and then walking amongst the trees and their sitters reminded me of the beauty I experienced in childhood. That in and of itself is reason to be here defending it.”

He continues, “The theft and destruction of people’s homes, the contamination that’s likely to occur once the pipeline is completed, and the release of the carbon bomb that is the Athabascan tar sands formation make the need for action now unignorable.”

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We have already successfully shut down Keystone XL construction for about two-and-a-half days in LivingstonSaltillo, and Winnsboro.

Watch the high energy video from our recent actions and sign up to join us.

“The risk of inaction is far greater than the risk of taking action – even risky action like this,” suggests Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “We are committed to undertaking a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction of Keystone XL, and Tar Sands Blockade will continue to protect the Winnsboro tree village. It is a symbol of all the homes and families crudely threatened by this tar sands pipeline. Sometimes, one must simply stand one’s ground in the face of eminent threats like those posed by this dangerous pipeline in order protect the health and safety of their families, loved ones, and that of their neighbors.”