Thursday, February 23rd 7:00 – 9:00 pm First Unitarian Church SW 12th & SW Salmon
The battle against fossil fuel infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest rages on! In the face of last year’s historic Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Act, which mandates the closing of all in-state coal plants by 2020, Portland General Electric (PGE) is rolling out a plan to keep the PNW locked into fossil fuel power for the next 30+ years. Ignoring vast potentials for renewable energy, PGE is instead proposing to build two new gas-fired power plants as we phase out coal-generated power. If built, the Carty-Boardman generation station would be Oregon’s new largest source of climate pollution. We want Oregon to be powered by clean, renewable energy, NOT dirty fossil fuels.
The fossil fuel industry wants to argue that fracked gas is a bridge fuel to an imagined clean energy future, but we know that it’s only a bridge to further climate devastation. A number of groups are joining forces to demand that PGE replace coal power with 100% renewable energy. Come hear from the Climate Action Coalition, 350PDX, the Sierra Club, Portland Rising Tide, Greenpeace and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility in building a popular campaign to resist the fossil fuel industry and to build a climate justice future.
In 1990, world leaders—if “leaders” is indeed an apt characterization—met in Rio De Janeiro to proclaim climate change a truly fundamental crisis which urgently needed to be addressed. At the time, existing fossil fuel infrastructure represented 107 Mt of “committed emissions” of CO2: emissions predicted to occur if power plants, automobiles, and factories continued to operate for their average lifespans. In 2012, this political resolve had translated into 307 Mt of infrastructural committed emissions.
New American fossil fuel developments have contributed to this frenzy primarily in the last decade or less, with the advent of fracking. Throughout the Unites States, high-pressure water mixed with toxic chemicals is being injected underground to break up rock formations and release horrifying quantities of previously inaccessible oil and gas. One of the most dramatically transformed landscapes has been that of North Dakota, where fracking of the Bakken Shale has covered a landscape of gently undulating hills, grasslands, and vast fields of wheat and sunflowers with drilling rigs.
Ever obsequious to industry, Obama has been eager to accommodate this intensifying fossil fuel extraction. Presidential actions like Executive Order 13604, authored in the seemingly interminable years we wondered if he would approve Keystone XL, expedite federal permitting of new oil infrastructure, including pipelines. A Department of Energy memo on the Bakken states explicitly that if industry can contrive a means of extracting oil, it’s the job of society and economy to “adapt” in order to facilitate said extraction.
On the coasts, climate killing projects are proposed at astonishing rates, but these projects, as a result of grassroots opposition, have tended to die ignominious deaths somewhere in the pre-construction regulatory approval phase. Not so in the Midwest. In the three short years of 2010-2013, twelve new crude oil terminals railroad terminals were constructed in the Bakken, increasing transport capacity from 100,000 barrels per day to a cool million. And every year a new pipeline is being constructed in North Dakota.
The Midwest’s boom of infrastructure construction has had immediate repercussions in the Pacific Northwest, most notably in the trains which carry the particularly flammable crude fracked from North Dakota to refineries and distribution terminals throughout the region. The trains promise climate catastrophe if they reach their destinations “safely,” while promising fiery explosions, like the one that rocked the town of Mosier, Oregon when an oil train derailed next to a kindergarten there, if they do not.
To put it into the simplest terms: in order to shift this nation’s greenhouse gas trajectory, it is absolutely necessary to abandon new committed emissions in all haste. For this to happen, fights against infrastructure construction must succeed not just on the coasts, but in the middle of the continent—if we somehow defeat the oil trains in the Pacific Northwest, it won’t much matter from a climate perspective if they just replace the train’s capacity with pipelines. But states like Missouri, Iowa, and North Dakota just didn’t have the climate movements to get the job done. Everyone knew if pipelines were going to be defeated, it would be primarily the result of an indigenous uprising against industry’s continued depredations of their land, water, lives, and treaty rights.
Enter the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
At about half a million barrels per day, it’s a climate monster. Rerouted from predominantly white urban areas through a Mandan sacred site central to their creation story (the pipeline is slated to cross the Cannonball River where the Mandan are said to have first emerged after the great flood), a massive—many claim unprecedented—indigenous resistance sprang up at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers. In August, indigenous grandmothers, horse-mounted warriors, religious societies, and many others thwarted drilling of the pipeline route under the river.
At the camp that sprang up in resistance, all nations of the Sioux are meeting in the Seven Fires Council for the first time since 1850. Over 150 indigenous nations have come to the camp to plant their flags in opposition to Dakota Access.
A misconception exists that construction in general has been halted on the pipeline route. While Dakota Access Pipeline has retreated from the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball (where a federal permitting morass is also temporarily impeding work), they are actively constructing the pipeline throughout North Dakota and Iowa, as close as ten miles from the camp of over 2,000 indigenous resisters and supporters who have vowed to stop it.
The more they build, the more likely they are to finish: there is clearly no path forward but to actively attempt to thwart construction however we can. This is a political moment with vast possibilities and a real need for dedicated people of all backgrounds to arrive and help grassroots resistance reach its fullest potential. Potentials which many of us who spend our lives organizing would never conceive of—like horse-mounted warriors defending blockading elder women from the police—are abundant, while some basic tools of direct action and political campaigning in general are more scarce.
When action happens, it is almost dreamlike in its potency. On August 31st, as two indigenous men—Maya and Happy—traveled to the site of Dakota Access construction on Highway Six, west of the Missouri River, the dark sky was illuminated by an endless succession of brilliant lightning flashes. As the sun rose, the men walked onto a construction site, halted earth-moving equipment with the aid of friends, and locked their bodies to it.
Police cut Maya away from a truck after about an hour and a half. Happy, positioned on the hydraulic arm of an excavator, actively moved his arms in every conceivable direction in order to thwart the hacksaw which cut at his locking device. As he continued to prevent the police from making progress, he seemed to be gaining rather than losing strength from the struggle. Chanting and indigenous singing ebbed and flowed in intensity with the ferocity of the struggle. You can conceptualize political action, and thus victory, in infinite ways, but it suffices to convey the power of this day to say this: there was never, ever a moment where the police or the fossil fuel corporations felt more powerful than the pipeline fighters who gathered there. Many veterans of direct action movements said they’d never seen anything quite like it. I have rarely—or never—seen someone resist the destruction of the earth with such emotional force.
Over 100 people stopped rail traffic by forming a human blockade across the tracks in Vancouver, WA on Saturday, June 18. Watch a recap video and donate to their legal fund.
Organized by the Fossil Fuel Resistance Network in response to the recent oil train derailment in Mosier, OR, the action united voices from across the region in concern not only about the potential local impacts of continued oil-by-rail, but also about the immediate and critical threats of carbon emissions and climate change. During the blockade, many community members spoke about their grief and rage that corporate greed is putting our local ecosystems and communities at risk and fueling the sixth great global extinction.
The Union Pacific train that derailed in Mosier on June 3rd contaminated the Columbia River and local sewer system with crude oil fracked from the Bakken Shale, ignited a fire that released toxic oil smoke into the air, evacuated local neighborhoods and schools, and ultimately drained the city’s entire aquifer. In the last three years alone, oil train derailments in North America have killed forty-seven people, spilled millions of gallons of oil into waterways, forced the evacuation of thousands and caused billions of dollars in property damage and environmental destruction.
Community members connected the local disaster to a greater climate crisis – ecosystems across the planet are rapidly destabilizing, confirming the worst case scenarios of climate scientists’ predictions. “We need Governors Brown and Inslee to do more than just advocate for a temporary moratorium on oil trains! We need them to enact an immediate just transition to a post-fossil fuel economy,” said Portland resident Audrey Caines. “If governments are not going to take decisive and immediate action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, people’s movements like this one will.”
Speakers also addressed the social consequences of fossil fuel infrastructure, stating that marginalized communities bear disproportionate risks and consequences, as oil train blast zones, pipeline routes, and drilling sites typically exist in low-income rural areas and communities of color. In Mosier, the disaster threatened food and water sources for local Native tribes.
BNSF and the Vancouver city police tried to disperse the crowd multiple times. In an act of pure intimidation, BNSF ran an engine within 50 feet of the protesters on the tracks and blew it’s horn repeatedly. Despite the looming non-verbal threat, nobody sitting on the rails made any moves to leave.
The Pacific Northwest has seen a growing movement against fossil fuel transport throughout the region. Concerned residents point out that proposed new fossil fuel terminals and terminal expansions, including the proposed Tesoro-Savage oil terminal in Vancouver, WA, could result in a dramatic increase in coal and oil trains passing through the Columbia Gorge each week. Mosier would see five times the amount of oil train traffic if these projects are approved. “This is not just the beginning!” said Portland Rising Tide activist Mia Reback. “This movement is growing and will not stop until all fossil fuel extraction projects are shut down and all known fossil fuel reserves are kept safely in the ground! Oil barons beware: we will be back!”
Portland Rising Tide is mobilizing for Break Free, three days of actions at the Shell & Tesoro refineries in Anacortes, Washington. Break Free will commence a global wave of mass actions targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects. We aim to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy.
Across the world, people are showing the courage to confront polluters where they are most powerful — from the halls of power to the wells and mines themselves.
We’re building a mobile solar array to power our protests and direct actions using solar panels manufactured right here in Hilsboro, but we need your help to cover costs! Can you make a donation today so we can have the array built in time for Break Free this May?
LNG flew the surrender flag on April 15, 2016, dropping plans to build an Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal on the lower Columbia River. Oregon LNG could not overcome intense local opposition, which sustained for over ten years. Not only is this an inspiring story of David versus Goliath, but an incredibly important victory for our climate and environment.
The Victory Over Oregon LNG prevents:
1.2 billion cubic feet per day of fracked natural gas sent to Asia. That’s twice as much gas as the entire state of Oregon uses each day. Oregon LNG would have shipped a stunning volume of carbon.
A huge new driver for more fracking across the west. An LNG terminal is a regressive investment that locks us into fossil fuel transport for decades, which our climate cannot afford.
A bridge to nowhere. Natural gas is not a bridge fuel. We are moving aggressively toward renewables, and natural gas fracking and burning takes us in the wrong direction.
The destruction of critical salmon habitat by dredging a huge hole in the Columbia River for LNG tankers. Oregon LNG proposed the largest dredging by a private company in the history of the Columbia River, over 700,000 cubic feet across 135 acres. And the filling of 34 acres of wetlands.
A giant industrial scar and militarized zone in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Columbia River estuary.
LNG vessels competing for space with salmon fishing boats. LNG vessels have large security zones that would push fishers off the river.
The threat of eminent domain to take land of family farmers. If approved, Oregon LNG would have the power of eminent domain to construct a pipeline on private land without landowners’ permission.
“After 10 years of fighting, we protected the Columbia River from dirty gas export. This is yet another huge victory for clean water and our climate. Tens of thousands of people stood up to protect clean water, public safety, and our climate. What an amazing effort and result!” – Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director, Columbia Riverkeeper
In a rather shocking move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the permits for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export facility and accompanying Pacific Connector Pipeline. Quote FERC:
42. Because the record does not support a finding that the public benefits of the Pacific Connector Pipeline outweigh the adverse effects on landowners, we deny Pacific Connector’s request for certificate authority to construct and operate its project, as well as the related blanket construction and transportation certificate applications. B. Jordan Cove’s Proposed LNG Terminal
43. The Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and the Pacific Connector Pipeline, though requiring authorization under different sections of the NGA, have been proposed as two segments of a single, integrated project. As described above, Pacific Connector has stated that although its pipeline will be capable of delivering gas to markets in southern Oregon through an interconnection with Northwest’s Grant Pass Lateral, it will not build the project unless the Jordan Cove LNG Terminal Project goes forward. Similarly, without a source of natural gas, proposed here to be delivered by the Pacific Connector Pipeline, it will be impossible for Jordan Cove’s liquefaction facility to function.
44. As discussed above, in determining whether a proposed project will serve the public interest under the Certificate Policy Statement, the Commission balances the public benefits of a proposed project against the potential adverse consequences. While the Certificate Policy Statement does not specifically apply to facilities authorized under NGA section 3, the Commission is still required to conclude that authorization of such facilities will not be inconsistent with the public interest. We find that without a pipeline connecting it to a source of gas to be liquefied and exported, the proposed Jordan Cove LNG Terminal can provide no benefit to the public to counterbalance any of the impacts which would be associated with its construction.
This is a tremendous victory for all of the dedicated people who have been organizing against this terminal. Thank you to any and all who wrote comments, turned out for actions, and helped us achieve this amazing victory. Keep your eyes open for upcoming announcements about how we’re going to make sure this project stays dead and buried!
You can read the full text of the FERC decision here.
2016 Sewell Lecture Presents: Tim DeChristopher as Bidder 70 disrupted an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in December of 2008 by outbidding oil companies for parcels around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. His actions and 21-month imprisonment earned him a an international media presence which he has used as a platform to spread the urgency of the climate crisis and the need fror bold, confrontational action to create a just and healthy world. Tim used his prosecution to organize the climate justice org Peaceful Uprising in Salt Lake City, and most recently, the Civil Disobedience Center.
Thursday, April 7 – 7p
First Unitarian Church Sanctuary — 1211 SW Main St. Pdx
While our policy makers engage in CLIMATE TALKS in Paris, Oregonians will engage in CLIMATE ACTION in Portland. Oregon is threatened by two massive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export projects that would radically increase the amount of fossil fuel that is trafficked through the state.
These projects would entail tremendous localized impacts such as clear cutting and bay dredging; however, the greatest threat is to our climate. The project in S. Oregon would require a new power plant that would become the largest carbon emitter in the state! Another fact: 5-10% of this natural gas leaks during extraction (fracking) and transportation (pipelines), and since leaked gas traps 86 times more heat than CO2, it’s obvious that exporting gas across the globe is not a viable climate solution!
What can Portland do about this climate disaster? A candidate for Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler, currently sits on the State Land Board which oversees a crucial element in the LNG permitting process. Join us as we make it clear to Wheeler that in order to be elected in this city, he must be a climate leader and take a stand against LNG exports!
Join us! Huge Artistic Display of the LNG Life Cycle Friday December 11
10:30AM Sheraton Hotel 8235 NE Airport Way, Portland
12:00PM Oregon Convention Center 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland
Join Portland Rising Tide Tuesday, December 15th to support land defenders working at the front lines of the climate movement. We are hosting a film screening and discussion about the threats facing the Unist’ot’en in Northern British Columbia, and to raise funds to support their efforts to resist big oil and gas. As we watch world leaders juggle with our climate future this week in Paris, the story of the Unist’ot’en serves as powerful inspiration and demonstrates the strength of a community who takes matters into their own hands.
What: Unist’ot’en Camp fundraiser, film screening, and raffle!
When: December 15th, 7-9PM at the Clinton Street Theater, SE 26th and Clinton
$5-20 sliding scale, (all money donated to Unist’ot’en Camp) Plus, everyone is entered in a raffle!
The Unist’ot’en Clan in British Columbia have been fighting the Northern Gateway and Pacific Trails pipelines for over six years. These pipelines would plow through their land, threatening oil spills, gas leaks and other environmental harm. This land is unceded, meaning the First Nation’s people who live there have never signed treaty agreements with the Canadian government, yet the fossil fuel industry is determined to turn this pristine landscape into a fossil fuel corridor for tar sands crude and fracked gas.
We will show a number of short films that document the creation and ongoing success of the Unist’ot’en Camp, as well as recent confrontations between the police and Chevron. Following the films, we will have a discussion of the parallels between this campaign and local struggles in Oregon, including the proposed Jordan Cove LNG pipeline. Read below for a full description of the films.
Hope to see you there!
Meredith Cocks, Portland Rising Tide
More info on films:
Oil Gateway (9 mins, January 2012) – An early look at how members of the Unis’toten nation began to halt the construction of 4 hydrocarbon pipelines through their traditional territories.
Action Camp (9 mins, August 2012) – Unist’ot’en organizers call for a convergence of grassroots, community based indigenous and non-indigenous allies at a camp cultivating uncompromising resistance in the fight to defend their lands and avert catastrophic climate change.
Corridors of Resistance (20 mins, September 2015). As the camp continues to resist pipeline survey crews, a networked “corridor or resistance” of justice movements across the Pacific Northwest and beyond, who are increasingly willing to take action to oppose extreme energy projects.
CHOKEPOINT: How to Stop a Pipeline (10 mins, July 2014). As opposition grows to fracking and the development of the Alberta tar sands, First Nations communities take to the front lines at the Unist’ot’en camp showcase resistance that the global community is watching.
Checkpoint Dispatches (12 mins, Summer 2015). “I am not protesting, I am not demonstrating, I am occupying our homelands. We decide what happens here.” This series of rapid response videos document the Unist’ot’en and camp supporters as they repel incursions by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (July 15), Transcanada (July 18), and Chevron (July 23).
Report from the Frontlines (6 minutes, October 2015). On a solidarity visit from an Indigenous Land Defender and Warrior from the Secwepemc First Nation, Kanahus Manuel interviews Unist’ot’en camp spokesperson Freda Huson with the latest news on renewal and healing at the front line of resistance at Widzin Kwa Checkpoint.
The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) is currently reviewing multiple applications for the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline. The applications include requests for easements to build the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline through Coos Bay. Because the State of Oregon owns the submerged lands in the pipeline route, either the Department of State Lands or the State Land Board can deny the Pacific Connector Pipeline. The State Land Board is comprised of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, and Treasurer Ted Wheeler.
On Tuesday, December 8th, activists will attend the State Land Board meeting in Salem to send a message to Oregon’s top elected officials about why Oregon should reject LNG. Assemble at 9am outside the Land Board meeting, gather at 9:30 AM for a brief media event.
Carpooling from Portland to Salem: 503-705-1943. Please contact by 9PM on Dec 6.
When: Tuesday, December 8th, 9:30 AM Where: Oregon Dept of State Lands, 775 Summer St NE. Salem, OR
This map shows the proposed route of the Pacific Connector Pipeline Through Coos Bay’s Haynes Inlet. Pacific Connector seeks an easement through state-owned submerged lands for the pipeline from Oregon Department of State Lands.
The Land Board will not be taking public comment about LNG, which is not on the agenda. However, we will send a message with our presence that the State of Oregon should use all of its authority – including its proprietary rights – to protect Oregon from destructive LNG projects. Our attendance will also support local oyster growers and private landowners who will be traveling from Coos Bay to convey their concerns to the media and the Department of State Lands.
We already know that the Jordan Cove LNG terminal would be the biggest greenhouse gas polluter in Oregon, so it clearly conflicts with the best use of state resources. For this reason, Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) should reject all of the permits and easements for the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline. Furthermore, the Pacific Connector and the terminal would harm salmon habitat, condemn the private property of Oregon families, degrade water quality, and damage oyster beds located very close to the proposed Jordan Cove Terminal and pipeline. As a result, the project does not protect existing uses in the area, and DSL and the State Land Board should reject the Jordan Cove LNG terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline.
Together, we can persuade the State of Oregon to stand up for Oregonians against the largest, most destructive, and greenhouse gas-intensive fossil fuel proposal in Oregon.