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Umatilla Confederated Tribes Hold Megaload Ceremony, Continue Resistance

Kayla Godowa-Tufti, December 3, 2013 –  Members of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation and friends gathered tonight in Pendleton, Oregon to hold ceremony at the site where the Omega Morgan “mega load” remains.

Oregon Department of Transportation confirmed that freezing weather and last nights snow storm has prevented the load from moving tonight.
Elders and many young leaders from CTUIR came out to speak from their hearts about how this haul will threaten the values and traditions that we hold so dearly to us in the Columbia River Plateau.

The end destination for this load is approximately 20 kilometers southwest of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, Canada, the site of Athabaska Oil Corp’s Hangingstone tar sands project.

Omega Morgan, the shipping company, is attempting to move equipment along a rural highway in Oregon, in hopes to avoid the recent controversy they faced in Nez Perce territory.

Government to government consultation has not taken place with Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation or Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon, as required by law, to grant a permit to Omega Morgan.

The ceremony and resistance will continue as Omega Morgan attempts to make it through snow and ice within our homelands.

–Kayla L. Godowa-Tufti is an active member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon

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Two Activists Lockdown, Stop Megaload!

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.

Please join on Thursday for an info and planning meeting about what happened tonight and how you can get involved! There are two more megaloads scheduled to move through Oregon over the next two months.

If you’d like to get updates or just want to be kept further in the loop about Northwest megaload resistance click here!

 

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Tar Sands and Megaload background information and links:

-Following years of amazing resistance by the Nez Perce and other allies in Idaho, Including Wild Idaho Rising Tide, companies shipping critical tarsands equipment (megaloads) have been forced to explore ever more bizarre and circuitous routes to get to Alberta, Canada, and the most destructive project on earth.
-The Umatilla Tribe has officially stated that they oppose the shipment.
 
-This load is a 900,000 lb., 380 ft long, water purifier bound for the Alberta Tar Sands. It will be making it’s way through Oregon, into Idaho, Montana and Alberta.-Omega Morgan is a shipping company based near Portland, OR and is profiting greatly off the tar sands. They have been working to establish a viable route from the Columbia River to the tar sands in order to import equipment built overseas.-The company and state have either not or only nominally consulted the Umatilla and Warm Springs Tribes and Oregon citizens in rushed decisions about this colossal venture that could degrade public infrastructure and establish a “high and wide” corridor for industrial shipments to the most destructive and outmoded, fossil fuel extraction undertaking on Earth: Alberta tar sands mining.
The megaloads  present an opportunity to confront the tar sands expansion on our home turf; as climate justice activists we must seize this opportunity.
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Protesters Show Up, Megaload Doesn’t Budge from Umatilla

November 25, 2013  —  Hillsboro-based Omega Morgan is the trucking company hired by a subsidiary of General Electric Co. to ship massive oil refinery equipment manufactured in South Korea to the tar sands project in western Canada. ODOT regional spokesman Tom Strandberg previously said the oversize loads could begin moving along highways in eastern Oregon to southern Idaho either Sunday or Monday night.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide reports that as of late Sunday, the megaload had not left the port of Umatilla. “It never budged,” writes George Plaven of Eastern Oregon, “sitting under towering floodlights while workers with Omega Morgan continued to prepare the oversized transport for its first leg south through Hermiston and east into Pendleton”.

If the shipment proceeds as planned, it will eventually reach the John Day Valley before crossing east into southern Idaho and north through Montana en route to Canada.The load is only permitted to travel between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and no more than eight consecutive hours per night.

A working map of the route for the 650,000 pound, three-story high equipment has been posted by All Against the Haul and can be viewed here.

As promised, about 20 protesters gathered on a toe-numbing Sunday night and waited for the first of three “megaloads” to leave the Port of Umatilla hauling massive refinery equipment into the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.  Climate activists oppose providing a route on Oregon highways for a vessel they said will contribute to increased carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Jim Powers, of Albany, also said the Oregon Department of Transportation rushed to permit the project without enough public process.

The tar sands mines of Alberta, Canada  are among the largest mines of any type in world.  Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet.   Its extraction leaves in its wake scarred landscapes and a web of pipelines and polluting refineries.  As it delays our transition to a clean energy economy, tar sands has been identified as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions growth in Canada, as it accounts for 40 million tons of CO2 emissions per year according to Greenpeace.

Updates to the planned Omegaloads will be tracked and reported by Portland Rising Tide, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, All Against the Haul and CoalMarch.org.

 

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Tar Sands Megaload Set to Roll from Umatilla on Sunday Night, November 24

November 21, 2013  —  Omega Morgan is the trucking company hired by a subsidiary of General Electric Co. to ship massive oil refinery equipment manufactured in South Korea to the tar sands project in western Canada. AP reports that plans to begin moving the oversized loads along highways in eastern Oregon and southern Idaho according to officials in both states.

“The first of the so-called megaloads could begin making its way from the Port of Umatilla in Oregon this weekend before crossing the Snake River and into Idaho’s southwestern corner next week” according to the AP report.

A working map of the route for the 650,000 pound, three-story high equipment manufactured in South Korea, has been posted by All Against the Haul and can be viewed here.

The load’s Idaho leg “is now proposed along U.S. Highway 93, up Lost Trail Pass, with an elevation of 7,014 feet, and into southwestern Montana” according to AP.  From there, the massive equipment would wend northward along small highways and through small towns to its final destination, the tar sands mines of Alberta, Canada which are among the largest mines of any type in world.

Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet.   Its extraction leaves in its wake scarred landscapes and a web of pipelines and polluting refineries.  As it delays our transition to a clean energy economy, tar sands has been identified as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions growth in Canada, as it accounts for 40 million tons of CO2 emissions per year according to Greenpeace.

Updates to the planned Omegaloads will be tracked and reported by Portland,Rising Tide, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, All Against the Haul and CoalMarch.org.

 

Comments On Longview Coal Export Project Reach 164,000

Oregon Public Broadcasting — Earthfix — Cassandra Profita, November 18, 2013 –

More than 164,000 public comments (updated from 163,000 – Ed.) have flooded the environmental review of the Millennium coal export terminal proposed for Longview, Wash.

That’s the number of letters, emails, and statements read aloud at public meetings (at the close of the comment period). It exceeds the 125,000 comments agencies received on the environmental review of the Gateway Pacific coal export project in Bellingham, Wash., earlier this year.

November 18, 2013 was the deadline for the public to comment on the Millennium project during this phase of the environmental review — so the total could climb even higher, according to Linda Kent, spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology. People can read all the comments online.

Ecology is one of three agencies taking comments on which environmental impacts they should study before permitting begins along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Cowlitz County. Kent said her agency hasn’t set a timeline for reviewing all the comments.

More Here

WA State Agency Blocks Permits For 2 Grays Harbor Oil Terminals

Oregon Public Broadcasting — Earthfix — Ashley Ahearn, November 14, 2013

—  The Washington Shorelines Hearings Board is blocking permits for two crude oil shipping terminals in Grays Harbor, saying backers have failed to address public safety and environmental issues.

The State Department of Ecology worked with the city of Hoquiam to approve permits for the terminals earlier this year.

The Quinault Indian Nation and several conservation groups successfully argued that permits issued for two terminals in Grays Harbor, Washington should be reversed.

“Those permits should have never been issued in the first place,” said Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinalt Nation.

“The shipping terminals would be a clear violation of public safety as well as treaty-protected rights. Far more jobs would be lost when the inevitable spills occur than would be gained from the development of the proposed oil terminals,” Sharp said.

The Washington Shorelines Hearings Board said the permits didn’t adequately assess the environmental risk of oil spills, seismic events, greenhouse gas emissions, and impacts to cultural resources.

More Here

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Climate Activists Hold Community Picket Against Proposed Oil Terminal

Rising Tide Press Release –November 4, 2013–VANCOUVER, WA–  Fifty activists with Vancouver and Portland Rising Tide blocked entrances to the Port of Vancouver, WA with a community picket line. Trucks backed up down the block as work was delayed for the morning.

Vancouver and Portland Rising Tide organized the community picket in response to the Port’s re-leasing of public land to Tesoro/Savage for the proposed construction of a 380,000 barrel per day oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. The terminal would bring oil by rail from North Dakota and likely the tar sands, through the city of Vancouver, WA and load it on to tankers for shipping to refineries and export. The Port of Vancouver has been the site of an ongoing picket line due to unsafe working conditions in their Mitsui-United Grain terminal by another group, the ILWU Local 4.

According to Vancouver Rising Tide Member Kathy Lane, “These trains are a huge risk to our community and if the Port of Vancouver can’t even keep conditions safe for grain terminal workers, how can we expect an oil port run by a company with as terrible a record as Tesoro not to end in disaster? We can’t.”

Rising Tide is an international group with chapters in Portland and Vancouver that works to address the root causes of climate change. Today’s action follows the July 27th Rising Tide event at the Port of Vancouver in which over 1,000 people rallied against all of the proposed fossil fuel terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Participants took to the I-5 bridge and kayaks while three climbers rapelled from the bridge to unfurl a banner that read “Coal, Oil, Gas  / None Shall Pass”.

“Even in the best case, even if there isn’t a spill or explosion for years, this terminal will lock us into our reliance on fossil fuels and climate chaos. Building this kind of infrastructure is fundamentally the wrong way to go, especially with public port land” said Portland Rising Tide member Mia Rebak .

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High resolution photos of the day’s actions:

http://www.demotix.com/news/3138207/protesters-against-proposed-oil-terminal-shut-down-port-vancouver

http://www.demotix.com/news/3138321/protesters-picket-port-vancouver-over-unsafe-working-conditions

Oil terminal plan foes pack hearing — State regulators begin evaluating proposal for Vancouver facility

The Columbian– Eric Florip, October 29, 2013– VANCOUVER, WA–

As state regulators prepare to vet a controversial plan to build the region’s largest oil-handling terminal in Vancouver, hundreds of opponents on Tuesday delivered an overwhelming message:

The damage and risk from such an operation would reach well beyond Vancouver and Clark County, opponents said.

More than 300 people filed into Clark College’s Gaiser Hall. The vast majority of them — many clad in red shirts — oppose the project for a variety of reasons.  More here

 

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Solidarity at the OR State Land Board, October 8

On Tuesday morning, October 8, a rally took place in which participants  demanded that Governor Kitzhaber show leadership and take action on climate change.   Together, we made it clear that Oregonians insist that the Governor and the State Land Board (SLB) utilize the full power of their positions to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects in our state.  Organized by Portland Rising Tide, Greenpeace, and 350.org, this was the first time the Governor has been publicly pressured to take action against all coal, oil, and gas terminals proposed for Oregon.

One of the first opportunities for the SLB to take action will be denying Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific Project permit.

Member of Portland Rising Tide and one of the speakers Caroline Hudson said,  “If more fossil fuel development is approved, the environmental impact will be felt all over the world, by my generation and the unborn, long after everyone on the State Land Board is dead and gone. Yet these decisions are still being made without us. With something as overwhelming as climate change, it’s easy to feel hopeless but our communities have the power to stop any coal, oil, gas terminals and we hope the Governor joins us.”

 Michael Gaskill, also a member of Portland Rising Tide, addressed the State Land Board, and directly asked Governor Kitzhaber to state his opposition and willingness to take all action available to him to halt any new coal, oil, and gas construction in Oregon. The Governor declined to take this stand, voicing only that he felt climate change was an important issue.

RT will continue to organize and take action until all new fossil fuel infrastructure is abandoned; conservation, lifestyle change and renewable energy will take its place.

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Lummi Tribal Carver Takes Giant Totem Pole On “Healing” Journey

Oregon Public Broadcasting — Earthfix — Ashley Ahearn, Sept 26, 2013

Jewell Praying Wolf James is a tribal leader and master carver of the Lummi Nation. …The Lummi tribal reservation abuts the proposed site of the largest coal export terminal on the West coast. He’s carved a 22-foot totem pole that represents tribal opposition to coal and oil exports in the Northwest. James is driving the totem pole from the mines in the Powder River Basin of Montana all along the coal train routes to Seattle, where he stopped into the KUOW studios to talk with EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn. From Seattle he’ll continue to British Columbia for a final ceremony and presentation of the totem pole to a first nation who is opposing the Kinder-Morgan oil sands pipeline north of Vancouver.

James is driving the totem pole from the mines in the Powder River Basin of Montana all along the coal train routes to Seattle, where he stopped into the KUOW studios to talk with EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn. From Seattle he’ll continue to British Columbia for a final ceremony and presentation of the totem pole to a first nation who is opposing the Kinder-Morgan oil sands pipeline north of Vancouver.

Read more and listen to Mr James’ brief interview with Ashley Ahearn.

 

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