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Seattle City Council member, state House candidate block railroad tracks in oil train protest

SEATTLE — July 31, 2014– Five protesters blocked railroad tracks through the city on Thursday.  Those participating in the bold action included Seattle City Council member, Kshama Sawant, and Jess Spear, a candidate for the State House of Representatives. 

The aim of the occupation was to call attention to the proliferation of oil trains running through the streets of Seattle and the throughout the Northwest and the “near-miss” derailment of an oil train in Seattle last week.

BLOCKING THE TRACKS TO PROTEST EXPLOSIVE OIL TRAINS Later, getting arrested for it.

Mr Spear was quoted by Seattle’s weekly rag, The Stranger, “These oil trains running right through the downtown area pose a huge risk to life and to the environment. Luckily, last week’s derailment did not spill any oil; but we cannot rely on luck. We cannot stand idly by while these bombs on wheels roll through Seattle”.

Ms Sawant told the Stranger she was at the protest “in solidarity with the three activists who have the courage of their convictions. It’s an enormous sacrifice to be arrested to raise awareness… I’m also here as someone who is on the city council and who takes the task of governance seriously. This is a matter of emergency that needs to be addressed”.

FOX News reported that Seattle Police first warned the protesters, then took three of them into custody.  Two men and Spear were detained.

 According to FOX, “The trains have been a lightning rod for criticism from those who say they are both dangerous and part of an industry that is harmful to the environment”.

The occupation took place atop the tracks near the Olympic Sculpture Park along the Seattle waterfront.

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Photo: ALEX GARLANDThe Stranger

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Shale Gas Protesters Sentenced to 15 Months for Violent Clash with RCMP

from CBC News

Aaron Francis (right) and Germain Junior Breau (left). From Warrior Publications.

Two anti-shale gas protesters have been sentenced to 15 months in jail in connection to a violent clash with police near Rexton, N.B., last fall.

Germain Junior Breau, 21, of Upper Rexton, N.B., and Aaron Francis, 20, of Eskasoni, N.S., were sentenced in Moncton provincial court on Tuesday on several charges.

An RCMP cruiser and another unmarked vehicle were among those destroyed during an anti-shale gas protest near Rexton, N.B., on Oct. 17. (Courtesy of Gilles Boudreau)

Judge R. Leslie Jackson gave Breau 423 days of credit for the 282 days he has already spent in custody. That means he has about a month left to serve in his sentence.

 

Francis was given 413 days of credit, leaving him with about six weeks behind bars.

Breau was convicted last month of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and five counts of pointing a firearm, but was found not guilty of five counts of assaulting police officers with a firearm.

He had previously pleaded guilty to uttering threats against a police officer, careless use of a firearm, and breach of probation.

Francis was also convicted of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, but was found not guilty of throwing Molotov cocktails, intent to do bodily harm by causing an explosive device to explode, possession of explosives while prohibited to do so, and committing an offence while having his face masked.

He previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer, two counts of obstructing a police officer, careless use of a firearm, possessing a firearm while prohibited to do so, and breaching a court order, as well as assault against a correctional officer while being held in custody, and breaching a court order.

After the judge left the courtroom, a crowd of supporters who attended the sentencing hearing applauded as the two defence lawyers, Alison Ménard and Gilles Lemieux, left the court, CBC’s Jennifer Choi reported.

The protest on Route 134 near Rexton on Oct. 17, 2013, turned violent when police moved in to enforce a court injunction that prohibited protesters from interfering with the seismic exploration work of SWN Resources Canada.

About 40 people were arrested that day and six RCMP vehicles were destroyed by fire.

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Unist’ot’ten Film Screening and Fundraiser

Thanks to your support, the Unist’ot’ten Film Screening and Fundraiser on July 12 was a great success. Together, we raised over $1200 to support native resistance against exploitative industry and the Pacific Trails Pipeline.  Thanks especially to our speakers for the evening, tribal elder Cathy Sampson-Kruse of the  Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla and activist  Heather Olson of the Unit’ot’en Camp Resistance.

Unist'ot'ten Film ScreeningThe screening took place at a time of critical need as the Unist’ot’en Camp is under threat of eviction by the Canadian state. 

The Unist’oten’s Call to the Land is a short documentary that was filmed in the summer of 2013 on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, 1000 km north of Vancouver in northern BC (western Canada) over the duration of the fourth annual Environmental Action Camp, hosted by the Unist’ot’en (C’ihlts’ehkhyu/Big Frog) Clan.

The focus of the film is on the Camp as a year-round resistance to exploitative industry, and what it represents in relation to indigenous sovereignty and the environmental, legal, and social issues surrounding pipeline projects in British Columbia. The short film documents one of the most important resistance camps in North America at this time.

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Video: Unist’ot’en Camp Evicts TransCanada Helicopter Crew

DERRICK ON JULY 24TH, 2014 4:09 PM

http://westcoastnativenews.com

An online video shows Wet’suwet’en protesters from the Unist’ot’en Camp peacefully evicting several TransCanada contract pipeline workers from their traditional Aboriginal territory on Tuesday.  The region is where First Nations have been intensifying “direct actions” against several multi-billion-dollar pipelines for oil and LNG export for months now.

“Your equipment will be confiscated if you try to return,” said an unidentified masked man, as he approached a company helicopter.

“You know TransCanada is not allowed on the territory, right?” he also asked other crews on patrol.

Camp members believed the workers had come to work on Coastal Gaslink, a 650-km natural gas pipeline that TransCanada plans to build for the $12-billion “LNG Canada” terminal in Kitimat, proposed by Shell, PetroChina, Korea Gas and Mitsubishi.

The 22,000-kilometre territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation — where the camp is based — is highly strategic, and poses a bottleneck for pipelines.

 

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Blockade at First Tar Sands Site in US Challenges ‘Brazen Disregard for Climate Crisis’

Creative Commons — Andrea Germanos — July 21, 2014

Developing

Scores of climate justice activists are staging a blockade on Monday to thwart construction of the first tar sands mine in the United States—a project they say will cause irreparable damage to water and land.

According to a statement from Utah Tar Sands Resistance, roughly 80 people are involved in the action, some of whom have locked themselves to equipment and are being processed for arrest.

The plans for the extraction in the Book Cliffs of Utah in an area located just outside the Northern Ute Ouray Reservation by Calgary-based US Oil Sands have drawn years of resistance from land defenders.

Monday’s action challenging the company’s Powder River Spring project comes at the tail end of a week-long Climate Justice Summer Camp, which takes place at a permanent protest vigilorganized by Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising.

“US Oil Sands perfectly demonstrates capitalism’s brazen disregard for the climate crisis, human and tribal rights and rights of the planet itself to be free of dangerous corporate parasites,” stated Jessica Lee, a spokesperson for the climate justice groups.

Follow tweets from Utah Tar Sands Resistance below to see the action continue to unfold: @tarsandsRESIST

A banner unfurled at the Utah tar sands site earlier this year. (Photo: Utah Tar Sands Resistance)

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One Arrest As Climate Activists Blockade Oil Terminal

Irene Majorie With Arm Locked In BarrelONE ARREST AS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS BLOCKADE OIL TERMINAL FOR FOUR HOURS, DEMAND HALT TO CRUDE-BY-RAIL TRAFFIC IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/30/2014

Emma Gould, Portland Rising Tide, 541.913.2635, lumen@riseup.net
David Bennett, Portland Rising Tide, 503.516.8932, david@portlandrisingtide.org

PORTLAND–This morning climate justice activists with Portland Rising Tide shut down the ArcLogistics crude oil terminal in Northwest Portland resulting in one arrest.

Portland resident Irene Majorie, 22, locked herself to a 55-gallon barrel filled with concrete that was placed on the railroad track leading into the facility. Train cars enter from a nearby yard to offload oil into 84 storage tanks, before it is piped onto oceangoing ships bound for West Coast refineries. Over a dozen supporters joined her at the site.

Majorie’s arm was locked to a piece of metal rebar embedded in the concrete. She was cut out of the barrel by the Portland Police and arrested after successfully blockading the tracks for four hours. Immediately after her removal a train engine approached oil cars nearby on the tracks demonstrating the effective blockage of the oil transport during that time.

“This is about stopping the oil trains,” said Majorie. “But beyond that, it is about an industry and an economic system that places the pursuit of profit before the lives and relationships of human beings seeking survival and nourishment, and before the communities, ecosystems, and planet of which we are a part.”

Oil trains are coming under increasing scrutiny recently owing to their propensity to derail in fiery explosions. Portland Rising Tide, however, disputes the notion that an oil train is ever safe, since crude oil is only transported to be burned. Whatever the risk of explosion, the guaranteed result is a worsening of the climate crisis, which is already wreaking ecological havoc and claiming human lives.

US crude oil production has risen from ~5 million barrels per day in the late 2000s to ~7 million barrels per day currently. Increased extraction is North Dakota’s Bakken Shale has resulted in a dramatic rise in oil train traffic, with 250% more oil trains traveling Oregon rail lines in 2013 than in the previous year. Governor Kitzhaber has expressed “deep concern” about oil trains but thus far done nothing to stop them.

“Society should be engaged in a rapid, radical decline in fossil fuel use,” said David Bennett. “Instead, policymakers—even those who claim to understand the magnitude of the climate crisis—are forcing us to engage in an absurd conversation about creating ‘safe’ oil trains and building more fossil fuel infrastructure.”

The ArcLogistics terminal, which began operation in January, is one piece of infrastructure facilitating increased oil production. When ongoing construction is completed, the facility will have the capacity to transport 16,250 barrels of oil per day.

In April, Portland Rising Tide entered the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s offices in downtown Portland, issued termination letters to employees at their desks, and announced the formation of a new People’s Agency, which would carry out DEQ’s mandate free of corporate influence. This is the first enforcement action of the nascent agency.

“If our policymakers listened, we would demand an immediate halt to oil train traffic in Oregon and the closure of all crude oil terminals,” said Emma Gould. “Since they don’t, we’re halting oil trains ourselves.”

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LUBA Invalidates Clatsop County Denial of Pipeline Permit

 

This recent decision by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) goes in the Lily Tomlin “no-matter-how-cynical-you get-you-can’t-keep-up” file, right next to the various Oregon and US Supreme Court rulings that campaign money is the same thing as free speech. As reported in this story by The Oregonian, LUBA has invalidated the Clatsop County Commission’s decision to deny a permit to a 41-mile segment of pipeline that will feed the Oregon LNG export terminal. Why? Because Commissioner Peter Huhtala was found to have been an active opponent of LNG projects in Clatsop County before he was elected.

So climate justice activists, if you ever happen to get the urge to run for a county commission seat or any other elected office in which you might be involved in making land use decisions, be sure to recuse yourself from voting on all decisions that involve anything regarding transporting, producing, or burning fossil fuels. You are immediately disqualified by the fact that you are informed about our situation as a global society and know that we must stop producing and consuming fossil fuels by around 1985 (Oops! We better get going on this one.), and actively oppose fossil fuel projects on the grounds that it might be immoral to deny the future of life to other humans and other species by burning down the entire biosphere with fossil fuels. Of course, this assumes that in the process of running for office, your moral inclinations are not somehow tempered by the bundles of “free speech” donated to your campaign by individuals and companies who profit grandly from those same fossil fuel projects on which you’ll be making decisions. In that case, Mr/Ms Commissioner, Mayor, Representative, Congressman, Senator, Judge, President, whoever you are, as PRT organizer Jonah Majure says, “you’re good to go!”

LUBAPostCartoon

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Nation’s First Oil-By-Bike Tank Car Disaster

June 22, 2014 — AP Wire Service —  A peaceful ride through Portland’s Sunday Parkways quickly turned  into the nation’s first oil-by-bicycle tank car disaster. No injuries were reported and no harm to rivers, streams, or local water supply appeared to occur.

Rising Tide’s beloved Tank O’ Doom (TOD) cruised elegantly through North Portland’s annual family ride– until a sudden gust of wind and “technical issues” aligned, causing the collapse of  the iconic symbol of Northwest fossil fuel resistance.   No injuries were reported and no harm to local rivers, streams, or water supply appeared to occur.

This was TOD’s third foray into public with the intent of alerting citizens to the connection between the proliferation of oil trafficking in the Northwest and impending catastrophic climate change.

TOD’s quick-witted designers and engineers, Mr Wes and Mike H, skillfully disassembled and reconstructed the tanker in about an hour and a half and got it rolling again, but not before the day’s festivities were almost over.

No injuries were reported and no harm to rivers, streams, or local water supply appeared to occur.

Asked to explain the viability of  Friday’s impending tour of Portland’s oil profiteer facilities, Mr Wes explained, “It’s perfectly safe now. Trust us”.  The tour is scheduled for Friday, June 27 at 11:30 a.m. Details can be found here.

Nation’s First Oil-By-Bike Tank Car Disaster
TOD pays a visit to DEQ Headquarters during Portland’s Climate Convergence, April, 2014

Vancouver City Council Votes to Oppose Oil Terminal

Courtesy of freefoto.com.
Courtesy of freefoto.com.

The Vancouver city council voted 5-2 Monday evening to oppose the Tesoro/Savage oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver. Read about all the details here in this OPB article.

But there’s still a lot of work to do.  The City Council does not have the final word. Based on recommendations of the Energy Facilities Siting Council of Washington State (EFSEC), the decision whether or not to build the terminal rests in the hands of Governor Jay Inslee and, ultimately, the public.

Furthermore, many politicians frame oil-by-rail, and related projects such as this one, merely as safety issues.  And, they certainly are. However, they stop short of acknowledging the impact that the recent rapid increase in oil-by-rail will have on the climate. In that regard, there is no such thing as a safe oil train.

Check this site frequently for actions you can take to stop the transport of fossil fuels through the Pacific Northwest.

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