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BREAKING: Activists Blockade Shipment of Tar Sands Pipeline

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2019

Contact: Kelsey Baker, 415.599.6672,

Vancouver, WA — Community members from Oregon and Washington have shut down part of the Port of Vancouver, WA to block a shipment of pipeline that is destined for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) project in Canada that would run from Edmonton to Vancouver, B.C. This latest action is the third in a series of actions targeting the Port of Vancouver, WA for its role in transporting dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure. In early September, activists broke the news that pipe for the TMX project’s construction is being imported by ship to the Port of Vancouver, WA and then blockaded a rail line at the Port to prevent the pipe from being transported to British Columbia.

Right now, six climbers have locked themselves to the dock where the shipment is to be off-loaded in order to prevent the pipeline pipes from making it to their final destination in Vancouver, B.C. They are supported by dozens of kayakers and other boaters who are rallying to tell the Port of Vancouver, Governor Inslee, and Prime Minister Trudeau to stop this dangerous fossil fuel project that is jeopardizing a livable future for everyone on this planet.

Activists with Portland Rising Tide and the Mosquito Fleet prevent the bulk carrier Patagonia from docking at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., on November 5, 2019. The protesters are against the ships’s cargo they say is bound for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project in Canada which will carry oil sands bitumen from Edmonton, Alberta to the coast at Burnaby, British Colombia for export to markets in Asia and the US. (Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)

Kiera, a climber blocking the ship dock, said, “The hypocrisy of the Port of Vancouver is embarrassing. The Port Commissioners should be ashamed — they claim to be environmental stewards concerned about climate catastrophe, yet they are enabling the dirtiest pipeline project in the world by allowing this pipe to pass through the port.”

An activist with Portland Rising Tide, Rachel Walsh, said, “I’m here because tar sands crude transported by the Trans Mountain Expansion project would require three times more water for extracting and refining and would release 15% more greenhouse gas per gallon of gasoline when compared with conventional oil.” She went on to say, “We are also taking action in solidarity with Fort McKay First Nations who are suing the Alberta government because tar sands expansion threatens sacred land that the government promised to protect.”

An Oregonian at the blockade, Jesse Hannon, wants to make it clear that, “The emissions from such an expansion of tar sands oil production could spell game-over for our climate.” This mega-project, which is larger than the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, is opposed by Indigenous communities throughout the region, whose local waters, lands, and treaty rights would be directly threatened by project construction and the risk of an oil spill.

This action, organized by Portland Rising Tide and the Mosquito Fleet, is part of a larger fight against the Trans Mountain Expansion, which has been ongoing since 2014. Both organizations are working with other groups across the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada to pressure Prime Minister Trudeau, Govenor Inslee and the Port of Vancouver, WA, who are all complicit in this project. Groups from the United States, Canada, and around the world have joined together to demand that these elected officials act to stop the Trans Mountain Expansion project immediately, respect the rights of Indigenous groups, and halt any further fossil fuel expansion.

Activists with Portland Rising Tide and the Mosquito Fleet prevent the bulk carrier Patagonia from docking at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., on November 5, 2019. The protesters are against the ships’s cargo they say is bound for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project in Canada which will carry oil sands bitumen from Edmonton, Alberta to the coast at Burnaby, British Colombia for export to markets in Asia and the US. (Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)

Portland Rising Tide is a local group that is part of a global grassroots network that uses education and direct action to address the root causes of climate change.

Mosquito Fleet is a local group that organizes on-the-water direct action to halt the export of oil, gas and coal through the Salish Sea.


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Activists Shut Down Vancouver Port to Stop Expansion of Trans Mountain Pipeline

For Immediate Release

October 17, 2019

Vancouver, WA: Community members from Oregon and Washington blockaded a rail line at the Port of Vancouver, Washington today that is transporting pipe for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. In early September, activists broke the news that pipe for the project’s construction is being imported by ship to the Port of Vancouver. Today’s action at the gates of Terminal 5 caused a major delay in loading pipe onto trains destined for British Columbia.

If constructed, the Trans Mountain Expansion would transport an additional 590,000 barrels of toxic, heavy crude every day from the Alberta Tar Sands to the shores of British Columbia. This boost in export shipments would increase oil tankers in the Salish Sea 700%, threaten endangered Orca whales, and violate Indigenous rights. Moreover, the emissions from such an expansion of tar sands oil production could spell game-over for our climate. This mega-project, which is larger than the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, is opposed by Indigenous communities throughout the region, whose local waters, lands, and way of life would be directly threatened by project construction and the risk of an oil spill.

This action, organized by Portland Rising Tide and Mosquito Fleet, is part of a larger fight against the Trans Mountain Expansion that has been ongoing since 2014. Both organizations are working with other groups across the west coast of the U.S. and Canada to pressure Prime Minister Trudeau, Govenor Inslee and the Port of Vancouver, WA, who are all supporting this project. We demand they stop the Trans Mountain Expansion project immediately, respect the rights of Indigenous groups, and halt any further fossil fuel expansion.

You can support our work and donate to the legal fund here.

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Move Your Money Packets

water-is-life_1Join the international movement to de-fund DAPL!

Portland Rising Tide has created a How To Move Your Money packet because we want folks to feel informed and empowered to continue this campaign wherever they live!

Special thanks to Yes! Magazine and DeFundDAPL for having great resources, ideas and articles on this issue-;

The following is a guide on how to use this packet:

  1. Print out the 5 PDF documents, downloadable via the links below, on regular 8.5×11 paper, and cut to the appropriate sizes.  Download them individually by clicking the links in the following bullets, or download this zip file that contains the entire kit.


  1. Stuff all the documents except for the quarter sheets into manila envelopes. If you choose to, create a stamp with the Water Is Life.jpg design on it so you can decorate each envelope.
  1. Gather your team (or teams)! Go over your talking points and strategies. Pass out packets and quarter sheets.
  1. Head to the banks! Remember, we aren’t protesting the employees of the bank, or the customers that are coming in. Be friendly and respectful!

Talking Tips:

When approaching folks, we suggest starting with something simple like: “Hi! Did you know that _____ Bank is a major funder of the Dakota Access Pipeline? Then hand them the Quarter sheet with “Oh No” facing towards the top, and if they are still attentive, say something like: “We are out here to encourage folks to move their money to more socially responsible institutions. Here is a packet with information about local banks and credit unions, and specific steps on how to move your money.” If they are receptive, give them the packet, if not, move on to the next person!

The withdrawal tracker list current withdrawals at over 26 million dollars. Let’s make this number skyrocket!

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Break Free protesters camped on the tracks outside of Tesoro refiner in Anacortes

Help With Break Free PNW Legal Support

Break Free protesters camped on the tracks outside of Tesoro refiner in Anacortes
Small entrance to rail track blockade at Break Free, PNW Copyright (c) 2016 Alex Garland and made available under Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 license.

In May of 2016, dozens of activists were arrested after blockading a train track heading to the Tesoro oil refinery outside of Anacortes, Washington. This action held the tracks for 36 hours and was coordinated with an international series of actions known as Break Free. You can help with their legal costs by donating here

Pressured by this action and years of local organizing, Shell withdrew their proposal for a rail spur to their refinery, which neighbors the Tesoro refinery on March Point. This rail spur would have doubled the amount of oil trains passing through Mt. Vernon and the Swinomish Tribal Reservation. Direct action works!

Now 39 of those activists are going to trial and they need your help! Expert witness expenses and legal costs add up quickly. Your financial support shows these activists that you’ve got their back and support the struggle for climate justice. 

We have a goal of $20,000 – any amount helps! Please donate.

This fund is administered by volunteers, so 100% of donations will go to court costs.

Thank you for your support!

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AP Photo/James MacPherson

On Direct Action With Trump Around

The day before police evicted the Frontline Encampment directly in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Jesse Jackson appeared at the blockade on horseback. Celebrity appearances at the DAPL resistance always gave the sleepless days and nights of Native American ceremony, construction equipment lockdowns, and riot police deployments a surreal tinge. But as police violence escalated and the conflict land defenders had anticipated for months loomed, the appearance of the civil rights icon and 1980s presidential candidate riding toward the burning barricades on North Dakota State Highway 1806 pushed the confrontation into the territory of a dream.

Now Governor Jack Dalrymple has ordered the eviction of the main encampment where thousands are resisting the pipeline—which is being constructed behind a fortress of razor wire fencing, floodlights, and armored vehicles—and is refusing to plow roads into the camp, refusing emergency services, and preventing delivery of supplies to water protectors. Police violence has already cost one woman her arm and potentially another vision in an eye and sent an elder into cardiac arrest, but now the state is simply trying to kill people.

This waking nightmare trajectory—events which simultaneously suspend one’s sense of reality and fill one with overwhelming dread—is of course paralleled in the ascendancy of a delusional fascist reality television star to the office of President and his subsequent appointment of a cadre of comic book villains to cabinet positions. In these moments of almost unbelievable human crisis and global change, in addition to political theory and movement history, one might look for guidance on how to respond in fictional narratives. As a friend recently said, “We are living in dystopian science fiction, and we better start acting like it.”

The following are a few thoughts on how to live up to that mandate. They begin with those narrowest in scope, pertaining directly to addressing the climate crisis and systemic ecological collapse, then move to inherent connections between movements attempting to do this and others addressing incarceration and repression, and finally into thoughts on general strategies against Trump’s assault on human dignity. What they have in common—the motivation for citing science fiction as a useful road map forward—is that they assume a situation that is so terrible it does not seem real engenders possibilities for liberatory action which otherwise would not be possible.


Trump and Climate

It is worth noting that Trump’s presidency is forcing mainstream media to acknowledge that current and prospective policies are ending life as we know it. What is so remarkable about this is that it was also true under Obama and would assuredly have remained so under Clinton, but because Clinton presented a facade of climate progress while acquiescing to the fossil fuel industry, her administration would have been characterized by NGOs, media, and other institutions placing a greater emphasis on federal policies and international climate accords which would have been weak or altogether immaterial. Because Trump flatly denies the reality of our burning world, these same entities must now join the rest of us in soberly contemplating how to address the crisis when mechanisms within traditional venues of institutional power clearly and unequivocally do not exist.

For instance, The Atlantic recently featured an article titled “The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump from Becoming President,” arguing that he represented an unprecedented danger, and citing the climate crisis as the first justification. Had Clinton or another Republican become president, an equally convincing article could have been written arguing that this same crisis required some other action as remarkable and radical as electoral college intervention in the election, but it would have been more likely to appear in the Earth First! Journal.

During the era of Tar Sands Blockade, the Washington Post editorial board decried the fight against the Keystone pipeline and argued that protesters should, instead of fighting infrastructure projects, direct their energies toward pushing for a federal carbon tax (a legislative impossibility then just like it is now). Now that the Post is appropriately terrified of the power structure, it creates the possibility they’ll stop arguing for imaginary solutions within it and be forced to listen more closely to those who have already taken matters into their own hands. This should be seen as an opportunity to normalize heretofore radical approaches to climate change.

Direct action which exerts influence on sub-national entities was already a central strategy for addressing the climate crisis. Federal intransigence on climate is such that most plausible scenarios for significant near-term emissions reductions involve states, counties, and municipalities—who have managed to convince themselves that meaningful climate action is the job of someone with more power, like the federal government and the United Nations—to find diverse and creative ways to dismantle their fair share of the fossil fuel economy. There are many with non-federal institutional power who do truly understand the gravity of the climate crisis and do understand that no one is coming to save them, but the political steps necessary are so extraordinary and difficult that strategic direct action will be necessary to compel action.

The fact that those with the most power in the United States—those who share Trump’s poor grasp on reality and those who understand climate alike—are allowing the planet to die is a scathing indictment of the political system, but it ultimately might not be bad for global ecology. A significant federal or international climate strategy would have diminished prospects for alternate approaches at lesser scales of power. Such a strategy would have almost inevitably been market and technology driven and would have failed to achieve necessary emissions reductions. A heterogeneous patchwork of approaches at multiple scales of power is actually a far more plausible scenario for addressing climate, as it allows real world observation of the effects of multiple strategies. It also creates more opportunities to realistically advocate for conceptually distinct approaches from those utterable in the halls of federal power, like addressing fossil fuel extraction as well as consumption.

Now that we’ve descended into overt dystopian nightmare, cities, counties and states that have had trouble grasping it is their job to deny a permit for a coal export terminal or a natural gas facility on the basis of climate have no more hypothetical future federal strategies to defer to. This is an opportunity.

Infrastructure battles will remain critical. It is not altogether clear to what extent Trump will actually find ways to massively increase fossil fuel extraction through the elimination of federal regulation without the construction of considerable new infrastructure. Lack of infrastructure is already the primary constraint on extraction for many fossil fuel reserves. For instance, federal auctions of Powder River Basin coal were already receiving no bids before Obama’s moratorium on new federal lands coal leases, because the domestic market is at capacity, as are marine export terminals. More terminals need to be constructed for federal coal extraction to substantially increase. Infrastructure capacity also was the primary constraint on Bakken oil production in the Midwest before the price of oil declined.

The vast reserves of fossil fuels Trump wants to open up to corporations were in many cases already open to corporations, and the infrastructure necessary to expand extraction wasn’t constrained by federal regulation so much as local campaigns which have been killing infrastructure projects through state, county, and municipal mechanisms (with a few federal interventions thrown in). Obama made numerous policies that diminished federal barriers to the rapid construction of new pipelines and fossil fuel rail and marine terminals. In this area, Trump may have to look harder than he thinks for cumbersome regulations to undo.

The importance of campaigns against infrastructure will continue, but it will be different under Trump in that direct action has always been central to these campaigns, and the consequences for doing direct action are likely to increase.


Climate Direct Action, Mass Incarceration, and Mass Deportation

In order to intervene in the climate crisis, we must do direct action which guarantees we will experience state repression. This is true with or without a xenophobic bag of tanning lotion in the White House. Arguably the moment of most decisive confrontation with fossil fuel hegemony in the US from climate-specific direct action to date came when the #ShutItDown activists turned the valves of all five tar sands pipelines entering the United States from Canada, stopping the flow of oil. The action shut down 15% of America’s domestic oil supply, affected the market, and spread fear among investors. It also resulted in activists facing potential prison sentences of many decades.

In order to shift our current climate trajectory, we must engage in direct action which is deeply disruptive and which makes the climate crisis not just understood by those in power but felt. #ShutItDown illustrates that in order to do this, we must take action which pits us directly against the massive apparatus of surveillance, incarceration, and militarized policing that the United States has developed. We must attempt to cope with alarming tendencies to criminalize dissent in general and label activism terrorism.

The struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline of course also illustrates that the fight against the fossil fuel industry is inherently a fight against the apparatus of repression. Strategies against this industry are impossible to contemplate without simultaneously contemplating strategies for resisting, and maximizing the political benefit of, the state’s response. This should be seen as simply another dimension of the work—like having a media contact list and meetings—without which it cannot proceed.

The #ShutItDown activists facing criminal charges are attempting to argue the necessity defense in court—that their illegal actions were necessary to prevent the greater harm of climate catastrophe. In other words, these activists both took the kind of disruptive action that creates real crisis for the system and also anticipated the response of the legal system as an intrinsic part of their political approach. The necessity defense is only one such framework, but it seems imperative that something of this nature be integrated into many of our actions.

The fact that we must face repression and the fact that people are subject to mass incarceration and deportation creates a logical nexus for connecting climate action with other struggles. This is not to say that the conflicts with the legal system are identical in each case, but let us look to Standing Rock to see that there is a valid cohesion. Direct action drove Dakota Access Pipeline construction from the Missouri River for months and from a larger area west of the river for weeks. But ultimately, police and federal law enforcement deployed in enormous numbers, with heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, sound cannons, surveillance teams, and a penchant for brutality, and construction resumed in the area as a military endeavor.

The fact that a government needs the capacity to wage domestic warfare on its citizens (and the capacity to imprison them in mass) is a scathing indictment of that government, and in the United States it wasn’t always the case. The current state of the criminal justice system is the result of a series of policies that began under Nixon as a response both to the political unrest and the increase in urban violence of the 1960s, policies which had noteworthy escalations under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush. Policies motivated by social unrest tend to result in police forces with heavier weaponry and more of a large-scale tactical emphasis, whereas policies motivated by fear of crime tend to result in not only more heavily armed cops but also the construction of lots and lots of prisons. Ultimately, though, however much these conceptually distinct motivations may exist for the current police state, many of the mechanisms that actually create it—such as federal funding for police tactical units and transfers of military equipment to local police forces—make no clear distinctions.

Obama’s recent words and gestures concerning mass incarceration, and a handful of other moments of mainstream political discomfort with the extent of America’s prisons and police forces, indicate there are plausible near-term scenarios in which legitimate gains could be made. Of course, with the Trump ascendancy, in the very near-term prospects for diminishing the scope of the police state look horribly dire. But again (this being an ubiquitous theme of organizing in this new world we find ourselves in), we should use the fact that a good deal of the power structure is deeply alienated from Trump as an opportunity to normalize heretofore radical positions.

Time and again, fear of crime and social chaos has proven adequately politically potent that mainstream opposition to ever-increasing police and prisons has been both sparse and tepid. We should be making claims and taking action against the criminal justice system which centers the elementally simple truth that using as much force against people as the United States does, and locking as many people up, is fundamentally immoral.

Of course, Black Lives Matter is a nationwide mass movement already engaged in a powerful confrontation with state violence. Explicitly and meaningfully connecting climate work to the movement for black lives should somewhat increase that movement’s political impact (if for no other reason than an increase in numbers, as many mobilized on climate aren’t on black lives). Something on the order of the very publicly visible and consciously articulated alliance of labor and environmentalism that occurred around the era of the WTO seems necessary for climate defense, indigenous rights, and movements against police violence. In the case of climate defense and indigenous rights, a significant proportion of the battles are in fact the very same battles, and these movements share a need to dismantle the police state with the movement for black lives.


Direct Action and Institutional Power

Direct action can influence the behavior of political entities which are capable of significantly impeding Trump’s agenda. This is true in many respects. The fact that so much of the political establishment, even on the right, is adverse to Trump likely creates unique opportunities. A number of his pronouncements of policy—like rescinding NAFTA and opening up vast new reserves of federal fossil fuels—clearly were made without a good deal of thought about the actual mechanisms or logistical realities in question. Often, establishment aversion to Trump seems less based on morality than on an abhorrence for his disinterest in time honored protocols. This underscores the fact that institutional collaboration at all levels is necessary for any of this madman’s visions to become reality, and in a way that has perhaps never been true of a US president, it isn’t at all clear where he will and will not receive that collaboration.

The city of San Francisco issued a resolution in response to Trump’s election that is so beautiful it honestly might make you cry. Crucially, the resolution does not simply denounce Trump’s agenda, but makes clear the city will not participate in it. The whole thing truly is worth reading in its entirety, but a characteristic passage reads: “…no matter the threats made by President-elect Trump, San Francisco will remain a Sanctuary City. We will not turn our back on the men and women from other countries who help make this city great, and who represent over one third of our population.”

Institutional countermeasures such as this are absolutely necessary, on a very wide scale, to neutralize the threats that Trump poses. These are important both as actual impediments to evil acts and as a means of diminishing the political empowerment of the administration to pursue further evil. We should take very seriously the notion that moments of crisis are moments of opportunity and be willing to consider the possibility that some institutions of power may be willing to act with far more principle and courage than before. This doesn’t necessarily mean we should begin appealing to city councils and state legislatures at every conceivable turn—we can also influence institutional behavior without directly engaging it on its terms, or even acknowledging the institutions in question as valid. But it is worth thinking very seriously about how our actions interact with the motivations, values, and likely behaviors of those who, however crazy, aren’t quite as crazy as Trump.


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#NoDAPL Medic Bus & Tents

Help build winter shelter for the water protectors at Standing Rock!
We are retrofitting a bus and building some tents to send to folks on the frontlines in North Dakota.  Learn more about and donate to the cause.  If you are money poor but material or time-rich, consider donating materials and/or volunteer labor.  To donate, please contact: Mike at 503-515-5209 or Harlan at 971-227-0478
A list of materials needed include:
  • a whole bunch of 2x4s, in 8 foot and 10 foot lengths
  • about a dozen or so T posts
  • tent canvas 
  • two exterior doors
  • plywood (any thickness)
  • 200 lineal feet 2 X 3 lumber
  •  300 lineal feet 2 X 2 lumber
  • 160 lineal feet 1 X 2 strapping
  • 14 pieces 4’ X 8’ paneling (1/8” or ¼”)
  •  8 pieces 4’ X 8’ decking (3/4” or 5/8” T&G OSB or plywood)
  • 6 pieces un-grooved T-111 siding (1/2” or 5/8”)
  • 20 YD Carpet pad (pieces OK)
  • 20 YD Carpet (pieces OK)
  • 27 YD Vinyl flooring
  • 1 Gal. vinyl adhesive
  • 1 barn door style slider hardware kit
  • 1 direct vent propane wall heater (min 20,000 BTU)
  • 2 10 gallon propane tanks (current, useable)
  • 1 propane tank regulator  
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An reddish evening photo of an oil refinery.

The North Dakota Access Pipeline: Indigenous Resistance Is Stopping the Spread of Fossil Fuels

An reddish evening photo of an oil refinery.
Photo credit: Wikepidia

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.

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From the Dakota Pipeline Resistance

People against the Dakota Access pipeline chant in opposition last week at a site where a roadway was being constructed to begin the process of building the pipeline. Photo: Tom Stromme/AP

The Inyan wakankagapi otip-Sacred Stone Camp from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is partnering with the Oectc  Sakowin- Seven Council Fires, Indians and Cowboys and anyone who wants to stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. This pipeline would cross the Missouri River and Cannon Ball Rivers– the life lines to many tribes and non-natives. When this pipeline leaks, it will destroy the water and land.  Water is life. We are asking for financial support for water-food and blankets for the camp.  This is a prayer camp movement to save our sacred land and water. It has been entirely supported by the people and the campers. Wopila lila tanka– we are deeply grateful for you contributions thank you! 

In Spirit,

Sacred Stone Camp

Background on Dakota Resistance: 

We Are Protectors. The Guardian. 8/18/16

Support Grows. Indian Country Today. 8/15/16

Dakota Pipeline. Mother Jones.8/12/16

Video from Dakota Occupation. 8/11/16

Camp of the Sacred Stones. 8/10/16

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FERN Street Theatre Flashmob


Portland, OR — The fledgling Fossil Fuel Resistance Network (“FERN”) orchestrated a street theatre flash mob on Saturday to stand up to railway and oil corporations which continue to put our communities at risk of climate change and oil train explosions.

With more than 50 participants, those dressed in black fell to the ground and made gurgling noises as they spilled from the Tank of Doom. Those wearing red danced around them, waving scarves and shouting “Burn! Burn!”.  The performance was repeated several times as participants snaked through SE Portland’s industrial area– including one performance atop the railroad tracks near Water Avenue and SE Taylor St. Portland police responded with bullhorn threats of arrest until the group disbanded from the tracks, heading to the OMSI Science Center.

For obvious safety concerns, FERN representatives notified Union Pacific (UP) prior to the performance that the tracks would be blocked.

UP, which owns the tracks along the targeted corridor in SE Portland, resumed oil train traffic through the Columbia Gorge in June despite being found “solely responsible” for the June 8 derailment and explosion in Mosier, OR, and despite requests from Oregon and Washington state officials for a moratorium pending further investigation and public input.

Communities all along these blast zones are asking for protection from future disasters. FERN is an open and inclusive organizing body that is rising to meet this call.

Nice work, FERN! We’ll catch you at the next block party…

IMG_7579  IMG_7564  IMG_7580  IMG_7598 oil-train-flash-mob-16-705x470

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Vancouver Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal Adjudication– Monday, June 27

EFSEC’s [Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council] 1st Day of the Adjudication Process for the  Vancouver Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal:
Monday, June 27, 9:00am
Columbia Tech Center at Clark College

18700 SE Mill Plain Blvd. Vancouver, WA 98683

(This is not where the April 12th Hearing was held.)

From Vancouver’s Don Steinke:

“This will be the first day of a five-week process where legal teams from both sides present evidence and expert testimony is cross examined.   

We’d like signs outside quoting resolutions of concern or opposition from various cities and a full house inside on the first and last days in Vancouver, and one day in Olympia.

We don’t want to make the EFSEC staff feel like they are walking through a gauntlet as they arrive.  They view us in a positive manner.  

EFSEC’s trial-like hearing will begin and end in Vancouver, with different parties presenting detailed evidence about why the Council should approve or deny the project. Although the general public is not allowed to speak, our presence will help to convey the depth of opposition to the Tesoro Savage proposal in Vancouver.

On the first day of the hearing, let’s give EFSEC a warm welcome and rally outside the hearing.  The hearing room can hold roughly 100 members of the public – let’s make sure it’s packed!”


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