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Twenty-One People Arrested Blockading Oil Train Route in Vancouver, WA

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!”

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LIUNA member Tim Norgren Locked Down to a barrel full of set cement on railroad tracks at Arc Logistics

Civil Disobedience Workshop June 16

Fossil Fuel Resistance poster.  Black oil running down over a picture of a beach with Fossil Fuel Resistance in white lettering. If you’re interested in being involved with the Fossil Fuel Resistance Action on June 18th, but don’t feel prepared to be a part of civil disobedience, this workshop is a great way to gain skills!

The workshop will be held in SE Portland. To RSVP and get more info call, email, or text
503-705-1943 goto350pdx@gmail.com. See this facebook page for more information. 

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Fossil Fuel Resistance Action — June 18th

rally picWhy: On Friday, June 3rd, a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil fracked from the Bakken  crude derailed and caught fire in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier, Oregon. The surrounding neighborhood, including an elementary school, was evacuated, oil spilled into the Columbia River, and the fire burned into the night.

On July 6th, 2013, an oil train derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, 47 dead. More than 30 buildings were destroyed, and 36 demolished due to contamination.

Rail incidents involving fossil fuel transportation jumped nearly sixteenfold between 2010 and 2014 [citation needed].

The time to resist fossil fuel transport and demand a just transition to sustainable energy sources is now.

What: Join the growing Fossil Fuel Resistance Network in a direct action against the exploitative and dangerous transportation of fossil fuels by rail! Check FFRN’s Action page here.

When: Saturday, June 18 at 9:00 AM PDT– All day...

Where: Meet up at Esther Short Park in Vancouver, near the gazebo

 350PDX and Portland Rising Tide are co-supporters of Fossil Fuel Resistance Network

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Union Pacific Apologizes for “Inconvenience” as Oil Drips Onto Tracks and Trains Resume after Explosion

poster_9b0f79ab408048b89e657a84dafa86cbMayor Arlene Burns reports that Union Pacific (UP) has resumed sending trains through Mosier while oil from derailed tankers continues to drip onto the tracks. Mosier’s aquifer– its entire water supply— was completely depleted as fire crews risked their lives and hosed down tankers to keep more than four from exploding.

OPB’s Conrad Wilson, reports that crews have recovered about 10,000 gallons of crude oil from the town’s sewage system. Another 32,000 gallons burned off or vaporized in the initial crash, was captured by booms in the Columbia, or soaked into the soil.

Oregon’s Governor, Senators, and several state reps have called on UP to stop sending oil through the Gorge until the toxic mess is cleaned up and the cause of the derailment has been determined.

So far, UP has refused to comply with this request but has apologized for any “inconvenience” caused by the explosion.

OPB reports that as of June 7, at least 10 trains have passed through Mosier since resuming after the explosion.  No crude oil trains are scheduled to pass through for the next week, but UP’s spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said that’s more a function of scheduling than any deliberate action taken by the railroad to avoid sending crude through Mosier. She said the railroad plans to resume normal operations “soon”.

Mosier’s Mayor Arlene Burns to Think Out Loud’s Dave Miller:

“I don’t think there’s any safe way to transport volatile materials by train….there are no fire departments anywhere along the corridor that are equipped to deal with a fire such as the one we had…In lieu of climate change, in lieu of the dangers that are posed to everyone, not just Mosier, and the risks that we take for the profit of a very few…it just doesn’t calculate out into anything that’s reasonable”.

“The rules for interstate commerce were made a long time ago, before anybody ever heard of Bakken Crude…so we need to revisit some of these laws”.

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Oil Trains Rapid Response Meeting — June 6, 2016

poster_9b0f79ab408048b89e657a84dafa86cbOn Friday, June 3rd, a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil fracked from the Bakken shale derailed and caught fire in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier, Oregon. The surrounding neighborhood, including an elementary school, was evacuated, oil spilled into the Columbia River, and the fire burned into the night.

More than 100 citizens rallied and marched in nearby Hood River, Oregon, on Saturday to call for a halt to the practice of shipping oil by rail. Emily Reed, the city council president in Mosier, and other public officials joined us.

At the same time, the fate of the Pacific Northwest’s largest proposed crude oil transfer facility, the Tesoro Savage terminal in Vancouver, Washington, is soon to be decided. Grassroots opposition to existing oil train traffic, and to the climate devastation of the region’s five oil refineries, is growing. Train tracks leading to the Shell and Tesoro refineries in Anacortes, Washington were blockaded in May, 2016 by over 150 people for 36 hours—the strongest, longest-lasting, largest train blockade in the region to date—and people all over are ready to escalate the frequency and intensity of these actions.

How can we respond to this derailment in a way that meets the moral imperative to act immediately but also reflects long-term strategic thinking? How can we address the dangers of exploding oil trains in way that furthers our broader efforts to stop regional fossil fuel threats and protect global climate? How can we force the political-economic establishment to respond to the magnitude of the crisis it is causing for people and the planet?

Please join us on Monday, June 6, 6:30 pm, at the First Unitarian Church (1211 SW Main St.  Room A-108) to discuss rapid response options to the Mosier oil train derailment, identifying the networks of corporate and governmental power responsible for it. We will map out the points of conflict, from the offices of decisionmakers to the train tracks, where we can push back against the oil industry’s devastating presence in our lives. We encompass a rich diversity of political approaches and there is a need for multiple actions. Therefore, we can both use this space to plan as large a response as possible and also, if we desire, to organize breakout groups for smaller actions.

 

 

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Community Derailment Response Continues in Hood River, June 4

poster_9b0f79ab408048b89e657a84dafa86cbEmergency response crews continue tonight to monitor the smoldering wreckage of a Bakken oil train which derailed and ignited today in Mosier, Oregon. Following the blast, the Stand Up To Oil campaign called for denial of all oil train project proposals and an immediate ban on all oil train traffic in Washington and Oregon. Portland Rising Tide emphatically supports this ban.

Stand Up to Oil writes in a June 3 press release, “The devastation in Mosier underscores the risk that each town and neighborhood along the rail line faces: Spokane, Portland, Tacoma, and so many more”.

“The oil industry has demonstrated that they’re incapable of handling the product safely.  We cannot continue to put our communities at risk by allowing these unsafe oil trains to travel unchecked through the Northwest.”

The community is gathering together in Hood River tomorrow in response to the oil train derailment and fire, likely accompanied by a Stand Up to Oil press conference.


Waterfall Park in Hood River
115 State St, Hood River, OR 97031

(near Big Horse Brewing)

Saturday, June 4, 12 noon

10:30 – 12:00 Sign Painting, Friends of the Columbia Gorge office, 205 Oak St. #17, Hood River

12:00 – 12:45 Rally, Overlook Memorial Park (2nd Street & State Street, downtown Hood River)

12:45 – 1:30 March through Hood River, across I-84 Bridge, down to the HR Waterfront Park

Check the Facebook event, please RSVP & invite folks/share

The traffic in the area is really terrible today but we hope that by tomorrow it will have calmed down.  Please dress appropriately for the very hot weather.

STAND UP TO OIL is a growing coalition of groups opposed to new oil terminals and an increase in oil transport through the Northwest, while working to improve safety measures for oil currently traveling through the region. Learn more at Standuptooil.org

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Breakfree Oil Refinery Blockade in Anacortes, WA, May 13 -15 — We’ll Be Back!

trip_annacortes_breakfree_05-14-16

May 15, 2016 — An estimated 1,500 activists from across the Northwest gathered at the site of two oil refineries in Washington state demanding action to combat climate change. The two-day blockade of the railroad tracks leading to the Shell and Tesaro refineries in Anacortes began on Friday.  Hundreds of activists indicated they are willing to risk arrest and engage in peaceful civil disobedience to push for a just transition toward a more sustainable economy. Fifty-two were arrested on Sunday morning. Similar future actions are inevitable.

“Washington state jobs and lives are already at risk, with all the crazy wildfires we’ve had, with the problem with the salmon runs and the oysters,” Break Free Pacific Northwest organizer Emily Johnston explained to Jillian Raftery of KIRO radio. “People are definitely waking up to the fact that (climate change) is a real and local issue.”

“Anacortes, like other refinery towns, is a place that is economically dependent on fossil fuel jobs. You know, a lot of those are good jobs – they’re union jobs, they’re family wage jobs. So nobody wants to see that kind of work go away and not be replaced by something – also not have it be a really rational and careful transition” .

“And those workers are all invited to participate in the weekend’s events, which will include workshops and discussions to educate anyone who wants to know more, and arm activists with information to be part of the climate fight” said Johnston.

2The actions in Anacortes are part of the growing global resistance calling on people to break free from dependence on oil, coal and gas. So far, Break Free events have busted out in Germany, Brazil, Ecuador, South Africa, and British Columbia, as well as New York and California.

A Lummi ceremony, community workshops,  kayaktivist workshops, floatillas,  and a three-mile march near Anacortes along the shores of Fidalgo Bay past the Tesoro and Shell refineries were among the events that continued through Sunday.

According to the Skagit Valley Herald, “Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was among those at the rally on Friday getting kayak training from Kurtis Dengler and Jade Summers of Mosquito Fleet, which formed after the ShellNo campaign in Seattle”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Phuong Le, Associated Press, 5/14/16:

In Washington state, organizers are targeting two refineries that are among the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. An environmental review is currently underway for a proposed oil-by-rail project at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery. Shell wants to build an unloading facility and a rail spur from existing tracks to handle about 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day delivered by train.

Many of the nearly 40 groups involved in organizing the Break Free Pacific Northwest event were also involved in large on-water kayak protests against Shell’s Arctic oil drilling rig when it parked at a Seattle port last year as it prepared to explore for oil in the Arctic.

Afrin Sopariwala, 30, a Seattle activist with Women of Color Speak Out, plans to participate this weekend.

“Looking at the conditions of the planet and my own family back home in India, and seeing how quickly and drastically the impacts of our decision are affecting the climate of the planet, I feel it’s my responsibility to future generations,” she said.

….

Ann Eissinger, a wildlife biologist who has studied (the bay’s herons) for years, said the timing was wrong but that organizers have done a stellar job of reaching out to police, media, participants and others to help minimize impact”.

“Our concern was on the ground, in the water and in the air. All three of those have been addressed, she said. ‘The only concern I have at this point is the unexpected.”

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Break Free – May 13th -15th, Anacortes, WA

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.

UPCOMING BREAK FREE EVENTS IN PORTLAND

MOBILE COMMUNITY SOLAR PANEL FUNDRAISER

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? 

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE WORKSHOPS

  • Personal Grounding
  • Possible Legal Consequences
  • Know Your Rights
  • Action  Roles and Tactics
  • Action Practice and Planning

Saturday, April 2, SE Portland, 10:00am-3:00pm
Saturday April 16, Downtown, 10:00am-3:00pm
Tuesday, April 26, SE Portland, 10:00am-3:00pm

LOCATION INFO & RSVP: email goto350pdx@gmail.com, text or call 503-705-1943

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Tim DeChristopher– Wielding the Power of Vulnerability, April 7

CDC_front_page_20162016 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

Tix: $5 – $20 sliding

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RESIST: Unist’ot’en Film Screening and Fundraiser

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!

RSVP on Facebook and help us spread the word by sharing!

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.

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