The third day of the Stop Tar Sands Profiteers Week of Action continues strong with over 40 rallying at a Michels Construction office outside Seattle, an anti-fracking blockade in New York that resulted in twelve arrests, and a polluter bike tour in Portland, Oregon.
Monday, March 18 – Over 40 rally outside Michels Corporation in Kirkland, Washington
A group of 40 citizens, including representatives from Idle No More, gathered in front of a Michels office in Kirkland, WA to deliver an official letter demanding they stop building the Keystone XL pipeline. Chants and songs went on for an hour and at one point there was an open mic where a woman from the Oglala Lakota nation spoke about how she lost her husband to cancer living near the tar sands operations. Check out the great coverage in the local Kirkland Reporter.
See more stunning photos from Alex Garland Photography here.
And watch their video here!
Monday, March 18 – Twelve Arrested for Blockading Fracking Site in Upstate New York
Twelve protestors were arrested this morning after linking arms and blockading the entrance of an Inergy fracking facility in Watkins Glen, New York. Much like other forms of extreme energy extraction, fracking and tar sands are closely related because natural gas is required to pump diluted bitumen through pipelines like KXL and to refine tar sands.
Inergy is a Kansas City, MO based corporation whose natural gas and liquid petroleum gas storage facility would lock in natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region. Local residents have been working hard to ensure the DEC gives adequate attention to legitimate scientific and socioeconomic concerns about the Inergy natural gas facility. The community decided to take action today because the DEC’s current draft analysis of the environmental impacts is completely inadequate, ignoring the local health impacts from air pollution.
Blockaders sang songs and deployed a banner reading “Our Future is Unfractured, We Are Greater Than Dirty Inergy.” Among those arrested are: Sandra Steingraber Ph.D., biologist, author, and Trumansburg, NY resident, New York Green Umbrella organizer KC Alvey, and residents of Seneca Lake. Read more on their website Our Future Is Unfractured.
Check out the livestream video of the action:
Monday, March 18 – Bike Tour of Portland’s Worst Polluters To Highlight Local Climate Change Profiteers
Video of blockader Isabel Brooks speaking in front of TransCanada offices on the Portland Bike Tour. Isabel spent several weeks in jail after barricading themself inside a mile-long segment of the Keystone XL in Texas. You can read more about that action here.
For the full story of the Portland’s Worst Polluters Tour, with lots of great photos and video, read this article from Mismanaging Perception.
Here’s the press release organizers sent this morning:
This afternoon, Portlanders will take the streets by bike to tour some of Portland’s worst polluting companies and organizations in solidarity with the ongoing blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline. Many of these organizations cynically brand themselves as “green” and “sustainable” while contributing to pollution locally, nationally, and internationally.
In the past, the Portland’s Worst Polluters Tour has highlighted all manner of polluters and polluting activities from coal profiteers and energy monopolists to Superfund sites. This is a necessary activity since Portland has a stunningly high amount of pollution and is home to some of the nation’s worst polluters. Unbeknownst to most Portlanders (including a great many of its journalists), the City of Portland:
- has a Superfund site river running right through the middle of it (and a smattering of other Superfund sites around the city);
- experiences some of the worst air quality in the nation;
- is home to companies who are profiteering off of coal exports (Vigor Industrial, the Greenbrier Companies), the Tar Sands (ESCO Corporation), and fracking (ESCO subsidiary Ulterra), in addition to local law firms that represent these interests (Stoel Rives, Schwabe, Williamson, and Wyatt), public relations companies (Gard Communications) that obfuscate the facts, and local newspapers and museums that celebrate the plundering;
- is lobbying for the ridiculously expensive, unnecessary, unfunded, and antiquated Columbia River Crossing freeway expansion project that will increase sprawl and CO2 emissions while mainstream environmental organizations sit on the sidelines (and is home to a group of “progressive” and “environmentalist” legislators who almost unanimously voted for said sprawl and air pollution);
- is home to a university (Portland State) that preaches “sustainability” while celebrating and utilizing the services of climate profiteers.
Also unbeknownst to most Portlanders is the fact that Portland, and the Northwest generally, are set to become huge exporting sites for fossil fuels to satisfy growing energy demands across the Pacific. There’s a major problem with this: climate change and its probable impacts on human and environmental health.
With just the full realization of the proposed Tar Sands and Northwest Coal Exports projects (the top 2 proposed carbon projects in the United States by volume CO2), the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere would be more than enough to push us over what scientists think is the absolute threshold before we risk runaway climate change. This is serious and the silence of our local officials on this crisis is deafening. In addition, the notion that our local governments can do nothing to halt our local contributions to climate change is patently absurd. The jurisdictions of the Northwest occupy a crucial geopolitical location in the fight against climate change; cities, counties and states can call upon tools of self-governance and public health to protect people and posterity instead of short term corporate profits.
“It’s extremely hypocritical and downright dishonest for the City of Portland and local companies — like ESCO Corporation, the Greenbrier Companies, Vigor Industrial, Gard Communications, Stoel Rives, and David Evans and Associations — that profit directly from the fossil fuel economy to invoke words like ‘green economy’ or ‘sustainability’ to describe their activities” said Nicholas Caleb, an organizer and media contact for the event. “Similarly, while the City of Portland promotes its livable city image across the world, its representatives quietly lobby for the massive freeway expansion known as the Columbia River Crossing which is projected to increase fossil fuel emissions at that location by 32%. This is wrong.”
This event will begin Monday, March 18 at 2:00 PM at Holladay Park in NE Portland with a press conference and series of announcements. At 3:00 PM, the ride will commence and proceed to the physical locations of climate change profiteers in Portland so that participants can put names, faces, and locations to the environmental harms that sometimes seem abstract and distant. After the event, we’ll issue a second round of press releases including materials produced for the day of action.