Residents in Massachusetts are in the midst of a rolling action to protest the construction of a fracked gas pipeline through their state. The high-pressure pipeline to be built by Kinder Morgan, a Houston-based energy company that is the fourth largest in North America, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. will run from Richmond in the West to Dracut, just North of Boston. The rolling march is being organized by No Fracked Gas in Mass. It began on July 6 with a kick-off rally in Richmond and will proceed from town to town along the path of the pipeline to end with another rally at the Statehouse on Wednesday, July 30. Below are photos and videos so far and more information about the pipeline. All are welcome to join the rolling action at any point along the way.
Vermont: A “knit-in” was broken up in South Burlington, on Wednesday, after five women who are unhappy with a Vermont Gas pipeline plan occupied the utility’s waiting room — and occupied themselves by knitting. One woman was bound off by police, taken away in what Vermont Public Radio says were five squad cars that responded to perhaps the most civil of all disobediences. The knitters insisted on speaking to Vermont Gas officials about their complaints over a pipeline expansion. They were told they needed an appointment; after the utility’s headquarters closed, they were warned that they were trespassing. Jane Palmer, a diminutive woman in a floral-print dress and a straw hat, was arrested about 30 minutes after the offices closed.
On Sunday, July 6th, the walk starts with a Kick-Off Celebration at Hilltop Orchards, Canaan Rd. (Rte. 295) in Richmond. Arrival time is 11-11:30, during which people can browse the Winery and Store and enjoy the expansive south-country view. From 11:30 – 1:00, there will be a buffet-style luncheon, with music and speakers from the anti-pipeline movement, Jane Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team and Jim Cutler of Hilltown Community Rights. The Kick-Off will be $12 per person, $5 for children, with proceeds going to area pipeline resistance organizations. Tickets can be purchased in advance at eventbrite.com or at the door at Hilltop Orchards. Participation in the Kick-Off Celebration is not required to join the walk.
The federal coal leasing program has many flaws, such as cheating taxpayers out of billions of dollars, increasing mining that damages nearby land and water resources, and subsidizing the coal mining industry’s efforts to boost exports. But the biggest problem is that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pays almost no attention whatsoever to the very obvious fact that when burned, coal will release carbon pollution and contribute to climate change. However, thanks to an important recent court ruling, the Bureau of Land Management may now have a tougher time denying its role in unlocking huge amounts of carbon pollution. A federal court last week blocked Arch Coal’s plans to expand a coal mine in Colorado, on the grounds that BLM failed to consider the impacts of climate change when it approved the mine expansion. “This decision means that these agencies can’t bury their heads in the sand when confronting the very real impacts of climate change,” said Ted Zukoski, an attorney with Earthjustice, which brought the case along with WildEarth Guardians, High Country Conservation Advocates, and the Sierra Club.
This group of intrepid climate activists needs your urgent help to lift up climate justice struggles in Latin America! https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/climate-caravan-through-latin-america Here’s a message from one of the organizers: “We’ve already toured from Northern Mexico to Panama, met and organized with communities, raised the call for climate justice on local radio and television, and made more than a dozen videos on the struggles and campaigns we’ve come in contact with. Currently we are in Panama, preparing the huge endeavor of shipping our tour-bus to Colombia, and making the connection from north to south a reality for communities fighting for climate justice in Latin America. We need your help to cover the cost of this part of our journey. This is the most expense and difficult expenditure that we have for the entire project. If we can make it across to South America, the Climate Caravan will be able to articulate with a whole continent of struggles and stories of communities that are on the front-lines of the climate crisis. Please consider making a donation to our cause in this crucial moment of this action-tour thru Latin America. We’ve already raised 3k but we need to urgently raise $2,000 more to cover the full cost shipping process and a bit more to get us to South America! Can you chip in to help us complete the tour?”
Monkton and Cornwall homeowners staged a “knit-in” at Vermont Gas Systems’ headquarters, occupying the main lobby and demanding the company stop trying to scare peaceful protestors and landowners with false allegations and eminent domain. Jane Palmer, Maren Vasatka and Claire Broughton, all of Monkton, and Mary Martin of Cornwall live in the path of the proposed fracked gas pipeline. They said they won’t leave until Vermont Gas publicly admits to illegally trespassing on land in Addison County, agrees to negotiate fairly with homeowners and stops trying to use scare tactics against peaceful protestors engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Vermont Gas offices.
The most memorable moment in the last throne speech came when a young woman walked into the centre of the plush red Senate chamber filled with dignitaries and elected officials and held up a handmade sign that read “Stop Harper.” Brigette DePape, who had worked as a page in the Senate for a year, was then quickly hauled away by the House of Commons’ sergeant-at-arms. “I remember I was terrified,” she said, recalling that moment on June 3, 2011, in an interview with CBC News from Vancouver last week. On Wednesday, Canadians will see the first throne speech since the one DePape tried to interrupt with her protest. CBC News will carry it live at 4:30 p.m. ET. DePape was one of 15 university students every year who suit up in a black uniform — with matching bow-tie — and serve as a Senate page, fetching coffee and documents at committee meetings and running messages between senators during Senate sittings. Two years ago DePape was finishing up university and unhappy with the result of the election one month before. She was nearly finished her year as a page, and decided to use the chance to express her opposition to Harper. DePape says she summoned the courage — many would say gall — by thinking about people affected by climate change, residential school experiences and job losses, all areas where she says the government is failing to do enough.
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.”
On a snowy weekend in January, activists for social, economic and environmental justice from across the United States gathered in a Chicago union hall to plan a Global Climate Convergence: ten days of action from Earth Day to May Day. Many of these activists had never focused on the climate crisis before, being mired instead in fighting battles that loomed more immediately in their lives. Who has the capacity to worry about climate change when your community is hungry, cold, without shelter, lacks health care or is being poisoned? During that weekend meeting, we transcended the barriers that typically lead to working in narrow silos and treading water while the oceans literally and figuratively continue to rise around us. We stepped outside of our particular areas of advocacy, connected our struggles, and forged a collective effort to take action together this spring and beyond. The rallying cry was that the time has arrived to join hands and change course.
Companies behind refining proposals are trying hard to avoid the mistakes Enbridge made on Northern Gateway pipeline—but an uphill fight awaits Despite last week’s approval from the Canadian government, uncertainty still dogs Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline largely because of a vow from key aboriginal communities to block it. Others in the oil industry are trying hard to avoid the mistakes Enbridge made when it comes to approaching Canada’s powerful First Nations about projects that could contaminate their lands and waterways. Pacific Future Energy Corp.’s recent refinery proposal is the latest example. Earlier this month, the company unveiled plans for a $10 billion refinery in British Columbia that would convert Alberta’s tar sands bitumen into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for export to Asia and other markets. Pacific Future Energy pledged to form a “full partnership” with affected First Nations, provide permanent jobs and build the “greenest refinery in the world.”
Maude Barlow received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto yesterday morning. Here are her speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony. Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students, It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day. In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or where you live, to give some of your precious life energy to the great environmental challenges that face us today. Every generation faces a unique political reality and set of concerns it needs to tackle together and yours is the multiple threats to the earth itself from over-exploitation, pollution and the growth imperative. From the diminishing life in the oceans, and the destruction of old growth forests, to the clear limits of a fossil fuel economy, our Mother Earth is suffering, as are countless millions around the world.
Welcome! My name is Joseph Boutilier and in April 2014, I will be embarking on a 5,000-kilometer, 5-month unicycle ride across Canada to promote unity for the climate. The trip will culminate in Ottawa after rallies, events and meetings in dozens of other communities along the route. I’m calling on the Canadian government to take rapid, strategic and collaborative action to tackle the climate change crisis, breaches to first nations treaties and inherent land rights and the muzzling of publicly-funded scientists. With the 2015 federal election just around the corner, time is running out for our MPs and political parties to make clear commitments to our environment and sustainability. I ask you to join me on the road, in your community, on Parliament Hill and online, to demonstrate to our political leaders that we will no longer stand for their casual neglect of our environment, our first nations and our climate. In 2015, we will not vote for parties who fail to address the biggest global issues of our times, and we will not accept partisan blame-games as an excuse for inaction. We must demand justice for first nations, a voice for our future and unity for the climate.
Reminiscent of what happened to the Maasai community in Narasha in 2013, Maasai pastoralists in Kedong, Akira and Suswa are glaring at massive evictions arising from a group of concessions awarded to several companies including Hyundai, Toshiba, Sinopec and African Geothermal International (AGIL) for the purposes of developing geothermal projects on the Maasai lands. According to the local communities–who claim ancestry to the land and have filed cases in Kenyan courts– African Geothermal International (AGIL) and Marine Power along with Akira I and Akira II1 have disregarded court injunctions instituted by the Maasai, proceeding to deploy their heavy machinery to their proposed project sites without due diligence or consultations with the local communities. The concession areas, which cover hundreds of thousands of acres, are home to thousands of Maasai pastoralists.
NOAM CHOMSKY, LINGUIST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It’s just exactly as Orwell said: it’s instilled into you. It’s part of a deep indoctrination system which leads to a certain way of looking at the world and looking at authority, which says, yes, we have to be subordinate to authority, we have to believe we’re very independent and free and proud of it. As long as we keep within the limits, we are. Try to go beyond those limits, you’re out. CHRIS HEDGES, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, what was fascinating about–I mean, the point, just to buttress this point: when you took the major issues of the Occupy movement, they were a majoritarian movement. When you look back on the Occupy movement, what do you think its failings were, its importance were?