Archive for the 'Natural Gas' Category

Celebrate Earth Day with the 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resist

Dear Diary,

Today I went to Dundas Square, one of the busiest intersections in Toronto to join Rhytms of Resistance-Toronto,“a political samba-inspired band that plays for environmental and social justice.” The band was raising awareness about some of the tar sands pipelines that will threaten forests, waterways, fish habitat, and communities along and near the pipelines. What a way to spend Earth Day, eh?

ImageThey were also letting people know how to plug into the resistance against the pipelines! The band’s groupies, who I gladly joined, were letting people know about a rally happening at the Enbridge Annual General Meeting in Toronto on May 9th. I learned about the Yinka Dene Alliance, one of the leading groups of First Nations opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline, who will be in Toronto on May 8th and 9th to say “No” to the proposed pipeline.

Members of the YDA are traveling from BC to Toronto for the Enbridge AGM and they will be stopping in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg along the way. Once I am done writing this diary entry, I am going to invite all my friends in those cities. It is Earth Day after all—great excuse to spread the word on how to resist environmentally destructive projects.

I am so glad that so many people are piping up (pun intended) about these pipelines. These pipelines would contaminate water, fish sources, and human health. Communities would be put at risk for the profit of a few greedy oil and gas corporations. Diary, that just isn’t fair!

I mentioned the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which would bring dirty tar sands to the west coast of British Columbia for export; but I still haven’t mentioned the tankers that would come to collect that oil. They would have to travel through ecologically sensitive areas and through waters which are known to be rough because of the high winds and waves. Do we really want to repeat some of the horrible oil spills which have destroyed fishing communities and continue to impact human health and livelihoods? This sounds just too risky!

There is also another pipeline which would bring liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Kitimat as well: the Pacific Trails Pipeline. This LNG would be primarily from shale gas development in northeastern BC. This type of gas development involves injecting water and unidentified chemicals into underground shale rock formations at very high pressures in order to extract natural gas below the surface. This process uses up tons of water, while also contaminating groundwater and local drinking water.

But those aren’t the only pipelines blazing through British Columbia. Kinder Morgan is trying to increase the amount of tar sands crude that would be transported through the Trans Mountain Pipeline, a pipeline which brings tar sands to southwestern BC.  There has been local opposition to the pipeline expansion which would require twinning the pipeline and putting communities at significant risk.

Looking east, there is the Trailbreaker project which would bring tar sands across the Prairies, Great Lakes, Ontario, Quebec, and finally to the coast of Maine, USA. The pipeline has faced growing opposition from communities across the route. And rightfully so. In 2010, an Enbridge pipeline leak put over a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River which flows into the Great Lakes. Enbridge may be okay with polluting the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet, but I won’t sit by and just watch it happen.

And I am not the only one!

This Earth Day, there were over 10 communities that took action specifically against pipelines, tankers, and tar sands expansion. In Montreal, Quebec there was a march so huge that “more than two hours after it began, a large crowd was still waiting to begin at the starting point.” Right on!

Diary, I am so inspired that I am going to explore more ways to take collective action against environmentally destructive operations.

Happy Earth Day, -maryam

Natural Gas and Oil Frontlines: First Nations Lead the Way

This post originally appeared on the blog of the Population and Development Program, based in Amherst, MA, which works at the intersection of reproductive freedom, environmental justice and peace.

American environmentalists are declaring victory over the announcement that the United States will research alternate routes for the Keystone XL pipeline.  While Obama’s announcement was an encouraging gesture, U.S.-based activists are in danger of missing the forest for the trees.  We must look north, the source of tar sands oil, where First Nations people in Canada are directly confronting the accelerating fossil fuel expansion on their land, as we plan the next steps in our movement.

Indigenous Assembly Against Mining & Pipelines, November 2011

The Keystone XL pipeline is just one in a massive network of pipelines branching out from the oil fields of Alberta, illustrated by this map.  The trade magazine Pipelines International reports on this extensive infrastructure of, as they call them, “energy lifelines.”  While the tar sands (or oil sands) have received international attention since the protests against Keystone XL lit off this summer, pipeline expansion is occurring on many fronts in Canada: tar sands oil, conventional oil and natural gas which is being pumped out of Canadian soil. American activists have shown their mettle in facing down the importation of tar sands oil into the U.S., but where do they stand on the dozens of other pipelines that make up this spiderweb?

Traditional environmental leaders, Indigenous environmentalists and youth came together in unprecedented ways during the Keystone fight; now we must move forward with our eyes on the frontline. The untold story of fossil fuel expansion in Canada is its toll on Indigenous communities, or First Nations.  First Nations in Canada in active resistance show paths forward, as fossil fuel companies only intensify their development efforts.
On the same weekend that 12,000 protesters encircled the White House, the 2nd Indigenous Assembly on Pipelines and Mining took place in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories The Indigenous Assembly over the weekend of November 5th, issued this call to action:

Indigenous communities from across the province are gathering in Vancouver Unceded Coast Salish Territories to oppose this conference and those corporations who profit off the destruction of the land. No mining, no pipelines, no resource extraction on unceded native lands! Defend the people, protect the land!

The Assembly hosted No Mining on Native Land!, a march through downtown Vancouver on November 6th. The pipelines, notably the Enbridge oil pipeline and the Kimimat Summit Lake gas pipeline (or Pacific Trails), endanger the lands of Indigenous people who are dependent on trapping and hunting for survival.

Tribe members block PTP from entering unceded land.

The Pacific Trails pipeline would lead to a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) port at Bish Cove, an ecologically pristine beach, on the Western cost. The Enbridge and Pacific Trails pipelines would run alongside each other near the Morice River.  The proximity of gas and oil pipelines to each other is particularly dangerous, though the companies have made no statement on this risk.  Many tribal councils and governments have approved one or both pipelines, in large part due to promises of jobs, but among Indigenous residents on the land, resistance is fierce.

The same week, Likhts’amisyu and Unist’ot’en clans of the Wet’swet’en nation confronted officials from Pacific Trails pipeline (PTP), who were attempting to illegally enter their territory to move drilling equipment.  This nation is one of many in Canada on land unceded to the Canadian government.  The nation owns the land and PTP was not authorized to enter.   Tribe members blockaded the access road, and formed an encampment until the company removed all equipment and vehicles several days later.

The Unist’hot’en clan has also built a cabin on Wet’suwet’en territory in the path of the Enbridge pipeline, PTP and one other pipeline, to prevent construction.  They intend to defend the cabin and halt illegal construction on their land.  Mel Bazil of the Lhe Lin Liyin (The Guardians), which support the Unist’hot’en Wet’suwet’en writes,

A delay could benefit their [Transcanada and other companies’] plans to assist in what we consider the systemic scope of the Tar Sands expansion activity. Tar sands may require offsets to operate, and proposed pipelines that acquire tenure through band chiefs and councils, and through treaty agencies … could make deals without the input or involvement of grassroots and indigenous peoples, who experience the environmental damage and pollution.

American activists must link to the struggle of First Nations people resisting Enbridge, PTP and other pipelines.  The Keystone XL pipeline, once considered a no-brainer for approval by industry and legislators, now stands in limbo.  That is a success for American activists.   However, fossil fuels are an international industry, and NAFTA and other treaties have deeply linked the American and Canadian economies.  The frontlines of fossil fuel in the U.S. are inherently connected to the struggle unfolding in Canada as part of a global supply chain.

As collaboration between major environmental NGOs and Indigenous environmental leaders deepens and expands, we must not allow Washington insiders to define the terms of victory.  There is no victory until Indigenous communities, and all frontline communities, are safe from the indignities of fossil fuels.

Read Martha’s previous coverage of Tar Sands oil extraction, activism to stop the Keystone pipeline, and Indigenous organizing in the US and Canada in Resisting the Tar Sands: Bridging Communities & Struggles, published in October, 2011.

Tim DeChristopher, Fracking, and Protecting Public Lands

Cross Posted from Public Citizen’s Energy Blog by: Scott McDonald, Public Citizen Summer Intern

The Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley face the possibility of serious environmental degradation and water pollution if the hydraulic fracturing moratorium is lifted in New York State. For many who grew up in this area or who currently call it home, this is an appalling and unacceptable possibility. Many people would go to great lengths to protect this pristine piece of land – but exactly how far would you go?

What if you could halt the sale of public lands in the Catskills – land used for hiking, camping, fishing and so much more – to oil and gas companies that plan to build roads and bring in enormous amounts of equipment and trucks to develop the land for drilling?

What if the sale were being rushed through on behalf of the oil and gas industry in an illegal way?

What if you could save 22,000 acres of the land you love?

What if doing so were illegal, and carried a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of $750,000 in fines?

It is likely that when considering this hypothetical situation you answered “yes” to each question, until the last one. Your righteous and daring mood probably gave way, as you thought there could be a better way to approach the situation, or that at least you still have a decent job in a tough economy, or that you do not want to risk losing your freedom and being away from your family or kids.

These are all valid considerations.

What if someone else was willing to do this on behalf of the community? Would you defend his actions, or would silently let him be made an example of by overzealous prosecution by the government? Continue reading ‘Tim DeChristopher, Fracking, and Protecting Public Lands’

Protecting Oregon from a New Palomar Pipeline

This morning a group of climate activists in Portland, Oregon gathered at the base of one of the city’s busiest bridges, to urge morning commuters to help put the final nail in the coffin of the Palomar natural gas pipeline.  The pipeline’s main backer, NW Natural Gas, is holding its annual shareholder meeting this afternoon.  This presents a great opportunity to call the company out on its support for a piece of fossil fuel infrastructure that would carve through stands of old growth in Mt Hood National Forest, cut across salmon-bearing streams, and add to the region’s dependence on fossil fuels.  As one of our banners proudly proclaimed, NW Natural must learn that Oregonians won’t let the Palomar project move forward – not now, and not ever.

You can help stop the Palomar Pipeline by sending a message to NW Natural’s board of directors right now.

Earlier this spring, climate activists in Oregon celebrated NW Natural Gas’ withdrawal of its original application to build the Palomar Pipeline.  This was and remains a major victory for our movement, but NW Natural is already plotting to bring back a scaled-down version of the pipeline.  Palomar was originally supposed to bring imported LNG (liquefied natural gas) to the western half of the US, by connecting a proposed LNG terminal on the Columbia River to existing gas pipelines.  Now the terminal associated with Palomar is dead, and NW Natural seems to have given up the western half of their project.  But the company is discussing submitting a new application for a shorter Palomar Pipeline as early as next year. Continue reading ‘Protecting Oregon from a New Palomar Pipeline’

The Spring edition of Rising Tide’s newsletter, Burning Issues, is out!

Burning Issues - Spring 2011

The Spring Edition of RTNA’s newsletter, Burning Issues, is out!  Click the image above, or HERE to download.  This season’s pieces include:

  • direct action halting of heavy-haulers carrying tar-sands equipment shipments through Montana
  • updates on Tim DeCristopher, his trial, and the next phase of resistance
  • the resistance’s Nuclear Reaction- false dichotomies of energy, false solutions of nuclear, and where to go from there
  • Kentuckians occupying their governor’s offices to demand the abolition of MTR4-20 Day of Action Against Extraction!
  • shutdowns of the National Coal Council’s meeting in St. Louis
  • Canadian resistance to the tar sands, including a takeover of trade ministerial office
  • Olympia RT’s kickass campaign to stop a biomass power at Evergreen State College
  • the March on Blair Mountain, and reports from the Coalfields
  • a one-year lookback at the Gulf, from disaster to resumption of drilling
  • and much more– take a look!

Grassroots Power Defeats Dirty Gas Pipeline in Oregon

Amidst discouraging news that the Obama administration is expanding coal mining and investing in dangerous nuclear policies, I’m glad to report on an important victory against dirty energy in the Pacific Northwest.  Yesterday NW Natural Gas and other companies withdrew their permit application for the Palomar liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project.  One of three proposed LNG pipelines in Oregon, Palomar would have transformed the Northwest into a gateway for a high-carbon fossil fuel not currently imported anywhere on the US west coast.  The defeat of Palomar marks the end of a years-long grassroots battle.

LNG is a fossil fuel with a carbon footprint much greater than ordinary natural gas, imported from regions of the world like the Middle East, Russia, and Peru.  LNG companies are trying to make inroads in Oregon, but grassroots activists have held them back so far.  Almost a year ago the Palomar pipeline application was indefinitely suspended – this happened shortly after the Bradwood LNG import terminal (which Palomar was supposed to connect to) was cancelled.  Now energy companies have officially given up on Palomar.  Should they try to resurrect the pipeline later, they would have to start from scratch and it would be treated as a completely new project.

There are still two proposals to build LNG infrastructure in Oregon: the Oregon LNG pipeline and terminal on the Columbia River, and the Jordan Cove project in southern Oregon.  But I believe the elimination of Palomar and the Bradwood terminal marks the beginning of the end for LNG.  Activists who have been fighting the Palomar pipeline for years can now channel their energy into defeating the remaining two LNG proposals and other fossil fuel projects.  Already both Oregon LNG and Jordan Cove LNG are years behind schedule and struggling to obtain permits they need to begin construction. Continue reading ‘Grassroots Power Defeats Dirty Gas Pipeline in Oregon’

Groups to mark Gulf Oil Spill anniversary with direct action against fossil fuel extraction

protest-boycott_1

For immediate release

March 21, 2011

Contact: Rae Breaux 818-271-0386

extraction@risingtidenorthamerica.org

www.extractionaction.net

Groups to mark Gulf Oil Spill anniversary with direct action against fossil fuel extraction.

On April 20th dozens of environmental, climate, and social justice groups will target government and corporate operations with aggressive protests and civil disobedience in an International Day of Direct Action Against Extraction being organized by Rising Tide North America. The protests will commemorate the 1 year anniversary of BP’s Gulf Oil Disaster by demanding an end to the environmental destruction and climate destabilization created by fossil fuel and other extractive industries.

“The Gulf Oil Disaster was the worst manifestation of the disasters that are created by extractive industries on a daily basis.” Said, Rae Breaux of Rising Tide North America. “Communities around the world are terrorized by corporate and state ventures to extract fossil fuels. On top of poisoning our water and polluting our air, extractive industries are at the root of our climate crisis. If we have any hope of averting the worst affects of climate change we must leave fossil fuels in the ground.”

The day of action will feature protests by Gulf Coast residents fighting offshore drilling, Appalachians resisting mountaintop removal coal mining, Pennsylvania and New York residents opposing natural gas hydrofracking, Canadians fighting tar sands mining in Alberta, as well as other community groups engaged in fights against extractive industries. Protests are also planned for the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

The day of action also seeks to highlight the ruthless manner in which extractive industries treat workers and the communities they operate in. “These companies come into our communities to make millions off of our natural resources and leave behind nothing but poverty and deadly working conditions.  Said, Matt Wilkerson of Rising Tide North America. The 11 workers who died on BP’s oil rig and the 29 who perished in Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine were killed by the same thing; corporate greed. These deaths are not accidents. They are the direct result of these companies cutting corners in pursuit of profit.” Continue reading ‘Groups to mark Gulf Oil Spill anniversary with direct action against fossil fuel extraction’

Leave it in the ground! Day of Direct Action Against Extraction: April 20th

Take Action for the Earth and our Communities April 20.

1 year anniversary of the BP Oil Spill

Communities around the world are under attack from extractive industries that poison our families, kill our loved ones on the job, and destroy the ecosystems we cherish. The BP oil spill was unfortunately just one of an endless string of disasters born of an economic system that must endlessly consume the Earth’s  resources.

Extraction is the act of taking without giving anything back. Extraction takes workers lives so  corporations can make a few more bucks. Extraction takes clean water and air and gives us blackened oceans and a climate in chaos. Extraction takes the natural wealth of communities and ecosystems and leaves behind poverty and ecological wastelands.

For a stable climate, clean air and water, we must stop the extraction of fossil fuels and other “resources.”  From the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, people are fighting back against the extractiveindustries  that have declared war on our planet. Rising Tide is calling for a day of direct action against extraction on the 1 year anniversary of the BP oil spill.

On April 20th take it to the point of production.  Shut down a well site, occupy a mine, take over an office, blockade a bank. Nobody’s community should be a sacrifice  zone.

For climate justice and a livable planet,

Rising Tide North America

http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org/extraction Continue reading ‘Leave it in the ground! Day of Direct Action Against Extraction: April 20th’

Day of Direct Action Against Extraction: April 20, 1 year anniversary of the BP oil spill

ExtractionAction_poster

Communities around the world are under attack from extractive industries that poison our families, kill our loved ones on the job, and destroy the ecosystems we cherish. The BP oil spill was unfortunately just one of an endless string of disasters born of an economic system that must endlessly consume the Earth’s  resources.

Extraction is the act of taking without giving anything back. Extraction takes workers lives so  corporations can make a few more bucks. Extraction takes clean water and air and gives us blackened oceans and a climate in chaos. Extraction takes the natural wealth of communities and ecosystems and leaves behind poverty and ecological wastelands.

For a stable climate, clean air and water, we must stop the extraction of fossil fuels and other “resources.”  From the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, people are fighting back against the extractiveindustries  that have declared war on our planet. Rising Tide is calling for a day of direct action against extraction on the 1 year anniversary of the BP oil spill.

On April 20th take it to the point of production.  Shut down a well site, occupy a mine, take over an office, blockade a bank. Nobody’s community should be a sacrifice  zone.

For climate justice and a livable planet,

Rising Tide North America

[click for printable poster]

JOIN THE CHAIN REACTION

www.risingtidenorthamerica.org/extraction

New York State Bans most gas Fracking for 7 Months

Both houses of the New York State legislature recently passed a bill for a 6 month moratorium on methane (natural) gas fracking.  Citizen concerns about pollution, trampling of land rights, and a groundbreaking new film Gasland have fueled a massive grassroots backlash against companies like Haliburton diving headfirst into the gas rush.

Image via the Working Families Party

The fracking moratorium bill was vetoed, but Governor David Patterson issued an executive order in its place that does a more limited version of the same thing.  The bill would have banned all wells, but the executive order only bans ‘horizontal wells’ – the kind where a drill rig drills sideways to get gas below other people’s property (and drinking water).

The plus : most wells are horizontal, so the order has a big impact.  The minus: polluted groundwater flows, so it doesn’t really matter where its contaminated.  And the fact that the legislature could send such a clear message on a moratorium and that Patterson still felt the need to ‘bend to industry pressure’ is worrisome.

This issue is far from going away anywhere, and New York is likely to continue to be a central piece of the Haliburton/gas industry strategy to open up every bit of gas to extraction.  The EPA is also conducting a 2 year study (2010-2012) on the safety of gas fracking.  Residents of New York hope that Lisa Jackson spends more time in impacted communities listening to stories of residents and less time listening to the oil companies.


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