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Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

Endbridge – Why The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal And All Tar Sands Expansion From Alberta To The B.C. West Coast Will Be Stopped In Its Tracks By The Unity Of Indigenous Nations

If you have ever driven on most of the northern highways in northern Alberta you will be presented with a picture of a tame prairie terrain, with sprawling fields and farms holding cows and the occasional conventional oil pump jack. A few kilometers on any of the gravel access roads however and you will see a much more bleaker picture of out of control industrialization and poisoning of the land. This is unless of course you witness the tar sands machines of death on Highway 63 near Fort McMurray and Fort McKay, or the massive underground mining operations in the Peace River and Cold Lake regions disrupting and contaminating underground water. What most modern thinkers fail to understand is thousands years of history from the ancestors of Cree, Dene, Blackfoot, Nakoda and Metis people. Living nations of people who simply cannot afford the luxury of packing up and moving as settlers when there is no longer work. These lands are home to these nations and are not sacrifice zones. And like a deadly contagious all-consuming disease, what has been done to Alberta by the oil industry cannot be allowed to spread to other parts of the world killing indigenous ways of life and jeopardizing the future for all.

Enbridge, and the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands Gigaproject, is attempting to retrace the steps taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company with classic colonial strategy. The Hudson’s Bay Company was the first corporation on Turtle Island, here in North America. The Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading forts also became the first settler governments for the British Empire. In Alberta, the first settlement and colonial government in Alberta was in Fort Chipewyan, which would today is seen as the international poster community for a Cree, Dene and Metis community directly impacted by 40 years of out of control open pit tar sands mining. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline is renewing a pipeline proposal and expansions originally proposed nearly 10 years ago and is supported by the Stephen Harper Conservative Canadian Government.

Just one week after the largest oil pipeline spill in Alberta in 30 years in unceded Lubicon Cree Territory, a spill that took six days for the Alberta government to respond in a half-assed, indifferent manner, starting with faxing a one-page “fact sheet” update about the disaster, a large contingent from the Yinka Dene Alliance from the northwest interior of B.C. were arriving in Calgary to confront Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project and tanker traffic.

On May 11th, 2011, on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Calgary, Alberta, a historic solidarity statement of opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal was signed by leaders of the Blood Tribe, Alexander First Nation, Lubicon Lake Nation, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Sai’kuz First Nation, Nadleh Whuten, Takla Lake First Nation and the Nakazdli First Nation.

The day after the Enbridge AGM a rally was held in Prince Rupert, B.C. on May 12th, outside a meeting sponsored by Enbridge for the Northern BC Municipalities Convention. With a historic turn-out of over 500 Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of the island of Lach Kaien, known in the mainstream society as Prince Rupert, publicly and loudly demonstrating their opposition to the Enbridge Gateway Pipeline proposal as well as any tar sands tanker traffic that would support the industry of dirty crude oil and liquid condensate.

Lach Kaien, or Prince Rupert, is known to the Tsimshian as the “Cradle of Tsimshian Civilization,” according to a hereditary chief of the Gits’iis tribe, Sm’ooygit Nisyaganaat. The Prince Rupert Harbor contains the most dense archaelogical sites north of Mexico City and is the second deepest harbor in the world. Lach Kaien is surrounded by Tsimshian communities traditionally comprised of 11 Tsimshian villages, as well as neighboring nations from the Haida, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Gitksan, Nisga’a, Tahltan, and Tlingit. To this day the indigenous population of the town of Prince Rupert is still between 40-50%, with all industries heavily dependent upon the commerce, labor and resources of Indigenous coastal nations.

A few coastal communities however have not yet made a clear position on whether or not to support the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project and any western tar sands crude oil expansion. These include among the largest of coastal communities of Lach hlgu K’alaams (Lax Kw’Alaams) or Port Simpson, and Gitkxaahla (Kitkatla), where the still active traditional laws and feasting systems of hereditary chiefs is still strong and holds much influence over the non-surrendered tribal territories in the region of Prince Rupert, Hecate Strait, and the Skeena and Nass Rivers.

These are nations still waiting to awaken to take their place and decide for themselves what is allowed into the lands and waters of nations that have lived and thrived on this edge of the world for thousands of years. To uphold the traditional laws and protocols of respect and responsibilities known as Ayaawk and Gugwiltx Yaans and not be steered by any settler government, environmental group, or any funding body with non-Indigenous agendas. Especially is true that Indigenous grassroots leaders are still fighting the oppression of the Indian Act system and the federal Canadian employees of many Band Councils maintaining the silencing of traditional hereditary leadership systems through which the sole jurisdiction of all territories flows through.

Indigenous lands and waters are to be spoken for and by Indigenous minds and communities. Enbridge Northern Gateway, and all tar sands pipelines and expansions such as the Kinder Morgan TMX Northern Leg Extension, the Pembina Pipeline, the PNG KSL Pipeline, the Kitimat and Prince Rupert Liquid Natural Gas Terminals, and the Prince Rupert “New World” Container Ports are just a few of the many modern obstacles in the path of standing up the original structures and ways of life with which to free Indigenous nations on this edge of the world.

Links to the rally and demonstration held in Lach Kaien and declarations of war against Enbridge -

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/enbridge-pipeline-faces-prospect-civil-disobedience-500-strong-crowd-rallies-outside-1514236.htm

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/121784899.html

http://www.muskegnews.com/protest-enbridge0512

http://wcel.org/media-centre/media-releases/coastal-first-nations-tanker-ban-creates-new-legal-risks-and-uncertainty

http://savethefraser.ca/

Statement of Solidarity of Indigenous Nations opposed to Enbridge Northern Gateway -

May 10th, 2011 – Calgary, Alberta, territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy

WE THE UNDERSIGNED INDIGENOUS NATIONS STATE IN SOLIDARITY:
Our Nations are bound together by the water which is our lifeblood. We have protected our lands and waters since time immemorial, each according to our laws and traditions. The waters of Indigenous peoples throughout the lands known as western Canada are being threatened by fossil fuel exploitation and transportation.

We exercise our rights to sustain our cultural and economic well-being. The laws of each of our peoples are deeply embedded in our cultures and practices. These laws have never been extinguished and our authority continues in our lands. Our peoples continue to live by them today.

We have come together on May 10, 2011 in the city of Calgary, Alberta, in the traditional territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy, to declare to the governments of Alberta, British Columbia, as well as Enbridge Inc., all of its subsidiary bodies, and the domestic and international financial institutions supporting Enbridge, THE FOLLOWING:

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tankers project will expose Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities from the Pacific Coast across to Alberta to the risk of pipeline and supertanker oil spills, just as we have seen recently with Enbridge’s massive spill in Michigan, the recent devastating spill in Lubicon Cree territory, the recent TransCanada pipeline spill in North Dakota, as well as the effects of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster. Tar sands bitumen has been demonstrated to corrode pipelines more rapidly than conventional oil, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic spills. Given the seismic volatility of the region, the recent earthquake in Japan also underlies our grave concerns about the risk of oil spills.

The urgency of global climate change, and the fact that Indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by climate change, also compels us to act.

We have witnessed the Coastal First Nations Declaration banning crude oil tankers on the Pacific North Coast, and the Save the Fraser Declaration banning crude oil transportation through the Fraser River watershed. Each of these Declarations is based in Indigenous law and is an expression of Indigenous decision-making authority.

Enbridge states that it intends to proceed with its Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers, with or without First Nations consent. A decision by Canada to approve this project, without the free, prior and informed consent of affected Nations, will be a violation of our Treaties, our rights, and our laws, and will be in breach of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international accords.

THEREFORE we stand in solidarity with the Coastal First Nations, and the Nations who have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration, and are united in stating that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and tanker project, as well as other fossil fuel development projects including Keystone XL, must not proceed without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of all affected First Nations.

AND FURTHER if such consent is not obtained, no construction of such projects shall proceed.

SIGNED in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy, at the city of Calgary, May 10 2011

Sai’kuz First Nation

Nadleh Whut’en

Takla Lake First Nation

Nakazdli First Nation

Blood Tribe

Alexander First Nation

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation

Lubicon Lake Nation

Root Causes of the BP Oil Disaster

Recently here in the Bay Area, Mobilization for Climate Justice-West held a Teach In on the BP oil disaster, to prep for an upcoming action on the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Here’s an excerpt from Carla Perez from Movement Generation, talking about root causes:

Join Us in Cancun (Spring Break wear optional)

COP16 ApplicationApplications are now available for SustainUS’s Agents of Change delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, November 29-December 10.

Applicants must be 18-26 years old at the start of the negotiations, and must be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or have been studying or working in the United States for at least six months at the time of application.

Selected applicants will join a diverse delegation of youth, including those both familiar with and new to the youth climate movement; from across the United States and beyond; including young scientists and engineers, policy specialists, grassroots activists, media and communications specialists; students, young professionals, and community volunteers; and more. We have limited, need-based scholarship money for youth from climate change-impacted communities (requires separate application, see link below).

Full delegation details and application materials are available at http://www.sustainus.org/COP16

Applications are due by 5 p.m. EDT on June 4th to agents@sustainus.org

Please help to ensure that all eligible youth have the opportunity to apply by forwarding this announcement

The Climate Movement is Dead: Long Live the Climate Movement

Rising Tide North America is pleased to announce the release of our latest publication:

The Climate Movement is Dead:

Long Live the Climate Movement
cmidllcm-cover

In the aftermath of the COP15 talks in Copenhagen, the inability of the Big Greens, governments, and market approaches to find genuine and sustainable solutions to climate change is undeniable. As author Naomi Klein so aptly observed at the end of COP15 talks, “A particular model of dealing with climate change is dying.”

In the same uncompromising spirit as Rising Tide publications such as Deal or No Deal, and Hoodwinked in the Hothouse, CMID:LLCM delivers a timely critique of the failures of this “particular model” as exemplified by the mainstream NGOs who have grown all too cozy with corporations and the political establishment. It explores the ways in which “green” capitalism,electoral politics, and market mechanisms, far from solving the climate crisis, are some of the climate movement’s biggest obstacles.

Not content with mere polemic, CMID:LLCM charts a course that diverges from the dominant discourse of the mainstream climate movement. The essay lays out a strategy of supporting and escalating frontline struggles againstdirty energy while building a new global climate movement from the ground up, based around core principles of climate justice, grassroots power, solidarity, and direct action.

The Climate Movement Is Dead: Long Live the Climate Movement is a must-read for anyone left disenchanted by the mainstream climate movement, and all who are ready to step it up and fight for climate justice.

You can download a digital copy to view online or print yourself. Continue reading ‘The Climate Movement is Dead: Long Live the Climate Movement’

Greenpeace: Climate Legislation More Likely to Perpetuate Fossil Fuel Economy than Spur Swift Transition to Clean Energy

Originally at the Breakthrough Institute

Climate change legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and now under consideration in the Senate will “succeed in perpetuating business as usual and fail to avert catastrophic climate change,” according to a new Greenpeace report quietly released yesterday.

Titled “Business as Usual,” the report was prepared on behalf of Greenpeace by David Sassoon, who publishes the climate news site, SolveClimate. It is written as a “plain-spoken” analysis meant to be “a call to action to the President of the United States,” according to the document.

“In order for federal climate legislation worthy of this nation to pass Congress, we see no alternative to active and principled engagement from the Oval Office,” Greenpeace writes.

The report levels five key criticisms of current Congressional legislation, calling attention to what Greenpeace describes as “five points of maximum danger” that the environmental group argues must be addressed to ensure climate legislation is capable of spurring “a swift transition to a clean energy future.”

While we certainly don’t share Greenpeace’s position on all (most) climate matters, this new report levels a pointed and impassioned critique of current Congressional climate action well grounded in the details of the pending legislation. Here’s a ‘Cliffs notes’ version of the full report below the fold…
Continue reading ‘Greenpeace: Climate Legislation More Likely to Perpetuate Fossil Fuel Economy than Spur Swift Transition to Clean Energy’

Climate Movement, meet Global Capitalism. Global Capitalism, meet the Climate Movment: On the G20 and the fight for climate justice

By Rising Tide

“Oceans turn increasingly acidic, wiping out calcareous plankton and further hitting surviving coral reefs-much of the marine food chain endangered. One summer in every two has heat waves as strong as the 2003 disaster in Europe, when 30,000 died. Drought, fire and searing heat strikes the Mediterranean basin. Greenland tips into irreversible ice melt, accelerating sea-level rise and threatening coastal cities around the world. Hundreds of millions live in peril of the rising seas. Polar bears, walrus and other ice-dependent marine mammals extinct in the Arctic. Glaciers in Peru disappear, threatening the water supplies to Lima. Declining snowfields also threaten water supplies. A third of species worldwide face extinction as the climate changes-the worst mass extinction since the end of the dinosaurs.”

This rather rosy scenario painted by author Mark Lynas is the reality we can expect to inhabit if the planet heats another 3.6 F degrees. Doesn’t’ sound like much fun, does it? Well unfortunately for us, 3.6 F also happens to be the degree to which our benevolent leaders at the G8 decided is ok to allow our world to heat up.  Last month with much fanfare and backslapping the world’s 7 richest nations (plus Russia), who not coincidentally are responsible for the lion’s share of global emissions, set the bar for the collateral damage they are willing to accept in order to preserve their economic stranglehold on our planet.

On Sept 24 and 25th the G20, an outgrowth of the G8, will be meeting in Pittsburgh in an attempt to salvage this global economic order. The G20 includes all the G8 countries plus the next twelve largest economies and “emerging economies.” The G20 countries account for 80% of the world’s global gross national product. Many of the G8 leaders remarked at this year’s summit that it is becoming irrelevant, and that the G20 is where the real decisions will be made. Before this year’s G8 summit German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated, “I think the G20 should be the format that, like an overarching roof, makes decisions about the future.” While the G20 summit in Pittsburgh is largely focused on pumping some blood back into global capitalism, we cannot afford to overlook how the abstract world of global finance has very real world affects when it comes to climate and justice.

CLIMATE CHANGE THE BIGGEST LOSER OF G20 SUMMIT. That was what one headline read in the Guardian newspaper after this spring’s G20 summit in London. As part of the G20’s plan to revive the global economy, member nations have pledged over 1 trillion dollars. The question of course is where does this money go to? There’s not much info out there, but we know that car manufacturers, not exactly a low carbon industry, are getting a piece of the pie. In addition a good chunk of the money is earmarked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and assorted regional development banks, none of which have a very clean record when it comes to energy policies. From 1994 to 2003 the World Bank spent over $24.8 billion on fossil fuel projects. Meanwhile the IMF is well known for lending money to countries on the condition that they pay off the loans by upping resource extraction, including fossil fuels, and industrial scale logging. While the final communiqué from the London summit made vague references to sustainable development and green economies, there were no concrete commitments that the money was going to anything other than business as usual. Continue reading ‘Climate Movement, meet Global Capitalism. Global Capitalism, meet the Climate Movment: On the G20 and the fight for climate justice’

Climate Bill’s “Cap” on Emissions May Let U.S. Emissions Rise for Next Twenty Years

At the heart of the nearly thousand page long climate change and clean energy bill being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives this week is a “cap and trade” mechanism aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

However, a provision in the bill, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454 or “ACES”), allows polluting firms in the U.S. to finance emissions reductions overseas in lieu of reducing their own global warming pollution and may allow American emissions to continue to rise for up to twenty years, according to new analysis from the Breakthrough Institute.

The provision allows power plants, oil refiners, and other polluters regulated under the bill’s cap and trade program to use up to one billion tons of international emissions reductions, or “offsets,” to be used instead of reducing their own emissions each year. The bill also allows up to one billion tons of additional offsets each year, sourced from sectors of the U.S. economy that do not fall under the pollution cap, such as forestry and agriculture. If a suitable supply of domestic emissions offsets are unavailable, the limit on the use of international offsets may be raised to 1.5 billion tons annually at the discretion of the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The extensive use of these international and domestic offsets would effectively allow U.S. firms in capped sectors to continue emitting global warming pollution at levels well above the reductions supposedly driven by the emissions cap. New analysis from the Breakthrough Institute reveals that if fully utilized, the offset provisions in the ACES bill would allow continued business as usual growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions until 2030.
Continue reading ‘Climate Bill’s “Cap” on Emissions May Let U.S. Emissions Rise for Next Twenty Years’

ACES: More Than Just a Climate Bill

The first draft of the American Clean Energy and Energy Security Act of 2009 (ACES) was released yesterday (full text here, summary here).  Now, I haven’t had the time to read through the full 648 pages of the draft bill, but I’d like to draw your attention to a few crucial aspects of this bill.

First, it is more than just a climate bill.  This bill has four main parts: Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Reducing Global Warming Pollution, and Transitioning to a Clean Energy Economy.  If we can pass most of what is in the first two sections (with the carbon capture and sequestration not among that “most”), these policies will be massive steps in the right direction.  The most crucial step we can take to transition to a nationwide clean energy economy is the first one.  I don’t say that to be cliche, I honestly mean this.  These are great first steps, and many more will be needed. Continue reading ‘ACES: More Than Just a Climate Bill’

Climate Bill is All About the Coal Hard Cash

Yesterday, Congress began the debate that will determine our nation’s energy future. Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a mammoth 648-page bill designed to fundamentally change the way we make and use energy in this country. The “American Clean Energy and Security Act” may look complicated, but it’s really all about the cold hard cash. Or should I say, the coal hard cash.

The bill will establish a limited supply of permits allowing the release of greenhouse gas emissions by major polluters as part of an emissions reduction plan known as cap-and-trade. Those emissions permits are collectively worth tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars annually. That’s a lot of cash. And yet the bill is remarkably silent about where all that money will go.

Silent that is, except for on one front: coal.

With billions of dollars up for grabs, the coal industry went straight for a big stack of cash. With the help of allies in Congress, the coal sector has already snagged at least a billion dollars each year in new subsidies to support the development of technologies the industry promises will reduce emissions at coal-burning power plants.

That sweet deal for the coal industry is the only spending the bill specifies so far. And coal companies are likely to snag even more cash as the debate unfolds and deals are cut.

So where is the money for truly clean energy sources? There isn’t any. Yet.

This is only a discussion draft, I’ve repeatedly been reminded, and how to allocate the billions of dollars in value created by the emissions permits is still very much up for discussion (aka vigorous debate).

But the draft we see before us very much reflects the vision of the environmental groups leading the so-called U.S. Climate Action Partnership, including Environmental Defense and NRDC. And with these leading green groups setting the agenda, here’s what’s so telling: with billions of dollars sitting on the table, these well-known green groups leading the climate charge simply left it there — or worse yet, looked the other way while the coal industry grabbed their pile of cash.
Continue reading ‘Climate Bill is All About the Coal Hard Cash’

John McCain Stumps on Climate from Stumptown, Oregon

Presidential contender John McCain delivered a major speech today outlining his climate change policy from Portland, Oregon. Stumping from Stumptown (a Portland nickname harkening to it’s timber industry past), Senator McCain detailed his plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, calling climate change a “test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next.” The Republican presidential candidate called for a cap-and-trade system to reduce the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions by roughly 2/3rds by 2050.

“Whether we call it ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming,’ in the end we’re all left with the same set of facts,” McCain said, before an audience gathered at a Vestas wind-energy training facility in Portland. “The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple commonsense demand that we to act meet the challenge, and act quickly.” That they do, Senator McCain!

At the same time, McCain launched a new TV ad airing in Oregon and other states that presents McCain as the candidate ready to strike a reasonable balance in a debate where there’s “one extreme that thinks high taxes and crippling regulations are the solution” on the one hand and those who “deny the problem even exists” on the other hand.

McCain will no doubt get plenty of praise from the mainstream press for this “maverick” break from President Bush and some notorious Republicans like Senator James Inhofe (R-OK/Exxon). Considering how low his fellow Republicans have set the bar over the last eight years, McCain does deserve credit for talking about the climate challenge, proposing mandatory emissions reductions, and using the stump to highlight his policies.

The reality though, is that far from striking some reasonable middle ground in a partisan debate, John McCain’s new climate policy falls short of even the inadequate Lieberman-Warner bill being considered in the Senate in June.

More importantly, despite the fact that his campaign released principles for policy design today calling for “Scientifically-Sound, Mandatory Emission Reduction Targets And Timetables,” his climate policy falls far short the emissions reductions recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The IPCC calls for 25-40% reductions below 1990s by 2020 and 80-95% reductions below 1990 levels by 2050 in industrialized nations in order to have a decent shot at stabilizing the climate and avoiding runaway climate change with catastrophic results. The climate proposal outlined by McCain today calls for reductions of just 0% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 60% below 1990 levels by 2050.

In short, McCain deserves credit for some “straight talk” on climate change, but words only go so far, and his inadequate proposal still dooms to planet to the fire, flood and famine-type consequences on the worse end of the IPCC’s predictions.
Continue reading ‘John McCain Stumps on Climate from Stumptown, Oregon’


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