What’s Next for the Climate Movement?

(source: Organizing Cools the Planet by Hilary Moore and Joshua Kahn Russell http://organizingcoolstheplanet.wordpress.com/)

Those of us organizing in the environmental and climate change movements face a challenging, largely unpredictable future. In the past, the mainstream environmental groups have suffered the consequences of a lack of outreach to other movements. Especially over the past year or so, many green activists have come to this same conclusion and are working to remedy the situation.

On October 6th, 2011 author Naomi Klein gave a speech in Zuccotti Park to thousands of protesters whom had just returned from a march on Wall Street. While most of the speech dealt with the excesses of the financial system, Klein eloquently tied the burgeoning economic justice movement to issues such as the tar sands.

Today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

After you make the connection between the destruction of the planet, the excesses that led to trillions being handed to the large financial institutions, issues such as poverty, healthcare, and the corrupt use of state powers for profit, the question becomes how to deal with these issues together instead of separately. Where these issues intersect is where climate justice begins, with organizations like Rising Tide North America springing up across the globe to carry the climate justice banner. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://tarsandsblockade.org/whats-next-for-the-climate-movement/

Join Us in Texas to Stand Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

(SOURCE: texasgreenreport.wordpress.com)


This summer, members of Rising Tide North Texas will be converging with activists from across the continent to put a final stop to the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. Tar sands giant TransCanada is applying for the last of the permits it needs to begin construction of the Gulf Coast portion of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas that will have a catastrophic effect on the global environment and the communities living around it. TransCanada has used money to influence elected representatives and to intimidate land owners, rural communities, and threaten environmental health. Now, coalitions of environmentalists, ranchers, impacted communities, and students are standing up to fight back. The Tar Sands Blockade is calling on you to join us in non-violent direct action to STOP the zombie pipeline.

Tar sands hurt everyone. Leading NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen has called the Keystone XL “game over” for the climate, and real Americans are already feeling the heat. The pipeline will make TransCanada rich while encroaching on ranch land, poisoning Texas’ working class communities, and destroying the environment that makes the lone star state so beautiful. Even more outrageous, the tar sands are being piped for export– working Americans will pay the cost of environmental destruction, and never see the profits.

State and local authorities across the south can dampen the fuse on this carbon bomb, but it’s going to take a lot of people power to beat Big Oil’s dirty money. The state of Texas is handing out permits for the pipeline, while lives are at stake, so we can’t afford to leave this decision in their hands.

That’s why we’re calling on all communities affected by tar sands and the Keystone XL to join us and break Big Oil’s grip on our region. We’ll risk arrest in a sustained non-violent direct action and force them to recognize the demands of the people.

We don’t make the decision lightly.  The fact is, other tactics – like lobbying, petitioning, and packing public hearings – have failed to halt the pipeline.  State authorities have bent to every TransCanada desire, and they show no signs of stopping now.

The Tar Sands Action showed us what can happen when people come together. Big Oil might have the money to bully our government, but we know that real power is collective and comes from the people. Please join us this summer, as we re-claim our future from the oil industry.  You can sign up to make history here.

See you in Texas,

Tar Sands Blockade

Permanent link to this article: https://tarsandsblockade.org/join-us-in-texas-to-stand-against-the-keystone-xl-pipeline/

TransCanada’s Land Grab for Climate Changing Tar Sands

(SOURCE: netxconnect.blogspot.com)

When President Obama traveled south to Cushing, Okla. to issue a specific memorandum to federal agencies to fast-track the approval the Gulf Coast portion of the Keystone XL pipeline and to speak about his ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, it hit many landowners living along the pipeline route like a ton of bricks.

While the president rejected the permit for the cross-border northern half of the Keystone XL pipeline in the fall amid cheers from his environmental base, he has backtracked on that position considerably, now wholeheartedly endorsing the southern half of the pipeline which will run from Cushing to Port Arthur, Tex.

Landowners living along the pipeline’s path say they have been intimidated by TransCanada to sign away the rights to their land, and it’s not just landowners that will lose. The pipeline is expected to destroy indigenous archeological and historical sites—including grave sites—in Oklahoma and Texas.

Conservative and liberal Texans alike, from Tea Partiers to Republicans, Independents, Democrats and Occupiers all understand that this pipeline isn’t good for Texas. That’s why a collective of environmental activists are banding together in the spirit of non-violent direct action to stop the pipeline.

Eminent Domain Abuse

On April 30 TransCanada will take Julia Trigg Crawford to court for eminent domain. She has been fighting the company since 2008, trying to preserve the integrity of her 600-acre family farm and the historical indigenous artifacts in the area.

“You never know where [the artifacts] are going to be,” Crawford says. “So any kind of trenching or heavy digging could destroy things that you cannot put a dollar value on.”

Crawford has stood strong against the TransCanada, still refusing to sell her land despite an upcoming court date set for June 14. If she continues to hold fast, the company will have to formally condemn her land, seizing it through eminent domain power granted by the state.

TransCanada, as a private company, is able to do this because it applied for and received what is known as a common carrier status from the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency responsible for regulating oil and gas. Common carrier status is given to companies transporting goods or services for public use and carries with it the power of eminent domain under its regulatory body. When other companies can use a pipeline it is considered a common carrier pipeline in the state of Texas.

She is calling for TransCanada to prove its common carrier status as a public project because the Texas Railroad Commission’s application process for common carrier status does not require any validation. TransCanada simply filled out a government form for a permit, known as the T-4 form, and checked a box labeled ‘common carrier’.

Many landowners in Texas consider the fact that the Keystone XL will primarily be an export pipeline enough to prove that the project does not have the best interest of the general Texas public in mind. The pipeline will carry tar sands from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Port Arthur, Tex. to be sold on the global market to the highest bidder.

A recent Texas Supreme Court case, Texas Rice Land Partners v. Denbury Green Pipeline, backs up Crawford’s claim. The court ruled in favor of Texas landowners saying that the T-4 permit is not enough to show a pipeline is necessarily a common carrier, and therefore does not conclusively establish eminent domain power on behalf of private companies who are granted this status by the Texas Railroad Commission.

Although TransCanada has made it clear that the pipeline will be available ‘for hire’ to any company that wants to use it if they meet certain requirements.

The Texas Railroad Commission states that it has no regulatory authority to make sure private companies don’t abuse eminent domain power.

“[Oklahoma landowners] received threats and they were highly fearful of TransCanada and the way they did their business. Every case of the people I spoke with said they signed out of a position of fear,” said Oklahoma resident and indigenous environmental activist Rosemary Crawford with the Center for Energy Matters at an anti-pipeline rally during the president’s recent speech in Cushing, Okla.

Permanent link to this article: https://tarsandsblockade.org/transcanadas-land-grab-for-climate-changing-tar-sands/