Climate Justice Activists in Portland, OR Occupy Exhibit for Tar Sands Profiteer ESCO Corp.

Today our friends at Portland Rising Tide exposed ESCO Corp as a major tar sands profiteer. They occupied an exhibit celebrating the corporation’s 100 year history of building heavy equipment used in fossil fuel extraction. Below is their full press release about the action.

Visit a tar sands profiteer’s office near you and sign up for our Week of Action to Stop Tar Sands Profiteers, March 16-23.

Portland_ESCO History Action

This afternoon, February 17, dozens of concerned citizens expressed solidarity with climate protests around the country by occupying the Oregon History Society Museum’s ESCO exhibit: “ESCO Corporation.” Protesters used the space to share the real legacy that ESCO corp. is leaving on this planet and additionally took time to share individual hopes of the legacy they want to leave on this planet for future generations.

There couldn’t be more irony in OHS’s “celebrating 100 years of breaking new ground”. It must strongly be acknowledged that this point in history is marked by a radical degradation of the planet by human activity. Of the fundamental life sustaining boundaries on this planet we should not have crossed, we have already deeply disrupted climate change, biodiversity, and the nitrogen cycle in such profound ways that continued course in how we relate to the environment as a species threatens the world with the prospect of ecological collapse and mass extinction.

ESCO corp manufactures equipment and parts designed explicitly for resource extraction operations all over the world. Notably they supply extraction in the Alberta Tar sands and are in the process of strengthening their market share of coal mining equipment in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. Both of these projects are subject to much protest and resistance due to the very imminent danger they pose to this planet’s climate if fully exploited as intended by the fossil fuel industry. These projects singularly on their own have the capacity to push us into irreversible climate catastrophe.

These projects in their very nature have irreparably devastated the environments and communities that surround them and are poised to do the same to the rail and pipeline corridors being proposed to transport the fossil fuels extracted from them. ESCO corp’s transgressions though are hardly limited to these two projects. The ecological and social devastation visited by these projects are also found in the operations of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, hydraulic fracturing, and mining operations in the global south, such as Indonesia and Brazil, to which the contracts they supply have led to massive deforestation and violent dispossession of indigenous communities from their land.

The profitability and success of this company is wholly dependent on the existence of such resource extraction markets. Many of these markets existing on the ease of which the fossil fuel industry can snatch land from communities with the complicit aid of state governments and wreck ecosystems with impunity. Profiteering from the relatively low production costs of mass ecological destruction and state subsidized social dispossession is hardly worth celebrating.

Too often is history described by the voices of the powerful and with this exhibit it was all too glaring what was taking place. We recognize that the ESCO exhibit is part of a public relations campaign designed to increase ESCO’s financial capabilities in light of their attempt for public offering, and we strongly object to this campaign. We recognize the climate crisis as a collective responsibility and the movement for climate justice is one that takes ownership of this responsibility and our collective history.  History is a participatory process, not something designed by PR firms.


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