Annette Smith is executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, an organization she co-founded 15 years ago with Vermont citizens when a large energy project was proposed for her region. After successfully defeating that project, Annette has worked with Vermonters throughout the state to defeat large quarries, landfills, farms, and other large energy proposals while also improving Vermont’s groundwater protection laws. Derrick Jensen interviewed her for the May 18th airing of Resistance Radio.
Annette was favorable towards wind energy 10 years ago, but after investigating proposed development projects and comparing the rhetoric to the reality, Annette now organizes against these corporate projects and their overriding of community and environmental concerns. She details the negative impact of money-driven Vermont wind development on humans and nonhumans, from pollution of water supplies (second only to mountaintop coal mining in negative impacts), forest fragmentation, displacement of animals, and turning neighbors against each other.
Annette tries to address why so many well-meaning, good-hearted people have swallowed the propaganda that wind energy helps to address our climate change and other environmental problems, when in fact these projects don’t displace any extraction or burning of fossil fuels.
“Had enough of being a ‘good environmental liberal’ – trying to do the right thing while the world gets ever worse?” This question opens a recent article by an anonymous participant in Deep Green Resistance UK, published in The Ecologist. The author outlines the failed approach of traditional environmentalism, and how the Decisive Ecological Warfare strategy offers a realistic chance of halting the abuses perpetrated by civilization. He then briefly describes a direct action:
The best UK example of what we are advocating for is the 2008 solo action against Kingsnorth coal power station in Kent. Someone climbed two three-metre (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading “no new coal”.
This person walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence. Their actions halted power for four hours and illustrate the potential which direct action has to really make people sit up and notice. This action also shows the vulnerability of industrial infrastructure and what’s possible if someone is motivated enough.
Max Wilbert has been an activist for more than a decade, fighting against racism, economic injustice, and ecocide. He is currently a member of Deep Green Resistance Great Basin, and until recently served as a DGR staff member. Derrick Jensen interviewed him for the April 6th airing of Resistance Radio.
Max argues against the myth that solar panels and wind turbines are a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. He describes the harmful effects of producing units and operating them at an industrial scale, and advocates bringing down all industrial systems while learning to live within the limits of our landbases, utilizing traditional technologies to live beautiful lives.
The indigenous Wet’suwet’en are holding the fifth annual Unis’tot’en Action Camp to blockade the construction of the Canadian Northern Gateway pipelines, a cluster of pipelines meant to carry tar sands crude and natural gas from fracking operations. This blockade is a strategic way to fight against these extremely dangerous and destructive projects. The Unis’tot’en territory has never been ceded to Canada, so the Wet’suwet’en have both a legal standing and a deep commitment to defending their landbase. This is a battle that can be won by defenders of the land and climate change activists.
To learn more about the background of the blockade and about the Camp, visit the Unis’tot’en Camp website and watch the 2012 Deep Green Resistance West Coast Tour video below:
Resource extraction is killing families, tearing apart communities, and threatening our very existence on this planet.
It is corporations that are perpetrating this ecocide, with the help of local law enforcement acting as their private armies. They must be held accountable for the devastation they are committing.
Deep Green Resistance stands in solidarity with those who took accountability into their own hands on July 28th at the Hobet Mine in West Virginia. It makes our hearts sing to see people nonviolently reinforcing a line in the sand, defending the rights of communities to clean air and water as well as the rights of the majestic Appalachians to stand unmolested.
We hope that others follow the example of R.A.M.P.S. and the brave folks who shut down the Hobet Mine. Those seeking to destroy life for profit are feeling the pressure. As they ratchet up the repression, we must call in unison: “We shall not be moved!”
We stand with the twenty who were arrested; we stand with the countless others who were harassed and abused on the 28th; we stand with those on the front lines of devastating extraction all over the world; and we stand with the mountains whose very existences are threatened.
To the Hobet 20: Thank you. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten.
To the West Virginia State Troopers: Your violations have not gone unnoticed, and you will be brought to justice.
To the Barons of Industry: Your days are numbered.
Charleston, W.Va.—More than 50 protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign have walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine and shut it down. Ten people locked to a rock truck, boarded it and dropped banners: ”Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays.” At least three have been arrested, with another in a tree being threatened by miners with a chain saw. Earlier in the day, two people were arrested at Kanawha State Forest before a group of protesters headed to the state capitol.
“The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region,” Dustin Steele of Matewan, W.Va. said. Steele was one of the people locked to the rock truck.
Mounting scientific evidence shows that strip mining negatively impacts community health and miner health. Recent studies have found a 42 percent increase in risk of birth defects around strip mines, and miners who spend at least 20 years as strip-mine drillers have a 61 percent chance of contracting silicosis, a virulent form of black lung. “The coal companies are poisoning our water and air, and they’re treating the workers no better than the land – fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor as they can,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.
As coal production declines, protesters are concerned that the region will be left with only illness and environmental devastation as the industry pulls out of the region and companies file for bankruptcy to shed legacy costs.
Patriot Coal is currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which union contracts and pensions could be on the chopping block. Both UMWA pensions and the state’s Special Reclamation Fund are funded through a per-ton tax on coal. With Central Appalachian coal production in the middle of a projected six-year, 50 percent decline, this funding stream is increasingly unsustainable. Protesters are calling on the coal industry and government to ensure that funding is available both to honor commitments to retired workers and to restore the land.
“Coal companies must employ their surface mine workers in reclaiming all disturbed land to the highest standards. Instead of arguing about the ‘war on coal,’ political leaders should immediately allocate funds to retrain and re-employ laid off miners to secure a healthy future for the families of this region,” said R.A.M.P.S. spokesperson Mathew Louis-Rosenberg.
Appalachian communities, from union miners to the anti-strip mining activists of the 1960s, have a proud history of confronting the coal industry and demanding an end to its exploitive practices with direct civil disobedience. R.A.M.P.S. and other campaigns have returned to this tradition to eliminate strip mining once and for all. Since its founding in 2011, R.A.M.P.S. has organized a range of actions, from tree-sits to blockades of coal trucks.
Today’s protesters are among the hundreds of people across the country who are joining this summer’s National Uprising Against Extraction, using radical tactics to fight oppressive extractive industries and demand a transition to a sustainable economy.
Following the historic shutdown of the Hobet mine — Appalachia’s largest mountaintop removal site– Dustin and at least nineteen other Appalachians and allies are being held on $25,000 bail each — a combined $500,000.* Most are being charged with trespass and obstruction.
While we believe that these bail amounts are unconstitutionally excessive and may ultimately be reduced, we need to raise as much money as we possibly can to support those brave individuals who have put their bodies on the line to put a halt to the injustice of mountaintop removal mining. According to Dustin, he was taken into a room and beaten by law enforcement while in custody. Witnesses have reported that other protesters were brutalized by law enforcement while being taken into custody. We need to work to ensure that anyone who wants to get out of jail can do so as soon as possible.
Mountaintop removal is a crime against humanity that has left a legacy of poisoned air and water, high cancer rates, economic exploitation, and devastated communities and ecosystems throughout Appalachia. Corrupted legislators and regulators at the state and federal levels have failed to take action to stop these atrocities, leaving direct action as the last resort for conscientious residents aiming to save the land and people of Appalachia.
Please check www.rampscampaign.org for updates as we receive additional information about our friends in custody.
More than a dozen organizations and Indian tribes have announced plans to assemble on the outskirts of Green River, Utah, on May 19th to protest a proposed nuclear power plant near the banks of the town’s namesake river.
“This issue affects more than just southern Utah residents,” said Sarah Fields, director of the citizen group Uranium Watch. “That’s why we’re seeing involvement from downriver residents like the Fort Mojave and Colorado River Indian Tribes, along with those who live downwind in Colorado and points beyond. The effects of nuclear power are farther reaching than the reactor site and stretch well into the future.”
Protestors will assemble near the proposed reactor site at Green River’s west end, along Highway 6 just north of I-70 exit 157, at 6:00 p.m. for a march to “Celebrate and Protect the Green River and the Colorado Plateau.”
The parade will be set against the backdrop of the Book Cliffs and the proposed construction site. Participants are specifically asked to bring colorful umbrellas, while street art, banners, costumes, puppets, decorated bicycles and an enthusiasm for singing and dancing are also appreciated.
Those organizing the protest are motivated by a number of concerns, including the reliability of the company backing the plant, the secondary impacts of mining and milling radioactive minerals, and potential threats to regional safety. However, the biggest issue is water. “It’s foolish to build thirsty nuclear reactors in a desert like this,” says John Weisheit, Conservation Director of Moab-based Living Rivers.
“The Green River is unreliable and over-appropriated. Even the State Engineer, when granting the project rights to nearly 48 million gallons of water a day, asserted that there will not always be enough water to operate the plant.” He continues, “As we endure an ongoing drought here, do we want to further compromise the health of this life-giving river? Do we want a fickle desert waterway to be our buffer against disaster? I don’t think so.”
To further highlight themes of water, on Friday, May 18, at 7:00 p.m., protest organizers are also hosting “A Celebration of the Colorado River System: Discussion of Threats and Actions.”
This event, held at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, will include traditional singing and dancing from members of the Lower Colorado Indian Tribes, a panel discussion on mitigating threats to Colorado River Basin water, and a documentary film about the long-term impacts of nuclear accidents like Fukushima.
Barbara Galler, a Moab resident and spokeswoman for No Green River Nuke says, “It’s true everywhere, but especially in the desert: Our survival is dependent on rivers. Granting so much precious water to a company with no experience or credibility in the energy business, for use in the riskiest form of power production, is an enormous mistake. That’s why I’m marching.” Protest organizers include: Canyonlands Watershed Council, Canyon Country Rising Tide, Colorado River Indian Tribal Members, Ft. Mojave Tribal Members, GreenAction, HEAL Utah, Living Rivers, No Green River Nuke, Sierra Club, Peaceful Uprising, Uranium Watch, the Utah Rivers Council and more.
Activists draw a line in the sand in the fight against fracking (Photo originally posted here)
On Saturday, May 19th, participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign against fracking are calling for a Day of Direct Action Against Extraction. We invite all who are opposed to the widespread use of energy extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, mountaintop removal coal mining, and tar sands oil distillation to take creative, public direct action at local or regional points of production in these industries. All who participate are encouraged to employ a wide spectrum of tactics that appeal to their experience and comfort level, such as handing out literature, arranging speaking events, orchestrating colorful street theater, or taking up space by creative means.
Why a Day of Action? We have many reasons: We are tired of our communities being divided and conquered by gas corporations in pursuit of ever higher profits. The water that flows through our bioregion is being sold off for fracking as fast as those granted responsibility for our rivers and watersheds can rubber stamp withdrawal permits. Despite promises of gas drilling and fracking operations creating a surplus of local and regional jobs, our region is teeming with highly paid out of state rigworkers, engineers and other “specialists”, while the local jobs largely consist of temporary truck driving and dangerous “roustabout” positions. We are being lied to and manipulated, but we refuse to be passive participants in these destructive activities.
While there are many differences between fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining and the tar sands megaprojects, they are all too similar in their effects on the health of human and animal communities. Countless trucks clog the roads, the air fills with pollutants, the water becomes undrinkable, land and forests are cleared, and communities suffer from conflict and illness.
One of the main goals of the Occupy Well Street campaign is to create solidarity among all those resisting energy extraction. Our communities may be separated geographically, but voices and actions can offer effective support between regions and allow us to continue sustaining our struggles against extraction. We must communicate within and between movements, share information and knowledge, and support each others’ efforts in order to grow and evolve.
The last place the gas companies want concerned community members to show up is at their fracking sites, pipeline projects, compressor stations, water withdrawal sites, and other important facilities. The points of production are where the physical damage occurs, and we invite you to join us in throwing a wrench in the gears on May 19th!
What have participants in the Occupy Well Street campaign been up to? Groups have picketed active fracking sites, blocked industry truck traffic, drawn attention to water withdrawal sites hidden in plain view, held industry analysts and “reporters” accountable in public meetings, and distributed literature at pro-industry events. Occupy Well Street is committed to finding common ground between all those fighting extraction industries, and networking is ongoing. Stay tuned for more news soon!
Stop the Flows is the latest project from our friend Frank Lopez at Submedia.tv.
“Over the next five years I will document resistance movements that are working towards stopping the flows of hydro carbons, mineral extraction, natural resources and capital, through grassroots and underground organizing. I will publish the dispatches as I complete them with the goal of compiling them into a feature length documentary to be released on 2016.
The first dispatch took me to Central BC where Unis’toten nation are pre-empting the construction of 4 oil and gas pipelines through their traditional territories.
The next dispatch will focus on the growing opposition to an oil pipeline expansion right here where I live in Vancouver. In December I will compile the hours of interviews and footage I gathered while in Japan, for a dispatch spotlighting the growing grassroots anti-nuke movement. In January I hope to travel to Australia to continue touring and gathering material for Stop the Flows and ditto goes for Europe in the spring.”
Frank Lopez has been making radical media for years, and has been one of the biggest supporters of the Deep Green Resistance movement. His film END:CIV has been shown in hundreds of venues around the world in several languages, and has been viewed over 80,000 times online. Now Frank needs help to support his latest project.