Posts Tagged ‘ecocide’

WATCH LIVE: Tarsands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

WATCH LIVE: Tarsands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

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Posted 26 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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APTN Photos
CBC Live Ottawa
http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Politics/1244504890/ID=2129385867

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Hundreds gather on Parliament Hill to say ‘No to Tar Sands’

(Ottawa) – Hundreds of people from across North America are gathered this morning on Parliament Hill for a rally followed by a mass civil disobedience sit-in. Participants are responding to a call to action for a large peaceful protest where many will risk arrest to tell the Harper government they don’t support his reckless agenda and urge him to turn away from the tar sands and build a green energy future that promotes climate justice, respects Indigenous rights and prioritizes the health of our environment and communities.

“It is morally justifiable to risk arrest if you see and witness a crime occurring or about to occur. We are saying the tar sands industry is unlawful. We need to stop it before the damage is done. It’s worth getting arrested to send that warning out to the rest of Canada,” said Louisette Lante, a housewife from Waterloo.

The action began at 10 a.m. with a solidarity rally in front of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill featuring a number of speeches from prominent individuals from environmental organizations and Indigenous communities directly impacted by the tar sands Following the speeches, waves of participants in groups of 20 or more will separate from the solidarity rally and choose to risk arrest by participating in a peaceful sit-in near the front doors to Centre Block.

Ottawa action live

http://www.livestream.com/ottawaaction

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http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/ottawaaction?layout=4&color=0xe7e7e7&autoPlay=false&mute=false&iconColorOver=0x888888&iconColor=0x777777&allowchat=true&height=340&width=560

Watch live streaming video from ottawaaction at livestream.com

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http://www.ustream.tv/flash/viewer.swf

Video streaming by Ustream
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WATCH LIVE TODAY MONDAY Sept. 26, 2011

Watch Live: Twin Cities Tar Sands Action
Today 10AM to 2PM CDT!

http://www.ienearth.org/ien-pipeline.html

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE OTTAWA TODAY
“We have hundreds of people who have signed up to risk arrest,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “At a time when we need to be fundamentally reducing our emissions, at a time when we need to be generating investments in zero-carbon energy technology, we’re allowing Big Oil and this Harper majority government to lead us on a backward path, which is destroying Canada’s image internationally,” he said.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/oil-sands-opponents-to-descend-on-parliament-hill/article2179710/

Embattled pipeline at centre of mass Ottawa protest
CTV News Canada
Protesters started collecting on Parliament Hill on Sunday, taking part in protest training sessions ahead of a planned mass confrontation with the federal government over its support for the oilsands and a proposed pipeline from Alberta to Texas.
Hundreds of environmentalists are expected to turn out for Monday’s mass rally, which organizers expect will become “the largest civil disobedience action in the history of Canada’s climate movement.” More:
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20110925/protesters-gather-for-pipeline-protest-110925/

KEYSTONE XL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT HEARINGS COMING TO YOUR AREA
Background
www.ienearth.org

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would consist of approximately 1,711 miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline, with approximately 327 miles of pipeline in Canada and 1,384 miles in the U.S. TransCanada filed an application for a Presidential Permit with the U.S. Department of State to build and operate the Keystone XL Project. The proposed Project would have the capacity to transport 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to delivery points in Oklahoma and southeastern Texas.

On August 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of State released a final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline saying the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on the environment. According to the U.S. administration, they are saying President Obama now has three months to determine whether the controversial project is in the national interest of America.

Our concerns with this FEIS are similar to the concerns of a previous pipeline project called Keystone (with no “XL” attached to it, sometimes called Keystone 1) and its final EIS that was done in 2008. The basic concern was the EIS was incomplete, and didn’t thoroughly address all the issues. Keystone XL fails to take seriously the potential damage to American Indian Tribes and their Tribal members in the States of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. These damages could threaten, among other things, water aquifers, water ways, cultural sites, agricultural lands, animal life, public drinking water sources and other resources vital to the Tribal peoples of the region in which the pipeline is proposed to be constructed. Lack of adequate consultation has been a consistent concern expressed by Tribal members of all the affected Tribal Nations who to this day have not been thoroughly informed of the potential effects of this pipeline.

With over 12 spills caused by the Keystone 1 pipeline, which runs through eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas with links to Missouri and Illinois, it is critical that the State Department take the potential environmental and cultural resource impacts seriously. The FEIS is not even requiring TransCanada, the company that hopes to build Keystone XL, to submit an emergency response plan before final approval. In spite of the reported spills on Keystone I, the XL EIS predicts 1.78 to 2.51 spills, of any size, per year.

Tribal Nations deserve and have a right to be thoroughly informed and have a truthful account of the damage Keystone XL can cause. The toxic corrosive crude oil that would flow through the Keystone XL pipeline comes from the tar sands in northern Alberta, Canada. The tar sands are located in the homelands of the Cree, Dene and Métis communities. The pipeline will cross hundreds of miles of indigenous territory, including Lakota territory, and violate treaty rights under the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 as well as human rights under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

U.S executive approval is needed before the pipeline can be laid in place. The State Department has announced the schedule for a series of public input meetings in States along the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Written comments will be accepted by the State Department until October 9th, 2011.

Public Hearings on Keystone XL Pipeline

Monday, September 26, 2011

Texas:
Bob Bowers Civic Center
3401 Cultural Center Dr., Port Arthur, 4:30 – 10 p.m.
Kansas:
Kansas Expo Center
1 Expocenter Dr., Topeka, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4– 8 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Montana:
Dawson Community College
Toepke Center Auditorium, 300 Community Dr., Glendive, 4:30 – 10 p.m.
Nebraska:
Pershing Center
226 Centennial Mall, South Lincoln, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4. – 8:00 p.m .

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Texas:
University of Texas Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium,
2313 Red River St., Austin, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, September 29, 2011
South Dakota:
Best Western Ramkota,
920 West Sioux Ave., Pierre, noon – 3:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.
Nebraska:
West Holt High School, 100 N. Main St. Atkinson, 4:30 – 10 p.m.

Friday, September 30, 2011
Oklahoma:
Reed Center Exhibition Hall,
5800 Will Rogers Rd., Midwest City., noon – 3:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m.

Friday, October 7, 2011
Washington, D.C.: To be announced via website and public notice.

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/watch-live-tarsands-civil-disobedience.html

Stop the Machine! Create a New World!

Stop the Machine! Create a New World!

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Posted 26 September 2011, by angelbabe43, Angelbabe43’s Blog, angelbabe43.wordpress.org

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A Call to Action – Oct. 6, 2011 and onward

October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.

We call on people of conscience and courage—all who seek peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment—to join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011, in nonviolent resistance similar to the Arab Spring and the Midwest awakening.

A concert, rally and protest will kick off a powerful and sustained nonviolent resistance to the corporate criminals that dominate our government.

Forty-seven years ago, Mario Savio, an activist student at Berkeley, said, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

Those words have an even greater urgency today. We face ongoing wars and massive socio-economic and environmental destruction perpetrated by a corporate empire which is oppressing, occupying and exploiting the world. We are on a fast track to making the planet unlivable while the middle class and poor people of our country are undergoing the most wrenching and profound economic crisis in 80 years.

“Stop the Machine! • Create a New World!” is a clarion call for all who are deeply concerned with injustice, militarism and environmental destruction to join in ending concentrated corporate power and taking direct control of a real participatory democracy. We will encourage a culture of resistance—using music, art, theater and direct nonviolent action—to take control of our country and our lives. It is about courageously resisting and stopping the corporate state from destroying not only our inherent rights and freedoms, but also our children’s chance to live, breathe clean air, drink pure water, grow edible natural food and live in peace.

As Mother Jones said, “Someday the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!”

We are the ones who can create a new and just world. Our issues are connected. We are connected. Join us in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6, 2011, to Stop the Machine.

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Take the pledge and sign up to attend here. Let America know you are coming to make history and a new world!

“I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that criminal occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine to demand that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning .”

http://october2011.org/statement

Related articles

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http://angelbabe43.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/stop-the-machine-create-a-new-world/

OTTAWA Tar Sands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

 

OTTAWA Tar Sands Civil Disobedience Sept 26, 2011

Canadian First Nations, US-based Tribal Governments and Indigenous Advocacy Groups Endorse Mass Civil Disobedience Action to Protest Canadian Tar Sands

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Posted 23 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

 

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Press statement
Posted at Censored News

OTTAWA, Ontario – Canadian First Nations, American Indian Tribes, Territorial, Provincial and Federal First Nations Governments and Advocacy groups have added their support for a rally featuring a civil disobedience sit-in against the tar sands on September 26 in Ottawa.

“Current operations in the tar sands are violating our human and constitutionally protected treaty rights.  Our community is currently in court with some of these companies and plan to oppose any and all future development with similar legal action,” said Lionel Lepine of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation “We demand free, prior and informed consent for development in our traditional territories as recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Hundreds of people from across North America have endorsed the call to action for September 26, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill. The action is to oppose the tar sands industry and push for a clean,green energy future that honors Indigenous rights and prioritizes the health of the environment and communities.

First Nations leaders from British Columbia, North West Territories and Alberta, three provinces most heavily affected by the tar sands development, will travel to Ottawa to lend their names and voices to raise awareness of the devastating environmental and social effects of the tar sands. US-based Native American Tribes and advocacy groups along with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe have also endorsed the day of action.

“Enbridge is trying to ram its tar sands pipeline right through our territories and the lands of many other First Nations,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation, amember of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “We have used our laws to forbid these pipelines in our lands. We will use every means available to us under Indigenous, Canadian and International law to enforce our decision and stop the Enbridge pipeline. If we take care of the land and water, it will take care of us. If we ruin our water with oil spills and once the tar sands kill the waters of our brother and sister nations, our people will be finished.”

On September 16 and 17, on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota, an Accord was signedopposing the proposed Trans-Canada Keystone XL pipeline and endorsing the Ottawa Action.  The emergency Tribal meeting, which included Canadian First Nations and Native AmericanTribes affected by the proposed pipeline, focused on Tribal opposition to the Trans-Canada Keystone XL.  The Accord highlights the neglected concerns of First Nations in Canada regarding the Canadian tar sands, the industry’s disproportionate impacts on Treaty and Aboriginal rights and the detrimental health and social consequencesfor affected First Nations communities.

“The tar sands represent apath of broken treaties, eroded human rights, catastrophic climate change, poisoned air and water and the complete stripping of Canada’s morality in theinternational community,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Our communities should not be sacrificed on the altar of Canada’s addiction to dirty fossil fuel; wewant a new economic paradigm that protects our relationship to the sacredness of Mother Earth.”

Other First Nations groups endorsing the September 26 action include: Dene Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Yinka Dene Alliance, Wet’suwet’en and Unis’tot’en Nations.

For more info: ClaytonThomas-Muller (English), Indigenous Tar Sands Campaigner, IndigenousEnvironmental Network (IEN), (613)297-7515 monsterredlight@gmail.com

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Join the IEN Newsletter!
https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/tools/subscription.php?username=ienearth
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Clayton Thomas-Muller
Indigenous Environmental Network
Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500
Ottawa, ON, CND, K2P 1P5
Office: 613 237 1717 ext. 106
Cell: 613 297 7515http://www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html
www.ottawaaction.ca Please visit!!!!
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Please visit Defenders of the Land: http://www.defendersoftheland.org
Please visit Global Justice Ecology Project: http://www.globaljusticeecology.org/

 

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/ottawa-tar-sands-civil-disobedience.html

Dene Nation will be at Ottawa Protest against Keystone XL Pipeline

Dene Nation will be at Ottawa Protest against Keystone XL Pipeline

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Posted 23 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

 

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Press statement
Posted at Censored News

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories — The Dene Nation is supporting a day of civil disobedience and protests in Ottawa next week as part of its ongoing opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus will be there to participate in the protests and to make sure the views of Dene are represented.

On Monday, hundreds of people will flood Parliament Hill to demand a future free of the destructive Alberta tar sands. Many of them will enter the Parliament building and risk arrest by staging a sit-in in protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that, if built, will carry tar sands crude to refineries in the southern United States.

Chief Bill Erasmus at White House rally to halt tarsands in Sept. 2011 Photo Josh Lopez

“This is part of ongoing activity that is directly related to opposition of the tar sands,” Erasmus said. “From northern Alberta to the Arctic Ocean, our communities are directly downstream from tar sands developments. Water pollution and climate changing greenhouse gases from the tar sands are impacting our rights – protected under Treaty 8 and Treaty 11 – to hunt, trap, and fish as we always have on our land. The Keystone XL pipeline expansion would facilitate a huge increase in tar sands expansion, and this pipeline must be stopped.”

Canada’s federal government has approved the pipeline, and the final decision now lies with U.S. President Barrack Obama. Erasmus was recently in Washington, D.C. for massive protests against the pipeline in which many participants, including several renowned Canadians, were arrested.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would transport 1 million barrels of synthetic crude oil each day from Alberta’s tar sands to US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Construction of the 2,700 km pipeline would facilitate a massive expansion of Alberta’s tar sands, along with increased pollution, stress on water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Dene communities are downstream from the tar sands, and are threatened by the impacts of upstream water usage and pollution, and the impacts of climate change and
global warming.

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For more information please contact: Barret Lenoir or Daniel T’seleie, at the Dene National Office (867) 873-4081.

 

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/dene-nation-will-be-at-ottawa-protest.html

Jesuits publish special report on ecology

Jesuits publish special report on ecology

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Posted22 September 2011, by Staff, Catholic Culture, catholicculture.org

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Download the report as a .pdf document here: Healing a Broken World (Society of Jesus)

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The Society of Jesus–the Church’s largest male religious institute, with 18,516 members–has issued a special report on ecology.

“Our commitment to follow Jesus Christ in poverty, the seriousness of the ecological crisis and the cry of the poor who suffer the consequences of environmental degradation calls us all to stop and reflect,” states the report, which was published by the Society’s social justice and ecology secretariat. “Jesuits, members of the Ignatian family, and those responsible for our apostolic institutions are all invited to reflect seriously on the way in which our functional values driving our everyday decisions and actions remain consumerist at the core.”

“Creation‘s groans, growing louder and louder as nature is destroyed, challenge us to adopt simpler lifestyles,” the report continues. “In the fulfilment of this task we are inspired by many people worldwide who want to create a new world based on a just relationship with creation. We need a deep change of heart. This is the only radical way to face the present ecological challenge. We must, therefore, renew the sources of our Ignatian spirituality, a spirituality that invites us to acknowledge, give thanks and commit ourselves to the life present in creation.”

Source(s): this link will take you to another site, in a new window.

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http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=11825

Sociology of a shaping tsunami

Sociology of a shaping tsunami

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Posted22 September 2011, by Jawed Naqvi, Dawn, dawn.com

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TSUNAMIS and earthquakes come unannounced but their apparent `suddenness` is embedded in decades, possibly centuries, of subterranean activity.

Political tsunamis are equally hard to detect or predict. But we know that they move along societal fault lines. The world missed Iran by a long shot and it is today trying to divine a glimpse of an Arab Spring even if it all looks more of a media expediency than a movement.

India`s main TV channels and through them much of the world have similarly misread recent events in the country that were and still are projected as tsunamis of sorts. These are, however, more likely to prove to be a figment of the way India`s corporate elite wants to see the country developing.

For their vision not to remain a pipe dream India must first become a police state. It may be getting there but there`s still some steps left to invoke complete disaster.

The media build-up of Narendra Modi`s three-day fast (or fest) in Gujarat and its slightly longer version in Delhi by the quixotic anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare presented an elitist politics as popular to the exclusion of complex issues that traumatise the majority.

We now know that both events were tailor-made to impose a political choice in the Uttar Pradesh elections due early next year. A rare Dalit woman runs the state and whoever dethrones her or wins her support will be best equipped to capture power in 2014 when general elections are due.

Modi is the political mascot of India`s right. Hazare has idolised him as a model for the country`s economic development. Hazare`s view on Modi tallies with that of business captains dominating India`s economic skyline.

They all see in the Gujarat chief minister their next prime minister who would deliver them from Dr Manmohan Singh`s unexpectedly curtailed zeal for unpopular and environmentally untenable prescriptions. Outlook Indian Express

Delhi`s magazine recently carried a cover story on how the middle class had dumped Manmohan Singh. There are warnings now that the world may be preparing to disown him. A typical column in the advised Dr Singh to accelerate pro-market reforms or prepare for a rude regime change. Durbar Express

“If the current government is not seen as a credible interlocutor, outsiders can only get impatient for the next set of rulers to take charge of the Delhi .” WikiLeaks has already established how the BJP has been making a beeline to the US embassy to reiterate its pro-Washington credentials. Given this, the columnist makes eminent sense.

When earthquakes occur they lay bare not just a people`s material capacity to cope with natural disasters, they also test victims` social cohesion. The massive tremor centred in Gujarat`s Bhuj district in 2001 framed not just the geological fault lines but also its victims` sociology. Upper-caste Gujaratis refused to share shelters with the lower castes.

Modi`s antidote dovetailed with corporate exigencies. He fomented hatred of one community to cement his other constituents. There are no more agitating mill workers in Gujarat. They have become polarised Hindus and Muslims.

But the prospective prime minister is suddenly projecting a hitherto absent religious tolerance. His public embrace of visually identifiable Muslim clerics — replete with beards, caps and cloaks — though some reports said they were rented for publicity — indicates a political quandary.

In India, political challenges are often reflected in acronyms. The composition of Gujarat votes thus carries the sobriquet of KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslim). In Rajasthan, this takes the form of MAJGAR (Muslim, Ahir, Jat, Gujar, Adivasi and Rajput). Laloo Prasad deployed the MY factor (Muslim-Yadav) to beat the political odds for years in Bihar. There are countless such acronyms that are the building blocks of India`s sociology and thus its politics.

It is this reality that constitutes India`s parliament. It was this that would become an obstruction to domestic and foreign economic prescriptions. It was thus that MPs had to be bribed to pass a vote first on Dr Singh`s economic agenda that did not have a popular mandate and then to push a nuclear deal with Washington that growing throngs of ordinary people (minus the televised middle class) want to shun.

Chernobyl, Fukushima and the recent disaster in France have all contributed to the coalescing of a growing resistance against a rush for energy by any means at any cost.

It was therefore tamely predictable that TV cameras and anchors that had built up Anna Hazare and Narendra Modi as messianic leaders who had shunned food for the national cause would completely ignore the 127 men and women who could perish due to their indefinite fast going on for a week now against a nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu.

There were violent protests earlier this year in Maharashtra against another nuclear project. That the new protesters are backed by hundreds of thousands of villagers in Koodunkulum is of no importance to private TV. That the very coast had suffered a tsunami havoc seven years ago is of no consequence to the televised middle classes.

Another hitherto silent political tsunami is building in the sensitive Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, not far from the epicentre of Saturday`s devastating earthquake.

Away from public gaze the government has quietly called in dozens of foreign firms to the ecologically fragile zone to build a series of dams there, a move the local tribes resent and fear. Their resistance has so far gone unnoticed in the rest of India. But already there is ferment in Assam about the consequences for its lower riparian regions. Indian Express

International and domestic pressures on the government are enormous, as the columnist has indicated, to deliver or perish on what is an obvious bonanza involving rape of the environment and uprooting of its traditional inhabitants.

Corporate greed is not abating and it could only happen in India that a ragtag army of Maoist guerrillas, whose peers didn’t spare a chance to rape the ecology in China, are compelled to defend it in Chhattisgarh.

This doesn’t mean that people who resist the plunder of India will win. All that they know is that there is yet a small chance of averting an unimaginable disaster.

The writer is Dawn`s correspondent in Delhi.

jawednaqvi@gmail.com

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http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/22/sociology-of-a-shaping-tsunami.html

Fracking Mother Earth for Dollars Scheme Exposed


Fracking Mother Earth for Dollars Scheme Exposed

Non-Indians target Blood Nation, Kawacatoose and Fort Peck

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Posted 13 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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Blood Nation women blockade /Photo Arnell Tailfeathers

Non-Indians have targeted First Nation and American Indian lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, and Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana, throwing large sums of money at elected leaders for oil and gas drilling, with no regard for future generations or the environment.

Blood Nation women formed a blockade to halt fracking on their land on Friday, exposing a non-Indian corporate scheme behind the new fracturing Mother Earth for dollars.

Lois Frank said the Blood Nation members were never consulted about the widespread oil and gas drilling and fracking that they are now faced with in southern Alberta, near the Montana border.

In the corporate flush of dollars, an in-between fixer has emerged, the non-Indians at Native American Resource Partners in Utah. NARP is designed to entice First Nations and American Indian elected leaders with large sums of money. NARP, as shown on its website, is owned by non-Indians who use the name “Native American” because the company targets Native American lands for exploitation. 

NARP owners began destroying the land for oil and gas drilling on Southern Ute in Colorado and on Uintah and Ouray lands in Utah, before expanding into Canada.

NARP’s investment money comes from another corporation of more non-Indians, Quantum, based in Houston, who are exploiting natural resources around the world.

Besides entering into an agreement with the Blood Nation, NARP also entered into an oil and gas deal with Fort Peck in Montana. The Fort Peck Energy Company formed a new co-partnered Tribal energy company with NARP in August, according to the Fort Peck Journal. NARP provided capital dollars to Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Energy Company is initially owned 50 percent by the Tribe and 50 percent by NARP, with the capital investment made by Quantum, Fort Peck Journal reported.

NARP also provided dollars to the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, focusing on treaty land rights, in August.

NARP announced a partnership with the Kawacatoose First Nation (Kawacatoose) of Saskatchewan, Canada. “The newly-created company, Kawacatoose Energy Company, will pursue the development of resource projects on lands and minerals secured by the Nation through the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement program (TLE,)” according to the press statement.

On the Blood Nation in Alberta in April, Kainaiwa Resources, Inc., the natural resource development company of the Blood Nation, announced that it had formed Kainai Energy in partnership with NARP.

Kainai Energy entered into two joint venture agreements, with NARP kicking in $100 million in capital commitment, according to the Blood Tribe’s press release.

“In forming Kainai Energy, the Blood Tribe has retained all of its rights to royalty payments from development of its reserve land by industry partners Murphy Oil Company Ltd. (“Murphy”) and Bowood Energy Ltd. (“Bowood”), while securing needed capital to participate in its own resource development. The Tribe has also retained exclusive rights to reserve lands outside the existing joint ventures for future development.”

Kainai Energy will initially focus on the existing joint venture areas in the Alberta Bakken, the press release states.

Hydraulic fracturing poisoning drinking water and rivers

Hydraulic fracturing is already poisoning drinking water and rivers, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times obtained concealed documents from the government and drilling industry that show hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells is even more dangerous than previously known.

The secret documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and drilling industry participants, prove hydraulic fracturing wastewater from gas drilling operations contains high levels of radioactive contaminants. It is being released into waterways supplying drinking water.

The process of injecting “fracking” fluid at extreme pressure creates fissures in the rock formations and extracts gas that was previously trapped.

Drilling companies use between two and five million gallons of “fracking” fluid in the hydrofracking of just one gas well. This toxic cocktail is a mixture of water, sand and hazardous chemicals. Then, 50 percent to 75 percent of fracking fluids stay in the ground, potentially leaking into soil and ground water by way of rock faults or faulty well casings, according to the New York Times.

Then, the situation becomes more critical. The used fracking fluid, called produced water, once it comes back up, is even more dangerous after exposure to rock deep in the earth. This drilling wastewater is hazardous waste because it now also contains heavy metals, radioactive elements such as radium, known carcinogens including benzene and other toxins.

Sewage treatment facilities of the wastewater are incapable of removing some contaminants from drilling wastewater, including radioactive contaminants. These releases are discharged into rivers and waterways and are currently contaminating drinking water sources.

The media is playing its role in the exploitation and destruction of Mother Earth, cheerleading for revenues and economic development, without researching the detrimental effects of oil and gas drilling, or fracturing,  on the land and health of the people. 

Blood Nation: Toxic drilling and dealsBlood Nation members released this statement on Friday:

“The first issue is the toxic nature of the drilling and its capacity to do irreversible damage to the land and water on the Blood Reserve and surrounding areas. Furthermore, fracking poses a major threat to human health, wildlife and livestock.

“The second issue at hand is the nature of the deal between KRI, Murphy Oil, and Bowood Energy. We believe this to be highly problematic for a number of reasons: Blood Tribe members were not consulted during the negotiations of this deal even though the drilling will occur on Blood Tribe land.

“KRI and the Blood Tribe Chief and Council neglected to maintain any degree of transparency during and after the negotiations. Ultimately, leaving a large population of tribal members completely unaware of the situation until after the deal was made.

“Above all else, the health and well-being of Blood Tribe members and all future generations will be compromised due to the rash and reckless decision by KRI and Blood Tribe Chief and Council to sign this deal with Murphy Oil and Bowood Energy.”

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/fracking-mother-earth-for-dollars.html

A Deep Reason to Counter Perry and Bachmann

 

A Deep Reason to Counter Perry and Bachmann

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Posted 12 September 2011, by , The Huffington Post (AOL Lifestyle), huffingtonpost.com

 

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A strong and clear way out of the problems that surround us these days is to be found in Deep Ecology, a scientific/spiritual/holistic term coined by Norwegian activist and philosopher, Arne Naess to express the global interconnectedness of all living things. Building on thousands of years of spiritual traditions and mixing in system science and modern biology, Deep Ecology sees everything that grows, squirms, roots, swims, flies, walks, or crawls — either on our planet’s surface or in its depths or atmosphere — as part of the superorganism we call Earth. Deep Ecology is a movement and a scientific philosophy, but it is not a religion. It worships no deity, does not discriminate against any system of belief, and has no political agenda beyond protecting our world so that our grandchildren will have a habitable planet.

One way to understand the concept is to first focus our attention on the human body. When a bacteria, fungus, virus or cancer begins to grow out of its prescribed limits inside us — when an interior population runs amok — the threat stimulates an immune response. White blood cells arrive, the “infection” may be walled off, its toxins are, when possible, neutralized, and the damage is contained. Eventually, the overgrowth is either eliminated completely or returned to normal population levels. If this effort fails, the host, the body, the person dies.

Now let’s zoom out and focus on the entire planet, which features an ever-changing balance between its plant and animal inhabitants and the physical environments that support them. The evolutionary fossil record reveals that in the past, various species of plants and animals have exhibited huge populations surges. These have always been countered by a response from the system deep ecologists call Mother Nature, Gaia, or simply Planet Earth. Predators have evolved, diseases have run rampant, climates have changed, or competition from other organisms has developed.

Homo sapiens as a species exhibits all the signs of having run rampant in groundbreaking fashion. Our numbers are too high for our environment to sustain us in a way that allows the planetary superorganism to flourish. All the evidence is there, from mass extinctions in every phylum around us to habitat destruction, unprecedented levels of toxic products in the environment, and more. Deep ecologists would say that in the face of this imbalance, the planet is fighting back.

How does a planet fight back? Perhaps with climate change, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and threats to the food supply such as the dying off of bees, but more definitely with more personal weapons, maybe even triggers inside our own DNA. Autoimmune diseases spring immediately to mind, as do sexual activities and proclivities that don’t lead to reproduction (no babies means no population growth) heart disease, cancer, and mutating pathogens such as new flu and malaria strains. The automobile, too, is an uncannily effective human-slaughtering device.

Then, of course, there is ideological war. When it comes to wiping out huge swatch of humankind, war is tough to top, and next to squabbles over territory religious crusades cause more wars than anything. As ironic as it may be, since religion is supposed to help us see the big picture and get along with each other, ever since the chiefdoms of Polynesia, the city-states of Mesoamerica, and the early imperial dynasties of China, leaders claiming divine mandate have led lambs to the slaughter with faith as a rallying cry.

As planetary resources diminish and the demands on those resources grow, domestic and international conflicts intensify. Similarly, as challenges to institutional religion grow and the zeal with which those religions are protected burgeons. Such zeal manifests as religious fundamentalism, whether Islamic, Jewish, Christian, or other. People who believe that their beliefs are the valid ones, that only their gods exist, and that anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs must be subjugated or annihilated are tyrannical despots both on the map of the mind and the map of the Earth. They are intolerant bullies, and from the point of view of Deep Ecology they are puppets whose strings are being pulled by a planet bent on reducing the human population.

What must we do about such individuals and movements? While recognizing and respecting the contribution that religiously derived morals and ethics have made to the development of our individual characters and the characters of our state, we must stand up to fundamentalism wherever it appears. Internationally, we must confront the agents of radical Islam who threaten borders, freedoms, and life around the world. Domestically, we must shine an especially strong light on fundamentalists with political ambitions. Among these are radical Christian Dominionists, whose expressed ambition is to subject our government to its denominational agenda, and who find champions in presidential contenders Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.

Thus elevated, we must find a way to work in the best interests of all Earth’s inhabitants by bringing our populations and activities back into balance without slaughtering innocents and relinquishing our liberty. It wouldn’t be a bad start to turn serious and concerted attention to the economic and social problems that create fertile ground for the growth of extremism around the world, and of course we must counter the brainwashing of fragile and susceptible young minds, here and abroad, with education about tolerance, spirituality, and planetary interconnectedness.

Our country was founded on ideals of liberty and justice and the separation of church and state. Especially around the anniversary of 9/11, we must not dance to the drumbeats of politicos who would cloud our minds and keep us from seeing their ultimate goals clearly, nor may we cower from speaking out against those who wield influence and rouse the rabble with provocative rhetoric. Instead, let’s find solutions to our problems while holding our interconnectedness in mind. Keeping religious extremists out of office and out of power is the wisest way to save our planet and ourselves.

Follow Arthur Rosenfeld on Twitter: www.twitter.com/machobuddha

 

 

 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arthur-rosenfeld/a-deep-reason-to-counter-_b_954136.html

Extreme Extraction

 

Extreme Extraction

When Ecological Chickens Come Home to Roost

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Posted 09 September 2011, by Ashley Dawson, Counterpunch, counterpunch.org

 

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The largest grassroots environmental protest in decades came to a triumphant conclusion over the Labor Day weekend. In the course of two weeks, 1,252 people were arrested for sitting in peacefully in front of the White House in a bid to convince Barack Obama to reject the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which is slated to bring heavy oil from the tar sands deposits in Canada’s Alberta Province all the way across the U.S. to the Gulf Coast for refining. Organizers of the Tar Sands Action declared from the outset that this would be a litmus test for President Obama: he alone will make the decision whether to proceed with the Keystone project, and, as a result, his stance on this pivotal environmental issue will be a clear indication of his broader outlook on environmental affairs. At stake, in other words, is the support of the environmental movement for his reelection bid. The battle against extraction of oil from the tar sands is, however, about far more than simply throwing down the gauntlet to Obama’s Rightward-lurching presidency.

The struggle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline is indicative of a key shift in the stakes and terms of contemporary environmental conflict, for the tar sands are but one instance of a far broader trend towards extreme extraction today. While the world is not about to run out of hydrocarbon energy sources, discoveries of new energy supplies such as oil fields have become increasingly infrequent and small in recent years. Such scarcity has been one of the key factors driving energy prices higher. As the quality and quantity of conventional sources of fossil fuel have diminished, the energy industry has turned to increasingly inaccessible sources in often hostile and fragile environments. The technology required to extract oil, gas, and coal reserves from such inaccessible sources has grown ever more complex, expensive, and environmentally destructive. The increasing scarcity of easily exploitable energy reserves, in other words, explains the rise of extreme extractive industries such hydrofracturing, deep sea oil drilling, mountaintop coal removal, and tar sands oil extraction. These new modes of extreme extraction are bringing forms of environmental destruction heretofore confined to the global South home to populations in the North who have for decades been relatively sheltered from the most aggressive efforts of the energy industry. Extreme extraction also significantly augments the release of greenhouse gases, intensifying climate change. For this reason, extreme extraction tends to go hand-in-hand with extreme weather and (un)natural disasters.

Yet if extreme extraction brings the environmental chickens home to roost, it also galvanizes new transnational forms of solidarity. As the protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline over the last two weeks demonstrated, extreme extraction is forging coalitions that cross ethnic, regional, and national borders. In tandem with catalyzing such new links, the struggle against extreme extraction is also provoking the American environmental movement to adopt increasingly militant modes of direct action – forms of struggle often pioneered by environmental activists in the global South faced with the destruction of the natural world upon which their lives depend.

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Extreme extraction would seem to be an unlikely candidate for public support, particularly after the public relations debacle of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But neither the deep pockets nor the cynicism of the fossil fuel lobby should be underestimated. Oil from the Canadian tar sands, for example, is being marketed to the U.S. public using an incredibly duplicitous discourse of human rights that is shot through with thinly veiled forms of nationalism and racism. As a recent Ethical Oil campaign video demonstrates, tar sands oil is represented in this marketing campaign as a politically correct alternative to oil from oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia. “Unlike Conflict Oil from some of the world’s most politically oppressive and environmentally reckless regimes,” the Ethical Oil website states, “Ethical Oil is the “Fair Trade” choice in oil.” Never mind the fact that the U.S. has supported the Saudi regime for decades; oil from the Canadian tar sands is painted as a consumer choice in favor of democracy and human rights, akin to the decision to buy fair trade coffee.

Key to the Ethical Oil campaign is a contemporary version of the longstanding colonial trope of saving brown women from oppressive brown men. The Ethical Oil promotion video therefore focuses on the fact that “we” bankroll a state that “doesn’t allow women to drive, doesn’t allow them to leave their homes or work without their male guardian’s permission.” Instead of legitimating the rule of the British Raj or, in a more recent example of the circulation of this trope, the invasion of Iraq, this discourse of women’s rights is deployed by the Ethical Oil campaign to suggest that American consumers should support oil extracted in more democratic nations. As the Ethical Oil website has it, “Countries that produce Ethical Oil protect the rights of women, workers, indigenous peoples and other minorities including gays and lesbians. Conflict Oil regimes, by contrast, oppress their citizens and operate in secret with no accountability to voters, the press or independent judiciaries. Some Conflict Oil regimes even support terrorism.” The notion of “conflict” oil is intended to evoke the campaign against Blood Diamonds, suggesting that consumers who support the extraction and consumption of oil from Canada’s tar sands rather than from Saudi Arabia are striking a decisive blow for human rights.

Two huge fallacies underlie this apparently neat distinction between Ethical Oil and Conflict Oil. The first is the assumption that the world has to consume more oil, and that Americans must perforce choose between different sources of petroleum. Against this assumption, we should remember the admonitions of climate scientists such as James Hansen that we need to decarbonize the industrialized economies of the world with all possible dispatch if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Few serious analysts believe such a shift is going to be easy or even possible without transforming our current, growth-dependent capitalist system, but it is nonetheless clearly imperative for our collective survival that we make this change. This is a truth that the notion of ethical oil consumption, like other forms of consumer-oriented green capitalism, conveniently ignores.

The second whopping lie in the Ethical Oil campaign is the notion that any oil can ever be extracted in a wholly ethical manner. Oil is a toxic substance whose extraction and consumption over the last century has significantly raised living standards in some parts of the world, but has also been inextricably tied to colonialism, imperialism, and other violations of people’s rights to self-determination, leading to widespread human rights abuses and the wholesale destruction of the environment. Furthermore, to continue to consume oil is to magnify the baleful impact of climate chaos around the world today and to ensure a bleak and increasingly violent world for future generations.

Oil from the tar sands, which the Ethical Oil campaign is of course designed to legitimate, is a perfect example of the violence of the energy industry. Tar sands oil is based on modes of extreme extraction that wreak unparalleled destruction on the environment and its denizens. Much of that destruction has been relatively invisible, however, since it takes place in the geographically isolated wilds of northern Alberta Province in Canada. An additional factor that makes extraction from the tar sands difficult for the general public to understand and to mobilize against is what Rob Nixon, in his recent book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, calls the “temporal dispersion” of environmental calamities. Like the acidification of the oceans, the thawing of the cryosphere, and many other aspects of climate change, the impact of oil and gas extraction from the Canadian tar sands does not fit within the spectacular visual frame that drives mainstream news media. As Nixon argues, the slow violence that characterizes many environmental catastrophes not only tends to make such disasters relatively invisible to much of the public, but also allows the corporations that perpetrate ecocide to wash their hands of the damage they cause since this violence often unfolds over decades rather than in the spectacular moment. The problem of slow violence is, as Nixon points out, at its heart a challenge of representation. This makes a politics of witnessing – using media that can reverse the geographical and temporal invisibility of environmental crimes – a particularly key mode of contemporary activism.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo’s Oil on Lubicon Land: A Photo Essay offers a powerful instance of such witnessing. Through a collage of photographs and a voice-over narrative, Laboucan-Massimo depicts the impact of three decades of oil and gas extraction on the territory of her people, the Lubicon-Cree First Nation. Lubicon land is now pockmarked by more than 2,600 oil and gas wells, and seventy percent of the tribe’s territory is leased for future “development.” Laboucan-Massimo stresses that this oil and gas extraction has taken place without consent of the Lubicon, infringing the provisions of the Canadian Constitution that protect aboriginal treaty rights. In addition, none of the estimated $14 billion worth of resources removed from Lubicon territory over the years have benefited the tribe materially. Instead, as Laboucan-Massimo demonstrates in her arresting photomontage, the beautiful boreal forests and peatlands that used to support a self-sufficient indigenous way of life based on hunting and gathering have been replaced by a blasted, pitted, and polluted industrial landscape. As indigenous activist Gitz Crazyboy put it during the Keystone protests, this effectively represents a fresh wave of genocide against First Nations people. To destroy the land that sustains indigenous people is also to destroy their culture, to make them dependent wards of an increasingly parsimonious state that has sanctioned the illegal exploitation of their lands.

Oil on Lubicon Land also makes the impact of extreme extraction visible by narrating the April 29, 2011 rupture in the Rainbow pipeline. This spill, one of many almost totally unreported pipeline ruptures over the last year in North America, released 4.5 million liters of toxic crude onto Lubicon land. If members of the tribe were already suffering from the slow violence of respiratory illnesses and cancer clusters produced by the oil and gas industry’s exploits on their land in recent decades, the oil spill rendered the toxicity of extreme extraction graphically visible. According to Laboucan-Massimo, the government not only failed to send out crews to deal with the spill but also did not notify affected communities of the dangers of the spill for almost a week. In a replay of the mendacious collaboration between government regulators and Big Oil that characterized the Deepwater Horizon spill, provincial authorities subsequently claimed that the peatland which absorbed much of the spill was an inert and isolated bog rather than a living ecosystem with vital connections to other parts of Lubicon land, including the aquifers that supply the Lubicon with drinking water.

Oil on Lubicon Land is not just a call for solidarity with the geographically isolated and politically marginalized Lubicon-Cree people, as important as such a call is. Melina Laboucan-Massimo’s photo essay has direct implications for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which will traverse the massive Ogallala aquifer – the source of 30% of America’s irrigation water and 82% of the drinking water for residents of the Plains states. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL a failing grade for reasons tied to the threat represented by the pipeline project to the Ogallala aquifer. The EPA noted, for instance, that the Environmental Impact Statement failed to adequately consider alternate routes for the pipeline that do not run through the Ogallala aquifer, and also failed to disclose or analyze the potential diluents that would have to be used to reduce the viscosity of the bitumen carried in the pipeline, information that would be essential to dealing with potential leaks. Such leaks are a very real concern given the fact that the existing Keystone pipeline ruptured in May 2011, releasing 20,000 gallons of crude in North Dakota. This was only one of the twelve spills that have plagued the Keystone over the last year. TransCanada Corporation’s successor pipeline, the Keystone XL, is, as its cute suffix suggests, designed to carry far more crude – double the quantity, in fact – far further, increasing the potential destructive impact of a rupture.

Adding to these relatively immediate concerns about the pipeline’s potential damage to key water supplies, the EPA report discusses the Environmental Impact Statement’s failure to assess the heightened greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project adequately. Exploitation of the Canadian tar sands is an incredibly energy-intensive process. The first step is to cut down huge swaths of boreal forest, a step that of course generates large amounts of carbon. Next, three-story high motorized shovels and dump trucks have to remove tons and tons of rock and soil to expose the underlying tar sands. Then, the dense bitumen that will be turned into synthetic crude has to be separated from the sand and clay with which it is surrounded. This can be done either by hauling the tar sands to processing plants, where natural gas and a gasoline-like product called naphtha are used to separate and process the bitumen, or by pumping steam underground to “cook” the bitumen over a two-week period, and then pumping the liquefied bitumen out of the ground. Either way, the amount of water and energy needed to extract the bitumen are extremely high, and the entire process creates massive amounts of greenhouse gases. Indeed, according to Naomi Klein, Canada’s carbon emissions are up 30% as a result of increasing exploitation of the tar sands, meaning that all other steps to be good environmental stewards taken by Canadians are meaningless.

The tar sands contain massive fossil fuel deposits. In fact, Canada increased its oil reserves by 3,600% when it decided to report its bitumen as economically recoverable “proven reserves” of petroleum in 2003, making it the possessor of the world’s second-largest oil supply. Nonetheless, in his book Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World, Richard Heinberg predicted that, despite their abundance, the tar sands would not become a meaningful source of energy for the U.S. because the extraction process relies so heavily on cheap and abundant natural gas. What has changed since Heinberg published this prediction in 2004? In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act after an intense lobbying campaign from the extractive industry and from Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force. As Josh Fox details in his film Gasland, the Energy Policy Act contained what’s known proverbially as the Halliburton Loophole to the Safe Drinking Water Act, a provision that authorizes corporations engaged in oil and gas exploration and extraction to inject known hazardous materials into land directly adjacent to underground drinking water supplies. The Halliburton Loophole also exempts such corporations from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Superfund Law.

These legal changes were necessary because the recovery of natural gas has been vastly expanded using a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or, more popularly, fracking. Like exploitation of the tar sands and other forms of extreme extraction, fracking is necessary because our nation’s unexploited large natural gas reserves are embedded in dense rock formations. To extract these relatively inaccessible reserves, energy companies inject a cocktail of water and secret proprietary fracturing fluids deep underground, where the toxic brew literally explodes, fracturing the rock formations and allowing the natural gas to be siphoned up to the surface. Significant amounts of the fracking fluids remain in the ground after the gas has been extracted. Despite releasing a report in 2004 (under heavy pressure from the Bush administration) that concluded that fracking “poses little or no threat to underground sources of drinking water,” in a 2010 study the EPA discovered toxins such as arsenic, copper, vanadium, and adamantanes in drinking water adjacent to drilling operations; these contaminants have been linked to illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, anaemia, and fertility problems. The Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board is currently studying ways to make hydraulic fracturing safer, but, as a letter from scientists at 22 leading universities states, six of the seven members of this subcommittee have current financial ties to the natural gas and oil industry. The public has good reason to be skeptical about the reports from such biased sources.

Immediately after passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005, a bevvy of major energy corporations began the largest and most extensive domestic drilling campaign in history. They were building on drilling conducted since the Bureau of Land Management opened its extensive territories to drilling under pressure from Vice President Cheney in 2001, a move that resulted in the drilling of 450,000 wells in largely rural areas of the American west and south. The large quantities of natural gas recovered in the course of these earlier operations were key to making exploitation of the Canadian tar sands economically viable. Abundant and consequently relatively cheap sources of one fossil fuel hence facilitated extraction of another, with little thought given to the ultimate environmental and human toll of such energy intensive and polluting processes. As we have seen, however, both sources require extreme extraction techniques, both rely on dubious scientific claims about the safety of such techniques, and they each result in grievous environmental damage, both immediate and long-term.

After 2005, drilling operations for natural gas using fracking were extended into the more highly populated areas of North America. In July 2008, Pennsylvania lifted a five-year moratorium on new drilling in state lands to allow access to the Marcellus shale, a sedimentary rock formation that extends under a large part of the Appalachian Basin, from New York’s finger lakes region, through central Pennsylvania, to West Virginia and Maryland. New York quickly streamlined its own leasing process to catch up with Pennsylvania, despite the lack of any significant objective assessments of the environmental and health impacts of fracking. A recent New York Times article revealed that a yet-to-be-released report into the impact of fracking in New York state was conducted by Ecology and Environment, Inc., a consulting firm that “counts oil and gas companies among its clients and that could gain business from increased drilling in the state.” Despite widespread public concern about the paucity and dubious objectivity of environmental impact assessments, New York State officials report they expect to receive applications to drill up to 2,500 horizontal and vertical wells on the Marcellus Shale during a peak year — and about 1,600 in an average year — over a 30-year period. That’s 48,000 wells in New York State alone. Many of these wells will be in areas near the pristine watersheds that feed the renowned public water supply of New York City.

Extreme extraction has arrived on the doorstep of the world’s most affluent and powerful city. Like exploitation of the tar sands, fracking may imperil the water supply of millions of people. The environmental chickens have really come home to roost. This threat is transforming the U.S. environmental movement. For the Indian ecologist Ramachandra Guha, author of How Much Should a Person Consume and many other important works of environmental history, the environmental movement in the U.S. has tended to focus on preservation of what is represented as pristine natural wilderness. Guha argues, in contrast, that environmental protest in India and other zones of the global South has focused more on protests against the encroachment on communal natural resources by what he calls the urban-industrial complex. Since these environmental conflicts hinge on control over resources key to community survival, they tend to center on issues of human rights and distributive justice. Such struggles also tend to generate relatively radical forms of protest such as direct action since they have to do with what Gitz Crazyboy called “taking back our futures.” Guha’s opposition breaks down when it comes to the Environmental Justice Movement in the U.S., which has fought the disproportionate location of polluting industries and toxic dumps in communities of color for at least three decades. Nonetheless, Guha’s analysis is an accurate characterization of the single-issue orientation of most mainstream American environmental organizations.

The campaign against the Keystone XL Pipeline that unfolded over the last two weeks suggests, though, that Guha’s critical characterization of the U.S. environmental movement needs to be revised. As extreme extraction becomes increasingly prevalent and increasingly threatening in the U.S., the American environmental movement is likely to converge with environmental activism in the global South around issues of social justice and collective survival. During the Keystone XL protest in front of the White House, for example, the tar sands were represented as a carbon bomb that needs to be defused. This image of a ticking bomb captures both the ominous long-term temporal menace represented by climate change as well as the danger of immediate destruction that characterizes an exploding pipeline – and, I would add, the volatile process of hydraulic fracturing. Notably, the Tar Sands Action also involved the formation of coalitions and solidarity between groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, rural farmers’ organizations, protesters from the Gulf Coast, and urban activists from the Northeast. And finally, the Tar Sands Action took the form of the largest environmental nonviolent direct action protest in several generations. None of these momentous changes in the environmental movement came automatically or easily; it took a lot of work by organizers to bring this protest to fruition. A lot more work remains to be done to adequately include and highlight the concerns of underrepresented groups such as environmental justice activists in the emerging movement for climate justice. Nonetheless, the Tar Sands Action represents an important milestone in the fight to take back our future.

Ashley Dawson  is Professor of English at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.  He is the author of Mongrel Nation: Diasporic Culture and the Making of Post-Colonial Britain and co-author with Malini Johar Schueller of “Exceptional State: Contemporary US Culture and the New ImperialismHe can be reached atashleydawson.info

 

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http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/09/extreme-extraction/