Call Out Keystone XL Pipeline Profiteers as Perpetuators of Environmental Racism
The Valero refinery overlooks Manchester;s only park. Photo by Laura Borealis
Residents of Houston’s toxic East End have been organizing their communities to resist further industrial development, specifically the Keystone XL and the tar sands it will carry to be processed in refineries there. For the record, tar sands are NOT oil! Tar sands are a thick mixture of sand, water, clay, bitumen and crude oil which must be mixed with volatile diluents to get them to move through pipelines. Yudith Nieto, was born in Mexico and raised in Manchester, one of the most polluted neighborhoods on Turtle Island. Yudith has been speaking out and standing up for her community who are saying “NO!” to toxic tar sands. Continue reading
By Eric Moll
The directions take us just outside the New York City sprawl-zone: up through the hills and bare forests of late winter, the houses and yards getting bigger until they disappear altogether and suddenly we’re nearing the highest point in New Jersey and one of the more strenuous parts of the Appalachian Trail.
We’re here to check on the last stand of trees to be cleared for Loop 323 of the proposed Tennessee Pipeline, which would run through the heart of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, opening new areas to fracking and fueling the proposed Newark Generating Station.
My friend and I have been working with a group called Tar Sands Blockade to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Texas. We came east to offer our support to locals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who have been locking themselves to trees and blockading access roads in order to stop the Tennessee Pipeline since mid-February.
READ MORE: http://occupy.com/article/texas-appalachia-putting-our-bodies-line
Following the annual winter Earth First! rendezvous Green Hunter Fracking Waste Storage Facility in New Matamoras, Ohio has been Shut Down and Blockaded. 10 confirmed arrests, with monopod preventing operations at facility. Please consider making a donation to bail funds.
For lives updates visit our friends at Appalachia Resist! More photos can be found here.
In an unprecedented show of unity against the extraction industry, members of Appalachia Resist!, Tar Sands Blockade, Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS), Keystone Blockade, a coalition of indigenous leaders including representatives from No Line 9 and the Unis’tot’en Camp, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, and Earth First! chapters from across the country have gathered in Southern Ohio to blockade and shut down Greenhunter fracking waste water storage facility. This is the latest in an ongoing and escalating campaign of resistance to the dangerous and exploitative resource extraction industry that is threatening the existence and survival of the earth and all of it’s inhabitants. Continue reading
Following the annual winter Earth First! rendezvous Green Hunter Fracking Waste Storage Facility in New Matamoras, Ohio was blockaded and forced to shut down. Swarms of white-suited, soggy protesters and a monopod prevented operations at the facility for hours drawing 10 confirmed arrests. Below and here are more photos of the day’s dramatic event. For more info read the action report
Coalition storms lobby of Westin Hotel where sacred Amazonian lands are being auctioned by Ecuadorian Government
Westin Hotel at the Galleria in Houston, TX, 2/4/2013- Tar Sands Blockaders joined indigenous leaders from the Achuar and Shuar tribes who inhabit the Amazonian rainforest of Ecuador along with their allies from Amazon Watch and representatives from Idle No More – Gulf Coast. United in solidarity against dangerous and exploitative resource extraction, the group stormed the lobby of the Westin Hotel in Houston where the Ecuadorian government was making arrangements to auction off land for oil exploration and industrial development without the consent of the tribes who live there. Continue reading
Re-posted from our friends at the Tar Sands Blockade
Tar Sands Blockade has been working to amplify the voices of communities who will be most impacted by tar sands exploitation; Indigenous peoples and lands at the point of extraction and Latin@ and African American communities in the Gulf Coast where the tar sands will be refined and shipped to overseas markets in a tax-free trade zone.
On February 14th -18th Earth First! will be hosting it’s annual organizers conference and winter rendezvous. Indigenous land defenders and anti-pipeline organizers will hold a round table on tar sands Resistance and decolonization. Continue reading
Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey pictured here with Tar Sands Blockaders in Houston, TX after 46 days on a hunger strike to protest Valero’s involvement with TransCanada and their presence in the fence-line community of Manchester.
Our friends at the Tar Sands Blockade have been working with anarchist community organizers in Houston’s toxic East End. Many Latin@ communities are being disproportionately effected by industry, a blatant example of environmental racism and classism. The small Latin@ neighborhood of Manchester is completely surrounded by industry and their only park sits in the shadow of a Valero refinery emitting known human carcinogens like benzene, ethylene, 1-3 butadiene, etc. Through projects based on mutual aid and solidarity organizers aim to amplify the voices of people in the community. They have faced endless police harassment and intimidation.
Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey engaged in a 46 day hunger strike to call attention to Valero’s involvement with TransCanada and their presence in the community of Manchester. After ending their strike they made the following statement:
On November 29th, 2012 in protest of Valero’s involvement with the KXL pipeline we locked our necks to industrial trucks just outside the Valero refinery. We were arrested and immediately began a hunger strike in solidarity with the struggling people of the community of Manchester. We demanded that Valero not only cease all business with TransCanada but vacate the Manchester neighborhood that they have exploited for decades. Continue reading
On Thursday, December 27th, in Houston, TX, residents of Manchester gathered with allies to issue new demands on Valero. “We demand to know what you are forcing us to breathe! ¡Exigimos saber lo que nos están obligando a respirar!” The community came together in a celebration of unity and strength. Manchester is populated almost completely by Latin@s, and surrounded on all sides by industry. A massive Valero refinery looms over the community’s only park and its smokestacks poison the people who live there 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Manchester is plagued by a long list of diseases and ailments including asthma, respiratory disease and inflammation, infertility, birth defects, and a myriad of deadly cancers. The National Disease Clusters Alliance reports (pg. 2) that children living within two miles of the Houston Ship Channel have a 56% higher likelihood of developing leukemia than those who live more than ten miles away.
Anarchists and Tar Sands Blockaders helped to facilitate the gathering based on principles of mutual aid and solidarity. A barbecue was held less than one block away from the Valero refinery that poisons the neighborhood. A sign proclaimed, “EVERYONE WELCOME! TODⒶS BIENVENIDⒶS!” accompanied by a free store containing many warm clothing items, books from Tony Diaz’s project, Librotraficante, live music from an Occupy Wall Street member, and toys for children collected and donated by Cherri Foytlin. Cherri, an indigenous woman, and mother of six, chained herself to a Keystone XL Pipeyard gate on October 24th, a Tar Sands Blockade action.
Tar Sands Blockaders have been organizing in Houston’s east end in the neighborhood of Manchester and something is brewing. There have been lockdowns, blockades, youth empowerment programs, free stores, hunger strikes (26 days and counting), and plenty of seeds of resistance sowed.
Follow this link to download a .pdf booklet with high resolution photos and learn all about how Tar Sands Blockaders are working to help amplify the voices of this Latino community which corporations like Valero are desperately trying to silence. The Valero refinery in this neighborhoods only park is one of the destinations of the toxic tar sands that will be carried through TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline.
NO TAR SANDS IN MANCHESTER! KEYSTONE SPILLS, VALERO KILLS!
This interview was originally published with heavy edits in a liberal mainstream news outlet. Tar Sands Blockaders are sick of having their voices diluted.
1) How did you get involved with Tar Sands Blockade?
After seeing an image of friends on the Wall at the blockade with a big banner reading, “You Shall Not Pass” I decided to drop everything and come to Texas to stand in solidarity with my comrades fighting resource extraction, corporate ecocide and ultimately the cruel, exploitative hand of capitalism which of course allows companies like Trans Canada to thrive.
2) What actions have you been involved in?
I have been involved in multiple actions with the Tar Sands Blockade. Upon first arriving to Texas I worked as part of the ground crew providing direct support for comrades occupying the tree village. This included providing food, water, emotional support and physically protecting the tree sitters. Several times large machinery called feller bunchers (think Fern Gully) came dangerously close to trees our friends were sitting in putting their lives in direct danger, it was up to us in the ground support crew to put our bodies in the line of machinery and turn Trans Canada around. Eventually the ground support crew was forced out of Middle Earth (the given name for the woods where the tree village is located) by increased repression from the state and Trans Canada, who may as well have been synonymous with each other. I worked on a mass action which included over 50 people defying Trans Canada and police and charging the site of the tree village to provide food and water to friends and comrades in the trees who had been under the constant surveillance of both aforementioned parties and essentially held hostage with the threat of arrest and being added to a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). We know that this is how the state tries to back people in to a corner, to threaten and scare them until they become ineffective so we choose to continue to resist the Keystone XL Pipeline and all those who are accomplices to its construction including the war criminal, Barack Obama.
3) How have the cops treated you?