Archive | May, 2010

Merciless Cruelty in Ohio

28 May

from Farm Sanctuary “Earlier this week, national news broke of an undercover investigation at Conklin Dairy farm in Union County, Ohio, near Columbus. The undercover footage, obtained over the past several weeks by the animal protection group Mercy For Animals, shows workers beating cows in the face with crowbars, stabbing them with pitchforks, breaking their tails, and punching, throwing and kicking calves—while bragging and gloating about the abuse.” Read more at Mercy for Animals’s website.

Latest update: Billy Joe Gregg, caught on film, is being charged with 12 counts of Animal Cruelty, which carries a total maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. Farm Sanctuary is trying to get the State to hand over the tortured animals, but officials insist that there is not enough evidence of cruelty to “confiscate” the animals.

Redwood Curtain Action Camp

28 May

An illegal highway project for a two mile section of Redwood Highway 101 proposes to remove 54 trees as well as cut, fill, compact and/or pave over the roots of 66 Redwoods 3 to 18 feet diameter! Join us and help save the Richardson Grove State Park Old Growth Redwoods. Support local and sustainable businesses! Save the Redwood Curtain! Please visit coalition supporters below. humboldtforestdefense@gmail.com

So many of you are asking “Where exactly is the location?” That’s a secret… 🙂

The location is just south of Richardson Grove State Park. Just look for the banners, signs and people.

This is an open forum. The following trainings and skills are being offered at this point. Aside from Non-violence and Direct action trainings, topics could be anything from gender related issues, non-oppression and group social skills, backwoods and canopy survival, climb trainings, water purification, herbs and medicine, CPR and First Aid, etc. ,etc….

What we still need:
-Water containers
-Tarps
-Buckets for dishes, etc.
-Dishes
-Food and donations for food(If you are a carnivore, that’s great but please bring your own meat and grill!)
-Pots, pans, stove, grill(veggie and non)etc.
-Utensils
-Cordage and stakes
-Easy ups
-Toilet seats
-Used and unneeded 5 gallon buckets w/lids
-Plastic bags
-Solar Shower
-Extension Cords
-Firewood
-Large Dry Erase Board and dry erase pens and/or Chalkboard
-Easel
-Blankets

Shit Hitting the Fan: News Roundup 5/28

28 May


Simmer Down? No Thanks.
As though environmental news couldn’t get scarier, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims that this April was the hottest April since record keeping began in 1880. Beyond that, the average temperature of Earth this year has been higher than any year since 1880. Before you start feeling like your a character in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, lets move on.

Cape Wind
The Massachussets Audobon Society is in hot water after throwing its support behind offshore wind farms on the Nantucket Sound. In a move that screams “compromise,” Mass Audobon supports the 130 offshore wind turbine project called Cape Wind on the condition that Cape Wind to counts the birds killed by the wind farms. Check out Barbara Durkin’s fabulous article
here.

Animal Farms
In other compromising environmental news, the Sierra Club and the National Resource Defense Council settled a lawsuit with the EPA on Tuesday over the placement of factory farms. Because animals raised for slaughter in factory farms have an intense amount of nitrogen in their feces, the environmental organizations demand that the EPA forge some sort of bureaucratic process to ensure that the animal farms would not be placed too close to water sources. So now, the EPA has done just that; it needs to gather information about factory farms and determine whether they should be regulated whereas before it did not. Woopty woo.

Australian LNG Means Infrastructure Nightmare
A huge, $8 billion Liquid Natural Gas plant has been approved in Queensland, Australia, allowing Santos Ltd. and Petronas to start the project, including 2,650 wells over 25 years over 6,800sq km in the Surat and Bowen Basins, 435km of 42” diameter steel pipeline from Fairview gas fields to Gladstone.

Comment Period Begins for South Carolina Nukes
South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. wants to build two, 1,100-megawatt reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia, the state capitol. The Sierra Club and The Friends of the Earth have been working against the reactors; they have a good informational web site up about it here.

Green Bombs?
According to Treehugger.com, the US military is taking steps to “Green” itself…
* Green Hornet: F/A-18 Super Hornet Fighter Plane Flies on 50/50 Biofuel Blend
* U.S. Navy Wants to Cut its Petroleum Use, Create “Green Strike” Groups
* 33 US Military Generals, Admirals: “Climate Change is Threatening America’s Security”
* US Army to Turn Gulf Spill Oil Into Asphalt With Experimental Chemical (Video)
* US Army Goes Solar: 500 MW Solar Thermal Power Plant to be Built at Fort Irwin

What Treehugger doesn’t mention is the tremendous environmental cost of war. The US military is the number one contributor to ecological damage in the world, laying waste to vast bioregions, murdering animals and saturating areas with harmful chemicals—not to mention it is the bringer of imperialist civilization, focused on industry and resource extraction.

Photos Can be Fun!

By the way, check out these awesome pictures of nature!

Deep Horizon Still Gushing

28 May


This photo was taken from an elevation of 3,500 feet. It shows the sheen of oil which indicates a column of oil 10 miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico.

The attempts to plug the Deep Horizon oil gusher has apparently been failing, and the 17-39 million gallons of oil that has already leaked into the Gulf of Mexico is getting worse.

While the rhetoric is moving on to a moratorium on offshore drilling for the next few months—”Until we can be sure that it’s safe.”—we wonder what it’s going to take to show people the insanity of the situation. This spill has already caused irreparable damage:
– 150 threatened or endangered sea turtles are dead along with 316 sea birds, mostly brown pelicans and northern gannets
– Gulf Coast wetlands are swamped in oil right now, and oil is likely to reach the Florida Keys, Cuba, the Everglades and so on.
– Humans are getting sick – particularly fishers – due to exposure to the toxic chemical dispersants that BP has dumped on the oil (in spite of pleas by the US to stop). These dispersants give animals brain lesions with prolonged exposure.

We are tempted to ask “How can people expect a moratorium to solve the problems of offshore risks? How can anyone talk about offshore drilling being “safe” ever again?” but this does not go deep enough. Several dozen offshore drilling permits have been granted since the declaration of a supposed moratorium by the President and Secretary of the Interior. The real question is, “How can people watch the television and believe anything that they are seeing/hearing out of this administration?

Cut back to the oil spill, where political and economic reactions have been predictable:
– Transocean, the company that owned the busted drill reported making a $270 million profit from insurance payouts after the disaster. They had insured it for twice its value, because they knew it was busted in the first place.
– BP’s new “Oil Spill Response Plan” is literally a copy&paste job from the Exxon Valdez plan, with no attention paid to the bioregion of the Gulf of Mexico—it even mentions seals and walruses!
– The Secretary of the Interior went ahead and fired the boss of the Minerals Management Services department that was overseeing offshore drilling regulation, fine. But he is replacing the guy with Bob Abbey, head of the infamous Bureau of Land Management whose heinous oversight of horses and burros has drawn the ire of pretty much every environmentalist on the planet.

As oil continues to flood into the Gulf, BP’s final idea is to shove a bunch of mud and cement into the broken pipe. This idea, originally conceived of by Homer Simpson, is their best idea? The only thing they can come up with after this is to put a tanker above the spill, and try to let it soak up the oil that comes out! As dreads move into hurricane season, some meteorologists fear a horrific storm surge of crude oil flooding major cities, and this is the best that the coordinated efforts of the world’s financial and political elites can do?

Actions and protests have already begun, challenging the stagnant businesses and officials at fault for this disaster and others like it. They will only intensify and grow as the oil continues to flow, and the country will be galvanized towards the struggle against the systems of pressure and oppression that destroy our environment. The more environmentalists can do to bring the discussion out on the streets and away from the corporate media, the better—we will prevail.

Cascadia Against LNG

27 May

A No LNG coalition celebration/Rally is happening in Portland right now at the Oregon Convention Center where the NW Natural Shareholder Meeting is taking place. Two LNG terminals are still proposed in Oregon (On the Columbia River and in Coos Bay). The No LNG coalition is pressuring NW Natural to completely cancel the Palomar pipeline, which still threatens to clearcut 47-miles of Mt. Hood National Forest and bring heavy construction to 300 rivers and streams. The coalition is composed of over a dozen environmental groups, including Cascadia Rising Tide, Columbia Riverkeeper, Bark, Oregon Sierra Club, Hey NW Natural campaign and Friends of Living Oregon Waters.

National Day of Action Against Gold Mining in El Salvador Underway!

27 May


An effort coordinated by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) and allies is underway in cities across the United States. This national day of action targets Pacific Rim, a Canadian gold mining corporation which is suing the nation of El Salvador for refusing to grant mining permits for ecologically destructive cyanide-leach mines. Click here to participate by calling Pacific Rim!

Actions have already taken place in New York City, where around 30 protesters converged on the Canadian Consulate accompanied by the Grim Reaper who was trying to give people bottles of water contaminated by the impending mine, and in Washington, D.C., where around 50 activists took over the plaza in front of Pacific Rim’s attorneys, Crowell & Moring. An action in Boston is scheduled for 4:00pm EST, where a delegation will convene with members from the Salvadorian community, union representative, a baptist minister and a pair of students who will be traveling to El Salvador soon. The delegation will be lead to the Canadian Consulate for a rally protesting Canada’s upcoming Free Trade Agreement with Central America.

More actions are planned on the West Coast. In Portland, a protest took place at Senator Wyman’s office, involving 20-30 protesters, plus music, speeches and street theater. Wyman voted for the Central America Free Trade Agreement, which allows Pacific Rim’s lawsuit to proceed, and is now Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on International Trade. In Seattle, a march will move from Westlake Plaza to Representative McDermott’s office, where a mock press conference will be staged thanking Rep. McDermott on behalf of Pacific Rim.

For more info, click here.

CBD’s Kieran Suckling on the False Moratorium

27 May

Controversial Salazar “Moratorium” on Gulf Drilling was Only Verbal
by Kieran Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity

Gov. Prof: “so ridiculous that it defies understanding”

Law Prof: “moratorium does not even cover the dangerous drilling that caused
the problem in the first place”

In response to a scandal created by Center for Biological Diversity research
demonstrating that the Minerals Management Service (MMS) approved 19 new
drilling plans -after the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon-all with
exemptions from environmental review-Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar
announced on May 6, 2010, a moratorium on the issuance of final permits for
“any new offshore drilling activity.”

Since then, the Department of Interior, and President Obama himself, has
repeatedly changed the definition of the increasingly controversial
moratorium as ongoing Center research has shown that the agency was still
issuing new drilling permits. The moratorium description has become steadily
narrower as the Interior Department changes it to exclude whatever drilling
permits MMS issues on any given day.

As currently defined, the moratorium is so narrow it allows continued
issuance of the exact drilling permit type that BP was operating under when
the Deepwater Horizon exploded.

Daniel J. Rohlf, a law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, told the New
York Times
last week that he was losing confidence that Salazar was capable

of instituting needed offshore drilling reforms since “(t)he moratorium
does not even cover the dangerous drilling that caused the problem in the
first place.”

“Under pressure from the oil industry and an agency he seems incapable of
controlling, Secretary Salazar has watered down the drilling moratorium to a
point where it is virtually meaningless,” said Kieran Suckling, executive
director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“He seems more interested in political damage control than ensuring the Gulf
of Mexico is protected from another oil industry explosion,” said Suckling.
“Salazar’s so-called moratoriums and reforms are little more than rhetorical
dispersants designed to breakup and hide the political scandal threatening
to wash up on his shore.”

Yesterday, Interior spokespeople revealed why the “moratorium” has changed
so often and caused so much confusion: it does not exist in writing. In
keeping with the lax environmental oversight he allowed to rein at MMS,
Secretary Salazar never communicated his moratorium to the agency in
writing.

New York University Government Professor, Paul Light, told NPR yesterday
that a verbal moratorium is “so ridiculous that it defies understanding. It
could not be more important to enforce this moratorium and make absolutely
clear to the oil industry what is and is not permissible. And yet you have
the execution of a critical order that appears to have been basically done
through the most casual way possible under federal law.”

Secretary Salazar himself became the victim of his confused, shifting sands
moratorium when he falsely told Congress that it stopped all new drilling in
the Gulf of Mexico. Interior spokes people told NPR that “the Secretary
misspoke at the hearing.”

Background

Salazar’s 5-6-10 press release announcing the moratorium says:

“In a media availability after the meeting, Secretary Salazar announced
that, as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, beginning
April 20 – the date of the explosion – no applications for drilling permits
will go forward for any new offshore drilling activity until the Department
of the Interior completes the safety review process that President Obama
requested. In accordance with the President’s request, the Department will
deliver its report to the President by May 28, 2010. The only exceptions to
the new rule regarding permit approvals are the two relief w ells that are
being drilled in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

His 5-7-10 press release says the same thing:

“Offshore Drilling Permit Applications Halted

Secretary Salazar announced that, as a result of the Deepwater Horizon
explosion and spill, beginning April 20-the date of the explosion-no
applications for drilling permits will go forward for any new offshore
drilling activity until the Department of the Interior completes the safety
review process that President Obama requested. In accordance with the
President’s request, the Department will deliver its report to the President
by May 28. The only exceptions to the new rule regarding permit approvals
are the two relief wells that are being drilled in response to the Deepwater
Horizon disaster.”

When confronted with the fact that MMS has issued 17 new drilling permits
since April 20th, Interior spokespeople inexplicably denied that the
moratorium applied to “any new offshore drilling activity,” saying that it
actually only applied to drilling of new wells. This allows the majority of
MMS drilling permits, including the kind used by the Deepwater Horizon, to
proceed unabated.

Salazar subsequently told Congress (and Carol Browner told the media) that
no new wells had been drilled since April 20th. Confronted with the fact
that new wells have been drilled since April 20th, Interior spokespeople
said the Secretary was mistaken and that the moratorium only applies to new
permits.

While the permit moratorium at least halts a minimal number of projects,
Salazar has placed no moratorium at all on the approval of drilling plans
without environmental review even though the president himself has declared
on May 14th: “It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little
more than assurances of safety from the oil companies. That cannot and will
not happen anymore. We’re also closing the loophole that has allowed some oil
companies to bypass some critical environmental reviews…”

MMS to this day is approving drilling plans without environmental review.
Many are for ultradeep water drilling which is much more dangerous than the
Deepwater Horizon.

Wilderness Roundup

27 May

In a victory for conservationists, Basalt Fire District officials put their support behind designation of roughly 90% of Colorado’s Basalt Mountain (almost 19 square miles) as wilderness. For more on EF! activity in the area, visit Earth First! Durango’s facebook page. There will be a gathering of Earth First!ers to discuss local action in Colorado at Feral Futures in June. See http://feralfutures.proboards.com/ for info on how to get there.

The Pennsylvania Wilderness Coalition formed a couple of days ago out of 6 different environmental groups representing over 65,000 members. The prime goal is wilderness designation in the Alleghany Forest. Earth First!ers were and are part of the movement, along with the Alleghany Defense Project, to protect the Alleghany from logging under the East Side Timber Sale. Last we heard, there are still only two fairly small protected areas in the entire Alleghany National Forest, so hopefully the new PWC will get things going pronto.

The first formal steps took place this week to forward wilderness bills in Congress for the Southwest. A million acres of desert lands in Southern California is proposed for wilderness by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but controversy about the placement of ‘renewable’ energy sources have stalled the bill. Rep. Martin Heinrich wants a large, North-South stretch of the Cibola National Forest in Central New Mexico, which will function as an open and safe wildlife corridor while maintaining “la cultura de las montañas” of the historic East Mountain. Meanwhile, the Tumacocori Highlands area in southern Arizona, prime habitat for the near-extinct Jaguar, is still being worked on by Congressman Raul Grijalva of Tucson despite complications with border policy.

Speaking of border politics, a panel on wilderness preservation in New Mexico drew lots of heat last week. Stacked with Border Patrol Agents, Tea Party reps and other anti-immigration ideologues, the panel argued that the proposed wilderness area in the Potrillo Mountains would engender violent smuggling along the Mexico border. According to the panel, designating 143,450 acres Potrillo Mountains as wilderness and es­tablishing wilderness areas in the Organ Moun­tains, the Aden Lava Flow, Broad Canyon, Robledo Mountains and the Sierra de las Uvas Mountains would bring in smugglers who wanted to avoid law enforcement. If this were true, which it’s not (much to our chagrin, Border Patrol can and do pursue smugglers anywhere they want) at least smugglers coming into wilderness areas would be able to appreciate nature better than these panelists.

Finally, activists are pushing to protect the San Gabriel Mountains an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. With the Freddies’ budget being cut, development encroaching, and eco-tourist tracks getting worse, the area is in serious danger. The proposal that many activists are putting forward would add 30,000 acres to three existing wilderness areas and have 44 miles of San Antonio Creek, the middle fork of Lytle Creek and portions of the San Gabriel River’s east, west and north forks protected under the national Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which would prohibit new damming. So far, nine cities and several churches have backed the proposal.

National Guard Sent to the Border

27 May


Another one for our “There Goes the Neighborhood” file: the President of the United States announced yesterday that 1,200 National Guard troops are being called up to “secure our borders.” Many of these troops are going to be stationed in our beloved home, the State of Arizona, which in the last few weeks passed at least two racist laws effectively eliminating “ethnic studies” from the public education system and empowering police to stop and demand proof of citizenship or proper documentation “on suspicion.” Nobody knows quite what the National Guard will be needed for, as migrants are not violent, but according to the President, the deployment of the military in this situation forms a “bridge to longer-term enhancements.”

Militarization of the border has lead to the two headed chimera of the Border Wall and the Border Patrol. The Border Patrol is allowed to ride their vehicles and act with impunity in all public lands, including wilderness areas, leading to environmental damage that parallels the migrant trails they are attempting to stop. At the same time, the Border Wall as a massive construction site is as environmentally devastating as it is as a an enormous barrier to wildlife corridors and disruption of a complex ecosystem. The previous President sent the National Guard to the border, and the current one’s repetition of this action reflects the fact that the same complex is in power with a different face.

This is the complex that initiates immigration by denying Mexico and the Global South the rights to food sovereignty. This is the complex that uses trade and diplomacy as war by other means, placing human urges over the natural well being of life on the planet. With the “maus” trap that is border security policy, we are confronted with a violently self-destructive strategy, which pits humanity against itself for the benefit of corporate machinations. This pollution of the spirit is reflected in the industrial programs that cause the Mexican diaspora, and the waste that it generates both at home and abroad.

A biocentric analysis of globalization must understand that borders exist only in the mind of an industrial nightmare.

Greenpeace Drops a Big One on Dell

26 May


Four Greenpeace activists dropped a large banner on the front of Dell’s headquarters in Austin today to protest the use of PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Dell had promised to end the use of these toxic products by the end of 2009, but has yet to live up to its word. Click here for more