Archive | April, 2011

Papuans Confront Barrick Gold In Canada On Human Rights Abuses

28 Apr

Indigenous representatives from Porgera, Papua New Guinea traveled to Canada this week to speak at Barrick Gold’s annual general meeting (AGM). This year marks the fourth year that the Porgerans have visited Barrick Gold’s AGM, each time raising serious human rights and food security issues.

We are attacked continuously and we are attacked often by a very noisy and very articulate opposition,” Peter Munk, Barrick Annual General Meeting, 2010

Jethro Tulin, Akali Tange Association a member of the Porgera Alliance said, “Since 2008 we have stood here at Barrick shareholder meetings and told them about the abuses our people suffer at the hands of Barrick’s security forces – beatings, shootings, rapes and gang rapes.”

“At past AGM meetings, the board has assured the shareholders that our words were not true. But now, the world knows that there are serious abuses occurring at your Porgera Mine in PNG.”

In 2011, due to pressure from an investigation by Human Rights Watch, Barrick finally allowed for an investigation of their security regarding the allegations of gang rapes. Five Barrick employees were fired, while eight former employees were implicated in the abuse.

Barrick founder and Chairman, Peter Munk, was later quoted in the Globe and Mail saying “gang rape is a cultural habit” in the countries like Papua New Guinea, angering the Porgeran community and prompting the country’s Mining Minister, John Pundari, to demand a public apology.

Instead of an apology, Barrick Gold’s Australia-Pacific President, Gary Halverson stated that Munk’s comments were taken out of context, lamenting that “only a small portion of this conversation was included” in the Globe and Mail article. The Porgera Alliance has since called for accountability in addition to backing the Mining Minister’s call for an apology.

Similarly, a Amnesty International report released in 2010 showed evidence of at least 130 structures adjacent to Barrick’s Porgera mine were burned down, many of which were houses, while villagers were beaten, harassed, and detained.

Read the rest of the article at Intercontinental Cry

Activists protest shale panel meeting after 30,000 gallon fracking fluid leak

28 Apr
April 23, 2010, photo, workers move a section of well casing into place at a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well in Bradford County. Before the 30,000-gallon fracking fluid spill last week, Gov. Tom Corbett had asked Chesapeake Energy’s representative to step down from the Marcellus Shale Commission. (AP file photo)

HARRISBURG, PA — Anti-drilling groups lack an official spot on the state’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, but at Wednesday’s meeting, they found plenty of ways to make their presence known.

As the panel focused its second full session on environmental effects from natural gas drilling, protesters rallied outside and repeatedly interrupted presentations to voice their concerns.

With dozens signed up for the afternoon public comment period, the commission extended its meeting by more than an hour to accommodate the speakers.

Many of the remarks were tinged with anger toward what they saw as a panel stacked with drilling executives, who they felt would protect businesses over public safety.

“This is all about how do we make this better for the industry?” said Dana Dolney, of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Protest. “What about us? What about the people who are relying on you?”

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who leads the commission, listened and occasionally responded to the often-combative commenters. He later questioned whether “science and fact” back up some of the assertions, but said the panel was “sensitive” to the need to hear all sides.

The commission, created by Gov. Tom Corbett in March, is in the process of gathering information on oversight and effects of shale drilling. The group of government, industry and environmental officials is tasked with recommending policy changes to the governor by late July.

Some regulatory changes have been put in place as the panel continues its review. The Department of Environmental Protection called on drillers last week to voluntarily stop sending briny wastewater to sewage treatment plants.

Several state environmental groups commended that action, which DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said Wednesday drew “compliance within 28 hours instead of 28 months.” But as the panel heard about a method for treating wastewater on-site, many of the protesters and commenters outside criticized the DEP for its softer approach. They argued that companies should have been told, not asked, how to handle the fluid used in hydraulic fracturing.

“It’s not water — it’s toxic fluid that flows back!” shouted Conrad Volz, a professor from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health, during the noon rally outside the commission’s meeting.

Read more:

Activists Protest Nuclear Plant Construction In Brazil

25 Apr

Cross posted from

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil- Some are seeing red over a proposed nuclear power plant in Brazil. A dramatic protest included orangish red smoke and activists in hazmat suits.

Environmental activists protest outside the headquarters of Brazil’s development bank to call on authorities to halt the construction of nuclear power plants in the South American country.

Greenpeace activists protested against nuclear energy today outside Brazil’s state-run development bank, days after it announced it would finance the construction of a third nuclear plant in the country.

Demonstrators wearing gas masks released orange smoke outside the BNDES bank’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro to call for an end to Brazil’s nuclear plans.

A series of similar protests have been held across the globe since Japan’s March 11 quake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear incident since Chernobyl.

Brazil’s Congress last month voted to move ahead with the construction of its third nuclear reactor and BNDES announced a 3.9 billion U.S. dollar loan for the works. The Angra 3 nuclear plant would be built in the coastal resort area of Angra dos Reis between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and be completed by 2013.

Greenpeace’s energy director, Ricardo Baitelo, said they want the government to gradually close the country’s nuclear power plants and cancel its plans of expanding the program.

Officials said the Angra 3 approval could usher in a wider nuclear plan, which calls for between four and eight modern 1,000 MW reactors, to be built by 2030.

Mexican Environmental Activist Shot Dead

25 Apr

Javier Torres testified 2001 against the suspected assassin of human rights activist Digna Ochoa (Cuartoscuro Archivo).

Javier Torres Cruz, 30, who fought illegal deforestation by drug traffickers in the Mexican state of Guerroro, was murdered a week ago. A member of the local NGO, Environmental Organization of the Coyuca and Petatlán Mountains, Torres Cruz was known as an outspoken activist against illegal logging in the mountainous dry forest region. Logging in the region is primarily linked to fields of poppies for the illegal drug trade.

According to reports, Torres Cruz was ambushed while in a car by gunfire near his hometown of La Morena in the Petatlan Mountains. His brother, Felipe Torres Cruz, was also injured. No suspects have been arrested.

In 2008 Torres Cruz was kidnapped for 10 days and tortured. His family claimed that the Mexican soldiers were behind the kidnapping.

Torres Cruz was outspoken, even in the face of danger. In 2008 he charged a rancher with threatening peasants for their land. He also accused men linked to alleged drug lord Alba Álvarez for killing human rights activist, Digna Ochoa in 2001, though authorities deemed she had committed suicide.

His family believes the killing may be linked to Torres Cruz’s testimony against Alba Álvarez.
According to CNN Mexico, 50 activists were killed in Mexico in 2010.

Anti-Road Protesters Set Up Camp to Block Freeway Construction in B.C.

25 Apr

The 'Stop the Pave' group greets visitors at the River Road campsite in North Delta on Friday. (Photo by Sandra Cuffe)

Anti-Road protesters in British Columbia, Canada erected a camp over the weekend to block the construction of a freeway in North Delta.

The ‘Stop the Pave’ group has said they plan to stay on the waterfront site in the 10700 block of River Road in order to halt construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road when it resumes after the Easter long weekend.

Organizer Eric Doherty said that many of those opposed to the plans are local residents concerned with the road’s impact on the neighbourhood and its heritage.

“We’ve got the Glenrose Cannery, we’ve got the St. Mungo’s archeological site the province wants to pave over, and we’ve also got a whole number of historic little fishing villages,” Doherty said.

The provincial government has promised $80 million for fish habitat upgrades, agricultural improvements, and environmental mitigation for the project but Doherty said people don’t have much faith in these promises.

“No one trusts them to actually do a good job with any of those things. We know they’re in a financial crisis and the first things that get cut back are things like agricultural improvements.”

Doherty said that the protest group is also opposed in principle to the B.C. Government’s ‘Gateway’ transportation project: They feel that building roads designed to ease traffic congestion comes at the expense of the environment.

Lawsuit launched

In November, another local group opposed to the South Fraser Perimeter Road initiated legal action in an attempt to protect the local environment.

The Burns Bog Conservation Society alleges that the federal government is failing to protect the bog from negative ecological impacts that will result from the construction of the four-lane highway along its current path.

Interested in this campaign? Why not throw down a few bucks? Click here to donate to the Stop the Pave campaign.

Environmental activist assassinated in Brazil

23 Apr

Brazilian police have said that Jorge Granado, an environmental activist along with his brother and three of his friend were found tied up and shot dead “execution style” at Granado’s home. The police report that nothing appeared to be stolen from the site of the murder.

Ohio Considers Fracking at Public Parks and Wildlife Areas

23 Apr