Archive | April, 2011

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

Six Utah climate activists connected to Timothy DeChristopher arrested at U.S. Capitol

21 Apr

From The Salt Lake Tribune

Six Utahns associated with climate activist and convicted energy lease auction imposter Tim DeChristopher were among 30 arrested in and around the U.S. Capitol in recent days for disrupting government activities, including House floor debate.

DeChristopher wasn’t among those arrested, though he and 12 other members of Salt Lake City’s climate-action group Peaceful Uprising are in Washington for a “Power Shift” clean-energy conference. DeChristopher spoke to activists at the conference and said that “the climate-change movement has done too much compromising,” said the group’s co-director, Flora Bernard.

That message echoes an impassioned defense of civil disobedience that he gave on the U.S. District Court steps in Salt Lake City after his felony conviction for placing bogus bids at a U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction.

“If we’re going to achieve our vision,” he said when his trial ended March 3, “many after me will have to join me as well.”

At the time, members of Peaceful Uprising and his First Unitarian Church congregation said they were willing to face arrest to challenge the fossil-fuel economy that they believe is quickly destroying the planet.

Read the rest of the article here.

4 Greenpeace activists arrested in Canada after taking over energy minister’s office

21 Apr
Greenpeace activists in Energy Minister Brad Duguids office on April 19, 2011. GREENPEACE.

Four Greenpeace Canada activists were arrested Tuesday after occupying Energy Minister Brad Duguid’s offices to protest new construction at the Darlington nuclear facility.

Demonstrators began their sit-in around 9 a.m., chaining themselves together and opening a banner that read, “Stop Darlington, Choose Safe Green Energy.”

“40 days after Fukushima and Duguid has yet to consider alternatives,” protester Shawn-Patrick Stensil tweeted from the building.

The ministry’s press secretary had said officials were willing to talk with the group, and police would not remove them as long as they were peaceful.

It’s not yet known why the arrests happened.

The Ontario government is planning to add two new reactors to Darlington, 70 kilometres east of Toronto. The federal government has been studying the plant since 2006. The proposal is up for debate and has new urgency in light of the disaster in Japan.

That country’s March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused serious damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in the north part of the country. Earlier this month, radiation levels reached a high not seen since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union.

Activists arrested at Crawford coal plant in Illinois after calling for shutdown

21 Apr

Photo courtesy of Extraction Action Chicago Activists from Midwest environmental groups slipped through the fence at the Crawford Power Plant in Little Village, calling for its closure.

Six activists slipped through a gap in the fence at the Crawford Generating Station in Little Village Wednesday morning. They were arrested by Chicago police after unfurling a banner that read “Close Chicago’s Toxic Coal Plants” on top of a coal pile.

The protest took place the day before two City Council committees hold hearings on a Clean Power Ordinance that would reduce emissions at Chicago’s Crawford and Fisk coal-powered plants.

The activists were arrested on charges of misdemeanor trespassing and are expected to be released in the next few hours, according to Abigail Singer of the environmental group Rising Tide North America.

The activist groups – Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Rising Tide North America, Rainforest Action Network and the Backbone Campaign – joined forces to demand the closure of Chicago’s coal-fired power plants if the plants don’t reduce pollution emissions.

“We’re trying to expose how deadly these coal power plants are,” said Selene Gonzalez, urban land organizer for Little Village Environmental. “If you can’t clean up, you need to shut down.”

Read the rest of the article here.

21 Arrested at Interior Department Sit-In Protesting Coal Extraction in Wyoming

21 Apr

In Washington, D.C., 21 protesters were arrested Monday for staging a sit-in at the headquarters of the Department of Interior. The protesters were calling for the abolition of offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction. Kristen Owen of High Country Rising Tide in Wyoming was among those arrested. She criticized Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for his recent announcement that the federal government would open up the Powder River Basin in Wyoming for coal mining.

Kristen Owen: “They expect to receive over 758 million tons of new coal

North Antelope Rochelle Coal Mine Powder River Coal Co. mine in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming

from those land leases that will happen on public lands in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, and that coal will be shipped to coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest and then shipped to Asia, a place where we’ll be fueling developing economies, flooding them with cheap fuels that force them to develop coal-based economies instead of renewable-energy-based economies.”

See the video of Kristen Owen of High Country Rising Tide on Democracy Now here.

Protest Escalates at Proposed Indian Nuclear Site

20 Apr

Photo: AP--Indian police officers use batons on a villager opposing a government plan to build a nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra state, India, April 19, 2011Kurt Achin | New Delhi

By Kurt Achin | New Delhi cross posted from
Protests at the site of a proposed nuclear plant in India are heating up well in advance of a mass rally scheduled there next week. There has been at least one death so far, and demonstrators say the government is ignoring their concerns about the threat the reactor poses to their safety and livelihoods.

India’s Maharashtra state ordered an investigation Tuesday into the deadly shooting of a protester in the Indian city of Jaitapur. Police said they had “no option” but to fire live ammunition after protests against construction of a nuclear facility in the area turned violent.

The deal to build the Jaitapur complex was signed with a French company during French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s visit in December. Indian officials say Jaitapur and 20 other nuclear facilities will generate one-fourth of India’s rapidly growing energy needs by 2050.

Local residents are bitterly opposed, complaining the project would displace them from their land and disrupt traditional livelihoods like fishing. The recent disaster at Japan’s Fukushima reactor has fueled further opposition, with protesters claiming the coastal Jaitapur reactor is in an earthquake prone area, and may be just as susceptible to the forces of a tsunami.

Read the rest of the story here.

Obama’s Signature to Remove Wolves from Endangered Species List

20 Apr

Political analysts expect President Obama to sign the budget reconciliation bill Congress recently passed. When he does, he’ll open the door to wolf hunting again in Montana and Idaho.

Two members of Congress — Sen. John Tester of Montana and Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho — inserted language into the budget bill that would return wolf management to Montana and Idaho state control. Both states held wolf hunts in 2009 after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted Endangered Species List protection on the species, but were blocked from doing so in 2010 by a ruling by federal judge Donald Molloy.

In addition to allowing wolf hunting seasons once again, the legislative rider would allow people to shoot wolves that threaten livestock or pets.