Archive | April, 2013

Canada’s Aboveground Environmental Activists Seen as ‘Threat to National Security’

30 Apr

by Stephen Leahy, Cross posted from The Guardian

Environmental activists opposed to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project protest

Monitoring of environmental activists in Canada by the country’s police and security agencies has become the “new normal”, according to a researcher who has analysed security documents released under freedom of information laws.

Security and police agencies have been increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

The RCMP, Canada’s national police force, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) view activist activities such as blocking access to roads or buildings as “forms of attack” and depict those involved as national security threats, according to the documents.

Protests and opposition to Canada’s resource-based economy, especially oil and gas production, are now viewed as threats to national security, Monaghan said. In 2011 a Montreal, Quebec man who wrote letters opposing shale gas fracking was charged under Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. Documents released in January show the RCMP has been monitoring Quebec residents who oppose fracking.

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Earth First! Round River Rendezvous, July 1-8, 2013, North Carolina

30 Apr

Image“A gathering of wild hearts”

The Round River Rendezvous is the annual gathering of the Earth First! Movement.

Each Summer, this week-long camp-out attracts several hundred Earth First!ers from around the world. The gathering is coordinated by a volunteer committee and includes workshops, campaign discussions, campfire music and a rally with performers and speakers. Perhaps the most important part of the Round River Rendezvous is the informal networking that goes on.

In addition, many international, national and bioregional rendezvous are held throughout the year. Announced in the Earth First! Journal, these gatherings are particularly important for developing a cohesive activist network and planning actions on a local level.

We are thrilled to announce that Croatan Earth First! will be hosting next summer’s rendezvous in North Carolina.

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Celebrate Keith McHenry’s Birthday by Supporting Resistance to Mining in Indonesia

30 Apr

Beltane Fire Festival, 2012, Edinburgh, Scotland

Beltane Fire Festival, 2012, Edinburgh, Scotland

Earth First! Newswire

As all good eco-revolutionaries know, tomorrow is May Day, or Beltane for all you neo-pagan anarcho-hippy types like some of us at the EF! Newswire.

But that’s not all. It’s also the birthday of Keith McHenry, a co-founder of the international Food Not Bombs (FNB) movement, a revolutionary endeavor which he is practically synonymous with.

Keith McHenry at the Grand Canyon

Keith McHenry at the Grand Canyon

The history of FNB has been intertwined with Earth First! practically since its inception, with a parallel 32 year history and an intermingling of activists which continues today. So it only seems fitting that we would honor Keith’s birthday by honoring the request he made for people to stand with Javanese residents (some who are now political prisoners) in resisting mining from destroying their communities and home ecosystems.

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Fracking Industry Mining in New Form of Mountaintop Removal

30 Apr

By Steve Horn and Trisha Marczak, Cross Posted from DeSmogBlog/Mint Press

Frac Sand Hills IAWithin immediate vicinity of a central battleground of the Black Hawk War of 1832, land rife with a resource necessary for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is in the crosshairs of an industry prepared to turn the area into a battle zone once again.

The resource? Frac sand — officially known by the industry as fine-grained silica sand — used as a proppant when blasted thousands of feet down the well during the ecologically volatile fracking process as part of the chemical cocktail that serves as the subject of Josh Fox’s new documentary film, “Gasland 2.”

The rolling hills of Northeastern Iowa’s Allamakee County defy the state’s stereotypical flat-land geography, and local residents boast of the serene beauty and rich geological history. Yet those same bluffs also play host to robust reservoirs of frac sand.

In order to extract the frac sand, mining corporations have adopted a method of newfangled mountaintop removal of sorts, blasting away entire hills laced with this frac sand to access this new “prize.” While devastating the landscape, it’s justified by Big Oil as necessary because the Midwest’s unparalleled geological characteristics have transformed it into a “New Saudi Arabia for frac sand.” Continue reading

Oregon House Passes Bills Targeting Tree-sitters, Environmental Activists

30 Apr

by Yuxing Zheng, cross posted from The Orgonian

elliott-state-forestjpg-4fadceba4502528a

SALEM — With talk about “environmental terrorism,” the Oregon House approved two bills Monday that target tree sitters and other environmental activists who interfere with logging in state forests.

House Bill 2595, which passed 43-12, would create the crime of interference with state forestland management. House Bill 2596, which passed 51-4, would allow private contractors with the Oregon Department of Forestry to sue environmental protestors for the cost of damaged equipment, employee wages, attorney fees and similar costs. Both bills head to the Senate.

The legislation comes amid divisive efforts to increase logging in Elliott State Forest near Reedsport and proposals to increase logging in federal forest lands. Environmental activists affiliated with Cascadia Forest Defenders and Cascadia Earth First! staged protests at Elliott State Forest in recent years and at the Oregon State Capitol in May and June 2012, which led to arrests.

“They are known to overturn their vehicles on roads, chain themselves to trees, chain themselves to equipment, damage equipment, dig ditches in the roads, drive spikes in trees to cause injuries to workers, among other dangerous acts,” said Rep. Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach, who carried both bills. “This type of conduct cannot and should not be tolerated.”

House Bill 2595 would allow district attorneys “to charge these terrorists with a crime and make them accountable,” he said.

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35 Arrested in Winona Frac Sand Protests

29 Apr
Cross Posted from Winona Daily News

The Winona Police Department arrested 19 people at the city’s commercial dock, after they were asked multiple times to leave the private property. Officers than responded to a frac sand processing plant on Winona’s west end, where they arrested another 16 people for trespassing there.

Protesters said their goal was to halt business operations at each site.

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Bee-Harming Pesticides Banned in Europe

29 Apr


Cross Posted from The Guardian

Europe will enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides alleged to cause serious harm to bees, after a European commission vote on Monday.

The suspension is a landmark victory for millions of environmental campaigners, backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerned about a dramatic decline in the bee population. The vote also represents a serious setback for the chemical producers who make billions each year from the products and also UK ministers, who voted against the ban. Both had argued the ban would harm food production.

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