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Protestors Stage Sit-In at State Department Against Keystone XL pipeline

13 Aug


by Skylar Simmons/Earth First! Newswire

Aug 12. Two weeks after dozens of anti-pipeline activists were arrested for occupying the lobby of Environmental Resource Management in Washington DC, hundreds of protestors descended on the State Department to demand that Obama pull the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline.

After a silent march to the State Department, 60 of the protestors engaged in a sit-in at the entrance to the building. Dozens of beefy Homeland Security agents wearing bullet proof vests were on hand to welcome the protestors.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, came to the Monday protest to engage in civil disobedience because “it’s clear that it’s the responsibility of human beings to heal the earth.”

“I have five grandchildren,” Waskow said. “I would love them to grow up in a world that’s as healthy, as beautiful, as decent, as abundant as the one I grew up in.”

In what appeared to be an attempt to defuse the protest, police chose to wait out the protesters engaging in civil disobedience rather than make a news story out of dragging grandpas and grandmas off of the State Department steps. Continue reading

350 and Maine EF! Block Train Exporting Dirty Oil to Canada

28 Jun

Cross posted from

– Jon Queally, staff writer

Six Maine residents were arrested late Thursday night after a larger group of climate activists blockaded a set of tracks passing through the small town of Fairfield in order to prevent a train carrying 70,000 gallons “fracked” oil headed to a refinery in neighboring New Brunswick, Canada.

Associating themselves with a growing national campaign of direct action against the fossil fuel industry called “Fearless Summer,” the protesters at the scene erected a large scaffold over the tracks and held signs reading “Trains for people, not for oil” and “This train’s bound for Gory” (pun intended).

Police arrived, and after several warnings for the protesters to disperse, the six who refused were arrested as the scaffolding was destroyed with a chain saw.

Local media reported a surprisingly large law enforcement response with police from numerous towns showing up at the scene, including troopers from the State Police.

350 Maine*, the statewide group associated but independent from international organization that led the action, said the goal was to draw attention to the “fracked oil” that is quietly passing through the state on a regular basis. Local members of Earth First also participated in the action. Continue reading

Victory! Grassroots Organizing Stops Massive Strip Mine in VA

23 Jun


By Skyler Simmons, Southern Appalachians EF! Newswire Correspondent

It has been a long, hard fight but residents of the small coalfields town of Appalachia, VA can breathe a little easier after the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) for the second time rejected a mountaintop removal mine permit for Ison Rock Ridge. The massive strip mine, proposed by A&G Coal would have leveled over 1000 acres of Ison Rock Ridge and filled in four valleys on the outskirts of Appalachia and Inman.

“I am so pleased to finally see the DMME stand up for the people they are supposed to represent,” said Sam Broach, president of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (SAMS). “The people living in the areas affected by surface mining can sleep well tonight knowing that the mountains above them won’t be blown up, and the air they breathe will be a little bit cleaner.”

SAMS, along with the Sierra Club and Blue Ridge Earth First! fought the DMME for years to stop the permitting of new MTR sites in this isolated corner of Virginia with little success. It appears that their years of community organizing, protests, and direct action are finally paying off with the rejection of the Ison Rock Ridge Permit. Continue reading

Katuah EF! Reportback from the Week of Resistance to Genetically Engineered Trees

10 Jun

Imageby Katuah Earth First!

Donate!: 5 people were arrested for disrupting the Tree Biotech Conference and we need to raise money quick for their legal expenses! Please donate to the legal fund at:

Last fall when our friends at Global Justice Ecology Project informed us that Asheville, NC had been chosen as the site of the international Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference we felt a little fire spark in our bellies. Was this group of scientists and industry hacks really arrogant enough to come to our home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to threaten our native forests with monocrop plantations of genetically engineered trees? Did they really think they could come here without us spoiling the party? We took it as a challenge, and after an inspiring week of protests at the end of May, we are pretty sure these mad scientists won’t be meeting in Asheville again.

Our first victory came a month before the conference even started.  Apparently fearing that protestors would follow them wherever they went, the conference organizers cancelled a group trip to a test plot of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While the counties in which these test plots are planted are publicly known, the exact location of these mutant trees is a closely guarded secret. It seems they didn’t want a mob of Earth First!ers to find out where they are!

Continue reading

Week of Resistance to Genetically Engineered Trees Schedule of Events

23 May

Katuah Earth First!

biotree events  We are just days away from an exciting week of protests and educational events against genetically engineered trees and the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference.  Check out this list of events and come on out to stand up for native forests and say NO to GE trees:

Saturday May 25

Global March Against Monsanto

Join us as tens of thousands take to the streets around the world

to protest Monsanto.  2pm, Pack Square Park


Monday May 27

Convergence Center open 12-3pm @ Apothecary (39 S. Market St)

Teach-in on gentically engineered trees

Get educated on the threats of GE trees and get plugged in

to the week of resistance. Puppett, sign and banner making party!

@ Toy Boat Community Arts Center

(101 Fairview Road), 3-9pm


Tuesday May 28

Direct Action Training meet @ Apothecary 10am -2pm

Know Your Rights @ Apothecary 2pm

Puppets and Art Making for March…

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Stop GE Trees Before they Start! An interview with Anne Peterman, Global Justice Ecology Project.

13 May

9743562_origBy Katuah Earth First!

Click here to listen to the interview:

Anne Petermann, of the Global Justice Ecology Project, joins The Final Straw Radio show for an informative interview on the threats posed by Genetically Engineered Trees getting released into the U.S. as the USDA considers allowing Arborgen to plant millions of acres of plantations across the southern U.S. These plantations, reaching from Texas to South Carolina, where the company is based, could destroy forest diversity, kill wildlife, exacerbate droughts, feed fire storms, and spread quickly with the help of cold-resistant gene modification.

In the last week of May, Asheville will be hosting the International 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference. Concurrently, Katuah Earth First! and GJEP (along with other projects) will be holding protests and workshops around the issues of GE Trees to educate the public and grow resistance. Check out the call to action and how to get plugged into the protests here.

Fearing Protestors, Tree Biotech Conference Cancels Visit to GE Tree Test Plot

2 May

by Tricocca / Katuah Earth First!


EF! confronts GE tree scientists on the high seas in Charleston, SC in 2007

There is still a month to go before activists hit the streets of Asheville, NC to protest the 2013 Tree Biotechnology Conference, but the industry is already showing signs of retreat. Apparently fearing that protestors will follow them wherever they go, the conference organizers recently cancelled a group trip to a test plot of genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. While the counties in which these test plots are planted are publicly known, the exact location of these mutant trees is a closely guarded secret. It seems they don’t want a mob of Earth First!ers to find out where they are! Continue reading

Defend Native Forests, Resist GE Trees: May 26-June 1, Asheville, NC

24 Apr


Resist the Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference

May 26 – June 1 Asheville, NC

Join Earth First!, Global Justice Ecology Project and the STOP GE Trees Campaign for a week of resistance to genetically engineered trees. At the end of May the International Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference is taking place in Asheville, NC. This conference is a gathering of many of the major players in the genetically engineered tree business and we intend to greet them with spirited protest.

Timber and utility corporations want to plant millions of acres of genetically engineered trees throughout the South to burn for electricity, as well as to continue supplying the unsustainable lumber and paper industries. These trees would be engineered to produce their own pesticides, grow straighter and faster, tolerate manufactured pesticides, produce sterile seeds, and reduce lignin content (this is what makes the wood in a tree strong enough to stand up). If these traits escaped into native tree populations, the effects would be devastating and irreversible. Continue reading

Katuah Earth First! Shuts Down TD Bank in Protest Against Kesytone XL

22 Mar
taking over the lobby

Taking over the TD lobby.


Four arrested at lively protest against fossil fuel infrastructure

More pictures here

Asheville, NC –  60 people took to the streets today to protest the Keystone XL pipeline in downtown Asheville. After a rally in Pritchard Park, the march made its way to TD Bank, a major investor in the Keystone XL pipeline and occupied the lobby, forcing the bank to close for the rest of the day. Protestors carried banners reading, “Obama, Your Pipedream is a Nightmare” and “TD Bank, divest from dirty oil.” Police arrested four protesters who refused to leave until TD Bank agreed to divest from the tar sands industry.

The action was organized by Asheville based Katuah Earth First! and is part of a week of nationwide protests called for by Tar Sands Blockade  a coalition of Texas landowners and environmentalists fighting the southern leg of the pipeline. Continue reading

Dozens Arrested as Anti-Keystone XL Protests Erupt Across Country

22 Mar

Over 30 protests as part of Week of Action to Stop Tar Sands Profiteers held by over 50 grassroots organizations take on corporate investors bankrolling the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipelineImage

WASHINGTON – March 20 – One month after the largest climate rally in U.S. history urged President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline’s northern segment, protesters in dozens of cities throughout the U.S. are confronting KXL’s corporate backers directly.

Thirty-seven have been arrested over the last ten days for disrupting business as usual at TransCanada and their investors’ offices, with more are planned before the week is over.

The March 16-23 Week of Action to Stop Tar Sands Profiteers, in solidarity with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance’s Direct Action Camp in Ponca City, Oklahoma, is endorsed by over 50 grassroots environmental organizations around the country. Organizers seek to expose green-washed corporations like TD Bank, a top shareholder in TransCanada, and force them to divest from the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

“Its encouraging to see people around the country taking action to stop tar sands profiteers,” said Ron Seifert, spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade. “No longer will we allow them to build KXL and invest in toxic projects that endanger the health of low-income and communities of color. We will not allow “business as usual” to continue.”

Here are a few highlights from the Week of Action so far: Continue reading