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Reportback And Videos From The Forest & Climate Convergence

The Resurgence: 2019 Forest & Climate Movement Convergence took place over October 10-14, 2019. It brought together more than 300 people, including many front line community members and Indigenous Peoples, as well as organizers and grassroots activists from across the environmental and social justice spectrum. The event was organized into Strategic Action Sessions under seven themes, each of which accomplished key objectives and concluded with concrete action plans to move their work forward. As well, GJEP videotaped the entire event (excluding the strategy meetings) including around 20 interviews.  Ten of these are already available to view on the convergence vimeo page. Now we plan to produce a documentary from the event, to showcase this event and its amazing participants to a broader activist and public audience.

Activists Pay Home Visit To FERC Commissioner

On Saturday July 13, climate justice activists from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) held a protest outside Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) commissioner Cheryl LaFleur’s home in Wellesley Massachusetts. FERC is the independent government agency responsible for regulating any project that crosses state lines, including all major natural gas and oil pipelines. The activists from BXE dropped a banner that read, “You can’t be neutral on a burning planet” and demanded that LaFleur vote "no" on all new fossil fuel infrastructure at the next FERC meeting in Washington D.C.

New Study: We Have To Stop Building CO2-emitting Infrastructure Now

A new study was just released, titled Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target, that concludes: ...our emission estimates suggest that little or no additional CO2-emitting infrastructure can be commissioned, and that infrastructure retirements that are earlier than historical ones (or retrofits with carbon capture and storage technology) may be necessary, in order to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals. In summary, this means that just maintaining the status quo, the stuff that is running now, the fossil fuel extraction going on right now, is more than enough to put CO2 levels high enough to end any chances of limiting warming to 1.5 C. And any planned infrastructure investments (like the big new pipeline in Canada) have to be shelved immediately.

Fossil Fuel Opponents ‘Welcome’ McNamee to FERC

On December 20, 2018, members of Beyond Extreme Energy and friends were at FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to “welcome” new commissioner Bernard McNamee to his first meeting. After a campaign against his Senate confirmation because of his close ties to – and adulation of – the fossil fuel industry, and his denigration of both clean energy and those advocating for it, he squeaked by in a 50-49 Senate vote along party lines – by far the most controversial nominee ever seated.

Court Upholds Portland’s Carbon Infrastructure Ban

The Oregon Court of Appeals dealt one of the most progressive climate policies in the country a major victory on Thursday when it ruled that Portland’s fossil fuel infrastructure ban does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The ruling overturns an earlier decision by the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals — an administrative body charged with deciding land use conflicts — which found that the ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure within city limits violated the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. “We’re thrilled,” Regna Merritt, director of the Healthy Climate Program at Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, said in a statement. “Today’s decision affirms that Portland and other communities can implement innovative protections to counter threats to human health and safety from dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Climate Activist Killed Walking Across The Country

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. An activist walking across the country barefoot died after being struck by an SUV in Florida, authorities said. Mark Baumer, 33, a Rhode Island native, was fatally struck Saturday along Highway 90 in Walton County, in the northwest part of the state. Charges are pending against the driver, Sonja Siglar, and alcohol was ruled out as a factor in the crash, ABC affiliate WEAR-TV reports. Baumer was protesting climate change and raising money for the FANG Collective, which opposes the natural gas industry, during his walk. The FANG Collective released a statement following Baumer's death. The FANG Collective wrote on their FB page "Mark was an amazingly compassionate, empathetic, humble, joyful, generous, mindful and caring person. He was a talented poet and artist with an ability to tap into the human experience with his work."

First Day Of FERC Protests: Arrests, Commissioner Visited

By Beyond Extreme Energy for #RubberStampRebellion. On the first day of the #RubberStampRebellion, seven climate activists were arrested while forming a human blockade at the exit of the underground parking garage at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, DC. That night they camped out at the home of Commissioner Tony Clark. Today, more protests, lobbying and camping out at FERC Chair Norman Bey's Washington, DC home. “My grandchildren and all future grandchildren thank you,” Steve Norris, an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), called out as Homeland Security agents handcuffed the seven and led them away. “Thank you for standing up to this corrupt rubberstamp machine that is destroying communities and whose policies are destroying the planet.” Norris was one of the seven arrested blockading FERC.

Virginia Students Resist Pipeline, Engage With Communities

By Madison Roberts for the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition. This week, 20 college students from all across Virginia will be touring the route of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline running from West Virginia to Virginia. The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition has planned the trip since Fall of 2015. The purpose of the trip is to raise awareness of the new natural gas infrastructure and to engage with the communities impacted. Students will begin their journey on Sunday May 15, 2016 when they depart from Blacksburg, Virginia to travel to Wetzel County, West Virginia. The trip will be highly impactful for the parties involved, both students and community members. The various regions have welcomed the students’ involvement, offering their sincerest generosity to the trip by providing meals and places to stay along the way.

Climate Resistance Breaks Free From Fossil Fuels

From Rising Tide of North America. Below is a live blog of tweets reporting on the Break Free protests. For the past week, across the world people have been standing up to power of the fossil fuel industry. Rising Tide North America will be sharing live updates from Break Free actions through the weekend. Tweet from the United States, Canada, Germany and Ecuador. People came on land and on the water. The protested refineries, coal, coal trains and carbon infrastructure. People used banners, processions, sit-ins and tripods -- and more. The global uprising across the world called for humanity to break fee from fossil fuels.

Carbon Infrastructure Protests Grow Too Big To Ignore

By John Schwartz for the NY Times. The demonstration was part of a wave of actions across the nation that combines traditional not-in-my-backyard protests against fossil-fuel projects with an overarching concern about climate change. Bound together through social media, networks of far-flung activists are opposing virtually all new oil, gas and coal infrastructure projects. The protests are having some impact. The engineering consultants Black and Veatch recently published a report that said the most significant barrier to building new pipeline capacity was “delay from opposition groups.” Activists regularly protest at the headquarters of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, but there have also been sizable protests in places like St. Paul and across the Northeast.

Infrastructure ‪Pipeline Task Force‬ Meeting Shut Down

By Beyond Extreme Energy. Residents impacted by fracked gas infrastructure from across Pennsylvania came together today to shut down the final meeting of Governor Wolf’s Infrastructure Task Force. Exactly one year after members of frontline communities from across the state disrupted Governor Wolf’s inauguration to demand an end to fracking, Pennsylvanians again convened in Harrisburg to demand a stop to the buildout of fracked gas infrastructure. “My friends and neighbors in Butler County have already been harmed by the reckless practices of the gas industry and the enablers in Pennsylvania’s government. This rubber stamping farce has done nothing but increase the likelihood that the destruction will continue,” said Michael Bagdes-Canning.

Understanding The Oregon Militia

By Les Zaitz for the Oregonian. Rep. Walden intended, he said, to quickly make points about grazing permits, the proposal for a 2.5 million acre national monument in Malheur County and other Western issues. He started talking at 7:25 p.m. Eastern time to a nearly-empty chamber. "I got up there and 17 years of working with farmers and ranchers and folks in eastern Oregon just poured out," Walden said. He described it as an "artesian well of emotion." He talked of knowing the Hammond ranching family of Diamond for nearly two decades. The patriarch, Dwight Hammond Jr., and his son Steven went to prison the day before Walden's speech. They were convicted on arson charges for burning federal land – a case that triggered the militia to rally in Burns. He recounted episode after episode of what he said was arrogant federal bureaucracies hampering rural Oregon. "Do you understand how frustrated I am at this? Can you imagine how the people on the ground feel?"

Newsletter: Heroes In The War At Home

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Forty six years ago this week, 21 year old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed by Chicago police and the FBI. Hampton was a hero to many in his community for the work he did to feed hungry schoolchildren, create peace in his high school and within his community as a leader of the Black Panthers. His crime was being intelligent, talented and effective. In his short life, he rattled the power structure. In the war at home - the elite's war on the poor, hungry, homeless, sick, young and old - there are many heroes. Maybe this is one aspect of the US' war culture we can embrace - honoring our heroes and sheroes. In memory of the late Howard Zinn, let's honor those who work everyday for justice and peace. We are making a difference. Let's change the culture by lifting up the change-makers - those who make the world a better place - as our role models and heroes. Let's remember people like Fred Hampton. As Bill Simpich writes about Hampton and others killed for their activism, "They died in the war at home. They died holding this country to its promises. They died so we can be free. Hold them in the place of the highest honor."

Newsletter: Only People Power Can Save The Planet

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. In recent years the conflict has escalated between the people and energy interests due to the reality of climate change. There is national consensus to end dependence on fossil fuels, against big energy corruption of government, and its bi-partisan ‘all of the above’ energy strategy with massive new carbon infrastructure projects, and against the escalation of extreme energy extraction like tar sands and fracking. People on the ground in communities across the nation are standing up to big energy, corrupt government and extreme extraction – and they are having an impact. As the climate meetings approach in Paris, the climate movement should recognize its growing strength.

Thousands Protest Tar Sands In St. Paul

By Liz Sawyer in the Star Tribune. Thousands of protesters marched through downtown St. Paul to the State Capitol on Saturday, calling for the cancellation of the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline that would travel near some of the state’s pristine waters. Though an independent tally was unavailable for the Tar Sands Resistance Rally, organizers estimated that 5,000 anti-pipeline and climate change activists took part in the colorful and peaceful march, marked by dozens of national speakers and live music and dance. Police reported no arrests.
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