On last month’s annual celebration known as Africa Day, activists in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and elsewhere held demonstrations targeting French oil giant TotalEnergies’ involvement in African fossil fuel extraction projects. A main focus of the protests was Total’s proposed East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, or EACOP, which would transport 200,000 barrels of oil per day from western Uganda to export terminals 1,445 kilometers away on the Tanzanian coast. Grassroots organizers in Uganda and Tanzania have been speaking out against EACOP for years, sometimes at great risk to their own safety.
The expansion of oil and gas exports has become a strategic priority for a major section of the capitalist class in Canada and its political enablers. The declining possibilities for export to the US, moreover, have led ‘business and political leaders...to pivot to East Asia, particularly China.’ This has involved the development of the required infrastructure in the western provinces, including the construction of major pipelines. Obviously, this whole initiative can only compound the impacts of climate change and other forms of environmental degradation. It has also put the Canadian state on a collision course with Indigenous nations who are determined to prevent such an assault on their traditional territory.
New large-scale fossil fuel projects have become mostly unworkable in the Pacific Northwest, with dozens canceled over the past decade due to fierce opposition from local communities. But the industry’s blitz is not yet over. Instead, rather than building new pipelines, it is seeking to expand existing infrastructure in a way that will provoke less pushback. Since 2012, an estimated 55 coal, oil, and natural gas projects have been proposed for the Pacific Northwest — encompassing Oregon and Washington, as well as British Columbia. But more than 70 percent of them have been defeated, according to a recent study from the Seattle-based Sightline Institute. “The fossil fuel industry really was trying to turn the Pacific Northwest into a coal, oil, and gas export hub,” Emily Moore, a senior researcher at Sightline Institute, told DeSmog.
I have met so many people through this fight,” says Nancy Bouldin of Monroe County, West Virginia. “If you look at any benefits of all this, it’s the people and the connections that have been made.” When Bouldin says, “all this,” she refers to the years-long battle communities across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina have waged against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and its proposed Southgate extension. When Bouldin and fellow organizers Lynda Majors and Donna Pitt met for a discussion via Zoom in March of 2022, the MVP’s prospects seemed dim. Originally priced at $3.7 billion, the MVP’s costs have ballooned to over $6.2 billion, the project is over three years behind schedule and has faced millions of dollars in fines for violations of clean water protections. A number of recent legal setbacks
Canadian police and security forces have intensified their surveillance and harassment of Indigenous people in recent months in an effort to clear the way for the construction of two long-distance oil and gas pipelines in British Columbia, earning the condemnation of international human rights observers. “The Governments of Canada and of the Province of British Columbia have escalated their use of force, surveillance, and criminalization of land defenders and peaceful protesters to intimidate, remove and forcibly evict Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en Nations from their traditional lands,” the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) wrote in an April 29 letter.
St. Paul, MN - The 8th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Jessica Reznicek’s 8 year prison sentence. In their decision the three Trump-appointed judges refused to address whether the use of a terrorism enhancement was appropriate saying, “Reznicek argues that the enhancement should not have applied because her actions were directed at a private company, rather than the government. Even if that is right, any error was harmless.” Reznicek’s supporters worry that If the decision stands, the judicial branch will continue applying terrorism enhancements to activists, while claiming that a drastically increased sentence from being labled a terrorists by the U.S. govenment is harmless. In July 2021 Judge Rebecca Ebinger applied a terrorism enhancement to Reznicek’s case that automatically increased her sentencing guidelines range from 37-46 months to 210-240 months.
The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition and Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group held a press conference on the steps of Springfield City Hall on May 31, highlighting the opposition of many Springfield and Longmeadow residents and organizations to Eversource Gas’ proposed high-pressure gas expansion pipeline that would run beneath the streets of Springfield and Longmeadow. The press conference was held in response to Eversource initiating the process it must go through to obtain all necessary permits to build and operate the pipeline. Speakers included Springfield City Council member Zaida Govan, Kristen Elechko from Senator Ed Markey’s office, Terry Gibson from Neighbor to Neighbor, Tanisha Arena from Arise for Social Justice.
In the past few weeks, a number of water protectors have seen criminal cases dismissed by prosecutors in so-called Northern Minnesota for alleged actions taken to stop the Line 3 pipeline in defense of the water, the climate, and the treaty rights of the Anishinaabeg people. Violating Anishinaabe treaty territories in Minnesota, the new stretch of Line 3 was approved without full consent or proper impact studies, threatening safe water sources for millions. It carries the carbon equivalent of 50 coal plants. More than 68,000 Minnesotans testified against this plan. Over 1,000 arrests were made during the nine months of construction. These individuals put their bodies on the line to stop Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, a massive tar sands project that threatens the state’s lakes, rivers, aquifers and wild rice beds.
St. Paul, MN - In a defining moment for the climate justice movement and for all civil rights, the court will decide whether or not to uphold a “domestic terrorist enhancement” that an Iowa court applied to Reznicek’s prison sentence. Reznicek argues that the terrorism enhancement was both illegally and unjustly applied. The appeal is supported by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), National Lawyers Guild, Water Protectors Legal Collective, and the Climate Defense Project. “If Jessica Reznicek’s acts can be punished as terrorism,” says an amicus brief filed by CCR, “the United States will have moved so far past the international consensus as to be operating in a completely different realm.”
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Vancouver, BC - Before a courtroom packed with supporters, Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George was sentenced to 28 days in jail for breaching the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline injunction and was immediately taken into custody. BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick deferred to the Crown's recommended sentence and all but ignored arguments from defence counsel for why George should instead be sentenced to community service hours and probation. Today was Day 2 of George's sentencing hearing. Yesterday, Justice Fitzpatrick stated in the morning that she had not read George's 16-page Gladue report, which lays out his childhood history and cultural background, and gives reasons why the court should consider non-custodial sentencing options.
In recent lawsuits, Enbridge has targeted individual tribal members and staff, seeking the court’s permission to question them under oath about their “thought process” in opposing renewal of the company’s easement through the reservation. For Bad River citizens and leaders, however, the issue has always been personal. Bad River or Mashkiziibii (Medicine River) has an abiding, irremovable quality for Ojibwe people. Central to their world view and spirituality, and an example of their sustainable connection with traditional foods and ways, Bad River is more than geography. The river and land represent Ojibwe blood memory, according to Aurora Conley, a citizen of the Bad River tribe and a member of the Anishinaabe Environmental Protection Alliance.
Roughly eight years ago, Maury Johnson was tending to the work of maintaining his homestead and serving his community in a variety of ways. Then, a letter from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) arrived, telling him they’d like to survey his land. He agreed, so long as he could go along. It was during that process that Johnson went from a welcoming landowner to a relentless opponent of the MVP. The dangers it posed to life, land and liberty were more than Johnson could stand. So, individually, and through numerous community organizations committed to preserving the ecology of Monroe County and communities all along the MVP route, Johnson has been helping lead the charge against the MVP as a fierce friend of Mother Earth.
Downingtown, Upper Uwchlan, PA - Today, two local residents, Christine “PK” DiGiulio, Analytical Chemist and community watchdog from Downingtown, Upper Uwchlan, and Connor Orion Tripp Young, Registered Nurse and concerned citizen from Lionville, Uwchlan, were found not guilty by Magisterial District Judge Ann Feldman on disorderly conduct charges for halting construction of Sunoco|Energy Transfer’s widely opposed Mariner East Pipelines by locking their bodies to construction equipment on on January 6, 2022. They were represented in court by attorney Ronald Read. Former Public Health Commissioner of Philadelphia, Dr. Walter Tsou, said, “Christina and Connor asked every politician to help protect their families from contaminated water or the threat of a pipeline blast to no avail.