Oil Train Opponents Blockade Tracks At Port Westward, OR

Oil Train Blockade

Clatskanie, OR—Climate justice activists, local Clatskanie farmers, and oil train opponents from all over Columbia County are blockading the tracks that lead to Port Westward on the Columbia River. The blockade consists of a 20-foot-high tripod of steel poles, its apex occupied by 27-year-old Portland Rising Tide activist Sunny Glover. Any train movement would risk her life, as would any attempt to remove her from the structure. A banner suspended from the tripod reads: “Oil trains fuel climate chaos.” She has vowed to stay as long as she is able.

Donate to help Rising Tide Portland keep blockading!

Massachusetts-based Global Partners ships oil by rail from the fracking fields of the Bakken Shale to the blockaded facility. From there, it is loaded onto oceangoing vessels bound for West Coast refineries. The facility was constructed with public clean energy loans and tax credits to manufacture ethanol in 2008. The owners declared bankruptcy almost immediately, and in a twist of savage irony, it became a crude oil terminal.

“Fossil fuels are catastrophically destructive,” Glover said. “Extraction ravages land, water, and the health of local communities – transport results in deadly explosions, toxic spills and dust – and as they are burned, the Earth is forced ever deeper into immense climate instability. Fossil fuel production is violence, and on an incredibly vast scale.”

Dozens are joining Glover on the tracks. The increase in US oil production in recent years, and the consequent rise in oil train traffic, has outraged a diversity of groups and communities. Rising Tide activists, hoping to deter the most severe effects of climate change, are demanding a rapid dismantling of fossil fuel infrastructure throughout the region and the world. Residents of areas effected by oil train traffic are horrified by the propensity of Bakken crude trains to derail in fiery explosions—a May, 2014 emergency order by the US Department of Transportation describes the trains as an “imminent hazard.” Residents of the patchwork of farms, dikes, and waterways north of Clatskanie are fighting to protect agricultural land and salmon habitat from industrialization.

“When the crude oil trains began rolling through Columbia County, we had no prior warning—not from DEQ, not from the Port of St. Helens, not from the county, and not from the State of Oregon,” said Nancy Whitney. “With the close proximity of our towns, and particularly our schools, and considering the track record of crude oil derailments, my fear is that the potential devastation from leakage or explosion could be astronomical—and it will happen unless these trains are stopped.”

This is the fifth oil train blockade in the Pacific Northwest since June.

“This is only the beginning,” said Noah Hochman. “We will continue to blockade until it is financially, logistically, and politically untenable for oil trains to threaten climate and communities.”

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NASA Confirms US’s 2,500-Square-Mile Methane Cloud

Flaring the Bakken shale with cows, North Dakota. Photo: Sarah Christianson / Earthworks via Flickr.

by Mike G / DaSmogBlog

When NASA researchers first saw data indicating a massive cloud of methane floating over the American Southwest, they found it so incredible that they dismissed it as an instrument error.

But as they continued analyzing data from the European Space Agency’s Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography instrument from 2002 to 2012, the ‘atmospheric hot spot’ kept appearing.

The team at NASA was finally able to take a closer look, and have now concluded that there is in fact a 2,500-square-mile cloud of methane – roughly the size of Delaware – floating over the Four Corners region, where the borders of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah all intersect.

This discovery follows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new estimates of methane’s ‘global warming potential’ (GWP): 34 over 100 years, and 86 over 20 years. That number reflects how much more powerful methane is than CO2.

The methane cloud’s origin? Fossil fuel production

A report published by the NASA researchers in the journal Geophysical Research Letters concludes that “the source is likely from established gas, coal, and coalbed methane mining and processing.”

Indeed, the hot spot happens to be above New Mexico’s San Juan Basin, the most productive coalbed methane basin in North America.

Methane has been the focus of an increasing amount of attention, especially in regards to methane leaks from fracking for oil and natural gas.

Pockets of natural gas, which is 95-98% methane, are often found along with oil and simply burned off in a very visible process called ‘flaring’.

But scientists are starting to realize that far more methane is being released by the fracking boom than previously thought. And it appears that much of it is venting directly to the atmosphere, rather than being flared.

Fracking and horizontal drilling in the frame

Earlier this year, Cornell environmental engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea released the results of a study of 41,000 oil and gas wells that were drilled in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2012.

He found that newer wells using fracking and horizontal drilling methods were far more likely to be responsible for fugitive emissions of methane.

According to the NASA researchers, the region of the American Southwest over which the 2,500-square-mile methane cloud is floating emitted 590,000 metric tons of methane every year between 2002 and 2012.

That’s almost 3.5 times the widely used estimates in the European Union’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research – and none of it was from fracking.

That should prompt a hard look at the entire fossil fuel sector, not just fracking, according to University of Michigan Professor Eric Kort, the lead researcher on the study:

“While fracking has become a focal point in conversations about methane emissions, it certainly appears from this and other studies that in the US, fossil fuel extraction activities across the board likely emit higher than inventory estimates.”

Tribe says no to fracking



The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has joined other governments in the mountains of western North Carolina in opposing the practice known as fracking.   But, being a sovereign nation, the Tribe, unlike area counties and municipalities, can actually prohibit the practice on tribal lands.

Tribal Council unanimously passed Res. No. 340 (2014) last month that states in part “the Eastern Band of Cherokees will not permit or authorize any person, corporation or other legal entity to engage in hydraulic fracturing on Tribal trust lands.”

The resolution, submitted by Tribal Council as a whole, was signed into law by Principal Chief Michell Hicks on Sept. 10.

“Our tribe has taken a strong stand with the resolution against hydraulic fracturing commonly known as fracking,” said Chief Hicks.  “I signed the resolution because I believe our environmental protection is paramount to the survival of our people.”

Tribal Council Chairperson Terri Henry commented, “Of importance to the Tribe is the impact on the health of our people who utilize many of the products of the forests and habitat surrounding our Trust Lands.”

The resolution also states, “Hydraulic fracturing is a method of extracting natural gas that involves the injecting, at an extremely high pressure, a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to break up shale or other rock formations otherwise impermeable to the flow of natural gas; and the State of North Carolina is without legal authority to permit hydraulic fracturing on Tribal trust lands.”

An amendment was made to the original resolution which states, “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians supports the ban of fracking in the State of North Carolina, specifically in National Forests.”

The EBCI joins other tribes who have passed resolutions in opposition to fracking such as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation (SB 786) in May that will allow the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) to issue permits for fracking in spring 2015.  That legislation was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in June.

Piedmont Natural Gas Protest Saturday

Global Frackdown

Join us for the Global Frackdown this Saturday in Durham or Charlotte! On this day international day of action, communities across the world are coming together for a global protest to call for a ban on fracking, a dangerous method of drilling for natural gas that puts our air, water, climate and communities at risk.

Durham’s Global Frackdown Getdown will include local bands, local brews and local food. This event is made possible by Environment North Carolina and Food and Water Watch NC.

When: Saturday, October 11, 2014

Where: Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC 27701

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


Follow NCWARN on Twitter     Visit NC WARN on Facebook

RSVP by contacting Liz Kazal (liz@environmentnorthcarolina.org, 228-209-4564) or Renée Maas (rmaas@fwwatch.org, 919-593-7752).

Charlotte’s Global Frackdown will be a protest in front of the Piedmont Natural Gas Corporate Office.

When: Saturday, October 11, 2014

Where: Piedmont Natural Gas
4720 Piedmont Row Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28210

Time: 12:00 p.m.

Click here and find Charlotte on the map to learn more or email Bill Gupton (wmgupton@aol.com).

Red Wolves Under Threat In North Carolina

Contact Fish & Wildlife Services in support of red wolf recovery:

Consider contacting Fish and Wildlife Services in support of wolf reintroduction in North Carolina.  They have extended the public comment period which may directly affect whether they decide to end the program and send the remainder of wolves left into captivity.

Tom MacKenzie, USFWS
tom_mackenzie@fws.gov and redwolfreview@fws.gov

Red Wolves: A Future In Doubt

Hank, one of two captive red wolves, managed by the Red Wolf Coalition.
Credit Dave DeWitt

Hank and Betty seem like they’re in a pretty good mood today. It’s stopped raining, and the sun is poised to peak out between the loblolly pines that surround their den. And their caretaker, Kim Wheeler, has brought them a snack.

As the director of the Red Wolf Coalition, Wheeler cares for these two captive red wolves at their enclosure just south of Columbia. She often brings groups of tourists here to see the mating pair and learn more about how the species behaves.

“She’s certainly more active than he is, but just to watch and sit here quietly – the way they move here through their enclosure is so quiet – you can just imagine them in the wild, and how they move around undetected,” said Wheeler.

In 1987, the red wolf made history in eastern North Carolina, when four mating pairs were released into the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. It was the first species determined to be extinct in the wild to be reintroduced outside of captivity.

One hundred or so wild red wolves now roam across five counties in eastern North Carolina, including three wildlife refuges, a naval bombing range, and private farms. It’s an area larger than the state of Delaware.

A map of the range of the red wolf in North Carolina.
Credit Southern Environmental Law Center

The red wolves are top-level predators here on the isolated coastal plains, eating mostly rodents, white-tailed deer, raccoons, and wild turkey. And they are definitely stealthy – Kim Wheeler has been here nine years and only seen them twice in the wild, but she hears them quite a bit.

“I love their howl,” she said. “And to know that that sound would have gone extinct had the U.S Fish And Wildlife Service not stepped in to do something to restore this animal. It’s kind of an amazing thing to stand there and hear that and know that could have been erased from this planet.”

Keeping the red wolf howling in the wild has not been cheap. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has spent nearly $30 million since the start of the recovery program. For all of those 27 years it’s been a constant struggle to manage breeding and keep red wolves off of private lands.

Landowners have been skeptical of the recovery program almost from its inception. But lately, as both the wolf population and general anger with the federal government has grown, the situation has come to a head.

Landowners Speak Out

About 100 or so people crammed into the cafeteria at Mattamuskeet High School on a stretch of isolated highway in Hyde County – sitting around tables normally reserved for hungry teenagers.

They are here for a public comment session as part of the federal review that will determine the future of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.

“I want the red wolf program done away with” said Wade Hubers, a local farmer. “I’m no biologist, but I know if you put ed wolves on the Refuge and there is no food supply, they are not going to stay there.”

Since the first wolves were introduced, roaming off of the refuge has been a problem. But another challenge is more recent: coyotes. As they have across the country, the coyote population in eastern North Carolina has exploded. Here, they have both fought with and bred with the red wolves.

A red wolf (left) and a coyote (right).
Credit B. Bartle/USFWS

There’s no hunting season on coyotes in North Carolina – they can be shot anytime, anywhere. And coyotes look similar to the protected red wolves, just a little smaller with different shaped ears and snouts. So accidental shootings are common. Sometimes they are reported to the Fish and Wildlife Service. More often, they aren’t. Since the beginning of 2013, eleven red wolves have been killed.

Earlier this year, the Southern Environmental Law Center sued to make coyote hunting illegal in Hyde, Beaufort, Washington, Dare, and Tyrell – the five counties in which red wolves roam. Last May, Judge Terence Boyle issued an injunction on coyote hunting while the case is pending.

That further infuriated landowners. Many make the claim that there is no such thing as a pure red wolf.

”You know the red wolf can not be full-blooded,” said Lynn Clayton from Hyde County, stepping to the microphone with a grin. “He must have at least a little bit of Mexican blood in him – he won’t stay on his side of the border.”

Many in the crowd applauded the insensitive comment, but not all of those who spoke were as outwardly prejudiced.

Roger Seale lives in Rocky Mount, but owns land in several areas, including one tract in Hyde County on which he hoped to cultivate wild turkey. By his estimate, he spent $8,000 a year over several years on food and clearing large trees and vegetation to try to build a wild turkey population he could hunt.

“But when I started checking my trail cameras,” he explained, “I’d see turkey, I’d see turkey, and then I’d see wolf.”

Within about a year after he spotted the first red wolf on his trail camera, the turkeys were gone. He blames the red wolves. Seale says hunting in the area is depleted, forcing recreational hunters to go elsewhere and having a negative impact on an area with very little economic activity.

“I don’t want any animal to go extinct, but I also don’t want the protection of an animal to affect the personal landowner,” Seale said.

The private firm leading the review of the Red Wolf Recovery Program will issue a report next month. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a final decision on the future of the wild red wolf sometime early next year.

Hambach Forest Blockade in Germany “Brutally Attacked”

from Hambach ForestNoname

Today, on Oc­to­ber 1st 2014, the de­mons­tra­ti­ons against the on­go­ing cle­aran­ce of the Ham­bach Fo­rest con­ti­nue at the gates of Eu­ro­pe’s big­gest open cast mine.

At 09:25 am three bull­do­zers, one chain dredger and one truck were oc­cup­ied at the gate­way of the open cast mine Ham­bach.
The wor­kers of RWE and the hired se­cu­ri­ty re­ac­ted vio­lent­ly. They at­ta­cked the de­mons­tra­tors with metal pipes. Dig­gers which were oc­cup­ied by per­sons sit­ting on them con­ti­nu­ed to move, dis­re­gar­ding the fact that this was a se­rious threa[t] to the ac­tivists‘ lives.

Due to the vio­lence per­for­med by RWE’s wa­ge­wor­kers the ac­tivists were dis­pla­ced from the ter­ri­to­ry al­re­a­dy 15 mi­nu­tes later. They wi­th­drew to avoid fur­ther vio­lent esca­la­ti­on.

Is the pl­an­ned de­struc­tion of a fo­rest more im­portant than the health of human beings?

Fur­ther in­for­ma­ti­on on today’s events and pic­tu­res will fol­low soon!


De­s­pi­te the vio­lent be­ha­viour of the wor­kers no­bo­dy was in­ju­red se­rious­ly. Here are pic­tu­res show­ing the ac­tion: 01.​10. blo­cka­de ac­tion


One per­son was blo­cking the sho­vel of a chain dredger. The dri­ver star­ted the en­gi­ne anyhow and began to shake the sho­vel try­ing to throw down the per­son sit­ting in it. One of the truck dri­vers tried to re­mo­ve an ac­tivist from a ve­hi­cle vio­lent­ly using his hands. When this didn’t work he grab­bed a tool and at­ta­cked the ac­tivists.


The wor­kers at­a­cking the ac­tivists work for the de­con­struc­tion com­pa­ny H.B.-​Kai­ser Ab­bruch und Erd­ar­bei­ten. This com­pa­ny it at the mo­ment re­s­pon­si­ble for the de­con­struc­tion of the old Ham­bach Rail­way in the name of RWE. Se­ver­al ma­chi­nes were wor­king alt­hough peop­le were stan­ding close to them. The dri­vers de­clined to stop the en­gi­nes, even though they would have been ob­li­ged to do so for sa­fe­ty re­a­sons ac­cor­ding to Ger­man law.

The wor­kers at­ta­cked the ac­tivists not only with their fists but also using ham­mers and even a crow­bar. Hein Bert Kai­ser, the owner of the com­pa­ny, was on site as well. He was ac­tive­ly in­vol­ved in the vio­lence against the ac­tivists and even threa­tened them:  “Whoever da­ma­ges my dig­gers and cars is going to die.” Being asked, he con­fir­med: “This is a death thre­at.” Continue reading

New Earth First! Newsletter Released

Feel free to copy this and distribute online or out in the real world:


North America’s Key Birds Facing Extinction


314 species, including the bald eagle and 10 state birds of US at risk from climate change

Half of North America’s bird species, from common backyard visitors like the Baltimore oriole and the rufous hummingbird to wilderness dwellers like the common loon and bald eagle, are under threat from climate change and many could go extinct, an exhaustive new study has found published by the National Audubon Society.

Seven years of research found climate change to be the biggest threat to North America’s bird species. Some 314 species face dramatic declines in population, if present trends continue, with warming temperatures pushing the birds out of their traditional ranges. Ten states and Washington DC could lose their state birds.

The scale of disruption that is being projected means that many familiar sounds, and many familiar birds that people may see in their backyards and on their walks, that help them define a…

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Wildlife Populations Have Dropped by More Than Half

Originally posted on TIME:

Vertebrate species populations have dropped by more than half over the course of 40 years, according to a new report from WWF, marking a larger decrease than ever previously documented.

The Living Plant Report measured more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish and found a 52% decline between 1970 and 2010. The facts are grimmer for some species: freshwater dwellers showed an average decline of 76%.

The study chalked up most of the decline to human impact. Habitat loss and hunting and fishing were the primary culprits, and climate change was the next largest threat, the report said.

“This latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted,” writes Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, says in a forward to the report.

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Scientists: Fracking Wastewater Poses Threat To Drinking Water

September 26th, 2014

by Emily Atkin / Think Progress


Every year, hundreds of billions of gallons of wastewater are produced by fracking operations across America. Some of that water gets stored in manmade ponds, some of it is injected underground, and some of it is treated and put back into rivers.

For the people whose drinking water systems are downstream of those rivers, scientists have some bad news.

New peer-reviewed research from Stanford and Duke University scientists shows that even when fracking wastewater goes through water treatment plants, and is disposed of in rivers that are not drinking water systems, the treated water still risks contaminating human drinking water. That’s because there are generally drinking water systems downstream of those rivers, and treatment plants aren’t doing a good job of removing contaminants called halides, which have the potential to harm human health. Continue reading