Pipelines Spill, Exxon Kills! Big Oil Out of Montana!
Northern Rockies Rising Tide and Earth First! Activists Occupy Montana Capitol Building Demanding Governor Schweitzer Publicly Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline and Tar Sands Megaload Shipments
On the morning of July 12th, six activists from Earth First! and Northern Rockies Rising Tide occupied Governor Schweitzer’s office in an act of non-violent civil disobedience. The activists locked their arms in a mock oil pipeline made out of PVC plastic pipe. In the wake of the Silvertip spill, Governor Schweitzer has publicly chastised ExxonMobil for their negligence and lack of transparency, while at the same time continuing to promote the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, Exxon’s megaload shipments bound for the Alberta Tar Sands, and other extreme fossil fuels projects throughout the state. Governor Schweitzer eventually agreed to meet with the activists, responding to their questions with evasive and irrelevant pleasantries, but later declined to continue the conversation and refused to meet their demands. The Capitol building was redecorated with colorful banners addressing climate change and the need to discontinue filthy fossil fuel projects.
“If the Governor has his way, Montana will be transformed into what is essentially an energy extraction colony for Big Oil. The Silvertip spill is simply a short preview of what this would mean for the lives and livelihood of all Montanans,” says Great Falls native Peter Dolan, one of the eight occupying the office.
Activists inside the Capitol are also demanding that Schweitzer stand up to TransCanada and other international criminal organizations by publicly opposing Alberta Tar Sands exportation. This project is widely known as the most destructive energy process on the planet by leading environmental organizations. According to a recent report by University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering professor John Stansbury, neither TransCanada nor the regulators evaluating the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have properly considered the risks. Stansbury said TransCanada underestimated both the frequency of spills on the pipeline and the severity of the worst-case scenario spills.
“As the recent Exxon Mobil pipeline disaster has made clear, Governor Schweitzer is attempting to turn Montana into an extraction state, while at the same time publicly proclaiming his supposed support for clean energy, protecting the environment and building healthy communities. It’s one or the other. You can’t be clean and dirty at the same time,” according to Bozeman’s Erica Dossa, who also took part in the action.
News Coverage of the Occupation: