Posts Tagged ‘ Oil ’

The Globalizing of North American Colonialism

The inaugural International Tar Sands Resistance Summit (ITSRS) wrapped up near Missoula last Monday, November 22, with a packed house at the Missoula City Council meeting.  As the first true snowstorm of the season coated the street outside, inside the council was voting unanimously to double the cost of hauling oversize loads through the city in reaction to community backlash against plans by oil sands companies to route equipment through Missoula.

The summit, hosted by NRRT and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) at Lubrecht Experimental Forest, mere yards from the planned path of the mammoth shipments along MT Highway 200; brought together nearly 100 activists from around the US and Canada who are concerned about tar sands development.

Ashley Anderson, of Peaceful Uprising presents in Missoula about Tar Sands mining in eastern Utah.

Workshops about tar sands issues and trainings in a diversity of tactics for resisting the industry’s growth helped connect the dots between anti-tar sands struggles in places from Oklahoma, to Montana, to northern British Columbia and elsewhere.  Speakers from communities impacted by tar sands infrastructure painted an unfortunate picture depicting a (black) gold rush in the heart of Canada with global implications.  While the eyes of the world are on the oil wars in southwest Asia, a corporate-state free-for-all is spanning North America, with Ft. McMurray, AB at “Ground Zero”.

Rapid Expansion

image by the Beehive Design Collective

The exploitation of Alberta’s bitumen (tar sand) deposits has been growing at staggering rates in recent years and foreign investment in the industry continues to swell.  Private oil companies from western Europe and the US to national oil companies from eastern Asia are buying up stake in Canada’s tar sands as supplies of conventional “sweet crude” around the world begin to dry up.  Facilitating this land-grab is a cross-continental network of pipelines and shipping corridors with which to import toxic chemicals and Brobdingnagian equipment, and to export oil to the highest bidders in the rest of the world.

The Gulf of Mexico Connection

As the largest marine oil spill in global history was dominating news headlines, many looked to the tar sands to the north as an alternative to off shore drilling.  With Canada already contributing more oil to the US than any other country in the world, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) locking Canada into an energy pact that guaranteed a minimum percentage of that country’s oil production flowing across its southern border, the United States tapped its own “wells” directly into the oil fields of Alberta.  Wells in the form of pipelines.

All angled towards the tar sands region near Edmonton, Alberta, a series of pipes up to 3ft wide criss-cross the border, feeding America’s addiction to oil.  In fact, the US has tapped into the Canadian supply so much that Canada can’t keep up.  Despite this fact, Canadian company TransCanada plans for the nearly 2000 mile long Keystone XL pipeline to connect the tar sands all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Taking the land away… again.

The tar sands focused summit near Missoula was Oklahoma lawyer Harlan Hentges’ first excuse to visit the area.  The harsh, wintry conditions in the mountains above Montana’s Blackfoot river and the laid back, left-coastish vibe of the Missoula-area population both proved to be a bit of a shock for the third-generation Oklahoman; though he welcomed both shocks with enthusiasm.  Hentges’ comes from an area of northern Oklahoma known as the Cherokee Strip, named after the record setting run on land formerly promised by the US to the Cherokee Nation after the Trail of Tears, but which was opened by the US to white settlement in 1893.  His family has been ranching cattle there since they claimed their 160 acres in the run.

“I’m a country boy,” he says,  “so I have a strong connection to the land and understand what it means to owners.”

Farmers and ranchers all through the central plains are tied to more than their land.  They are tied to what’s under it too.  The Ogallala aquifer is the lifeblood of America’s heartland, supplying a source of irrigation for 27% of US agriculture and drinking water for 2 million people.  The Keystone XL pipeline is proposed to cross through the shallow groundwater source, worrying environmental groups that oil leaking from the pipe could have tragic consequences.  Adding to this danger is the fact that the pipe is to be built with thinner than normal pipe walls.

“When someone calls me they are concerned about one of two things,” says Hentges, who specializes in rural landowner’s issues.  “They either want to stop someone from taking away their land, or they want to stop someone from polluting it.”

These days that land-threatening someone happens to be TransCanada.  The Canadian oil-services company is trying to use the rule of eminent domain to acquire the rights-of-way it needs to run the Keystone XL down to the Gulf Coast refineries of Port Arthur, Texas.  The US government is once again taking land away from residents of the Cherokee Strip, Native and settler alike, and handing it over to a colonizer who doesn’t even want to live there.  Landowners are desperate to stop the Keystone XL, for fear that their generations-old way of life in the region is coming to an end.  Hentges remarked that in this battle against the tar sands, the environmentalists and the property-rights folks want the same thing.  “They just don’t usually know it,” he said.

Oil’s Northwest Passage

The ranchers of Oklahoma have even more in common with North America’s First Nations than a hot potato of broken promises on prairie land.  1800 miles away, British Columbia’s indigenous communities have voiced a resounding NO to plans by another tar sands company, Enbridge, to cross 700 miles of unceded coastal territory; in an effort to connect the oil supplies of northern Alberta to the Pacific Ocean.  Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline would bring natural gas condensate, a chemical used to slurry bitumen, to the tar sands. A parallel pipe would bring that slurry of synthetic oil from the tar sands to the deep-sea port of Kitimat, BC.  The circuitous route of this proposed double-pipeline would send carcinogenic chemicals across three major watersheds and over a thousand streams, as well as the legitimate territories of some 50 non-consenting First Nations.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association has warned that the vast majority of pipeline ruptures occur due to “time-dependent failure such as external corrosion or stress corrosion cracking.”  Meaning that it’s not a matter of  if there is a spill from one of the two parallel pipelines, but when.  In one ten-year period Enbridge reported spilling 132,000 barrels of oil in over 600 spills.  Recent oil spills in Michigan, suburban Chicago and Salt Lake City could have been worse had they gone longer before being noticed.  Much of the 1400 miles of pipeline in the Northern Gateway plan would be in isolated, difficult to access regions of a mountainous and biologically-sensitive temperate rain forest.  Additionally, Enbridge has a history of neglecting safety measures that would have prevented spills, as was the case in Michigan.

The risk of spills arises from more than just the pipelines, and residents of the region remember all too well the consequences their Alaskan neighbors dealt with after allowing Exxon to operate in Prince William Sound.  The oil set to flow through the Northern Gateway is not meant to end its journey in the coastal town of Kitimat.  Up to 225 oil tankers per year, with a capacity of 2 million barrels each, would be required to navigate some of the most dangerous coastal waters in the world.  A 1990 Environment Canada analysis of the likelihood of tanker accidents occurring in Canadian waters concluded that “based on current [1990] levels of tanker traffic, Canada can expect over 100 small oil spills, about 10 moderate spills and at least one major spill offshore each year. A catastrophic spill (over 10,000 tonnes) may occur once every 15 years.”  Click to see how a spill could affect BC coastal waters.

 

Ultra Large Crude Carriers are the largest ships on Earth.

Resistance to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project goes beyond First Nations.  80% of British Columbia’s population is believed to be opposed to oil tanker traffic on the province’s coast.  Political players in Canada are fighting over both proposed and existing tanker moratoriums affecting BC’s coast.

A River Runs Through It

Why, if Canada’s Tar Sands can’t even keep up with demand for existing pipeline capacity, are oil companies spending billions to lay even more pipe?  Tar Sands companies have no intention of leaving the pipes unfilled.  The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects oil production from the tar sands to more than double in the next 15 years.  Currently, dozens of tar sand operations are planned or under construction in Alberta, with hundreds of other sites being explored for exploitation potential.

As the mining facilities become more numerous, they are also becoming larger.  In a business that profits in direct proportion to its ability to move the most volume of Earth that it can, bigger is better.  This applies to ordering parts, too.

Late in 2009, oil behemoth ExxonMobil quietly met with local governments in western Montana to promise great things for the small towns’ economiesThe plan was to ship some 207 things politely called “modules” through the region.  In exchange the company would spend a little money and build some parking lots, referred to as “turnouts”, in the middle of the forest.  The modules turned out to be 500,000 lb Lego pieces of a new tar sand mine in Alberta.

A three-story high coke drum waits out an expensive legal battle in Idaho.

Perhaps in the offices of tar sand giants like Exxon or Conoco, in oil-friendly cities like Edmonton, Dallas or Billings; this sounded like a fine plan.  But as with the settlers of the central plains, and the First Nations of the Pacific northwest, residents along the route of these shipments have a conflicting idea of what is good for them.

What is known today as US Hwy 12 in Idaho and western Montana, served first as the route of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition to the Pacific.  In their time, the expedition served as a catalyst in the lives of indigenous people already living there.  So began over two centuries of illegal immigration into what in 1805 was still Indian country; first to exploit it for gold and firs, later to possess it for settlement.

Despite the legacy of colonialism in the northern Rockies, the river valleys of Idaho and Montana retain a resemblance to their pre-conquest conditions.  Grizzlies and cougars still hunt these woods, salmon still spawn in the eddies.   Missoula, MT, a small city of about 60,000 people, rubs against a federally designated wilderness area.  Visitors to town are often treated to the sight of ospreys fishing the Clark Fork river right downtown.

West across the 9000 ft Lolo pass from Missoula is the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers in Idaho.  Tourism is the leading industry, drawing $150 million into the region’s economy.  US12, the windy, two-lane mountain road through the area, is dotted with signs warning of wildlife crossings and rock slides.  Mom and pop lodging establishments cater to whitewater rafters, hunters and cross-country skiers.

When Exxon began staging  hearings along the route about their project, they were confronted by a population more concerned with protecting their communities and the land those communities rely on, than with accommodating outsiders with a far away agenda.   Injunctions, resolutions and ordinances against the tar sands heavy-hauls began keeping the modules trapped at the Port of Lewiston, costing the oil giants millions of dollars.

As much as the scenery of the northern Rockies invokes the inner environmentalist in some, so too does the region’s distance from the alienation of large cities invoke in others a demand to be seen and heard by global interests.  David is forcing Goliath to look him in the eye.

The Problem of “Foreign” Oil

Perhaps Manifest Destiny and post-WWII economic might had trained many Americans to expect to always be at the top of the economic food-chain, but for folks in this neck of the woods it seems other influences are calling the shots.  The introduction of the tar sands shipping corridor through Idaho and Montana introduced a lot of area residents to corporations they had never heard of before: Imperial, Harvest, Sung Jin, Mammoet.

The major players in Big Oil today do not hail from just Texas.  State-controlled oil companies from Europe and Asia have invested billions in Alberta’s tar sands in recent years.  Global production of crude oil is falling and demand is rising; and oil-hungry countries desperately clinging to the false-progress of industrialization are scrambling to control the last of the world’s reserves.  And just like the divvying-up of the Americas after Cristoforo Colombo got lost on his way to Japan, and the parceling out of Indian territory after US independence; the world’s wealthiest states are dividing up the last supplies of the most sought after drug on Earth without regard for the people in their way.

In particular addition to US and European corporate investment are the emerging powerhouse economies of eastern Asia.  China is buying up as much control over Canada’s tar sands as they can get away with.  Korea is taking over tar sand contracts from manufacturing to shipping, as well as operations in Canada itself, leaving US and Canadian companies in the dust and the world’s civilizations thirsting for more.

A New Wave of Colonists

Marty Cobenais is an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, co-sponsor of the International Tar Sands Resistance Summit.  He’s been working with communities along the Keystone XL’s route for the last two years, trying to prevent oil and gas companies from destroying land-based people’s homes from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.  The Alberta Clipper oil pipeline passes just two miles from his office in northern Minnesota.

At the ITSRS in the mountains of Montana, Cobenais had few reservations about the strength of his words against the Tar Sands.  He feels he is fighting a war.

“You know the old military strategy of cutting off the supply chain?” Cobenais says about the burgeoning heavy-haul corridor through Montana, “Montana is the supply chain.”

He and his relations have been resisting the colonization of his country by European settlers for hundreds of years.  Now even those settlers are finding themselves under the work-boots of a new wave of colonists marching to and from the Alberta Tar Sands and are joining forces to defeat a common threat.

Northern Rockies Rising Tide wishes to extend a special Thank You to the Indigenous Environmental Network and Peaceful Uprising, co-sponsors of the inaugural International Tar Sands Resistance Summit 2010.  (Peaceful Uprising is spearheading the campaign against the PR Springs mine in eastern Utah.  PR Springs is slated to become the first commercial scale tar sand operation in the United States.)

NRRT would also like to thank all of the presenters, trainers and attendees of the ITSRS 2010; caterers Seeds of Peace, and gracious host Lubrecht Experimental Forest.

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Highway 12 debate hits the national headlines

In the past couple of days the debate over whether to turn scenic Highway 12 into an industrial shipping corridor has received quite a bit of public attention from around the country. Links below.

New York Times

Wall St. Journal

First Imperial Oil loads to arrive in Lewiston Thursday!

The first of the Imperial Oil boatload is destined to arrive at the Port of Lewiston tomorrow. This load will contain the first eight modules to be transported by Imperial Oil to the Alberta Tar Sands. This, all before the Idaho Supreme court has had a chance to make a ruling on the Conoco/Phillips shipments, a ruling that will certainly impact future oil companies’, including Imperial’s, chance to drive the Highway 12 gauntlet.

The shipment was brought up the river from the Port of Vancouver, WA. a two and a half day trip. The modules will be off-loaded under the watchful eyes of a hired security squad who will erect a perimeter around the port to keep out pesky Idaho residents and other interested parties.

If the trucks are going to move, however, is still dependent on the ruling from the Idaho courts.

Yet even more company interest for HWY 12

So, there is yet another company, Harvest Operations Corp, a fully owned subsidiary of Korea National Oil Corp, interested in the already contentious Highway 12/200 route to the Alberta Tar Sands. The company submitted its application sometime after September 15th, making it the third interested party. This piece of information was gleaned from an internal Idaho Department of Transportation memo released after a FOIA request made by Advocates for the West.

If we allow ourselves to reflect upon this a little, and dredge up some recent history, we’ll remember this was the exact fear brought to the MDT and IDT by member of the public. The fear being that Highway 12 would be turned into a permanent “High and Wide” corridor specifically to be used by those seeking to appropriate Canadian oil from indigenous lands.

Articles concerning the memo can be found here.

And another piece of recent news is that the first KMTP shipments have already made their appearance at the Port of Vancouver, WA. So, before the Idaho Supreme Court has even made it’s decision on the shipments the company hasn’t even hedged its bets, it simply assumes success. We wish this was not a commonplace practice in this type of scenario. Sadly, it is.

More horrific implications dwarf concerns over traffic delays

It has been said here before, with much confidence, that to allow the Kearl Module Transport Project to proceed will open a Pandora’s Box of industrialization in the inland Northwest.  In particular, the establishment of an ongoing culture of supplying equipment to the Tar Sands of Alberta by means of high-wide truck transport through the region.  In a certain sense, we here in the northern Rockies are facing the decision of whether or not to invite some new neighbors to the ‘hood.  There seems little doubt that this controversy would be understood were these new neighbors registered sex offenders, or perhaps another white supremacist club so common in this region, but when the newest immigrants to our community are the world’s largest, wealthiest capitalist organizations, a certain sense existing somewhere between apathy and defeat takes hold of the discourse.  With this in mind, and following the absurd precedent of corporate personhood, let’s consider for a moment just who we are opening our arms wide for.

A Look at ExxonMobil

The world’s largest publicly traded institution, regularly posting world record-setting profits, is ExxonMobil.  This direct descendant of tycoon John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company is the result of the remerging of Exxon and Mobil, two entities previously joined in a monopoly and forced to split under anti-trust laws.  Time has been good to this mega-corporation.  The same cannot be said for how the company has been to the rest of the world.

In 1989, ExxonMobil spilled 11 million gallons of oil near Valdez, AK causing environmental damage that we are still dealing with today.  At the time, the ExxonValdez oil spill in Prince William Sound was without doubt the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, and today remains near the top of the list.  Some 1200 miles of pristine coastline became coated with crude oil, untold numbers of seabirds and other wildlife died as a result of contact with the spill, and desperate cover up efforts resulted in the literal deaths of once-biodiverse beaches.  A court ordered the company in 1994 to pay 4.5 billion dollars in damages to the 33,000 Alaskan Natives and non-native fishermen who’s livelihoods were harmed by the spill.  Today, Exxon has still not paid up despite posting over $250 billion in profits in just the last 10 years.  Since the ruling, over 6000 of the plaintiffs have passed away while waiting in vain for compensation.

“Cleanup” crews sterilize once thriving beaches with high-pressure steam. As the oil washed away, so did all remaining biodiversity.

ExxonMobil’s flagrant disregard for its responsibility to the people it affected is merely a part of a long precedent it has set.

In 1990, a month after ExxonMobil spilled over half a million gallons of oil from a pipeline into the waters between Staten Island and New Jersey, the company was sued by the city of New York for falsifying safety reports after Exxon admitted that the pipeline’s leak detection system had not worked for 12 years.

In 1991, the EPA sued Exxon for again tainting the waters near Valdez, AK, this time with ballast waste water. That same year the EPA also fined Exxon for discharging contaminated fluids from service stations directly into or above underground drinking water sources around the country.  Since then, Exxon has been accused of continuing to ignore such crimes it has committed repeatedly.

In 1993, Exxon was sued for knowingly bypassing air pollution control equipment at its Linden, NJ Bayway refinery. Come 1995, Exxon was sued over violations of the Clean Water Act and the resource conservation and recovery act in Louisiana.

Exxon’s Bayway refinery in Linden, NJ

In 1998, they were sued by the Department of Justice for clean air act violations, sued for discharging selenium (a carcinogen) into San Francisco Bay, and sued for excess levels of carcinogens in industrial wastes in Louisiana. That same year, Exxon heavily publicized a petition supposedly signed by 17,000 “scientists” that dismissed the scientific consensus on global warming. The petitions was supposedly endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, but the NAS itself later condemned the petition as a fake. Since then, Exxon has spent over $23 million to fund over 40 organizations per year that seek to discredit climate change, a practice which continues to this day despite claims in 2006 that the company was ending such funding.

In 2000, Exxon was convicted of defrauding Alabama on royalties from gas wells in state waters, and they settled a suit against it and 9 other companies for underpaying the government hundreds of millions of dollars in drilling royalties for federal lands leases. And in 2001, they were sued by Texas for extracting oil & gas from state land without permission.

Though the Valdez disaster rates as the most well known of Exxon’s crimes, it should not be forgotten that they were sued by the International Labor Rights fund over the corporation’s complicity in human rights abuses in Indonesia during the Suharto regime.  The company contracted the Indonesian army to provide security for gas projects on Sumatra, and villagers were subsequently murdered, tortured, kidnapped and raped. Exxon supplied the barracks in which villagers were tortured as well as the excavators used to dig mass graves.

Exxon has given high-paying jobs to former White House officials who falsified government reports to favor the oil industry’s positions and has engaged in practices of union-busting around the globe, notably in places such as Columbia and Peru where indigenous communities are being forcibly evicted to make way for Exxon projects.  It has traded illegally with countries such as Sudan, in violation of official sanctions, has been the subject of countless anti-trust suits since the 1800s, when ExxonMobil was known as Standard Oil, and is responsible for 41 Superfund sites in 17 states.

An Industry-wide Culture

Just as the emerging high-wide corridor in the northern Rockies exceeds limiting utilization to just one company, so too does this culture of disregard for social and environmental rights.  The oil industry as a whole self-perpetuates a reputation for horrific crimes against humanity and the Earth.

The Niger Delta region has suffered from the equivalent of a BP Gulf spill every year for several decades, and armed resistance groups have emerged against the oil giants.

From political assassinations and civilian massacres in defense of Shell and ChevronTexaco’s operations in the Niger delta as well as that region’s ongoing environmental devastation, to BP’s cover up of ecocide in the already precarious Gulf of Mexico, the companies behind this abuse of our landscapes and communities in the northern Rockies have given us no reasonable assurance that we are not becoming the next in a long line of disposable populations and sacrifice zones in Big Oil CEO’s exploitation of the planet for personal gains.

ExxonMobil’s and other tar sands exploiters have only one purpose on this planet: to maximize profits for their shareholders.  We in the northern Rockies are faced with the chance to acquiesce or stand our ground against the Kearl Module Transport Project and the tar sands.  Let us not go quietly into the night….

Tar Sand Trucks Chomping at the Bit

ConocoPhillips joins the parade

Four oversize loads sit waiting on trailers at Idaho’s Port of Lewiston, poised and ready to roll across the northern Rockies, save only for the final pieces of red tape.  Even as executives from Exxon and Montana Department of Transportation continue to claim that the scenic routes over Lolo and Rogers passes are not being turned into a permanent trucking corridor for the oil industry, ConocoPhillips is waiting for the final go-ahead for it’s own high/wide loads to cross the region, having already been off-loaded from barges on the Snake river.

ConocoPhillips loads at Port of Lewiston, Photo by Roger Inghram

Though headed for an oil refinery in Billings, MT rather than to the mines of Alberta directly, the four ConocoPhillips shipments are expected to be just as wide as the infamous loads slated to occur with Exxon/Imperial Oil’s Kearl Module Transport Project that is currently under environmental review.  Most preparations for the sooner shipments have been made and there is speculation that Conoco is waiting only for some bridge construction to be completed along the route before submitting final travel plans to Idaho Transportation Department.  Both ITD and regional activists plan to watch these shipments very closely.

Exxon/Imperial Oil still answering Montana comments

The public comment period for ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil’s Kearl Module Transport Project (KMT) environmental assessment closed on May 14, 2010.  So for there has been no official response from Montana Department of Transportation, stating only that the applicant (Exxon) is still responding to the over 20,000 comments submitted.  MDT received an unprecedented number of comments in the final days of the comment period, resulting in a two-day server crash at MDT and an unknown number of comments failing to be heard as a result.  Theoretically, MDT could accept Exxon’s responses and issue approval for the KMT at any moment.  For now, the silence is deafening.

Indigenous activists visit Missoula

Wednesday, June 2nd saw a flood of concerned Missoulians to the Roxy theater for a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “H2Oil” hosted by the Missoula No Shipments Network and the Indigenous Environmental Network (movie trailer available on right-hand side of this page).  As the screening room filled up to capacity and more people continued to arrive, a second screen had to be opened for a simultaneous viewing to accommodate everyone.  Following the film, three guests took to the stage to discuss first-hand experiences with resistance to the Tar Sands.  George Poitras, former chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta spoke about that community’s experiences living downstream from the Tar Sand mines and dealing with the oil companies.  Marty Cobenais, of the Indigenous Environmental Network, discussed the campaign against tar sand pipelines to the US.  Surprise guest Winona LaDuke also took the stage briefly, somewhat distracting the event’s starstruck attendees from the subject at hand.

Bike Bloc escorts key players to people’s tribunal

Thursday, June 4th- Festivities continued in Missoula against the tar sands one day following the screening of H2Oil at the Roxy theater.  A Critical Mass Bike Ride included a bike-pulled trailer carrying “Exxon’s bed” to the Missoula office of MDT.  Upon arrival the bed, in which lied (sic) “Mr. Exxon and MDT Director Jim Lynch”, was stopped by a jubilant mob of anti-tar sand protesters who had assembled a mock court for the two climate criminals.  After some brief arguments between the judges and the accused, Lynch was found guilty of being in bed with Exxon and sentenced to get out of bed!

See the Missoulian article here.

Building resistance

Bi-weekly meetings of the No Shipments Missoula network continue to grow in size and the trend appears set to continue.  Please join us at the next meeting, June 23rd, @ 5:15pm in the back room of the Jeanette Ranking Peace Center on 2nd and S. Higgins in Missoula.  We need to keep up the pressure against these shipments!  Also, check out this new site created by the Rural People of Highway 12 for more information about the campaign to stop the trucks in Idaho.

A Walk Through the Tar Sands

The Indigenous Environmental Network, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, the National Wildlife Federation, the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club, UM Climate Action Now, and the No Shipments Network

Formally Invite you to:

A Walk Through the Tar Sands:

A night of first hand accounts regarding the most destructive industrial project on the face of the planet

Join us Wednesday, June 2nd, for a screening of H2Oil, the internationally acclaimed documentary on the Alberta Tar Sands, followed by a presentation by Marty Cobenais, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network’s campaign against Tar Sands pipelines, along with George Poitras, former chief of the Fort Chipewyan Tribe, one of the communities suffering the direct and disastrous effects of Alberta’s oil sands mining.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 6:00PM

Roxy Theater, 718 S. Higgins Av, Missoula, MT

The Alberta Tar Sands constitute the largest portion of U.S. imported oil. They have also been called out in the international community as the most destructive industrial project on the face of the planet. This fall, Missoula could play host to the creation of an industrial shipping corridor that would serve Tar Sands mines for decades to come. Come learn from people with first hand experience with the Tar Sands operations and their effects on the local communities of northern Alberta. There are many reasons to oppose the proposed corridor, and to be informed of issues across the border is to be more powerful in our fight at home.

Marty Cobenias is a longtime native activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network and currently works out of Minnesota on IEN’s campaign opposing proposed Tar Sands pipelines.

George Poitras is the former chief of the Fort Chipewyan tribe and has spoken to the international community about the devastation of the Alberta Tar Sands. Fort Chipewyan resides just downstream of the Tar Sands mines. The residents of the community, mostly Cree First Nations, Dene First Nations, and Metis people suffer from exceedingly high rates of rare cancers, and have taken a strong stand against the up-river mines.

H2Oil is the internationally acclaimed documentary on the devastating effects of Tar Sands mining on the land and the people, and specifically the challenges that Canada’s First Nations people face in trying to find justice in their struggle against the mines.

For more information contact: noshipmentsmissoula@googlegroups.com

______________________________________________________________________

Also, on June 5th

Grammy Award Winning Indigo Girls and Acclaimed Native activist Winona LaDuke appear in Pablo with local and regional activists to raise awareness for a clean energy future

A panel entitled “Environmental Justice in Montana:  Protecting the Land for Future Generations” will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 at the Johnny Arlee/Victor Charlo Theatre at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Mont.
The event will call for increased resistance to fossil fuels and full investment in clean energy across Indian Country and the United States.

Native activist Winona LaDuke will moderate the panel, which includes four dynamic speakers:

  • Eriel Deranger from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations of Canada, speaking on the impacts of tar sands oil development;
  • Gail Small of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, who will talk about her community’s ongoing struggle to stop coal development;
  • Francis Auld, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes cultural preservation officer will address sacred sites;
  • Rich Janssen, acting director of the CSKT Natural Resource Department will address environmental concerns of the Flathead Reservation.

Environmental Justice Panel

With

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations of Northern Alberta, Rainforest Action Network’s Freedom From Oil Campaigner;

Gail Small, Native Action, Executive Director,

Francis Auld, CSKT cultural preservation;

Rich Janssen, CSKT Acting Director of Natural Resources.

Topics: Alberta tar sands oil, transportation of oil, coal extraction, coal bed methane and the connection between natural resources exploitation and poverty.

Moderated by Winona LaDuke

Short performance by Indigo Girls

1:30 p.m.

Johnny Arlee/Victor Charlo Theatre

Salish Kootenai College

58138 U.S. Highway 93 (theater first turn on right as you enter campus from south)

Pablo, Mont. 59855

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