Next Monday, well known celebrities including Daryl Hannah, Michael Moore, Ellen Page, Pamela Anderson, and Mark Ruffalo will join thousands of others at the Defend Our Coast mass sit-in to oppose tar sands pipelines and tankers on Canada’s west coast.
Some 3,500 people have said they will risk arrest and sit on the front lawn of the BC legislature. “We stand in solidarity with our northern neighbours who are gathering in Victoria to defend the coast and wisely oppose the equally toxic and destructive threat that is the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines. ” actress Daryl Hannah said.
“Tar sands pipelines are an exercise in folly. As the world inevitably transitions away from fossil fuels, a small group of corporate radicals is dead set on accelerating climate change in the biggest land grab and property rights infringement in history,” adds actor Mark Ruffalo.
In Texas, the courageous tree sitters continue to defy the Southern route of the KXL. The tree blockade has entered its fourth week, with over 50 blockaders publicly demonstrating on the Keystone XL easement despite the threat of a newly-expanded Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) by TransCanada.
In California, a coalition of environmental advocates has filed suit against California oil regulators over fracking, accusing state officials of illegally “rubber-stamping” drilling permits without performing crucial environmental reviews.
They filed a lawsuit yesterday, alleging that regulators are breaking state law by routinely exempting oil projects from the California Environmental Quality Act. “The current lack of oversight is unacceptable and this lawsuit is about getting the information we all need,” said Kassie Siegel, of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of four environmental groups who filed the lawsuit.
As North American communities and groups fight back, Big Oil moves south, looking for new opportunities to exploit. Shell and Exxon are two companies bidding for shale oil deposits in Colombia. At stake are the rights to blocks covering about 13.5 million hectares (33.4 million acres) across mountainous central Colombia, its eastern plains and offshore in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile the Guardian has two articles on the how locals in Ecuador are fighting PetroAmazonas to explore close to the ecologically and culturally sensitive Yasuni national park.
PetroAmazonas is trying to bribe the local Kichwa indigenous community with cash, new schools, a new eco-lodge, better healthcare and university education for their children if they accept plans for a seismic survey.
But locals are trying to fight back, but the lure of the petro-dollar is hard to resist. Patricio Jipa is leading the community resistance, despite being told there is a death threat against him.
PetroAmazonas “have found our people at an all-time low emotionally and financially, and have seized their chance” he says. “How can we help the community give up such wonderful opportunities? They are offering what we need and want, but the cost is immeasurable for us and the rest of the world. We are isolated and fighting alone.”
Jipa is married to Mari Muench, a British woman originally from London. Jipa is trying to persuade his people to say no to PetroAmazonas and a vote on whether to allow the company to explore on their land is imminent.
Writing in the Guardian he says: “We have protected these lands with our hearts, soul and lives since before we can remember … Now, with our daughter we find ourselves in the middle of a fight to protect my ancestral lands, the virgin rainforests of Ecuador from oil exploitation”.
He continues: “How can we look our daughter in the eye in 20 years’ time and see the community living when there are no trees, no fish in the rivers, our little house by the river gone, the lodge closed and a concrete jungle replacing the living one and say we did not try because we were afraid. I see her eyes fill with tears. As she says, we must. Right now, there is no one else.”
Jipa is appealing for expertise, financial assistance and media coverage to help the fight against big oil. To contact him: email firstname.lastname@example.org