In July, twenty-one people were arrested while engaging in peaceful civil disobedience in protest of a controversial proposed tar sands mine in northeastern Utah, which would threaten local land and water, as well as contributing to the global climate crisis. National environmental organizations expressed their solidarity with the protesters. The protest was the culmination of a week long Climate Justice Summer Action Camp organized by students and young people from around the country (Utah included!).
“This could be the first large-scale tar sands strip mining in the Unites States, and this filthy industry threatens our air, water and wildlife,” said Valerie Love, No Tar Sands Campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity, who was one of the 21 arrested at the site. “We staged our protest on behalf of the millions of people who will be affected by this dirty fossil fuel mining. Over 40 million people and many wildlife species depend on this watershed. We need to say no to tar sands mining.”
“Rainforest Action Network stands in solidarity with the Utah anti-tar sands protestors whose commitment to protecting our air, water and climate—at the expense of their own freedom—is inspiring,” said Lindsey Allen, Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network. “Our movement is already working hard to prevent the Keystone XL from delivering tar sands oil across our borders; we can’t allow the practice itself to be imported to our cherished wild places. We applaud the local Utah campaigners for fighting to stop the first-ever tar sands mine in the United States.”
“Tar sands are the dirtiest fuel on the planet. By shining a spotlight on these dangerous projects, protestors in Utah are doing the world a service–they deserve our support, not jail time. If the government won’t act to keep tar sands in the ground, then the people will. The power of nonviolent direct action has helped block tar sands pipelines and mines from Nebraska to Maine to Alberta. This resistance is strategic, it’s effective, and it’s ultimately going to carry the day,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave people in Utah who are risking themselves to protect us all,” said Luísa Abbott Galvão, of Friends of the Earth. “We’ve seen from Canada that tar sands production is incompatible with environmental sustainability, land rights, and the public health.”
“Mining tar sands in Utah would be disastrous for local communities and the water, and would be a major setback for the country’s efforts to stop climate change,” said Kendall Mackey, National Tar Sands Organizer for Energy Action Coalition. “Youth activists across the country stand with those opposing tar sands mining in Utah and stand ready to use our political and financial power to stop it.”
“Tar sands is the dirtiest source of oil on the planet. We’ve seen the destruction being caused by tar sands everywhere–from the strip mines in Canada to the ruptured pipelines that dump tar sands crude into American waterways and neighborhoods,” said Marion Klaus, a Sierra Club volunteer leader who lives in Utah. “The Sierra Club stands with citizens everywhere who are fighting dirty fossil fuels and getting to work creating the clean energy prosperity this country needs.”
“The Utah 21 are not alone. These brave and principled nonviolent activists are only the most recent to take their turns on the front lines against extreme energy extraction and for a safe climate and clean energy future. Many have preceded them and more will surely follow. Our movement is already winning as we have effectively limited tar sands production by blocking its export out of North America. The oil industry and the Obama and Harper governments should expect more protests, marches, and civil disobedience until energy policy is brought in line with what climate science demands – anything less is climate denial which we, and activists around the country, will not tolerate” said Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International.
“Greenpeace stands in solidarity with the brave activists who have put their freedom on the line to prevent the construction of the first-ever US tar sands mine. We can’t hope to solve the climate crisis if we continue to extract and burn the dirtiest fuels on the planet. In the face of devastating droughts, floods, and fires, non-violent direct action is a necessary tool to confront injustices where governments and corporations have failed to act,” said Gabriel Wisniewski of Greenpeace.
Request for Sheepherders and Human Rights Observers on Black Mesa
For four decades these communities have fought to stop the U.S government and Peabody Energy Company’s exploitation of their homelands and communities. Today families remain, steadfastly resisting the mine, colonialism, and forced relocation. Families’ resistance to forced relocation puts them on the front lines of the struggle against resource colonialism in the form of large-scale coal mining.
In the face of colonial laws that undermine sovereign economies and relocation laws that seek to prevent younger generations from living with their parents and grandparents, elders request additional support. You are being invited to the resistance communities’ lands and homes, to assist in daily chores tending livestock and the homesite, and to act as a human rights observer. In this last month, families have gotten letters and visits from government authorities threatening livestock impoundments and herd reductions. As livestock are at the center of traditional life and economy, people are asking for support in maintaining their herds. Your presence as a human rights observer can help deter impoundments. While extended family provides the most consistent and crucial support for their elders, outside supporters are asked to herd sheep so families can more easily go to meetings, medical appointments, organize, weave, visit family…
Come for several weeks, to a month, or longer if you can. Support is appreciated all year round and especially wanted right now in the face of impoundments.
By choosing to offer direct on-land support, you honor not only these elders, but the dedication of their extended families, and the continued legacy of resistance.
Community members are specifically requesting local Dineh youth’s involvement. BMIS will work to prioritize local youth’s participation by providing travel stipends and supplies. Please consider donating to support this work.
Read about the BMIS collective here. BMIS can assist you in the essential process of being self-sufficient on the land. We are happy to speak with you over the phone or email and we offer important online resources like the Cultural Sensitivity & Preparedness Guidebook, as well as a wealth of archives documenting the resistance, all found on our website. We ask volunteers to read the guidebook and register with BMIS to ensure the safety of supporters and as well as families.
People’s Climate March and People’s Climate Justice Summit
New York City – September 17th – 24th
On September 23rd, political and corporate leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate compact.
From Mesa to Mountaintop, from Hood to Holler – join us as we meet the scale and urgency of the crisis by standing in solidarity with all frontlines of resistance and resilience around the world, and taking non-violent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy. We call on our allies to:
- Join CCRT, Rising Tide North America, and the Climate Justice Alliance in the streets of NYC for a week of creative non-violent actions for Climate Justice
- Organize a delegation to join the People’s Climate March & People’s Climate Justice Summit in NYC
- Organize a creative action in your home community that highlights local solutions to climate change
Our demands of local, national and international decision-makers are simple: Support us in building Just Transition pathways away from the “dig, burn, dump” economy, and towards “local, living economies” where communities and workers are in charge! Join us in solidarity – in the streets of New York City, in your own community, and around the world!