Minisink, NY, Mar.15, 2014- The controversial Minisink case challenging both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Millennium Pipeline Co., LLC, has been rescheduled for a May 1st hearing at the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Oral arguments will now be presented before Circuit Judges Kavanaugh, Millett, and Wilkins. Both Millett and Wilkins are recent Obama appointees, while Kavanaugh has served on the D.C. Appeals Court since 2006. Significantly, the case will set national legal precedent in regard to communities’ rights to defend themselves from unwanted and forcibly sited energy infrastructure by the oil and gas industry; if successful, Minisink, NY, will be the first community to have a brand-new gas compressor station shut down and removed from the location.
The ramifications of this case will be critical to the larger network of gas infrastructure battles in the Northeast. Developments are being closely monitored by both industry and frontline community advocacy groups; the conflict and ensuing case began in June of 2011. With two large gas-fired power plants and several new miles of lateral pipeline hinged on the viability of the Minisink compressor station, Minisink’s success in the upcoming proceedings would be a critical blow to the industry’s plans for the state of NY.
Represented by the D.C.-based attorney, Carolyn Elefant, ten community-appointed Minisink residents, collectively known as ‘Minisink Residents for Environmental Preservation and Safety’ (MREPS), are the Petitioners in the case. As Respondent and Intervenor in the case, respectively, FERC and Millennium Pipeline’s legal representation will be compelled to split the allotted time for corresponding argument.
In July of 2012, Minisink set rare legal precedent with a 3-2 split vote at FERC to approve the Minisink Compressor Station, with two commissioners dissenting- both the Chairman at the time, Jon Wellinghoff, as well as Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. FERC has an overwhelming 99% approval rate of all projects that come before them. The findings of the U.S. Court of Appeals will have far-reaching implications for the industry, a host of communities across the country currently and soon to battle infrastructure expansion, and advocacy and alliance groups across the region.
For more information on the Minisink community and Minisink’s case, please visit http://www.minisinkmatters.org
Shalefield Justice Spring Break participants take part in a direct action training. (SJSB / Tom Jefferson
Traffic stood still for a half mile up the narrow, winding road. Fracking workers got out of their trucks and asked what was going on. They soon learned that several protesters had locked themselves in the middle of the road to a tube containing over 600 pounds of cement. The protesters’ large banner, tied to trees in front of them, declared “No Fracking, No Compromise!”
The blockade, which halted Anadarko Petroleum’s fracking operation in central Pennsylvania’s Tiadhagon State Forest for seven hours, occurred alongside the first-ever Shalefield Justice Spring Break. Held in Madisonburg, Pa., last month, the training camp brought together Marcellus Shale residents and over a hundred youth, such as myself, from surrounding states for a week of education and organizing against the extraction process known as fracking, which involves the injection of toxic chemicals underground to break up shale rock containing natural gas.
Throughout the week, organizers introduced many young people to community leaders living above the Marcellus Shale rock formation, which stretches from New York to Virginia. Living on the frontline of extraction, shalefield communities experience fracking’s most extreme impacts, including water contamination, air pollution, pipeline explosions and climate-changing methane leaks.
On the first night of camp, several Pennsylvanian shalefield residents spoke about how fracking has directly impacted them. Ruth Steck recounted her shock at seeing a helicopter fly over her house one day and drop seismic testing equipment next to her garden. Steck had grown accustomed to quietness, and the loud fracking felt like an invasion.
“There are mornings where I can hardly stand to go outside,” she explained. “I can’t hear the birds.”
Teacher and business owner Barbara Jarmoska told her story using photos of the stunningly beautiful Loyalsock Forest adjacent to her home and the land that her family has owned since the 1930s. It is where she and her siblings grew up, her son got married, and many young people, including her grandchildren, used to go to hike and ride horses. Today, 40 gas wells sit within five miles of Jarmoska’s home — a health risk that has forced her children and grandchildren to move away.
“The noise, the smell, the congestion, the fact that you can’t get in and out of the driveway, all year round — It’s really impossible to describe,” Jarmoska said.
Driving around the Tiadaghton State Forest — amidst acres of land that had been clearcut to make way for compressor stations, pipelines, containment ponds, and other fracking infrastructure — a clearer picture of life on the frontline of extraction begins to emerge. For one thing, land that was once public is seemingly no longer. With security guards driving around and police helicopters flying overhead, the fracking industry operates as if it owns the place.
In order to build the kind of power that might one day reclaim the land that people like Steck and Jarmoska call home, the organizers of Shalefield Justice Spring Break looked to the decade-long history of Mountain Justice Spring Breaks and Summer Breaks — annual events that have become a powerful recruitment tool for central Appalachia’s movement to end mountaintop removal coal mining. However, one could also trace the concept’s history back to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s 1964 Freedom Summer, which brought white college students on their summer break to participate in Mississippi’s civil rights organizing. While there are enormous differences between the campaigns, they share a basic strategy of increasing people’s engagement in an issue, in such a way that it spreads virally from participants to their friends and family back home. This is a large part of how, relationship by relationship, public opinion shifts.
Despite massive industry propaganda, the anti-fracking movement has been tremendously effective in shifting opinion — something even the industry itself has been forced to admit. According to a 2013 report by the industry consulting firm Control Risks, the movement “has mounted an effective campaign” that through the “sophistication, speed and influence of anti-fracking activists” has oftentimes caught companies off-guard with local bans and moratoriums. The report pays special attention, however, to nonviolent direct action tactics such as blockades, which “can be significant in terms of lost productivity and extra operating costs.”
By joining Marcellus Shale Earth First’s blockade and a simultaneous rally outside Anardarko Petroleum’s corporate offices on March 20, attendees of Shalefield Justice Spring Break put into practice the costly direct action skills they had learned all week. Many stepped into unfamiliar action roles, acting as medics, police liaisons, sign painters, media outreach and more.
Anti-fracking activists who participated in the Shalefield Justice Spring Break blocked a fracking operation in central Pennsylvania last month. (SJSP / Tom Jefferson)
The protesters targeted Anadarko, because the company’s proposed fracking operations in the Loyalsock State Forest have been the focal point of the campaign against fracking in Pennsylvania’s remaining wild places. Groups have held rallies, packed public hearings, and even conducted a 30-day tree-sit to protect the Loyalsock. The most recent blockade and rally sent a strong message to Anadarko and the rest of the gas industry: pull out of Pennsylvania’s state forests or face more resistance than ever before.
Considering that this was the first Shalefield Justice Spring Break, organizers succeeded remarkably in plugging nearly a hundred new people into active roles in the anti-fracking movement. According to Ray Leone, one of the organizers, the camp succeeded in “engaging new people, creating wider networks and building a stronger movement. We challenged each other to divest from all systems of oppression, to listen to and learn from others with a variety of experiences, and to leave camp with a plan to take action back at home.”
Between the tree climbing, capture-the-flag, talent shows and bonfires, people somehow found time to discuss organizing plans for the future. Maryland residents discussed how to advance the campaign against Cove Point, a liquified gas export terminal proposed just south of Baltimore. Several sit-ins and a rally of over 700 people have recently turned the terminal into a flashpoint for the nation’s climate justice struggle.
Meanwhile, Northeasterners planned to join together against the proposed Algonquin pipeline expansion. Pennsylvania residents talked about building permanent spaces for activists to live collectively and organize in defense of the Loyalsock. In other words, people from Baltimore to Boston and beyond coordinated to challenge the fracking lifecycle on many fronts.
“Too often we hear from the media that young people aren’t engaged,” said Michael Badges-Canning, a retired school teacher from Pennsylvania’s Butler County. “But at Shalefield Justice Spring Break I got to hang around with young people totally committed to protecting my home and getting the job done right.”
If you do not know my name is Hellbender (Hellbender also known as the hellbender salamander, is a species of giant salamander endemic to eastern North America ) and I am only going to take a moment of your time.
I’m sure by now someone has denounced the use of a tree-sit to defend the Loyalsock. They may say they can’t support such brazen forms of tree-hugging. To that I ask, WHY NOT? Has asking nicely of those who look at high elevation wetlands, rare pitcher plants, vast dense and (mostly un-fragmented forest eco-system, and the watershed for rock run as another fracked gas goldmine worked? Do you really think petitioning alone will stop someone with millions of dollars on the line? I am sotty to be the bearer of bad news, these kind of pipe dreams will not stop pipelines. The realization that the Board of the DCNR (PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) aren’t your friends is a hard one indeed. Let me stress one thing, while the current secretary of the DCNR may be in the back pocket of Anadarko and the gas company, Let us not assume that the rest of the DCNR are so easily corrupted. Many, if not most, of them are ecologists, biologists, environmental and forestry majors. I believe that they care deeply about this forest and our Mother Earth. Now is not the time to damn DCNR as a whole, let us direct our anger at Anadarko and anyone else who puts a price tag on nature. For any allies who want to plug in, share resources , donate, or just stay updated, visit www.MarcellusEarthFirst.org I am sure I am not the only one who know this but folks, right now, we are winning. For now I leave with this and will check back when I can.
Keep it wild forever
Love and rage,
Originally posted on Marcellus Shale Earth First!:
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/237674113046997/
Where: (33 W. Third Street in Williamsport) to protest drilling in Loyalsock.
On Friday September 13th, Endless Mountains Earth First! cordially invites you to come to Williamport, PA to visit Anadarko Petroleum Corporation offices to protest drilling in the Loyalsock.
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC) has plans to invade the revered Loyalsock State Forest in northeast Pennsylvania with over two dozen hydro-fracking well-pads, multiple pipelines, access roads, and other associated infrastructure. Thousands of acres are at risk; including mature forest ecosystems, unique habitats such as high elevation wetlands and exceptional value streams teeming with trout. This area is home to several rare and threatened species including the Timber Rattlesnake, Northern Water Shrew, Yellow Bellied Flycatcher, as well as several carnivorous plants such as the Pitcher Plant. The Loyalsock is the line in the sand for many locals who frequent the forest to hike, swim, camp, hunt, fish…
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Earth First! Journal Collective Weekend Tour Aug 16 & 17 Workshops in Chapel Hill and Benefit Show in Greensboro
Originally posted on Piedmont Earth First!:
On Friday August 16th Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill will host a debate/discussion at 6 p.m. regarding the new zine “The Issues Are Not The Issue” with the author and organizers from Everglades & Katuah Earth First!
On Saturday Aug 17th, come out from 2-5 p.m. at Internationalist Bookstore at 405 W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill for the “Earth Nightly News” program and Independent Media Workshop with editors from the Earth First! Journal Collective out of Lake Worth, Florida and the Appalachian office in Western NC. Find out how you can get involved in EF! Media projects and more. Participants will discuss where they get their news, which forms are most used, and how under-reported events and organizing can get more attentions through alternative press.
The Earth First! Journal has been a circulating printed newspaper and magazine for over 32 years. As the voice of…
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Originally posted on Earth First! Newswire:
Friends, Strangers, Comrades-in-arms, Allies-in-lockboxes, Revolutionaries-in-cubicles,
Remember that time when you were at that action and were hit suddenly with an epiphany—a poem, a comic, a manifesto, an idea for the way all living things on Earth could unite to defeat corporate colonialism? Or maybe you were just hit by a cop’s baton. Whatever it actually was, we want to hear about it!
Or perhaps you don’t take part in frontline actions, but spend long evenings ruminating on the state of the planet and composing decolonial propaganda that you want to be read by radicals, luddites, NSA data centers and prisoners all over the world. Well, here’s your chance!
This year’s second issue of the Earth First! Journal will be coming out soon, and we’ve started work on a third. We’ve already received some wonderful submissions, but we need more!
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Originally posted on Earth First! Newswire:
The out-dated websites EarthFirst.org and its affiliated EarthFirstNews.com are not connected to the Earth First! movement. There is no accountability on where the “donations” go, nor the content that is posted. The owner of the site, Greg Thorne, is a web domain speculator who has had no known connection to the movement for at least a decade. Unless this changes, we ask that you do not promote the site in any way. If you have donated there in the past, we suggest you ask for a refund so that you can direct your money to a project which is accountable to the EF! movement, such as the Journal (which has a collective that is responsive on a daily basis and meets openly at EF! gatherings twice…
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