Action to shut down Utah tar sands mine, August 7, 2013. (Photo: Steve Liptay for 350.org)

By Rachael Stoeve, Truthout | Report

The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline has launched Canadian tar sands into mainstream American discourse, but few people seem to know that a tar sands mine is now being constructed in the United States. The project is being managed by former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root.

The mine will be excavated in PR Spring, a remote piece of wilderness on the Tavaputs Plateau in eastern Utah. Facing northeast from Arches National Park, 109 miles away, one can see the plateau stretching along the horizon. The mine will sit just above the spring that the area is named for; a BLM-managed campground is nearby.

The area is part of the Colorado River watershed, which supplies water to more than 30 million people. The land is owned by US Oil Sands, Inc., a Calgary-based company with a 100 percent interest in 32,005 acres of Utah tar sands leases. According to the company’s website, their leases comprise the largest commercial tar sands stake in the United States.

The company boasts of its “unique and environmentally friendly extraction process,” which uses a citrus-based solvent called d-Limonene to separate oil from the rest of the material brought up in extraction. But a 2012 report by InsideClimate News questioned the safety of the technique, noting that while the FDA lists small amounts as generally safe, “in large doses, laboratory rats got sick when exposed to the chemical.”

On January 20, 2014, US Oil Sands announced in a press release that it had selected engineering firm Kellogg Brown and Root to manage the construction of the tar sands mine and facilities at PR Spring. KBR is a former subsidiary of Halliburton, a private military contractor specializing in oilfield services that has been the subject of controversy for its ties to Dick Cheney, who served as the corporation’s CEO before becoming vice president of the United States, and for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

KBR is not without its own controversies. In March 2008, The Boston Globe reported that the company “avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies” based in the Cayman Islands.

In 2009, an investigation by the US Department of Justice led to charges that KBR had spent the past decade “authorizing, promising and paying” bribes to Nigerian officials to secure prime construction contracts. The company pled guilty and paid a $402 million criminal fine.

When it comes to environmental and health matters, of most concern is KBR’s alleged use of “burn pits” to improperly dispose of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, 57 burn-pit lawsuits filed by soldiers across the United States were consolidated and brought before the US District Court in Maryland.

According to the website of Motley Rice, the law firm representing the plaintiffs in tandem with attorney Susan Burke, the lawsuit alleges that health problems suffered by the plaintiffs upon their return to the United States are due to their exposure to burn pits operated by KBR. “Plaintiffs also allege these contractors used open-air burn pits, as opposed to other, safer alternatives, to increase profits,” Motley Rice said on its website. “Items disposed of in burn pits may have included hazardous medical waste, hydraulic fluids, lithium batteries, tires, trucks and more.”

After the district court dismissed the case in February 2013, Motley Rice appealed. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit voided the dismissal in March 2014 and sent the case back to the district court for a retrial.

KBR’s construction quality has also been called into question. Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been electrocuted by faulty wiring installed by KBR. According to an investigation by The New York Times, KBR’s management did nothing to rectify the issue, despite complaints from multiple employees. One employee, the Times said, “provided e-mail messages and other documents showing that he had complained to KBR and the government that logs were created to make it appear that nonexistent electrical safety systems were properly functioning.”

For Utah, the effect of KBR’s participation in mine construction remains to be seen. According to the Project On Government Oversight, a watchdog group that tracks and investigates government misconduct, the firm has committed 30 known instances of corporate misconduct both domestically and internationally in the past 18 years.

Given this track record, why did US Oil Sands select KBR to build the mine? In an email, Jack Copping, manager of corporate development at US Oil Sands, said only that “KBR was chosen through a bidding process based on the expertise of the local Salt Lake branch and the pedigree of the individuals involved.”

When asked how important KBR’s history of questionable practices were to US Oil Sands’ decision-making process and ultimate choice, Copping did not respond.

US Oil Sands has been engaged in preliminary construction of the mine throughout 2014. On November 18, 2014, the company issued a press release saying the mine is on track to begin commercial production of tar sands in 2015. Environmental advocacy groups in Utah have been fighting the mine’s development since 2009; though litigation and civil disobedience have not stopped the project, groups such as Utah Tar Sands Resistance continue to actively protest the mine’s construction.

 • Draft Record of Decision Village at Wolf Creek Access Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (Forest Service)

The San Juan Citizens Alliance released a statement:

Today’s decision by Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas to approve a land exchange on top of Wolf Creek Pass requested by billionaire Red McCombs is both a disappointing and absurd decision to “green light” a development that would deface the inherent wild beauty of the area and ignore the widespread public opposition to the huge development.

McComb’s snowy dream he envisioned almost 30 years ago, that has morphed to become his hoped-for Village at Wolf Creek, would constitute a city with thousands of residential units, parking for more than 4,000 vehicles, a dozen restaurants, more than 200,000 square feet of commercial space and storage for 25-30 million gallons of water. Oh, just how quaint a village that would be…..

Let’s be straight about the absurdity of Dallas’s Record of Decision (ROD) on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The ROD encapsulates the environmental and social impacts of the mega-development with this statement, “…negative effects appear to be minimal, limited in scope, and can be mitigated.” “(ROD, page 25, #4) And this is a statement meant to justify the “public interest” as reason to approve the land exchange which would facilitate highway access that the development must have to begin construction. One has to wonder how a professional natural resource specialist like Dallas can come to the conclusion that a city built for thousands of residents in critical wildlife habitat above 10,000 feet on the Continental Divide situated many miles from basic services can be described as “minimal” in its effects. We know that the resident Canada lynx are scratching their ears over that piece of logic.

Within the ROD the Forest Service has confirmed “the intent of the Forest Service in creating the private inholding adjacent to the Wolf Creek Ski Area was to create a village.” (ROD, page 11). Which of course leads to the question as to whether the Forest Service really served its role as a neutral decision maker on the relative merits of the land exchange. From our viewpoint, and the many thousands of locals on either side of the Pass that have written comments in opposition to the project, the agency did not prove to be a neutral and well-reasoned decision maker. This leads us to the obvious question, “Are politics and backroom deal-making a part of the decision making?”

It’s a reasonable question to ask given the history that there was collusion between the agency and McComb’s outfit during the last attempt at a viable EIS in the mid-2000’s. At that moment in the timeline of the controversy, the Forest Service displayed a pattern of withholding sensitive information and it was necessary for the conservation forces to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to bring forth details of collusion in the creation of the EIS.

With that as the backdrop, the Alliance and its partners filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in February 2014 requesting that the public record regarding the creation of the EIS, including related communications, be brought forward. The agency provided some of the documents, however, there were redactions (omissions) of significance and later the Forest Service admitted to violating deadlines that necessitated the need for them to explain the withholding of requested documents. The agency then ignored our administrative appeal related to the FOIA, which necessitated our lawsuit of September 9, 2014 to force the agency to be forthcoming to the citizenry with the full story.

The Forest Service could aid the effort towards complete transparency by simply providing all the public records related to the EIS development. Without such transparency, and in light of the absurdity of the decision that the project would have only “minimal” negative effects on the Wolf Creek Pass area, the question hangs like a cornice on the pass, “was there collusion again?”

The Alliance will continue to adamantly oppose McComb’s proposed development, just as we have for more than 15 years. The hundreds of bumper stickers still seen throughout the territory proclaim the true story of McComb’s perverse vision for the forests and meadows on the east side of the Pass – their greed would result in the Pillage at Wolf Creek. If we continue to stand together we will indeed succeed in guaranteeing that there will never be a Pillage on our beloved Wolf Creek Pass landscape. Amen. Alynx.

Rocky Mountain Wild also issued a statement:

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2014

Matt Sandler, Attorney, Rocky Mountain Wild, matt@rockymountainwild.org, 303-579-5162
Christine Canaly. Director SLVEC slvwater@fairpoint.net, 719-589-1518
Jimbo Buickerood, San Juan Citizens Alliance jimbo@sanjuancitizens.org, 970-560-1111

Monte Vista, CO – Today the U. S. Forest Service, in spite of widespread opposition, announced its intention to approve a land exchange that would allow construction of a city of 10,000 people near the top of Wolf Creek Pass in southwestern Colorado.

‘The effects of this approval could be devastating”, stated Christine Canaly, Executive Director of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council. “An important migration route for the threatened Canada lynx could be destroyed. There would be strong negative impacts to habitat for other wildlife, and to wetlands, scenery, and winter traffic safety as well”.

The proposal would trade approximately 205 federal acres for 177 acres of private land within the boundaries of the Rio Grande National Forest. Part of the federal land exchange proposal would connect the private land to U.S. Highway 160, thus securing more convenient access to the developer’s private inholding.

“With snow covering this area above 10,000 feet for up to eight months of the year, this is certainly not an appropriate locale to build a city of any size”, noted Jimbo Buickerood, Public Land Coordinator for the San Juan Citizens Alliance.  “For this locale near the top of Wolf Creek Pass, the public has expressed a strong interest in allowing the area to remain a refuge to wildlife with some recreational visitation,” Buickerood noted, “rather than a trophy-style development accessed through a major new highway interchange that would be wildly out of character with the surrounding landscape.”

“The City at Wolf Creek is not a good idea.  It’s the wrong kind of use for Wolf Creek Pass which is perched atop the Continental Divide and is surrounded by wilderness, unroaded areas, wetlands, and irreplaceable wildlife habitat.” says Matt Sandler, Attorney with Rocky Mountain Wild.

Forest Service approval of the proposal is especially inappropriate given its history.  The Rio Grande National Forest determined that a land exchange was not in the public interest next to the Wolf Creek Ski Area back in 1986. However, due to political interference, the local Forest Service office was forced to reverse this decision and approve the creation of a private inholding desired by the developer. The same political pressure is now pushing the Forest Service to approve another land exchange, one that would connect the developer’s property created via the earlier exchange with Highway 160.

“The exchange is still not in the public interest.” says Christine Canaly, Director of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council.  “Political pressure is what made this happen back then, and is what keeps pushing it forward.”

The Forest Service continues to thwart the full disclosure of information concerning the project. The Forest Service has again withheld the public record of interaction between themselves and the project proponents. In response to a lawsuit filed September 9, 2014, the Forest Service has admitted that it violated deadlines that required further explanation of the withholding of documents requested on February 27, 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. The Forest Service continues to withhold requested records, which it also did in conjunction with the previous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), where agency documents revealed political influence, including offers of Washington Redskins’ tickets for EIS preparers.  The Forest Service’s refusal to comply with FOIA in 2014 suggests the pattern of improper dealings between the Forest Service and Texas billionaire Red McCombs’ team may plague the new decision.

This project is a net loss for the people who know and love this region.” says Canaly. “Not only is the proposed ‘Village at Wolf Creek’ not likely to substantially help local businesses, but it also has the potential to be economically harmful to local business by drawing away from existing businesses in South Fork and Pagosa Springs.  It is a political land exchange that further damages the public interests.”

Unfortunately, the Forest Service has so far dismissed many other possible alternatives suggested by local citizens and organizations such as the federal government buying the private land parcel and placing it back into public lands.

“We will continue to challenge the proposed approval of the land exchange”, stated Sandler.

Stay updated with information at:

“Disorderly Conduct” by Sidhe, a message to US Oil Sands and other killers

On Sept. 4th, Utah Tar Sands Resistance interrupted the 2014 Uintah Basin Energy Summit, a yearly conference where tar sands and oil shale speculators are exalted and anyone “not excited” about the destruction of the Book Cliffs is shut out and silenced.

Land defender Sidhe had planned to share her entire poem with the 700 conference goers, but police–already aware of the conference organizers’ insecurities and impatience–would not cede a moment to their dissenters. Sidhe was booked into the Uintah County Jail on suspicion of “disorderly conduct,” an exceedingly fitting charge police could level against the tar sands speculators destroying the planet who were in the room, but alas, the police work for the capitalists, not the people.

“Disorderly Conduct” by Sidhe

A message to all of you short-sighted killers
What kind of world will you leave behind for your children
When you’ve squeezed every last drop of life from the land
With your greed and your murder you’ve wrought with your plans

I’d like to remind you your money means nothing
When the water’s been blackened and the creatures are starving
You toy with a force you do not understand
Your chemicals won’t wash all that blood off your hands

First Nations fight cancer up in Athabasca
Your oil trains are time bombs impending disaster
Your pipelines will leak and your cesspools will sprawl
And your babies are left with the brunt of it all

What of the animals caught in the tar?
What of the forests left clear cut and scarred?
What of those atrocities I didn’t witness?
Like Serafino in Columbia sending assassins
To murder union organizers who stood up and spoke out
In the back of my mind I can still hear them shout
I am made of this land you are made of the same
The planet is dying and you are to blame

Are you proud of yourselves? Look at what you’ve become
Heartless machines, so frigid and numb
So reluctant to think that you may just be wrong
That you hear the dissent and you send in the guns.

Upcoming Events on the Land:

Sept. 12-15: Join Trans & Women Organizers on the Plateau

Sept. 19-21: Fall Campout in the Book Cliffs: A Weekend of Stories & Connecting with the Land

More in recent actions:

Colorado Plateau Resistance shuts down tar sands mine construction

Utah Tar Sands Resistance received information regarding a direct action that took place at the US Oil Sands strip mine construction site. These folks are bad ass!

The group released the following video and below the video, a communique:

The Colorado Plateau and its inhabitants are under invasion on multiple fronts of the energy industry. This tar sands mine is a bloody blip in a bigger scheme threatening this land, including the reopening of uranium mines that have poisoned indigenous communities for generations; the planned construction of a nuclear generator in Green River, Utah; violent and vast scraping of the land and squandering of sacred water in pursuit of lowest-grade fuel sources like tar sands and oil shale; a new “oil” refinery in Green River perhaps to centralize production and distribution of those super-toxic tar sands and oil shale fuels; and all of this paid for and made possible by the dangerous fracking boom, which is poisoning our air and water and killing the most vulnerable members of our communities, our babies and old people. This second Big Buildup of the Colorado Plateau is similar to the first Big Buildup of the 20th Century, which fostered disastrous projects like the Glen Canyon Dam, the Navajo Generating station, and the Peabody coal mine at Black Mesa; this second Big Buildup of the Colorado plateau also resembles the initial conquering and genocide of this land by the American government and white settlers. In those prior historical times and today, masters of industry and thus colonialism must control the land and subjugate its people in order to consolidate the wealth of the land in the hands of very few white elites. Their most powerful weapons are and always have been racism and patriarchy and their value system is heartless capitalism. We are forever in contempt of their scheme. This energy industry is a murderous syndicate whose business plans for the future entail the destruction of life on the planet via climate-change catastrophes and crises. Now is the time for all who have something to contribute to give all that you can to the final shut-down of projects like the US Oil Sands tar sands mine and all the many tentacles sucking the life of the Colorado Plateau and Grand Mother Earth herself.

The Vigil Continues! The plateau needs us, and we will do our best to fulfill the commitment we have made to this land, which has already given us so much.

Video: Work stopped ALL WEEK at tar sands strip mine!

National Environmental Groups Stand With Utah Land Defenders

PRESS RELEASE: Opponents to enforce shutdown of tar sands mine today (July 21st)

UPDATE: ALL 21 LAND DEFENDERS HAVE BEEN RELEASED.

Utah Tar Sands

After a massive direct action protest today at the site of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands strip-mining site, a total of 21 were arrested and are currently awaiting charges at Uintah County Jail in Vernal, Utah. In addition to protestors, those acting as legal observers, independent media, and jail support were arrested, as well as several indigenous and trans individuals whose safety we are deeply concerned about.

Early this morning land defenders locked themselves to equipment being used to clear-cut and grade an area designated for the tar sands’ companies processing plant, as well as a fenced “cage” used to store the equipment. Others formed a physical blockade with their bodies to keep work from happening, and to protect those locked-down to the equipment. Banners were also hung off the cage that read: “You are trespassing on Ute land” and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.”

13 people were arrested for locking to equipment. An additional six people were arrested after sitting in the road to prevent the removal of those being taken away in two police vans. Two of the protesters arrested were injured. One was taken a nearby hospital to be treated, while the other is being treated at the Uintah County Jail. The nature of their injuries is not being disclosed by the county sheriffs.

Two additional people were arrested when they arrived at Uintah Country Jail to provide support to the land defenders inside. An estimated 10 armed deputies with police dogs were standing outside the jail wearing bullet proof vests. Those at the jail to provide support were told that the deputies were there to “deter” any supporters from actually coming to the jail.

Currently all 21 individuals are still being processed and held.

Support these brave land defenders who put their hearts and bodies on the line by donating to their legal fund.

Rising Tide North America is handling donations through The Action Network. Donate to the land defenders’ legal support fund using this secure link

Canadian company U.S Oil Sands has paid their reclamation bond of $2.2 million and has now begun major construction at their second tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of Utah.

U.S Oil Sands’ immediate plans are to clear cut 62 acres of forests and sagebrush land, according to their operations plan, but this spat of clearing may not end until 213 acres of Douglas firs, Pinyon pines, sagebrush and grasses are razed. Long-term plans by this one company threaten up to 32,000 acres of diverse wild lands.

U.S Oil Sands giant belly scrapers and bulldozers have already observably cleared an estimated 20 acres, or the size of a football stadium.

With grasses, shrubs and trees obliterated, the bulldozers are creating massive dust storms that are pummeling PR Canyon to the east, vital habitat for elk, deer, black bears and much more. The dangerously opaque dust clouds routinely cross Seep Ridge Road, substantially blocking drivers’ visibility, causing a major road hazard for which no signage has been posted. Our extensive monitoring of their operations reveal that absolutely no dust control efforts–like water sprinkling–are currently being used to protect the environment, wildlife or motorists.

Click here to read more…

Earths Army Speaks Out

Posted: June 30, 2014 by earthfirstdurango in Uncategorized
Tags:

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Sunday, July 13at 8:00pm
@ Gypsy House Cafe
1279 Marion St,
Denver, Colorado

Come hear stories from Oglala Native Youth Movement Tokalas on their roles as true land owners and defenders, to protect sacred water, air, and land for all life.

Highlighting indigenous resistance to the KXL and other forms of Tar Sands expansion in Utah, this speaking event will also serve as a fundraiser to keep these traveling warriors on the road to the coming Utah Tar Sands Summer of Climate Justice Camp. Donations are greatly appreciated but not required.

http://www.wildearthguardians.org/1PM Thursday June 19th @ Wild Roots Feral Futures (exact location TBA)

Bob Brister, an organizer with WildEarth Guardians, will share information and volunteer opportunities about two major campaigns he works on:

http://trapfreenm.org/Trap Free New Mexico: a coalition of wildlife conservation and animal protection groups are working to pass legislation in New Mexico to ban the poisoning and trapping of animals on public lands. Learn how you can be part of ridding New Mexico of animal traps.

Colorado Wolf Campaign: WildEarth Guardians is organizing local wolf advocacy groups we call “Wolf Packs” to carry out pro-wolf educational and advocacy projects in their communities. Learn how you can be an “alpha wolf” and start a wolf pack in your area.
———

For the 6th year running, the Wild Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) eco-defense, direct action, and rewilding encampment will take place in the forests of Southwest Colorado this coming June 14-22, 2014. WRFF is an informal, completely free and non-commercial, and loosely organized camp-out operating on (less than a) shoe-string budget, formed entirely off of donated, scavenged, or liberated supplies and sustained through 100% volunteer effort.

We would like to invite groups and individuals engaged in struggles against the destruction of the Earth (and indeed all interconnected forms of oppression) to join us and share your stories, lessons, skills, and whatever else you may have to offer. In this spirit we would like to reach out to frontline community members, local environmental groups, coalitions, and alliances everywhere to come collaborate on the future of radical environmentalism and eco-defense in our bio-regions and beyond.

If you are interested in facilitating a workshop, skill share, discussion, etc., or would like to otherwise get involved, contact us at feralfutures [at] riseup [dot] net

Ban Fracking on Federal Lands!

From Energy Reality:

Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Four Corners region of the U.S., preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian historical areas in the country. The site hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest and the area is considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.

Both Chaco Canyon National Park and Otero Mesa in New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are being targeted for exploratory research for oil and gas extraction.

•    Click here to learn more about fracking.
•    Read Gloria Flora’s article ”Fracking the Commons.”
•    Read an essay on fighting oil and gas development in National Forests.
•    Take our partner’s call to action to ban fracking on federal lands.

Also see:

Is Nothing Sacred? Fracking and Chaco Culture National Historic Park

BLM narrows proposed Chaco drilling sites to four

 

Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Four Corners region of the U.S., preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian historical areas in the country. The site hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest and the area is considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.

Both Chaco Canyon National Park and Otero Mesa in New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are being targeted for exploratory research for oil and gas extraction.

  • Click here to learn more about fracking.
  • Read Gloria Flora’s article ”Fracking the Commons.”
  • Read an essay on fighting oil and gas development in National Forests.
  • Take our partner’s call to action to ban fracking on federal lands.

- See more at: http://www.energy-reality.org/action/fracking-chaco-canyon/#sthash.sap0sexw.dpuf

Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Four Corners region of the U.S., preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian historical areas in the country. The site hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest and the area is considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.

Both Chaco Canyon National Park and Otero Mesa in New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are being targeted for exploratory research for oil and gas extraction.

  • Click here to learn more about fracking.
  • Read Gloria Flora’s article ”Fracking the Commons.”
  • Read an essay on fighting oil and gas development in National Forests.
  • Take our partner’s call to action to ban fracking on federal lands.

- See more at: http://www.energy-reality.org/action/fracking-chaco-canyon/#sthash.sap0sexw.dpuf

Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Four Corners region of the U.S., preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian historical areas in the country. The site hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest and the area is considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.

Both Chaco Canyon National Park and Otero Mesa in New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are being targeted for exploratory research for oil and gas extraction.

  • Click here to learn more about fracking.
  • Read Gloria Flora’s article ”Fracking the Commons.”
  • Read an essay on fighting oil and gas development in National Forests.
  • Take our partner’s call to action to ban fracking on federal lands.

- See more at: http://www.energy-reality.org/action/fracking-chaco-canyon/#sthash.sap0sexw.dpuf

Chaco Canyon, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Four Corners region of the U.S., preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian historical areas in the country. The site hosts the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest and the area is considered sacred ancestral homelands by the Hopi and Pueblo people.

Both Chaco Canyon National Park and Otero Mesa in New Mexico, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are being targeted for exploratory research for oil and gas extraction.

  • Click here to learn more about fracking.
  • Read Gloria Flora’s article ”Fracking the Commons.”
  • Read an essay on fighting oil and gas development in National Forests.
  • Take our partner’s call to action to ban fracking on federal lands.

- See more at: http://www.energy-reality.org/action/fracking-chaco-canyon/#sthash.sap0sexw.dpuf

The Green River oil refinery proposal is back

The Green River oil refinery proposal is back.

This project would place an oil refinery right on the banks of the Green River, which feeds into the Colorado. This refinery is one of many extraction industry projects currently in play, which together would turn Utah into an energy colony–from the tar sands & oil shale of Eastern Utah, to this proposed refinery and a nucluear power plant moving South, this all spells destruction for our future.

PUBLIC HEARING FOR COMMENTS TODAY IN GREEN RIVER, UTAH:
*When: April 30, 2014, 6:00 pm
*Where: John Wesley Powell River History Museum, 1765 East Main Street, Green River, Utah
*Host: Utah Division of Air Quality

SUBMIT A WRITTEN COMMENT BY MAY 2, 2014 here.

NO OIL REFINERY ON THE GREEN RIVER!

704901_493045424050316_1076545837_o_218x30057fa18e7fbfbFrom Black Mesa Indigenous Support:

BIG MOUNTAIN SPRING TRAINING CAMP
MAY 16th-23rd, 2014
BIG MOUNTAIN, DINEH NATION

#Honor40Years
#Not1MoreRELOCATION
#KeepitintheGround

“What we are trying to save—the Female Mountain—is alive. She is alive, she has blood flowing through her veins, which is the Navajo Aquifer, and the coal they are digging is Her liver. They are destroying Her.” –Marie Gladue, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

“We need to exercise our right to be human. To gather on the land and have our words be heard by the ground, the trees, and each other.” –Louise Benally, Big Mountain Relocation Resister

During this moment of peak visibility around climate change, we extend this invitation for a training camp on Big Mountain. We’ll gather to honor 40 years of Indigenous resistance to cultural genocide, forced relocation, and large-scale coal mining.

*Application link at bottom of email*

The Elders Circle of the 40-Year Sovereign Dineh Nation Resistance, with Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS)–a collective working in solidarity with the Big Mountain and surrounding resistance communities–as well as Radical Action for Mountain Peoples Survival (RAMPS),  Missourians Organizing for Reform/Revolution & Empowerment (MORE), and Save the Confluence are collaboratively organizing this camp.

Background on the Training Camp

Building on alliances made during last June’s gathering on decolonization, the collaborative planning process for this gathering has been a combination of conference calls and in-person meetings. Since September, there have been five community meetings on Black Mesa with elders, second generation resisters, and collective members from BMIS. Additionally, monthly meetings are held in Flagstaff with youth and local organizations. Through these meetings, community members have guided the tone, outreach, messaging, goals, and ceremonies necessary for the preparation of this camp. When asked what kind of action elders wanted to see, they shared examples of the different forms of action they have taken while defending their right to remain on their ancestral homeland. They expressed looking forward to sharing their stories as to inspire next generations.

Camp organizers are connecting with trainers and workshop presenters from organizations such as Multicultral Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), Save the Confluence, Palestinian Youth Movement, RAMPS, MORE, No One is Illegal (Canada), Puente Human Rights Movement, Sixth World Solutions, Black Mesa Water Coalition, Anti-Uranium Groups, and the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. The camp offers a variety of  non-violent direct action (NVDA) skills and workshops grounded in legacies of land-based resistance. Spiritual, cultural, artistic practices and healing will be foregrounded.

The workshops and trainings will include:

  • Introduction and History of NVDA

  • The History of the Struggle and Land Dispute on Black Mesa

  • Cultural Work as Resistance to Colonialism

  • Frontline Movement Updates

  • Cultural Sharing and Storytelling

  • NVDA techniques

  • Decolonial visioning

  • Art and prop making

  • People’s Media and Communication (including messaging, social media, and live-streaming)

  • Know Your Rights and legal training

  • …and many more

“During this gathering, we want to re-create harmony between Indigenous peoples who have been harmed by relocation policies. We want to re-spark the cross-movement connections made at last June’s Gathering by taking action at the site of disruption–the coal mine itself.” – Danny Blackgoat, community organizer and son of Resister Matriarch, Roberta Blackgoat.

Goals:

*To honor 40 years of resistance on Big Mountain and confront resource colonialism

*To build on strategic alliances between anti-extraction struggles in Appalachia and Black Mesa

*To strengthen connections between Indigenous communities on the front lines of land defense

*To build on cross-movement connections made at last June’s gathering for decolonization (on Black Mesa)

*To expand the solidarity network

*To center cultural and spiritual elements of resistance

Logistics:

The training camp is free, including all food, lodging and training. However, we are encouraging participants to fundraise and donate as they are able to help offset costs. BMIS has limited funds for travel stipends and we are prioritizing funding for Indigenous and frontline communities. There will be limited indoor space for sleeping; most participants will be camping.  The camp will be in a remote area with no running water, paved roads, or electricity.  More details are provided in the application (below).

Call for Sheepherders/ Human Rights Observers:

Resistance community members are requesting returning sheepherders/ human rights observers this spring. Because this camp is held on actively disputed land (see background), it will not be possible without human rights observation during and following the camp. Your involvement will make it possible for the resistance community to participate in the camp and will help mitigate further harassment.

Contact us if you are able to come a week early and help set up base camp!

Click Here to Apply

Contact: BigMountainCamp2014@gmail.com with application questions

In Honor of 40 Years,

The Elders Circle of the Sovereign Dineh Nation, The BMIS Collective, RAMPS, MORE, & Save the Confluence