Groups to Mark Gulf Oil Spill Anniversary with Direct Action Against Fossil Fuel Extraction
On April 20th dozens of environmental, climate, and social justice groups will target government and corporate operations with aggressive protests and civil disobedience in an International Day of Direct Action Against Extraction being organized by Rising Tide North America. The protests will commemorate the 1 year anniversary of BP’s Gulf Oil Disaster by demanding an end to the environmental destruction and climate destabilization created by fossil fuel and other extractive industries.
“The Gulf Oil Disaster was the worst manifestation of the disasters that are created by extractive industries on a daily basis” said Matt Wilkerson of Rising Tide North America. “Communities around the world are terrorized by corporate and state ventures to extract fossil fuels. On top of poisoning our water and polluting our air, extractive industries are at the root of our climate crisis. If we have any hope of averting the worst affects of climate change we must leave fossil fuels in the ground.”
The day of action will feature protests by Gulf Coast residents fighting offshore drilling, Appalachians resisting mountaintop removal coal mining, Pennsylvania and New York residents opposing natural gas hydro-fracking, Canadians fighting tar sands mining in Alberta, as well as other community groups engaged in fights against extractive industries. Protests are also planned for the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
The day of action also seeks to highlight the ruthless manner in which extractive industries treat workers and the communities they operate in. “These companies come into our communities to make millions off of our natural resources and leave behind nothing but poverty and deadly working conditions,” said Carling Sothoron of Rising Tide North America. “The 11 workers who died on BP’s oil rig and the 29 who perished in Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine were killed by the same thing; corporate greed. These deaths are not accidents. They are the direct result of these companies cutting corners in pursuit of profit.”
The day of action will see protests aimed at disrupting business at work sites and offices in order to get the message across. “Our political leaders are those who profit from the status quo, and the only way they will ever stand up to their corporate masters is if we make it absolutely impossible to continue on the path we’re on. Our job is to force our political leaders into a choice between ending the war against the living or waging it openly by filling the jails with people fighting for a livable future.” Said Tim DeChristopher of Salt Lake City who is facing 10 years in jail for disrupting oil and gas auctions in Utah in 2008.
Community groups are encouraged to “join the fray” by organizing an action on April 20. For more information please visit www.extractionaction.net
The day of action demands:
-An immediate phase out of fossil fuel extraction and a just transition to truly sustainable forms of energy
-Community control over natural resources
-Recognizing the sovereignty of indigenous nations and their right to control resources on their lands.
-Reparations from both state and corporate entities that have profited from extraction in order to fund ecological restoration, full health coverage, and sustainable livelihoods in impacted communities.
Rising Tide North America is an all volunteer climate justice network with over 50 chapters and local contacts that works to confront the root causes of climate change.