Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

16 Arrested Blocking Tar Sands Megaload in Oregon

Energy

On Monday evening climate justice groups stopped a controversial shipment of equipment bound for the Alberta tar sands. Concerned citizens locked themselves to two disabled vehicles in front of the 901,000 pound load, blocking its route along highway 26 outside of John Day, OR. Police responded and arrested 16 at the two blockade sites.

A megaload hauling tar sands equipment heading to the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta, Canada. Photo credit Northern Rockies Rising Tide

Monday night’s action is the latest in a series of protests that have erupted in Oregon and Washington since the megaload began to move. The load was first blocked on Dec. 1, when two people locked themselves to the truck as an estimated 70 others rallied nearby, including many Umatilla Tribal members. The next night one Umatilla tribal elder was arrested while blocking the load.

Two weeks ago in Fife, WA, members of Rising Tide North America occupied the megaload shipper Omega Morgan’s office, and did so again last week in Portland, OR. The group also occupied an office of a General Electric subsidiary in Bellevue, WA, that manufactured the equipment being shipped. The group is calling for Omega Morgan and other companies to stop shipping or otherwise facilitating tar sands development. Events on Monday marked the sixth regional action against megaloads in just over two weeks.

The 901,000 pound megaload is hauling a heat exchanger to the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta, Canada. The load is 22 feet wide, 18 feet tall and 376 feet in length. A similarly sized load toppled last week in Gladstone, OR, blocking part of I-205 for hours. Omega Morgan says this is the first of three megaload shipments through the region, though it is likely the company needs this route indefinitely, as their former route through Idaho was blocked by an injunction filed by the Nez Perce Tribe, following major protests in Idaho and Montana.

In a recent letter to Gov. Kitzhaber (D-OR), Gary Burke, chair of the Umatilla Reservation’s Board of Trustees, expressed opposition to the megaloads due to lack of consultation with the tribes and the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change. He also emphasized the legal requirement of state agencies like the Oregon Department of Transportation to consult tribal representatives before engaging in actions that affect Oregon Tribes, as Kitzhaber mandated in Executive Order 96-30. He also called attention to the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change.

Groups organizing the protest in Eastern Oregon, including chapters of Rising Tide and 350.org, oppose the shipments due to their ultimate role in extracting Alberta tar sands, which would supply oil for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and facilitate what many have called the most destructive industrial project on Earth.

“We have responsibility for what happens on our lands, but there are no boundaries for air, and the carbon dioxide this equipment would create affects us all," said Umatilla Tribal Member Shana Radford. "The Nez Perce tribe said no to megaloads, and so should we.”

Please consider supporting the Rising Tide's efforts.

 Visit EcoWatch’s TAR SANDS page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less
A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy on July 4, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images

In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Climate activist Greta Thunberg discusses EU plans to tackle the climate emergency with Parliament's environment committee on March 4, 2020. CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2020 – Source: EP

By Abdullahi Alim

The 2008 financial crisis spurred a number of youth movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. A decade later, this anger resurfaced in a new wave of global protests, from Hong Kong to Beirut to London, only this time driven by the children of the 2008 financial crisis.

Read More Show Less
A climate activist holds a victory sign in Washington, DC. after President Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal on November 6, 2015. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read More Show Less
A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
The Colima fir tree's distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. Agustín del Castillo

By Agustín del Castillo

For 20 years, the Colima fir tree (Abies colimensis) has been at the heart of many disputes to conserve the temperate forests of southern Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. Today, the future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will advance further and whether neighboring communities will unite to protect it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Independent environmental certifications offer a better indicator of a product's eco credentials, including labor conditions for workers involved in production. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jeanette Cwienk

This summer's high street fashions have more in common than styles and colors. From the pink puff-sleeved dream going for just €19.99 ($22.52) at H&M, to Zara's elegant €12.95 ($14.63) halter-neck dress, clothing stores are alive with cheap organic cotton.

"Sustainable" collections with aspirational own-brand names like C&A's "Wear the change," Zara's "join life" or H&M's "CONSCIOUS" are offering cheap fashion and a clean environmental conscience. Such, at least, is the message. But is it really that simple?

Read More Show Less