Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Six Arrested Attempting to Block Oil Train to Canada

Energy

EcoWatch

Yesterday, members of 350 Maine attempted to block a Pan Am train as it passed through downtown Fairfield, aiming to prevent roughly 70,000 barrels of crude oil from reaching the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, Canada. The blockade was staged as part of a nationally coordinated week of action.

Protestors assemble. Maine Media Today photo by Michael G. Seamans

When police arrived last night to break up the peaceful protest, six people who refused to leave the scene were arrested after trying to destroy scaffolding with a chain saw. Local news media reported a surprisingly large number of law enforcement officials who responded to the action, including troopers from the state police.

Trains running through Maine carry crude from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, where it is  extracted—fracked—by blasting a high pressure mix of water, silica and toxic chemicals deep into the ground to release the oil from shale rock.

Members from 350 Maine, who blocked the railroad crossing at Lawrence Avenue in Fairfield Thursday night, to protest the transport of fracked oil. Photo credit: Michael G. Seamans/ Common Dreams

One of those arrested, 63-year-old Read Brugger from the town of Freedom, was clear about his motivations. “We feel there has not been enough awareness about the millions of gallons of crude shell oil that shipped across Maine each month,” Brugger told the local Bangor Daily News. “We feel need to move beyond fossil fuels and get away from the poisonous ways oil is being extracted.”

With fracking technology, previously un-extractable oil, deep underground, can now be reached and is the source of an explosive oil boom in the Midwest. Without enough pipelines to transport the Midwest crude to distant refineries, there has been a surge in the use of trains. Inspections of tracks are infrequent due to lack of resources to oversee them. Rail and energy industries insist that trains are among the safest ways to transport crude. But Pan Am alone had two train derailments in Maine within a calendar year between 2012 and 2013. When one train carrying crude derailed this March in Mattawamkeag, ME, Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Samantha Warren called the limited spillage “a miracle.”

Authorities approach members from 350 Maine, who blocked the railroad crossing at Lawrence Avenue in Fairfield Thursday night, to protest the transport of fracked oil. Morning Sentinel staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Similar demonstrations are taking place across the nation this week as part of Fearless Summer, a nation-wide grassroots movement of environmental groups, to draw attention to the dangers of fracking and extreme energy extraction.

“We oppose the continued extraction of fossil fuels, but we also oppose its transportation over thousands of miles of environmentally sensitive areas,” said Sarah Linnekin of Benton, student at Unity College. “Since my number one job is to protect my children, I feel an obligation to take action,” she said.

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

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less