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Rising Tide: Coal Plant Blockade Kicks Off International Day of Protest Against Fossil Fuel Industry in the US – 8 Arrested

April 1, 2008
10:21 AM

CONTACT: Rising Tide
Monica Vaughan, Rising Tide North America (541)521-1832 /
Matt Leonard, Rising Tide North America (619)246-0325 /

Coal Plant Blockade Kicks Off International Day of Protest Against Fossil Fuel Industry in the US – 8 Arrested

INTERNATIONAL - April 1 - Proclaiming April 1st “Fossil Fools Day,” climate change activists with the international Rising Tide network and its allies in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia targeted companies responsible for runaway carbon dioxide emissions today.

North Carolina residents kicked off the day of action in the US at 6:30am by locking themselves to bulldozers to stop the construction of Duke Energy’s massive Cliffside coal-fired power plant being built 50 miles west of Charlotte. “In the face of catastrophic climate change, building a new coal plant is tantamount to signing a death sentence for our generation,” said local farmer Matt Wallace, while locked to a bulldozer. “Building this plant would lock us into another 50 years of burning coal at a time when we need to be doing everything in our power to end our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Shortly after activists locked themselves to construction equipment, police arrived on the scene and arrested 8 people, using pain compliance holds and tazers on those locked down.

Earlier this morning, climate activists in Nottingham, UK blockaded the offices of E-on, a company trying to build a new generation of coal-fired power stations in the UK, while another group in Wales halted work at one of the biggest opencast coal mines in Europe. Globally, more than 150 actions were carried out on April 1st.

“The Fossil Fools in government and industry are playing games with our future: the time for lip service and half-measures is over,” said Jane Calhoun, who took part in shutting down the Cliffside construction site. “Direct action is necessary to stop those who watch the planet burn while counting the money they make from the fire.”

Leading climate scientists such as NASA’s James Hansen believe that dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions must begin immediately to avoid catastrophic climatic shifts, yet most policy proposals consist of modest goals that are decades off. Today’s confrontational actions reflect an urgency that many activists see as missing from the current discussions in the media, congress, and industry.

The actions also reflect the activists’ conviction that the climate initiatives being presented by corporations and government have been focused on promoting consumption-based, profit-driven “solutions” that only serve to maintain business as usual.

“The focus on switching lightbulbs or putting a green spin on practices like burning coal is a dangerous distraction from the root causes of this crisis,” said Karen Bailey of Rising Tide. “To survive climate change, we need to end the extraction of fossil fuels, reduce rich people’s energy consumption, localize economies and revolutionize public transportation.”

The Fossil Fools Day of Action was called for by the international Rising Tide network, active in the UK, US, and Australia, and was joined by Rainforest Action Network, students active in the Energy Action Coalition, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Earth First!, and the Australian Student Environment Network.

Building on the momentum of today’s actions, the Rising Tide network is collaborating on international “Camps for Climate Action” this summer in a half-dozen countries. The events focus on mobilizing the grassroots movement for climate justice and will culminate in direct actions against local climate criminals. In the US, camps are planned in New York, Virginia, and Oregon. Last year’s climate camp in the UK targeted Heathrow International Airport and brought international attention to the climate impacts of flying.

Action updates and photos will be posted at as reports come in.


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