For Immediate Release

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Groups to Mark Gulf Oil Spill Anniversary With Actions Against Corporate Fossil Fuel Extraction

WASHINGTON - 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 organized by Rising Tide North America to commemorate the first anniversary of BP’s Gulf oil disaster. The protests were organized to demand an end to the environmental destruction and climate destabilization created by fossil fuel and other extraction industries.

“For all practical purposes, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast function as a third world resource colony within the US.  For a hundred years, our people and ecosystems have been sacrificed to provide cheap energy and big profits,” said Devin Martin, a Cajun native of southern Louisiana.  “We pay for the hidden costs of oil and gas with our health and our lives through air pollution, oil spills, and a completely corrupted state government.  We already lose a football field of coastal marsh every 38 minutes, and now rising sea levels from climate change will put my home, including New Orleans, under water permanently.”

The day of action will feature events organized by Gulf Coast residents fighting offshore drilling, local residents in the south side of Chicago resisting two of the largest coal plants in the nation, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York residents opposing natural gas hydrofracking, Canadians fighting tar sands mining in Alberta and residents of Oregon and Washington resisting coal and tar sands exports along the Columbia River, as well as other community groups engaged in fights against extractive industries. Protests are also planned for the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

“The cultural heritage, land, ecosystems, and human health of more than sixty First Nations communities are being sacrificed for oil money,” said Heather Milton-Lightning from the Indigenous Environmental Network, who will bring the concerns of native people to an anti-tar sands rally along the Columbia River in Oregon. “This is slow industrial genocide.”


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The day of action seeks to highlight the companies responsible for community, worker and environmental harm from extraction operations. “Whether it’s in Appalachia or on the Gulf Coast, these companies make millions by ruining our communities and natural environment,” said Kim Marks 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 comes only two days after Rising Tide North America organized a mass march in Washington D.C. and staged civil disobedience inside the headquarters of the Dept. of Interior. As many as 300 protesters entered the building in a Wisconsin-style occupation calling for the abolition of offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction. Young and old alike occupied the lobby for over an hour, smiling and singing protest songs. 21 activists were arrested by the Federal Protective Services, and later released with charges of unlawful entry.

Rising Tide North America April 20th Day of Action against Extraction demands include:

  • An immediate phase out of fossil fuel extraction, and a just transition to sustainable forms of energy
  • Community control over natural resources
  • Recognition of sovereignty of indigenous nations, and their right to control resources on their lands
  • Reparations from both state and corporate entities thathave profited from extraction to fund ecological restoration, full health coverage, and sustainable livelihoods in impacted communities.

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Rising Tide is a grassroots network of groups and individuals who take direct action to confront the roots causes of climate change and promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis. Rising Tide was formed in the Netherlands in 2000 to bring a more radical voice to the COP6 (UN Conference of the Parties) climate talks that attempted (unsuccessfully, largely due to the efforts of the US delegation) to salvage what of substance was left of the Kyoto Protocol. Employing popular education and direct action to address the root causes of climate change with a focus on climate justice, Rising Tide now spans three continents.

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