Flood Boston joins others in action against the AIM pipeline expansion

http://patch.com/new-york/peekskill/groups-cortlandt-rhode-island-plan-protests-against-pipeline-expansion

Groups from Cortlandt to Massachusetts Plan Protests Against Pipeline Expansion

New York opponents of the Algonquin project will protest Dec. 13 in Danbury CT.

Groups from Cortlandt to Massachusetts Plan Protests Against Pipeline Expansion

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is due to release its Final Impact Statement on the Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline expansion.

The pipeline carries natural gas under pressure from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to the markets and ports of New England. AIM would expand segments of Spectra Energy’s current pipeline through Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties and add and enlarge monitoring and compressing stations,

Opponents of the project are staging a week’s worth of protests from New York to Rhode Island.

AIM is just the first project proposed by Spectra—the company has already unveiled a second project that would cover the same territory, inserting larger-diameter pipe in other locations. Spectra says that as the projects are separate, the environmental impacts do not have to be considered together.

Here’s the full text from the organizers of the protests:

Grassroots groups from four states along the proposed route for Spectra’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline expansion, which cuts through New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, have joined together to host a coordinated “Week of Respect and Resistance”, with actions from December 13 – December 19 in opposition to the project.

The actions are planned in anticipation of the release of the final Environmental Impact Statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee due on or about December 19, 2014. The week of action will target local, state and federal legislators and government agencies – all of whom have direct roles or influence in the approval of the project. These actions will build on the numerous rallies, vigils, meetings and call-in campaigns that have been happening across the states for the past several months.

“We are calling this a Week of Respect and Resistance: respect, because it’s important to honor the other struggles for justice that have come before us and those that are taking place right now around the world. It’s also time for Spectra and our elected officials to respect our power and respect our desire to see a world powered by community owned renewable energy. Resistance means that if this project is approved by FERC, our resistance will only escalate,” FANG organizer Nick Katkevich explains.

Susan Van Dolsen of SAPE in NY said, “Individual groups have been organizing tirelessly in our respective areas by talking to legislators and state agencies, and we are now coming together to emphasize that this is one pipeline project, four states, one loud collective voice saying ‘Stop the Spectra Algonquin pipeline expansion!’”

The New York and Connecticut action will be outside of Danbury Green Shopping Center, 113 Mill Plain Road, Danbury, CT 06811 (near Trader Joe’s) on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m.

Suzannah Glidden of SAPE said, “Children, the elderly and those with pulmonary and cardiovascular conditions living near compressor stations are at very high risk. Blowdowns when maintenance takes place create dangerous health exacerbations. Metering and regulating stations also release toxic emissions.”

Many elected officials in New York, including Congresswoman Nita Lowey, wrote to FERC requesting an independent risk assessment of the massive 42” new segment of pipeline that would run 105 feet from critical structures at the Indian Point nuclear facility.

A nationally renowned pipeline expert, Rick Kuprewicz of AccuFacts, in a report commissioned by the Town of Cortlandt stated, “Accufacts cannot overstress the importance of performing a full and complete process hazard safety analysis, independently demonstrating, especially to the public, that there will be no interplay between a possible gas transmission pipeline rupture and the IPEC facilities to failsafe shutdown or cause a loss of radiation containment in such a sensitive and highly populated area of the country.”

As a result of citizen advocacy, Congressman Stephen Lynch and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wrote a letter to FERC Chairperson Cheryl LaFleur expressing concern about the new pipeline lateral that passes through West Roxbury near an active quarry.

Recently, Fossil Free RI launched a campaign urging the Rhode Island Department of Health to block the expansion of the compressor station in Burrillville, citing elevated asthma rates in the surrounding area. The Green Party of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Clean Water Action, Occupy Providence, the the Voluntown Peace Trust have already signed on, and other organizations are in the process of doing so.

“We are at a critical juncture. Expanding the Spectra Algonquin pipeline will lock us into a reliance on fossil fuel infrastructure for decades to come. Communities across the region are coming together to oppose this pipeline and call for clean energy alternatives, energy conservation and efficiencies,” says Michelle Weiser, Community Organizer with Toxics Action Center.

If approved, Spectra would begin construction as early as March 2015 and the project would be completed in November 2016. Another Spectra expansion, the Atlantic Bridge, is planned to follow right after the AIM project with additional expanded segments of massive 42” diameter high-pressure pipeline segments and compressor station expansions, and a third project is also in the works.

These expansions would be devastating to the entire northeast region and much of the gas would be shipped overseas to foreign markets. “Even if the governmental agencies fail us and approve this project, our nonviolent resistance will only escalate. This week will be a demonstration of our commitment to stop this pipeline at all costs,” says Katkevich.

Groups involved with the action include: Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (NY); Sierra Club (CT); Greater Danbury MoveOn.org Council (CT); Capitalism v. The Climate (CT); Occupy Danbury (CT); Fighting Against Natural Gas (RI); Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion (RI); Fossil Free Rhode Island (RI); Green Party of Rhode Island (RI); Occupy Providence (RI); Toxics Action Center (MA & RI); Mothers Out Front; No New Fracked Gas Infrastructure in West Roxbury, Dedham, or the Northeast (MA); Flood Boston (MA) and Better Future Project (MA).

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Affinity Group Training followed by #FloodBoston Discussion Meeting

Hello co-conspirators,

This Sunday at 4:45 pm at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair being held at the George Sherman Union of Boston University (775 Commonwealth Ave Boston, MA) will be an introduction to affinity groups and the decentralized model of direct action. In this brief one-hour workshop, we will discuss the theory and recent applications of this model. The majority of the time, however, will be spent in practical exercises in affinity group formation. You can check out the Bookfair workshop schedule here.

Afterwards, at 6:30 pm, also at BU, we will hold a general meeting of the #floodboston network (exact location TBD). Rather than jumping back into our discussions of targets and tactics, the convening committee would like to take this time to ground ourselves and think about the meaning of climate justice. We will share stories of indigenous resistance to colonialism and destruction of nature and think critically about where we stand in relation to these struggles. Our hope is initiate a process of questioning as we approach the annual ritual affirmation of false national mythology known as Thanksgiving (more accurately thanksTAKING) and hopefully to strengthen our resolve to face the immense challenges ahead.

Whether you are already part of an affinity group or looking to form one, we hope you will stick around to build the personal relationships that will be crucial in the success of this network.

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Moving Forward on Actions and Spokescouncil

All these meetings over the past few weeks have put me in the mood for some action!
Please join us for a preliminary planning meeting for climate-related direct actions in Boston in the upcoming months. Bring your ideas, your friends (AG?), your energy and your truth. We will pick up where we left off at the end of the first meetings and get quickly into action planning as we work towards creating a decentralized but coordinated network using a spokes council.
Sunday November 9th, 2014
4-7 pm
Encuentro 5,  9A Hamilton Place, Boston MA 02108
(near Park St. station next to the Orpheum)
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Bringing the Flood to Beantown

floodbostonwave

The Boston folks of the Flood Wall St. action have some beautiful people putting energy into a report back on the People’s Climate March (PCM) and Flood Wall St. (FWS) and discussion on how we can move forward. The aim is to bring together some of the different folks who have participated in past actions (XL Dissent, KXL pledge, Brayton Point, Salem, transcanada, pipelines). We all know we have tremendous power in Boston. We hope to work with others to create a culture of empowerment, where folks are empowered to step up and plan things. We believe in the power of decentralized but coordinated actions, so here’s to getting that going locally.

Here’s the info in duplicate community events, hope to see you at one of them!

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Beyond the People’s Climate March: Where Were You During the #Flood?

We are a Boston-based group of 14 young people who were arrested in #FloodWallStreet.

Recognizing this crucial moment in history, people, especially privileged youth, came out in droves from across the country to the People’s Climate March. They were there to tell a story en masse: that change will come if enough of us demand climate action from our leaders. Yet when it came time to tell the more honest story, that those at the root of this crisis are the corporations and Wall Street profiteers making fortunes off of the suffering of billions, we lost almost everyone. We went from 400,000 at the Pfloodwallsteople’s Climate March to 3,000 at #FloodWallStreet. When it finally came time to stand our ground, to sit on Wall Street and put our bodies on the line, our numbers dwindled from 3,000 to 102.

We do not aim to devalue what was accomplished at #FloodWallStreet.  We have so much love and gratitude for the organizers that put tireless work into the action, and everyone that showed up.  It was incredibly powerful and effective to shut down a major intersection in the heart of the most important financial district on the planet. But it’s too easy to walk away from this patting ourselves on the back and waiting for the next big mobilization. This isn’t about making anyone feel guilty. Our intent is to push everyone, including ourselves, to think about what it will take to really live up to Frederick Douglass’s oft-quoted truth: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

We feel frustrated that #FloodWallStreet fell short of its potential to be a game-changing moment in the climate justice movement.  We felt that it was a mistake for the organizers to declare the action a success a few hours after taking the street, telling folks: “feel free to go home.  We did what we came to do.” But we hadn’t — the action was about disrupting business as usual at the NY Stock Exchange, or if that was not possible, escalating through civil disobedience.  Instead, much like the People’s Climate March, folks were ready to call it a day after a couple of hours of chanting in the street.

One reason people actually stayed is because some of us and others mic-checked to the crowd: “from the looks of it, we’re now flooding Wall Street. This is our target. Let’s stay until we are forcibly removed!”  When the dispersal order came shortly thereafter, most of the remaining folks left. When the arrests started, only 3% of the original 3,000 of us remained. The crowd of spectators was three or four times larger than the bloc actually risking arrest. Many protesters who soap-boxed with mic-checks abandoned the fight when they were called upon to match their words with actions.floodwallst

We understand that there are critical support roles for arrestable action, that it takes privilege to voluntarily risk arrest, and that there were many who could not afford to do so. But #FloodWallStreet was framed as a direct action against climate profiteers, and over 1,000 people specifically signed up to commit civil disobedience. It happened between the biggest climate march in history and a major UN Climate Summit, in a city that was, at that moment, hosting a historic number of climate activists. We were in the belly of the beast, the epicenter of global capitalism, at a crucial moment to indict Wall Street for fueling the climate crisis and environmental racism. Could there be a more appropriate moment for thousands of people to put their bodies on the line for climate justice?

While being processed in jail, some comrades next to us were a 17 year-old high school student and woman of color, and a 63 year-old man from Chicago, IL who missed his flight as we sat over-night in jail. We shared cells with women who would have to fly back from Oakland, CA and New Orleans for their court date. Where were the thousands of privileged college students from the Northeast who work for “climate justice” on campus? Where were the devoted organizers of dozens of climate nonprofits who claim this to be the final window for climate action? Where were the local NYC organizers who called for this action and prompted so many to risk arrest? Standing on the sidelines or watching the livestream from home at those key moments won’t cut it. Proclaiming our solidarity with frontline communities and denouncing capitalism is meaningless if we are not willing to make sacrifices for those beliefs.  Particularly when those who’ve faced the most devastation have been at the frontlines of resistance for years.

We’re saddened by the dramatic dissonance between the magnitude of the climate crisis and the level of radical resistance on the ground, particularly from activists who we know care deeply. As we spent all day at the People’s Climate March handing out fliers and spreading the word about #FloodWallStreet, we heard the same excuses from our allies: “I can’t miss class.” “I have work.”  To our privileged peers who know they can take a day off and survive: do we really think we will ever get the change we need by conveniently fitting protests into our weekend plans?  If we are not willing to give up a single day of class or work to take action against the global profiteers of injustice, how the hell do we expect to change anything?

Over the coming decades, as frontline communities continue to bear the brunt of the climate crisis, as cities drown and droughts leave dinner tables empty for the most vulnerable, how will we look back at our role in this crucial moment? The days of work and classes missed will mean nothing. Our only regrets will be our failures to act courageously when we had the chance.

So let’s recognize those rare moments when we’re in the right place at the right time and we have power–and seize them. If the 3,000 people that came to #FloodWallStreet had stayed when the time came to face consequence, there would have been too many of us to arrest.  Imagine if thousands of us continued to hold Wall Street through the UN Climate Summit.  Only then would the story grow beyond the scuffle with the cops and that one polar bear who got arrested. Only then would the story of how capitalism = climate chaos be pressed onto the world stage.

If our generation wants to see climate justice in our lifetime, we need to step it up. We must work together to take advantage of high impact moments, and be willing to make real sacrifices when the opportunity is ripe. Coming home from NYC, let’s continue to organize, to build deep relationships and resilient communities to weather the storm.  But let’s also remember that to end this madness it’s going to take privileged people putting their bodies on the line, again and again and again.

Signed,

Emily, Martin, Abbie, Noah, Marisa, Shea, Evan, Bobby, James, PJ, Andrew, Kristina, Naveh, Simon

 

 

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