Come to the Colorado Plateau Defense Camp, July 11-17!

6

Folks from across so-called Colorado are invited to the East Tavaputs Plateau in so-called Utah from July 11-17, facilitated by Peaceful Uprising. Come for a week of workshops, discussions, and hiking alongside land defenders protecting the plateau from the first commercial tar sands mine in the US. The week will include discussions on climate justice, decolonization, anti-oppression, nonviolent direct action training, and role plays, as well as hiking and capture the flag in the woods.

From the event announcement: 

In an effort to build solidarity across the region, we plan to bring different elements of Colorado’s student-led environmental, divestment, and other movements together, along with non-student led efforts. By building relationships, we can see that our many different struggles are all connected and fight our common enemies in defense of Mother Earth.

With myriad companies waiting in the wings to see if US Oil Sands’ tar sands mine gets off the ground, a huge area of the Colorado Plateau is at stake. Come help us defend this region from the threat of tar sands and oil shale.

To register, please email your name, phone number, what groups you are associated with (if any), how many people will be coming with you, and experience level with direct action to info@peacefuluprising.org. Please also let us know if you would need travel support to attend, as a limited amount may be available, particularly for people of marginalized groups in this region. Likewise, please let us know if you can provide travel support for others.

As we all gather together, we acknowledge that there can be no safe spaces in a settler colonial state on stolen land. The Book Cliffs, the land being mined for tar sands, is stolen Ute land. Those of us who are settlers living on this land want to be accountable for our presence here. The purpose of this camp is to participate in the work being done to protect the land while creating accountable spaces where we can challenge the normalization of white supremacy and settler colonialism. So, no cultural appropriation, homophobia, sexism, racism, classism, ableism, transphobia, ageism, speciesism, or settler colonial attitudes will be tolerated.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1851866415038062/

Please register by email to info@peacefuluprising.org SOON!

Please read these articles to prepare for coming to camp:

”Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation?”from Unsettling America
https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/cultural-appreciation-or-cultural-appropriation/

“Heteropatriarchy and the 3 Pillars of White Supremacy” by Andrea Smith
http://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Smith_Heteropatriarchy_3_Pillars_of_White_Supremacy.pdf

“Cisseexism and Cis Privilege Revisited – Part 1: Who Exactly Does ‘Cis’ Refer To?” by Julia Serano
http://juliaserano.blogspot.com/2014/10/cissexism-and-cis-privilege-revisited.html

Tar Sands: Why We Fight
http://www.peacefuluprising.org/action/no-tar-sands

Join us June 19-21 for the 3rd Annual Intergenerational Campout!

legacy

Join us June 19-21 for our Third Annual Intergenerational Campout, bringing together families to protect future generations from tar sands mining!

This is a unique opportunity to camp out in the scenic Book Cliffs of Eastern Utah with your family and friends and a group of people dedicated to climate justice.

Fun and informative activities will be planned throughout the weekend for adults and children of various ages.

At the first campout, in 2013, year a group of families converged at PR Springs, site of the first proposed tar sands mine in the United States. While there, everyone from a 2-year-old and pre-teens to grandparents spent time exploring the land with local organizers, hiking, birdwatching, water testing, and, most importantly, learning about US Oil Sands’ project and witnessing the devastation already being wrought by their 9-acre test site.

Last year, a group of familiSONY DSCes took nonviolent direct action together by marching onto the nearby Red Leaf oil shale site to demand to see their operation. Red Leaf claimed it was building the largest oven in the world to process oil shale, but has been keeping it hidden from the public.

The School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), the State of Utah, and US Oil Sands would have us believe that the tar sands & oil shale projects moving forward in Eastern Utah are all for the benefit of the children. For, they would say, isn’t all the money from the Trust Lands being leased for extreme fossil fuel development going towards education? No. SITLA’s annual contribution to education accounts for only about 1 percent of the state’s $3 billion-plus education budget. With every parcel of stolen land leased for development and extraction, and every acre sacrificed, the more the land is devastated, the water put at risk and polluted, and the air filled with dust and toxins, the future of our children, and of future generations, becomes more and more bleak.

The short term gains from destroying the Book Cliffs, and turning Colorado Plateau into a sacrifice zone, is not worth the future of our children. Come see what’s at risk. Come take a stand.

FOR DIRECTIONS TO THE AREA & TIPS FOR CAMPING, VISIT OUR CONNECT WITH THE LAND PAGE.

IMG_1193 (1)

 

Our 2015 Permanent Protest Vigil Has Launched!

Two weeks ago, tar sands resisters returned to the East Tavaputs Plateau to set up an ongoing protest vigil on the land leased for tar sands extraction. We came to witness, to document, to show people the land and inspire them to stand against tar sands, oil shale, and all extreme extraction.

We are now excited to tell the world that we’re back, and we’re not leaving until US Oil Sands gives up and goes home.

IMG_1263 (1)

 

In this remote area of the Book Cliffs, a start-up company called US Oil Sands has leased 32,000 acres of land managed by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) for tar sands mining. Based in Alberta, Canada, US Oil Sands is a striking example of how corporations pay no mind to the same borders through which regular people are so often denied access. The company says it plans to begin commercial production in late 2015.

Tar sands mining would turn this lush wilderness into a bleak moonscape of gray rubble. It would level the canyons teeming with life, and send toxins into the waterways that feed the Colorado River, which 40 million people rely on for survival. And because tar sands refining is an incredibly dirty process–even compared to refining of regular crude–it would also pump toxins into the air of people in Salt Lake City. All this would support the production of a low-grade fuel that would never even be feasible without heavy subsidies, because it takes much more energy to extract than regular crude.

UTSR Vigil 2Last year, our ongoing protest vigil lasted through US Oil Sands’ work season, from mid-May through late October. We hosted numerous groups and individuals at our public gatherings, giving people tours of the land and inviting them to become part of the popular resistance against tar sands mining and for a livable future.

We’re thrilled to be returning to the land we love so deeply. It’s a land with a rich history, part of the Uintah Ute Band’s homeland and their traditional hunting grounds. It’s a land filled with bears, cougars, coyotes, and countless other species. So far this year, we’ve seen deer, elk, turkeys, and a coyote. And lately, it’s been a land of rolling thunder and sudden downpours, but fortunately we spent last summer practicing our tarping skills. 

Please DONATE to this effort to help make our protest vigil a huge success!

Things seemed quiet on US Oil Sands’ work site at first, though we witnessed some activity this week. We know it’s awfully hard for those big machines to work on muddy ground–the East Tavaputs Plateau has been holding her own against the ongoing violence enacted against her.

IMG_1182

 

This vigil–and the many direct actions that various groups and individuals have taken against the tar sands mine–are necessary because we don’t seem likely to win this battle through the court system. On June 12, 2014, the EPA issued an order to US Oil Sands demanding that they gain additional permitting to deal with stormwater runoff before continuing with their project, because they are operating on an area deemed “Indian Country” under federal law. The company continued bulldozing, and nobody made them stop–that is, until 80 folks took direct action in July, shutting them down for a week. But during that action, the police worked to arrest the folks taking action and protect the company, paying no mind to the fact that they were operating illegally.

Living Rivers is pursuing a legal challenge to the mine. Their first case was dismissed on a technicality by the Utah Supreme Court in June 2014, but they recently filed another suit that cites more recent evidence of how US Oil Sands would pollute the watershed of the Green and Colorado Rivers. We fully support Living Rivers and believe this is necessary work, but we aren’t banking on the court system–and we hope you aren’t either.

IMG_1193 (1)

 

Back at the home front, we’ve been preparing for upcoming gatherings like the June 19-21 Intergeneration Campout. We look forward to sharing this summer and fall with new and old friends, witnessing all the plateau’s seasons along with the growth of our vibrant community of resistance. We hope to see you soon on the East Tavaputs Plateau!

IMG_1153

 

Please DONATE to this effort! Thank you for all of your help and support.

 

Join the Zombies and Fire Barrel Protest at the Governor’s Energy Summit!

 

Fire barrel and sign 2013 (1)

May 21, all day (fire barrel); noon (zombies)

Yep, you read that right. We’ve been hearing rumors that a horde of zombies is preparing to descend on this gathering of some of the world’s dirtiest polluters. The destruction that folks like Governor Gary Herbert (“Dirty Herby”), Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute, and Cameron Todd of U.S. Oil Sands leave in their wake will not remain invisibilized—these zombies will make sure of it.

Cameron Todd, one of the scheduled speakers, aims to strip mine a vast area of the East Tavaputs Plateau for tar sands. The zombies will make sure the people of Salt Lake know just how destructive these toxic industries are.

Luckily, we’re prepared, as fire barrels at the Governor’s Energy Summit are a time-honored tradition. Those gathering around the fire are sure to be safe from both blood-thirsty zombies and oil tycoons (we think). Join  us at 300 West, at the garage entrance to the Salt Palace, to welcome attendees in the morning between 7-8 a.m., or join us later if you can’t make it that early.

Want to be a zombie? Dress for the part and come stagger along with the rest of the horde! Meet up with the group at Gallivan Plaza (239 Main St.) by the big rock sculpture at high noon, and march (err, stagger) to the Salt Palace with them.  As some of the worst polluters in the country scheme about destroying the air, waters, and land we all depend on, the zombies will give them a wake up call about the future they’re creating.

The seas are rising, and so are the zombies. Join them.

Stop Dirty Herbert

https://www.facebook.com events/748438705275014/

 

At the Edge of the World: Fighting Tar Sands Strip Mining in Eastern Utah

Dirty Energy Kills

A presentation by tar sands resisters

Wednesday, May 13, 6:30 to 8:45

Meet & greet at 6:30 p.m.
eventstarts at 7:00 pm

SLC Main Public Library Auditorium

Last summer, 26 people were arrested on Utah’s East Tavaputs Plateau for taking direct action to halt construction of the first potential tar sands mine in the U.S. The grassroots groups Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising maintained a 5-month protest vigil in the potential sacrifice zone from May through October. Hear land defenders share their experiences of taking direct action against one of the greatest threats to our land, water, air, and climate–and what they plan to do next.

Campaign members will share what it was like to live on the land for months at a stretch, witnessing both incredible destruction and beauty. They’ll describe upcoming campaign plans and how to get involved.

Land defenders will also explain the dangers of tar sands mining, what the process involves, and why direct action is the last and best option for stopping this mine. A Q&A will follow.

https://www.facebook.com events/878427792230512/

Words too powerful for the court?

We had prepared and arranged for one of the defendants to give a customary statement to the court on behalf of the defendants about why they did what we did, why we do what we do, and why we must continue.  The judge denied us his audience.  Instead this statement was read to the news media outside the courtroom. 

The Moral Imperative to Halt Tar Sands Mining

Last summer, twenty-five people were arrested for participating in acts of civil disobedience to halt construction of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands mine. We felt we had no choice but to take such action because of the blatant human rights violations that tar sands mining causes.

Tar sands is essentially naturally occurring asphalt. Extracting a low-grade oil out of it demands a tremendous amount of energy and water, making it a massive contributor to climate change as well as water and air pollution. Separating the bitumen from the rock mobilizes dangerous toxins that are present in substantial amounts, like mercury and arsenic.

In Canada, where tar sands mining has destroyed an area the size of Florida, it has polluted the Athabasca River with substances causing cancer, birth defects, and mutations in parts per trillion.

Indigenous people in the community downriver are getting rare cancers at an alarming rate, with cases occurring at a 30% higher rate than expected. Marginalized communities typically face the most severe environmental injustices, and we fear that this will be the case for indigenous communities who rely on the Colorado River and live downstream from the tar sands mines.

These communities are already dealing with many violations of their human rights from uranium extraction, water depletion, and a multitude of other issues. Their right to health, along with that of the 40 million water drinkers who rely on the Colorado, is being sacrificed for corporate profit. The same will happen to those in the airshed of the mining area and the refineries in Salt Lake City where the bitumen is expected to be processed.

Tar sands mining also uses copious amounts of water. The state of Utah takes at face value U.S. Oil Sands’ claims that it will use minimal water, when every tar sands project in existence uses massive amounts of water. Meanwhile, U.S. Oil Sands is already using precious deep aquifer water for its operations—water that should be reserved for sustaining life in a drying world. It has been well-documented that the Colorado’s flow is steadily dwindling, due to catastrophic climate change, which tar sands mining itself exacerbates. We can’t allocate more water to industrial use when the river has less water to give every year. We need to think of all the people downriver who rely on that water for sustenance. Because 15% of our nation’s food is grown using Colorado River water, giving more of our water to industry would endanger our food security as well.

Further, catastrophic climate change is real. Virtually all of the scientific community accepts it, yet our government continues to permit and subsidize projects that send us further toward climate collapse. Tar sands has a more detrimental climate impact than just about any other project, producing three times as much greenhouse gas as regular crude. It doesn’t matter if the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) manages to raise 2% of the public school budget this year if we’re leaving our children with a doomed world.

Once the land is strip-mined, its complex ecosystems will take perhaps centuries to return. We believe we must not leave a vast area of the East Tavaputs Plateau a tar sands wasteland. Despite U.S. Oil Sands’ claims, there is no way they can bring the land back with anything close to the complexity of this diverse high desert and canyon ecosystem. We maintain that corporations have no right to destroy places like Utah’s Book Cliffs forever.

On June 12, 2014, the EPA issued a directive to U.S. Oil Sands saying that USOS needs additional permitting because the strip mine is on traditional Uintah and Ouray Reservation land.

Nobody has held U.S. Oil Sands to this requirement—on the contrary, the company has continued clear-cutting, blasting, and bulldozing the land without securing the required permits.

After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that we have the moral imperative, as residents who rely on the air, water, and land of this region, to protect these resources when our government refuses to serve as steward of them on behalf of the people.

We believe we must protect this land and these resources for future generations. SITLA is entrusted with managing this land for the long-term benefit of the public schools, but instead is sacrificing it for short-term gains, which stands in diametrical opposition to its mission. Over the past several years, we and various other organizations have pursued legal solutions such as a challenge to U.S. Oil Sands’ wastewater dumping permit, discussions with SITLA, and public rallies, to no avail. Our government’s insistence on looking the other way as tar sands strip mining in Utah jeopardizes our future led us to take civil disobedience in order to persuade our government to protect human rights over corporate profits. Only after serious deliberation did we choose to jeopardize our own liberty by using the age-old tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience for the sake of our future and all the generations to come.

Our Statements

Today 25 people arrested during 2014 protest actions resolved their criminal cases. No contest pleas to misdemeanor charges were received by the court from all defendants after lengthy negotiations between prosecutors and the land defenders’ attorneys. The heavy-handed and ridiculous felony charges mentioned below were all eliminated and reduced during plea negotiations. These 25 land defenders are now on probation but vow to continue the fight to protect the Colorado Plateau from extreme energy projects! Below are two personal statements regarding the persecution, from Victor Puertas and Camila Ibanez, two of the most fearless forces of nature that we’ve ever met. 

Victor Puertas:

Finally after so many months, tomorrow is our court date. 6 months after and the consequences are finally clear: A charge of third-degree felony riot punishable by up to five years in prison. I’m also charged with interference with an arresting officer, which is a class-A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. I’m on the watch-list of this corporation as a ”dangerous, radical environmentalist” (lol), lawyers of this corporation are telling the government that I should be deported out of the country.

I have been through a lot of BS, attacks and criticism from people that don’t have the same level of commitment, people that don’t understand our sacred duty as children of the PachaMama. People that talk a lot but at the end they will never risk their own safety or privileges. Some of them weren’t even there but of course as ”radicals” they feel qualified to criticize me, our actions and our event that day.

I truly believe that our three years campaign in defense of this land and against tar-sands on the Tavaputs Plateau, our events, actions and our strong commitment are crucial to the problems that US Oil Sands is having right now, their stocks are going down, they’re losing a lot of money.

In the end I’m just guilty of protecting this land and stand up for my people, my compas. I don’t regret not even a single second of that day. I took my chances, I face the consequences but I always keep my head up, for me this is a physical battle but also a spiritual one and the only important thing is to honor this land and to honor my ancestors, to be worthy of their warrior spirit.

So whatever happens, this struggle continues and we only just begun, we are here for the long run!!

Wañuylla, wañuy wañucha, amaraq aparuwaychu, karuraqmi puririnay, runaykunatan maskani, karuraqmi puririnay. No Tar-Sands on Indigenous Land!!!

Camila Ibanez: 

6 months later, today is my court day for the alleged actions against the first-ever tar sand mine in the United States. Alongside of 24 other land defenders, I am one of the six people being accused of third-degree riot felony, along with a class A misdemeanor. US Oil sands is quick to label us as criminals, and terrorist. They are saying whatever they can in attempt to get the community to see us as so. The legislators, CEOs, and other fat takers have no intention in seeing themselves as criminals, “domestic terrorists”, destroyers of the lands.

Utah is one of the states that oil corporations have lobbied hard for in order to pass legislation that heightens charges against protestors. Which makes sense when you look at how many tar sands deposits lie in Utah.

As we struggle for black liberation and indigenous resistance, we must also fight to free Pachamama, who is suffering from white supremacy and capitalism. Our communities hold wisdom and answers and we find them when we redefine wealth, value, love.

For all y’all that know. I’ll be headed back to the plateau in so called Utah in a few months to resume the work that needs to be done to stop the tar sands extraction.

So let’s take my sister Sabaah’s solid advice and let’s get free. Cause there is no justice on stolen lands for stolen bodies. We need to work together.

Press release: Utah tar sands opponents to be sentenced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Utah tar sands opponents to be sentenced

VERNAL–Plea agreements reached between the Uintah County Attorney’s office and 25 tar sands opponents arrested in July and September, some charged with felonies, will be revealed in 8th District Court Thursday at 9 AM.

Can’t make it to Vernal?
A representative of the defendants will be available for interviews and on-camera comments
at 2:30 pm Thursday, January 8
in front of the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City immediately following the hearing

Construction of the US Oil Sands tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of Utah was halted for one week in July due to protesters’ efforts to stop the project. They say all levels of government and corporate investors have failed to stop the misguided project and so everyday people have had to step in.

“This tar sands mine isn’t safe for drinking water, it’s a huge contribution to climate catastrophe, it’s destroying vital animal habitat, it’s destroying Mother Earth seized from indigenous people, and will make the region’s air even more toxic for everyone,” said Raphael Cordray of Utah Tar Sands Resistance. “It’s not even safe for investors who are exposed to so much litigation risk attached to all those dangerous factors that violate the public trust.”

State and county government have strongly supported the development of tar sands and oil shale strip mines, in part by funding and building a 70-mile highway–named Seep Ridge Road–without which the tar sands project would be financially unfeasible. Court challenges were unsuccessful.

Protesters say the heavy-handed charges have drawn more attention to the campaign and attracted even more eager supporters. “The urgency to stop this project continues despite the repression from the state and police,” Cordray said. “This project is life-threatening and violent. As more people learn about, more people are inspired to do what they can to stop it. This project is so awful that resistance is inevitable.”

In the largest protest action, on July 21, about 80 protesters in pre-dawn hours swarmed a fenced equipment yard. Several locked their bodies to construction equipment and blocked entrance to the yard and hung a banner reading “U are Tresspassing on Ute Land.” After about 11 people were extracted and arrested there, a second segment of people sat in the roadway temporarily blocking police vehicles from leaving. In all, 21 people were arrested that day, seven of whom were charged with felonies including rioting.

On Septmeber 23, disguised in chipmunk masks, a group of just five people were able to shut down work at the sprawling 200-acre construction site.

In all during 2014, police arrested 26 people for various actions that disrupted the tar sands mine’s activity. Many disruptive actions occurred in which police were able to arrest no one. Thursday’s hearing will conclude the last of the court cases attached to 2014 actions against the tar sands mine construction.

Media Contact
Raphael Cordray
801-503-2149

Nov. 8: Fire on the Plateau! A day of music & resistance

Fire on the Plateau
Join us on Saturday, November 8th, starting at 4pm, for FIRE ON THE PLATEAU: a day of free music and resistance, at the Fort Duchesne Multipurpose Gym (Ft. Duchesne Cirle) on the Uintah and Ouray Ute Reservation.

Featuring: Indigenize, Nataanii Means, War Party, Ant Loc (from Savage Family), Alas, Definition Rare, All Systems Fail, Requiem, Triple Shot Mustangs, and Almas Fronterizas.

Sponsored by KSJD’s Native Voltage (90.3FM), the Alcohol Substance Abuse Prevention Program, Peaceful Uprising, and the Utah Tar Sands Resistance.