Breaking: Tar Sands Pipeline Shut Down

For Immediate Release: To avert climate catastrophe, activists shut down 5 pipelines bringing Tar Sands Oil into the U.S, in Solidarity with Standing Rock 
October 11th 2016

Press Contact: Afrin Sopariwala 408.598.7656


This morning, by 7:30 PST, 5 activists have successfully shut down 5 pipelines across the United States deliverying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock. Activists employed manual safety valves, calling on President Obama to use emergency powers to keep the pipelines closed and mobilize for the extraordinary shift away from fossil fuels now required to avert catastrophe. 

192 nations have agreed that average global temperature should not increase 1.5C° above baseline in order to avert climate change cataclysm. This objective cannot be met, and any hope of keeping temperature below even 2.0°C depends on a total ban on new fossil fuel extractions and an immediate end to oil sands and coal use. In the absence of any political leadership or legal mechanisms for accomplishing this, these individuals feel duty bound to halt the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels by personal direct action. 

Ken Ward, 59, of Corbette OR said, "There is no plan of action, policy or strategy being advanced now by any political leader or environmental organization playing by the rules that does anything but acquiesce to ruin. Our only hope is to step outside polite conversation and put our bodies in the way. We must shut it down, starting with the most immediate threats -- oil sands fuels and coal."

Emily Johnston, 50, of Seattle WA said, "For years we’ve tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven’t been enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life."

Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA said "Like mothers everywhere, I act from a deep love that extends to all children and young people, and all living beings on this planet.  I have signed hundreds of petitions, testified at dozens of hearings, met with most of my political representatives at every level, to very little avail. I have come to believe that our current economic and political system is a death sentence to life on earth, and that I must do everything in my power to replace these systems with cooperative, just, equitable and love-centered ways of living together. This is my act of love."

Michael Foster, 52 of Seattle WA said, "I am here to generate action that wakes people up to the reality of what we are doing to life as we know it. All of our climate victories are meaningless if we don’t stop extracting oil, coal and gas now."

Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, OR said, "Because of the climate change emergency, because governments and corporations have for decades increased fossil fuel extraction and carbon emissions when instead we must dramatically reduce carbon emissions; I am committed to the moral necessity of participating in nonviolent direct action to protect life." 

More words from the activists here:

WHERE. Enbridge line 4 and 67, Leonard, MN;  TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, Walhalla, ND;  Spectra Energy’s Express pipeline, Coal Banks Landing, MT; Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline, Anacortes, WA. 

WHO. Climate Direct Action is Emily Johnson, 50 and Michael Foster, 52, of Seattle, WA, Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA, Ken Ward, 59, of Corbett, OR, and Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, Oregon, with the support of Climate Disobedience Action Fund.

Livestream videos and photos available on our Facebook Page and

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Court Appearance and Planning for Mass Grave 6 Trial

I appeared in court in West Roxbury, MA today with my #‎MassGrave6 codefendants Nora Collins, Karenna Gore, Dave Publow, Sophia Wilansky and Callista Womick.

All six of us continue to refuse a plea bargain and are eager to take our case to a jury trial. Our next court appearance date has been set for September 6th.

Personally, I'm excited for a jury trial in which everyday people can decide if our actions were justified after hearing all the evidence of our government's inability to stop Spectra's assault against both West Roxbury and our global climate. Every elected official representing West Roxbury opposed this project, but they have been unable to stop it, so this is a clear case where civil disobedience is necessary to protect our communities.

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Please Welcome Our New Music Director Bryan Cahall


Since the beginning days of Peaceful Uprising, music was a critical part of our organizing.  At the most stressful juncture of organizing around my trial, we decided that we were just going to have some people singing outside the courthouse the whole time.  Anything else would be bonus, but the core would be singing.  So we started having song rehearsals instead of planning meetings.  That practice of singing together brought us together and inspired us to do more than just have a few folks singing outside the courthouse.  By the time of the trial there were nearly 3000 people singing in the street, with marches and trainings as well.  

The power of music in movements seemed magic to me.  Singing together literally brings us into harmony and reminds us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.  That kind of empowerment is essential believing that we are powerful enough to challenge huge corporations and institutions.  Music gets us out of our analytical heads and helps us process the powerful emotions like fear, joy, anger and hope that are inescapable in this work.  Music reminds us of our values and principles while we fight for justice.  Perhaps that’s why music has been the soul of so many social movements in our history.

But when I left Utah, I realized that the music in Peaceful Uprising didn’t actually happen magically.  It happened because people with real musical talent like Lauren Wood, Ashley Anderson and Flora Bernard put in a lot of work to make it happen.  When I tried to start a protest choir in Cambridge, folks would ask me things like, “What key is this song in?”, and I had no idea what they were talking about.  Well, guess what?  That effort quickly fell apart.  Music in movements might feel like magic, but it turns out it takes skill and support just like all the other pieces of a movement.  

That’s why I’m so excited that singer/songwriter Bryan Cahall will be joining me as my new music director.  I first met Bryan after his powerful performance at Appalachia Rising in 2010. 

We brought his song “Arise” back to our community in Utah, and a few months later thousands were singing it in the streets.  

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Grief and Resistance: The Mass Grave Pipeline Action

In my trainings and workshops with activists, I always tell folks that we are most powerful when we are expressing our deepest personal truths.  This week I took action to express the grief that has been weighing on my heart ever since I read about Pakistan digging mass graves in anticipation of their climate change induced heat waves last month.  Even as someone who reads a lot of heartbreaking stories about climate change, the fact that we have now entered the age of anticipatory mass graves broke my heart in a whole new way.

When I saw the pictures of the long trench they dug as that mass grave, I realized it looked just like the trench that Spectra is digging through the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston for a new high pressure fracked gas pipeline.  I felt powerfully called to connect the dots between those two trenches and climb into the one in Boston to reflect on this new age of anticipatory mass graves.  

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Press Release: Symbolic Climate Mass Grave Funeral to #StopSpectra

The following press release is from the June 29th action in West Roxbury, Boston, MA resulting in 23 arrests including Tim DeChristopher and Karenna Gore. Additional photos for media use are available at



23 total arrested, including Karrena Gore and Tim DeChristopher

West Roxbury, MA – 12 faith leaders and 11 others were arrested this afternoon [June 29, 2016] while peacefully blocking construction of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant, and Unitarian clergy led a climate mass graves funeral, featuring eulogies, prayers, and mourning. After the funeral, some clergy and other resisters lay on the side of the trench, halting construction. Others got into the trench and lay down to simulate those who died this month from deadly heat waves in Pakistan and India and were buried in mass graves.

The action called attention to how the West Roxbury Lateral, like other new fossil fuel infrastructure, further locks us into deadly global climate change. As more studies point to the high rates of leaked methane from fracking and gas pipelines, the climate movement has doubled down on resistance to new fracked gas projects.

Among those lying in the trench was Karenna Gore, daughter of Vice President Al Gore and director of the Center for Earth Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary. She is the mother of three and came to join the action from her home in New York City.

Also lying in the trench was Tim DeChristopher, the climate activist who became famous as Bidder 70 when he disrupted a government oil and gas lease auction by posing as a buyer in the sale during 2008. He served 21 months in federal prison and his probation ended this past April.

This was his first act of civil disobedience since 2008.


“This is the age of anticipatory mass graves, and this pipeline trench is our anticipatory mass grave,” said Tim during a speech before being arrested.

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We Have Entered the Age of Anticipatory Mass Graves

The video above features Tim DeChristopher's words from today's #StopSpectra action in West Roxbury, MA. Tim, area clergy and others took action to focus attention on the fact that Spectra's new MASS fracked gas pipelines will lead to MASS graves abroad due to climate change and rising temperatures. This afternoon Tim and others climbed into Spectra's trenches and were later arrested. See Resist the West Roxbury Pipeline for details.  We'll be sharing more on this action once Tim is released.

"This is not just a pipeline trench. What they are digging is a mass grave, because in this age of anticipatory mass graves, we know that every new fossil fuel development that commits us to burning fossil fuels for decades, when we put in this infrastructure, we know that every new fossil fuel infrastructure will lead to another mass grave somewhere in the world."

- Tim DeChristopher

This is DeChristopher's first act of civil disobedience resulting in arrest following his notable "Bidder 70" action, arrest, nearly 2 year imprisonment, and 3 years of probation which ended this Spring.


Video above by Kori Feener. Thanks for capturing the action!


Full resolution photos for media use here.

Full resolution photos for media use here. Slideshow below.


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PRESS RELEASE: Albany, NY - Activists Successfully Blockade Bomb Train

Press release on yesterday's Break Free Albany action. For additional press releases see the Albany 2016 media page.  Twitter coverage at @BanBombTrains #Albany2016 #BreakFree2016.

***Activists Successfully Blockade Bomb Train***

Contact: Aly JohnsonKurts
(802) 595-9593

ln an action that caught county officials off guard, two climbers suspended themselves from train tracks on a railroad bridge that crosses the Watervliet Reservoir. They successfully blockaded a train from North Dakota carrying fracked crude oil, also known as a “bomb train” because of its explosive nature.

The climbers and climate activists – Marissa Shea and Maeve McBride – had climb lines that crossed the tracks in a way which would cause them to fall and be injured if a train were to run over their ropes. Their lives were literally on the line.

The activists describe their efforts as enforcing the public trust doctrine which requires that vital natural resources, in this case the atmosphere, on which human wel being depend must be cared for by our own governments for the benefit of present and future generations.

"The global climate system, on which every human depends, is no longer stable because our governments have utterly failed us. So now, for our survival, we will act on climate ourselves," said Marissa Shea.

The activists demand that the business as usual economy, which is currently reliant on fossil fuels,must be transformed into a new fossil free economy that is just and equitable, a just transition.

"Most of my family lives within a few miles of where the bomb trains travel. This is personal and global. Their lives are at risk and millions of lives are at risk with rising seas, forest fires, violent storms, and all the havoc that global warming brings," said Maeve McBride, who grew up in Troy."Today I felt called to directly obstruct the fossil fuel industry joining thousands of others around the world.

"Maeve, Marissa, and 3 of their support team were arrested after successfully stopping the train. This action is a part of an escalation called Break Free, where organizations across the world are taking action in response to rapidly unfolding climate change.

Break Free Albany is organized by a volunteer coalition of over 100 groups – including global groups such as, statewide organizations like Citizen Action of NY, and local community organizations like A Village, Inc. in the South End of Albany.


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PRESS RELEASE: Thousands Converged in Albany to Blockade Bomb Trains

Press release on Break Free Albany action March 14, 2016. For additional press releases see the Albany 2016 media page.  Twitter coverage at @BanBombTrains #Albany2016 #BreakFree2016.

Update 5/15/16  Press Release: Albany, NY - Activists Successfully Blockade Bomb Train

***Thousands Converged in Albany to Blockade Bomb Trains***
Contact: Aly Johnson-Kurts
Albany, NY Over 1,500 people gathered this morning at Lincoln Park in Albany to call for an end to fossil fuel industry violations of community health and safety. From Lincoln Park, the rally-goers split into two groups, with nearly 500 people marching to the Ezra Prentice Homes affordable housing community, which sits just feet from the tracks that run the oil-by-rail “bomb trains”, and over 1,000 marching to blockade the Port of Albany rail tracks.
Another crew of activists successfully blockaded a bomb train going to the Port of Albany from North Dakota by suspending themselves such that if a train were to pass it would cut their ropes, which were crossed on the tracks, causing them to fall. Five people were arrested. All of the actions were part of the global movement against fossil fuels called “Break Free”, which includes over 20 actions on 6 continents. The Albany actions were organized by a coalition of over 100 groups.
Speakers at the Lincoln Park rally included emcee Marc Johnson, an organizer of Break Free and a third generation pastor at the Greater St. John’s Church of God In Christ in the South End of Albany, Albany Common Councilmember Vivian Kornegay, who represents the Ezra Prentice Homes and other affected communities in Ward 1, and Iris Marie Bloom, a long-time anti-fracking advocate with the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline. The speakers highlighted the environmental racism of the siting of the trains, as the majority of those in the half-mile last zone of the tracks are Black and Brown low-income communities of color.
“We ALL deserve clean water, we ALL deserve clean air,” said Marc Johnson, speaking to the disproportionate impact on people of color. Ariela Perez-Wallach, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Upstate NY also spoke to the issue of environmental racism, saying, “Black Lives Matter stands against all forms of racism, especially environmental racism, which has stolen our health and many times our lives. We cannot afford to wait: white supremacy and climate change operate hand in hand.”
Miss Charlene Benton, President of the Ezra Prentice Homes Tenants’ Association said, “It’s really, really time that this unification to be going on. And that is the most important thing that I think we’ll get out of this. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to back down. We’re going to stand up. And we’re going to fight together. Until we win. And we can’t lose. It’s a long struggle, but I think that we are making some progress. We’re not going to be cremated without permission.”
The organizers called for an end to to all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines, power plants, compressor stations, and storage tanks. This includes the Pilgrim Pipelines, which, if built, would increase bomb train traffic into Albany. To keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees celsius, it is necessary to keep 80-90% of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
Additionally, the organizers are calling for a just transition away from fossil fuel energy, where no worker is left behind. Retraining must be provided for workers – for example, oil and gas pipeline workers could go to work repairing the nation’s crumbling water pipeline infrastructure, and oil rail workers could be employed in the growing passenger rail industry.

Break Free Albany is organized by a volunteer coalition of over 100 groups – including global groups such as, statewide organizations like Citizen Action of NY, and local community organizations like A Village, Inc. in the South End of Albany.


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West Coast #LetGoandLove Screenings and Workshops with Tim DeChristopher

On the West Coast?  Join Tim DeChristopher, Josh Fox and musical guest Gabriel Mayers for screenings of Josh's new film How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change.

Tim will also be doing workshops for local activists while in town for most of screenings.  See screening and workshop schedule below. Pay close attention to dates, don't get your screenings and workshops confused as they are different events.  RSVP requested for all events.   

West Coast Tour Poster 

Let Go and Love Film Screenings & Workshops

All screenings are free except where noted.

  • May 12 – Let Go and Love Screening
    Berkeley, CA, Thursday, May 12, 7:00pm (doors open 6:30)
    La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave

    Josh Fox, Tim DeChristopher and musical guest Gabriel Mayers.
    Screening RSVP Form

  • May 13 - Workshop with Tim DeChristopher 
    Amazon Watch office,  1pm
    2201 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
    Workshop RSVP Form

  • May 14 – Let Go and Love Screening
    Chico, CA, Saturday, May 14, 4:00pm
    The First Christian Church Chico, 295 E Washington Ave

    Josh Fox, Tim DeChristopher and musical guest Gabriel Mayers.
    Screening RSVP Form

  • May 15 - Workshop with Tim DeChristopher
    11am at Chico Peace and Justice Center.
    526 Broadway St, Chico, CA 95928
    Facebook Event
    Workshop RSVP Form

  • May 15 – Let Go and Love Screening
    Ashland, OR, Sunday, May 15, 3:30pm,
    Meese Auditorium at Southern Oregon University, Art Building

    Josh Fox, Tim DeChristopher and musical guest Gabriel Mayers.
    Screening RSVP Form
  • May 16- Let Go and Love Screening
    Eugene, OR, Monday, May 16, 7:00pm
    First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive St

    Josh Fox, Tim DeChristopher and musical guest Gabriel Mayers.
    Screening RSVP Form

  • May 16 - Workshop with Tim DeChristopher
    10am - Noon  at the Ashland United Church of Christ
    717 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland, OR 97520
    Sponsors: Southern Oregon Rising Tide, and Stand Up for Oregon: No LNG, No Pipeline, Ashland United Church of Christ
    Workshop RSVP Form

  • May 17 - Workshop with Tim DeChristopher
    University Oregon Campus, Eugene, OR 97403
    Room: Esslinger 116
    Sponsored by Divest UO and the Climate Justice League
    RSVP via Facebook Event

  • May 17 – Let Go and Love Screening
    Portland, Oregon
    Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st, Ave Portland, OR
    Josh Fox, Tim DeChristopher and musical guest Gabriel Mayers.

  • May 18 – Let Go and Love Screening
    Portland, Oregon
    Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st, Ave Portland, OR
    Josh Fox, Tim DeChristopher and musical guest Gabriel Mayers.

  • May 19 - Workshop with Tim DeChristopher
    Portland, OR  10am - noon
    First Unitarian Church downtown (1211 SW Main St)


Learn more about the movie at
This tour funded by the Let Go and Love Kickstarter

In this new film, Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox continues in his deeply personal style, investigating climate change the greatest threat our world has ever known. The film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?



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PA Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience

This is a press release from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund about a groundbreaking strategy of resistance by a small Pennsylvania town trying to defend itself from the fossil fuel industry.


May 3, 2016

Chad Nicholson, Pennsylvania Community Organizer 207.541.3649

Stacy Long, Grant Township Supervisor 724.840.7214

Pennsylvania Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience –
Ready to Stop Company from Injecting Frack Wastewater into their Community

New Law Shields People from Arrest for Protesting Project

Grant Township, Indiana County, PA: Tonight, Grant Township Supervisors passed a first-in-the- nation law that legalizes nonviolent direct action to stop frack wastewater injection wells within the Township. Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells.

If a court does not uphold the people’s right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being of the community, the ordinance codifies that, “any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action.” Further, the ordinance states that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected, “prohibit[ing] any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or other criminal action against those participating in nonviolent direct action.”

Grant Township Supervisor Stacy Long explained, "We're tired of being told by corporations and our so-called environmental regulatory agencies that we can't stop this injection well! This isn't a game. We're being threatened by a corporation with a history of permit violations, and that corporation wants to dump toxic frack wastewater into our Township."

Long continued, "I live here, and I was also elected to protect the health and safety of this Township. I will do whatever it takes to provide our residents with the tools and protections they need to nonviolently resist aggressions like those being proposed by PGE."

In 2013, residents in Grant Township learned that PGE was applying for permits that would legalize the injection well. Despite hearings, public comments, and permit appeals demonstrating the residents' opposition to the project, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit to PGE.

Finding themselves with no other options, residents requested the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Grant Township Supervisors, with broad community support, passed a CELDF-drafted Community Bill of Rights ordinance in June 2014. The ordinance established rights to clean air and water, the right to local community self-government, and the rights of nature. The proposed injection well is prohibited as a violation of those rights.

PGE promptly sued the Township, claiming that it had a "right" to inject within the Township.

The case is ongoing. Last year, in October 2015, the judge invalidated parts of the ordinance, stating that the Township lacked authority to ban injection wells. Three weeks later, in November 2015, residents voted in a new Home Rule Charter. The rights-based Charter reinstated the ban on injection wells by a 2-to-1 vote, overriding the judge's decision.

CELDF assisted the community with the drafting of the Charter and is representing the Township in the ongoing litigation with PGE.

Grant Township Supervisor and Chairman Jon Perry summed up the situation by saying, "Sides need to be picked. Should a polluting corporation have the right to inject toxic waste, or should a community have the right to protect itself?"

Perry continued, "I was elected to serve this community, and to protect the rights in our Charter voted in by the people I represent. If we have to physically and nonviolently stop the trucks from coming in because the courts fail us, we will do so. And we invite others to stand with us."

Those others are showing up. Tim DeChristopher, co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, stated, “I’m encouraged to see an entire community and its elected officials asserting their rights to defend their community from the assaults of the fossil fuel industry, and I know there are plenty of folks in the climate movement ready to stand with Grant Township.”

CELDF community organizer Chad Nicholson has been working with the community since 2014. He added, "In our country's history, we celebrate people standing up to challenge unjust laws. The American Revolution, abolition, women's suffrage, the labor and civil rights movements, marriage equality - all required people to take action resisting illegitimate laws. All required creating new and more just laws in their place. We applaud the people of Grant Township for taking action as their community is threatened, and asserting their rights. It is an honor to stand with them."

If you are interested in supporting the efforts in Grant Township, please contact Stacy Long, or 724.840.7214.



Update-- Here is the ordinance itself:


Grant Township

Ordinance No. _____-2016


Section 1. Authority. The Grant Township Board of Supervisors, on behalf of the people of Grant Township, adopt this Ordinance pursuant to the inherent authority of the people of Grant of local, community self-government, section 109 of the Grant Township home rule charter, and the authority of the people of Grant as recognized by the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, the United States Constitution, and the principles codified by the Declaration of Independence.

Section 2. Right to Directly Enforce People’s Rights. If a court fails to uphold the Grant Township home rule charter’s limitations on corporate power, or otherwise fails to uphold the rights secured by Article One of the charter, the rights and prohibitions secured by the charter shall not be affected by that judicial failure, and any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action. If enforcement through nonviolent direct action is commenced, this law shall prohibit any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or other criminal action against those participating in nonviolent direct action. If filed in violation of this provision, the applicable court must dismiss the action promptly, without further filings being required of nonviolent direct action participants. “Nonviolent direct action” as used by this provision shall mean any nonviolent activities or actions carried out to directly enforce the rights and prohibitions contained within the Grant Township home rule charter.

ENACTED AND ORDAINED this ___ day of __________, 2016, by the Grant Township Board of Township Supervisors.

By: ________________________________


Attest: __________________________

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