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
[email protected]
(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
[email protected]

Stacy Long, Grant Township Supervisor 724.840.7214 [email protected]

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, [email protected] 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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Coping with the Reality of Climate Change - Tim DeChristopher and Chris Hedges

Tim DeChristopher and Chris Hayes -  Days of Revoltjpg

Watch Tim's powerful discussion on the realities of climate change with Chris Hedges. 

They explore the spiritual dimension of facing the horrific consequences of a 1.5C to 5C increase in average global temperature, the human impacts, wrestling with grief, and the adaptive advantage of cooperation as these consequences unfold.  

In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges interviews climate change activist Tim DeChristopher about the deadly failure of industrial world to confront the effects of climate change. The two discuss how climate change has, and continues to trigger social tension and injustice, and the necessary ethical response on the part of humanity as a whole.


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After Bidder 70 - A New Chapter

Bidder 70 Poster



This week was the official end of my federal probation, after seven years of being under the control of the Department of Justice.  This release marks the end of the Bidder 70 chapter of my life and feels like the beginning of a new chapter for my work.

At this momentous turning point, I want to share this reflection on the direction of my activism and to ask for your support.

A lot of my work still involves civil disobedience against the fossil fuel industry, such as the training and strategizing that I’ll be doing May 7-12th at the Keep It In the Ground action camp in Colorado.  But I’m also engaging in a variety of efforts to deepen the spiritual resilience of all of us who do this critical work for climate justice.  I’ve been trying to catalyze that conversation in faith communities, secular activist communities and with students and young people. 

Tim DeChristopher speaks on behalf of the Climate Disobedience Center at the Keep It In the Ground press conference in front of the White House as a coalition of more than 400 organizations and leaders deliver a historic letter to the White House calling on President Obama to stop new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and oceans in the United States.

I’ve found myself in a uniquely independent role in the climate movement, in part because of my unusual path to influence through an individual act of high-profile civil disobedience.  I work with organizations and institutions like the Climate Disobedience Center, Unitarian Universalist churches, and the Keep It In the Ground campaign, but I’m not working for any of those entities.  That unique role allows me to push the boundaries, experiment, take risks, and make mistakes. 

I think the foundation of a social movement needs to be in organizations and institutions, but I think there is also a critical role for a few independent movement catalysts who can say and do the things that established groups cannot. I have found myself in that position, and I think it is important that I can keep serving that role. 

That’s why I need your support.  I’ve decided the best way to fund my work and maintain my integrity as an independent activist is to build my own network of supporters who can contribute $5, $10 or $20 a month so I can continue to push the boundaries of this movement.

A lot of my efforts at empowering a culture of resilience and resistance don’t fit into traditional funding structures.  Sometimes the truths I need to speak don’t have direct “deliverables” or “measurables,” but need to be spoken anyway.  It has always been important for me to maintain my accountability to the broader climate movement, to my principles, and to future generations, rather than to funders. 

An independent network of sustainers allows me to pursue whatever opportunities or engagements I think are going to be effective at moving us toward a more just world, regardless of whether the communities I’m working with can afford to pay me.  

I know that requires a certain level of trust in my judgement and integrity, and I hope that after seven and a half years in the spotlight, I have built up enough folks who trust me that I can sustain my work.  If you are one of those folks who trust me to do the work that I am called to do, please sign up here to pledge your support.

Your donation will be considered a gift, and received with gratitude.  It won’t be considered a purchase or investment to be received with obligations.  I deeply appreciate any money you can donate, but not so much that I would prioritize the interests of those who give money over those who are just being born into a broken world. 

If you know of other folks who are familiar with my work and would be interested in supporting me, please share this post with them and encourage them to donate.  

Every bit of support helps. Most important is to know if you value my work enough to help fund it.  If so,  please become one of my monthly sustainers. 

Thanks for reading and for being a part of this journey with me.

This post was adapted from my Friday email briefing for April 22, 2016. To receive weekly email updates on my work and activism subscribe here.

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Climate One: Fighting Fossil Fuels All the Way to Prison

Climate One Event

The audio from Climate One's event "Fighting Fossil Fuels All the Way to Prison" featuring
Tim DeChristopher, Georgia Hirsty and Brendon Steele is now available. 
Event Description
How far would you go to get the message out about climate change? Recently at The Commonwealth Club, Climate One founder Greg Dalton was joined by two guests who put the “active” in “activist,” and a third guest who thinks perhaps you can be more effective with different tactics. 

Last summer, Greenpeace’s Georgia Hirsty and twelve other activists suspended themselves off of a Portland bridge on ropes for over 24 hours to protest an oil rig bound for the Arctic. As the ship steamed towards them, Hirsty hailed it by radio, ordering it to stop. There were long moments of tension as the activists waited to see what the captain would do. They ultimately managed to delay the ship for over 40 hours, and create a lot of media attention. Tim DeChristopher, also known as bidder 70, ended up serving 21 months in jail for his act of civil disobedience when he outbid oil companies for oil and gas leases on parcels of land around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks… of course without intention to pay. His story not only made headlines, but has been made into a movie, also titled Bidder 70. And the oil is still in the ground to this day.  

Activism as an extreme sport gets headlines, and in some cases, results. But wouldn’t it be more effective to try to change things from within? Greg’s third guest, Brendon Steele, thinks so. He believes working collaboratively on the inside of companies is a better way to influence their behavior than confrontation and villainization. His non-profit, Future 500, works closely with energy corporations to encourage more sustainable business practices, through shareholder engagement and other methods.

  • Tim DeChristopher, Founder, Climate Disobedience Center
  • Georgia Hirsty, National Warehouse Program Manager, Greenpeace
  • Brendon Steele, Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Future 500
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Watch "The Last Drop" a new short film by Josh Fox #PancakesNotPipelines

Award winning filmmaker and activist Josh Fox just released this powerful short film about the reckless behavior of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),  its corrupt use of eminent domain to support fossil fuel profiteering, the violation of constitutional rights of the Holleran Family and the clear cutting of their maple syrup farm to make room for the Constitution Pipeline.

It also documents our recent "Pancakes Not Pipelines" action which resulted in Josh and others being arrested outside of FERC's headquarters, which was one of my favorite symbolic protests I've ever been a part of.  

Josh Fox writes:

Check out my new short film "The Last Drop" about my recent arrest/action with Beyond Extreme Energy, Tim DeChristopher and Bethany & Rufus.

I am asking Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to oppose the unnecessary and destructive fracked gas pipelines that are proposed across the nation.

This conversation on values can be seen more in our new film How To Let Go of the World -and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change Check it out!


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FERC "Pancakes Not Pipelines" Protest Confronts Forces of Destruction with Generosity, Love and Vulnerability

Yesterday I took part in a powerful symbolic action at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters in Washington DC. 

A few weeks ago, FERC allowed Megan Holleran’s maple syrup farm to be cut down to make room for the Constitution pipeline, sending in marshals with AR-15s to make sure Holleran and her supporters didn’t get in the way of the guys with chainsaws.

Holleran responded by bringing the very last of the maple syrup from her farm and asking FERC employees to sit down and eat with her.  There was some lightheartedness as we made pancakes on the sidewalk, which gave the protest a genuinely inviting feel. But it was radically confrontational with raw vulnerability.

Holleran refused to leave until they arrested her and seven others, including Josh Fox and Bethany Yarrow, forcing FERC  to visibly act out their assault on her livelihood.  This represents the best of symbolic protest--confronting forces of destruction with a radically different paradigm of generosity, love and vulnerability.

Megan Holleran arrest, photo by Tim DeChristopher

Josh Fox Arrested

Josh Fox arrest, photo by Lee Ziesche

Josh Fox
Megan Holleran
Gabe Shapiro
BXE organizer Don Weightman
Ashfield (MA) Selectman Ron Coler
Jane Kendall
Bethany Yarrow

News coverage says we were protesting the clear-cutting of maple trees on the Holleran family farm for the construction of the Constitution Pipeline.  That's the local fight.  On a larger scale, this action was part of the growing movement to resist all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.   

Building new natural gas infrastructure is a commitment to not solving the climate crisis.         

Media Hits:

Also see our posts compiling photos and videos live tweeted during the action:


Read more
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Breaking: Civil Disobedience, Arrests at FERC #PancakesNotPipelines Protest

Following serving pancakes and maple syrup to employees of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, concerned citizens blocked all traffic into FERC.  The following tweets are in reverse chronological order.

Read Press Advisory by BXE Action.

UPDATE:  Josh is out of jail and made his DC panel!

Read previous post on serving pancakes and maple syrup to employees of FERC,

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