Stop the destruction of the Castle Wilderness!
The following is an excerpt from an article from the Tyee. It is posted here to summarize the situation that protesters are facing right NOW in the Castle Wilderness area. They are facing arrest and eviction on Wednesday. The Premiers office does not have an answering machine service set up, and their office closes at 5pm MST. They re-open at 8am, and the Premier has asked for a head count on how many people call up in support of this issue! Please take a moment to call: 780-427-2251
"Government enforcement actions against citizens opposed to logging in a world famous Alberta watershed will likely cost taxpayers more money than total timber revenue.
"This is clearly an example of government waste," says Gord Petersen, a local resident and member of the ad hoc Stop the Castle Logging Group.
The Alberta government has responded with a massive enforcement effort against mostly senior citizens trying to respect water and wildlife," adds Petersen.
Since Jan. 12 scores of protestors, including grandmothers and two 77-year-old ranchers (all supported by thousands of Albertans), have sought to prevent the removal of 3,750 truckloads worth of timber by Spray Lake Sawmills from the core of the Castle wilderness area. The region is located south of Crowsnest Pass along the BC border.
Local foresters estimate the logging permit will generate no more than $100,000 worth of income for the government from stumpage fees and that only 60 per cent of the timber slated for cutting can be turned into dimensional lumber.
"That revenue won't even cover the damage to the public roads," suspects 56-year-old Petersen. "It's welfare logging that benefits a private company at the expense of the public interest."
After peaceful protestors stood in front of logging machinery last week on a public road, government officials issued a flurry of legal paper including a development notice, a trespass notice, an enforcement order and now a court order.
The enforcement order, which the group is appealing as an infringement of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, even banned protestors from occupying or using "any other public lands in the Province of Alberta unless otherwise authorized to so."
(Andrew Nikiforuk, http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Environment/2012/01/31/Alberta_Launches_Legal_Attack/)
Help support the protesters who are protecting this important area of the Prairie ecosystem!
Call Premier Redford immediately and tell her to stop the logging of the Castle Wilderness Area! Call as early as you can, as the enforcement order is for Wednesday!
Premier Alison Redford
307 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Honourable Frank Oberle
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
420 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue Edmonton, AB
Honourable Evan Berger
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
MLA Livingstone Macleod
228 Legislative Building
10800 - 97 Avenue, Edmonton, AB
Honourable Diana McQueen
Minister of Environment & Water
425 Legislature building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Backgrounder:- The Castle is part of the headwaters for the Oldman River, which feeds over two million people across the prairies - The Castle contains core habitat for Alberta's threatened grizzly bears - Protecting the Castle will help protect the entire Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, and fight the effects of climate change - The Castle Special Place is a unique region of irreplaceable spiritual, recreational and ecological values - This area is becoming increasingly degraded. Logging the Castle will affect local tourism operators, as the land is cleared of the beauty that attracts tourists
CALGARY - Tomorrow morning join Sierra Club Prairie, Greenpeace and Keepers of the Athabasca as they stand with the Chief and Council of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) while they present Shell executives with a "gift" regarding unmet agreements made between Shell and the First Nation regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory and Canada’s pristine Athabasca, A UNESCO heritage site.
These agreements were meant to ensure Shell would provide measures to lessen impact of these mines on ACFN, including agreements to address environmental issues and mitigation. Shell failure to meet these agreements with ACFN has led to harmful impacts on the environment and ACFN’s constitutionally protected rights and culture. Shell is also proposing to massively expand one of these existing projects, and also has plans for a completely new project in an area that is very important to ACFN’s traditional way of life.
The film, White Water, Black Gold will screen in Calgary at the Plaza Theatre (1133 Kensington Road N.W.) on Friday, November 25th
White Water, Black Gold is a jarring new documentary film on the tar sands following Director David Lavallee as he journeys down the Athabasca River and across western Canada in search of answers about the battle between water and oil. The film follows an imaginary drop of water, and later an imaginary drop of oil, unveiling the threats the tar sands pose to the third largest watershed in the world and two separate oceans. White Water, Black Gold is a film about the inextricable link between water and oil in our modern world.
“Whether it’s a dam breach that could destroy the third largest watershed in the world (the Mackenzie), tailings ponds that are approaching the size of a great lake, or tanker traffic on Canada’s pristine west coast: it’s clear that our country’s water is in trouble,” said David Lavallee, Director of White Water, Black Gold. “Most people do not know that the tar sands impacts actually span half the country.”
Director David Lavallee worked as a hiking guide in the Columbia Icefields for 15 years. He saw profound changes to the mountain landscape as Alberta ramped up growth in the extremely water-intensive tar sands industry downstream. Lavallee’s burning curiosity to find out why took him on a three-year journey across Western Canada that resulted in the production of this film.
“I wanted to make this film to tell the story of water and how the tar sands are impacting an element essential to all life on this planet,” said Lavallee. “I hope that audiences will listen to the voices in this film, to see the impact the tar sands are having and be moved enough to become advocates for an energy future that does not pose such a great risk to our water resources.
The documentary is narrated by Peter Coyote.
This morning, Ecojustice filed a petition to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, calling on him to help protect the Greater sage-grouse, an endangered bird on the brink of extinction in Canada.
The sage-grouse — known for its spectacular mating dance — once inhabited sage-brush grasslands across the country. Now it’s only found in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where it receives little protection from the provincial governments.
Why? Scientific research indicates that oil, gas and industrial development in and around sage-grouse habitat has played a leading role in their population crash. In order to survive and thrive, the sage-grouse require restrictions on this development in areas where they spend the winter, breed, nest and raise their young.
As few as 13 male birds currently remain in Alberta and at last count, as few as 42 males were left in Saskatchewan. Scientists predict that, in the absence of meaningful protection, sage-grouse will disappear from Alberta as soon as next year and be completely extinct in Canada within a decade.
Ecojustice and an international coalition of environmental groups are calling on Minister Kent to recommend that the federal government issue an emergency protection order for the sage-grouse. This kind of order could prohibit any activity that might further threaten sage-grouse or their habitat, giving their small population a chance to recover.
Our Water Is Not For Sale, in cooperation with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, has produced a new brochure, featuring a postcard to the Environement Minister, to build awareness and support action on Alberta's critical water issues and the threat of water markets.
To mark the official launch of the Petition Supporting a Legislated Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas in Nova Scotia, Sierra Club Canada – Atlantic Canada Chapter presents a page dedicated to everything you need to know about fracking. To accomplish this, we at the Sierra Club have created the Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing in Atlantic Canada. This guide outlines the fracking process, the risks fracking poses (to air, water, and our economy), as well as a look at fracking in the four Atlantic Provinces.
Action Alert: Send your questions for Alberta's next premier and join online live discussion!
Alison Redford, Alberta's new designated Premier elect has a, what some people are calling, progressive platform. Just how progressive is Alison Redford? Alison Redford wants to create an authority to direct the government's efforts in the renewable energy sector. Redford's website says that this initiative will be based on the "success' of the Alberta Oil Sands Development Authority. The long and the short is, this authority would prefer large transnational and international partnerships in the deployment of renewable energy over local community control and community profit.
Redford will be online for a live discussion October 5th 11am - 12pm and accepting questions in advance. Submit your questions here! Click the link and submit your questions!
"My objective is to hand over a healthy Alberta to future generations. This ideal guides my thinking on energy issues" says Redford's website. However, her main objective to achieve this around the tar sands is to focus on reclamation rather then a recognizing local Indigenous communities request for a moratorium on new development in the region. As millions of tar sands dollars transfer from the people from whose land it is plundered from to international energy companies, shareholders, and distant profit margins, so too will this policy on renewable energy mean that local people will be shut out of being able to control, design, consent, and benefit from renewable energy deployment. Once again, we will watch the government prop up and favour large energy companies over small, decentralized, community owned power.
While Redford was the only major candidate who mentioned renewable energy deployment in any kind of detail (Mar said he'd leave it up to industry), this so-called "hands off" approach leaves it up to the greenwashing interests of the very companies that are destroying global and local ecosystems to decide when and where it is convenient for them to put up a wind farm.
The federal Joint Review Panel on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project is holding public hearings starting in January 2012, and you can made an oral statement. These Community Hearings are your only chance to speak directly to the Review Panel. However, the deadline to sign up to present an oral statement is October 6th! Register Now
Sierra Club Prairie recognizes there have been huge problems with the Enbridge JRP process, but engaging at the hearings offers an opportunity to give voice to the opposition within the process. Imagine if we could sign up thousands of people, to pack the rooms, and show the wide breadth of opposition.
Hearings will be held in Alberta as well as BC. However, the actual dates and locations have not yet been set, because the schedule is determined by who signs up. All of us, throughout the province, stand to be impacted by this project through expansion of tar sands development, oil spills and global warming.
Early tonight, numerous women from the Blood Nation have courageously parked in front of Murphy Oil’s fracking development site vowing not to move until plans of fracking for oil and gas are stopped. The women are part of the Kainai Earth Watch and have been active advocates to stop the fracking due to the major threat to human health, wildlife and livestock and the irreversible damage to the land and water on the Blood Reserve and surrounding areas. They feel this is the only choice left to them to stop the operations as plans for construction begin tomorrow.
In late 2010, Kainaiwa Resources Inc. (KRI) quietly signed off on a deal with the Calgary-based junior mining company Bowood Energy and the U.S. company Murphy Oil. In exchange for the $50 Million, Bowood Energy and Murphy Oil gained a five-year lease to roughly 129, 280 acres, almost half of the Blood’s reserve, for oil and gas exploration.
Since that time local residents of the Blood Nation and surrounding communities have come together to oppose the projects. Members of the KaiNai Earth Watch have partnered with numerous community groups, including the Lethbridge Council of Canadians, to host numerous educational workshops, organize petitions, and meet with government officials. Despite their efforts, nothing has been effective in actually preventing the fracking from going ahead.
Plans of construction on 4 new fracking sites begin tomorrow. The women have vowed not to leave until they are confident the fracking won’t go ahead.
Show some Solidarity! **If you are interested in helping to support this action please contact:
Lois Frank 403-795-7945
Mike Bruised Head 403-737-2194
For a good backgrounder on the plans for fracking and the concerns with the impacts check out:
Also check out:
Media are encouraged to come on site
**Directions to the site:
Take Hwy #2 South, just after Standoff at the large Blue Co-op at the Blood Nation turn East. Follow the road 5 mins and you can’t miss it.
**Maude Barlow, Bill McKibben and Josh Fox statements of Support for the Blood Reserve Blockade-
“In June, I had the honour of being invited by members of the Blood Nation to visit their beautiful land, and I was incredibly moved to witness firsthand the unswerving commitment of the people there to stop fracking from poisoning their water, land and people. I declared then that they had my complete support in their struggle, and today I once again offer my absolute solidarity to the Kainai people who are putting their bodies on the line to stop this destructive process. I’ve just returned from Guatemala, where I witnessed the incredible fight of indigenous people there to stop the destruction caused by the Canadian mining company Goldcorp, and I praise the courage and leadership of First Nations peoples from the highlands of Guatemala to the foothills of the Rockies and around the world who are leading the struggle to protect the Earth and future generations with their bodies and their courage.”
National Chairperson, Council of Canadians
"Fracking the Blood Tribe's land for natural gas that will likely end up being used for tar sands development is an abhorrent misuse of energy, land and power. The Blood Tribe, which adopted me as a member this March, are a people of incredible integrity and honor. Their lands, the largest first nations reserve in Canada, must not get fracked. It is not surprising that they have risen up to stop the destruction of their native land and I support them with all of my heart. It is the gas companies that should be jailed for the destructive practice of fracking and the lies they tell in its defense, not the tribal leaders who have stood up bravely against this unnecessary and unsafe drilling practice."
"It's incredibly powerful to see people standing up across the continent to say: we can't keep doing this. The endless search for unconventional new sources of fossil fuel is ripping apart people's communities and landscapes, and it's warming the planet fast. Whether it's in jail in DC or along a blockade in the Blood Reserve, there's a sudden and startling sense of solidarity emerging; we simply aren't going to lie down for the fossil fuel industry any more."