U.S.: Fossil Fools Day Coal Plant Blockade
COAL PLANT BLOCKADE KICKS OFF INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST FOSSIL FUEL
INDUSTRY IN THE US – 8 ARRESTED
April, 1st – Proclaiming April 1st “Fossil Fools Day,” climate change
activists with the international Rising Tide network and its allies in the US,
Canada, UK, and Australia targeted companies responsible for runaway carbon
dioxide emissions today.
North Carolina residents kicked off the day of action in the US at 6:30am by
locking themselves to bulldozers to stop the construction of Duke Energy’s
massive Cliffside coal-fired power plant being built 50 miles west of
Charlotte. “In the face of catastrophic climate change, building a new coal
plant is tantamount to signing a death sentence for our generation,” said
local farmer Matt Wallace, while locked to a bulldozer. “Building this plant
would lock us into another 50 years of burning coal at a time when we need to
be doing everything in our power to end our reliance on fossil fuels.”
Shortly after activists locked themselves to construction equipment, police
arrived on the scene and arrested 8 people, using pain compliance holds and
tazers on those locked down.
Earlier this morning, climate activists in Nottingham, UK blockaded the offices
of E-on, a company trying to build a new generation of coal-fired power
stations in the UK, while another group in Wales halted work at one of the
biggest opencast coal mines in Europe. Globally, more than 150 actions were
carried out on April 1st.
“The Fossil Fools in government and industry are playing games with our
future: the time for lip service and half-measures is over,” said Jane
Calhoun, who took part in shutting down the Cliffside construction site.
“Direct action is necessary to stop those who watch the planet burn while
counting the money they make from the fire.”
Leading climate scientists such as NASA’s James Hansen believe that dramatic
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions must begin immediately to avoid
catastrophic climatic shifts, yet most policy proposals consist of modest goals
that are decades off. Today’s confrontational actions reflect an urgency that
many activists see as missing from the current discussions in the media,
congress, and industry.
The actions also reflect the activists’ conviction that the climate
initiatives being presented by corporations and government have been focused on
promoting consumption-based, profit-driven “solutions” that only serve to
maintain business as usual.
“The focus on switching lightbulbs or putting a green spin on practices like
burning coal is a dangerous distraction from the root causes of this crisis,”
said Karen Bailey of Rising Tide. “To survive climate change, we need to end
the extraction of fossil fuels, reduce rich people’s energy consumption,
localize economies and revolutionize public transportation.”
The Fossil Fools Day of Action was called for by the international Rising Tide
network, active in the UK, US, and Australia, and was joined by Rainforest
Action Network, students active in the Energy Action Coalition, the Canadian
Youth Climate Coalition, Earth First!, and the Australian Student Environment
Building on the momentum of today’s actions, the Rising Tide network is
collaborating on international “Camps for Climate Action” this summer in a
half-dozen countries. The events focus on mobilizing the grassroots movement
for climate justice and will culminate in direct actions against local climate
criminals. In the US, camps are planned in New York, Virginia, and Oregon. Last
year’s climate camp in the UK targeted Heathrow International Airport and
brought international attention to the climate impacts of flying.
Action updates and photos will be posted at www.fossilfoolsday.org as reports