September 4, 2011

Martha Cameron Takes A Bust: A Tar Sands Followup

Last week I posted a sharp-as-hell piece by my old friend Gary Goff on why he was heading to DC to get arrested in the Taz Sands Protest. Today I follow up with a report from my old friend Martha Cameron, Gary's partner, who evidently decided, while in DC, to put her body on the line as well! They were two of the 1252 people arrested in the two week protest at the White House.

As a post-arrestee of the Tar Sands Action Project, I urge you all to take 5 minutes to do two things:

1. Watch this video by Josh Fox -- it will give you a glimpse into the magnitude (and scariness) of the Tar Sands project.

2. Call the White House. Urge President Obama to reject the Tar Sands proposal and start building renewable energy, which will generate far more permanent jobs and help mitigate the disaster of global climate change: 202-456-1111.

There's a lot more information at Tar Sands Action Project, and photos of each day's sit-ins on Flickr. My husband Gary Goff and I were with the August 24 group. Here's one photo from the Flickr set for our day. That's me in the red hat, hiding from the sun, holding the sign I made for the sit-in.

The two people in the foreground, Bryan and Cherri, came up with a group from the Gulf area. Bryan is an environmental justice organizer from Manchester, Texas, the neighborhood in Houston where Keystone XL oil is scheduled to be refined. Manchester, aka "Petro-Metro," is already the site of numerous other dirty industries.

Cherri was with a group from Louisiana, still recovering from Katrina, but also now suffering severely from the effects of the BP oil spill and cleanup. She told stories that are familiar to anyone who has heard the stories of the 9/11 First Responders -- the rush to clean up the mess, the promises of support, and now the sicknesses resulting from exposure to the oil and the massive use of highly toxic dispersants. As in New York, cleanup workers were barred from using protective coverings. As in New York, compensation is slow to come or nonexistent. Locals try not to eat the fish, which are frequently covered with lesions and tumors.

Fritzie, another woman from Louisiana, blamed her daughter's miscarriage on the cleanup chemicals, which were liberally sprayed over residential areas. Her daughter is no longer able to work; she now suffers from extreme fatigue, horrible skin eruptions, and other symptoms consonant with toxic chemical poisoning. Again, I thought of the First Responders, but also of the cleanup workers from the Exxon Valdez spill, the soldiers with Gulf War Syndrome, the Vietnamese people and U.S. soldiers sickened by Agent Orange...

I also learned that much of the energy used to process the tar sands oil will be derived from fracking. So we are destroying the Northeast's freshwater and land resources in order to perpetuate the destruction of the boreal rain forest in northern Canada and threaten the Ogalla Aquifer in the western United States. We are burning money in order to burn money in order to burn the planet even faster. This is insane. We have to stop this. So please, take 5 minutes. Watch the video. Call the White House. Demand jobs. Demand renewable energy. Demand an end to the oil wars being fought in our name in Central Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa, in South America, and here at home.

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