You are here

Enbridge

Twin Cities IWW Resolution in Solidarity with Camp Makwa and the movement for environmental justice

Adopted Unanimously by the Twin Cities IWW General Membership Branch - December 5, 2017

Whereas: On March 3rd 1991 the Line 3 pipeline caused the largest inland oil spill in US history, rupturing in Grand Rapids, Minnesota spilling 1.7 million gallons of oil into the Prairie River; and

Whereas: In July 2010, Enbridge also spilled about a million gallons of Dilbit Oil in the Kalamazoo River when the Line 6B pipeline burst and flowed into the Talmadge Creek and then the Kalamazoo before the the spill was contained. On 29 July 2010, the Calhoun County Health Department asked 30 to 50 thousand households to evacuate, and twice as many were advised not to drink their water. Union workers cleaning up the Kalamazoo Spill have spoken against Enbridge for insufficiently cleaning up the spill which has resulted in birth defects, illness, cancer and death of both humans and animals in the area of the disaster; and

Whereas: In 2007, 2 Enbridge workers were killed in Clearbrook, Minnesota when a pinhole leak explosion sparked a huge fire and spilled 15,000 gallons of oil. Enbridge let the spill burn for three days poisoning the air of the surrounding community; and

Whereas: The Oil Industry and many other unsustainable industries sacrifice the health and safety of the working class and poor communities, especially many indigenous and communities of color. These communities are subject to environmental racism and classism and often ignored and violated during the permitting process of such projects; and

Whereas: These communities often are forced to defend themselves with direct action which puts them at greater risk of violence and incarceration from the state and private security; and

Whereas: The construction of these pipelines will contribute to the acceleration of already dangerous levels of currently existing greenhouse gas emissions which are contributing to the already dangerous effects of climate change, which could lead to a dead planet with no jobs; and

Whereas: Camp Makwa was established in August of 2017 to resist the pipeline using direct action to protect the water and natural resources such as the wild rice lakes, fishing and hunting, and farming that the Anishinaabe Tribe and working class in the area depend on. They have taken several direct actions to shut down construction of the Line 3 pipeline in Superior, Wisconsin and will resist the possible expansion in the spring. They are currently still camping during the harsh Minnesota winter.

Whereas: Neither the Line 3 Pipeline Dakota Access Pipeline, or the Keystone XL Pipeline will provide anywhere near the number of permanent union jobs the promoters of these projects promise they will, and

Whereas: More permanent union jobs can be created at union wages by decommissioning oil pipelines and upgrading water pipeline infrastructure, such as in Flint, Michigan. LIUNA and many labor unions currently have jobs working in the renewable energy sector such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric and could organize for a rapid transition of energy production and manufacturing to be safe for the workers, the surrounding communities and the environment. Though these renewable energy jobs are currently, typically non-union, trade unions if so determined, could easily develop a successful green energy organizing program, using solidarity unionism, that would revitalize the currently struggling labor movement. Far more jobs currently exist in the growing renewable energy sector than in the declining fossil fuel sector. Also these pipeline projects will not deliver the promised "energy security" or "energy independence" promised by their promoters, including the Building Trades and AFL-CIO Union officials among them and;

Whereas: Many unions, including the IWW, ILWU, ATU, APWU, LIUNA-City Employees Local 236, CWA, UE, SEIU, NNU, Pride at Work, A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Labor for Standing Rock, and many members of other Labor organizations have already publicly stated opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and or the Keystone XL Pipeline; and

Whereas: President Donald Trump's executive orders that dismantle environmental regulation and ostensibly "clear a path" for the completion of the aforementioned pipelines are contradictory in nature and are designed primarily to divide workers and environmentalists over the false dichotomy of "jobs versus the environment"; and

Be Resolved that: The Twin Cities IWW reaffirms the IWW’s opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as officially declares its opposition to the construction of the Line 3 Pipeline; and

Be it Also Resolved that: The Twin Cities IWW donates $100 each to both Camp Makwa’s legal and supply fund (Legal | CAMP SUPPLIES FUND) and urges our Union’s members, the Labor Movement, and working class to pass resolutions like this one, donate, join, and organize in solidarity with Camp Makwa, the resistance to Line 3, and the movement for environmental justice, locally and abroad.

Be it also Resolved that: The Twin Cities IWW endorses Black Snake Killaz Circuit, a collection of benefit shows created by organizers, artists, and eco-activists who are standing in solidarity with indigenous water protectors and their accomplices fighting Line 3 to defend Anishinaabe land and water from the extractive industry; and

Be it Further Resolved that: The Twin Cities IWW calls on rank and file members of the Building Trades, Teamsters, and other unions who have declared support for these pipelines and other unsustainable projects to implement Green Bans and take direct action by striking and or slowing down in solidarity with the communities resisting Line 3, additional pipelines, and other projects that are exploitive of the working class and the plant we inhabit.

Be it Additionally Resolved that: The Twin Cities IWW calls on the working class, unions, and the unsustainable companies that employee them, such as Enbridge, as well as their financial supporters to develop and rapidly implement a "Just Transition" plan for workers in unsustainable industries, such as pipeline and oil industry workers, to be trained in and given union jobs in the green energy sector. ; and

Be it Finally Resolved that: The Twin Cities IWW reaffirms our belief and commitment to revolutionary industrial unionism, environmental justice, and community self-defense with our goal to “organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”

2017: Pipeline Resistance Gathers Steam From Dakota Access, Keystone Success

By Lisa Song - Inside Climate News, January 2, 2017

When President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month, his pro-drilling, anti-climate action energy policy will buoy the oil industry. But it will also face staunch resistance from a pipeline opposition movement that gathered momentum, particularly with this year's successful showdown over the Dakota Access pipeline, and shows no signs of slowing.

Local grassroots action, governments' environmental concerns and market forces have stopped or delayed dozens of fossil fuel projects since the high-profile Keystone XL pipeline was cancelled in November 2015, and activists are continuing to oppose at least a dozen oil and gas pipelines around the country.  

"There have been people fighting pipelines since pipelines first went into the ground," but awareness of the issue has grown due to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access, said Cherri Foytlin, director of the advocacy group Bold Louisiana.

Opposition to pipelines has united environmentalists, Native Americans and rural landowners of all political backgrounds, many of whom resent the pipeline companies' use of eminent domain to seize their land.

This "Keystone-ization" effect, along with low oil prices, has created a hostile environment for fossil fuel expansion projects. The election of Trump, who favors building the Keystone as well as the Dakota Access, will put advocates back on the defense—but they say they are ready for the challenge.

"I think the scope of what we are being asked to do might change," said Andy Pearson, Midwest tar sands coordinator for MN350, a Minnesota green group. He said activists will have to work to maintain the victories they've won in the past few years.

"I'll have to fight just as hard under a Trump administration as I'd have to under a Clinton administration," Foytlin said. Her main concern is that Trump will be "brazen enough" to condone the use of force against protesters, she said.

Environmentalists have prioritized stopping pipelines because every pipeline is a decades-long investment in fossil fuels, locking in demand and hampering a transition to cleaner fuels. Successfully blocking them limits companies' ability to move their product to market, which feeds into a strategy of "making life more difficult for the fossil fuel industry going forward," said Adam Rome, a history professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo who studies the environmental movement.

Many groups have used the national attention on the Dakota Access to publicize opposition to other pipeline projects. In Florida, activists fighting the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline have held #NoDAPL solidarity events and protests to slow the project, which is already under construction.

In Texas, advocates credit the Dakota Access movement for inspiring local action against the Trans-Pecos gas pipeline, and two activists were arrested in early December for blocking access to construction equipment.

Since the Dakota Access captured the spotlight, "there has been this outreach and outcry of people wishing to connect these battles into one," Foytlin said. "It's less about pipelines, and about the battle to win the hearts and minds of people."

Pipeline fighters resist climate catastrophe

By Carl Sack - Socialist Action, July 8, 2016

Humanity is faced with a worsening climate catastrophe. In June, levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere topped 400 parts per million at the South Pole, a concentration not seen on this planet in the last four million years. Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which is registering 407 ppm carbon dioxide as of this writing, say that the concentration there is now probably permanently above 400.

The significance of this milestone is massive. NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen has written that 350 parts per million is the upper limit of Earth’s carbon dioxide concentration, “if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted.” Carbon dioxide concentrations were last at 350 ppm around 1985.

Human-induced climate change is already wreaking havoc. May 2016 marked the 13th consecutive hottest month on record in global average temperature, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The permanent drought and major wildfires in the western U.S., the huge Horse River Fire that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray in far northern Alberta, Canada (ironically the epicenter of Canada’s tar sands oil boom), the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, the killer heat wave in India, and many more unfolding disasters are all attributable to a warming world.

Yet, the world’s capitalist rulers are actively pouring gasoline onto the climate fire. U.S. politicians from President Barack Obama on down have cheered on the expansion of fracking for oil and natural gas, which has only slowed slightly in the face of a historic fossil fuel glut. Fracking continues to be exempted from most federal environmental regulations, despite its routinely poisoning of local air and water supplies, causing earthquakes, and releasing huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas over 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide over a 20-year time span.

Last December, with the support of both Republicans and Democrats, Congress quietly lifted the country’s 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, allowing fracking for oil in the Bakken fields of North Dakota and Montana to go full speed ahead even when domestic demand can’t keep up. In June, the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee reiterated that party’s support for fracking, rejecting a proposal to call for a national moratorium on it.

In Canada, the federal government continues to actively promote the development of tar sands. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest energy source on the planet. Mixed in with soil, it takes huge amounts of energy to extract and refine, and has resulted in massive deforestation and pollution in the boreal forest region of Alberta. James Hansen has called the full development of the tar sands “game over for the climate.”

Laws limiting fossil-fuel production at the source are necessary to combat climate change, yet the agenda of Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals alike seems to be just the opposite. In their calculus, short-term profits for U.S. and Canadian fossil fuel companies trump the future livability of the planet. Likewise, the representatives of the global capitalist class utterly failed to implement meaningful limits on greenhouse gas emissions through the most recent international climate accord, the Paris Agreement, signed last December.

In a June 30 article in the journal Nature, several climate scientists warn that all of the non-binding pledges for greenhouse gas reductions made by countries as part of the agreement, if fully implemented, would result in a disastrous global temperature increase of 2.6-3.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. The agreement aspires to hold global temperatures to “well below 2 degrees Celsius,” a number which would still mean famine and displacement for millions.

There is hope in the climate justice movement, which continues to build its power to stop fossil fuels even in the face of long odds. Activists are fighting back against the expansion of pipelines used to carry oil and gas from the point of production to refineries and export terminals—and in some cases they are winning.

Although plenty of oil and gas are getting to market, pipelines represent a choke point for future production. The 2016 Crude Oil Forecast from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which represents Canada’s tar sands industry, concludes that “Canada’s oil supply will soon greatly exceed its current pipeline capacity.” Denying the fossil fuel industry this capacity is a symbolic blow against the industry and shows that it is vulnerable to movement pressure.

Much of the growing pipeline resistance has also been driven by more local concerns. If a line bursts, it can devastate farmland, ecosystems, and waterways. This nightmare visited Michigan in 2010, when an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured and spilled 1.1 million gallons of heavy tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River, the largest inland oil spill in the U.S. to date. Tar sands oil is heavy and thick and pumped at high pressure, putting a large amount of stress on the pipes. Along natural gas pipelines, compressor stations release large amounts of methane, along with toxins such as benzene, toluene, sulfuric oxide, and formaldehyde.

The most famous pipeline battle to date was over the Keystone XL line, which would have cut across the central U.S., bringing 800,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil from northern Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. In the face of a national groundswell of opposition, the Obama administration denied the pipeline’s permit to cross the Canadian border, killing the project. Now activists are fighting to keep Keystone’s successors at bay.

BCGEU signs solidarity accord with First Nations against Northern Gateway pipeline

By Alyse Kotyk - Rabble.Ca, February 9, 2016

The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has signed a solidarity accord with Indigenous nations opposing pipelines in their territories.

The accord affirms the Save the Fraser Declaration, an Indigenous law signed by representatives of over 100 First Nations that states it "will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross [Indigenous] lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon."

Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the provincial government had failed in its duty to consult with Indigenous groups on the Northern Gateway pipeline.

"We agree with the recent ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court that the Province has not met its duty to consult with First Nations on Enbridge's Northern Gateway," said Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer in a statement. "We are proud to support the Save the Fraser Declaration, which demonstrates the resolve of First Nations in refusing consent for Northern Gateway."

The BCGEU has 65,000 members, many of whom work directly with the government. This significant number joins other labour unions including Unifor and the B.C. Teachers' Federation as well as businesses, environmental groups and community groups.

"BCGEU's endorsement of the Save the Fraser Declaration is indicative that more and more Canadians are committing to respect the laws and authority of First Nations and their efforts to protect the environment, fishers and the health and safety of all B.C. communities from Enbridge's Northern Gateway and other tar sands projects," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is a multi-billion dollar project that involves a new twin pipeline system for export of bitumen, running from near Edmonton, Alberta, to Kitimat B.C.

"Premier Clark and Prime Minister Trudeau be advised: the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway is dead, dead, dead," said Phillip. "We call on you to stand with us, and to work with us to come up with alternatives for real change."

While America Spars Over Keystone XL, A Vast Network Of Pipelines Is Quietly Being Approved

By Katie Valentine and images by Andrew Briener - Think Progress, March 24, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

After countless marches, arrests, Congressional votes, and editorials, the five-and-a-half year battle over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is nearing its end. If a recent ruling in Nebraska doesn’t delay the decision further, America could find out as soon as this spring whether or not the pipeline, which has become a focal point in America’s environmental movement, will be built.

But while critics and proponents of Keystone XL have sparred over the last few years, numerous pipelines — many of them slated to carry the same Canadian tar sands crude as Keystone — have been proposed, permitted, and even seen construction begin in the U.S. and Canada. Some rival Keystone XL in size and capacity; others, when linked up with existing and planned pipelines, would carry more oil than the 1,179-mile pipeline.

With the public eye turned on Keystone, some of these pipelines have faced little opposition. But it’s not just new pipelines that worry Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust. Weimer said companies are beginning to revamp old pipelines by expanding their capacity or reversing their flow, changes that can be troubling if proper safety measures aren’t put in place.

Ending the Oil Age

By Jess Worth; lead image by Jenna Pope - New Internationalist, November 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In September 2014, the $860 million Rockefeller Foundation made an historic announcement. Timed to coincide with massive marches for climate action all over the world, the fund revealed it was going to divest from fossil fuels. Following in the footsteps of the World Council of Churches, the British Medical Association and Stanford University, the latest major institution to make such an announcement is also the most symbolic. Because the Rockefeller fortune owes its very existence to oil.

The Rockefeller story is also the story of the rise and fall of the first ‘oil major’. Standard Oil, founded by John D Rockefeller in 1870, soon came to control the burgeoning US oil industry, from extraction to refining to transportation to retail.

It built an unprecedented monopoly that ultimately became so publicly despised that the US government stepped in and broke it up – birthing Exxon, Mobil and Chevron, among others. But by then, Standard had already set the Western world on a path to oil dependence that we are still shackled to, chain-gang-style, today.

The forced break-up created the Rockefeller millions. A century later, those millions are being used to make a dramatic point: we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the oil age.

Conflicting messages about conflict: the “battle” against Enbridge

By Zig Zag - Warrior Publications, June 22, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

With the federal government’s approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline on June 17, 2014, there arose a chorus of angry disapproval from many people in BC. Some talked about waging a “war against Enbridge,” while others proclaimed the beginning of the “battle.” Predictably, the political parties opposed to the Conservative government promised to put a stop to Enbridge, if elected. Those who have worked to oppose Enbridge over the past 5 years renewed their pledges to carry out court cases, referendums, voting campaigns, as well as civil disobedience.

In fact, the “Hold the Wall” campaign initiated by the Yinka Dene Alliance claims that over 22,000 people have pledged to do just that, “using all lawful means.” But what if a court decides its unlawful to “hold the wall”? Those with perhaps the most realistic grasp of the situation have renewed their calls for direct action, if and when necessary, to physically stop the construction of the pipelines.

Clearly there are mixed messages being transmitted.Direct Action

Many people are talking about the necessity for direct action. Direct action is one of those terms used by so many different groups, in so many different ways, that its real meaning has become blurred.

Warriors build fire on road during blockade of SWN vehicles, Oct 2013.

Mi’kmaq Warriors build fire on road during blockade of SWN vehicles, Oct 2013.

Direct action means taking action to directly stop, delay or disrupt an activity. Here are some basic examples:

  • A road block against logging trucks, and which effectively stops logging from occurring, is a form of direct action.
  • A protest in a city street against logging is not a form of direct action, unless that protest manages to disrupt the offices of the logging corporation, for example.
  • A banner drop is not a form of direct action, unless the banner disrupts or delays some type of activity.
  • Standing on the side of a road with picket signs is not direct action, but standing in the road and blocking industrial machinery from reaching its destination is.

The Class Politics of Pipeline Resistance

By Umair Muhammad - Briar Patch Magazine, August 25, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

The Jane-Finch community is among the many neighbourhoods in Toronto that Enbridge’s Line 9 runs through. Standing at the geograph­ical margins of the city, Jane-Finch is a low-income, racialized community that faces many challenges, including chronic unemployment and underemployment, targeted policing, and substandard housing. Not surprisingly, the community is routinely stereotyped and vilified. It also happens to be a hotbed of activism.

Line 9 currently carries conventional oil from Montreal to southern Ontario but is slated to transport bulkier Alberta tarsands oil and less stable Bakken crude oil in the opposite direction. The proposal to reverse the flow of the 38-year-old pipeline has been the subject of significant activism across Ontario. The fact that Enbridge’s proposal was approved by the National Energy Board without there being an environmental assessment has also generated concern. Errol Young of Jane-Finch Action Against Poverty says: “The Line 9 reversal adds to the environmental concerns faced by the community, including tank farms [oil depots] that create air pollution and result in a constant movement of giant trucks carrying gasoline on our roads.” The prospect of a spill is highly distressing as the pipeline passes close to homes, shopping malls, schools, health centres, and a subway line under construction.

The potential environmental harm connected to the pipeline is not limited to the local perspective, however. The climate crisis, which is fuelled by projects like the Line 9 reversal, also concerns Jane-Finch residents. And climate change, now experienced in the form of increasingly powerful storms, droughts, and floods around the planet, can feel very close to home. Extreme weather events like last year’s devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines routinely strike countries to which residents of Jane-Finch have intimate ties.

Despite the concerns about the pipeline that exist in Jane-Finch, it’s been tough to build links between the community and the anti-Line 9 work being done elsewhere in Toronto. It has been challenging, for instance, to convince community activists to attend meetings and events about Line 9 that take place outside of Jane-Finch. This is in part because Jane-Finch activists are busy organizing around multiple issues – including ever-impending cuts to the social safety net – that have immediate impact. To a significant extent, however, the difficulty in building links arises from differing terms of engagement with en­vironmental issues.

Dam Line 9 protesters blockade Enbridge pipeline work site in Southern Ontario, halting activities

By Sara Sullivan - Climate Connections, August 6, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

“Dam Line 9″ protesters gathered Tuesday morning at a work site along Enbridge’s pipeline in Southern Ontario near the Thames River, stopping work on a valve on Line 9. The valve is intended as a fix, which the protesters see as entirely inadequate–a band-aid on the much larger problems of the pipeline itself and Enbridge’s plans for it. As the Alternative Journal reports:

Enbridge recently received approval from the National Energy Board to reverse the flow of the pipeline and pump tar sands bitumen through it, from Sarnia, ON to Montreal. It will also carry fracked Bakken shale oil.

Moreover, the valve is not even being set up to protect to Thames River. On Tuesday morning, they released the following statement explaining their reasons for blockading the work site of the valve:

[This] construction will not add any protection against a leak of toxic diluted bitumen into this important water source as it is located on the far side of the river. Line 9 is the same age and design as the Enbridge pipeline which caused the largest in-land oil spill in American history. Enbridge has identified more than 12,000 flaws in Line 9’s structure, and the line has already leaked at least 35 times in less than 40 years.

“This construction project is a band-aid attempt and Line 9 is too old and damaged to operate safely.  The new valves aren’t designed to protect rivers, they’re designed to maximise the amount of bitumen that can flow through the line,” says Sarah Scanlon, activist.

“We’ve tried pursuing avenues with the National Energy Board and within local and regional governments. The concerns expressed by individual people and municipalities were ignored.  The official processes have merely rubber-stamped dangerous tar sands projects and failed to protect us, so we are here out of necessity,” says Rachel Avery, a blockader. “This project is also being illegally forced through without meaningful consultation of Indigenous communities. For example, the Chippewas of the Thames have appealed the NEB approval, but Enbridge has continued to work on the line regardless,” Avery continued.

More than half a million people rely on drinking water provided by the Thames Watershed.  Rare species such as the eastern spiny softshell turtle, queen snake, black redhorse and Virginia Opossum rely on its specific ecosystems. Food growers have relied on its fertile valley for over 11 000 years.  This construction site is less than a kilometre from the river, and is in the middle of active farm land.

[...]

Line 9 is one of many proposed pipeline projects in so-called Canada slated to carry tar sands and fracked Bakken shale oil to the coast for export.  Tar sands bitumen is the dirtiest oil in the world.  Its extraction and refinement require mass deforestation, irreversible water contamination, climate-changing carbon emissions, and toxic industrial waste. The tar sands are killing people and environments every day on a local and global scale.

They stayed all day and through the night, regularly updating their Tumblr to explain their position, show the blockade camp, and counter Enbridge’s PR. They plan to stay indefinitely. Their Tumblr includes specific information on how to join if you can!

Northern Gateway Pipeline Protesters Lock Doors To Tory MP Offices

Staff Report - Huffington Post BC, June 24, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Chains and padlocks greeted workers at the constituency offices of two B.C. Conservative MPs Tuesday, as opponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline called for the politicians to "vacate their posts."

The Port Moody office of Industry Minister James Moore and the North Van office of MP Andrew Saxton were targeted by a citizens' group calling itself "Settlers on Stolen Land."

Pages