Steve Sachs

Environmental Activities

Sarah Alexander, Food & Water Watch, June 15, 2016,, (link) stated, " Our climate can't wait any longer. We need decisive action to quickly and justly transition away from dirty fossil fuels, and we need elected leaders who listen to the people, not fossil fuel companies.

Convention in Philadelphia &endash; we're bringing the message home to Democratic Party officials: we demand a just transition At the March for a Clean Energy Revolution on Sunday, July 24, the day before the Democratic National to a clean energy future &endash; now!

You won't want to miss this. Join us in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 24 for the March for a Clean Energy Revolution!

Our elected leaders need to make a commitment to clean energy NOW. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been bought out by wealthy oil and gas interests, putting profits above our climate and the health and safety of our communities. Food & Water Watch is gathering in Philadelphia with a robust coalition of impacted communities, faith, youth, grassroots and national organizations &endash; to call for a ban on fracking, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop dirty energy, uphold environmental justice, and quickly and justly transition to 100% renewable energy.

Thousands will be coming together from across the country, meeting in the streets of Philadelphia, to peacefully march as one powerful movement. We're coordinating buses and transportation from across the region, and we're committed to helping you plan your logistics so you can join us in Philly.

Join the thousands convening in Philadelphia to March for a Clean Energy Revolution!

When you sign up, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to get to Philadelphia and participate in this powerful action on Sunday, July 24.

I hope to see you there!"

Deirdre Fulton, "As Obama Sells Pollution Inside Superdome, Protesters Demand: 'No New Leases! 'We are telling Big Oil to take their rigs and go home,' says local organizer'" Common Dreams , March 23, 2016,, reported, " Hundreds of Gulf Coast residents and climate activists are protesting Wednesday at the Superdome in New Orleans, in a historic call to end federal offshore fossil fuel lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico.

The action is scheduled to coincide with Wednesday's lease sale of 43 million acres in that very location&endash;the first such auction since the Obama administration unveiled a five-year offshore drilling plan last week that protects the Atlantic but leaves the Gulf and Arctic open to oil and gas extraction projects. In a letter last week (pdf), groups called on President Barack Obama to cancel the auction, saying it illustrates 'the dangerous disconnect between your administration's climate goals and the continued leasing of federal lands and waters for fossil fuel extraction.'

According to organizers, which include climate and social justice groups, Center for Biological Diversity, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Rainforest Action Network, busloads of concerned citizens came from around the region, hailing from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.

'The oil industry has drilled and polluted and destroyed the Gulf Coast for the last 100 years,' said Anne Rolfes, founding director of Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

'Those of us who live here have let them get away with it,] she continued. 'Today's action is historic precisely because of the past century of submission. We are telling Big Oil to take their rigs and go home. And we are telling our elected officials to get with it, to lead the transition from dirty energy to one that relies on wind and solar. Clean, safe jobs are the jobs we want; this is the future we want. If we don't grab it now, we risk being left behind in an oily puddle.'

In an essay for The Advocate co-written with Louisiana journalist Cherri Foytlin, Rolfes continued:

' The problems with the oil industry in Louisiana are painfully obvious. The relentless digging of canals has led to destruction of our wetlands that once offered important protections from storms. The first official climate refugees in the United States are the Louisiana community of Isle de Jean Charles. The destruction of this Native community underscores the harsh reality that poor communities, African-Americans, Native Americans and the Vietnamese communities are the most vulnerable, not just to coastal loss but to the industry's relentless pollution.'

The location of Wednesday's lease auction is painfully ironic, given the Dome's role as the evacuation of last resort during Hurricane Katrina. Who can forget what happened there? The oil industry had a hand in making us vulnerable to Katrina and to storms yet to come. And yet our government is using the Superdome as the venue to let the oil industry continue its harms.

Wednesday's demonstration&endash;which is also demanding that the fossil fuel industry create at least 1,000 jobs to address its 'aging infrastructure and toxic legacy,' particularly in communities of color&endash;builds on a national call to 'keep it in the ground.'

'The science is clear: in order to prevent climate catastrophe, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground,' said May Boeve, executive director of, in a statement. "That means an immediate end to all new oil and gas leases in the Gulf and a full transition to 100 percent renewable energy."

Last fall, more than 400 groups and environmental leaders asked the Obama administration to end all federal fossil-fuel leasing , saying to do so would keep up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere."

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), has continued many actions. Including working to have Exxon Mobil held accountable for knowingly increasing global warming induced climate change, while publicly denying that was the case. In one piece of this, "Science Group Lauds California Attorney General's Move to Investigate ExxonMobil," January 20, 2016, UCS commented, " California Attorney General Kamala Harris's reported decision to investigate ExxonMobil brings us one step closer to holding hold fossil fuel companies accountable for decades of deception about the harm caused by their product.

"Since November, thousands of Californians &endash;including more than 3,700 UCS supporters&endash;have signed petitions calling on Attorney General Harris to launch an investigation into possible misconduct by ExxonMobil. Almost 13,000 UCS supporters are also among the nearly 390,000 people who have joined calls for a federal investigation of ExxonMobil."

UCS climate change work includes, "West Coast States Could Cut Petroleum Consumption in Half by 2030: Analysis Finds Extending and Expanding Current Clean Transportation Policies Would Significantly Reduce Oil Use," January 28, 2016 , California, Oregon and Washington could cut their petroleum use by half in the next 15 years through policies that encourage greater transportation options and the more robust use of existing and emerging low-carbon technologies, according to a report prepared by ICF International and released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists," available at:

UCS has been taking stands on many issues relating to reducing greenhouse gasses, and otherwise better protecting the environment. In connection to that UCS has been vocal on policy being made on good science, and countering attacks on science, particularly by those who wish to pollute.

While on food policy, "National Food Policy Fails, But These Cities Show the Way Forward," January 13, 2015, reported, "Research has found that low-income communities and communities of color have less access to healthy food and less equitable local food systems, forcing residents to rely on convenience stores and fast food restaurants rather than grocery stores and farmer's markets. These populations also have higher rates of diet-related diseases, such as obesity and type II diabetes. Not only do national policies undermine health in poor communities, but they also fail to offer opportunities for much-needed jobs and entrepreneurship.

In a new report, " Fixing Food: Fresh Solutions from Five U.S. Cities," [available at:] the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) looks at how local governments and community groups are working to make affordable, healthy food available to more people and empower them to build better food systems."

UCS has also found that relying more on local food reduces cost (and it is less CO2 polluting with less transportation &endash; though in each case there is also the question of the fuel efficiency of the transportation).

For more information on all its activities visit:

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), April 21, 2016, " What's Next Following the Historic Signing of Paris Agreement? Statements by Alden Meyer and Ken Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists,"

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2016)&endash;"'Tomorrow, over 150 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement at the United Nations building in New York City. The number of countries participating makes this event one for the history books and also sends a strong signal to carbon polluter that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.

Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and a leading expert on the UN's international climate negotiations.

'The unprecedented number of countries signing the Paris Agreement confirms there's strong global will to act urgently to limit the dire impacts of climate change, by shifting away from fossil fuels toward clean renewable energy and efficiency technologies.

However, the signing ceremony is just the beginning. Countries&endash;especially top emitters like the U.S. and China&endash;must move aggressively to implement and strengthen their domestic action commitments, if we're to meet the Paris Agreement's ambitious temperature limitation goals. We also need to see collective action by leaders at the upcoming G-7 and G-20 summit meetings, to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, shift investments away from high-carbon infrastructure like coal, and do more to help vulnerable communities deal with the mounting impacts of climate change.'

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of UCS. Kimmell is the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative board chair.

'The Paris agreement is the capstone of years and years of hard work. The U.S. showed great leadership by making an ambitious pledge in Paris, the backbone of which is the Clean Power Plan and fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. These policies are widely supported by the public and can save consumers money. But they won't get us all the reductions we pledged to make. It's now up to President Obama and his successor, Congress, state and local governments, and the private sector to roll up their sleeves to adopt additional policies that will make our Paris pledge a reality.'"

UCS other concerns and efforts include:

Help prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Today, the United States keeps nuclear missiles on high alert, ready to be fired in a matter of minutes. Tell President Obama to take our missiles off hair-trigger alert and make us all safer.

Urge your governor to power ahead on the Clean Power Plan. The Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Clean Power Plan is a speed bump, not a stop sign. Tell your governor to move forward with state plans to act on climate change and transition to renewable energy.

Tell the next president to fix the U.S. food system. Our food system is out of balance, favoring corporate profits over the health of people and the environment. The next president should lead with a plan to make sure every American has access to healthy, affordable food. Add your name to the petition today.

Stop climate change deception. It's time to hold the largest oil, gas, and coal corporations accountable for their efforts to distort climate science and block action to reduce global warming emissions. Urge the fossil fuel industry to stop supporting climate disinformation.

For more information, visit:

Nika Knight, " New Report Details Big Oil's $500 Million Annual Climate Obstructionism," Common Dreams , April 07, 2016,, reported, "'While the world came together in Paris to embrace climate action in 2015, Exxon was doubling down with Big Tobacco tactics and obstruction'

  The dark channels through which corporations influence legislation are notoriously hard to trace, but a new detailed report estimates that the world's largest fossil fuel companies are spending upwards of $500 million per year to obstruct climate laws.

Published Thursday by the UK-based non-profit InfluenceMap, the report (pdf) looked at two fossil fuel giants (ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell) and three trade lobbying groups, discovering that all together the five companies spend $114 million dollars a year to defeat climate change legislation.

More significantly, InfluenceMap says, 'Extrapolated over the entire fossil fuel and other industrial sectors beyond, it is not hard to consider that this obstructive climate policy lobbying spending may be in the order of $500m annually.'

'It's remarkably useful to see exactly how much Exxon and its brethren are still spending to bend the climate debate,' responded (pdf) Bill McKibben of in a statement. "There's a shamelessness here that hopefully will be harder to maintain in the full light of day.'

Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), June 17, 2016,,

--Nationwide grassroots communities are coming together to oppose the many tentacles of the commented, "My name is Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for IEN

Dirty Energy Behemoth Energy Transfer Partners (ETP)!

And we are asking you to Stand with communities nationwide to EXPOSE & OPPOSE ETP!

-- This national #StopETP effort seeks to EXPOSE the various ETP projects, subsidiary companies & conspirators including, but not limited to:

--Kelcy Warren, CEO of ETP, Energy Transfer Equity, Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company LLC, Williams Partners (through an ongoing merger), Dakota Access LLC, Sunoco LP, Sunoco Logistics, Carylye Group, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, LP, Rover Pipeline LLC, ETP Crude LLC, Lone Star NGL LLC, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, and Energy Transfer LNG (fracked liquefied natural gas). In fact, Lake Charles LNG Export Company, LLC, an entity owned by Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners, is in the process of developing a gas liquefaction project in Louisiana in conjunction with Royal Dutch Shell.

-- Some ETP projects we OPPOSE that you may know or you should know about are:

Mariner East 2 NGL (fracked natural gas liquids) Pipeline,

Atlantic Sunrise fracked gas pipeline,

Trans Pecos fracked gas pipeline,

Dakota Access Bakken Crude Oil pipeline

Lake Charles LNG,

The massively polluting Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex and...

A proposal to make Philly into a gargantuan dirty energy hub, a so-called "Houston of the East Coast"

And these are just a few examples of projects Indigenous and Front Line Communities are fighting across the country.

-- As you can see above, ETP has a diversified portfolio of extreme energy exploitation and maintains its agenda through community abuse -- a unifying issue that is impinged and defiled throughout all stages of ETP's business-as-usual dealings, which is the essential, immutable value of fresh, clean water.

-- The truth that "Water is Life", or "Mni Wiconi" in Lakota, unites resistance communities as well as all communities who value and understand the shared gift of water and the survival imperative to protect it at all costs.

--There are ways you can join this national campaign individually, within an organization, or group of citizen activists - all are welcome. We need your voice to be heard (and creative photos, to start) and to help craft a platform for a public exposé of the sprawling web of industry-political collusion and the often suppressed story of community resistance to Energy Transfer Partners."

Kandi Mossett and Dallas Goldtooth, "U.S. Indigenous Youth travels to Australia to Call Attention to Climate Justice," Indigenous  Environmental Network, May 2nd, 2016,, reported, " Australia's first Indigenous youth led climate network, SEED, will be hosted the 'Protect Country' Climate Justice Summit in Sydney April 29-May 2, 2016. This summit culminated in an action against the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine on Wangan and Jagalingou country in Central Queensland.

Joseph White Eyes, Lakota youth from the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation represented the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) at the summit as an invited keynote speaker and will be staying in Australia for a week to visit Indigenous communities fighting extractive development.

The Indigenous Environmental Network first began working with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition the summer of 2009; taking part in the Australian Power Shift in Sydney, which drew 1,500 young people, and visiting Queensland to meet with local Aboriginal groups working on climate change and its impacts. Since that time the youth have been working tirelessly to reach out across Australia and recognized the necessity to create space specifically for Indigenous youth, thus, the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network was formed.

SEED is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who have a vision for a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities."

Photo: InfluenceMap

The group drew particular attention to the sinister lobbying group American Petroleum Institute (API) , 'one of the best funded and most consistently obstructive lobbying forces for climate policy in the United States,' as InfluenceMap notes:

With a budget in excess of $200m, we estimate, through a forensic analysis of its IRS filings and careful study of its lobbying, PR, media and advertising activities, that around $65m of this is highly obstructive lobbying against ambitious climate policy. We estimate that ExxonMobil and Shell contribute $6m and $3m respectively to API's obstructive spending of $65m. Its CEO Jack Gerard received annual compensation of just over $14m in 2013, probably one of the world's highest paid lobbyists. In the run up to COP21 last year, he dismissed the Paris process as a 'narrow political ideology'.

InfluenceMap created the report to help concerned investors see how fossil fuel corporations were obstructing legislation to combat climate change. Since the #ExxonKnew scandal broke last year, such tactics have been under increased scrutiny from shareholders. 'So far in 2016 alone," the non-profit said , "there have been over 15 shareholder resolutions filed by investors in the US with fossil fuel companies on the issue of influence over climate policy.'

In addition, the 'sheer fuzziness of corporate influence prompted the project,' wrote Bloomberg. 'Nations hold companies to different standards&endash;or none at all&endash;for disclosures of how they are trying to influence public policy and what it costs. '

Bloomberg explained the study's methodology:

To come up with its numbers, Influence Map first had to define what 'influence' actually means. The researchers adopted a framework spelled out in a 2013 UN report written to help companies align their climate change policies with their lobbying and communications strategies. It's a broad approach to understanding influence that includes not only direct lobbying, but also advertising, marketing, public relations, political contributions, regulatory contacts, and trade associations.

Unfortunately, though, because of poor regulatory standards the 'new report excludes so-called dark money , or money spent on think tanks and institutes, as identified by Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle in 2013,' Bloomberg said, because 'the researchers were unable to determine how these groups are funded.'

'We now know that Exxon knew about climate change impacts for decades, and kept the public in the dark while they lobbied to prevent meaningful action,' Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin pointed out. "This report shows that while the world came together in Paris to embrace climate action in 2015, Exxon was doubling down with Big Tobacco tactics and obstruction. We cannot change this corporation by engaging with it, we must instead bring change from the outside by using economic pressure and divesting from Exxon.'"

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), "Urge the Environmental Protection Agency to Use Sound Science in Methane Rules," May 12, 2016,;jsessionid=FF0AA9C710E30706284669BD290B0EFA.app312a?pagena me=homepage&page=UserAction&id=5250&autologin=true,  stated, "The Union of Concerned Scientists has an achievable, realistic plan to cut oil consumption in half in the next 20 years, but even as we reduce our oil use, the oil that we are using is changing&endash;and not all oil is created equal.

Currently, the oil industry is rapidly expanding its extraction of tight oil&endash;an unconventional oil that is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Extracting tight oil typically produces more pollution than conventional oil because it's mixed with methane gas, an extremely potent global warming emission. Methane has a heat-trapping potential 86 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. The industry does not monitor or disclose accurate methane emissions data, which is needed to set science-based standards on existing oil and gas operations.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just finalized methane rules for new oil and gas operations, and needs to move quickly to propose standards for existing operations that currently have no pollution limits. It's a critical step to addressing the global warming emissions associated with extracting and producing oil, and we've waited long enough.

Thank the EPA for finalizing methane rules for new oil and gas operations and urge them to move quickly on strong, science-based standards for existing operations.

Please make your letter personal by adding your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the biggest impact!

Learn more about the truth about tight oil, read our blog post about the EPA methane standards, and check out our realistic plan to cut oil use in half."

For more information visit:

Lauren McCauley, "Anti-Fracking Momentum Grows with Another People's Victory in California: Measure E passed with an overwhelming 71 percent, making Butte County the fourth in the state to ban fracking," Common Dreams , June 08, 2016,, reported, "Notching another victory for the growing national anti-fracking movement, voters in Butte County, California on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a measure that bans the controversial oil and gas drilling process in their communities.

Measure E won with 71 percent of the vote, making Butte the fourth California county to pass such a measure , following Mendocino, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties, and adding to the growing list of states and municipalities across the nation that have come out against fracking.

Agriculture is the top industry in Butte County, which sits just north of Sacramento. Proponents of the measure argued that threatening the aquifers with toxic fracking chemicals would destroy the 'lifeblood' of the local economy.

'We are thrilled that Butte County voters decided to protect our clean water and almond and walnut farms from fracking," said Dave Garcia, of Frack-Free Butte County. "We're proud that we can hand down a community that's green and pristine to our children and grandchildren.'

Despite the fact that a majority of Californians oppose the practice, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has embraced fracking in the state. What's more, two federal agencies late last month quietly lifted the ban on offshore fracking in the waters off the California coast.

'When our Governor and local elected officials fail to act, voters are taking the initiative at the ballot box to protect their health and their water from fracking,' said Ella Teevan, Northern California organizer with Food & Water Watch. 'The victory in Butte County will inspire other counties and cities to follow suit.'

Indeed, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors are expected to rule on a similar measure this summer while residents of Monterey County will be voting on a ban in November.

The oil industry has vowed a vigorous fight in Monterey, which sits atop the yet un-fracked, petroleum-rich Monterey Shale.

Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders endorsed that measure while campaigning in California's Salinas Valley last week, telling supporters in Spreckels: "There is a growing movement against fracking that is beginning to spread all across our country."

Thanks to fossil fuel energy company lobbying, 21 states have reduced or eliminated tax credits for installing roof top solar and/or added fees or lowered incentives to the process. The U.S. government did extend the federal tax credit for roof top solar installation in 2015, but numerous roof top solar instillation companies in the U.S. have recently suffered financial loses where state support has been cut ("Diane Cardwell and Julie Creswell, "Looking for Silver Linings: Losses Pile Up for Solar Companies, and the Future May Be Stormy," The New York Times, March 11, 2016).

Earth Justice, June 1, 2016,, ""Stop a Public Lands Giveaway for a Massive and Dirty Oil Shale Strip Mining Project," commented, "The Bureau of Land Management has announced that it would pave the way for dirty oil shale development in the Uinta Basin, near Utah's scenic Book Cliffs and the Green and White rivers.

The plan would permit Enefit, a foreign company, to build oil, gas and electric transmission lines across miles of public land to enable up to 9,000 acres of strip mining for oil shale. We have until June 14 to write the BLM and stop this plan from going through!

Oil shale is not oil at all, but a rock that, if superheated to hundreds of degrees for long periods, will release a goo that can be further refined into liquid petroleum.

Current oil shale technology requires that the land be effectively strip mined, which destroys wildlife habitat and requires massive amounts of water&endash;already precious and dwindling in the arid and over-allocated Colorado River basin where oil shale rocks are found. It would likely also require large amounts of energy&endash;and huge amounts of climate pollution&endash;just to process the rock into petroleum.

Enefit hopes to produce 50,000 barrels of petroleum a day, every day, for 30 years. The company estimates that producing and burning this fuel will cause nearly 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than similar amounts of regular oil. To prevent the worst impacts of climate change we need to be moving to cleaner fuels, not dirtier ones.

For years Earthjustice has worked with groups in this region to stop any efforts to move forward with oil shale development. Now the public has an opportunity to send a message to the BLM that it should stop subsidizing dirty fossil fuels and not allow Enefit to use our lands to pollute the climate, poison the air and guzzle water from our shrinking rivers."

Wakí?ya? Waénata? (Matt Remle), "Pipeline Fighters Set Up Spirit Camp to Block Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline," Indigenous Environmental Network,, reported in the Spring of 2-16, .

" the Dakota Access Pipeline threatens public health and welfare on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe relies on the waters of the life-giving Missouri River for our continued existence, and the Dakota Access Pipeline poses a serious risk to Mni Sose and to the very survival of our Tribe." Standing Rock Sioux Tribe resolution opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline

Riders on horseback set out from the tribal administration building traveling dozens of miles to the mouth of the Cannonball River where the projected pipeline will go through.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, if built, would transport as much as 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois with a future capacity of 570,000 barrels per day. Its proposed route would cross the Cannonball River and across the Missouri River, twice.

The proposed pipeline would also threaten significant sites of historical and cultural significance to many Northern Plains tribes, including the Lakota, Dakota, Mandan, Arikara and Cheyenne."

--" Of paramount concern is the threat the pipeline poses to drinking water."

A Midwest Pipeline Alert was issued via E-mail, February 1q, 2016 ( "ATTENTION Climate March friends! Pipeline fighters. Defenders of land, water and personal liberty.

The Bakken Pipeline is seen by many as the replacement for the Keystone Pipeline. Folks across the Upper Midwest have been working hard to stop it. The Iowa Utilities Board could make a decision TODAY on the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. If you're in the Des Moines area, please come if you can at 1:00 p.m. at 1375 E Court Ave.

Otherwise, watch the live stream here. The forces pushing for this drastic expansion of the fossil-fuel infrastructure need to know we're watching, engaged and ready to act regardless of today's outcome.

I'll live tweet the proceedings here, and "Face-tweet" (Ha! Did I just invent a new social media term?) on this Facebook page: and this Facebook page:

Also, check out Bakken Pipeline Resistance ( for regular updates and information you'll never find in the corporate media.

Thank you, and in the words of Bob Marley, "Don't give up the fight!"

Jon Queally, " Calling for Ban on Dangerous Gas Storage, Residents Occupy State Regulatory Building: 'It is unconscionable that these regulators are putting people at risk while giving companies a pass,' declared one activist," Common Dreams , February 16, 2016,, reported, While others demonstrated below, a pair of climate activists in San Francisco on Tuesday scaled the headquarters of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to protest the regulatory body's failure to adequately address the danger posed by underground natural gas storage facilities in the state.

 Highlighted by the nearly four-month leak at the natural gas facility run by SoCalGas company at Aliso Canyon near the town of Porter Ranch, the group of campaigners outside the PUC building&endash;in addition to the two who scaled its front and dropped a large banner above the entrance&endash;say that failure to properly monitor such sites is both a risk to local residents as well as the planet due to the clear climate impacts of gas and oil drilling.

Those on the ground held signs reading, "Natural Gas Hurts Communities' and "Stop Climate Change: Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground,' while the the larger banner hung from the building said, "Natural Gas Leaks: Shut It All Down' in large black letters.

'It is unconscionable that these regulators are putting people at risk while giving companies a pass,' said Kelsey Baker, from Occupy San Francisco Environmental Justice and one of the two people currently occupying the ledge.

The dramatic protest was scheduled to coincide with the arrival of U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in southern California where he is scheduled to tour the Aliso Canyon facility later on Tuesday. Since the leak began in October, an estimated 96,000 metric tons of methane have escaped into the atmosphere, leaving many area residents sick and forcing thousands from their homes.

Even though SoCalGas has now claimed it has stopped the leak at the Aliso Canyon site, one of a dozen such facilities in the states, the demonstrators say the fact that this particular operation had not faced a major inspection since 1976 proves just how sparsely regulated the gas industry is by the state.

'While plugging the leak at Aliso Canyon has been a good step, today we are demanding that the PUC shut down all gas storage facilities,' said Christy Tennery-Spalding from Diablo Rising Tide, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Rising Tide North America. "Until they do,' she said, "we are occupying the PUC.'"

Environmental Action reported, March 25, 2015, " The Rubber Stamp Rebellion is starting," "Yesterday Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox, Megan Holleran and five others were arrested in the driveway of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 1 They came in peace - in fact they were waiting for FERC staff and commissioners to join them for pancakes topped with the last drops of maple syrup from Holleran's family farm in New Milford, Pa. But instead of coming to meet them, FERC stayed locked inside, away from the public view and avoiding a conversation about how their rubber stamped permit approved clear-cutting of a wide swath of maple trees at the Holleran farm." "We're proud to support Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) and help support the "Rubber Stamp Rebellion" planned for this May," aiming to end fracking, telling FERC not to issue any more permits to frack. For more information visit:

Bill McKibben od wrote, May 3, 2016,

"Dear Friends,

Late last week, I got the interesting news that right wing operatives from the fossil fuel industry are mounting an impressive campaign against me (as well as a handful of other high-profile climate activists).

Apparently I'll now have video trackers following me wherever I go; hired researchers are digging through fifty cartons of my papers at the university where they're housed; and they'll be running a six-figure digital advertising campaign to smear my reputation.

I have three takeaways from this:

It's not me they're after, it's you. I've been writing and speaking for the better part of forty years, and never attracted this kind of notice before. But you've built a movement that's starting to inflict real pain on the industry: Just in the last couple weeks, the Constitution and NED pipelines were both blocked in the northeast; ditto the Tongue River coal train in Montana; over sixty students have been arrested occupying the offices of universities to call for fossil fuel divestment; and on and on.

No need to waste sympathy on me. It's not fun being in their crosshairs -- and I don't look forward to see how they twist my words -- but it's not the end of the world. Right now, we should be keeping in mind the people who are taking real risks every day to take a stand -- people like Berta Céceres, who was murdered for her activism two months ago in Honduras, or the farmers in the Philippines recently killed in a brutal police crackdown at a protest, or the thousands of people around the world who will be risking arrest as part of the Break Free mobilization these next couple weeks.

Above all, let's not be distracted. That's their goal -- to get folks thinking about absolutely anything except the climate crisis, the greatest challenge humans have ever faced. February and March were record-hot months in the history of our planet, but May is going to be a record-hot political month for the fossil fuel industry.

Look, what we're learning is this: When we fight, we win. It's working. They're fighting back. Let's not back down.

If you haven't already signed up to be part of one of the Break Free actions around the country, you can do that here.

And if you can't make it to an action in person, sign up to help keep tabs on what's going on around the world -- so that we can turn all this watching around, and help keep each other safe.

With great thanks for the solidarity near and far."

For more information go to:

Food and Water Watch reported, April 30, 2016, " The March for a Clean Energy Revolution is shaping up to be a historic event &endash; thousands will come together for the largest march to ban fracking that our country has ever seen!

On July 24, people from different communities and backgrounds will converge on Philadelphia to demand a clean energy future for ALL of us." For information go to:;jsessionid=AE111C4E85A40DC90A31621DBEFE8AEF.app30112b?idb=751542432&df_id=4685&mfc_pref=T&4685.donation=form1&autologin=true&idb=0.

In the United States, from Florida to the Northwest, battles over fracking for oil and natural gas between energy companies and local people and their environmentalist allies are continuing. Greenpeace, on April 28, 2016,, shouted out: " Fossil fuel extraction has transformed the Western landscape and is affecting communities from Montana to New Mexico to Colorado. Yet oil and gas companies are trying to get their hands on 200 million acres of public lands in the U.S. for more fracking. If they get their way, the consequences will be devastating.

Across the Rocky Mountain West, communities have been showing up in a real and powerful way at lease sales where our public land is being auctioned off by the federal government to the highest bidder for oil and gas development. These communities are organizing, fighting back, and demanding that fossil fuels be kept in the ground.

Denver is at the epicenter of the next battle, and we are prepared to raise our voices and escalate to protect our communities and our future. It's time for the Mountain West to rise up and stop fracking once and for all. In order to do that, we need you!

Join a Community Resistance on May 12 and tell the BLM: Keep it in the Ground, Our Land is Not For Sale! The event is in Denver, but folks will be coming from all parts of the Mountain West.

What: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intends to auction off thousands of acres of public land to oil and gas companies. But Mountain West communities will be there to protect our land and tell them to keep it in the ground!

When: Thursday, May 12 at 1:00 p.m.

Where: Holiday Inn Denver Lakewood, 7390 West Hampden Ave., Lakewood, CO 80227.

Join us May 12 for one of the largest mass mobilizations for climate action in the history of Colorado. Folks will be joining from all across the region!

Scientists estimate that in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change &endash; floods, droughts, devastating hurricanes &endash; we need to keep over 80% of the U.S.'s remaining oil, gas, and coal in the ground. We can't afford to continue policies that put frackers' profits over people's health and our environment &endash; that's why we're standing up and resisting in order to break free from fossil fuels.

Together, we can be a powerful voice for the just transition to a 100% clean energy economy."

Nika Knight, " Scientists Say Canada's Proposed LNG Port Threatens Paris Climate Accord, "Common Dreams, May 30, 2016,, reported, " Ninety climate change experts from around the world urged Canadian government officials to 'take urgent action' and reject a proposed, 'unjustified' liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminal to be built on the British Columbia coast, joining with fierce local Indigenous opposition to the controversial project.

'The carbon emissions of the proposed PNW LNG terminal and associated upstream natural gas development would be 'high in magnitude, continuous, irreversible and global in extent.'"

In an open letter (pdf) dated Thursday, the scientists warned 'that the B.C. project would belch out emissions rivaling a large plant in Alberta's oil sands,' the Globe and Mail reported Monday.

The export terminal, known as the Pacific Northwest LNG (PNW LNG) project, "poses serious risks' to the Canada's climate change commitments&endash;particularly those made at last year's Paris accord, the scientists argue:

The challenges to BC and Canada's efforts to reduce GHG emissions will be exacerbated because of two issues: 1) the international agreement on climate change reached in Paris will require Canada to increase its ambition to reduce GHG emissions over time (and this requirement is embedded within the Vancouver Declaration signed by the Prime Minister and the premiers on March 3); and 2) the methane emissions from upstream gas included in the draft Environmental Assessment report likely underestimate the true contribution of emissions from the project.

Point by point, the letter writers critique proponents' arguments in favor of the PNW LNG project. The experts note that:

GHG emissions from the project are likely underestimated.

There is inadequate climate policy to reduce impacts for the project.

There is no evidence that LNG from the project will replace coal in Asia.

On this last point, the scientists also note that 'LNG will also likely displace nuclear power, renewables, and natural gas from other sources in many importing countries. There are many locations where LNG consumption would be additional to coal consumption, instead of replacing it. Importantly, GHG emissions from fracking, transport, liquefaction, and regasification significantly reduce LNG's GHG benefits over coal.'

Moreover, the letter continues:

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has found that the carbon emissions of the proposed PNW LNG terminal and associated upstream natural gas development would be 'high in magnitude, continuous, irreversible and global in extent.' Their research finds the project will emit at least 11.5 million tons of CO2 per year, not including downstream emissions when the gas is burned in Asia.

Finally, the scientists put forth an argument seemingly applicable to many fossil fuel projects being debated in North America today:

'Honoring the commitment Canada made in Paris to limit global warming to well below 2.0 degrees above pre-industrial levels will require a massive effort to reduce emissions,' the letter concludes. 'We must begin by rejecting plans that would increase GHG emissions and lock us in fossil fuel extraction for decades to come.'"

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service, in late March 2016, "launched a new campaign to put an end to the myth of 'clean nuclear power;" "the #NuclearIsDirty campaign with a series of online and social media events over 12 weeks. During that time, we will take you through the entire nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining all the way to the impossible problems of radioactive waste and contamination. We are not only going to put on a series of powerful and exciting events, we are combining it with actions you can take and new online (and offline) resources to supplement the campaign. Our goals are simple: on the one hand to equip you with information and an opportunity to hear from communities and activists on the frontlines. And on the other hand, to spread the word and change the public's consciousness about nuclear power, so that everyone knows nuclear power is dirty energy, and has no place in our energy future." For details go to:

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Aril 23, 2016,, reported, "Help stop A Global Mobile Chernobyl!, " A group of politicians and businesspeople are developing a plan to build an international high-level nuclear waste dump in South Australia--a nation that has no commercial nuclear reactors. The plan is strongly opposed by many South Australians and by an overwhelming majority of Aboriginal people, who own the land. The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, representing Aboriginal people from across Australia, calls on nuclear nations NOT to dump nuclear waste in Australia. The nuclear industry has a track record of Aboriginal dispossession and environmental pollution--from atomic bomb tests to uranium mining to nuclear waste dump proposals. NIRS is supporting our friends in Australia."

Terrance Heath, " A Nation of Flints," Campaign for America's Future, February 11, 2015, reporting and commenting relating to the serious led poisoning of the public water in Flint, MI, said, " Flint's water crisis is no isolated event. Lead poisoning is a pervasive problem in our inner cities, where some children have higher levels of lead contamination than those in Flint. In Washington, D.C.'s historically low-income Stadium-Armory neighborhood ds of other developed countries. In Baltimore, the percentage of black households with lead contamination has increased, while the percentage of white households has decreased. Eighteen cities in Pennsylvania and 11 in New Jersey have higher shares of children with elevated levels of lead than Flint."

Laura Orlando, "Is Your Water Worse than Flint's?" In These Times, April 2016, also discusses the wide spread water quality problems around the U.S. as does Michael Wines and John Schwartz, "Holes in Safety Net Let Contaminants into Water in Cities Across Country," The New York Times, February 9, 2016.

"Food and Water Watch commented, May 24, 2016, " We Can't Let the Crisis in Flint Happen Again. Take Action to support the WATER Act and fix America's crumbling water systems. The crisis in Flint, Michigan shows the desperate state of our nation's water crisis.

Most of our water pipes were built after World War II and some are over 100 years old &endash; as old as Ford's first Model T car. We aren't investing nearly enough to make sure safe, clean water flows from our taps. Without adequate upgrades, our water systems are set up to fail. It shouldn't take poisoning kids in Flint to wake us up to this water crisis. That's why Food & Water Watch is joining Representative Conyers from Michigan as he introduces the WATER Act today &endash; a bill to finally fund our water infrastructure, replace lead pipes and fix our national water crisis"

"The federal government has sharply decreased funding for public water systems &endash; by 82% per capita since 1977, traded away in funding cuts and budget negotiations. EPA estimates that our public drinking water and sewer systems need at least $35 billion a year in investment to comply with key federal environmental laws.

The WATER Act - Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability &endash; will provide dedicated funding by closing corporate tax loopholes to keep our water and sewer systems up to date and protect our drinking water. It will:

Support publicly owned and managed water and sewer systems (which on average are more reliable and cost-effective than privately managed systems) so that no community has to sacrifice their clean water and their residents' health to budget shortfalls.

Provide grants to help homeowners replace lead pipes running to their homes, a costly but essential part of keeping everyone's water free of lead contamination.

Help public schools test, repair and replace water lead infrastructure.

In the process of making all these improvements, create up to 945,000 jobs.

Multinational water corporations want to use national attention to capitalize on the crisis and pass weak legislation that would ultimately benefit big corporations more than local communities trying to provide safe drinking water."

"If we don't fix our aging drinking water systems now, more communities will be in danger &endash; and Flint's crisis shows just how much is at stake. We can't let this happen again."

Union of Concerned Scientists, "This Is Our Chance to Prevent Another Chemical Disaster," April 16, 2016,;jsessionid=966A32531E2FD8130B6697DB21340D16.app338a?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=5202&autologin=true, commented, " Three years ago, 15 lives were lost in a horrific fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Hundreds of others were injured and an entire community was destroyed. Yet there has been little movement to improve protections from chemical disasters&endash;until now.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finally revising its Risk Management Plan, a set of protections to help communities and first responders prevent and handle chemical disasters. These revisions are a step in the right direction&endash;but they're not strong enough. The problems include loopholes for many high-risk facilities (including the kind that exploded in West) in reporting accidents and pursuing safer technologies; lack of community access to information about the risks; and an overly narrow definition for what constitutes "dangerous" exposures.

As you read this, 12,500 facilities are using highly hazardous chemicals throughout the country. That means more than 134 million people are living in areas vulnerable to chemical disasters. If the final rule is not strengthened, these families face the dangers of potential chemical disasters without the information and tools needed to be safe.

This is our chance. The EPA is currently welcoming feedback from the public to guide its next steps. Sign our petition urging the EPA to strengthen its Risk Management Plan to protect vulnerable communities from chemical disasters.

Join thousands of others in adding your name to our petition, which we'll deliver directly to the EPA&endash;and help prioritize lives over corporate profit.

For more information, read our blog post on avoiding chemical disasters and managing risk, and check out Coming Clean's report, Who's in Danger?: Race, Poverty, and Chemical Disasters ,"

350.Org reported April 5, 2016,, "Anti-Coal Protest in Bangladesh Turns Deadly," "Resisting a coal plant can be a deadly action in Bangladesh. Yesterday in Banskhali (in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh) more than 1000 people marched against the building of a 1224 MW coal plant defying a police order banning any marches and rallies in the area. Around 3:00 pm when people were mobilizing peacefully, the police fired live rounds on them killing three people on the spot. Panicked villagers ran for their lives leaving the three dead bodies behind. But they say eight people have been shot dead and two more are missing. Two Chinese firms are backing the coal project &endash; SEPCOIII Electric Power and HTG &endash; who are financing $1.75 billion of the plants' estimated $2.4 billion cost.

The proposed plant is located in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh.

Resistance against the coal plant in Banskhali has been building up over the past week. People have been regularly marching despite threats from company goons and police. To protect the company's interest the police had banned any assembly or marches in the area. Incidents of violence had followed, but what happened today is unprecedented.

Resistance against fossil fuel based projects has been growing in Bangladesh. In Banskhali, the people have been resisting the S.Alam group's coal plant for two years. The coal plant will be built on fertile farmland and doesn't even spare mosques and temples in the area. The villagers say without farmland they won't have any work. In 2012-13, a sustained movement forced the government to pull back from open-pit mining in Phulbari. In spite of violence and threats, the movement against a coal plant in Sundarbans is continuing.

An investor or company, state-run or otherwise, should realize that it is unacceptable to be involved with this kind of brutality anywhere in the world."

" Royal Dutch Shell Spills Over 88,000 Gallons of Crude Oil in the Gulf of Mexico: Spills Occurs as Gulf Coast Citizens Prepare to Speak Out Against Offshore Drilling in Washington DC," Indigenous Environmental Network, May 13, 2016,, reported and commented, " Royal Dutch Shell Spills Over 88,000 Gallons of Crude Oil in the Gulf of Mexico

Spills Occurs as Gulf Coast Citizens Prepare to Speak Out Against Offshore Drilling in Washington DC.

New Orleans, LA - On Thursday, an 88,200 gallon oil spill was discovered in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, forcing Royal Dutch Shell to shut in all wells that flow to its Brutus platform.

An oil sheen 2 miles wide and 13 miles long, 2100 barrels equal to 90,000 gallons (or at least that's what being reported), from a Shell owned leaky pipeline, 2900 feet below the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said an oil sheen 2 miles wide by 13 miles long was visible in the sea about 97 miles off the Louisiana coast. The spill occurred 2900 feet below sea level.

This Sunday, thousands will mobilize in Washington, DC as a part of the ' Break Free From Fossil Fuels ' movement happening across the globe, demanding the Obama Administration to protect the waters of the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico from new fossil fuel developments and offshore drilling.

Representatives from Gulf Coast and Alaska communities will be speaking at the rally in front of the White House on Sunday. Click here for more info about the rally:

In response to the news of the spill, the Indigenous Environmental Network released the following statements:

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network Executive Director:

'Yet again the Gulf Coast experiences an oil spill, meanwhile the White House administration continues to lease federal public lands for more fossil fuel development. This does not demonstrate the leadership needed to addressing climate change. This is business-as-usual with frontline communities of the Gulf Coast paying the price; Mother Earth is paying the price. We implore the President of the United States to listen to the thousands of people who will be in Washington, DC this Sunday demanding the protection of our sacred waters and a moratorium on new offshore drilling.'

Monique Verdin, Houma Nation Council member-elect, Louisiana:

'Multinational corporations continue to drill off our coast, while the federal government is putting more offshore lands onto the auction block than ever before. This is absurd. The only way to ensure we protect the water and sanctity of life in and along the Gulf Coast is to put an end to extreme fossil fuel development. Oil and gas infrastructure, from pipelines to wells to refineries, are gambling with the health of our environment and the wellness of our communities along the coast. We need immediate action to facilitate just transitions and the ability to ensure we keep carbon in the ground for our communities across the Gulf and for communities around the planet.'

Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of REDOIL, Alaska:

'n Alaska, we are relieved that Shell Oil has decided not to pursue drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas of the Arctic Ocean. We fought hard to keep Shell Oil out of the Arctic. As such, we in Alaska stand in solidarity with Gulf Coast communities who are still fighting Big Oil in their waters. Our hearts go out to the communities' dependent on the marine environment for job and food security, because we know first hand the devastation caused by oil development. When will America realize that it is time to transition our energy and economy beyond dirty fossil fuels to clean energy? It is time for President Obama to declare no new leases in the Arctic AND the Gulf Coast.'

-- NOTE: On May 24th, Monique Verdin, will travel to the Shell Annual General Meeting, in the Netherlands, supported by the UK Tar Sands Network to call on the board and investors to put an end to new offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico in light of this recent spill and the history of devastation in the Gulf."

Earth Justice, "Take ACTION! Ban 7 dangerous neurotoxic pesticides that are poisoning our brains ," February 11, 2016,;jsessionid=0723EAD897442266CA9F41D72C46BDC2.app337b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1838&utm_source=crm&utm_content=ResponsiveSidebarTakeActionButton&autologin=true, was engaged ion a campaign, " Earthjustice and a broad coalition of partners have been fighting for years to convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban an entire class of poisonous neurotoxic pesticides. The pesticides, called organophosphates, have been scientifically proven to poison farm workers and others who come into contact with them in communities near agricultural fields.

But recently the dangers of these seven neurotoxic pesticides have been shown to be even more alarming. An extensive body of newer scientific evidence shows that even at minimal levels of exposure they damage children's brains and lead to such alarming deficits as reduced IQ, autism and attention disorders.

The EPA is currently seeking public comment on these findings. Before the February 23 deadline, tell the agency to ban the seven neurotoxic pesticides that have been linked to brain damage.

After multiple Earthjustice lawsuits in recent years, and letters from more than 150,000 individuals like you, the EPA has finally started the process to ban most uses of one of these dangerous pesticides, called chlorpyrifos. But it's time for the agency to ban this entire class of neurotoxic pesticides and keep them out of our food, our drinking water, our schools and yards, and our bodies.

We can't let these pesticides continue to poison people."

Friends of the Earth was participating in the Spring 2016 Keep the Hives Alive Tour, saying, "Bayer the Bee-Slayer will stop at nothing to protect its profits from bee-killing pesticides. It recently ran a "bee care tour," driving around the country to promote "solutions" to the bee crisis -- solutions that don't require it to stop selling its pesticides.

This spring, beekeepers and activists like you are giving Bayer a taste of its own medicine. We're driving from California to Washington, DC with a truckload of dead bees in order to send the message: This is what Bayer's toxic products do to our pollinators. Together, we can break through the spin and push the EPA to take action!"

For more information go to:

Environment America plans a major campaign to save Bees for summer 2016, with 29 field offices across the U.S., numerous events, and hopes of reaching 800,000 people to support action to save the bees. For details visit:

The National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, in April 2016,, was engaged in a campaign, " Europe's demand for "renewable" energy from the United States is reducing flying squirrel habitat.

Thousands of acres of native forests in the U.S. Southeast are being clear-cut to produce "renewable" wood pellets for shipment to Europe. The result? Flying squirrels that glide among trees have no place to live.

The European Commission requires that 20% of all member states' energy needs comes from renewable energy sources. While this is a commendable policy to meet climate goals, a problematic provision is allowing American bottomland hardwood forests to be cut down, pelletized and shipped to Europe to meet Europe's renewable energy standard .

Please tell the European Commission to stop the destruction of flying squirrel forest habitat to provide "renewable" energy needs.

In our native forests, the older trees with cavities provide safe refuge for flying squirrels to roost and nest. At night, the squirrels glide from tree to tree by launching from the highest branches and extending their legs to stretch out folds of skin that act like a parachute. Clear cutting of native forests is harmful for the wildlife living in these ecosystems.

Fortunately, the EU is reevaluating its policy. Join us in speaking out to defend our forests that are hotspots of biological diversity. Tell the Commission to protect the flying squirrel: no harvesting America's bottomland hardwood forests for wood pellets as a source of energy!"

Physicians for Social Responsibility reported on several issues, May 24, 2016,, " PSR Calls for Ban on Fracking:  PSR's national board of directors voted on May 14 to call for a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The newly adopted position cites the extensive leaks of methane, a powerful accelerator of climate change, as a significant cause for concern. It also acknowledges that a transition is needed to end fracking and calls on the gas and oil industries to shoulder responsibility for, among other things, water testing, public disclosure on chemicals used, and the costs of managing health-threatening practices. The position replaces PSR's earlier position calling for a moratorium.

N ew Methane Standards: A Good First Step: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the first nationwide standards curbing dangerous methane pollution from proposed, not yet constructed, sources in the oil and natural gas industry. The rule is an important first step in minimizing leaks of methane, a powerful driver of climate change, and hazardous air pollutants, which are damaging to human health. Thousands of PSR members submitted comments to EPA calling on them to strengthen the new standards. Now we continue to advocate so that similar safeguards are extended to existing wells and infrastructure.

Gates Foundation Sells Fossil Fuel Stocks: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is divesting its fossil fuel stocks &endash; and PSR helped make it happen! Last fall, PSR circulated an open letter calling on the Foundation to divest from fossil fuels. PSR members from across the nation signed on, and in November, PSR/Washington delivered those signatures to the Gates headquarters in Seattle. The Foundation has now sold off its $187 million holdings in the oil giant BP, and earlier sold off $824 million in ExxonMobil stock. Now, it just needs to divest the rest! Read about our divestment actions:

"Anti-Frackers Vow Fierce Resistance as UK Goes Back 'Up for Shale': North Yorkshire council's 'appalling' decision comes just days after UK celebrated five years 'frack-free'," Common Dreams , May 24, 2016,, reported, " Furious environmental campaigners vowed to fight back on Tuesday after councilors in North Yorkshire approved the UK's first fracking permit in five years.

The North Yorkshire County Council on Monday approved Third Energy's application to frack the fields near the North York Moors National Park&endash;just days after people across the country celebrated five years of being 'frack-free.'

According to The Independent, 'the application was passed despite the presence of hundreds of protestors, who gathered outside County Hall in Northallerton throughout the hearing which began on Friday.'

In fact, a council planning officer said there had been 4,375 letters of objection and 36 of support for the application.

'It is just appalling that despite the strength of public opposition to this application it has been pushed through by councilors, who are being told what to do by a government that is determined to support the fracking industry,' declared Ian Conlan from local campaign group Frack Free Ryedale. 'What faith can local people have in democracy if the members of the planning committee can just completely ignore both the strength of local opinion and the sound planning grounds that objectors have raised? It is a sham.'

Furthermore, said Green MEP Keith Taylor, '" Councils in North Yorkshire will now find it more difficult to reject future fracking applications. This could result in hundreds of wells across Ryedale and the industrialization of North Yorkshire's precious countryside. The decision is also likely to send the message that Britain is 'up for shale' to other local authorities in England and the wider fracking industry.'

Indeed, he added, the announcement. will also be welcomed by a government so determined to fast-track this dangerous industry that it is prepared to overrule authorities that wish to remain frack-free.'"

Nika Knight,  " As Kinder Morgan Decision Looms, Trudeau's New Pipeline Panel Denounced as 'Smokescreen': First Nations reject new Kinder Morgan pipeline review panel, call for 'nation-to-nation' consultation," Common Dreams , "May 18, 2016,, reported, " In a move widely seen as an attempt to quell resistance to the expansion of British Columbia's controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced a new three-member ministerial review panel&endash;with no veto power &endash;that is meant to supplement the National Energy Board's (NEB) much-maligned analysis of the project.

The panel is intended as a fulfillment of Trudeau's Liberal party's campaign promises to expand environmental reviews of upcoming pipeline projects&endash;but critics decried the effort as nothing more than a 'smokescreen.'

The NEB will release its recommendation as to whether the pipeline expansion is "in the public interest" on Friday. 'If approved, the twin lines would carry nearly 900,000 barrels of crude a day starting in 2018,' notes CBC.

The new three-person review team, titled the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project panel, will conduct an additional environmental review and consult with affected First Nations and local communities from June until November.

But critics note that the pipeline review process has still not fulfilled the Canadian law's requirements that the federal government honor its 'duty to consult' affected First Nations and that 'free, prior, and informed consent' be in place for projects on First Nations' traditional territory&endash;and the new panel, with no power to override the NEB's decision on the pipeline, will do little to ease such concerns.

In anticipation of the NEB decision, kayaktivists in Vancouver blocked an oil tanker from entering the harbor on Wednesday afternoon.

The proposed pipeline expansion will increase tanker traffic in the region from about 70 per year to 400, as Common Dreams reported.

For many environmentalists and First Nations, the announcement was further evidence that Trudeau is reversing campaign promises and turning his time in office into nothing more than a continuation of Harper's pro-pipeline tenure.

'New Democrat Kennedy Stewart, the MP for Burnaby South, which is ground-zero for Trans Mountain protests," reported the Globe and Mail, "said the Liberals are breaking an election promise to 'redo the Kinder Morgan pipeline review.'"

Stewart condemned the panel review as "little more than a smokescreen."

The review process has been 'flawed from the start,' said Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative manager Rueben George to the North Shore News. The Tseil-Waututh First Nation has opposed the project and the NEB's review process for years. George told the newspaper that /Trudeau knows the public doesn't trust the NEB decision.'

We know it's bad but it's hard to unscramble a scrambled egg," George said.

The North Shore News reported on some of the local contentiousness surrounding NEB's approval process and the Tsleil-Waututh's opposition to it:

In 2014, the Tsleil-Waututh filed a lawsuit against the National Energy Board, the federal government and Trans Mountain that argued they had not been properly consulted.

The newly elected federal government asked for a stay in that case in January in order to meet with the Tsleil-Waututh and re-evaluate whether it would continue the court battle. Since then, there were only cursory meetings and the federal government opted to maintain its position in the case.

I wouldn't call them meetings because our chief wasn't there. It wasn't the proper consultation,' George said, noting the band did not get the opportunity to present its own assessment of the project and its risks.

Occupy announced, April 20, 2016,, "Tonight the gulf coast raises its voice: A message from filmmaker and Occupy supporter Mark Manning," Today marks the 6th anniversary of the BP oil spill, a day that will forever live in the memories of gulf coast residents. And tonight, Occupy activists and local residents gather to remember and to defend our community health. We'll be live-streaming a Community Town Hall event so that people all over the country, and the world, can see that the work isn't over &endash; and ask questions to local folks and experts alike."

"Water Walkers: Indigenous Women Walk 250-Mile Length of Minnesota River," ICTMN, April 1, 2016,, reported, "Led by Ojibwe elder and veteran Water Walker Sharon Day, a group of indigenous women and other supporters are on the last stretch of a week-long, 250-mile Water Walk along the MNiSota (Minnesota) River, which they began at Big Stone Lake in Ortonville, Minnesota on Friday March 25.

They plan to arrive at Pike Island in Fort Snelling State Park in Minneapolis on April 1 at 4 p.m., where the Minnesota River empties into the Mississippi. Before setting out, they gathered water at the lake and will hold ceremonies as they pour the sacred elixir into the Mississippi River. It's an effort to both call attention to river contamination and 'honor the water as a living being,' the organizers said in a statement."

"The Walks are extended ceremonies for the water led by Indigenous Peoples," said Day, who has led a number of Water Walks along the Mississippi, Ohio, St. Louis, Cuyahoga and James rivers. "We believe the water has a spirit and is a living entity that we, humans, have been gifted with to love and cherish."

" Recent improvements in pollution levels have not been enough to take the river out of danger, as evidenced by a do-not-swim advisory issued last summer, when authorities advised the public against swimming in any of the lakes or rivers in southwestern Minnesota. This led Day to choose the MNiSota River to walk along this time, the organizers said."

Ocean River Institute was running a campaign, in February 2016, " Healthier Waters in FL Indian River Lagoon ,", stated, " In Indian River Lagoon on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, dolphins were dying from diseases stressed by harmful algal blooms. In 2011, at the urging of Captain Nan Beaver and Rob Moir, Martin County passed a lawn care ordinance that banned fertilizing lawns June 1 through September 30 th.

The fertilizing industry was not pleased. It took much organizing and the work of many groups throughout the state. In August of 2014 the last of five counties of Indian River Lagoon passed responsible stewardship lawn care ordinances, and the waters showed some signs of improvement.

Palm Beach County touches on Indian River Lagoon to the north. They have yet to pass an ordinance stopping summer lawn fertilizing. The Port Salerno Seafood Festival gave the Ocean River Institute a booth where in January we invited people to act for clean water by urging the last IRL county and the city of Jupiter Island (Martin County) to clean up their lawncare practices.

It is no surprise the wealthiest county and municipality in the region would be reluctant to alter care of their lawns for the common good of cleaner waterways. Today , the proof is in the adjacent lawns of Martin County; they are just as green as are the lawns of Palm Beach County. Yet Martin County residents are paying ¾ the costs, spreading three times a year instead of four. If beach front landowners don't want slimy algae fouling their beaches, they should not pay for unnecessary spreading of nitrogen and phosphorous on their lawns during the summer months when daylight is longest and waters warmest - give our waterways a break.

Greenpeace stated, May 3, 2016,;jsessionid=80AB4495657CC2F1935956E2B1566212.app360b?df_id=4442&4442.donation=form1&autologin=true, 100 million sharks are killed EVERY YEAR by commercial fishing operations.

That's almost 200 sharks killed every minute of every day. It's beyond time to act, which is why we're putting pressure on one of the biggest offenders: industrial tuna fleets.

These ocean destroyers needlessly kill millions of sharks and wreak havoc on fish populations with their giant nets and longlines. And if that wasn't bad enough, the industry has also been connected to human rights abuse. It's time to escalate our campaign to stop devastating tuna fishing, but we can't do it without your help."

Friends of Earth Action, in a campaign, warned of, May 28, 2016,, "The situation is dire. Beekeepers lost nearly half of their hives last year -- even more than the year before. Meanwhile, Ace Hardware is spreading propaganda about how it's "helping" bees -- while continuing to sell bee-killing pesticides!"

"Help for Imperiled Albatross and Petrels," Audubon Society," February, 2016,, commented, "Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) introduced the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act, a vital new bill that seeks to strengthen global efforts to protect these endangered and legendary birds.

Albatross and petrels are some of the most imperiled birds on the planet. More than half of these species are now threatened with extinction. These birds face numerous threats as they navigate across oceans and raise their chicks on isolated islands. One of the most significant threats is from bycatch in longline fisheries. An estimated 100,000 albatross die every year, or one every five minutes, after becoming hooked on the lines and drowning. Additional threats include invasive species, such as rats and insects, on nesting islands and the growing problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Fifteen years ago, many nations came together to establish the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), in order to expand international cooperation to combat these threats. While this agreement has had the support of both President George W. Bush and President Obama, the U.S. has yet to sign on. This legislation enables the U.S. to join the agreement. The bill sets out the authorities necessary to conserve these species in this country, and adds the strong conservation voice of the U.S. to the international discussion.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA),;jsessionid=B8E3B3B86D307CE3F0563DC2883ED6ED.app338b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1635&autologin=true&AddInterest=1084, April 5, 2016, stated, "Bad news: One of our nation's most amazing desert landscapes is at risk. On Tuesday, the Obama Administration could have chosen to protect Mojave National Preserve. Instead, it approved a massive development to be the park's new neighbor.

Take action to let the administration know this is a dangerous decision!

In an extremely disappointing move, the administration approved the controversial Soda Mountain industrial solar project, widely considered by the government's own scientists to be harmful to wildlife, like the iconic desert bighorn sheep. This facility would be built less than a mile from Mojave National Preserve.

NPCA takes this threat to Mojave so seriously, that we featured it in our #ParksInPeril campaign of the nine most pressing national park protection issues in the country.

The administration decided to move forward with this poorly located project despite widespread opposition from the National Park Service, Interior Department advisors, scientists, environmental organizations, and local communities.

Environmental Action,, reported May 30, 2016. "When it comes to the rebellion against fossil fuels and fracked gas infrastructure, in particular, you need to do more than tune in -- you need to show up, speak out and get radical to make change. Fortunately that's exactly what we've been doing all week as part of the #RubberStampRebellion in Washington, D.C.

But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has not made it easy. FERC commissioners closed their regularly scheduled May 19 meeting to the public due to "security concerns," with less than a day's notice. 1 They then held their meeting with members of the press and "invited guests," -- including executives from the infamous SoCal Gas -- while inviting the rest of us to watch them via a televised webcast.

Polluters are invited in while the public is told to stay home and watch T.V.?! If you're as angry as I am at FERC right now, join the rebel alliance of pipeline fighters right now by: Pick up your phone and call FERC chair Norman Bay at 1-800-571-2435. Tell him that it's an outrage to ban the public FERC's meetings while inviting testimony from one of America's climate polluters - SoCal Gas. Chip in $5 or more right here to keep the calls free for everyone and support the #RubberStampRebellion against FERC."

Jessica Swarner, "Tribes, Grijalva Ask Obama for National Monument Status on 1.7 Million Grand Canyon Acres," April 29, 2016,, reported, " Tribal leaders joined Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, on Tuesday April 28 urging President Barack Obama to designate 1.7 million acres around the Grand Canyon as a national monument, bypassing Congress in the process.

Grijalva said he was calling on the president to invoke the Antiquities Act after becoming convinced that his bill to create the same monument would not get "a real, honest, rational hearing" from a Republican-led House."

" The proposed Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act would protect 1.7 million acres in the canyon's watershed, prohibiting mining and other natural resources development. It would make permanent a current 20-year moratorium on uranium mining that was imposed by the Interior Department."

"GE Trees and Indigenous Lands: Presentation at the Campaign to Stop GE Trees Tele-Press Conference, February 9, 2016," Indigenous Environmental Network,

&endash; Click here to access all presentations and materials:, commented, "Historically, U.S. Federal and State Governments, along with corporate/private interests, have targeted, lobbied, and used legislative processes to both coerce and convinced tribal officials to act against the best interests of their people by allowing extraction of fossil fuels and minerals from their lands.

Tactics used in the past to garner extraction agreements have included, but were not limited to: 1) making assurances that little or no negative impacts to the people and environment would be realized during or after their operations were concluded; 2) any damage done in the process of their operations would be rectified; 3) promising economic prosperity for the tribe as a government and individually for its citizens; and 4) limiting the ability for citizens to have a vote or say in the process. There are many examples of these promises and agreements that were not honored and caused great and irreversible harm.

Indigenous peoples are now facing continued and new forms of exploitation in the guise of renewable, sustainable and green development from genetically engineered trees for energy production. The other experts on this panel present the government, academic and private entities involved and others have presented the science-based reasons that the insertion and proliferation of GE trees into our natural world will further threaten both environmental and human health.

As Indigenous people, our opposition to these new threats are based on knowledge and adherence to Natural Law, which simply are comprehensive and unchangeable truths or principles inherent in the natural world that have allowed us to live and thrive for countless generations before the invasion of people who had long since destroyed their lands and sought to continue exploitation of ours.

Legislation and acts currently being considered and making their way through the government process, include language that, on the surface, would seem to give tribal governments more control over forest management and energy production on tribal trust lands. In reality, the language is purposely vague and leaves the door open for the continuation of exploitation of fossil fuel and mineral resources which now, if not stopped, will include using our lands for growing genetically engineered trees to fuel the new bioenergy and consumer pulp economy.

Specifically, the Native American Energy Act includes vaguely worded sections that may be used to, not only ensure tribal government acceptance of projects run by private corporations but also protect those corporations them from future liability or responsibility &endash; and transferring that liability to the tribes.

These have and are being presented under the guise of Indian self-determination, when in fact they are cleverly crafted mechanisms to lift barriers and fast-track the extreme energy and consumer economy by corporate and private interests.

There are also plans and funding currently available and being negotiated that are not specifically targeted to tribal nations, but may also be used to further promote biomass/bioenergy and GE trees, to include: The American Energy Innovation Act ; EPA's Clean Power Plan ; Forest Incentives Program Act of 2015 ; and the Department of Energy's Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program . These also have the potential to impact not only tribal trust lands but traditional territories and communities where these projects are being proposed and that directly threaten long established subsistence rights.

We reject the efforts by the biotech, agriculture, biofuel, and biomass industries, governments and their agencies, to com-modify trees for commercial use at the expense of the earth's delicate biodiversity and climate stability. They do not belong because they have been forcibly contaminated with genetic material from totally unrelated lifeforms which violates Natural Law and threatens the regenerative processes of our very diverse and complex ecosystems. The monopolization of land and water to grow GE trees to replace a fraction of the fossil fuels needed as energy demands increase, will only worsen human rights abuses and intensify global water, food, and the climate crises we face. These trees and their end use are just another way to com-modify nature and are a component of carbon trading and offsets that will further displace Indigenous and front-line and traditional"

The Environmental Defense Council (EDF), "A Tale of Two Wetlands," February 1, 2016,, commented, Today, on World Wetlands Day, we recognize America's wetlands as one of our most beautiful and precious natural resources.

They provide countless services on which wildlife, coastal communities, and the world at large depend. They protect us from storms, filter our drinking water, protect wildlife and even help sequester carbon.

But America's wetlands are in trouble. Read on to learn what problems they face&endash;and how your support as an EDF member is making a difference.


Long ago, the Colorado River flowed from the Rocky Mountains across Arizona to the Gulf of California in Mexico, supporting more than 2 million lush acres of wetlands, teeming with plant and animal life.

Today, signs of life are few, and the Colorado River withers up near the U.S.-Mexico border&endash;dams and diversions having taken every last drop it had to give.

For decades, people thought the Colorado River was simply 'broken,' and believed nothing could be done&endash;until we found a way.

On March 23, 2014, the gates at Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border were opened to release a temporary 'pulse flow' designed to mimic the kind of periodic floods that once naturally inundated the Colorado River Delta for eons.

Eight weeks later, near the end of the 'pulse flow,'" the Colorado River reached the Sea of Cortez for the first time in decades. Plants, animals, and birds have all benefitted from the pulse flow, which shocked the wetlands back to life.


Last year, 31 geographic locations were removed from an official map of Louisiana. They were swallowed by the sea, deprived by canals and levees of the sediment needed to replenish natural erosion.

Since the 1930s, an area twice the size of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. combined has disappeared.

But with your support, we're helping to restore Louisiana's coast. We helped Louisiana officials draft the 2012 Coastal Restoration Plan, which calls for diverting the Mississippi's overrun toward collapsing wetlands to rebuild land over time. Help is on the way for Louisiana's coastal communities."

Return to top

U.S. Activities

National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, spoke the State of Indian Nations Address at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., January 14 2016. Cladoosby spoke of the progress Indian nations have experienced during the Obama administration, calling this "a moment of progress and promise," with the passage of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2010 and the Tribal Law & Order Act of 2010, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, and amendment of leasing and right-of-way regulations in 2015. He stated, "we have not disappeared, and we are not victims. We have persevered. We are survivors and we are growing stronger every day. We are thriving 21st century governments, built on self-determination. Yes, our ancestors were central to America's early days. But we are also central to America's present &endash; and vital to its future."

He commented that moving well into the future will require a respectful partnership between the tribes and the federal government, more advances to be achieved in four areas: community security; economic equality; education, health and wellness; and climate change . Cladoosby called for reauthorization of the Tribal Law and Order Act, stating that Congress should fully fund important juvenile justice programs, efforts to collect accurate and relevant data, and preventative services for all families in Indian country. He asserted, " Tribes need full authority to protect them from harm caused by non-Indians on tribal lands. Across America, states and territories receive direct assistance from the Crime Victims Fund &endash; and its time that tribes do, too."

He said that economic equality for tribes requires creating a level playing field. "Tribes should be able to collect taxes without placing extra burdens on local businesses. We call on the Department of Interior to amend The Indian Trader regulations … eliminate dual taxation in Indian country … and empower tribes to invest in the infrastructure and services that make economic development possible. In addition, tribes must be able to issue tax-exempt bonds. They are an indispensable tool that every other modern government uses to seed private sector growth. Tribal governments must be treated the same as state and local governments on labor issues."

Cladoosby stated, " Education is a promise made in exchange for our land. We have more work to do, to ensure that tribal governments are directing the education of their youth &endash; especially on schools located on tribal lands." During the question and answer session after his address, Cladoosby talked about the high rate of teen suicide, and indeed all suicide, in tribal communities, saying that he believed it was due to historical trauma, coupled with drug and alcohol abuse. He said that education was central key to combatting both.

Concerning health care, he asked Congress to "permanently reauthorize the Special Diabetes Programs for Indians, so that tribal communities can continue to combat this disease," and for advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service.

He pointed out that global climate change "threatens not only food security … but all of humanity," Cladoosby said, adding " In Paris, tribal leaders were proud to take their rightful place among leaders of nations. They shared their scholarship and their indigenous knowledge, and helped the world reach a historic agreement. We ask for the establishment of a permanent Climate Adaptation Task Force, in collaboration with tribal leaders…. Native peoples stand ready to serve as experts and partners."

Congressperson Betty McCollum (D-MN) presented the Congressional response. She discussed the need to improve Bureau of Indian Education schools and urged members of Congress to accept Cladoosby's invitation to visit Indian country, citing the impact of President Obama's visit to the Crow Nation just before he was elected in 2008. She recommended strengthening relationships between American Indian women and their sisters in Congress, saying "When Native women lead, tribal nations succeed." The speech can be viewed at: ( Tanya H. Lee, "Progress and Promise in Indian Country: NCAI's 2016 State of Indian Nations Address, January 14, 2016,

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Brian Cladoosby commented, June 8, 2016, , on the new final Regulations the Department of the Interior released governing state court and agency child custody proceedings to insure uniform compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) (See the Hobbs-Straus Report on the regulations in Federal Agency Developments below), stated, "The new regulations will keep families together. Clear and consistent rules for child placement also will result in faster and more reliable placement decisions for all affected families, creating better outcomes for our children."

"NCAI Response to New Poll on R*skins Team Name," May 19, 2016,, " It is true some Native people do not find the word offensive. However, thousands of Native people across the country have voiced their opposition to the name and the historic, disparaging connotations it carries to this day. More than 100 Native American organizations representing tribal nations and peoples across the United States have spoken out in opposition to the use of the R*skins mascot of the Washington D.C. NFL team. The tribal nations comprising the National Congress of the American Indians have repeatedly passed resolutions against the R*skins name and image, as well as many individual tribal governments and organizations.

The Washington Post surveyed a small sample of Native American adults, anyone can create a poll on any issue. The survey doesn't recognize the psychological impacts these racist names and imagery have on American Indian and Alaska Natives. It is not respectful to who we are as Native people. This poll still doesn't make it right." - Jacqueline Pata, NCAI Executive Director"

"NCAI Applauds Alaska Governor's Tribal Advisory Council," May 76, 2016,, "Yesterday, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced the members of the Governor's Tribal Advisory Council. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) applauds Governor Walker and the advisory council, calling it a great example of tribal-state collaboration."

"NCAI and NPM Respond to FCC Commissioner Pai's Criticism of Enhanced Tribal Lifeline Support," March 30, 2016,, " In response to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai's proposal to limit enhanced tribal support under the Lifeline program, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and Native Public Media (NPM) believe the Commissioner's justification relies on an inaccurate understanding of tribal lands. Commissioner Pai's proposal to reform enhanced tribal Lifeline support will negatively impact the program's purpose of providing affordable phone services to low-income residents on tribal lands.

On March 29th, Commissioner Pai issued a Press Statement outlining his proposals to reform the Lifeline program. Currently, the program provides a monthly phone bill discount for low-income consumers and enhanced tribal support for residents of tribal lands. Commissioner Pai proposes to limit enhanced tribal support to counties with less than 50 people per square mile and proclaimed that Lifeline was, 'intended to support the construction of [telecommunications] facilities in Indian Country, but has instead encouraged abuse of the program in large cities (like Tulsa, Oklahoma and Reno, Nevada) and suburban communities (like Chandler, Arizona).'

NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Pata and NPM Board Chair Matthew Rantanen issued a joint response stating, 'We are supportive of sensible reforms to the Lifeline program to cut waste, fraud, and abuse. However, Commissioner Pai's understanding of enhanced tribal support disregards the program's purpose to provide affordable phone services for low-income residents on tribal lands. It is also important to note that areas like Chandler, AZ are not located within the legal boundaries of any tribal lands. These misinterpretations overshadow the needs of the over 40 percent of tribal lands lacking access to vital telecommunications services.'

NCAI and NPM assert that restricting enhanced tribal support to county level metrics&endash;instead of the legal and historical boundaries of tribal lands&endash;will further impede the build out and adoption of communications services in Indian Country. Additionally, Commissioner Pai's statements regarding Lifeline's purpose as an infrastructure program is greatly misguided as other programs regulated by the FCC are specifically designed to support infrastructure build out.

During the FCC's initial rulemaking last year to reform the Lifeline program, Oklahoma was targeted as the center of 'waste, fraud, and abuse' because most of the state was recognized as 'tribal land'. Since then, Commissioner Pai has specifically targeted the enhanced tribal support without recognizing the unique tenants of federal Indian law and the legal tribal lands status of Oklahoma and elsewhere. 'Commissioner Pai's remarks overall are unfair to Indian Country and its citizens who need these vital services for healthcare, emergencies, social services, and to provide contact information for job applications,' conclude Pata and Rantanen. The FCC is set to make a final ruling on proposals to finalize reforms to the Lifeline Program during its Open Meeting on March 31st."

"NCAI Supports Responsible, Informed Response to California ICWA Case", March 23, 2016,, " A number of media outlets recently reported on the placement of an American Indian child named Lexi with her relatives in Utah, instead of remaining in foster care in California. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) stands firmly with the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), who released a statement calling for an informed, balanced response to Lexi's case. NCAI encourages a better understanding of why Lexi and all children should be afforded placement with their families if possible.

Long considered a best practice in childcare, kinship placement creates stability while nurturing ties to the child's extended family and community. Under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), kinship-based placements must be considered as soon as it becomes clear that the eligible child will be removed from their home. There is nothing unusual about child placement with relatives after a stay in a foster home. The only unusual factor in this case is that the foster family in California used extended litigation to prevent placement of a Native child with her family.

Kinship child placement is the law in 45 states, and also under ICWA. Federal law under title IV-E of the Social Security Act also requires that states 'consider giving preference to an adult relative over a nonrelated caregiver when determining placement for a child...'"

NCAI works tirelessly with partners like NICWA to raise awareness of the benefits and legality of kinship placement for Native children, and encourages informed discussion around cases like Lexi'.

'Lexi should have gotten a stable, long-term kinship placement years ago.' said Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians. 'This is why laws like ICWA exist. Regardless of a child's Indian status, the goal of foster placement has always been to provide a safe and loving temporary home. It is regrettable that Lexi and her relatives have been dragged through a lengthy legal process, and NCAI extends its support to her family for their long-term stability and well-being'."

Lauren McCauley, "Ahead of Election, Native Americans Rise Up Against Repressive Voting Laws," Common Dreams , May 31, 2016,, reported, " Refusing to be silenced by restrictive new voting laws, Native Americans across the western U.S. are taking their fight to the courts, arguing that tribal communities have become even further disenfranchised by rules passed in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark voting rights ruling.

An in-depth report published by Reuters on Tuesday highlights revisions to a North Dakota law that 'eliminated a provision that had allowed people without proper vote if they were recognized by a poll worker or if they signed an affidavit swearing to their identity.'

In that state, which holds its Democratic primary on June 7, American Indian and Alaska Native peoples comprise the largest minority&endash;just over five percent compared to less than one percent of the national household population, according to the state census (pdf).

As many tribal IDs don't include addresses, nor can those living on impoverished reservations afford to pay for updated identification, these restrictions 'disproportionately burden Native American voters in North Dakota,' argues a lawsuit (pdf) filed in January by the nonprofit Native American Rights Fund (NARF).

'Maybe it's no big deal if you work, but it's a big deal to people that don't have access to $10,' said Richard McCloud, chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, which has a reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota.

NARF is expected to file a motion by June 30 requesting that the court invalidate the changes to the ID law ahead of November's election, Reuters reports, as the state's growing Native American population may have the ability to "tip the balance" in key races.

'The Native American vote is not big enough to flip a safe Republican state such as North Dakota into the Democrat column in this year's presidential election,' notes Reuters, 'but Native Americans are a growing proportion of the population and a majority in some counties where increased voter turnout in recent years has tipped the balance in some congressional races.'

Indeed, since the U.S. Supreme Court dismantled key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, native groups have flagged voting-related problems in 17 states via litigation or tribal diplomacy with local officials, according to a recent survey by Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN).

In the past three years, five federal lawsuits involving Native Americans have been filed, including three in 2016 alone, Reuters notes.

'It's a very bad trend,' Laughlin McDonald, special counsel and director emeritus of the Voting Rights Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, told ICTMN. 'There is an illusion that we have a society based on democracy, but it was founded on the aristocracy of the white male property owner. This is merely the continuance of a long history of limiting the right to vote, so this isn't new. Voter suppression has been the reality since the beginning.'

In Arizona, which also has a substantial Native American population, voters experienced egregious problems accessing polls during the March primary .

'Arizona was one of the states covered under the Voting Rights Act, and when it got gutted, that hurt people here a lot,' Katherine Yell, director of operations for the Democratic Party in Coconino County, which is about 27 percent American Indian, told the International Business Times. 'Arizona has what I like to call draconian voter ID laws. You have to register in advance at least a month before the election, you have to have a photo voter ID with your permanent address on it, which makes it tough for people who travel for work because there's not a lot of work on the reservations.'

As IBT reporter Abigail Abrams wrote at the time, 'While much of the national conversation has been focused on Southern states and laws affecting African-American and Hispanic voters, Native Americans in places like Arizona also are affected by policies that discourage them from voting, which have resulted in some of the lowest voter participation rates of any demographic group in the country.'

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders&endash;who, along with his wife Jane Sanders, have made a point of meeting with tribal leaders throughout the campaign&endash;has specifically promised to "stand with Native Americans to fight for Indian voting rights..

Pratt Wiley, head of voter protection issues at the Democratic Party, said that new voting rules are part of .a much broader, deliberate, and concerted effort by Republicans to reduce turnout among particular groups of voters on election day. adding that Native American voters 'are more vulnerable today than they were before the [Supreme Court ruling].'"

NAJA, "NAJA Calls for Ethical, Informed ICWA Reporting," ICTMN, March 25, 2016,, reported, " The Native American Journalists Association addresses deficient coverage of the child-welfare case involving Choctaw family; will create a guide for reporters covering the Indian Child Welfare Act ."

The American Association of Indian Affairs (AAIA), current mission "is to promote the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Natives by:

Promoting the health, education and welfare of children and youth;

Sustaining and perpetuating tribal languages and cultures;

Protecting tribal sovereignty, religions and natural resources;

Advocating for tribal constitutional, legal and human rights.

We do this through our various programs":

International Repatriation

The AAIA Repatriation Program has two components: (1) NAGPRA Compliance and (2) International Repatriation.

Indian Child Welfare

AAIA began its active involvement in Indian child welfare issues in 1967 and its research and advocacy directly led to the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. ICWA has provided vital protections to Indian children, families and tribes,

Juvenile Justice

Working closely with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, we have commenced a project to address the disparate treatment of Native Americans by the juvenile justice system and develop alternatives to incarceration for Native American youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

Scholarships & Summer Camps

AAIA is dedicated to supporting the education of Native American and Alaska Native people. We offer scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students from federally and non-federally recognized tribes.

We also support summer camps dedicated to education, language preservation and health. We offer this support in the form of small seed grants."

For more informatiomn visit:

Richard Walker, "Stop Disenrollment' Posts Get More Than 100K Views, ICTMN, February 29, 2016,, reported, " More than 140 photos posted on . More than 100 photos posted on Stop Disenrollment's Facebook page. More than 100,000 views.

That's the awareness #StopDisenrollment generated the first week since the campaign launched on February 8.

# StopDisenrollment is a crowdsource campaign opposed to the practice of disenrollment &endash; an indigenous nation's government stripping a member of citizenship.

According to the campaign , more than 80 federally recognized Native Nations in 17 states have disenrolled their kin. The campaign estimates that as many as 10,000 Indigenous Peoples have been disenrolled in the U.S.

Disenrollment strips an individual of tribal citizenship, making them ineligible for the rights and benefits of tribal citizenship and, in the eyes of the United States, makes the individual a non-Indian."

Kirk Johnson, "Paiute Indians Assert Legacy on Occupied Wildlife Refuge Land," The New York Times, January 6, 2016,, Reported, concerning the take over in Burns Oregon of an empty building on the National Wildlife Refuge by armed protestors wanting the western federal lands turned over to the local people, "Earlier in the day, the Burns Paiute Indian tribe added its voice to the debate, saying that the protesters, in demanding that the federal property at the refuge be returned to ranchers who once owned it, were ignorant of history. If anyone should get the property back, they said, it should be them. Their ancestors were roaming the still wild and empty reaches of what is now called the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge perhaps as long as 15,000 years ago."

The Guardians of the People at Navajo Nation, tired of Dinee government corruption, theft, and failure to listen to the people, has been working to change the laws of Navajo Nation to change the nation's laws to rewflect that all power to govern and authority originat from the Navajo people (Arlyssa Becenti, "Group wants peopel to have more contol of government," Navajo Times, June 9, 2016.

Return to top

International Activities

Steven Newcomb, "Face to Face with Pope Francis to Get the Inter Caetera Papal Bull Revoked," ICTMN, May 6, 2016,, reported, "On May 4, 1493 Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter Caetera papal bull which called for non-Christian nations to be reduced and subjugated ("barbare nationes deprimantur"). On May 4, 2013, 200 years after our great Shawnee leader Tecumseh fell in battle on October 5, 1813, Dr. Debra Harry (Paiute Nation), Sharon Venne (Cree Nation, Treaty Six) and I saw two velum parchment originals of the papal bull at the General Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain.

On May 4, 2016 I had the rare opportunity in St. Peter's Square to call on Pope Francis to formally revoke that document. Our 20-plus years of effort to have that papal decree revoked as a document representative of a series of such documents is not a move toward what is being erroneously called "reconciliation." It is a move toward decolonization and rectification. It is a move to end the domination language system that Pope Alexander VI directed at our non-Christian ancestors, our Original Free Nations, a language and legacy of devastation and oppression that is ongoing."

"UN urged to end mercury poisoning "crisis" in South America," Survival International, March 31, 2016,, reported, " Mercury poisoning is devastating tribal peoples across Amazonia, Survival International warned the UN today.

In a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur for Health , Survival International highlighted the failure of South American governments to address the contamination.

The unmonitored use of mercury, such as in illegal alluvial gold mining, often takes place on tribal peoples' lands. Discriminatory attitudes towards tribal peoples mean that little action is taken to control it.

In Peru, 80% of a Nahua community have tested positive for high levels of mercury poisoning. 63% of those affected are children. Symptoms include anemia and renal failure, and one child has already died displaying symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning.

The Peruvian government has known about the mercury contamination since 2014 but has done little to identify the source. It is possible that other tribal peoples in the area have been affected, including uncontacted peoples.

In Brazil, new statistics reveal alarming rates of mercury poisoning amongst the Yanomami and Yekuana . 90% of Indians in one community are severely affected.

Illegal gold miners operate on Yanomami land, polluting the rivers and forest with mercury. Uncontacted Yanomami are particularly in danger as many miners work near where they live.

Indigenous spokesman Reinaldo Rocha Yekuana said: "We are worried about the results of this research. This pollution affects plants, animals, and future generations."

The Brazilian authorities have known about the mercury contamination since at least the 1980s, yet have failed to put a permanent stop to the illegal gold mining. Little has also been done to treat the affected Indians.

In Venezuela , several tribes including the Yekuana, Yanomami, Piaroa, Hoti and Pemon are also being devastated. 92% of Yekuana women in one region have levels of contamination far exceeding accepted limits.

Survival's Director, Stephen Corry said: 'These governments are sitting on a ticking time bomb. Every week that they fail to act, more and more indigenous people are being harmed. When mercury poisoning is identified, the source must be halted immediately and those affected must be treated. The effects will be catastrophic if indigenous peoples' lands aren't protected.'"

"International Pressure to Approve Bill 4087 Continues in Guatemala," Survival International, March 19, 2016,, reported, " On March 13th to 15th, 2016, Edison Lanza, a journalist and lawyer from Uruguay and now the Organization of American States Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression visited Guatemala where he learned more information on the political situation regarding the legalization of community radio. He met with an ad hoc committee composed of five congress people, who were assigned to lead a 30-day technical study of the proposed telecommunications Bill 4087 before it moves to its third reading in Congress. Lanza explained to the committee the need to democratize media and the importance of approving Bill 4087 to recognize the third sector of media, the community media sector.

Edison Lanza in an interview with Plaza Publica, a national online newspaper, commented on how the Guatemalan state has the duty of creating legal mechanisms to guarantee rural communities access to radio frequencies and to go beyond what the market dictates and what large media oligopolies want.

Lanza spoke about how the radio spectrum is accessible to a very select few, leaving many sectors of society excluded. Frequencies are to be State property and they have been given away to commercial radio as they are the only ones that can afford to buy at the auctions. These auctions and other transactions sometimes are not as transparent as they should be. A diversity of voices from around the country have been excluded in the conversation, as commercial radio station dominates the whole sector. Civic and Indigenous voices need to be heard. This is why the Guatemalan State has been called to reform its laws by the Inter- American Human Rights Commission several times in the past decade.

The Indigenous community radio movement in Guatemala hope that the visit and explanation of Edison Lanza to the technical study committee of Bill 4087 will positively influence their decision at the end of April and they will support the bill. Indigenous community radio stations continue to press their district congress people to support Bill 4087."

"Notes From NALEB's 10th Gathering Of Guatemalan Indigenous Organization," Cultural Survival, December 23, 2015,, reported, "On December 15, 2015 Naleb, a well recognized Indigenous group, gathered over 30 Guatemalan Indigenous organizations for their 10th workshop in Antigua, Guatemala. The previous nine workshops have focused on drafting a document of demands and recommendations from Indigenous Peoples to their government in order to bring to light these ongoing issues to the newly elected president. This last gathering brought to the table the ambassadors of Spain and Canada to discuss their role in Guatemala. As well, as distinguished national leaders like Thelma Aldana, Attorney General of the Guatemalan Public Ministry and Congressman, Amilcar Pop, current president of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The gathering began with a traditional Mayan ceremony celebrating the day marked by the Mayan calendar as Jun Toj. The 10th gathering hosted over 50 participants representing approximately 30 Indigenous organizations. After the ceremony, words of appreciation and admiration were expressed by the ambassador of Spain, Alfonso Portabales, said "the Spanish embassy has been a huge supporter of the Indigenous movement in Guatemala and it will continue to support it in the upcoming year. We are proud of the work done by this organism and all its members. We wish for the best on all pending activities."

The ambassador of Canada also expressed her congratulations to the participants, 'the government of Canada is a proud supporter of the Guatemalan Indigenous movement and we have big plans for the upcoming year. I am myself an Indigenous woman and I know some of the issues affecting my community also are a priority to the communities here. I am here not only to congratulate but to reiterate our support for the incredible work being done by all of you.'

Guatemala's Attorney General, Thelma Aldana presented her work with the Public Ministry on issues pertaining to Indigenous community. Aldana expressed her gratitude and asked for the support to continue her work, she said " there is much left to be done in our country, I know there are many issues we should be following but we are doing our best to get to all of them. 2015 was an incredibly unstable year that left us with a lot of follow up work. I kindly ask for your comments both positive and constructive on issues affecting you and what I could be doing to improve or move forward these problems." The event began early morning and was concluded around 7:00pm that same day, a productive day that ended with new connections and goals for the upcoming year.

Cultural Survival staff was present and spoke about the importance of recognizing and eliminating the criminalization of Indigenous community radios. As a group there were also petitions to free the many political prisoners currently being held for acts such as protecting their land and environment. Naleb and its many members will continue to pursue agreements and recognition for the valuable work of Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala."

Global Exchange communicated, May 5, 2016, http://, Earlier this week Honduran authorities arrested four suspects in the murder of Berta Caceras [see International developments, below], the internationally recognized indigenous leader and co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), who was brutally murdered in her home on March 2nd.

While these arrests may be a possible step in the right direction, the recent attack and attempted murder of prominent journalist, Felix Molina , ally of Global Exchange's Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice, underlines continued dangers for truth tellers in Honduras.

Write Honduran authorities today to demand protection for Felix Molina and all independent journalists in Honduras.

Human rights defenders in Honduras are quick to point out that the attempt on Molina's life was not an isolated event but part of the systematic repression against journalists and activists that has sharply increased since the U.S.-backed military coup hurled the country into crisis. Since the 2009 coup, 50 journalists have been assassinated in Honduras."

"Brazilian Indians protest plan to "undo" land rights progress," Survival International, June 2, 2016,, reported, " Brazilian Indians are protesting against the country's political elite's threats to break up their lands and limit their rights.

As the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff moves forward, interim President Michel Temer and his newly appointed ministers are attempting to put a stop to the protection of indigenous lands.

President Rousseff has been criticized for mapping out fewer indigenous territories than any of her predecessors since the end of the military dictatorship. But Rousseff and her colleagues signed several land protection decrees in the weeks leading up to her suspension from office.

These included the land of the uncontacted Kawahiva , one of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet, following Survival's global campaign, one Guarani territory which had been stolen from the Indians leaving them in appalling conditions, and of the Avé Canoeiro, Arara , Mura and Munduruku tribes.

Brazil's interim Justice Minister, Alexandre de Moraes, has since announced a plan to revise the recent land decrees, provoking outrage nationwide.

Many of the ministers of the interim government are members of Brazil's anti-indigenous agribusiness lobby group which is trying to weaken indigenous land rights, including a move to change the constitution known as "PEC 215."

If implemented, PEC 215 could make future land demarcations almost impossible, reduce the size of existing territories and open them up to mining, oil and gas projects, roads, military bases, and other developments which could be fatal for indigenous peoples.

The interim Agriculture Minister, Blairo Maggi, is known as the 'Soybean King'. His family has made billions from the plundering of forests and indigenous land . He has spoken out against the recognition of indigenous territories and in favor of dams and other projects which violate indigenous rights.

Last month saw demonstrations and protests by over 1,000 indigenous people in the capital, Brasilia. In a strongly worded open letter to Michel Temer, APIB, the network of indigenous peoples in Brazil, said: 'We reject any attempts to roll back our achievements and we demand total respect for our fundamental rights enshrined in the federal constitution.'

Hundreds of thousands of Indians across the country depend on their land for their survival. The Brazilian constitution and international law guarantee the protection of their land for their exclusive use, but the laws are being violated, and some tribes are facing genocide.

Survival's 'Stop Brazil's Genocide' campaign, ahead of this summer's Rio Olympics, is calling on Brazil's government to stop these potentially fatal legal changes, and to implement the order to fully protect the land of the uncontacted Kawahiva Indians, to prevent their annihilation."

"Survival launches "Stop Brazil's Genocide" campaign in Olympic year," Survival International, April 19, 2016,, reported, " Survival International has launched a campaign to prevent the annihilation of tribal peoples in Brazil to coincide with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Today is Brazil's "Day of the Indian," highlighting indigenous causes and culture across the country.

Despite the political chaos currently engulfing Brazil, the campaign aims to bring attention to serious human rights issues and threats facing the country's indigenous people. These threats persist regardless of the political turmoil in the country.

The campaign, "Stop Brazil's Genocide," focuses on protecting uncontacted tribes of the Amazon such as the Kawahiva people ; ending violence and land theft directed against the Guarani Indians in southern Brazil; and stopping PEC 215 , a proposed constitutional amendment which would seriously undermine indigenous land rights and spell disaster for tribes nationwide.

For decades, Survival has campaigned on behalf of uncontacted tribes &endash; of which there are estimated to be more than 100 in Brazil. They are the most vulnerable societies on the planet. Peoples like the Kawahiva are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance.

In southern Brazil, ranchers have devastated the territory of the Guarani people, and nearly all of their land has been stolen. Guarani children starve and their leaders are being assassinated by ranchers' gunmen, one by one. Hundreds of Guarani men, women and children have committed suicide .

Finally, PEC 215 would, if implemented, give landowners the chance to block the recognition of new indigenous territories, and could enable them to break up existing ones. As tribes depend on land for their very survival, this would pose an existential threat to many peoples, fatally undermining their human rights.

Survival is arguing that collectively, these causes comprise a genocidal threat to tribal peoples in Brazil which must be stopped.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'Tribal peoples have been steadily annihilated across the Americas for centuries. That has to end. Instead of looking at tribes as inconvenient obstacles to "progress," Brazil must recognize that they are an intrinsic part of its modern nation, and deserve to have their land rights protected so they can survive and thrive. Political crisis or not, these are crucial issues which must be taken seriously. All eyes are on Brazil as it prepares to host the Olympics, and it's up to Brazilians to make sure history looks back at their generation favorably.'"

"Olympics: Tribal man raises indigenous cause as torch reaches Brazil," Survival International, May 4, 2016,, reported, " A tribal man who is one of the first torchbearers in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics has spoken to the global media about the threats facing indigenous people across Brazil.

Kamukaiké Lappa, from the Yawalapíti tribe in the Xingu region, carried the torch at the national Memorial to Indigenous Peoples in Brasília on the day it arrived in Brazil. He is known within his community for his involvement in Huka Huka wrestling, an indigenous sport popular with Xingu tribes.

In an interview on Monday (May 2) Kamukaiké said: "The Olympic games are democracy, they help to promote and celebrate peace."

Many indigenous leaders are hoping that tribal involvement in the torch ceremony will help to bring attention to the threats facing their societies. This includes PEC 215 , a change to the country's constitution which, if implemented, could give landowners the chance to block the recognition of new indigenous territories, and enable them to break up existing ones.

Indigenous spokesman Toya Manchineri said: "PEC 215 means the extinction of indigenous peoples. Peace is land. Land is our mother, our supermarket and our investment bank. So we won't allow PEC to move forward."

He also called for greater support for FUNAI , the Brazilian indigenous affairs department. FUNAI works to protect uncontacted tribal peoples and to enforce the boundaries of indigenous territories, such as that recently created for the Kawahiva after an international campaign led by Survival International.

Last month, Survival launched an Olympic year campaign , "Stop Brazil's Genocide," highlighting the threats posed to tribal peoples in Brazil.

As well as PEC 215, the campaign also focuses on the Guarani, whose land is being violently stolen in southern Brazil; and the threats to uncontacted tribes, the most vulnerable peoples on the planet, who are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance.

Although the games will take place against the backdrop of other political problems in Brazil, Survival anticipates further indigenous protests before and during the Rio Olympics."

"Olympics: Tribal leader in Europe to expose 'darker side of Brazil,'" Survival International, May 25, 2016,, reported, " Tonico Benites, a leader of Brazil's Guarani tribe, has traveled to Europe to draw attention to the 'darker side of Brazil', ahead of this summer's Rio Olympics.

He said: 'The situation indigenous peoples face is being hidden and silenced. Brazil is making out that it treats its indigenous peoples well but people interested in the Olympics need to know that there is a lot of injustice and violence against indigenous peoples, and our lands are being stolen… It's a great moment for us to show people the darker side of Brazil.'

The Guarani's lands have been stolen and occupied by ranches and sugarcane and soya plantations, leaving them living on roadsides and in overcrowded reserves where they suffer malnutrition, disease, and the highest suicide rate in the world. They are frequently and systematically attacked by the ranchers' gunmen and their leaders are being assassinated one by one.

Tonico &endash; spokesman, anthropologist and coordinator of the Guarani Aty Guasu Association &endash; is at the forefront of the Guarani's campaign to return to their ancestral lands. He has received death threats and has been harassed by gunmen many times.

Tonico's journey, supported by Front Line Defenders and Survival International, took him to Ireland, to the European Parliament in Brussels, and to London where he told his story to The Guardian newspaper and others, answered questions for an audience of thousands on the website Reddit, spoke to school students and protested against Brazil's attack on its first peoples.

The Guarani fear that interim President Michel Temer and his anti-indigenous allies of Brazil's agricultural business lobby group will drastically weaken their rights, and worsen their already critical humanitarian crisis.

Congress is debating 'PEC 215', a plan to change the constitution which would give anti-Indian landowners the chance to block the recognition of new indigenous territories &endash; and might even enable them to break up existing ones. This would be a disaster for tribes around the country, who depend on their land for their survival.

Following a recent visit to the Guarani, the United Nations expert on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, expressed great concern about the current political chaos in Brazil and the danger it poses to the country's Indians.

As Tonico brought his people's story to Europe, Guarani leader Eliseu Lopes spoke out at the UN in New York, and other Guarani leaders are protesting in Brasília, calling for their lands to be returned once and for all.

Survival's global Olympics campaign is pushing Brazil to stop PEC 215, and to protect the land of the uncontacted Kawahiva, one of the most threatened peoples on the planet.

"'First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon' &endash; Survival responds to new documentary," Survival International, February 24, 2016,, reported, "A documentary broadcast in the UK yesterday, entitled First contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon, examined the situation of a group of formerly uncontacted Brazilian Indians known as the  Sapanawa, who made contact in 2014.

As one of the group explained, they were fleeing from a series of massacres in which many members of their families had been killed. The perpetrators remain unidentified.

Illegal loggers and drug smugglers have operated with impunity in the region for decades, especially on the Peruvian side of the border . The authorities have consistently failed to protect the many indigenous peoples who live in this area from these invaders, and this is the principal reason why some of these once-uncontacted Indians are now coming into contact with outsiders.

Stephen Corry, Survival International's Director, said today: 'We're glad that this program has highlighted the violence and atrocities that are still being committed against uncontacted tribes, but much of the program was pretty dismaying.

To describe uncontacted tribes as 'people that time forgot' who 'show us what we once were' is dangerous nonsense. It implies that such peoples are less 'evolved' than 'us', and is just the kind of prejudice used by those who want to steal their land and resources.

The film-makers also described uncontacted Indians as living in an 'almost constant state of terror.' This is very far from the judgment of most people who have lived with tribal communities, and far removed from how once-uncontacted tribes themselves talk about their lives in the forest. An Awé man from Brazil's northeastern Amazon , for example, said: 'When I lived in the forest, I had a good life. Now, if I meet one of the uncontacted… I'll say, 'Don't leave… there's nothing in the outside for you.'

'Overwhelmingly, it is the invasion of uncontacted tribes' land, physical attacks and dangerous epidemics that are causing some of them to live on the run. And it's only when these threats are removed , by proper enforcement of the law, that their lives and futures can be secured.'

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Survival's global campaign is pushing governments to protect their land, as the only means to prevent their genocide."

"Survival reports Italian corporation to OECD over dam disaster," Survival International, March 14, 2016,, reported, " Survival International has reported Italian engineering giant Salini to the OECD ( Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ) over its construction of a controversial dam which is set to destroy the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The dam has cut off the Omo river's regular flooding, which 100,000 people rely on to water their crops and livestock and a further 100,000 depend on indirectly. According to experts , this could also spell the end for Lake Turkana &endash; the world's largest desert lake &endash; and disaster for the 300,000 tribespeople living along its shores.

Salini did not seek the consent of local people before building the dam, but claimed that an "artificial flood release" would compensate them for their losses. However, this promised flood never came and thousands of people now face starvation .

The region is one of the most important sites in early human evolution, and an area of exceptional biodiversity, with two World Heritage Sites and five national parks. The head of Kenya's conservation agency said last week that the dam is unleashing 'one of the worst environmental disasters you can imagine.'

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'Salini has ignored crucial evidence, made false promises and ridden roughshod over the rights of hundreds of thousands of people. Thousands are now facing starvation because Italy's largest contractor, and one of its best known companies, didn't think human rights were worth its time. The real consequences of the Ethiopian government's devastating policies for its country's 'development,'" which are shamefully supported by western aid agencies like the UK's DFID and USAID, are plain for all to see. Stealing people's land and causing massive environmental destruction is not "progress," it is a death sentence for tribal peoples.'"

"Celebrities join international call to boycott Botswana tourism," Survival International, June 7, 2016,, reported, " A host of big names are supporting Survival International's global campaign for the Bushmen in the 50th anniversary year of Botswana's independence.

These include actors Dominic West, Gillian Anderson, Joanna Lumley, Sophie Okonedo and Mark Rylance, as well as musician and photographer Julian Lennon and illustrator Sir Quentin Blake.

They join Survival's campaign to secure the right of the Bushmen to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, established fifty-five years ago to protect the Bushmen's rights and ancestral home.

In protest at the Botswana government's ongoing mistreatment of the Kalahari Bushmen, Survival is urging the authorities to allow all Bushmen access to their land.

Speaking at the time of the evictions, Tlhalefang Galetshipe, a Bushman, said: 'We said that we didn't want to abandon our culture here and go elsewhere. This is our ancestral land, why should we leave it and go elsewhere? If we agreed to relocation, would the government provide us with our natural resources and with our culture and heritage, which we have here?'

The Bushmen won the right to return to the reserve in a landmark 2006 court ruling . Despite this, the government continues to enforce a permit system limiting the number of Bushmen who are allowed to live in or visit the reserve. The permit scheme has been compared to apartheid-era pass-laws by veteran anti-apartheid activist Michael Dingake .

The government's response to the 2006 court ruling has been widely criticized, including recently in a US state department report.

Outside the reserve, most of the Bushmen live in resettlement camps, where disease is rife and the provision of vital services, including healthcare, is completely inadequate.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, is appealing to the Botswana government to respect its own high court's decision and recognize the Bushmen's human rights in the country's fiftieth anniversary year.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'For decades now the Botswana government has dragged its heels and refused to acknowledge that the Bushmen have rights that need to be respected. In this historic year, that surely has to change. The country's own high court has ruled in favor of the Bushmen's right to their land, and to continue to limit access to the Kalahari to its first peoples is a sign of brutal authoritarianism in a country so often praised as a beacon of African democracy. Botswana needs to properly earn that reputation by ending this appalling mistreatment of its tribal peoples.'"

Return to top


  • There are currently no refbacks.