Nine arrested while hundreds rally in day of action to stop extreme energy transport in the Northeast
****Trans* and/or Women's Action Camp (TWAC) release below***
****Photos available upon request****
Champlain Valley - Hundreds of people participated today in a coordinated series of actions across the Champlain valley -- including a blockade and lake flotilla -- demanding an end to extreme energy extraction and transport. Rallying behind the slogan “Not by truck, not by rail, not by pipeline,” participants denounced industry attempts to turn the Champlain valley into an energy corridor for fracked gas, oil, and tar sands which are driving climate change.
In Addison County, Vermont, over forty organizers with TWAC (Trans* and/or Women's Action Camp) blocked trucks carrying fracked gas from making deliveries at the International Paper mill, resulting in five arrests. In Ticonderoga, New York, over 150 people participated in a symbolic oil train blockade and flotilla highlighting threats to the lake posed by the trains.  In Williston, Vermont, thirty people stopped construction on the Vermont fracked gas pipeline -- which is on life-support in the face of public opposition and regulatory uncertainty -- with four people arrested. 
The events are part of a week of over 75 actions across North America marking the second anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic oil-by-rail disaster, which killed 47 people when a train full of fracked oil exploded and leveled the small Quebec town. 
“It doesn’t matter how it’s being transported -- fossil fuel extraction needs to stop,” said Meaghan LaSala, an organizer with SEEDs for Justice and the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action. “From extraction to combustion, low-income people, women, Indigenous communities, and communities of color are hit first and worst by extreme energy and global climate change.
Organizers also took action to stop the transport of fracked gas through the valley.
Since 2012, community members and climate justice organizers have led a grassroots campaign against Vermont Gas’s Addison Natural Gas Project (ANGP), a multi-phase expansion project which would have brought gas under Lake Champlain to the International Paper (IP) mill in Ticonderoga, NY. The campaign was successful earlier this year in forcing IP to withdraw from the project, which effectively cancelled the second phase and threw the first phase of the pipeline into regulatory review and uncertainty. Meanwhile, IP has contracted with NG Advantage to bring the same fracked gas from Vermont to Ticonderoga by truck.
Martha Waterman was one of four arrested after locking to construction equipment on Phase 1 of the fracked gas pipeline Tuesday. She said, “I’m locking down today to defend my community from a future of fossil fuel use and climate chaos. And I’m also here to put an end to the destruction of lives and wild places. The time is now to prevent runaway climate change.”
At the Crown Point bridge between Vermont and New York, over forty TWAC organizers stopped a truck carrying compressed fracked gas (CNG) from crossing and delivering to the IP mill. One organizer locked to the rear bumper of the rig, while others dropped a banner off the bridge, reading “Not by truck, rail, or pipeline.” Five people have been so far arrested.
TWAC organizer Molly Stuart of Burlington, VT said, "We're saying no to using the Champlain Valley as an energy corridor. The transportation of fossil fuels is volatile and dangerous whether it's by pipeline, train, or truck. Extreme energy extraction is destructive in all stages, and we are taking action to denounce the ongoing colonization of First Nations territory in so-called Alberta, and the continued and ever-expanding reliance on fossil fuels."
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Meaghan LaSala, Seeds for Justice/Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, 973.862.7105
Emma McCumber, TWAC (Trans* and/or Women's Action Camp), 914.338.4488
Will Bennington, Rising Tide Vermont: 802.734.9642
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- TWAC, Trans* and/or Women's Action Camp is a group of activists and organizers who identify as women, transgender, and/or genderqueer. TWAC actively combats patriarchy, which is inextricably tied to other systems of oppression and the destruction of the natural world.
- Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/stop-oil-trains-week-of-action-2015
- “Tar Sands at our Doorstep” report by National Wildlife Federation: http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Water/2015/TarSands-at-our-doorstep_HighRes.pdf
- “Advocates [describe an] unprecedented rise in domestic violence, sexual assaults and sex trafficking in their communities since hydraulic fracturing or fracking technology brought about the oil boom of 2008 in the Bakken formation. They said there has been a doubling and tripling number of sexual assaults, domestic violence and sex trafficking incidents in North Dakota since 2008.” More: http://bit.ly/1H5w7Bh
For Immediate Release
TWAC ACTIVISTS BLOCKADE FRACKED GAS TRUCK, HANG BANNER
ADDISON, VT - Today activists from TWAC (Trans* and/or Women's Action Camp) and Earth First!, blockaded a shipment of fracked gas en route to the International Paper mill in Addison County, VT and hung a banner proclaiming "Not by Truck, Pipe or Rail" off the Crown Point bridge.  They called for an end to the extreme energy extraction, distribution, and consumption that fuels social and ecological violence, which impacts people of color, indigenous peoples, trans* people and/or women, and low-income people the most.
About 40 people participated in the action, which blocked an NG Advantage truck for several hours. NG Advantage, owned in part by Texas oilman and billionaire T. Boone Pickens, began shipping fracked gas to International Paper last year after it became increasingly clear that the fracked gas pipeline underneath Lake Champlain was unlikely to be completed.
Damien Gabriel was arrested after they locked themself to the truck transporting fracked gas, delaying the shipment for several hours. "I took action today in solidarity with communities on the frontlines of gas extraction and the climate crisis" Gabriel said. "NG Advantage and Vermont Gas benefit from the exploitation and destruction of indigenous lands. I cannot stand by and let the transport of fracked gas go unnoticed while so many land bases and communities are being destroyed in the name of fossil fuel expansion and profit." Four other activists supporting the action were also arrested.
Communities on the front-lines of extraction across the continent are fighting back, including the Lubicon Lake Cree First Nation in so-called Alberta, which has been been working to halt fracking and other extraction on their traditional territory.  Other residents of the region have also been documenting the impacts of fracking, including groundwater contamination. 
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, which is a form of extreme energy extraction in which a toxic cocktail of dangerous chemicals, water, and sand are pumped with a great degree of force into shale rock in order to release oil and gas. Fracking poisons groundwater and causes earthquakes.
“Because Vermont banned fracking and stopped the pipeline under the lake, many people think we aren’t supporting the process at all,” said Claire Horner-Richardson of Plainfield, VT, “However, we are exporting the worst impacts of extraction to communities in Alberta and fracked gas from Alberta is being trucked through this community by NG Advantage, threatening the health, safety, and ecology of our region”.
For the past three years, Vermont Gas and International Paper have been mired in a battle with residents opposing plans to build a fracked gas pipeline through the Champlain Valley and underneath Lake Champlain. Meanwhile, rail shipments of fracked oil along Lake Champlain have increased, and other proposed mega-energy projects loom on the horizon.
"We're saying no to using the Champlain Valley as an energy corridor. The transportation of fossil fuels is volatile and dangerous whether it's by pipeline, train, or truck." said Molly Stuart of Burlington, VT. We are taking action to denounce the ongoing colonization of first nations territories in so-called Alberta and the extreme energy extraction happening there which is destructive in all stages”.
While TWAC activists blocked the fracked-gas shipment, hundreds of people participated in a other actions across the Champlain Valley, including a flotilla across Lake Champlain, a blockade of an oil train, and a rally. The events are part of a week of over 75 actions across North America marking the second anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic oil-by-rail disaster, which killed 47 people when a train full of fracked oil exploded and levelled the small Quebec town. 
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Emma McCumber, TWAC (Trans* and/or women’s action camp) 914.338.4488
Notes to Editors:
1. TWAC is a group of activists who identify as Trans*, Transgender, Genderqueer, and Gender non-conforming as well as anyone who identifies as a woman regardless of whether they were assigned female at birth.