Tuesday, August 13 -- "Stopping Montana Coal Exports and the Climate Crisis" — Panel / Community Dialogue in Helena

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Francis Kromkowski

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Aug 12, 2013, 8:57:48 PM8/12/13
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Aug 10, 2013  Panel/Community Dialogue  -- "Stopping Montana Coal Exports and the Climate Crisis"

                                                                                                                   



 

On Tuesday, August 13th, at 7:00pm in  Helena at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church ( 512 Logan Street), the Helena Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ), the  Blue Skies Campaign and the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC)  will host a panel on the threat of Montana coal exports and how Montanans can engage in protecting our state from becoming a coal resource colony

 

Coal industry proposals to expand mining in Montana and ship millions of tons of coal annually to China represent one of the largest new fossil fuel expansion projects in North America, and pose threats to Montana agriculture, the health of our communities, and the global climate.  Montana state officials are poised to make important decisions about whether coal mine-for-export projects move forward, possibly as early as this fall. 

 

On August 13th, panelists will discuss opportunities for citizens to help stop coal export proposals in their tracks.

 

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/491911064234803/  and https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPAJ

 

Members of the audience will hear from and have a chance to ask questions of the following panelists:

 

Anne Hedges:  program director and lead lobbyist for the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC , https://www.facebook.com/MTEIC).  Based in Helena, MEIC is one of Montana’s most important environmental advocacy groups, seeking to protect and restore Montana’s natural environment and the health of our communities.  Founded in 1973, MEIC now has over 5,000 members and supporters across the state.

 

Dr. Georgia Milan, MDMissoula physician, Dr. Milan  recently received a nationally recognized Champion of Change award from the White House for her work to raise awareness about the health effects of climate change.  In her work to educate the public about the health impacts of carbon and other pollutants from coal fired power plants, Dr. Milan has travelled across Montana, speaking to groups around the state.  Earth Justice named Dr. Milan a  2013 Clean Air Ambassador: http://earthjustice.org/50states/2013/georgia-milanClean Air Ambassadors from every state are sending a powerful message: Everyone has a right to breathe clean, healthy air. It’s time Congress and the EPA used their ears to help our lungs… Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment..”

 

Nick Engelfried:  an organizer for the Missoula-based Blue Skies Campaign, which works to protect Montana communities from the impacts of coal mining, transport, and export.  Blue Skies is committed to using peaceful and creative tactics to engage the public in stopping coal exports, and last year coordinated the largest climate-related nonviolent civil disobedience in Montana history, http://coalexportaction.org/.   

 

Nick Engelfried of the Blue Skies Campaign explained why the panel’s topic is important:

 

Coal industry proposals to expand mining in Montana and ship millions of tons of coal annually to China represent one of the largest new fossil fuel expansion projects in North America, and pose threats to Montana agriculture, the health of our communities, and the global climate.  Montana state officials are poised to make important decisions about whether coal mine-for-export projects move forward, possibly as early as this fall.   On August 13th, panelists will discuss opportunities for citizens to help stop coal export proposals in their tracks.”

 

Event details:

 

What: Panel on Stopping Montana Coal Exports and the Climate Crisis

 

When: Tuesday, August 13th, 7:00pm

 

Where: Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall, 512 Logan Street, Helena.

 

Why: Learn about upcoming opportunities to stop Montana coal exports, and protect our state from becoming a coal resource colony!

 

The Helena Service for Peace and Justice 406-443-0843

E-mail address: Helena...@gmail.com

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPAJ

 

For additional information about Coal Exports from Montana, visit the Facebook pages/websites  of the Montana Environmental Information Center  (https://www.facebook.com/MTEIC and http://www.meic.org ), the Blue Skies Campaign (https://www.facebook.com/blueskiesmissoula), and Coal Export Action (https://www.facebook.com/coalexportaction and http://coalexportaction.org/)

 





The Helena Service for Peace and Justice -- a Local Affiliate of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, http://forusa.org/groups/affiliate-groups/helena-service-for-peace-justice

We, the people of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice, are a community of persons committed to working nonviolently for peace, justice and ecological responsibility.

Because we are people with hope, we have organized ourselves as a grassroots community of peace and justice workers.

Our hope is grounded in the truth that peace, justice and nonviolent living are possible.

Our actions flow from our belief that real peace is the fruit of social and economic justice, democratic empowerment of people and ecological responsibility…

… from the October 4, 1990 SERPAJ Statement of Purpose

 

406-443-0843

E-mail address: Helena...@gmail.com

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPAJ

 




 

 

From: Coal Export Action
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:00 AM
To: Frank
Subject: A Message from Author-Activist Rick Bass

 

Help us build a movement to stop coal exports

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View it in your browser.

 

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Dear Coal Export Action Community,

The message below is from author-activist Rick Bass - who was arrested during last year's sit-in at the Montana Capitol, and who read about civil disobedience in the climate movement at a Blue Skies event last month.  

I hope you will consider acting on Rick's invitation to join this September's Showdown Against Coal Exports, where we will once again bring direct action to Montana's capital city to push for a rejection of Arch Coal's Otter Creek Mine.  - Nick E., Coal Export Action  

A Message from Rick Bass

Once every few generations, civil rights and social justice issues that have long been buried, tamped down, emerge; the pressure of the injustice below becomes greater than the overburden that has previously been suppressing that wrong. Such is the case now with the United States’ relationship to dirty coal and global warming. A moral decision is upon us, one which we will either engage or ignore.
 
In Montana, we find ourselves gatekeepers to nothing less than the future of the world’s weather. We did not ask for this responsibility but we have been tasked with it, by virtue of our amazing good fortune to be residents of this incredible state.
 
Previous efforts at traditional dialogue—meetings, phone calls, e-mails—do not appear to have moved the Montana Land Board toward making the correct decision regarding the proposed Otter Creek dirty coal mine—coal so dirty that only China will burn it, and which we are only too happy for China to burn—and the issue and looming consequences are too dire to gamble on any tack other than giving our all. Montana is the gate through which the entire world’s climate future passes. We must do everything we can to guard that gate and make wise choices—not just for ourselves, but for others who are unable to participate in this defense...
 
The folks at Blue Skies are asking for your calm, dignified, peaceful resistance, via the time-honored American tradition of civil disobedience. Being arrested is essentially a necessary communication skill, at this point. The Land Board is not hearing—or not understanding—and it is therefore necessary to try a different form of communication.
 
...Blue Skies volunteers will help walk you through this incredibly noble and empowering experience, one that is helping change the dialogue and discussion on whether Montana will be the leader in converting the world to a coal-based economy, or the moral leader in preventing that planned conversion, of which the proposed Otter Creek sale is the first critical piece in an insidious and complicated and world-devastating business plan.
 
Please sign up to resist calmly, with great civility and pride. In addition to feeling good about doing your best to protect what you love and believe in, you won’t believe how much fun it is, too. It’s a great way to spend a few hours. Thank you.

Rick Bass 
Montana Author

Read the longer piece from which this message is excerpted
 here.  And please don't forget to sign up to join us in September!
 

 

Image removed by sender. http://coalexportaction.us4.list-manage.com/track/open.php?u=573d9cd2b41e4e849f9c7b5b2&id=0ef9250f6b&e=1f82566d0cAnnouncing: September’s Showdown Against Coal Exports http://coalexportaction.org/

 

Posted on July 1, 2013 by Coal Export Action Admin

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Last summer, 23 people were arrested protesting coal exports at the Montana State Capitol, in the largest act of climate and energy-related civil disobedience in Montana history.  That action was a big step toward the kind of powerful, people-driven movement we need to stop the world’s biggest coal companies from turning Montana into an energy resource colony.  But at Coal Export Action, we’ve always known this fight would be a long one – and lately we’ve been hearing from more and more people asking, “When will it be time to put our bodies on the line again?”

Today, we’re excited to announce the next big phase in our effort to harness the power of peaceful, disciplined, nonviolent civil disobedience.  This year we’re again inviting those concerned about Montana coal exports to use direct action to take our movement to the next level.  And, yes, it will once again involve ordinary people risking arrest.  Here’s the plan:

At 12:00pm on Sunday, September 15th, people from across Montana will converge in Helena for another large-scale direct action, designed to reclaim our state’s lines of commerce from the coal export industry.  The action will include a family-friendly rally at Hill Park that all are invited to – and a nonviolent direct action for those who are ready for civil disobedience.  Then, on Monday morning, we’ll go to the State Capitol building and bring our message straight to members of the State Land Board.

Those of us participating in Sunday’s direct action will risk arrest for trespass, as with dignity and discipline we drive home the seriousness of our message.  It isn’t lightly that we ask you to seriously consider taking this step.  The truth is, though, that there’s far too much at stake for us not to take every peaceful step to stop Montana coal exports.  Peaceful, disciplined civil disobedience is the best way we know to convey the seriousness of the situation, and show our willingness to do what it takes to stop the coal export disaster.

The fact is, communities in Montana and elsewhere are already suffering from the effects of coal exports.  Uncovered trains carrying coal to the existing export terminals in Canada are polluting rail line communities with toxic coal dust and diesel fumes.  In Eastern Montana, existing coal mine operations have depleted aquifers and threaten agriculture where farmers and ranchers have lived off the land for generations.  These local side effects of coal mining and transport endanger people’s health and livelihoods, and would be reason enough to be deeply concerned about coal exports.

Just weeks ago, Montana and much of the rest of the West was engulfed by a record-setting heat wave of the type scientists say we can expect to see more of with climate change.  In the last few years, warming global temperatures have led to worse droughts and longer fire seasons in Montana, combined with reduced snow pack and decreased precipitation.  These kinds of climate-related disasters threaten people’s lives, livelihoods, and entire sectors of our economy.

Unfortunately, rather than responding to climate change and the human health impacts of coal, Montana decision makers are bent on leasing even more land to the coal industry.  The State of Montana, in the guise of the new Bullock administration, is now reviewing Arch Coal’s plan to mine Eastern Montana’s Otter Creek tracts.  The Otter Creek Mine is meant to feed proposed new coal export terminals on the coasts of Washington and Oregon, which are also going through the permitting stages.

The final decision on Otter Creek – which, if built, would be one of the largest coal mines in North America – will be made by Montana’s State Land Board, possibly as soon as this fall.  While we remain hopeful that the mine can be stopped, our frank assessment is that if the vote came today, the Land Board would approve Arch’s permit.

That’s where you come in.  To change the politics of coal leasing in Montana, we need an outpouring of citizen activism.  And while civil disobedience isn’t the only tool at our disposal, it’s certainly one of the most important.  We’re hoping this year’s direct action will prove to be even more powerful than last year’s sit-in at the Capitol.  Combined with other efforts to put pressure on state decision makers, we hope it will be enough to stop Arch Coal from getting its permit to mine Otter Creek.

We don’t have much time to spare.  If you’re ready to join us this September, please let us know.

Sincerely,

The Coal Export Action Team

 

HELENA SERVICE FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

Helena SERPAJ

Founded October 4, 1990.

Statement of Purpose.

https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPAJ

 

We, the people of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice, are a community of persons committed to working nonviolently for peace, justice and ecological responsibility.

 

Because we are people with hope, we have organized ourselves as a grassroots community of peace and justice workers.  Our hope is grounded in the truth that peace, justice and nonviolent living are possible.

 

Our actions flow from our belief that real peace is the fruit of social and economic justice, democratic empowerment of people and ecological responsibility.

 

We come together out of love for each other, for our children, for our sisters and brothers all across the earth, and for our planet and its precious variety of living beings.  Therefore, out of love for our country, for justice and for democratic values, we commit ourselves to community service for changes that will build democratic structures which will help to put an end to the use of war and repression as methods of resolving human conflict.

 

Reclaiming our right and ability to live nonviolently as individuals, we reclaim our right to work democratically and nonviolently to create a society that lives nonviolently as well.  We commit ourselves to actions to bring about peace, justice and creative change in our individual hearts and lives, in our communities, in the system and in the world.

 

Our work as members of Helena SERPAJ is urgent.  The current system in our country and abroad is still fundamentally characterized by involvement in wars and preparation for wars, by foreign policies of our nation and others that override democratic values and processes, and by massive social and economic and ecological injustice.  This situation is not an accident.  It is the logical outcome of a way of life that must be understood and then changed by the service of persons who love justice, democratic processes and ecological stewardship if peace is ever to be achieved.

 

Helena SERPAJ members are people committed to realizing a vision of a new and just world order which includes:

 

    R A new U.S. foreign policy that is compassionate, democratically-controlled, noninterventionist and based on a respect for human rights, economic justice and international law.

 

    R A new foreign policy in which relations between nations are based on reconciliation, generosity and respect for international law rather than on geopolitical greed and threats of military intervention.

 

    R A new U.S. domestic policy that is economically and socially just and converts unnecessary military, nuclear and other weapons facilities and industries into ones which meet peaceful, civilian, human needs and promote ecological stewardship.

 

As a democratically-controlled membership organization and grassroots community, all our projects and policies are determined and shaped by the members of the Helena Service for Peace and Justice. Valuing the contributions of each and every individual SERPAJ member, we work to empower each member of our community for the sustained, nonviolent, democratic action needed to achieve our goals of peace with justice and democracy and love of the earth.

 

More about Helena SERPAJ:

 

Helena SERPAJ is a member of the Montana Peace Seekers (MPS) Network (http://www.montanapeaceseekers.org, founded in October 2001 as a coalition of 12 local peace and justice organizations in Montana) -- and Helena SERPAJ maintains working relations with many human right, economic justice, social justice and peace organizations.

 

Helena SERPAJ is named to honor "SERPAJ" (Servicio Paz y Justicia, http://www.serpaj.org/) groups all across Latin America (but Helena SERPAJ is not formally affiliated with the SERPAJ Network). One of the founders and the first coordinator of the SERPAJ was the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

 

In December, 1994, Helena SERPAJ became affiliated with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) -- the US's oldest interfaith nonviolent social change and peace advocacy organization, with roots in the progressive ecumenical religious traditions of nonviolence, http://forusa.org/).

 

Membership in Helena SERPAJ does not require membership in the FOR -- and membership in the FOR does not require membership in some religious organization or even adherence to religious beliefs.

 

Although Helena SERPAJ is affiliated with the national FOR, becoming an individual member of SERPAJ does not automatically make you a member of the FOR. To become an FOR member in addition to being a SERPAJ member, you need to also sign the FOR's membership commitment form at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2507/signup_page/membership

 

E-mail to Helena SERPAJ should be sent to Helena...@gmail.com.  Helena SERPAJ has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HelenaSERPAJ.  Telephone: 406-443-0843

 



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