PRESS RELEASE: To avert climate catastrophe, activists shut down 5 pipelines bringing Tar Sands Oil into the U.S, in Solidarity with Standing Rock

The following press release is for the Tuesday, October 11, 2016 #ShutItDown action and is cross posted at

PRESS RELEASE: To avert climate catastrophe, activists shut down 5 pipelines bringing Tar Sands Oil into the U.S, in Solidarity with Standing Rock

Press Contact: Afrin Sopariwala 408.598.7656 [email protected]

Photos Credits: For all photos in this release, please credit ""

This morning, by 7:30AM Pacific time, 5 activists have successfully shut down 5 pipelines across the United States delivering tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock. Activists employed manual safety valves, calling on President Obama to use emergency powers to keep the pipelines closed and mobilize for the extraordinary shift away from fossil fuels now required to avert catastrophe.

192 nations have agreed that average global temperature should not increase 1.5C° above baseline in order to avert climate change cataclysm. This objective cannot be met, and any hope of keeping temperature below even 2.0°C depends on a total ban on new fossil fuel extractions and an immediate end to oil sands and coal use. In the absence of any political leadership or legal mechanisms for accomplishing this, these individuals feel duty bound to halt the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels by personal direct action.

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Spokane Residents Occupy Railroad Tracks to Block Fossil Fuel Trains

August 31, 2015 - SPOKANE, WA – Today, a group of Spokane citizens occupied railroad tracks at ​2302 E. Trent in protest of fossil fuel trains​. The direct action was carried out in defense of the health of people and nature locally and across the planet due to the growing impacts of climate change. The burning of fossil fuels is the leading cause of global climate change.

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Breaking the Will to Do Evil: On Various Conceptualizations of Climate Action

DSCF7594.JPGThis text emerges out of the experience of organizing against climate catastrophe over the years, in a variety of forms but often focusing on direct action—e.g. blockades and other forms of direct intervention in, and disruption of, the economic machine that is killing everything. Initially, it is presented as a response to debates about an ostensible conflict between organizing actions that are symbolically meaningful and broadly accessible vs. organizing actions that are maximally disruptive, and therefore sometimes both more difficult and more secretive. 

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Clergy Blocking Frack Gas Pipe Construction

Clergy from many traditions in Boston blocking construction of fracked gas pipeline: American Baptist, Buddhist, Episcopal, Hindu, Jewish, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist. 

This morning 16 interfaith Clergy sat down on the edge of the trench being dug by Spectra Energy in West Roxbury, Massachusetts and halted construction on the lateral fracked gas pipeline being constructed in the city of Boston. This action kicks off a new project - - which is being supported by the Climate Disobedience Center.

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Welcome to our new Fellow!

InterfaithClimateActionLexingtonOctober2015-Schiel-IMG_0214.jpgWe are pleased to welcome our first Fellow to the Climate Disobedience Center! 

Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman is the Assistant Rabbi of Temple Sinai of Brookline, MA, a vibrant and progressive Reform congregation. She has founded a new initiative,, which aims to network clergy from across faith traditions to step into leadership roles in taking bold non-violent direct action for climate justice.

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Gary Braasch's climate activism

I think Gary Braasch, climate change photographer and activist who died this week, had the worst job. Most of us pick and choose when to pay attention to the relentless fraying of the fabric of our world. Friends who are upbeat one day disappear and return days later, ashen, having wandered into reading the latest climate impact reports, but most of the time we can ignore this stuff, and even the scientists among us can hide within myopic datasets. Gary had no such luxury. As perhaps the world’s foremost climate impacts photographer, he spent his days capturing climate change impacts on forests, tundra, sea ice and the coral reef which claimed his life. He was a brave man, not least for refusing to turn his eye away.

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"Chilling Effect" of Coast Guard Fines in Shell Arctic Climate Action


For nearly three days, Chiara D’Angelo hung from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger, a support vessel for Royal Dutch Shell’s summer, 2015 arctic drilling expedition, docked in Bellingham, WA, supported for part of that time by Matt Fuller. For much of that time, Matt says, “We sang to the crew and the Coast Guard through a porthole.” Chiara says they sang “Sublime, Beyonce and John Denver” and chanted, “People gonna rise like the water. We're gonna calm this crisis down. I hear the voice of my great granddaughter. She's saying shut this drilling fleet down.”

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Letter to Oregon Environmental & Climate Action Leaders

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you – some old friends, some new, and some I have yet to meet – out of the blue, but these are increasingly desperate times and the easy graces of protocol must be weighed against the seriousness of the climate crisis and lateness of the hour. I keep receiving upbeat notices about two bills, the “Healthy Climate Bill” (SB1574/HB4068) and “Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan” (HB 4036), described as Oregon environmentalists’ and climate activists’ state legislative agenda, which strike me as utterly inadequate in the circumstances.

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Press Release: Jury in Delta 5 Climate Case Splits Decision, Shares Sympathy With Protesters

The Delta5 and Climate Disobedience Center Team

For Immediate Release: Jury in Delta 5 Climate Case Splits Decision, Shares Sympathy With Protesters
Contact Ahmed Gaya 773-960-2587, [email protected]
January 15, 2016

Lynnwood, WA - The historic case of the 'Delta 5' train blockaders has ended with a conviction on one of the two charges. After four days of testimony from the defendants and their expert witness a Jury found the defendants not guilty of impeding the movement of a train, but guilty of trespass in the second degree.

Immediately following the verdict three of the jurors gathered in the halls of the courthouse to talk with the defendants, their legal team, and supporters. In a heartfelt conversation the jurors expressed their support for the defendants, told their lawyers they would have acquitted on all charges were necessity instructions given, agreed to work with the Climate Disobedience Center to improve further cases and signed up to attend a lobbying day on oil-trains with defendant Abby Brockway.

"The fact that the full testimony on climate and oil trains was allowed, and the jury acquitted us of blocking an oil train makes this a historic trial. Two of the jurors said they are ready to join us lobbying at the state house, I'd call that a success," said defendant Abby Brockway.

Despite the compelling testimony, the judge instructed the jury to limit their deliberations only to the question of finding whether there were violations of trespass and train laws.

"This judge refused to introduce our defense because of lack of precedent. It set me to thinking of all the bold judges who broke with precedent and advanced the cause of justice in the process, The necessity defense is something that needs a new precedent.” said Jackie Minchew of the Delta 5.

Jurors told the defendants and their lawyers that they were moved by the testimony on the climate crisis and oil train threats and that they would find ways to take action on both issues. “Welcome to the movement,” defendant Mike Lapointe told jurors as he and Brockway embraced them.

Four of the five defendants were sentenced to $550 in fines and fees and a two year probation. Mike Lapointe had his fines suspended due to his financial circumstances. The terms of their probation are that they have no further criminal violations and have no contact with BNSF property.

In 2014, Motivated by the alarming science of climate change, and by concern for the safety of those living in Washington's fossil fuel corridors, the five local activists had blockaded a train used to transport explosive Bakkan crude oil in Everett on September 2, 2014.

"The Delta 5 knew that they had to step outside of business as usual to take climate action commensurate with the crisis. The fact that Judge Howard stayed within his strict legalism and declined to take a risk of conscience reinforces how important it is for citizens to take bold moral actions. It is clear from the comments of the jurors that this was a transformational moment," said climate activist Tim DeChristopher. DeChristopher, a founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, had his own trial and conviction after disrupting a federal oil and gas auction in Utah in 2008.

Defendants are now available for comment to the media.
Contact Ahmed Gaya, 773-960-2587, [email protected]

Video of the defendants and jurors talking available here .

More videos of jurors and defendants and courtroom footage being uploaded, contact Ahmed Gaya


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VERDICT: Delta 5 defendants found not guilty obstruction, guilty of trespass. Receive no jail time.

UPDATED: Read trial verdict press release here.

JURORS celebrate the Delta 5 in an unprecedented climate trial! 

THE VERDICT:  The defendants were found not guilty on obstruction of train charges, guilty of trespass. The judge issued 90 days suspended (no jail time) and minor fines for each defendant, except LaPointe, who gets no fine.  

This verdict is via Tim DeChristopher's live tweeting from court.


For background on the case see Delta 5 posts on this site and the Delta 5 trial site. For media inquiries please contact Mara Marcum.

Jurors celebrate Delta 5

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