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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2015 - FREE SEED SAVING AND EXCHANGE PUBLIC EVENT – 11 AM – 4 PM

Seed Exchange with local growers and gardeners, Installation of Seed Cabinet for Grange Seed Club, seed cleaning demos, etc.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 24, 2015 ORGANIZING AGAINST GMOs IN SOUTHERN OREGON

7 pm - 8 pm "Risky Business: Hazards Associated with Current and the New GMO Products: You Won't Believe this" by Dr. Ray Seidler, retired Senior EPA Scientist

8 pm – 9 pm "How Southern Oregon organized to remain a GMO Free Seed Sanctuary" by Elise Higley, Director of Our Family Farms Coalition


more:  http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/greengrange

 


Climate Jobs evening at OR AFL-CIO hall

Jamie Partridge's photo.
Jamie Partridge's photo.
Jamie Partridge's photo.

 
 



 


 

Great Climate Jobs event last night (Oct 10). With Joe Uehline Singing and talking about working people and climate change. Beyond Little Boxes (below) opened.

Peter Parks's photo.

Stop oil trains from
coming down the Columbia River

Share your comments with WA Ecology Dept by December 1st
tell them to stop the trains and prevent potential environmental
damage.
You know the story: Fossil fuels shipped through the Pacific Northwest for export to China and other nations, adding carbon to our skies and making climate change more destructive. Here’s one more battle to fight and win.
It’s up in Washington, but you can add your voice and help our friends to the north do the right thing.
The Washington Ecology Department is taking public comments on its draft study of the hazards of oil from North Dakota being shipped by rail to refineries and ports in Washington. Under threat: the Columbia River, the Puget Sound, and drinking water aquifers in the Olympia area.
750 people attended a public hearing in Olympia last month, with over 200 testifying. Citizens and elected officials pointed out the many dangers the proposed shipments could result in, from water pollution to exploding rail cars. The Oregonian reported that the current volume of 3 billion gallons of oil could triple within five years if approval is given.

What happens in Washington has real impacts in Oregon. Fouling the Columbia River may be the most dramatic danger, but if oil producers and exporters are able to push through this expansion in Washington, those seeking to move fossil fuels through Oregon will be emboldened.



Tell your friends to help save the Arctic


Climate impacts 'overwhelming' - UN

Flooded pavilion in China
Scientists fear a growing impact of global warming on humans

Related Stories

The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned.

Scientists and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world.

Some impacts of climate change include a higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability.

Humans may be able to adapt to some of these changes, but only within limits.

An example of an adaptation strategy would be the construction of sea walls and levees to protect against flooding. Another might be introducing more efficient irrigation for farmers in areas where water is scarce.

Natural systems are currently bearing the brunt of climatic changes, but a growing impact on humans is feared.

Members of the UN's climate panel say it provides overwhelming evidence of the scale of these effects.

Start Quote

Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change”

Rajendra Pachauri Chairman, IPCC

Our health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures, the summary says.

The report was agreed after almost a week of intense discussions here in Yokohama, which included concerns among some authors about the tone of the evolving document.

This is the second of a series from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due out this year that outlines the causes, effects and solutions to global warming.

rest of story:  www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26810559#story_continues_1


This week's recommended campaigns:

PETITION: Save the Last 20,000 Polar Bears

Why not sign the petition, we would miss polar bears...



We can get a waiver on covering reservoirs:

tell the city council to take action!

http:// www.globalwarmingresource.blogs pot.com/2013/06/ bull-run-waiverorg-save-pdx-res ervoirs.html

We can preserve our reservoirs!

http:// www.theissueslist.blogspot.com/ 2013/06/ the-portland-city-council-shoul d.html

Visit the Community Calendar

and take action!

http:// www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/ communitycalendar

The Portland City Council should request an EPA Safe Drinking Water Act Waiver and Not cover or close reservoirs


Environmental Protection Agencey says

NO Fluoride in Drinking water

EPA Scientists’ Conclusion

"Recent, peer-reviewed toxicity data, when applied to EPA’s standard method for controlling risks from toxic chemicals, require an immediate halt to the use of the nation’s drinking water reservoirs as disposal sites for the toxic waste of the phosphate fertilizer industry."

The EPA scientists’ report stated:

For governmental and other organizations to continue to push for more exposure in the face of current levels of over-exposure coupled with an increasing crescendo of adverse toxicity findings is irrational and irresponsible at best.

They used the EPA’s own risk control methodology, called the Reference Dose, to determine what an acceptable fluoride dose is. By that method, they determined that the Reference Dose for fluoride is 0.000007 mg/kg of body weight/day.

In Washington DC, they determined that people drinking only one quart from the public water supply each day ingest 0.01 mg/kg a day. That is more than 1,428 times the safe dose of fluoride!

Again, EPA scientists concluded:

The implication for the general public of these calculations is clear. Recent, peer-reviewed toxicity data, when applied to EPA’s standard method for controlling risks from toxic chemicals, require an immediate halt to the use of the nation’s drinking water reservoirs as disposal sites for the toxic waste of the phosphate fertilizer industry.

http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2013-01-31/epa-scientists-oppose-water-fluoridation/

gaia-health.com

There can be no question that the US government's policy is that water will be fluoridated no matter how much harm is done to the people.

http://globalwarmingresource.blogspot.com/2013/04/environmental-protection-agencey-says.html

TransCanada, the energy giant trying to bisect the United States with a reckless tar-sands pipeline, has submitted a new application to build Keystone XL. This week, they got the go-ahead to begin construction on a 485-mile stretch of the pipeline project's southern leg. »

The pipeline aims to transport one of the world's dirtiest fossil fuels, tar-sands oil, across major bodies of water like the Missouri, Yellowstone and Platte rivers, and the Ogallala Aquifer. This spells disaster for our environment. »

New routes come with the same kind of dangerous consequences as we've already fought against: dozens of projected spills and leaks, staggering greenhouse gas emissions and threats to rare and endangered species like whooping cranes, piping plovers and American burying beetles.

Little by little, Keystone XL is damaging our environment in big ways. Tell the State Department to scrap the Keystone XL project while we still have a say! »

Thanks for taking action!

Claire K.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Pipeline Cons Far
Outweigh the Pros!
Take Action Now!
Take Action!
  
Take action link: http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AGXOV/zMMt/A87JR

Study Warns of Planetary Tipping Points

by Michael Klepfer

Yesterday, the journal Nature published a paper that forecasts the earth reaching an ecological "tipping point" in the near future, as confluence of pre-existing phenomenon, such as population growth and man-made climate change that could cause a global "state shift" so severe that it radically and irreversibly transforms the biosphere in ways that life as we know it is not capa

       I thank all who stand against any part of the coal trains/mining/power-plants, megaloads, pipelines, tar sands, offshore drilling, fracking for gas, or other tentacles of the beast that works dayMaybe means depends on how you count 'be there... and night against our hope of a healthier future for the generations to come. Coal we mine is mostly getting sold to China because it is too filthy with sulfur to legally be sold and burned here, but life is cheap in China. Those in power don't care how many Chinese people they kill burning it. But guess which way the wind blows? Stand up for life and make yours count! Life has gotten cheap enough here already. Time to turn the tides.

A Short video showing pollution from Asia reaching N. America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I_70DxkLPK4

ble of surviving in.

In short, in a few handfuls of human generations, we could play a part in what could be an unimaginable catastrophe for life on earth as we know it.

The paper (the full text of which can be found here), posits that human "forcings", or influence on biological systems, have outstripped the rate at which similar factors that led to major ecological transitions have taken place. Other major planetary state-shifts involve the Cambrian proliferation of large, multi-cellular lifeforms, the Big Five mass extinctions and the last period of glacial-interglacial change (the end of the last Ice Age), some 14,000 years ago.

The concept that the authors draw from were popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2000 book The Tipping Point and the mathematical theory underlying it won the physicist Kenneth Wilson a Nobel Prize in 1982. But, as Wired points out, it is hardly a proven theory, although it has been successfully applied to local ecosystems in past studies. The paper's authors, 22 prominent biologists, are asking if the theory can be applied to such a large scale and give their best data as to how the earth could enter into such a sudden transition.

The data that the authors present shows the vast degree to which humans are affecting the biosphere. The study notes that 43% of Earth's land is covered by urban or agricultural development and that roads dissect further areas. 20% of all life generated on the planet is harvested for human consumption. Extinction rates and global temperature will be higher in 60 years than they have ever been.

The ultimate effects of these stimuli are unknown and hard to pinpoint exactly what the outcome of a global state-shift could be.

"Possible too are substantial losses of ecosystem services required to sustain the human population," the paper says. "Although the ultimate effects of changing biodiversity and species compositions are still unknown, if critical thresholds of diminishing returns in ecosystem services were reached over large areas and at the same time global demands increased … widespread social unrest, economic instability and loss of human life could result."

Similar predictions have been made by other reports and it's easy to see how a large human population, competing for space and resources that are increasing scarce, on a planet caught in diminishing biotic returns, could violently react to scarcities in food, potable water and arable farmland.

The most troubling finding (after all, the factors mentioned above aren't anything like news), is that, based on this theory, we don't know how many local systems have to reach a critical tipping point before large-scale critical transitions occur. Current models forecast only small-scale, localized change and can't account for the unknown: unpredictable biological interactions and feedback loops are just that, unpredictable. The study's authors, however, say that the tipping point for smaller, localized ecosystems is around 50% to 90% change. They go on to say that the 50% threshold globally will occur in anywhere from 10 to 15 years. At this point, we will be in danger of triggering environmental effects never before experienced by humans.

The study cautions "Anticipating biological surprises on global as well as local scales, therefore, has become especially crucial to guiding the future of the global ecosystem and human societies. Guidance will require not only scientific work that foretells, and ideally helps to avoid, negative effects of critical transitions, but also society’s willingness to incorporate expectations of biological instability into strategies for maintaining human well-being."

"Incorporating expectations of biological instability" means a lot. The specter of which, and the present-day experience of, environmental degradation and global material inequality and poverty should be enough to give people pause. But phenomena such as climate change and the political will to confront it are not something people are optimistic about. As the New York Times' Green blog points out, an accompanying paper in Nature, part of their series in the run-up to the Rio+20 global sustainability talks in Rio de Janeiro, looks at the events since the first Rio summit, 20 years ago and at which the United States promised to be a leader in the fight against climate change “failed to achieve even a fraction of the promises that world leaders trumpeted two decades ago.”

Although grassroots efforts to live sustainably are positied and demonstrated every day, on the macroeconomic scale, human production and consumption are still dictated by centralized, extractive philosophies and practices that could only possibly grow and metastisize in order to meet human need. Powerful political interests maintain this hegemony. Meaningful choice in how resources are derived and apportioned do not fall to popular participation.

A study like this, or a summit like the one set to begin in Brazil should be times to make difficult decisions in the face of what is becoming abundantly clear: the rate at which human activity is altering the planet has the potential to kill us all. If there is a possibility that human beings may be on a course, that needs to change. Too often these summits, like the Cop 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, have become toothless political spectacles where real action is shown to be impossible by entrenched, short-term political interests. That should tell us something about the inabilities and perhaps the ultimate viability of our political system as well.

“There have been big, planetary shifts before,” paleoecologist Anthony Barnosky, who co-wrote the paper told Wired. “We can see it coming. That’s the difference. The dinosaurs couldn’t see it coming.”


Tim Flanagan

       I thank all who stand against any part of the coal trains/mining/power-plants, megaloads, pipelines, tar sands, offshore drilling, fracking for gas, or other tentacles of the beast that works dayMaybe means depends on how you count 'be there... and night against our hope of a healthier future for the generations to come. Coal we mine is mostly getting sold to China because it is too filthy with sulfur to legally be sold and burned here, but life is cheap in China. Those in power don't care how many Chinese people they kill burning it. But guess which way the wind blows? Stand up for life and make yours count! Life has gotten cheap enough here already. Time to turn the tides.

A Short video showing pollution from Asia reaching N. America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I_70DxkLPK4


Central Library Eco-Roof Tours  http://www.theportlandalliance.org/library



Salmon Projections: Hard to Catch, Harder to Count

PORTLAND, Ore. - Starting this month, more than 314,000 chinook salmon are expected to make their way up the Columbia River - an impressive spring return, if it happens. However, the actual numbers often end up being very different than the early projections, and last year, none of the salmon stock returns lived up to the early estimates. According to Doug DeHart, a former Oregon Chief of Fisheries, the most common methods for these "educated guesses" haven't proven especially reliable in recent years. (contd.)  Podcast and entire story available: http://www.newsservice.org/index.php


I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me

by Tim DeChristopher

 Tim DeChristopher, who was sentenced to two years in federal prison and a $10,000 fine for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008, had an opportunity to address the court and the judge today immediately before his sentence was announced. This is what he said:"… those who write the rules are those who profit from the status quo. If we want to change that status quo, we might have to work outside of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely to make sure we don’t make any substantial change." (Portrait by Robert Shetterly - Used with Permission) http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the presentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to “get to know me.” He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I’m not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross’s report. While reading Mr Huber’s critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations, I was reminded that Mr Huber and I have never had a conversation. Over the two and half years of this prosecution, he has never asked my any of the questions that he makes assumptions about in the government’s report. Apparently, Mr. Huber has never considered it his job to get to know me, and yet he is quite willing to disregard the opinions of the one person who does see that as his job.

There are alternating characterizations that Mr Huber would like you to believe about me. In one paragraph, the government claims I “played out the parts of accuser, jury, and judge as he determined the fate of the oil and gas lease auction and its intended participants that day.” In the very next paragraph, they claim “It was not the defendant’s crimes that effected such a change.” Mr Huber would lead you to believe that I’m either a dangerous criminal who holds the oil and gas industry in the palm of my hand, or I’m just an incompetent child who didn’t affect the outcome of anything. As evidenced by the continued back and forth of contradictory arguments in the government’s memorandum, they’re not quite sure which of those extreme caricatures I am, but they are certain that I am nothing in between. Rather than the job of getting to know me, it seems Mr Huber prefers the job of fitting me into whatever extreme characterization is most politically expedient at the moment.

In nearly every paragraph, the government’s memorandum uses the words lie, lied, lying, liar. It makes me want to thank whatever clerk edited out the words “pants on fire.” Their report doesn’t mention the fact that at the auction in question, the first person who asked me what I was doing there was Agent Dan Love. And I told him very clearly that I was there to stand in the way of an illegitimate auction that threatened my future. I proceeded to answer all of his questions openly and honestly, and have done so to this day when speaking about that auction in any forum, including this courtroom. The entire basis for the false statements charge that I was convicted of was the fact that I wrote my real name and address on a form that included the words “bona fide bidder.” When I sat there on the witness stand, Mr Romney asked me if I ever had any intention of being a bona fide bidder. I responded by asking Mr Romney to clarify what “bona fide bidder” meant in this context. Mr Romney then withdrew the question and moved on to the next subject. On that right there is the entire basis for the government’s repeated attacks on my integrity. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff, your honor.

Mr Huber also makes grand assumptions about my level of respect for the rule of law. The government claims a long prison sentence is necessary to counteract the political statements I’ve made and promote a respect for the law. The only evidence provided for my lack of respect for the law is political statements that I’ve made in public forums. Again, the government doesn’t mention my actions in regard to the drastic restrictions that were put upon my defense in this courtroom. My political disagreements with the court about the proper role of a jury in the legal system are probably well known. I’ve given several public speeches and interviews about how the jury system was established and how it has evolved to it’s current state. Outside of this courtroom, I’ve made my views clear that I agree with the founding fathers that juries should be the conscience of the community and a defense against legislative tyranny. I even went so far as to organize a book study group that read about the history of jury nullification. Some of the participants in that book group later began passing out leaflets to the public about jury rights, as is their right. Mr Huber was apparently so outraged by this that he made the slanderous accusations that I tried to taint the jury. He didn’t specify the extra number of months that I should spend in prison for the heinous activity of holding a book group at the Unitarian Church and quoting Thomas Jefferson in public, but he says you should have “little tolerance for this behavior.”

But here is the important point that Mr Huber would rather ignore. Despite my strong disagreements with the court about the Constitutional basis for the limits on my defense, while I was in this courtroom I respected the authority of the court. Whether I agreed with them or not, I abided by the restrictions that you put on me and my legal team. I never attempted to “taint” the jury, as Mr Huber claimed, by sharing any of the relevant facts about the auction in question that the court had decided were off limits. I didn’t burst out and tell the jury that I successfully raised the down payment and offered it to the BLM. I didn’t let the jury know that the auction was later reversed because it was illegitimate in the first place. To this day I still think I should have had the right to do so, but disagreement with the law should not be confused with disrespect for the law.

My public statements about jury nullification were not the only political statements that Mr Huber thinks I should be punished for. As the government’s memorandum points out, I have also made public statements about the value of civil disobedience in bringing the rule of law closer to our shared sense of justice. In fact, I have openly and explicitly called for nonviolent civil disobedience against mountaintop removal coal mining in my home state of West Virginia. Mountaintop removal is itself an illegal activity, which has always been in violation of the Clean Water Act, and it is an illegal activity that kills people. A West Virginia state investigation found that Massey Energy had been cited with 62,923 violations of the law in the ten years preceding the disaster that killed 29 people last year. The investigation also revealed that Massey paid for almost none of those violations because the company provided millions of dollars worth of campaign contributions that elected most of the appeals court judges in the state. When I was growing up in West Virginia, my mother was one of many who pursued every legal avenue for making the coal industry follow the law. She commented at hearings, wrote petitions and filed lawsuits, and many have continued to do ever since, to no avail. I actually have great respect for the rule of law, because I see what happens when it doesn’t exist, as is the case with the fossil fuel industry. Those crimes committed by Massey Energy led not only to the deaths of their own workers, but to the deaths of countless local residents, such as Joshua McCormick, who died of kidney cancer at age 22 because he was unlucky enough to live downstream from a coal mine. When a corrupted government is no longer willing to uphold the rule of law, I advocate that citizens step up to that responsibility.

This is really the heart of what this case is about. The rule of law is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law.

Mr Huber claims that the seriousness of my offense was that I “obstructed lawful government proceedings.” But the auction in question was not a lawful proceeding. I know you’ve heard another case about some of the irregularities for which the auction was overturned. But that case did not involve the BLM’s blatant violation of Secretarial Order 3226, which was a law that went into effect in 2001 and required the BLM to weigh the impacts on climate change for all its major decisions, particularly resource development. A federal judge in Montana ruled last year that the BLM was in constant violation of this law throughout the Bush administration. In all the proceedings and debates about this auction, no apologist for the government or the BLM has ever even tried to claim that the BLM followed this law. In both the December 2008 auction and the creation of the Resource Management Plan on which this auction was based, the BLM did not even attempt to follow this law.

And this law is not a trivial regulation about crossing t’s or dotting i’s to make some government accountant’s job easier. This law was put into effect to mitigate the impacts of catastrophic climate change and defend a livable future on this planet. This law was about protecting the survival of young generations. That’s kind of a big deal. It’s a very big deal to me. If the government is going to refuse to step up to that responsibility to defend a livable future, I believe that creates a moral imperative for me and other citizens. My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.

The government has made the claim that there were legal alternatives to standing in the way of this auction. Particularly, I could have filed a written protest against certain parcels. The government does not mention, however, that two months prior to this auction, in October 2008, a Congressional report was released that looked into those protests. The report, by the House committee on public lands, stated that it had become common practice for the BLM to take volunteers from the oil and gas industry to process those permits. The oil industry was paying people specifically to volunteer for the industry that was supposed to be regulating it, and it was to those industry staff that I would have been appealing. Moreover, this auction was just three months after the New York Times reported on a major scandal involving Department of the Interior regulators who were taking bribes of sex and drugs from the oil companies that they were supposed to be regulating. In 2008, this was the condition of the rule of law, for which Mr Huber says I lacked respect. Just as the legal avenues which people in West Virginia have been pursuing for 30 years, the legal avenues in this case were constructed precisely to protect the corporations who control the government.

The reality is not that I lack respect for the law; it’s that I have greater respect for justice. Where there is a conflict between the law and the higher moral code that we all share, my loyalty is to that higher moral code. I know Mr Huber disagrees with me on this. He wrote that “The rule of law is the bedrock of our civilized society, not acts of ‘civil disobedience’ committed in the name of the cause of the day.” That’s an especially ironic statement when he is representing the United States of America, a place where the rule of law was created through acts of civil disobedience. Since those bedrock acts of civil disobedience by our founding fathers, the rule of law in this country has continued to grow closer to our shared higher moral code through the civil disobedience that drew attention to legalized injustice. The authority of the government exists to the degree that the rule of law reflects the higher moral code of the citizens, and throughout American history, it has been civil disobedience that has bound them together.

This philosophical difference is serious enough that Mr Huber thinks I should be imprisoned to discourage the spread of this idea. Much of the government’s memorandum focuses on the political statements that I’ve made in public. But it hasn’t always been this way. When Mr Huber was arguing that my defense should be limited, he addressed my views this way: “The public square is the proper stage for the defendant’s message, not criminal proceedings in federal court.” But now that the jury is gone, Mr. Huber wants to take my message from the public square and make it a central part of these federal court proceedings. I have no problem with that. I’m just as willing to have those views on display as I’ve ever been.

The government’s memorandum states, “As opposed to preventing this particular defendant from committing further crimes, the sentence should be crafted ‘to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct’ by others.” Their concern is not the danger that I present, but the danger presented by my ideas and words that might lead others to action. Perhaps Mr Huber is right to be concerned. He represents the United States Government. His job is to protect those currently in power, and by extension, their corporate sponsors. After months of no action after the auction, the way I found out about my indictment was the day before it happened, Pat Shea got a call from an Associated Press reporter who said, “I just wanted to let you know that tomorrow Tim is going to be indicted, and this is what the charges are going to be.” That reporter had gotten that information two weeks earlier from an oil industry lobbyist. Our request for disclosure of what role that lobbyist played in the US Attorney’s office was denied, but we know that she apparently holds sway and that the government feels the need to protect the industry’s interests.

 The things that I’ve been publicly saying may indeed be threatening to that power structure. There have been several references to the speech I gave after the conviction, but I’ve only ever seen half of one sentence of that speech quoted. In the government’s report, they actually had to add their own words to that one sentence to make it sound more threatening. But the speech was about empowerment. It was about recognizing our interconnectedness rather than viewing ourselves as isolated individuals. The message of the speech was that when people stand together, they no longer have to be exploited by powerful corporations. Alienation is perhaps the most effective tool of control in America, and every reminder of our real connectedness weakens that tool.

 But the sentencing guidelines don’t mention the need to protect corporations or politicians from ideas that threaten their control. The guidelines say “protect the public.” The question is whether the public is helped or harmed by my actions. The easiest way to answer that question is with the direct impacts of my action. As the oil executive stated in his testimony, the parcels I didn’t bid on averaged $12 per acre, but the ones I did bid on averaged $125. Those are the prices paid for public property to the public trust. The industry admits very openly that they were getting those parcels for an order of magnitude less than what they were worth. Not only did those oil companies drive up the prices to $125 during the bidding, they were then given an opportunity to withdraw their bids once my actions were explained. They kept the parcels, presumably because they knew they were still a good deal at $125. The oil companies knew they were getting a steal from the American people, and now they’re crying because they had to pay a little closer to what those parcels were actually worth. The government claims I should be held accountable for the steal the oil companies didn’t get. The government’s report demands $600,000 worth of financial impacts for the amount which the oil industry wasn’t able to steal from the public.

 That extra revenue for the public became almost irrelevant, though, once most of those parcels were revoked by Secretary Salazar. Most of the parcels I won were later deemed inappropriate for drilling. In other words, the highest a

       I thank all who stand against any part of the coal trains/mining/power-plants, megaloads, pipelines, tar sands, offshore drilling, fracking for gas, or other tentacles of the beast that works dayMaybe means depends on how you count 'be there... and night against our hope of a healthier future for the generations to come. Coal we mine is mostly getting sold to China because it is too filthy with sulfur to legally be sold and burned here, but life is cheap in China. Those in power don't care how many Chinese people they kill burning it. But guess which way the wind blows? Stand up for life and make yours count! Life has gotten cheap enough here already. Time to turn the tides.

A Short video showing pollution from Asia reaching N. America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I_70DxkLPK4

nd best value to the public for those particular lands was not for oil and gas drilling. Had the auction gone off without a hitch, it would have been a loss for the public. The fact that the auction was delayed, extra attention was brought to the process, and the parcels were ultimately revoked was a good thing for the public.

 More generally, the question of whether civil disobedience is good for the public is a matter of perspective. Civil disobedience is inherently an attempt at change. Those in power, whom Mr Huber represents, are those for whom the status quo is working, so they always see civil disobedience as a bad thing. The decision you are making today, your honor, is what segment of the public you are meant to protect. Mr Huber clearly has cast his lot with that segment who wishes to preserve the status quo. But the majority of the public is exploited by the status quo far more than they are benefited by it. The young are the most obvious group who is exploited and condemned to an ugly future by letting the fossil fuel industry call the shots. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific research, some of which you received as part of our proffer on the necessity defense, that reveals the catastrophic consequences which the young will have to deal with over the coming decades.

 But just as real is the exploitation of the communities where fossil fuels are extracted. As a native of West Virginia, I have seen from a young age that the exploitation of fossil fuels has always gone hand in hand with the exploitation of local people. In West Virginia, we’ve been extracting coal longer than anyone else. And after 150 years of making other people rich, West Virginia is almost dead last among the states in per capita income, education rates and life expectancy. And it’s not an anomaly. The areas with the richest fossil fuel resources, whether coal in West Virginia and Kentucky, or oil in Louisiana and Mississippi, are the areas with the lowest standards of living. In part, this is a necessity of the industry. The only way to convince someone to blow up their backyard or poison their water is to make sure they are so desperate that they have no other option. But it is also the nature of the economic model. Since fossil fuels are a limited resources, whoever controls access to that resource in the beginning gets to set all the terms. They set the terms for their workers, for the local communities, and apparently even for the regulatory agencies. A renewable energy economy is a threat to that model. Since no one can control access to the sun or the wind, the wealth is more likely to flow to whoever does the work of harnessing that energy, and therefore to create a more distributed economic system, which leads to a more distributed political system. It threatens the profits of the handful of corporations for whom the current system works, but our question is which segment of the public are you tasked with protecting. I am here today because I have chosen to protect the people locked out of the system over the profits of the corporations running the system. I say this not because I want your mercy, but because I want you to join me.

 After this difference of political philosophies, the rest of the sentencing debate has been based on the financial loss from my actions. The government has suggested a variety of numbers loosely associated with my actions, but as of yet has yet to establish any causality between my actions and any of those figures. The most commonly discussed figure is perhaps the most easily debunked. This is the figure of roughly $140,000, which is the amount the BLM originally spent to hold the December 2008 auction. By definition, this number is the amount of money the BLM spent before I ever got involved. The relevant question is what the BLM spent because of my actions, but apparently that question has yet to be asked. The only logic that relates the $140,000 figure to my actions is if I caused the entire auction to be null and void and the BLM had to start from scratch to redo the entire auction. But that of course is not the case. First is the prosecution’s on-again-off-again argument that I didn’t have any impact on the auction being overturned. More importantly, the BLM never did redo the auction because it was decided that many of those parcels should never have been auctioned in the first place. Rather than this arbitrary figure of $140,000, it would have been easy to ask the BLM how much money they spent or will spend on redoing the auction. But the government never asked this question, probably because they knew they wouldn’t like the answer.

 The other number suggested in the government’s memorandum is the $166,000 that was the total price of the three parcels I won which were not invalidated. Strangely, the government wants me to pay for these parcels, but has never offered to actually give them to me. When I offered the BLM the money a couple weeks after the auction, they refused to take it. Aside from that history, this figure is still not a valid financial loss from my actions. When we wrote there was no loss from my actions, we actually meant that rather literally. Those three parcels were not evaporated or blasted into space because of my actions, not was the oil underneath them sucked dry by my bid card. They’re still there, and in fact the BLM has already issued public notice of their intent to re-auction those parcels in February of 2012.

 The final figure suggested as a financial loss is the $600,000 that the oil company wasn’t able to steal from the public. That completely unsubstantiated number is supposedly the extra amount the BLM received because of my actions. This is when things get tricky. The government’s report takes that $600,000 positive for the BLM and adds it to that roughly $300,000 negative for the BLM, and comes up with a $900,000 negative. With math like that, it’s obvious that Mr Huber works for the federal government.

 After most of those figures were disputed in the presentence report, the government claimed in their most recent objection that I should be punished according to the intended financial impact that I intended to cause. The government tries to assume my intentions and then claims, “This is consistent with the testimony that Mr. DeChristopher provided at trial, admitting that his intention was to cause financial harm to others with whom he disagreed.” Now I didn’t get to say a whole lot at the trial, so it was pretty easy to look back through the transcripts. The statement claimed by the government never happened. There was nothing even close enough to make their statement a paraphrase or artistic license. This statement in the government’s objection is a complete fiction. Mr Huber’s inability to judge my intent is revealed in this case by the degree to which he underestimates my ambition. The truth is that my intention, then as now, was to expose, embarrass and hold accountable the oil industry to the extent that it cuts into the $100 billion in annual profits that it makes through exploitation. I actually intended for my actions to play a role in the wide variety of actions that steer the country toward a clean energy economy where those $100 billion in oil profits are completely eliminated. When I read Mr Huber’s new logic, I was terrified to consider that my slightly unrealistic intention to have a $100 billion impact will fetch me several consecutive life sentences. Luckily this reasoning is as unrealistic as it is silly.

 A more serious look at my intentions is found in Mr Huber’s attempt to find contradictions in my statements. Mr Huber points out that in public I acted proud of my actions and treated it like a success, while in our sentencing memorandum we claimed that my actions led to “no loss.” On the one hand I think it was a success, and yet I claim it there was no loss. Success, but no loss. Mr Huber presents these ideas as mutually contradictory and obvious proof that I was either dishonest or backing down from my convictions. But for success to be contradictory to no loss, there has to be another assumption. One has to assume that my intent was to cause a loss. But the only loss that I intended to cause was the loss of secrecy by which the government gave away public property for private profit. As I actually stated in the trial, my intent was to shine a light on a corrupt process and get the government to take a second look at how this auction was conducted. The success of that intent is not dependent on any loss. I knew that if I was completely off base, and the government took that second look and decided that nothing was wrong with that auction, the cost of my action would be another day’s salary for the auctioneer and some minor costs of re-auctioning the parcels. But if I was right about the irregularities of the auction, I knew that allowing the auction to proceed would mean the permanent loss of lands better suited for other purposes and the permanent loss of a safe climate. The intent was to prevent loss, but again that is a matter of perspective.

 Mr Huber wants you to weigh the loss for the corporations that expected to get public property for pennies on the dollar, but I believe the important factor is the loss to the public which I helped prevent. Again, we come back to this philosophical difference. From any perspective, this is a case about the right of citizens to challenge the government. The US Attorney’s office makes clear that their interest is not only to punish me for doing so, but to discourage others from challenging the government, even when the government is acting inappropriately. Their memorandum states, “To be sure, a federal prison term here will deter others from entering a path of criminal behavior.” The certainty of this statement not only ignores the history of political prisoners, it ignores the severity of the present situation. Those who are inspired to follow my actions are those who understand that we are on a path toward catastrophic consequences of climate change. They know their future, and the future of their loved ones, is on the line. And they know were are running out of time to turn things around. The closer we get to that point where it’s too late, the less people have to lose by fighting back. The power of the Justice Department is based on its ability to take things away from people. The more that people feel that they have nothing to lose, the more that power begins to shrivel. The people who are committed to fighting for a livable future will not be discouraged or intimidated by anything that happens here today. And neither will I. I will continue to confront the system that threatens our future. Given the destruction of our democratic institutions that once gave citizens access to power, my future will likely involve civil disobedience. Nothing that happens here today will change that. I don’t mean that in any sort of disrespectful way at all, but you don’t have that authority. You have authority over my life, but not my principles. Those are mine alone.

 I’m not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me. If you side with Mr Huber and believe that your role is to discourage citizens from holding their government accountable, then you should follow his recommendations and lock me away. I certainly don’t want that. I have no desire to go to prison, and any assertion that I want to be even a temporary martyr is false. I want you to join me in standing up for the right and responsibility of citizens to challenge their government. I want you to join me in valuing this country’s rich history of nonviolent civil disobedience. If you share those values but think my tactics are mistaken, you have the power to redirect them. You can sentence me to a wide range of community service efforts that would point my commitment to a healthy and just world down a different path. You can have me work with troubled teens, as I spent most of my career doing. You can have me help disadvantaged communities or even just pull weeds for the BLM. You can steer that commitment if you agree with it, but you can’t kill it. This is not going away. At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on.

Tim DeChristopher is a climate activist and board member for the climate justice organization Peaceful Uprising.

Submitted to the PCC Issues List by Mark Schwebke


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