Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond

Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond Virginia from Bank of America and other Dirty Energy Companies

Two cliamte justice activists lockdown to a Bank of America branch in Richmond to call attention to their funding of Coal and Nuclear energy that devistates Virginia communties

Two cliamte justice activists lockdown to a Bank of America branch in Richmond to call attention to their funding of Coal and Nuclear energy that devistates Virginia communties

The Southeast Climate Convergence which lasted from August 5th through the 11th culminated today in an action demanding an end to coal fire and nuclear power that destroys our environments and cripples communities. During the Convergence, activists and organizers throughout the South came together to learn about Environmental Justice issues such as Mountain Top Removal and the vibrant social movements that are organizing for sustainable economies and the dignity of their communities.

Law enforcement responded to people demanding that Dominion Virginia Power become responsible in its energy production choices with a swarming presence, surveillance and intimidation. Police were in full force in an attempt to impede our growing environmental justice movement.

“This expensive diversion of public funds from protecting the public to protecting a powerful group that is harming the public—Dominion—is just as irresponsible as using coal and nuclear power when cheaper, cleaner and safer options are available now,” Blue Ridge Earth First! activist Willie Oaks said, “We’ve been to hearings, circulated petitions, talked with our elected officials and more, and Dominion’s harmful projects are still moving ahead. We now feel compelled by our consciences to take further non-violent action.”

Activists with Blue Ridge Earth First!, Rising Tide, Mountain Justice, and the Southeast Climate Convergence assembled to insist that Dominion Power immediately halt construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County, and abandon plans to build a third reactor at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Louisa County. This is the latest in a long campaign against Dominion’s plans.

“They’re terrified of the power that the environmental justice movement is building and they know dirty energy is coming to an end. You can’t hold back the ocean forever,” Jasper Conner of Students for a Democratic Society said.

Over 40 protesters began marching at Monroe Park around noon and made stops at the offices of Massey Energy Corp., Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Dominion Virginia Power, and concluded with a lock down the Bank of America sign at their S 12 St and E Main St office. The crowd included jesters and people holding larger-than-life puppets, banners and signs to raise awareness about the problems and actual solutions to climate change, and draw connections between local issues and those in other communities around the world.

“A new coal plant in Wise County would increase the demand for coal in a county that has already had 25% of its land destroyed by mountaintop removal mining, as well as put more mercury in our streams and carbon dioxide in our air. We cannot allow this,” Eric Blevins of Mountain Justice said.

Carrying banners reading, “No Nukes, No Coal, No Kidding” and “Social Change not Climate Change,” people marched to the headquarters of Massey Energy, Dominion, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Bank of America.

At Massey Energy, a notorious coal company involved in mountaintop removal coal mining, activists surrounded the entrance and yelled, “Hands off our mountains!.” The group then moved on to the Department of Environmental Quality which recently rubber stamped Dominion’s dirty coal plant in Wise County, VA. Next the group brought the party to Dominion, who is building the aforementioned coal plant as well as proposing a new nuke plant in Louisa County, VA. Chanting “No coal, no nukes, we won’t stop until you do!” the activists attempted to take over Dominion’s plaza but were repelled by police on horses. In a show of interspecies solidarity one horse bucked a cop off its back.

To wrap things up for the day, the crowd moved on to the the towering Bank of America building, one of the largest funders of the coal industry. In impressive feat of stealth two activists manage to infiltrate the beefed up security at the building and locked to a sign outside of the customer entrance. Marchers supported the lockdown with a die in on the sidewalk. Police eventually cut free the two that were locked down and charged them with tresspassing.

The activists say that coal and nuclear power are outdated options that are unacceptable in a world facing drastic climate change. No nuclear reactor has been built in the U.S. in the past 30 years. “The nuclear ‘relapse’ carries with it uranium mining that disproportionately occurs on indigenous lands, and diverts enormous public resources from real climate solutions to a false one. No viable disposal method has been created in 50 years of research for the radioactive waste that persists for hundreds of thousands of years,” Morgan Kipler of Blue Ridge Earth First! said.

The facts behind proposed solutions for climate change are often distorted in the press, according to the activists. “The corporate media is carrying paid propaganda spreading the falsehoods that using coal and uranium as fuel will ever be clean, will ever address the clear and present danger of the climate crisis,” said Mary Olson, Southeast Regional Coordinator for Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Coal and nuclear will never be safe or clean.”

Today’s action was not an isolated event, but is rather another event in a growing movement for environmental justice that’s seeing victories all across the entire planet.

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For photos of the day’s events, including the two brave activists who U-locked their necks to Dirty Energy promoting Bank of America, follow the link!

For more information about the day’s actions.

For updates about the three US Climate Convergences.

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Right now we’re asking for folks to donate money to the legal fund to get these brave activists out of jail.

You can donate by following the link and clicking on the paypal button at the top. http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org/wordpress/category/asheville-rising-tide/

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2 Responses to “Southeast Climate Convergence Participants Demand Climate Justice in Richmond”

  1. The strategy of the IWW members of the past reacting to members getting locked up would all members would converge on the town and start doing the same thing in solidarity. the police state would overfill the jails with IWW members and usually they would be forced to release them.

    for your consideration…

    A strategy for modern times I am promoting is to STOP FUNDING OUR OWN DESTRUCTION. Stop shopping police state stores and buying products sanctioned by the police state. Make our own products and services and get out of the Police State MATRIX !

  2. Remember, the one request made by George Walker Bush after each disaster is “Go Shopping”!!!! Ah, stop the police state shopping activist !!

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