For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Parkin; on site mobile- 415-235-0596;
Henia Belalia; on site mobile- 510-529-8927
Photos available at www.risingtidenorthamerica.org
6:40pm (EST) UPDATE: Police are reporting 21 people have been arrested, including youth and adults from across the country. Residents of Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Vermont, Georgia, Washington DC and California were among those arrested while occupying the Department of Interior offices.
Washington D.C.— Over a thousand climate activists marched from Lafayette Park to the Department of the Interior’s headquarters in Washington D.C. today. Reclaim Power coincided with the end of Powershift, a mass youth climate conference, and came only 2 days before the anniversary of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster. As many as 300 protesters ran inside the headquarters in a Wisconsin-style occupation calling for the abolition of offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction. In an act of civil disobedience, young and old alike occupied the lobby for over an hour, smiling and singing protest songs.
donate for legal support for arrestees at the 4/18 sit-in at the D.O.I.
Reclaim Power is being led by residents of residents of the Gulf Coast, Appalachia and the interior West – regions directly impacted by heinous oil, gas and coal extractive industries. Participants are calling for the Obama Administration and the federal agency to phase out harmful mining and drilling practices and facilitate transitions to sustainable local energy systems.
“The Dept. of Interior has been allowing the killing of my community and Appalachia’s mountains by the coal industry for decades,” said Junior Walk from Boone County, West Virginia. “King Coal has poisoned Appalachia with toxic water, toxic air and toxic waste. It’s time for real action, not merely political posturing. I commend these fiery activists taking risks and making change for our communities and the climate.” “For all practical purposes, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast function as a third world resource colony within the US. For a hundred years, our people and ecosystems have been sacrificed to provide cheap energy and big profits,” said Devin Martin, a native Cajun from southern Louisiana. “We
pay for the hidden costs of oil and gas with our health and our lives through air pollution, oil spills, and a completely corrupted state government. We already lose a football field of coastal marsh every 38 minutes, and now rising sea levels from climate change will put my home, including New Orleans, under water permanently.”
Reclaim Power also seeks to highlight the ruthless manner in which extractive industries are allowed to treat workers and the communities they operate in. Obama’s Dept. of Interior allows the fossil fuel industry to run amok over ecosystems, communities, workers and local economies. Last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and spilled over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The results have devastated local economies, fisheries and wetlands. Mountaintop removal is