Whose mortgage are you paying?

Making your mortgage payment every month is a top priority. You pay the bill so that you can own the property you live on, right? Unless you inherited your property from your family, in which case that land is yours outright to do with as you please, right?

Not so if Mountain Valley Pipeline gets their way. The privately owned company is suing 300 American landowners to try to force them to let Mountain Valley put a pipeline on their property.

Whose property?

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Virginia Congressional candidates Peter Volosin, Leslie Cockburn, Del. Sam Rasoul, landowner Carolyn Reilly, Flo Ketner, Stephanie Cook, Mike Carter, Ian Reilly at the Reilly’s Four Corners Farm in Rocky Mount, VA. Bold Alliance photo

Private citizens in Virginia who own homes and farms were minding their own business when Mountain Valley came along and said they wanted their land for a pipeline project. Landowners who said no, thanks were served with law suits.

Imagine that. You’re working, paying your taxes, taking care of your family, and out of the blue you have to hire a lawyer to keep a gas company from taking your land away from you. Seems impossible, especially in America. But it’s true.

The citizens are fighting back. We need to stand with them, because if this can happen to them, it can happen to any of us. And it is happening, right now, in Virginia.

Read the whole story here:

[1] “Mountain Valley sues landowners to gain pipeline easements and access through eminent domain,” Roanoke Times, 10/27/17.

[2] “Landowners Sue FERC to Stop Eminent Domain for Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines,” BoldAlliance.org, 9/5/17.

Bold Iowa is taking up a collection to help the citizens protect their land, you can give here:

Chip in $25 or whatever you can now to support the landowners suing FERC to stop eminent domain for private gain pipelines

We have to stand together, to protect our rights to own property in America – and our right to have a say in whether fracked gas companies can do anything they please, anywhere they like, any time.

 

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Save Oak Flat Battle Continues in Congress

The fight to save Oak Flat is a long one. Twice bills have been introduced in the House to give Oak Flat away to Resolution Copper, both times the bill failed. Next the land giveaway was tucked into an annual piece of must-pass legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act. This paved the way for Resolution Copper to get Oak Flat process in Congress, and our shared public land was given away without so much as a discussion.

Raúl Grijalva introduced the Save Oak Flat Act to the House in 2015, followed by a partner Save Oak Flat Act in the Senate, presented by Bernie Sanders. Assigned to committee, the bills timed out without discussion or hearing.

Now comes a reiteration of the legislation needed in the House and Senate to protect sacred Oak Flat, and protect the wanton giveaway of our shared public properties to the highest bidder.

H.R. 2915 INTRODUCED BY Raúl Grijalva! Please urge your legislators to co-sign and support this important piece of legislation to repeal the unlawful land exchange of Oak Flat to a foreign mining company. #SAVEOAKFLAT

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on June 15, 2017. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

H.R. 2915: To repeal section 3003 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.

Track progress of the House bill here.

Thank you Rep. Grijalva and Sen. Sanders. Our gratitude is great for your rare show of ethics in today’s Congress.

Track progress of Apache Stronghold’s fight to save Oak Flat here.

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Chairman Terry Rambler, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Activist Naelyn Pike, leaders in the fight to save Oak Flat.

BHP Billiton Mine Headed for Strike

Mining giant BHP Billiton is under threat of strike by workers in one of the mines it manages. The largest copper mine in the world, Chile’s Escondida mine, has been embroiled in a conflict with its workers over wages and benefits.

Rio Tinto is also an investor in the mine.

Read the story told by Marketplace here or by CNBC here.

The Chilean miners join the ranks of BHP workers globally who have complained about the companies. Website BHP Billiton Watch tracks issues raised here.

In a declining market, the strike could bolster copper prices. Once again a reminder that we all benefit by investing in more copper recycling and less copper mining.

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Escondida Mine photo by Francesco Degasperi | AFP | Getty Images

emma’s Birthday Request

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[Image: my mom Sally and I holding the moccosins that were gifted to us by the San Carlos Apache people. These mocs remain one of my most important possessions, and I am so grateful for this kind offering.]

Hi all!

emma here. As the end of May approaches I’ve increasingly been thinking about our walk. We left for Oak Flat on May 29, 2015– a date that is fast approaching. At this time last year we were finalizing our route, buying the last few supplies we needed, and saying goodbyes to our friends and family.

This time of year is also my birthday. Tomorrow, on May 23, I will be turning 20 years old. To celebrate my birthday I am gathering some friends today for a letter-writing party. Though I am in Washington state, anyone can join this party in spirit. It would mean a lot to me if at some point today you took a few minutes to take two actions for Oak Flat:

  1. Submit a comment to the Forest Service about Resolution Copper’s proposed mine. Check out the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition’s guide to what kinds of comments are most impactful. You can email, call, write, or submit a comment via an online form- all of which are available here.
  2. Write to your representative and senators asking them to co-sponsor and support the Save Oak Flat acts. These letters can be essentially the same, but with different bill numbers and different recipients. Everything you need to write a letter is available on our “How You Can Help” page, including a sample letter. If you are unable to write a letter you can also email your Congresspeople.

Thank you for helping me celebrate by taking a few minutes to complete these tasks! If you have any questions or need support don’t hesitate to contact us.

❤ emma

 

It’s not only Oak Flat: Sacred Sites around the world are under threat.

Hi friends and supporters,

Emma here, writing to you in the middle of midterms week. Today I had a meeting at one of the student clubs I am a member of, Students for Renewable Energy, and we discussed yet another sacred site that could soon be effected by development and greed. Xwe’chi’eXen, more commonly known as Cherry Point, is a place where the Lummi people have fished for thousands of years. Despite a treaty that says they have rights to fish there, fossil fuel companies have for years been pushing to establish North America’s largest coal export terminal on this land. If these companies get their way, the bay could be exposed to coal or oil spills which would devestate marine ecosystems. Additionally, the transport of oil by rail creates the highly concerning issue of possible oil train explosions and the transport of coal could cause health issues in our communities.

Xwe’chi’eXen lies just a few miles north of Bellingham, Washington

In 2012, members of Lummi Nation protested the proposed coal terminal by lighting a large dummy million-dollar check on fire to symbolize their dedication to protecting their land, no matter how much money they were offered.

Sacred sites in other parts of the country are also under threat. From Mauna Kea in Hawaii to Oak Flat to Cherry Point, the status of Sacred places is threatened. As we continue to work in solidarity with the Apache people to protect Oak Flat, let us remember that this fight is tied with many others around the country and around the world. Let us also remember that there is strength in numbers- we are not alone in this struggle. Until Indigenous people everywhere have the right to their religious freedom and cultural heritage, our work is not done.

In solidarity,

emma

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Mrs. Walling’s 5th grade class has something to say. They’ve done their homework, literally, visiting mines and proposed mine sites around their state. Their opinion? Mining Oak Flat is not the best use of the land. Watch their message here.

And I have to say, if my teacher wore jeans and hiking boots in the classroom when I was a fifth grader in 1971, I would have gotten down to the business of my life much sooner. Good work, Mrs. Walling.

soff fifth grade

(This is a screen shot. Click on it, or the text link in the first paragraph, to see the video.)

Comments Collected Across the West

Oak Flat has supporters in every corner, as evidenced by the quick response from those planning to collect signatures for the forest service public comment period. The public comment period is short – just 60 days – and clearly it’s not just Arizonans who are committed to save Oak Flat.

The leadership of the Walks to Save Oak Flat in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Seattle are planning to gather signatures in their cities.

Joining the effort are families and friends of Oak Flat in Fort Collins, CO; Phoenix, AZ; Tucson, AZ; Austin, TX, and Kona, HI.

We’ve yet to hear from the midwest and east coast. Who will collect signatures for Oak Flat in those regions? If you can spend a day tabling an event at a local Earth Day fair, we’ll help you get organized and give you the materials you need.

Earth Day is just around the corner – April 22 – and lots of environmental fairs provide great opportunities to set up a booth and gather comment cards.

Contact Sally at walktosaveoakflat@gmail.com if you can help out. This is an important step.

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