Chevron halts Romania shale work after protest by Bogdan Cristel, December 7, 2013, Reuters
U.S. oil major Chevron halted exploration works for shale gas in eastern Romania for the second time in two months on Saturday after anti-fracking protesters broke through wire mesh fences around the site. Thousands of people have rallied across Romania in recent months to protest against government support for shale gas exploration and separate plans to set up Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in a small Carpathian town. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Romania could potentially hold 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, which would cover domestic demand for more than a century. Chevron won approval to drill exploratory wells in the small town of Pungesti in the impoverished county of Vaslui in October but had to halt work soon after when residents blocked access to the site. It resumed work on Dec. 2.
On Saturday, about 300 riot police were deployed in Pungesti, 340 km (210 miles) northeast of capital Bucharest, to try to prevent an equal number of protesters, mostly local residents, from entering the Chevron site. Some broke through into the site, however. The activists chanted “Stop Chevron” and held banners saying “No drilling allowed here”. Dozens were detained by police. Chevron said some equipment had been damaged on the site. “Chevron can today confirm it has suspended activities … as a result of unsafe conditions generated by unlawful and violent protester activities,” it said in a statement emailed to Reuters. “Our priority is to conduct our activities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner consistent with the permits under which we operate, however this was not possible today.”
It said last month it had filed a civil lawsuit against protesters in Poland who have prevented it from reaching a site where it plans to explore for shale. It said the action was filed on the grounds that protesters were violating its lawful right of access to the site – one of four shale gas exploration concessions the company has in Poland. [Emphasis added]
Romanian police ‘brutally’ remove protesters opposed to Chevron fracking by RT, December 03, 2013
US energy giant Chevron has resumed its search for shale gas in north-eastern Romania after hundreds of riot police reportedly brutally removed a bunch of villagers who had been camping out at the site protesting the company’s plan. Back in October, Chevron suspended its plans to drill an exploration well for shale gas in the village of Pungesti – which is believed to be sitting on vast reserves of the valuable natural resource. To prevent Chevron from moving on with the drilling, Pungesti villagers set up a camp in a privately-owned field next to the site where the well was planned to be installed. For about six weeks the strategy seemed to work, but that changed Monday when Romanian riot police, gendarmes and firemen mobilized forces to break the protesters’ resistance. According to media reports, law enforcers descended on the area early in the morning.Using police and Chevron vehicles, they blocked the road linking the village with the city of Vaslui, and surrounded the protesters camp.
Some 40 people were beaten, detained and then taken to the nearest town for further investigation, reports Romanian news website Nineoclock. Romania-Insider reports about 30 people being taken to custody “for hostile behavior” while the Gendarmes blocked access to the area to allow Chevron to start its activities there. “The police arrived, they beat us and dragged us away,” one of the villagers, Elena Privac, complained. “They forced us out of the camp we had set up and blocked the road, not even school buses are allowed to pass,” she added, as cited by enca.com. While activists claim that around 1,000 law enforcers were taking part in the operation, police put the number at 300. Journalists were reportedly not permitted to get to the scene. [Emphasis added]
4 de diciembre de 2013
Mañana puede ser aquí: el fracking como símbolo de una doble crisis global
REPRESIÓN EN RUMANÍA ANTE LA MOVILIZACIÓN CONTRA EL FRACKING
Ecologistas en Acción envía una carta de protesta a la Embajada de Rumanía
Ecologistas en Acción ha enviado hoy una carta a la Embajada de Rumanía en protesta por el desalojo violento de un campamento de resistencia frente a un proyecto de fractura hidráulica. La organización se solidariza con el movimiento social rumano y advierte que el fracking se está convirtiendo en símbolo de la crisis climática y de una crisis democrática global.
Cientos de policías antidisturbios irrumpieron esta semana en el campamento de Pungesti, que se había levantado a mediados de octubre. Los habitantes de la localidad rumana se oponían así a los planes de Chevron de perforar un terreno cercano en busca de gases no convencionales mediante la técnica del fracking. La movilización social había obligado a la compañía a suspender las obras de perforación.
Los ocupantes del campamento, que estaba situado en un terreno privado de uno de los resistentes, fueron desalojados con violencia, incluyendo niños y ancianos. Algunas personas necesitaron atención médica. Muchos fueron arrestados y, tras ser liberados, fueron multados. Según fuentes sobre el terreno, dos personas se enfrentan a acusaciones criminales. Las carreteras de acceso a la zona se encuentran aún cortadas desde el desalojo. No se permite el movimiento de la población. Los niños no pueden ir a la escuela o al hospital. El acceso a la prensa está prohibido.
Ecologistas en Acción quiere denunciar la actitud represiva y antidemocrática del gobierno rumano, no solo por la actuación intolerable contra sus ciudadanos, sino también por haber traicionado sus promesas de prohibir la fractura hidráulica que contribuyeron a su triunfo en las elecciones de mayo de 2012.
También denuncia la actitud de Chevron, que mantiene un discurso público de respeto ambiental y social, mientras desarrolla actividades altamente contaminantes y antepone sus intereses al respeto a los derechos humanos.
Chevron ha llevado a los tribunales a los campesinos polacos que desde hace meses impiden sus perforaciones en Zurawlow. Y al mismo tiempo lanza una campaña de limpieza de imagen en la que se muestran fotos de lugareños felices con el hecho de que Chevron explote el gas de esquito “con responsabilidad”1.
El fracking se está convirtiendo así en un símbolo de una crisis doble. Por un lado, de la crisis climática, al evidenciar que no existe voluntad política de acometer un cambio radical en el modelo energético. Por otro, de la crisis democrática global en la que la represión y la imposición de políticas que colocan los intereses privados por encima del bien común, van de la mano.
Ayer fue Balcombe en Reino Unido, New Brunswick en Canadá, Zurawlow en Polonia. Esta semana ha sido Pungesti en Rumanía. Mañana, al amparo de la nueva Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana que prepara el gobierno español, puede ser aquí.
Ecologistas en Acción quiere exigir una vez más al gobierno español que escuche las voces de numerosas plataformas y grupos ciudadanos del Estado que se oponen a la fractura hidráulica.
Más información: Samuel Martín Sosa, 686961 486
La carta puede consultarse en : http://www.ecologistasenaccion.org/article27046.html
Otros enlaces de interés:
Roumanie: intervention des gendarmes contre des opposants aux gaz de schiste by AFP 2 DÉCEMBRE 2013
Indigenous Canadian fracking protesters refuse to back down, Protectors of land and water defy court injunction intended to keep them from interfering with SWN’s seismic testing by Andrea Schmidt, December 2, 2013, america.aljazeera
Anti-fracking demonstrators set tires ablaze to block a New Brunswick highway Monday in a fiery response to a judge’s decision to extend an injunction limiting their protests against a Texas-based shale gas exploration company. In a courtroom in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, Judge Paulette Garnett ruled to continue through Dec. 17 the injunction obtained by SWN Resources Canada against a coalition of protesters led by Mi’kmaq indigenous people from the Elsipogtog First Nation. The injunction, which SWN obtained on Nov. 22, is designed to keep protesters from interfering with SWN’s seismic testing work. It requires that demonstrators remain at least 250 yards in front of or behind contractors and their vehicles and 20 yards to the side. The Mi’kmaq have argued that SWN is conducting exploration work on land that they never ceded to the crown when they signed treaties with the British in the 18th century. New Brunswick’s government granted SWN licenses to explore for shale gas in 2010 in exchange for investment in the province worth approximately CA$47 million (about US$44 million). The protesters fear that exploration will inevitably lead to gas extraction by means of hydraulic fracturing….
But the injunction has not deterred the anti-fracking alliance of indigenous people and members of New Brunswick’s Acadian and anglophone communities, a grouping that has consolidated since Elsipogtog residents began trying to stop SWN’s exploration work last May. Over the past week there have been daily confrontations with police, as protesters — who prefer to be known as protectors of the land and water — have persisted in their efforts to slow the seismic-testing operation.
“This isn’t just a native issue,” Edgar Clair of Elsipogtog First Nation told Al Jazeera from the site of the blockade on Route 11. “But the natives want the world to know that this is Mi’kmaq territory, and they won’t back down, and they won’t abide by this injunction.”
As night descended, there were reports that police in riot gear were near the blockade. The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment. “Our people are tired, and this is a response to the justice system,” said an Elsipogtog community member who was at the site and asked to go by the name Jane Doe 372, for fear of being targeted by police. The moniker is a reference to the injunction that names five individuals and a John and Jane Doe. “We’re tired of not being taken seriously and that the treaties we agreed to are not being taken seriously.”
SWN’s original application for an injunction was supported by the provincial government. In an affidavit accompanying the filing, Bill Breckenridge of the Department of Energy and Mines maintained that the company “is engaged in lawful exploration activity along New Brunswick Route 11, a designated highway under the administration and control of the province.” This is not the first injunction that members of the Mi’kmaq-led coalition of fracking protesters have defied. At the beginning of October, SWN Resources Canada obtained an injunction against occupants of an encampment of protesters blocking a lot where the company had parked seismic-testing trucks. The camp effectively trapped the equipment. On Oct. 17, a day before the injunction was due to expire, the RCMP enforced it. Dozens of officers entered the camp with automatic rifles, dogs and beanbag guns. As the day progressed, RCMP pepper-sprayed elders and women from Elsipogtog. Six RCMP vehicles were torched, and some 40 people were arrested.
Nonnative support growing
Across Canada on Monday, solidarity actions unfolded in support of the Elsipogtog. Demonstrators set up a temporary blockade at Vancouver’s port and rallied in the western city of Victoria. In Toronto there were banner drops, and a group of protesters photo-bombed an interview by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a local news station. A small rally was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the nation’s capital. And in Montreal, a solidarity blockade stopped traffic at an intersection until an angry motorist turned violent and ran his car into a protester. “The call has been heard across Canada,” said Dave Goodswimmer, who traveled to New Brunswick with a small caravan of supporters from British Columbia more than a month ago. “We’re not going anywhere,” he told Al Jazeera by phone, adding that more people were expected to join the blockade as the night progressed. “Nonnative support is growing and growing,” Clair said. “It’s becoming a bigger issue than a single corporation coming to bully us around. It’s becoming a small revolution. Canada’s going to change after this.” [Emphasis added]
Six Degrees of Separation – Fracking New Brunswick Edition, Start with former premier Shawn Graham and go! by Miles Howe, December 2, 2013, Halifax Media Coop
K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – A brief examination of the current whereabouts of former members of the New Brunswick Shawn Graham government, which was responsible for issuing the exploratory licenses to Texas-based gas giant SWN Resources Canada, begins to shed light on something of a revolving door process between governmental power, legal and advisory positions, and the potential for private gain. Let’s start with the ex-premier himself, Shawn Graham.
The most glaring link between Graham and the potential for familial profit from shale gas lies with his father, and former Minister of Natural Resources from 1991-1998, Alan Graham.
Alan Graham, under his own name as well as the company name Alcon Holdings Ltd, owns parcels of land that SWN Resources Canada’s seismic testing lines pass through. These include sizable holdings along ‘Easter Road’ near the Bass River, New Brunswick, church, as well as along highway 116.
We’re not just talking about land in Kent County, New Brunswick, that is near to SWN seismic testing lines. We’re talking about land that SWN is slated to directly test on.
One of Shawn Graham’s former Attorney Generals, T.J. Burke, is the lawyer for the Elsipogtog First Nation. If, as is often discussed amongst grassroots Indigenous protectors, a treaty-based argument is the key to overturning SWN’s license to seismic test for – and potentially develop – shale gas in New Brunswick, it is doubtful that Burke will be the lawyer to spearhead that initiative. Burke is bound to support the interests of the band, and a treaty-based legal argument would most likely find itself at odds with the current Indian Act power dynamic. Another of Shawn Graham’s former Attorney Generals is Kelly Lamrock. Lamrock is now one of the main legal representatives of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs of New Brunswick (AFNCNB). Lamrock continues to keep a foot in the political game, having recently announced his intentions to run with the seatless New Brunswick New Democratic Party. It may be that Lamrock sees no future in the New Brunswick Liberals after backing the wrong man in the party leadership contest. Of note, Lamrock testified in the failed, T.J. Burke-led, attempted injunction against SWN Resources Canada, that Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Aaron Sock had attended numerous AFNCNB meetings related to shale gas. Lamrock noted that he would be prepared to file evidence of these meetings if required.
The AFNCNB’s Regional Chief, Roger Augustine, earlier in the summer told the Halifax Media Co-op that he didn’t know enough either way to make an educated statement on hydraulic fracturing. Augustine appears to have educated himself during the summer months, because in a recent presentation at the Exploration, Mining and Petroleum New Brunswick conference, he appeared as part of a panel that focused not on if resource development (read: shale gas development) should occur from a First Nations Perspective, but how. Present at the conference were a who’s who of the shale gas hopefuls in New Brunswick, and included representatives from SWN Resources Canada. The AFNCNB’s community consultation liaison is Michael Scully. Scully also owns a private consultation firm called Sweetgrass Financial Services Inc. If the AFNCB’s mandate is pro-shale gas development – and it appears it is – then Scully potentially stands to double dip as a private consultant.
Sweetgrass Financial Services is co-owned by Angie Leonard and Stewart Paul. Leonard is the sister of New Brunswick Minister of Energy Craig Leonard, and has already faced her share of potential nepotism-related issues for her involvement as a lobbyist with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Stewart Paul, former Chief of Tobique First Nation, is T.J. Burke’s uncle. Paul has faced his own share of controversy over allegations of vote buying and alcohol-infused election tactics.
John Deveau, a band member from Tobique First Nation, is currently the director of the jointAFN/RCMP Crisis Response Team in New Brunswick. Facebook suggests that Deveau has changed the name of his outfit from the Wabanaki Peacekeepers to the more lengthy, but potentially less discredited, name of Wolf Industries Community Safety and Support Team Inc.
The directorship of the regional AFN/RCMP Crisis Response Team is a $60,000 per year position, whose mandate is much in tune with the Public Safety Cooperation Protocol between the AFN and the RCMP, which facilitates and streamlines information – including information on grassroots resistance – sharing between the two departments. Deveau, perhaps incensed by a more in-depth article that appears here, sent me a letter last month stating that he was contemplating legal action against me. Nothing has yet come of this.
It has also recently come to light that one of the lead negotiators for the RCMP, Denise Vautour, who was present for almost all negotiating sessions between the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society and RCMP, leading up to the vicious RCMP raid of October 17th, has a brother, Marcel Vautour, who is a regional sales representative with Multi-Chem. Multi-Chem, a Halliburton subsidiary, specializes in hydraulic fracturing chemicals. [Emphasis added]
Hundreds of riot police, ordered by Chevron, moved in overnight on December 2, 2013, in the Romanian village of Pungesti to forcibly remove peaceful protectors from private land, leaving many injured and hospitalised. Even the town mayor is among the casualties.
Chevron uses riot police in Romania, Chevron si Jandarmeria au pornit in toiul noptii un nou asalt la Pungesti by Scris de Cezara, decembrie 2nd, 2013, vrn
Abuzurile jandarmeriei la Pungesti by gazedesistTV, 2 decembrie 2013