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Environment & Forest Defense News

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After years of prayers and protests, the struggle to protect the West Berkeley Shellmound Sacred Site has prevailed. On March 12, the Berkeley City Council approved a global settlement with the owners of the Shellmound village site and adopted an ordinance giving title of the land to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. The deal results in what Ohlone tribal leaders describe as one of the most significant urban land back victories in United States history.
Even as a case awaits a California Supreme Court decision regarding student housing UC Berkeley intends to build on the land, the university went in for the kill on People's Park shortly before midnight on January 3, sending in hundreds of police to clear the park and to make way for a wall of shipping containers. Protesters were ready for the raid, but police closed nearby streets to prevent more from coming to defend the park. Several demonstrators were arrested.
At sunrise on October 19, youth climate activists associated with the group Occupy Beale gave a speech decrying the imperialist military-industrial complex, responsible for countless ecological atrocities, energy consumption, and carbon emissions. Four activists, banners in hand, then marched across the demarcation line at the Schneider gate of Beale Air Force Base. Military police detained three of them for over an hour.
On September 16, thousands rallied and marched in Sacramento in solidarity with New York City's massive March to End Fossil Fuels. Starting with colorful rallies in Sacramento's Old Town, protesters marched to the Tower Bridge and displayed a huge banner demanding an end of fossil fuel use. Sign bearing kayakers in the river joined in. Smaller demonstrations happened in Palo Alto and other cities.
Sat Aug 19 2023 (Updated 09/30/23)
Oakland Airport Expansion Plans Meet Pushback
As the Port of Oakland views ever increasing use of autos and aviation as integral to humanity's evolution in the Bay Area, others beg to differ. Environmentalists from the Stop OAK Expansion Coalition view fossil fuels as the main cause of, now undeniable, global warming and current climate crises. They demand we move away from autos and air travel to fuel efficient systems such as electric rail. They are protesting and speaking out at public meetings.
On July 14, climate activists demanded a stop to Wells Fargo's reckless funding of fossil fuels. The action was part of a "block party" by local climate action groups that included loud chanting, carnival style games, music, street painting and dancing. Protesters said they timed their event to keep the pressure on the bank as it released its quarterly earnings report. Six protesters locked themselves down to block the entrance and were arrested.
On May 19, Governor Newsom announced a legislative package and signed an executive order that would gut the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to expedite the construction of the Delta Tunnel, Sites Reservoir, and other controversial infrastructure projects, drawing condemnation from environmental groups. On May 25, the California Senate Budget Committee voted to temporarily block the plan, ending the proposal for this legislative year.
The Western States Petroleum Association and big oil companies peddle their influence through a variety of means, from campaign spending and lobbying legislators to creating astroturf groups and sponsoring business-friendly journalistic events. Numerous media events are paid for by oil dollars, earning the companies favorable mentions by journalistic organizations. Meanwhile, a total of 897 oil drilling permits have been approved thus far in 2023.
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