Hands Across the Harbor: LA Residents Protest Dirty Fossil Fuels in Port and Beyond

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On May 17, over 100 residents from across Los Angeles joined hands at Hands Across the Harbor in the Port of LA as part of the National Day of Action Against the Keystone XL Pipeline and Hands Across the Sand/Land. It was one of hundreds of synchronized events to raise awareness about the dangers of dirty fuels including tar sands and hydraulic fracturing or fracking, active threats to Harbor area residents.

Hands Across the Harbor, Los Angeles, Keystone XL, hands Across the Sand

Hands across the Harbor – Port of LA. Similar events were held across the country, as thousands of citizens joined against a range of dirty fuel projects from the Keystone XL pipeline, to offshore drilling and seismic testing, hydraulic fracturing and LNG export terminals, tar sands mining and crude by rail, and mountaintop removal coal mining. Photo By Jack Eidt.

May 17 – Hands Across the Harbor: Port Area Residents Join National Protest Against Keystone XL Pipeline

(Los Angeles, CA) Last week’s messy oil pipeline spill near the Los Angeles River and raging fires from drought parched Southern California point to the necessity to kick the fossil fuel habit and act now to stop climate change in the US. Scientists just confirmed an unstoppable melt of the Antarctic ice sheets, connected to the alarmingly high greenhouse gas levels responsible for heating global temperatures to levels not seen in any recent period on the earth.

Thus, on Saturday, May 17th, at “Hands Across the Harbor” LA residents gathered to request to stop transporting, storing and refining heavy, toxic tar sands crude at Port of Los Angeles refineries, call for a moratorium on fracking in the State of California and demand that President Obama and local officials reject the Keystone XL pipeline and other dirty fuel projects that threaten our communities and destabilize our climate.

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Organized by a climate change-focused coalition in Southern California, SoCal Climate Action 350.org, they also sponsored two recent climate change marches. One happened this last March 1st and another in February of 2013, both the largest of their kind ever seen in the region, supported by over 100 groups and attended by thousands.

On Saturday, over 100 residents from across Los Angeles gathered in the Harbor Area as part of the National Day of Action Against the Keystone XL Pipeline and Hands Across the Sand/Land. Hands Across the Harbor was one of hundreds of synchronized events to raise awareness about the dangers of dirty fuels including tar sands and hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which are active threats to Harbor area residents.

STORY: Why Protest Fossil Fuels in LA Harbor?

tar sands, contamination, steam assisted gravity drainage

The impacts to ecosystems, air quality, rivers and streams, and the global climate from mining, upgrading transportation, refining, and burning tar sands bitumen are incalculable. Cleaner energy alternatives exist! Photo by Jiri Rezac / GREENPEACE

SoCal 350 organizer Sherry Lear explained why join hands in the Port of LA against fossil fuels. “Wilmington has the largest concentration of refineries in the state, where over 650,000 barrels of crude oil are refined every day. Pollution also comes from oil drilling, ports, and diesel trucking. A working class community of color, Wilmington is known as “cancer alley” because of the high concentration of cancer, heart disease and asthma, issues often unreported in the mainstream media.”

Instead of a rapid transition to a more energy-efficient way of life, using clean and renewable power for electricity and transportation such a wind and solar, climate damaging extreme fossil fuel proposals abound in SoCal. Occidental Petroleum plans a significant expansion in oil drilling in Carson, a fracking boom of the Monterey Shale formation of California is underway, and the Wilmington Valero refinery just backed off plans to build a rail terminal for the thick tar sands diluted bitumen crude from Canada. Other refineries also plan increases in storage of sulfur-rich, corrosive tar sands crude that could be shipped in by rail and sea.
Port of Los Angeles, Wilmington, Hands Across the Sand

“Dirty fuels should be kept in the ground,” said Dan Chu, Senior Director for Sierra Club’s Our Wild America Campaign. “We should be investing in clean energy solutions, like wind and solar, and expanding smart transportation choices, not moving ahead with destructive projects like Keystone XL, or opening up special places off our coasts, on public lands or in the Arctic to destructive mining, fracking or drilling.”

The National Day of Action is another manifestation of the growing movement demanding that our leaders act quickly and boldly to address climate change. It comes in the wake of the State Department’s recent announcement that it is extending its review of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the Reject & Protect encampment in Washington, DC which highlighted the opposition of farmers, ranchers and Native Americans who would be directly impacted by the pipeline. Over 2.5 million Americans have already spoken out against the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

A complete list of events across the US can be found here: www.handsacrossthesand.org.

Hands Across the Harbor was organized by Communities for a Better Environment, California Nurses Association, Tar Sands Action SoCal, Wilder Utopia, Miss R*EVOLutionaries, Sierra Club, and Burbank Green Alliance, in partnership with the SoCal Climate Action Coalition 350.

Event Page:    http://j.mp/May17SoCal

National Site:   www.handsacrossthesand.org

Facebook:       http://j.mp/May17HAH

Web Page:      http://bit.ly/1gDRflg

Flickr:              http://bit.ly/1vt7prq

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature’s all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion — Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt