Occupy Groups to Protest Oil Event in Hartford

HARTFORD — The U.S. Commercial Service is hosting the “Canada Oil Sands Opportunity Event” on  Jan 28 in Hartford at Shipman & Goodwin LLP downtown Hartford.

According to Export.gov, which partners with various governmental agencies, the event will be an “opportunity for Connecticut businesses in the areas of Oil and Natural Resource Service sector to explore concrete opportunities for export in support of the ongoing development in the Alberta Oil Sands region.”

Affinity groups including the Hartford-based Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, Rising Tide Vermont, Green Mountain Earth First, Connecticut’s Capitalism vs the Climate, 350.org, and Occupy New England are joining efforts in a solidarity action to protest what they call a meeting of the “profiteering industries responsible for the Climate Crisis.”

The action will be taken in solidarity with First Nations and front-line communities affected by the climate crisis. The protest is slated to be held during the meeting, with the first wave of activists arriving prior to the 7:30 a.m. start of the meeting. Protest activities are expected to continue throughout the morning, concluding with a coordinated street theater action scheduled from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Members of the interfaith and climate justice communities from throughout the region plan to attend and protest. Pika, a climate justice activist from Vermont said, “The Alberta tar sands operation is one of the most destructive projects on the planet and is the fastest growing source of climate change emissions in Canada.

Communities and ecosystems are widely affected by the entire tar sands extraction process from the mining and pollution to the export of bitumen and the threat of oil spills wherever pipelines are constructed. It is crucial that we oppose the fossil fuel industry in ways that cannot be ignored, including at meetings such as this where those involved in corporate industry collaborate at the expense of our communities and the environment.

We will be there on Monday to let the participants in the Canadian Oil Sands Event know that there are no market-based solutions, and there will be no business as usual.” Rebecca Burton of Occupy Hartford agreed, saying, “For Connecticut businesses to participate in what many scientists believe will be the ‘end game’ for our climate is completely unacceptable.”

“Climate change is a moral, spiritual, and ethical issue and one we must address if we are going to achieve justice for God, his peoples, and the planet that He loves,” said Terri Eickel, Executive Director of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. “Continuing to mine Canadian tar sands will undoubtedly speed up climate change and cause tremendous suffering and devastation, both here and around the world.”

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