Tag Archives: High Country Earth First

Ten reasons to oppose I-70 expansion

Stop I-70 expansionHigh Country Earth First has set its sights on halting expansion of Interstate 70 through Colorado. This is more than a fight over urban neighborhoods, or Rocky Mountain foothills to be despoiled. The expansion of I-70, like I-29 and others, is about bulking up America’s commercial trucking thoroughfares, the infrastructure critical to greater NAFTA globalism, and the veins into which America feeds its addiction to oil.

Here’s the HCEF flier being distributed to Denver residences.

TOP TEN REASONS TO OPPOSE I-70 EXPANSION

Environmental Racism – More than 90% of the people in Elyria / Swansea neighborhood are people of color and about 30% are officially low-income. Even the government’s official Draft Environmental Impact Statement admits the expansion would have a disproportionate impact on minority and low-income people.

Pollution – I-70 expansion would multiply the long-term impact of noise and air pollution on the community in Elyria / Swansea. Emissions of some air pollutants are expected to increase by 50% in the next 20 years if I-70 is expanded. During the three years of construction, additional noise and air pollution would be created.

Displacement – I-70 realignment would demolish 18 to 53 homes in Elyria/ Swansea. The neighborhood post office would be lost, and residents would have to travel 2 or 3 miles to the nearest post office. Many low-income residents will have to find housing outside of Denver, increasing community destruction.

Job Loss – I-70 realignment would displace 52-58 businesses. The National Western Stock Show, which hires many local residents for temporary labor, would be moved to a new location. Other neighborhood emplowers will also be displaced by expansion or re-routing. Food Access – One of the two grocery stores in the neighborhood, a Latino grocery, would be demolished. The area of North Denver is already underserved by grocers; eliminating more only increases the problem.

Recreation – The I-70 realignment plan would place a vehicle bypass near Elyria Park, increasing vehicle noise, and would create new barriers to the Park by way of increased traffic. This will further the death of the neighborhood by making it even less enjoyable to live in.

Hazardous Wastes – Construction would disturb over 100 acres of hazardous materials sites where arsenic, lead, cadmium, and contaminated soil and groundwater are located. Increased trucking on I-70 will bring greater amounts of haz-mat through the area as well, increasing the risk of accidens and spills.

Land Use – The plan requires over 300 acres of urban land acquisition including 10-41 residential properties, 101-142 commercial properties, and 17 acres of Open Space, space that could be used for homes, schools, gardens, playgrounds, parks, and, more.

Cost – Expansion would cost between $1.3 and $1.9 billion, plus $7 to $10 million yearly in additional maintenance. This at a time when human services is facing massive cuts and education is on a $300 million chopping block.

Wildlife – Realignment would destroy 220 acres of resident mule deer area, 205 acres white tail deer overall range, 50 acres bald eagle winter range and winter prey, 21 acres prarie dog habitat, and increased invasive/noxious weed infestations.

The real solution isn’t expanding the highway, but reducing the traffic. Rather than displacing a neighborhood, destroying the environment, and contributing to global warming, lets create solutions that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and cars.

The I-70 expansion, what is it? The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has decided that Interstate 70, the main east/west freeway through Denver needs to be expanded in the section which passes through north Denver, from its intersection with I-25 to Quebec street.

There are two main proposals being considered by CDOT. The first would expand the current viaduct from six to ten lanes and keep I-70 in its current location. The second proposal, and the one favored by the power brokers in Denver, is to reroute (detour) I-70 north from its intersection with I-25 along the Platte river/Brighton boulevard area, and then connect up with highway 270 to where in reconnects with the current I-70 path at Quebec street. This expansion/detour would be eight lanes and add roughly 2 miles to the length of I-70 through this section. The cost for these proposals ranges from 1.25 to 2 BILLION dollars. Either expansion will gut the neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea, and increase air pollution in other North Denver neighborhoods. These plans are discussed in detail in the Environmental Impact Statement which can be found at www.i-70east.com/

But do we even need an I-70 expansion? CDOT justifies this expansion by saying that we need to expand I-70 to meet future traffic needs, based on growth in the eastern suburbs. However, this urban sprawl is completely unsustainable and may not even happen considering the housing market. The real reason CDOT wants to expand I-70 is to decrease congestion for cross-country truck traffic. Minor slowdowns in urban areas can cost trucking companies millions of dollars; CDOT is really working for the trucking companies, not us.

There’s no real reason to expand I-70. And considering the costs, financially and otherwise (see other side) it seems like more than just a stupid idea but also a downright bad one. Several groups are working to prevent the expansion. They need you to succeed.

Email: noi70expansion@gmail.com to get involved.

High Country Earth First Denver Meeting

Earth First roadshowHigh Country Earth First is hosting the EF! ROADSHOW, in DENVER, May 25-26: Monday 2pm in Cheesman Park, and Tuesday 6pm at the Gypsy House.
 
Four ongoing EF! projects in Colorado: DENVER: Stop I-70 Expansion through North Denver; SAN LUIS VALLEY: Halt gas drilling in Baca National Wildlife Refuge: and WESTERN SLOPE: Red Cliff mine campaign and Feral Futures (May 24 – June 7).

From “Rockslide,” High Country Earth First!

The need for resistance in solidarity with the wild has never been louder or clearer than it is today; the EF! roadshow is a great tool for growing that resistance. There are countless examples to draw from in the story of radical movements before us: militant labor organizing tours, anti-fascist resistance recruitment and international speaking tours to build cross-border solidarity. The origin of Earth First! itself is credited to a few roadshows that kicked it all off in the early 1980s. We are building on this tradition; akin to a fellowship crossing Middle Earth to amass insurgents to face Mordor head-on.

List-serves and websites aren’t enough
This Roadshow’s primary intention is to strengthen our radical grassroots ecological network. For almost 30 years, we have been an organized voice bridging conservation biology with grassroots community organizing, road blockading and eco-sabotage. In the past 5 years we have seen numbers and experience-level in the EF! movement decline drastically. Yet, our place has never been more urgent. New groups are popping up across the country, but they are detached from many of the groups, history, and skills that came before them. We can’t afford to stumble and make the same mistakes over again.

We are at the tail end of a decade where corporate globalization rooted itself in the US and spread across the planet like a plague. And now that the reality of climate change is finally sinking into the mainstream consciousness, the same superpowers that pushed so-called ‘free trade’ policies to exploit wild nature more efficiently are promoting carbon trading in attempt to make a profitable industry out of the disasters they’ve created. The spineless Big Green environmental NGOs are scrambling for crumbs and cutting deals with the industry for shallow public relations victories. Earth First! must rise and recognize that it’s presence is a strong component of making the broader environmental movement truly effective. We are its spine, or as an EF! co-founder, Howie Wolke, has put it, we are the lions of a movement ‘ecosystem’. Our niche is critical, and its presence (or absence) is felt deeply by our surroundings.

We need to reconnect the multi-generational aspect of Earth First! that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. We need to broaden our network’s base—from radical rural grandparents to revolutionary urban youth. We need re-establish lost relationships with scholars and scientists who resonate with us. We need to re-inspire musicians and artists to contribute their passion to our battles.

When it comes down to it, solid movements are based on strong personal relationships; and real relationships don’t go very far over the internet. We need face-to-face interaction to build trust with—and support for—each other.

From EF! Here is a glimpse of ongoing local and national campaigns and projects related to EF!. They could all use your support in a variety of ways—from fundraising to showing up in person. Please contact the organizing groups directly to find out what they need most:

Northern California Redwood Defense
Since the fall of Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, forest defenders in the Redwoods have been directing attention on another logging empire: Green Diamond Resource Company (formerly Simpson). In the last 10 years they have clear-cut 52,000 acres of Northern California forests. They are killing off endangered Spotted Owls and have aspirations to sell off thousands of acres in Humboldt County for Salmon killing suburban development. We have set up multiple treesit villages to oppose the destruction, and we need your help TODAY.
www.efhumboldt.org

Appalachian Anti-Mountain Top Removal
The presence of coal plants are threats to the lives within both the human community and the mountain ecosystem. One of the most biologically flourishing areas of the world is being environmentally and socially impoverished by companies practicing mountain top removal. Mountain top removal clogs streams, destroys forests, threatens biodiversity and forces coalfield residents into the unjust choice between income and well-being.
www.blueridgeef.com

Stop I-69 in Indiana
I-69 is a NAFTA superhighway, already constructed from Canada to Indianapolis and projected to extend down into Mexico. This highway is intended for the mass transportation of goods and resources, to further exploit workers and the land, and to lessen companies’ accountability in terms of human and environmental rights. In 2008, they began construction of this road through southwestern Indiana, which will evict hundreds of rural families, destroy hundreds of acres of land, and devastate the habitats of countless species of animals, including the endangered Indiana Bat. www.stopi69.wordpress.com

Fight Development in the North Woods of Maine
The largest piece of undeveloped land east of the Mississippi is under attack. Plum Creek, the nation’s largest corporate landowner, is in the process of rezoning 20,000 acres of the Moosehead Lake region in Maine for luxury house and resorts, while trying to balance it off with a fraudulent conservation easement plan. This plan would still allow timber harvesting, commercial water extraction and the building of new infrastructure, among many other ecologically devastating practices. www.maineearthfirst.wordpress.com

Defend the Last Free-Roaming Wild Buffalo in Montana
The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo. Volunteers from around the world defend buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection. Our daily patrols stand with the buffalo on the ground they choose to be on, and document every move made against them. Tactics range from video documentation to nonviolent civil disobedience. www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

Fight new Copper Mines and Roads in the Deserts of Arizona
Chuk’shon Earth First! is fighting the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, which is greenwashing itself by claiming a need for increased copper extraction for the solar panel industry. The group is also opposing the expansion of I-10, part of the Department of Transportation’s “Corridors of the Future” program to increase capacity of global industrial commerce. The proposed I-10 Bypass would bisect wild/rural lands and facilitate more sprawl between Tucson and Phoenix. www.chukshonef.wordpress.com

Blue Mountain Biodiversity Project in eastern Oregon
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project (BMBP) formed in 1991 to increase regional and national awareness of the Blue Mountains ecosystems, to ensure the protection for and reintroduction of diverse native wildlife species, to promote ecologically sound restoration and address the root causes of ecological and community instability. They have trained countless EF!ers is forest monitoring. They are one of the country’s premier grassroots ‘paper-wrenchers’, filing legal challenges that help make our blockades successful. They can be reached at 541-385-9167

Stop Florida Power & Light from trashing the Everglades
Everglades Earth First! (EEF!) have been battling FPL’s plans to build the country’s largest fossil fuel power plant in the Loxahatchee Basin; a headwaters to the remaining Everglades ecosystem. EEF! Is also challenging over 500 miles of new gas pipelines and 2 new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities. Get more details: www.evergladesearthfirst.org

Stop Gas Drilling in Western New York
There is a proposal on the table to begin one of the largest fossil fuel exploration projects in the country. This project would result hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 emissions, along with the impacts of pipelines, power plants, and new LNG storage facilities. Get in touch with Shale Shock: www.shaleshock.org

Bank of America, Stop Funding Coal!
A national campaign is well underway to stop Bank of America (BoA), who is the largest investor to Mountain Top Removal coal mining. The company recently offered lip-service to address their support for the coal industry, but have made no real steps towards cutting ties with King Coal. With BoA locations in cities across the U.S., this campaign can easily be supported in a decentralized fashion. Give ‘em hell! For more info: www.ran.org

No 2010 Olympics
The Native Youth Movement and other First Nations groups in occupied Canada have called for full-scale resistance to the Winter Olympics proposed in British Colombia. The Olympics proposal includes a mess of development, ski-resorts and infrastructure on indigenous land. Learn more at: www.no2010.com

Root Force
This project is a research database and strategic think tank for direct action intended to target corporate/colonial infrastructure, such as: roads, dams, power plants, and mines. Their website offers background information on transnational companies, government agencies and their local affiliations across the United States. www.rootforce.org