In the annals of environmental dissent, rarely has the spark of confrontation simply been due to the defense of nature against villainous interests. The rebellion against the proposed “Cop City,” a $90 million, 85-acre police training facility in Atlanta’s South River Forest, followed suit, as the lines of battle are more complex and involve not only the protection of natural resources but also questions over the militarization of law enforcement and community participation in development.
The fight has entered a new phase, with hundreds of protesters staging a week of action that culminated in the burning of a police surveillance tower and the arrests of dozens of people on state domestic terrorism charges, UNICORN RIOT reports.
This new phase was marked by increased attention by corporate media, which until now had largely ignored the fight spurred by plans to raze forestland to make way for a multi-million dollar police training complex.
But as PRISM reminds us, the fight against Cop City has been gestating for years, as corporate and political interests tried to placate the well-funded police department and alleviate so-called security concerns. Black residents in the surrounding community, which has relied on the green space of the forest, were largely sidelined during planning for the complex.
“Cop City is a fundamentally anti-democratic project driven by a mix of powerful actors, while Atlanta’s residents, particularly those closest to the proposed site, have been utterly ignored,” reporter Micah Herskind writes.
It took the death of Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán, a forest defender whom police shot and killed in January, to attract widespread attention to the conflict. While law enforcement investigates the fatal shooting, Global Witness added Tortuguita’s name to a list of land and environmental defenders killed in violent confrontations around the world, EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL reports.
“Their death is the first documented case in U.S. history of an environmental activist being killed by law enforcement,” writes Maureen Nandini Mitra.
Crisis Surrounding East Palestine Derailment Expands
Now let us give praise to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and fellow politicians for having finally woken from their comas to respond to the derailment of a train carrying hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio. While it’s still unclear, weeks later, what the long-term impacts on the air and water quality of the community will be, we at least have photo ops to be thankful for.
“Until we see action, this is all posturing,” says Francesca Fiorentini on the BITCHUATION ROOM, after showing clips of regulators and politicians drinking East Palestine tap water as they tried to demonstrate its safety.
Meanwhile, residents over the border in Pennsylvania are starting to wonder if their communities have been affected by the derailment, too. “Water flows over, under, and through state borders. The accident and its explosive aftermath produced a cascade of potential health and environmental effects that residents and public officials will be forced to confront in coming months and years,” THE AMERICAN PROSPECT reports.
If you were hoping that Norfolk Southern would take a financial hit from the disaster, that seems unlikely. THE INTERCEPT reports on how the company successfully fought to minimize the impact of a 2005 derailment in Graniteville, South Carolina, to protect its bottom line.
“Financial forecasting suggests that the rail giant could emerge from the East Palestine disaster with a repeat performance: paying out fines, compensation claims, and construction costs that fail to seriously impact its bottom line,” the news organization reports.
Religious activists are calling on the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to shut down oil wells in a predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood, CAPITAL & MAIN reports.
Fossil fuel companies are using robocalls to encourage customers to oppose New York state’s climate law, NEW YORK FOCUS reports.
GRIST reports that the Biden administration sued a chemical company operating in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” a move seen as a long-delayed effort to rein in polluting companies in the state’s major industrial corridor.
What does climate justice look like in practice? A MATTER OF DEGREES digs into the question in a recent episode.
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