Outside the Siena (Photo Rainforest Action Network)
Hundreds of people rallied yesterday to demand an end to the leasing of Nevada’s public lands for oil and gas. Armed with hand-made flags, banners, a 12 foot mock oil rig, and a human oil spill, we used the power of our voices and the strength of our bodies to protect our ground water, communities and wildlife from dirty extraction.
We called for a just transition to renewable energy – not 450 billion tons of potential carbon pollution. Our protest disrupted the sale and sent a clear message that we will not sit back and allow our land and water to be destroyed. Read the press release here.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held the lease auction – a public hearing – on private property. As a result, Siena Hotel management was allowed to keep us out, something they wouldn’t have been able to do if the hearing were at a public venue.
When the hundreds of concerned citizens tried to enter the Siena, PLAN state director was abruptly taken down by hotel security guards using excessive force, causing minor injuries to his knee, jaw, chin, and ribs. A student was also tackled by hotel security and arrested as he tried to enter the auction room. Both were charged with trespassing.
The BLM used taxpayer funds to pay a private hotel to bar the people from an auction of public lands and public resources. A leader asked police why private corporate rights trumped the right of the people to access a public meeting. He couldn’t answer. The public still doesn’t know where the BLM auction took place as the room where it was scheduled to occur was empty. What we do know is that the BLM and their industry buddies conduct their climate-killing business in secret.
Prior to yesterday, we focused our ire on the fossil fuel industry, but now it’s clear the BLM is in cahoots with the fossil fuel industry to ensure fracking and other dirty fossil fuel extraction continues unimpeded from public participation or transparency. And while the BLM still managed to give away 3,764 acres of our land to the fossil fuel industry
, we will not back down!
The threat to our planet is real and the fight for climate justice must continue. Thanks for standing with us. We’ll see you on July 29th at the Governors’s energy committee hearing in Carson City, and at the next BLM lease auction in Reno, December 13th!
Photos thanks to Rainforest Action Network and Bucky Harjo.
Check out the links below for more photos and video from the protest and art build.
Photos and Video from the Potentialist Workshop – organizers of the human oil spill
Arts Organizing Workshop and Art build by Monique Andrea