• ‘Keep it in the Ground’ trial postponed, but we’ll be back!

    Today’s trial against PLAN Director, Bob Fulkerson for charges stemming from Nevada’s massive ‘Keep it in the Ground’ protest on June 14th was postponed. Fulkerson and fellow activist, Travis Fuller, were both tackled and detained by Siena Hotel security at the rally, becoming the first people arrested during a year of protest aimed at Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales across the country.


    Supporters gathered outside the Reno Municipal Court

    The Reno Municipal Judge ordered a continuum in order to allow time to access video footage from the Siena Hotel. The judge also recused himself due to his history of relationship with the Fulkerson family. A new trial date will be set within the week. Travis Fuller will stand trial on September 21st.


    Autumn Harry, member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe

    PLAN is incredibly inspired and grateful to the dozens of people who came out to support Bob and stand up for Nevada’s water and our country’s climate future. A special thank you to student activist, Sierra Jickling and Autumn Harry, member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, whose words put the struggle to defend land and water into a national context marked by unprecedented climate catastrophe, but also unprecedented resistance from frontline communities.

    Together, we reaffirmed our commitment to stand together. From the prayer camp against a dangerous oil pipeline at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to the inspiring movement to halt new leases in the flood ravaged Gulf of Mexico and the KING national convergence in Washington D.C. on September 15th – we will continue to fight back against a system that persecutes the people who are protecting life and supports the industries and fossil fuel corporations that are causing irreparable harm.


    Sierra Jickling, UNR student activist

    We continue to call on President Obama to do what’s right by communities and climate by ending new fossil fuel leases on our public lands and waters.

    Check out videos from today’s press conference and rally here and here.

  • My first protest – a reflection by PLAN intern, Brendan Gault

    My name is Brendan. I am a 23 year old student at the University of Nevada Reno. On June 14th, 2016, I was privileged to attend my first peaceful demonstration. The BLM was attempting to auction off public land for oil and gas, including fracking, in the Smoky Valley region of central Nevada. As an intern at PLAN focusing on renewable energy and climate justice issues, and a concerned citizen, this egregious use of public lands is in direct contrast to the goal of %100 renewable energy for Nevada.


    Flag made during the art build on June 13th (Photo: Bucky Harjo)

    They held this “public” auction on the private property of the Siena Hotel. So PLAN and it’s partners formed a coalition with the goal of stopping this auction and letting the BLM know our loathing of this heinous proposition.
    My experience started the day before during the prep for the demonstration. The organizers wanted to use art of all types to help communicate our message to the BLM and the oil and gas companies. So we gathered to make visual pieces of art for the event and spent the afternoon creating and connecting. This was a very big part of the process for me personally because it helped to show we weren’t alone while, building a strong sense of community and investment toward our common goal of stopping fracking operations in Nevada. We were united.

    On the day of the demonstration we gathered together early and moved our people and art pieces into position a couple of blocks away from the scheduled auction. The performances began as more people arrived. Before I knew it I was surrounded by 150 like-minded people with the singular goal of protecting our beautiful state. The energy and sense of community amongst the crowd was powerful! There is something magical about a group of people gathering for a singular purpose. Before we began the march we had a moment of silence. The crowd silenced in solidarity ever building the feeling that we were here united.

    Then we began to march towards the Siena. I took up position in the middle of lead banner, which I didn’t plan, but felt compelled by the energy of the crowd. So we started off toward the auction the power of our message grew as 150 people all chanted our message together. The cries of people echoed through the streets as we approached the hotel where the auction was being held. As we approached the Siena we were met by their security guards. The security isolated who they believed was our leader and violently slammed him into the ground drawing blood. The treatment of our fellow angered the crowd but we turned our anger into motivation. It seems that they thought that by taking down “the leader” they could take away our momentum, but this was a movement of the people and could not be silenced.


    At the Siena, inside the abandoned BLM auction room (Photo: Bucky Harjo)

    We took the energy of the assault and used it to enter the hotel. The lobby filled up behind me as we made our way to the stairs leading up to the auction, but we were again halted by two security guards. But the movement would not stop. Someone maneuvered around the line of security and we flooded up the stairs and into the auction room. We were met with an empty room and news that the people attending the auction had fled. They refused to hear our message. We occupied the room for about 20 minutes in case they came back, but eventually we moved back outside to avoid further arrest and harm to our  people.

    When we came outside the scene on the streets had changed dramatically. A large police presence had showed up, including a helicopter circling above. One thing that amazed me was how well the police treated us. They blocked off the street and allowed us to speak our peace – and speak it we did. Along with our message we demanded the release by the Siena security team of our fellow protesters. We achieved the release of two out of the three. After they were returned to us we begin our march down the street back to our starting point. The police were very considerate and blocked off our path for us.

    As I look back on my first demonstration I have this new sense of empowerment. The political process is often so noisy that it seems too busy to make anything out and too loud for the people to be heard. However, despite the chaos, we can be heard when we are united. United we can make a difference. Together we can stand up against those who take advantage of those less fortunate. We can stand up against the wasteful and destructive use of our precious resources. We can stand up for our rights. And most importantly we can win – or at least that is how I feel after my first demonstration. I just have one question for you. Will you stand up too?
    By Brendan Gault

  • Hundreds rally to defend Nevada’s ground water, demand an end to leasing of public lands for oil and gas


    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,  13417701_10207960025530850_5305568705520863607_nwe used the power of our voices and the strength of our bodies to protect our ground water, communities and wildlife from dirty extraction.13419176_1291468420882899_5915694811776997587_n-1 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. 27392105040_d98e0f054f_zWhen 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. 27060311113_2235a961f3_zA 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 27670685065_8550009746_zplanet 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

  • Why we fight to “Keep it in the Ground”

    In May PLAN and Great Basin Resource Watch traveled to central Nevada to visit lands slated for auction at the upcoming Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction on June 14th.

    BSV Road View

    View of Big Smoky Valley (Photo PLAN)

    The 42 parcels on the auction block cover over 74,000 acres in the majestic Big Smokey Valley. The land was nominated for the BLM lease sale by a Texas real estate developer without the knowledge of most of the residents living and farming near the potential fracking sites.

    Reese River Valley 2016

    Reese River Valley (Photo PLAN)

    Fracking is environmentally risky and has the potential to contaminate drinking water. In Nevada, water is especially precious – it is the lifeblood of farmers and ranchers across the state.

    By keeping fossil fuels in the ground we are protecting our ground water and aquifers. To avoid catastrophic warming, scientists estimate that approximately 80% of proven fossil fuel resources need to stay in the ground. Here in Nevada, serious challenges to water users and wildlife are already being felt as a result of our changing climate. For more information about official protests filed against the BLM lease sale in the Reese River and Big Smokey Valleys, click here.

    Join us next week to send the message that our public lands are not for sale! Rally to Keep it in the Ground on Tuesday June 14th at 8am. Meet us at the Virginia Street Bridge in downtown Reno before we head to the BLM live auction at the Siena Hotel on South Lake Street. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

    We also traveled to Crescent Valley where Barrick’s Cortez Complex is located, which includes the Pipeline and Mt. Tenabo open pit gold mines.

    Pipeline from above 2016

    PLAN staff Ellen Moore and Erika Castro, and Great Basin Resource Watch director, John Hadder get a birds eye view of the Cortez Complex. (Photo PLAN)

    Destruction to the Mt. Tenabo Western Shoshone spiritual and cultural region has proceeded at an alarming rate, although not unexpected rate. Barrick reported nearly 500 million dollars in net proceeds from the Cortez Complex in 2014.

    Mt Tenabo June 2016

    Mt. Tenabo – the wall of Barrick’s open pit mining operation extend up the sacred mountain. (Photo PLAN)

  • Take action against fracking in Nevada

    This morning our state director sent the following message to our activists. Take a look, and take action to stop fracking in our state!


    Dear Activist,

    Our friends at the Western Organization of Resource Councils just sent this compelling alert on how you can influence new Bureau of Land Management policies on fracking on federal lands. I’ve pasted it below and encourage you to submit comments today! 

    Since our state has not acted to protect Nevada from the dangers of fracking, we must demand federal regulators step in before our fragile lands and precious waters are completely plundered.


    Begin forwarded message:


    Dear Bob,

    This is our last week to tell the Obama Administration that its rules for fracking federal oil and gas wells don’t do enough to protect clean air and water.

    Send your comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today.

    Fracking pumps toxic, cancer-causing chemicals into the ground, threatening water resources. It fouls the air and can lower property values.

    Last spring, the BLM first proposed new rules for fracking on federal lands – and for private lands that lie over oil and gas owned by the federal government. They were a good start but, unfortunately, the White House and BLM gave in to pressure from the oil and gas industry and proposed different rules headed in the wrong direction.

    The latest requirements for public disclosure of chemicals and well safety tests are weaker, not stronger.

    Tell BLM that people living near oil and gas drilling need stronger protections for their health, water, air, property and quality of life.

    BLM’s fracking rules should:

    • End the use of open pits to store fracking wastewater.
    • Require all wells to be tested to make sure they are isolated from groundwater. 
    • Require disclosure of chemicals before fracking.
    • Require oil and gas companies to do baseline water quality tests to document whether contamination occurs after drilling and fracking, and share the results with residents.
    • Set “no drill” zones around homes and water supplies.

    To comment, go to WORC’s Action Page by noon, Friday, August 23. We’ll deliver your comment to the BLM before the close of the comment period.


    Best Wishes,

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