Monday, August 22, 2011

Pipeline protesters arrested outside White House

By Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News Washington Correspondent August 20, 2011

WASHINGTON — They came to the White House planning to get arrested, and very quickly got their wish.

Dozens of environmental activists opposed to the Keystone XL oilsands pipeline were led away in plastic handcuffs after staging a sit-in Saturday aimed at persuading President Barack Obama to deny a permit allowing construction of the 2,700-kilometre project.

The protest marked the opening of a two-week campaign of civil disobedience that organizers hope will scuttle Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.’s $7-billion pipeline, which would carry up to 900,000 barrels of crude from northern Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“I’m doing this because this is the clearest environmental test — on both sides of this border — that we have faced in a very long time,” said environmental author Bill McKibben, the chief organizer of the protests.

“The tarsands are the second largest pool of carbon on the planet. If we start burning them in large quantities . . . it is essentially game over for the climate.”

McKibben was one of about 70 protesters who refused orders from the U.S. Park Police to disperse after lining up on the sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue, directly in front of the White House entrance.

A bullhorn-wielding SWAT team officer gave the demonstrators three warnings before police began removing the demonstrators one by one. The protesters responded to each of the warnings with a chorus of “Hey-ho, Keystone XL has got to go.”

None of the activists resisted arrest.

“We have got to end tarsands exploitation period if we are going to continue to live on this planet. It’s going to fry the planet,” said Tom Weis, a climate activist from Boulder, Colorado.

“I am risking getting arrested to send a message to the Obama administration that we are not going to stand for this,” added Weis, who is planning a bicycle journey along the proposed Keystone XL route, from the Canadian border to Texas, in October.

Obama wasn’t home to witness the sit in. He and his family are vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Still, administration officials are taking notice of the pipeline opponents and recently agreed to a new round of public hearings this fall on the project.

The State Department, which has jurisdiction over pipelines that cross an international boundary, has promised a decision on the long-delayed pipeline by the end of the year.

Oil industry proponents say Keystone XL is vital to America’s energy security and would create thousands of jobs at a time when the U.S. economy is perilously close to entering another recession.

In the past month, two members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet have been in Washington pressing for its approval.

“We need Canadians to understand that for the sake of the planet’s atmosphere, that oil simply has to stay in the ground. I know it is inconvenient, but that is the situation we are in,” McKibben said.

“We are very hopeful that the good people of Canada will start to take more environmental responsibility.”

Opponents warn Keystone XL poses unacceptable risks to the environment because it promotes further development of the oilsands. There are also concerns about the possibility of a spill in environmentally sensitive areas, like Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer, along the pipeline route.

Several high profile progressive activists, including actors Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo and Margot Kidder have promised to participate in the protests over the next two weeks.

Canadian opponents, including author Naomi Klein and Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow, are planning to attend protests later this month and in early September.

On the first day of the sit in, a handful of Canadians were on hand.

Linda Rosier and Liz Armstrong, both of Guelph, Ont., sat on the White House sidewalk as police put up barricades and ordered everyone to leave. They remained until receiving a second warning, then left before the arrests began.

Legal advisers to the activists have told Canadians they risk being deported or barred from re-entering the U.S.

“President Obama is a hero of mine, and I know he has the ability to deny the application for the pipeline,” said Rosier.

“We know that is where his heart is.”

Patricia Warwick, of Toronto, watched the arrests from across Pennsylvania Avenue, but plans to participate in Sunday’s sit in.

“I am a bit concerned about (being barred from the U.S.), but I have accepted that,” Warwick said.

“I am generally peaceful. I go to protests but I have never taken a risk. I feel this is serious enough that I have got to take a risk,” Warwick said. “I have got to make my voice known. So I am prepared to be arrested.”

Among the environmentalists arrested Saturday was Gus Speth, the former chairman of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality during the Carter administration. “If (getting arrested) is what it takes to get attention, to make people understand what is at stake, then it’s worth it,” said Speth. “After 30 years of inaction (on global warming), it is the thing I feel I have to do, because I have done everything else.”

Many of the U.S. protesters on Saturday wore Obama campaign buttons from the 2008 election, to remind the president that he draws substantial support from the environmental community.

“I dug out my old Obama ‘08 button from the sock drawer, and I am wearing it with some mixture of hope and trepidation,” McKibben said before his arrest.

While Republicans have been able to block comprehensive climate legislation in Congress, Obama holds the power on Keystone XL to himself.

“We want Obama to behave like the candidate Obama in 2008, to really stand up, and this time he can, because Congress isn’t in the way.”

The Keystone XL pipeline has been a source of division within the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently criticized the State Department’s early environmental assessments of the pipeline’s impact as weak.

A final environmental impact assessment is expected as early as next week.

The Keystone XL issue “has really become symbolic about what the Obama administration is willing to do,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the international program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Are they willing to live up to their promises on climate change, or are they going to take us in the wrong direction, towards more tarsands dependence?”

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 1, 2011

John Kroger, Attorney General of Oregon

1162 Court Street, NE

Salem, OR 97301-4096


Re: Leslie Lewis Investigation, October 2010


Dear Mr. Kroger:

By now your offices in Salem have received our letter of June 14, 2011, in which we requested a reopening or reinvestigation into the Yamhill County Commissioner Leslie Lewis wiretapping investigation of October 2011. That letter was received in the Salem office on June 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM. They have also by now received the second raft of signatories of that letter. -

As of this date, we have not received any kind of a reply from you or your Department. We are copying this third letter of request to both your Salem and Portland offices, with the copies of the previous letter and signatories.

In light of the resignation and reassignment of Sean Riddell because of his unfortunate habitual pattern of mistakes made in the "Energy Department investigation and its 2010 contract with a company co-owned by Cylvia Hayes, Gov. John Kitzhaber's companion, as well as the criminal investigation of former Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa," ( we again ask that you direct your Department to reopen or reinvestigate the Lewis Wiretapping Affair.

These developments now lend an aura of potential unreliability to all of his work which may reasonably be extended to all parts of his duties, including the Lewis investigation.  

See also Attachments:


We, the concerned citizens of Yamhill County again respectfully and strongly request that you direct that the investigation of this matter be reviewed and reopened.  Thank you for your personal attention to this matter. 

Enclosed please find an addressed stamped envelope for the convenience of your reply. We will assume that if we do not hear from you within 10 working day of receipt of this letter, that you intend to take no further action to prosecute the Leslie Lewis Wiretapping Affair, and will then pursue whatever other options of Justice of which we may ethically and legally avail ourselves.




Kathleen Blair

595 SW Ruby Court

McMinnville, OR 97128



Liz Marlia-Stein

Chair, Yamhill County Democrats

1525 NE 18th Street

McMinnville, OR 97128






Cc: Mr. John Kroger

Oregon Department of Justice

621 SW Morrison Street # 1100

Portland, OR 97205-3818



Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney 900 Court St. NE, S-201
Salem, OR 97301


Senate President Pro Tempore Ginny Burdick 900 Court St. NE, S-213
Salem, OR 97301     


Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee
Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Chair, 900 Court St NE, S-417, Salem, OR, 97301, and PO Box 11511, Eugene, OR, 97440

Sen. Jeff Kruse, Vice-Chair, 900 Court St NE, S-315, Salem, OR, 97301 and 636 Wild Iris Lane, Roseburg, OR, 97470,

Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, 900 Court St NE, S-403, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 990, Beaverton, OR, 97075

Sen. Jackie Dingfelder 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 13432, Portland, OR, 97213

Sen. Doug Whitsett 900 Court St NE, S-303, Salem, OR, 97301 and 23131 N. Poe Valley Road, Klamath Falls, OR, 97603


Co-Speaker of the House Rep. Arnie Roblan 900 Court St. NE, H-295
Salem, OR 97301


Co-Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Tina Kotek 900 Court St. NE, H-395
Salem, OR 97301



Oregon House Judiciary Committee

Re. Jeff Barker, Co-Chair, 900 Court St NE, H-491, Salem, OR, 97301

Rep. Wayne Krieger, Co-Chair, 900 Court St NE, H-381, Salem, OR, 97301 and 95702 Skyview Ranch Road, Gold Beach, OR, 97444

Rep. Chris Garrett, Co-Vice Chair, 900 Court St NE, H-377, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 132, Lake Oswego, OR, 97034

Rep. Wally Hicks, Co-Vice Chair, 900 Court St NE, H-490, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 73, Grants Pass, OR, 97528

Rep. Mary Nolan, 900 Court St NE, H-493, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 1686, Portland, OR, 97207

Rep. Andy Olson, 900 Court St NE, H-478, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 891, Albany, OR, 97321

Rep. Mike Schaufler, 900 Court St NE, H-382, Salem, OR, 97301 and 12910 SE Ridgecrest Road, Happy Valley, OR, 97086

Rep. Carolyn Tomei, 900 Court St NE, H-279, Salem, OR, 97301 and PO Box 22147, Milwaukie, OR, 97267

Rep. Matt Wand, 900 Court St NE, H-378, Salem, OR, 97301

Rep. Gene Whisnant, 900 Court St NE, H-471, Salem, OR, 97301

Fighting Crime

Attorney General Kroger's highest priority is to fight crime in Oregon. Our Criminal Justice Division is comprised of dedicated prosecutors, investigators and analysts who work tirelessly to fight organized crime, protect children, investigate potential terrorism threats, and assist district attorneys across the state with murder and large-scale drug trafficking cases.

In the coming years we will focus on six major law enforcement priorities:

  • Prosecuting murderers with our law enforcement partners;
  • Fighting dangerous foreign drug cartels;
  • Combatting violent gangs;
  • Protecting our children from internet sex predators;
  • Investigating and prosecuting corrupt government officials; and
  • Providing our law enforcement partners with investigative and prosecutorial support.

Aggressive law enforcement is only one part of our plan to make Oregon safer. We are also pushing for a major overhaul of Oregon's drug treatment and prevention programs. Our criminal justice system is driven by substance abuse. Every year drug and alcohol addiction costs us hundreds of millions of dollars in prison and law enforcement expenses, health care expenditures, and lost workforce productivity. Addiction is also the single greatest cause of property crime in Oregon. Even worse, meth is a leading cause of child abuse in Oregon. That is one reason why Oregon received a "D" on a recent child welfare report card issued by a leading advocacy group. This is simply unacceptable