PITTSBURG, CALIFORNIA — On January 11, a coalition of environmental groups including San Francisco Idle No More, Sierra Club, 350.org and numerous local community and church groups gathered in Pittsburg, California for a rally and March against WES PAC Energy Corp.
Hartman Deetz making a piont against big oil. Photo Courtesy – Mutahunun Deetz
Pittsburg is not a community that gets much attention in the Bay Area community for its activism. However WES PAC Energy’s current plans brought out 300-400 very concerned residents and supporters who walked several miles from a park to the City Hall. During the rally at the park, a local Church pastor spoke, and children from the community presented poetry against WES PAC’s plan. Frankie Rivera (Navajo) sang the AIM song.
This community and the entire Bay Area is fighting WES PAC Energy’s plan to build a huge oil storage and transfer facility. This mega terminal would bring in 10 million gallons, 200,000+ barrels of Bakken shale oil into the Bay area.
It will be brought in by ship, rail and expanded pipelines. Pacific Gas and Electric’s old tanks, located near schools, homes and near the waterfront would be reactivated, after being shut down for fifteen years. WES PAC is proposing this plan despite the spills in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mayflower, Arkansas, North Dakota and the coal spill in West Virginia.
The town of Pittsburg already has one of the highest rates of air pollution and asthma due to the surrounding oil production. Local residents would be exposed to even greater health hazards if any of these trains derailed.
“I am Wampanoag of Mashpee and my spiritual belief is that we should all speak up in order to stop this. My family lives in Bay Point, near the water where the delta meets the Bay. I go down to the water to see the reeds, the fish, the turtles. My children go to these schools, enjoy the water too. We can stop their plans here and in other communities if we continue to let people know what is happening here,” said Hartman (Muta hunun) Deetz, member of San Francisco Idle No More.
Local residents, San Francisco Idle No More, and environmental groups are planning more actions and events throughout the upcoming spring in order to alert all communities surrounding the Bay Area.
Nanette Bradley Deetz is of Dakota, Cherokee and German descent. She is a poet, writer, educator and sometimes musician whose poetry appears in several anthologies. The most current is “Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down,” published by Scarlett Tanager Press; “Turtle Island to Abya Yala, A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women,” Malinalli Press, and “Alameda Island Theme Poems, 2004,2005 & 2006.” She combines poetry and music in her band, Redbird Giving which performs at many Bay Area native and non-native venues. She is a correspondent for the Alameda Journal, Alameda Sun and Native News Online.