Evicted Anti-Fracking Protest Goes Underground – Literally

FractivistsK.J. Rodgers
Crownsville, Maryland  

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When an anti-fracking protest camp is evicted from the premises of an English drill site, they chose to dig in and build tunnels. 

Digging a hole is hard work. Last summer, I needed to dig out some old, never identified object from my back yard that had collapsed and formed a small sinkhole. Using a shovel, I went to work until I was about 6 feet deep in a 9 feet round hole. Throughout the process, I kept coming across a network of tunnels being used by pesky moles and was amazed at how (and hole) efficient they were while I was plugging away one shovel at a time.

So, can you imagine the amount of work that was put into a labyrinth of tunnels under a fracking site in Coldharbour, Surrey in England? This massive tunnel network, going as deep as 300 feet, was created in about three months using shovels and spades. You have to admire the work involved in this feat, I just wish that they could have put forth the energy to read why they are digging down the wrong hole (pun intended).

Fractivist Tunnel OpeningEuropa Oil and Gas was given permission to carry out 18 weeks of exploratory drilling in the area to determine if the site was viable for oil and gas development. Activists in the region are notoriously over the top (or is under the bottom) over there, Readers may recall we discussed earlier how they compared police to Nazi SS guards.

Naturally, after news broke about oil company interest in the area, they did what they any fractivist organization worth their weight in salt would do; they set up a camp. When they were told to evacuate the premises, they refused and dug in.

Accessing a Tunnel RescueThree months later, behind a pallet fort, rescue teams were brought in to fish these mole people out of the tunnels. This is as dangerous as the tunnel construction, which is something I learned from my military confined space training. Not only could the ill-constructed underground tunnel collapse at any point, rescuers face low oxygen levels, and the possibility of being captured themselves.

The situation could have gone very badly for many, so the operation actually was more of a rescue scenario. It looked like one, as the protestors had to be tied to stretcher boards and dragged out. The self-satisfied vapid smile on the face of this rescued protestor after having endangered others in the course of her virtue-signaling says it all about the selfishness of fractivists, doesn’t it?

Evacuated Fractivist Unbeknownst to me, there was an actual manual for protesters to follow, Disco Dave’s Tunnel Guide. It describes in detail how to build out these tunnels and prefaces the instruction with why and with historic references to when they became tools of the protestor trade.

“In the world of NVDA (Non Violent Direct Action) there are few defence [sic] tactics that can compare with the protest tunnel. Dangerous, laborious and time consuming, tunnelling [sic] is the ultimate and desperate tactic of desperate people in desperate times.”

Protesters' Tunneling Manual Protesters' Tunneling GuideThe Green Party Member of European Parliament, Keith Taylor, issued a statement on the ordeal.

“The safety and wellbeing of the protesters currently in tree houses and locked-on in tunnels at Leith Hill must be prioritised above all else and I am urging the authorities to exercise restraint in the handling of this eviction so that we do not have a repeat of the accusations of violence seen at Balcombe in 2013. The people at these protection camps are defenders of the earth and they deserve medals.”

“We simply must keep oil in the ground, no amount of pragmatism about our reliance on fossil fuels will save us from the impact of climate change when rising global temperatures hit a 2 degree increase. That is the reality. We need to be investing in substitutes for oil and oil products now, not sometime in the future.”

It was all meant to delay and waste Europa Oil and Gas’ time. They only had permission for a finite timeline to explore, so this protest — that risked the lives of both themselves and their rescuers — was all about wasting time and money. No medals are in order; just some self-reflection and reevaluation of priorities.  Or, perhaps there’s a new cause to be pursued here …”keep them in the ground.” Just sayin’ of course.

For more photos visit this DailyMail link and for a timeline of events, look at this page on DrillorDrop.

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6 thoughts on “Evicted Anti-Fracking Protest Goes Underground – Literally

  1. What is the history with the antifracking pipeline resistance movement? It is one where extreme behavior increases. Let’s say it begins with showing up at a hearing and taking it over as if the meeting were arranged for a piece of performance art and agitprop. And yes activists can be both average people and professionals and there is plenty of literature about how to make the artwork, train to get arrested and more. What happens next? Well if that didn’t work then there is the threat of mass civil disobedience as occurred with the drbc years ago. If the threat doesn’t stop the agency from taking action well what follows is civil disobedience. What does that look like? Well it can be people locked to equipment, themselves, the underside of their car in the middle of the road, breaking into pipeline facilities to shut off valves, storming a construction site etc. Tree sits, camping out in holes are simply tactics much like climbing into a pipeline is a tactic. The tactic generally leads to arrest but it also leads to news coverage which is the goal.

    The trend or pattern with pipelines I have seen over the last few years is that the chaos and misinformation and extreme tactics increase over time. The reporting and the information on a pipeline is the worst when the pipeline has already been approved and is under construction. One can see that right now with what just occurred with kinder Morgan pipe and a 98 year old woman getting arrested. It is inconceivable that this woman thinks her actions will actually stop that pipline from being constructed. Just as it was inconceivable that Al gores daughter thought she would stop construction of a natural gas pipeline by laying down in it as if it were a mass grave and refusing to get out own her own when ordered to. Why getting arrested simply to get arrested is seen as heroic by movement folks, who knows? It is ineffective as a tactic once the project is permitted. It does lead to being worshipped or admired by ones peers, being in the news or a movie, career advancement or gain in stature socially or politically and in the recent case of the tribe that a federal judge basically stated had LIED about the army corps of engineers and this caused an international ruckus led to monetary compensation of over a million dollars recently.

    How long ago was it that the British fashion designer rode a tank to the prime ministers house in protest of fracking? A while ago right? The movement states its goals clearly. It wants a ban on fracking in the united States and the world, no new pipelines and it does not believe in compromise. Expect more of the same thing in the future. Blockadia, targeting banks, misinformation, arrests etc. That’s on top of all the lawsuits.

  2. http://www.recordonline.com/news/20170629/jail-sentence-for-half-of-wawayanda-six

    Here is an interesting item on the wayawanda six as they call themselves. By the pramilla was just one of the antifracking activists involved in the port Ambrose export conspircy theory and it appears that her invovlement with the minisnk compressor station has led to her running for office or wanting to, being promoted by the anitfracking movement pal Tony avella years ago and this latest stunt with the cpv power plant, which is refusing to pay a fine ordered by a judge. This is basically a repeat of Sandra steingraber doing the same thing, opting for jail coverage when getting arrested YEARS ago over at Seneca lake. Remember when Cromwell got arrested? He was wearing a ulock necklace. This was maybe late 2015 and I recognzied people at this arrest stunt. I have seen people in the news for years now that I know are not credible. Who uses pramilla as a source or cromwell? Well Susan arbiter had her on the air. What was she screaming about? The natural gas plant posioning people? The newscaster had no idea that natrual gas plants have existed for some time or that crowmell and malick were making wild and preposterous statements????

    There is a gigantic failire in the field of reporting with the fracking issue, natrual gas and pipelines and reporters need to admit errors and get better at their jobs.

  3. “Anytime when you have to stand up to a bully, you have to stand up to them,” said Ellen Gerhart. “If you don’t and you just cave in, they just continue doing what they’re doing. And there’s a point you just have to say no. We’re saying no.”

    Well that’s an antipipeline person saying that. In reality many of us that have gotten close to this movement know that the antipipeline folks and antifracking folks are the bullies.

    https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2017/06/29/pipeline-protestors-face-arrest-charges-on-their-own-land/

  4. This article is ridiculous. Go to the website of the World Health Organisation and read about it http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health – global warming is genocide on the worlds most vulnerable communities who never caused the problem because they’re not fossil fuel dependent like we are. It threatens billions of people this and next century and countless precious ecosystems.

    So to allow unconventional oil exploration in an area of outstanding natural beauty… that’s what’s deeply irresponsible. Complaints about the work involved in evicting these brave protectors from tunnels are equivalent to complaining about a temporary mild headache side effect of the polio vaccine ie negligible. Rock on lock ons! ❤️

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